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.