Thursday, December 30, 2010


The results came back from my my ultrasound and all of my guts look normal.. So now the only logical explanation is a muscle strain. I had to go to the doc tonight because I have now have an ear infection. My normal doctor wasn't in so I saw his partner. He reviews the results and he agrees that its probably an oblique strain. No running and warm compresses. I'm going into week 4 of the marathon training and its not going well. I've been to the doctor three times in three days. I'm not one for doctors.

I'm timing a midnight run tomorrow night down at the Ballpark. Perfect timing with the ear infection- standing outside ion the freezing cold. I'm gonna sleep all day tomorrow so I am well rested. I would like to try and make some sort of heat tent in the back of the truck so I am not shivering. Hopefully I can shake the chills.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010



I am going to rename this blog "Fat Runner"

Why? Because I am getting fat. I am now at 189. That is rigodamndiculous.

I am thinking about switching to the Georgia Marathon, which is a week before the Ocean Drive Marathon. It lines up perfectly with a trade show that I am attending in Atlanta that same day, and the weather will be much nicer in Atlanta than Cape May in late March. It was miserable last year - rain, wind. Ug. Horrible running conditions. One another attendee of the convention is running as well - actually, she's the person who planted the idea in my head.

The training isnt going so well. I have been having some chronic side cramps. I have an ultrasound appt tomorrow to see of there's something going on in my innards. I am in week 3 and I havent run more than 18 miles in one week, and my longest run hasnt been past 7 miles. I tried to run today and I got about 1.5 miles in and I had to stop. I might give it another try with the running club tonight.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I have been getting these nasty side stitches for about two weeks. I cannot figure out the root of the problem. However, I had put a post up on my facebook about the matter, and someone I suggested Tums. I did some research, and it turns out that Tums is indeed recommended as a remedy for side stitches. I skipped the gym tonight but I shall a thorough test tomorrow night

Sunday, November 21, 2010



Guess Who's Back?

Who missed me?

I just registered for the 2011 Ocean Drive Marathon, and I will make every reasonable and coherent effort to detail my training, planning, dieting, suffering, etc. I have seventeen (17) weeks to train. This week, I have to nail down an actual plan, which should look alot like the plan I used last year, plus or minus. It will still follow the basic long run schedule that I used last year with some of the Delco people.

Now I have to try and find the damn plan that I made from last year....

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I am feeling better. Its my quads and left calf (the problem calf) that are really sore, but I think I might make an attempt to run tonight with the Delco Road Runners. I’ll probably do the three mile course – keep it easy, keep it simple.

Fast Forward: I ran three miles tonight with the club, and I dont think I broke a 9’30” mile. My left calf was killing me. Its kinda weird – soreness isnt really a good way to describe the pain. It felt more like a knot in one specific spot. Weird.

So I am giving serious consideration to doing another marathon in a month and a half – The Pocono Marathon. Its not much time, and so I am on the fence about it. Essentially, I have four weeks to train, assuming I “taper” for the two weeks prior to the race. The big question: do I try to get one more 20 miler in? Is it necessary? The group I run with has it on their schedule for the weekend after next. One way or the other, I’ll run as if I am training from this point on, and whether I do a 20 miler with the group on that weekend (or maybe a shorter 17 or 18 miler) will be a judgment call.

I have until May 12th to register, and at this point, the race fee is the same from this point on, so there is no penalty for me to wait and see how things go.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Marathon Race Report – Warning: LONG!

I ran the marathon. What more can I say? I ran 26.2 miles. It went a little something like this:

Up and out the door by 5:00 am. Google Maps says its a one hour forty five minute ride.I had everything packed and ready by the door last night before bed. Bearing that drive time in mind, I would be onsite at the race around 6:45 am, which would be early enough for me to relax and get myself organized for the 7:15 am shuttle buses heading to the start. Google Maps must figure some kind of traffic into its drive time calculations, because it only took an hour and thirty minutes to get there, with zero traffic on the way down (and that drive time included a gas stop). Turns out that I was one of the first arrivals at the race site. I had more than enough time to fill up my Fuel Belt Bottles, mixup my GU powder mix crap, etc.

Fast forward to 7:15 am – they pile us up on the bus for the thirty minute drive to the starting area in Cape May. I got into conversation with a lady from New York- this would be her 2oth marathon.

Its about 7:45 am when we arrive at the start. I am wondering what the hell I am going to do with myself for the next hour, besides peeing ten times before the start, which has sort of become my trademark. Something to tell the grandkids. Real proud.

The start of the race was smack dab in front of some kind of really old (and really nice) hotel in Cape May. I saw alot of the runners migrating their way in that direction, so like the lemming that I am, I followed, figuring that the hell else am I going to do with myself for the next 60 minutes. Turns out that the hotel was where the cool kids were hanging out. I wandered around the hotel, found the bathroom, dropped a couple of pounds (if you know what I am saying), and did a whole lot of nothing. I was kinda disappointed that there was no food or anything at the start – I could have used a banana or something along those lines. I only are a cliff bar on the way down, because I am an idiot.

After I found the gear check spot, I made my way to the porta-potties for the last “shakedown” if you will. Of course, the lines were about a half block long, but moving.

Finally, I got myself all set and jumped in the crowd massing at the start, near the back. I had a tech T-shirt on, with my ghetto arm warmers, and a throw-away long sleeve shirt on as the top layer. I didnt even hear the gun – I just saw the crowd move and….. WE’RE OFF!

The start was crowded, but nothing like the big Philly races. It was gun timed, so I started my Garmin when I crossed the start line, which was about a minute after the gun.

For the first five miles, I kept it easy, no music on the iPod. I wanted to settle in, get comfy, find a rhythm, let things spread out. Right off the bat, my left calf is tight. WTF. This calf hasnt bothered me in ages and never on my long runs. I stopped not even three miles in to stretch it, which helped slightly. I figured it would loosen up as I went along. To be honest, I dont remember much of the first 5 miles. I remember hitting the first bridge leaving Cape May (?). Next thing I know I am in Wildwood. The crowd had started to thin out by now, and I was feeling good. We detoured up to the Wildwood Boardwalk for a bit, which was really cool. I felt great going through North Wildwood into Stone Harbor. The calf loosened up and it wasnt an issue thereafter.

I’ll admit that alot of this shit was blending in together. I dont remember what particular town I was in, but I remember hitting this straight road for about 2 or 3 miles which ran right through the middle of a bay or wetlands or some shit like that. It was windy as a motherf*cker – a direct headwind. That was a goddamn suffer fest.

Finally, in Stone Harbor, we had houses blocking us from the wind as we ran parallel to the ocean. Every once in a blue moon, we’d have to make a right turn to drop us down a block, and those right turns were a bitch, because we were running directly into the wind. While it only seems like a block, at mile 19 on, those right turns were like running up a hill, straight up.

I felt great through the first two hours. I hit the half marathon mark smack dab on 2 hours. I started to pick it up a bit, dropping the pace below 9’00” all the while keeping the average around 9’11”.

Things started to suck around mile 16. I started feeling the miles. I knew my girls were going be cheering me on at mile 19, and that was a great motivator to keep me going strong. At this point, I was in Avalon, which was really boring, because we basically ran down a street with nothing but houses on both sides for the entire length of the island.

I stopped to see the family at mile 19.5, and getting started again was a bitch. I popped a couple of Excedrin, but I was definitely feeling it. Finally, around mile 21, I had to walk. Some other guy was doing the same thing – also a first time marathoner – and we chatted and walked for about four-tenth’s of a mile. I ran the last half-mile of Avalon into Sea Isle, and when I reached the beginning of Sea Isle, around mile 22 or 23 (I cant remember) I was in pain, but the Excedrin must have kicked in, because I felt like things were starting to come around. From this point forward, I mostly ran, walked here and there – I just kept saying to myself “keep the legs moving.”

FINALLY, we made a turn onto the promenade or whatever its called in Sea Isle, and I could see the finish banner a ways out. As I got closer to the finish, I could see the crowds of spectators starting to get a bit thicker, and I started pushing it, dropping my pace below 9’0”. I came across that finish line in a damn near sprint – 4:08:46 according to the Garmin. I stopped the Garmin every time I stopped, and let it run every time I walked, to keep things honest. I am not sure what my official time is – the results arent yet posted.

You want to know what sucked? Driving home for an hour and forty five minutes. But, I stopped on the way home and bought two bags of ice from Wawa, and took a ten minute ice bath, which was the friggen amazing. It was a bit of a shock, but it sure was hell took some of the edge off of my pain. Heather and I ordered food, and I made every human attempt possible to ingest 3,000 calories in one setting via a massive cheese steak and a side order of fries.

Final wrap up: I hit every water stop (cept for the very first one), so Between what I was carrying on me, and what I drank at each stop, I think I did a good job at staying hydrated. I hammered down 6 gels – I took the first one around an hour, and then about every 40 minutes on from there. I think I should have had a bit more to eat before the race. As I mentioned, I only ate a cliff bar on the way to the race. I think I could have used another 300 or 400 calories or so. This was a good first experience. Its definitely a great launching pad for lessons learned for the next one  :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I like pie

I have had two great runs in a row. Tuesday, after I hemmed and hawed about going to the gym after work, I ran a 3.5 mile tempo run (with a mile warmup). I havent dont the math but I think my avg pace had to be in the low/ mid 8’s.

Last night, I went to the Delco SWarthmore Run. I really had no intention of doing anything other than a relaxed pace. I started out the run near the front of the group. Within a quarter mile, three of the fastest runners passed me and the small group that I was with. With me were three other people who arent too shabby in their own right. We werent killing the pace initially. I was keeping my eye on my average pace on Garmin, and we’re going fairly comfortable for the first 2 miles. After mile 2, they started increasing the pace, and by the time we hit the 3rd mile, we’re running an 8:37 pace, which isnt exactly tearing the road on fire, but I ran tempo the night before and I havent taken a day off in the last four days. I tried my best to stay with them, but I finally capitulated around mile 4-ish and circled back to the next group behind me. I hooked up with them, but within three minutes I stopped them and ran in the last leg on my own.

I feel good today. I am going to try and get some miles in later but its snowing right now and we’ll have to see what the rest of the day brings. I would be happy to get in just 3 – something is better than nothing.

We;’re still trying to figure out a plan for this weekend’s long run. I am hearing that Sunday will be a 15 miler. I would rather it be Saturday, but I will have to see what the group wants to do.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Wrote this on Tuesday. Just getting around to publishing it now

I finally got my longest run of the year in on Sunday – 18 miles on a windy but relatively mild day.

Five of us met at Lloyd Hall at 8:00 am for a run that would take us down West River Drive, over the Falls Bridge, up through Main Street Manyunk, and back. Of the five, only three of us would be doing the full 18 miles, with the other two falling back at 6.5 miles for a total of 13 (they’re only training for a half marathon).

I hadnt run in two days – the day prior, Saturday, had me timing a big race in the am with Tim, and the Pickle immediately after. Friday, I took a rest day. So, I had fresh legs going into the run on Sunday. As a test, I wore the track flats for the entire 18 miles, and I will get into that later

We lucked out with the weather – it was a bit warmer than its been, but the windy was fairly strong. The wind was only a limiting factor on parts of the Drive where there’s no cover from the wind coming off the river.

I started out the run with four full flasks of low-cal gatorade on my Fuel belt, and four GU gels. In retrospect, I should have used the GU electrolyte replacement drink mix that I have in lieu of the Gatorade, which is really nothing more than flavored water.

The “out” leg of the run was great. The Drives have been completely plowed and were clear of snow, with the exception of some small patches of black ice here and there. Once we got into Manyunk, we run the length of Main Street. Normally, the group I was running with wouldnt even attempt to go down Main Street – they would jump on the Canal path that parallels Main, and then eventually dumps out onto the Bike Path that stretches out towards Valley Forge and beyond. However, the Canal Path was completely snowed over, so we had to improvise. However, this improvised route posed a challenge: when we reached the end of Main Street, we had to add-on some mileage in order to make the whole trip a full 18. In Manyunk, there’s really no where to go but up. Manyunk is infamous for “The Wall” – the monster climb that pro cyclists ascend fourteen times as part of the US Pro Championships. Needless to say, Manyunk is hilly, and what did we do? We climbed.

We made right onto Leverington Ave which parallels the Wall. As we started the ascent, I said to myself - “I cant believe we’re going to climb this thing. Maybe Diane is going to make a another right which would flatten us out and run us parallel to Main Street.” I couldnt have been more wrong. We went up. And up. And up until we reached the top of Leverington, at which point we made a right onto a street whose name I cant remember. That street was flat, and we ran it the length to Shurs Lane, which provided a longgggggg descent downhill back to Main Street.

So, in the middle of an 18 miler, I ran one of the largest, longest hills in the Philadelphia area. Granted, I wasnt sprinting up the damn thing, but it was a nice accomplishment that adds a bit of bravado to the long run.

The “back” leg was uneventful, although, I could definitely feel the miles wearing on me. Around mile 12 is when I think I noticed that my feet we really starting to ache, and my calves were tight. The cushionless track flats were catching up to me. But, on the positive side, I didnt feel as though my quads were being taxed as much as I would have perceived if I were wearing “normal” running shoes.

Mentally, as we cruised back down West River Drive, I was starting to get a bit antsy. I’ve come to this point before in other long runs. Its the point where you know that you’re almost there, but you’re far enough away to make the miles in-between you and the end seem like an eternity. I hit that point somewhere around mile 13. Additionally, the distance from where I was at on the Drive to the Art Museum was not enough to even out the 18 miles. Our trip would have to take us past the Museum out to the Schukyll Banks Trail, for another small out and back leg. Mentally, this is big. This is like running Broad Street (for those of you who have) and reaching the Navy Yard, thinking that you’re done, only to find that you still have another quarter mile or so into the Navy Yard to finish the race. Its a killer.

Anyway, we do the out and back leg, and around mile 17.5-ish, our route takes back out in front on the Museum, around the side, to the finish in front of Lloyd Hall. As we I rounded the corner in front of the Museum, I suddenly felt great – good enough that I had a nice kick back to Lloyd Hall.

Yesterday, I felt “ok” – much better than I thought I would but sore enough that I only managed to scrape out 3.2 miles last night with the running club. As I sit here on the train, I am still kicking around the idea of going to the gym now, and maybe getting in three (or more). The other part of me is telling me to go home and take a night off, and maybe do eight tomorrow – 3 or 4 early miles in the am and 5 tempo miles after work.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Key to Success?

I have had some of the best days of running in the last week, that I have had in a long time. Now, when I say “best” I don’t necessarily mean “fast.” Rather, the quality of the running has been above average.

I kicked things off on Saturday with a 14 miler through Fairmount Park with some of the folks from the running club. The following day, Sunday, I got up and went to the Sunday Delco morning run. I wasnt feeling great – I had a late night – so I was only banking on running 4 miles. The Sunday course is typically 7.1 miles, with a huge hill about 3/4 of the way into the course. I was planning on cutting off right before the hill. I was in a pretty good groove when I got to the cutoff, and I said “eff it” and went for it. Surprisingly, I didnt feel terrible. Granted, I wasn’t setting any kind of records on the ascent, but I felt good enough that I wasnt cursing out mankind and the world itself, as is my normal frame of mind whenever I am running uphill for any sustained amount of time. Anyway, so that impromptu hill run made the grand total for Sunday’s run 7 miles.

Monday night, I ran with the club at the Ridley YMCA. Normally, I only run one loop of the course which is about 3.2 miles. I was feeling good, and I was running with another guy, Steve, who always does two loops. When I finished the first loop, I said “eff it” and ran the 2nd loop with him.

Last night, I showed up for the Tuesday night run, which is typically 7 miles, but there’s a cutoff at 5 miles. I did the 5 miles. I wanted to run the 5 mile course tonight in Swarthmore, but a) I am tired and b) I got out of work later than I wanted to. Still, that’s quite a bit of distance to cover in four days, at least for me. 14+7+6+5 = 32. If I wasnt so tired, I would have run tonight. My legs arent tired – I am physically tired from a crappy night’s sleep. My legs fee fine.

I am would like to run tomorrow, Friday, and Sunday. I have to time a race Saturday morning and then the Pickle is later in the afternoon so I am going to defer the long run until Sunday. I have to touch base with the running club to see what’s on the menu for this weekend.

Idealistically, I would like to do 18 on Sunday. If I did 18 on Sunday, five tomorrow and so 5 on Friday, that would put me at 40 miles for the week. I would be happy with that, or maybe take it easy Friday with a slow 3 miler.

So that’s a lot of miles, and I feel really good, so what’s the difference? Last week, I didnt run for 5 days because of my calf. Why such the dichotomy in my fitness?

Answer: Track flats

I bought a pair of Nike Waffle Racers about 4 years ago. I picked them up cheaply and my intent was to use them for triathlon and 5k’s. I never really used them ever for training – maybe a handful of times in prep for a race.

I’ve been doing alot of research on barefoot running, as I think I had mentioned in some previous blog posts. If you recall, I tried the Vibram Five Fingers, and they werent for me. However, the next best thing to barefoot running is “minimalist” running – the use of shoes that do not include any type of motion control, cushioning, etc.

So, Sunday, I strapped on the Waffle’s and did the Sunday run, and I felt great. Monday, I wore them again and felt great, and again last night. My legs felt great and I felt as though I had recovered quicker from day to day. The only small issue I have is that my calves are sore, but not in pain, like they were last week. Apparently, sore calves are the norm for the first couple of runs as the body adapts to different mechanics, so I am not concerned. And like I said, what I am feeling is definitely soreness, and not pain.

I am going to continue to run in these shoes for the foreseeable future. I’ve been told to keep an eye out for stress fractures and that sort of thing, but until then, I am going to keep trucking along.

Friday, February 12, 2010


The trains have been a mess the last couple of days. Let me preface my comments by admitting that I dont expect Septa to be perfect given the amount of snow we've received over the past four days. However, what I do expect is a bit more customer service.

Example #1:
Last night, I got on the 5:22 train. Septa has a website called "Trainview" that shows realtime train status. Prior to leaving the office, Trainview told me that my train was only a few minutes late. Upon arriving at Suburban Station, my train pulled up more or less on time. However, this is where things took an immediate downward spiral.

The train sat for 30 minutes on the platform. Not once in that 30-minute span of time did a conductor make any sort of arrangement as to what the problem was. I am not asking much - just tell me whats up, even if you dont know the answer as to when the problem will remedied. Knowing something is better than knowing nothing. Turns out they couldnt find an engineer to drive the train. I am assuming that Septa was short-staffed on crews - people probably called out of work. Thats no big deal -I can understand that - just tell me what the hell is going on.

Example #2:
Monday night, Septa sends a two-car train in lieu of the normal 5 car train for the 5:50 pm train. As you can imagine, it was bedlam. People were crammed everywhere. Once we left Suburban Station, we were filled to the max. The friggen train has the audacity to pull up to the platform at 30th Street Station (that's the next stop) and take on passengers!! I hear the conductor yelling in the vestibule "MOVE BACK MOVE BACK MAKE SOME ROOM." Me, being the always even keeled calm and resolute perform, yelled back "WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GO?" C'mon man, use some friggen common sense.

Example #3:
Tonight, I get down to the station and its again the scene of chaos and anarchy. All trains were suspended due to signal problems or some cockamamy shit like that. Everyone is milling around the station, waiting for an update. All of the train status boards at each stairwell to the platforms were more or less blank. Occasional announcements were being made, but they were inaudible. How bout putting a couple of real-live customer service people at each stairwell periodically giving some updates to the throngs of passengers standing around with their thumbs up their asses?

FYI, as soon as one of the outbound trains arrived at Suburban station, I ran down that platform and jumped and amazingly got a seat. Cha-ching.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Siberian Workout


If I picked a good week to take some time off running, this is it. Over the last two days I’ve done what I am calling “The Siberian Workout.” I feel like Rocky in that Perennial Classic Rocky IV where he goes to Siberia to train for his fight against Ivan Drago.


The regimen is simple: shovel. The shovel again. Keep repeating that over and over. My back is very sore. The first round of snow on Tuesday night was very heavy. This morning, I have to shovel out the driveway, and that snow was almost ice from the plows coming through and packing it down. Good stuff. Not only do I shovel my property, but I helped my neighbor Lou shovel his a bunch of times. He just got knee replacement. Plus, with not running, and no access to the gym with the roads being all fuct up, I needed an outlet for exercise.

I ventured out on the mountain bike last night. It wasnt terrible. I had some trouble spots getting down my street because as of 6:00 last night, it wasnt plowed and it was about 6” deep. I tried to ride as best as I could in the tires tracks from the pickup trucks that had come up and down the street here and there. Once I got out to the main roads, I faired much better – everything was really packed down. I probably road about two miles – I went to Wawa to buy ice cream, got home, and somehow I lost a pint in my return trip home. It was in my pocket, and it must have slipped out. Anyway, I went back out, bought another pint, and came home. I pulled up to Wawa on my bike and I got a lot of funny looks from the guys in plows parked in the lot. That’s how I roll.

I didnt even dare attempt to go out for a run. I laid low. I was fairly exhausted yesterday from shoveling for damn near three hours, and then helping the kids make a snow for and a snow tunnel.Depending on the situation after work (I am on the train as we speak venturing into the city) I might try and go to the gym and run, or at a minimum hit the elliptical machine. I gotta be honest though – my back is really friggen sore.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I ran a tempo run last night and it’s the fasted I have run in a long time. In retrospect, it was probably a bit faster than a tempo pace. I ran two miles at an 8:00 pace and on at 8:45 pace. It felt good to stretch the ole’ legs out a bit, but it also put in perspective how out of shape I am. There was a point time where I could run that pace for 13 miles. I couldnt even touch that right now. Last night, I was knackered after 3.5 miles at that pace!

Tonight, I am completely blitzed. I took one of my wife’s sleeping pills last night, and I swear it did something to me. I woke up this morning feeling like I didnt sleep, and I was in a fog most of the morning. I am still in a fog now. I am moving in slow speed. I am definitely not running tonight. I just want to go home and sleep.

We got some awful weather headed this way which figures, because I have another long run planned for this weekend. I want to do at least 18. Right now, there’s a tentative plan to do 18 on Saturday morning along the Schukyll River Trail with some of the peeps from my running club. These fools are still planning to go even it snows, and if that’s the case, then I am going with them. I am at about 9 miles for the week; if I do 3 tomorrow, and 18 on Saturday, that will put me close to 30, which is my target. The nice part about Saturday is the course is FLAT, unlike the hilly routes I have been running around my neck of the woods. Thank god! Since it’s flat, I think I can sneak out and do an easy three tomorrow which shouldnt tax my legs at all. This should be a hoot.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I had a whole blog post just shit the bed because my machine crashed. I got the dreaded Blue Screen of Death which is the fist time I’ve ever got that with Windows 7.

Here’s what you missed. I ran 5.25 this morning at the gym. I feel better. I want to run 3 tomorrow and an easy 2 Saturday (or just rest) and run 15-16 on Sunday with Amanda and her crew. That would put my weekly running tally at 28 miles; I might break 30. I am going to keep inside for the next few days while I get better. I refilled my prescription for my Pro Air inhaler and I have been using that before I start running and I think its helping. I managed to drag my ass out of bed at 5:20 am this morning to get to the gym. Compared to the time that I used to wake up to get to the gym when I was till actively taking spin classes, 5:20 is like “sleeping in.”

I just picked another race timing gig this spring. I am timing 9 races between now and June, not including the next two Pickles. Its going to be a busy $pring. Cha ching. Peace

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I am feeling “blah.” I am at the trail end of this cold. I am coming over two weeks of shitty running, with last week totaling a whopping 14 miles and the before, 10 miles. Oi. Both weeks should have been double those totals. I am heading to the gym now to squeeze out 3 or 4 miles. I would be running outside under normal circumstances but with this cold, I dont want to chance it.

Fast forward – I am home now, just back from the gym. I had a decent run – 4.25 miles at a pace just a tad under 9 minutes. I felt ok – shortness of breath but thats to be expected with a chest cold.

I am going to make an attempt to get up early tomorrow and run 5 in the am. That’s the goal

Five Fingers Experiment

I am reading this book called “Born to Run” by Chris McDougal. This book has gotten a fair amount of press in the last year or so within the running community because one it’s primary themes is the centered around the benefits of barefoot running. I’ve been hearing for quite some time that barefoot running is the truest form of running, because it’s the natural way we were meant to run. There’s a plethora of barefoot running proponents who claim that they were once injury plagued, but not anymore now that they have adopted barefoot running.

So, I went out and got me a fancy pair of Vibram Five Finger Running shoes to test out. I have two friends who also run in these shoes, and they swear by them. I had to shop around to get a pair in my size – I finally found a pair at a place in Glen Mills.

The very next day after purchasing, I took ‘em to the gym to do a light run. I was cautioned to take it easy for the first couple if runs in these shoes – it takes some time for the foot to adapt to the sensation and mechanics of the shoe. I started out with a light pace. About two miles in, I started to feel some hot spots on the arches of my right foot and the bottom of my big toe on the same foot, so I bagged and switched to my regular shoes.

Saturday, I ran another three miles in my regular shoes, and everything felt ok. Sunday, however, was a shit show. I met two new running friends down at Lloyd Hall for what was supposed to be 15-16 miles for me. Luckily, the rain held off – goddamn weathermen cant get shit right.

After completing one whole loop around the Drives, I had to bag it. My feet were on fire. I had two small blisters on my right foot just north of the arch. After the first loop, I figured I could do a temporary tape job the blisters and keep going, but it didnt work. Not even 100 yard in, I had to bag it – I could still feel the blisters and I knew it wasnt in the cards for me to keep going.

Arriving home, I tenderly popped the blisters – the way to cure a blister is to pop it, and let the top layer of skin adhere to the irritated sub-layer of skin. After it dries out, the top layer of skin acts as a sheath and helps the blister heal. You gotta let it dry out though – no ointments and such. You want the top layer of skin to harden up by drying out, which then creates a really touch out layer.

As I had mentioned, I have been battling a cold for the past two weeks, and I seemed ok going into Sunday, and I guess running outside must have flared it up, because I felt like crap on Monday. I took the day off from running, and did a short three miles last night on the treadmill. Aside from feeling like the run itself was an absolute un-enjoyable slog, the feet didnt bother me at all. It only took days for the blisters to heal up.

I am feeling better today, not 100%, but good enough that I am going to head to the gym and run a couple of miles. I am laying the outside running – I dont want to aggravate the cold.

This month has been a tough month relative to my training goals, but in context of the last few months, I am doing ok. I wanted to try and break 100 miles this month, and as of yesterday, I am only at 66 miles or so. I want to run at least 20 this week, maybe more (assuming I feel good enough to get in a long run in Sunday, which is much overdue). 20 would put me at 86, which is more than last month’s total of 77, so at least I got that going for me.

So Anyway, back to the Five Fingers Experiment. So I made the very quick decision that these goofy shoes arent for me, at least right now. I have two active pair of shoes that I am rotating, one pair with about 200 miles logged, and the other with 250 miles. It’s time to start introducing another pair into the mix. The Vibrams werent cheap - $85 a pair. That kinda money is better served on a regular training shoe, so in the end, I returned the shoes to the place that I bought them. Funny side note: when I returned the shoes, the saleswoman suggested that I try a five-toed sock specially made for the Vibrams. I tried the sock on with the shoe, and I have to admit it was very comfortable, but the damn things were $14 a pair!!!! Thats highway robbery. My luck with socks isnt so good – I’d loose then suckers in about a month.

So with my $85 back in hand, I went out shopping the other night and

If I really want to get some quasi-barefoot running into my training, I have a pair of track flats that I solely use for 5k racing. Just like barefoot running, there are a number of people out there in the running world who claim that today’s technologically advanced running shoes do more harm than good by de-sensitizing the foot and forcing us into mechanics that arent natural. Many claim that minimalistic running is the way to go – less is better, and in this case, less is a no-frills, fits like a glove track flat. I am going to start working those shoes into my routine a bit more going forward.

bought a pair of Brooks Ghosts (last year’s model) and paid a whopping $35 at DSW. These shoes, new, were $100!!!

Capn’ Chest Cold

This entry was written last week. I never got a chance to post it

- Ed

Before I begin, let me plug a DVD that I got for my birthday, which just might be the best birthday gift I have ever received – Jim Breur’s “Clearing the Air.” I swear to God that Heather and I were rolling for a solid hour last night watching this thing. We might go try and see him – he’s coming to Moravian College in March.

So I am fighting a cold, although I am the tail end of it. Its killed my running for the last week. I could feel it in my chest the day before the Pickle – Tim and I ran the course and I couldnt catch my breath. By Monday, I was congested, tired and overall, I just felt blah.

I can handle being sick. On a scale of 1-10, this cold was a 5. Th real problem is that the cold effs up my sleeping patterns. Monday night I went to bed at 10, woke up wide awake 2, didnt go to bed until 5, and then the pattern repeats itself the next night.

So, I got a good night’s sleep last night, and got up early this morning, and took a trip to the gym. My run was a slog- an absolute slog. I did three miles and packed it up. This weekend presents a challenge. I am supposed to run long on Sunday, however the forecast for Sunday is rain. Since I am just getting over a cold, the last thing I want to do is run for three hours in the rain, in the cold. Besides, I am not 100% yet – I am probably running at about 80%- and I dont know what kind of effort I could put, bad weather or no bad weather. I am going to play it by ear. I am going to try and run again tomorrow, and that should be a good indicator of my overall condition.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Pickle

We hit 360+ pre-registered runners for the Pickle. It’s amazing. This whole run started out as small race that would get some folks outside during the middle of the run to do a race that’s more of a fun run then anything else. Now it’s grown into this wacky phenomena, and quite frankly, it’s mind blowing. This could easily be a 450-500 person race if we didnt decide to turn off the online reg tonight and kill the walk-up registration. We’ve averaged about 60-70 walk-ups at the previous Pickles.

I never imagined that I would some day be a race director (or in this case a co-race director) when I first started running. If anyone actually read my old blog from wayyyyyy back when, I used to do a fairly comprehensive and satirical “race review” for each race that I participated. Now, here I am with the ability to mold and shape a race in the form that I want it to be in. While I am nervous at the prospect of the chaos that might ensue on Saturday morning, at the same time, I think Tim and I both agree that if we f*ck this thing up, in the end, it’s probably not a big deal because we’re only charging people $10 and most of the people who have heard about this race know that it’s very “no frills” and there are two yahoo’s running this thing. If we were charging the standard going rate for a 5k, which is generally around $25, then we’d have some heavy pressure to provide a higher quality event.

My biggest concern was registration, and trying to manage 300+ pre-registered runners and god knows how many walk-ups. We’ll still have a small walk-up crowd – mostly people who didnt get the word that we killed walk-ups, but we’re not going to turn anyone away. But 20 or so walkups is a hell of alot easier to manage that 70 or 80 walkups. We do have a fairly good volunteer group in place right now, and we would have had enough manpower to cover everything, even if we didnt kill the walk-up registration.

At one point today, Tim emailed me and said we were getting 15 registrations an hour. We sent out an email blast to our email list which has 4000 names on it, telling people that we’re closing out, and that seemed to drive alot of people to sign up before it’s too late.

It’s a weird coincidence that we decided to turn off the online registration for this race, because we had actually decided to make the February race registration online only. If anything, we’ve now created a very good “supply and demand” for this race.

Tim and I agreed to kill the online pre-registration a day early, and forgo any type of day-of registration. It’s kinda unmanageable to be honest. We weren’t prepared for this type of response. The weather is supposed to be very good on Saturday, which will probably drive alot of people out to the Park.

Tim asked me what me why I think this thing has gotten so big, so fast. Here’s what I am thinking:

1. It’s cheap. We only charge $10. There’s no other race in Delaware County that charges a race fee that low

2. It’s in the middle of the winter, and we dont have ant competition from any other races.

3. Marketing ploy #1: We gave out about 2,000 Pickle postcards starting back in October, and every race we timed.

4. Marketing Ploy #2: I showed up at every race that we timed this fall in the Pickle Suit. That’s really great promotion.

5. We have a “brand” – The Pickle! Pickle awards, etc.

6. Word of mouth. With our online registration, we ask the runners hwo they found out about our race and we got quite alot of responses that indicated that “I heard it from a friend” and that sort of thing

7. Runners World: Runners World had a small blurb about our race in the last issue. Again, online, some people indicated that they saw our race listed in the Mag with the article.

8. Prediction: The prediction format gets alot of people out the door. Its a “no pressure” format. You’re not racing against other people; essentially you’re racing against yourself.

9. The website and our email list. The Run The Day website is essentially the “go to” site if you want to find a race in Delaware County. Tim gets tons of hits and as I mentioned, the email list has well over 4,000 name on it. That’s a ton of exposure.

Monday, January 11, 2010


I downloaded my data from my Garmin today, and the first thing I focused on was the elevation profile from yesterday’s hill slog. I wound up climbing nearly 1300’ in elevation. Whew.

I wanted to specifically take a look at the Beatty road climb.


The Beatty Road climb starts at mile around 4.75 miles and crests just a bit over 5 miles. Thats nearly 3/4 of a mile of straight up climbing. The grade starts at about 2% and ends at nearly 15%. Whew.


I skipped the recovery run tonight. My train was late and I didnt get to my station until 6:20. Even though our runs never start on time, I would have been pushing it trying to get to YMCA with enough time to get there and get changed. So tomorrow, I am thinking about going to the gym early, and running 3 miles, and then doing some hill work after work with Amanda and some of her friends. They are planning to do hill repeats up Lemon Hill.


There is a woman on my train that has a massive head of hair. I see her every day. Its very well coiffed, but its just a mass of hair. It’s actually quite ridiculous and it annoys and I would like to tell her that. The woman next to me is bothering the shit out of me. She’s been on her cell phone the entire ride. Granted, she is trying her best to keep the volume lower, but she’s been doing nothing more than bitching about her job, specifically a performance appraisal or something similar. She’s been complaining to “Glor” which I had to assume is Gloria. Apparently, her boss or someone made some comments about her being on the phone a lot during the day with the Gloria character. There’s a surprise – shes been on the phone with Gloria for 30 minutes on the train ride so its not unreasonable to assume that this yenta is on the phone more than she thinks during the day with Gloria. Listen sweetie, why don’t you do us a all a favor and tbale She’s married as well. Poor bastard. Seriously, I couldn’t imagine going through life with this woman. I’d have to hit her over the head with a shovel.

I ran 11 miles yesterday. That’s it. I was scheduled for 15-16. Hills. Hills killed me. That’s my excuse. My intention was to do the distance on Saturday morning. I met the running club for the 9:00 Saturday morning five miler at Ridley Creek State Park. My plan was to run the 4 mile loop 4 times for 16 miles. About ¾ of the way through my first loop, my iPod died and there’s no way I am running 16 miles without music, so I bagged the run. I told myself I would do the distance on Sunday.

My plan for Sunday was to meet the running club at the 7:30 run, do 9 miles, and then do the 5 mile course at 9:00, for at least 14 miles, with an add-on after that. I got up at 6:30 am and in my stumbling around to hit the snooze button, I turned off the alarm. By the time I got up, it was 7:30 am. So rather than do9ing the 9 am run, I decided that I would run home from daughters birthday party in Broomall.

According to Google Maps, the trek home is around 11 miles. I figured I could do some add-ons as I progress home to get the mileage up.

I think I picked the absolute hilliest course in Delaware County. It was just one hill after the next. The run started out with a slight riser for about a tenth of a miler. I hit another long, gradual hill about 2 miles in. About 5 miles in, I hit the dreaded Beatty Road Hill. This thing is a monster. When I was still doing a fair amount of road riding, I would go out of my way to avoid this hill. It might be one of the toughest climbs in Delaware County. It’s long, its steep and its twisty. However, I finished it, but when I crested the top, I was blitzed, and I was less than 6 miles into the run and I knew I had one or two more hills left in my trek.

The rest of the way home was relatively uneventful. I saw a woman blow a stop sign and get pulled over – that was kind of cool. I hit one more doozy of a hill going up Rose Valley Road, and I had to walk a bit of that one. I was completely hammered. Note to self: do long runs on something flat. The Sunday runs aren’t bad – we only hit one hill and it aint all that bad. I get the feeling that whoever laid that course out did their best to avoid the hills and I have no problem with that.

I wonder If there is some sort of “equivalency” calculation to convert “hilly” miles into flat miles. Example: there’s a rule of thumb to convert mileage when riding a cycling trainer: 3 to 1. 3 miles on the trainer is equivalent to riding 1 mile outside. I gotta think that there is something similar with running hills. I’ll have to look that up.

Am I disappointed that I didn’t do the allotted mileage? Yes and no. On paper, 11 miles is less than 16 miles, obviously, but when you take into consideration the hills, it makes the situation a lot more acceptable. Plus, I ran 4 miles the day prior, so I did run a total of 15 miles this weekend, which is about what I would have run if I had done the whole distance in one shot. I am not getting stressed about it.

I didn’t hit my mileage goal for the week. I have to do the final tally, but I think I only ran 24 or 25 miles – I was aiming for 30. My mileage for the week was a little light as well – I only ran three times leading up to the weekend and none of the runs broke 3.5 miles in distance.

So for today, I am going to join the running club for the 6:30 pm run at the Ridley YMCA. I’ll run the 3.1 mile as a recovery run.

The Pickle Run is this Saturday upcoming. I started to put together the volunteer assignment list last night, which is something we’ve never had to do in the past because we’ve never had any where near the participation we’re expecting for this Saturday – we’ve actually had to put some thought into this thing.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Let me start by saying that my kid is smarter than your kid. Its that simple. I am not that saying that your kid is stupid, I am just saying that my kid is smarter. You can either accept it or not; it doesnt make a difference to me, because we all the know the truth, and the truth is very simple

My kid is smarter than yours. Hands down. Case closed. End of story

Running is funny thing. Think about running for a second. Its all about getting from Point A to Point B as quick as possible. Why did our ancestors run? They were either chasing food, or being chased. Other than that, cavemen didnt go out for a jog to stay in shape. They ran because they were hungry or they were about to be something’s dinner. The point is, running served a defendable, viable purpose.

Fast forward to present day and ask yourself why we run? I think most people would answer that question by saying “for fitness.” I am not sure how many people would say that they run because they are chasing food. Further, I dont think many people would say that they run because they are practicing in the even they get chased. We run for fitness. We run for fun. Sometimes we tell ourselves running is fun, but more often that not, its not all that fun. TO even make the situation even odder, we willingly subject ourselves to running in place, on treadmills, like hamsters. Fascinating.

I think I am making progress relative to my fitness. I ran 13 this Sunday, and I was of course a bit sore on Monday, but nothing like the soreness I felt last Sunday after my 12 miler. As a matter of fact, I went for a run with the running club on Monday – a slow, short one, which I guess is a recovery run. I would have run yesterday, but I couldnt get yesterday morning, and I stayed late at work. I felt fine yesterday. Last week, my soreness lasted all the way into Wednesday. The lack of soreness is because a) last week was my first “long run” so a bit of soreness is expected b) I am getting into better shape and c) I did a recovery run on Monday

I am big believer in recovery runs. They work well for me. Recovery runs were a big part of my training when I was fairly active with multisport racing. Its sort  of like the “hair of the dog” – cure a hangover by drinking more.

I have set a goal of running 1,000 miles this year. The closest I have come to hitting that mark was 2008 when I hit 885 miles. So, 6 days into the New Year I have logged about 16 miles. 984 more to go. I’ll have to run, on average, 80 miles per month, or 20 miles per week. Assuming I can stay healthy, thats a fairly easy target to hit. Quite frankly, I’d like to run 100 miles a month at a minimum.

We’ll take it step by step I guess.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 Recap

So, I ran a whopping total of 521 miles this year. Wow, that’s pathetic. There was alot of time off this year though. I had that major case of bronchitis in the spring which took me out of action, and this fall was a fairly light season as well, with timing races and all of the traveling I did for work. However, I ran 69 miles this month, which is the most I have done since August, so that’s a positive. That’s the way to end the year right. In 2008 I ran 885 miles. In 2007, I ran 642.

My best month this year was August- I logged 77 miles that month. The next closest month was December at 69 miles. My worst month was last April – I only loggen 3.7 miles. That’s when I was suffering with Bronchitis. My miles for 2008 blow this year away. In September of 2008, I ran close to 130 miles.

This year, I logged a total of 22 hours on the spin bike. In 2008, I logged 10 hours but in 2007, I logged over 40 hours. Kinda neat to go back and look at this stuff.

I did 194 miles of mountain biking this year, compared with 46 miles last year!!! WTF was I doing in 2008? Sitting on my ass?

I did close to 13 miles this morning. It was 19 degrees at 7 am with a “real-feel” temperature of 10 degrees, and it was friggen windy. I wanted to do maybe a mile or two more, but near the end, I was colllllldddddd. All of my layers had soaked through and the wind picked up significantly from when we set out.

My calf gave me a ell of a time when we started. Our group broke into two smaller groups from the onset. I tried to go out with the faster group, but I fell back after a mile and a half to catch up with two girls who were running a bit slower. I did their pace for the remainder of the run ~9:45 min/ mile.

Maybe its something about the cold, but I feel like I can never get into a rhythm. My legs never feel like they do when I run in the heat, and I imagine that’s partly due to the fact that its cold and my muscles have a hard time “waking up.” I dunno. It’s probably more mental than anything else. Maybe its due to the fact that I dont enjoy running in the cold no where near as much as I do in warmer temperatures.