Tuesday, December 31, 2013



I have decided to get a jump on one of my New Year's Resolutions and I am proud to say that I am now caffeine free. Less filling, great taste, same Frank. I am going to get that trademarked and tattooed on my ass.

Aww yeah you know that this is the netxt one I'm gettin'
But, in all seriousness, I don't have any vices. I am not a smoker. I don't do any drugs (contrary to popular belief), and I am not a big drinker. I have, however, been know to enjoy some tequila on occasion. With mixed results. 

This is the "before" Frank- the sweet, lovable fella that you all know and love...

... And this is the "after" Frank. After about 5 shots of Patron:

¿Has visto mis pantalones?*
But the bottom line is that I have been a slave to caffeine for many years. We're talking close to a pot if not more a day at the peak of my addiction. It's the point that getting up early in the am to go to the gym is an absolutely slug fest between me and my alarm clock. And as I was laying in bed a few nights ago, these words popped into my head. and I softly whispered them into the stillness of air in my bedroom  Their message was a sledge hammer that brought me to the realization that things need to change. 

"I'm starting with the man in the mirror. I'm asking him to make a change. An no message could have been any clearer. If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change. Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na, Na Nah" **

Do I feel better? Yes. Specifically, getting up the last couple of days has been much easier, however, I have yet to test myself by getting up at 4:30 am. That will be the true test. 

* Translation: "Has anyone seen my pants?

** And for the record, I did say "Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Nah" out loud. Because I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed of Mike. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013



A new year is upon us, and I sit here pondering what the new year brings, I also need to figure out a goal. And for purposes of context, I am referring to a goal as in a race, event, etc.

I am torn. My interests lie deep, and there lies the challenge. I am a runner, but at my heart, I am a dirty, filthy, hairy-legged, half-man/ half beast mud eating mountain biker. As such, there is a yearning in my heart to get back into the mountain bike racing game. As always, the challenge that I have is scheduling. Race timing sucks up most of my weekends.

If you had to pin me down today and force me to admit which path I would choose, I would choose mountain biking. And that's purely from the viewpoint of logic. Follow me on this...

It's nearly the first of the year, so let's call it January for all practical purposes. A typical marathon training plan is 16 weeks and that's assuming that one has a good base of running going into the training - a base that I do not have. Taking two months off from running really puts a hurting on one's fitness. I took a crap yesterday and broke into a sweat. That's how bad things have gotten. Or maybe it was the chinese food I had the night before.

Does this really need a caption?
So doing the math, a good base for me would take about a month to build up. So that puts me into February. Add four months to that and the earliest I could be taking swing at a spring marathon would be the end of May - maybe mid May if I really hustled.

The point is that I am light-years away from cobbling together any sort of meaningful attempt at a Spring endurance run. Most marathons occur between March and May. Would have been in better shape had I not taken the last two months off? No doubt. But I needed that time off. As a matter of fact I tried to get on a treadmill yesterday and I managed a half mile before I jumped off. I couldnt do it. The minute I stepped on the damn thing, I felt sick. I am spoiled. I did way to many miles outside this year to the extent that a treadmill is like a horror story.

Long term, I still want to bang out an ultra or two this year. I think I am going to make an effort to run the 20in24 solo this year as a Lone Ranger, and I would love to do the Labor Pains 50k again.

Monday, October 21, 2013


I have been remiss in not posting a 20in24 race report. Since I will be sittings on a plane for the next six hours, here goes.

The experience was great except for the driving rain that started around 10 pm and last straight through to around 6 am. I of course had to run the midnight shift during a torrential downpour. I was soaked straight through before I even left the start line.

Other than that, it was a friggen blast. Seriously. I would do it again in a heart beat.

The highlights:
* We had a good team. Everyone stuck around between laps
* The environment was awesome. There was a great vibe happening in the tent city
* Well stocked rest stations, lots of food.
* I got about 5 free tech shirts
* The weather up until the point where it started to rain. It was a beautiful day, a bit warm, and windy as the rain started to pickup

The bad shit:
* The rain. I dont mind the rain - to a point. When it's driving in sheets, and you're out on the course for an hour and a half, it gets old. Quick
* Sleeping in my truck from 1:30 am to 6:30 am. My tent was leaking. Everyone's tent was leaking. Thank god I have an SUV
* My running was horrible

First lap, I felt like shit. My hip hurt. My back hurt. I had to walk a few spots
Second lap, I can remember. the back pain was gone though.
Third lap. WET. And my stomach was KILLING me. Not sure where that came from.
Fourth lap. SLOW. And my stomach was still bothering me.

The fourth lap was painful. I was tired. My feet hurt. My hip hurt. But the weather had cleared up and it was a very nice morning and there were tons of people out on Kelly Drive. I saw alot of familiar faces out there - Linda and Lauren, the crew from the Fishtown Beer Runners manning their "Beer Stop Aid Station."

I havent run since. That was about two weeks ago. I needed a break. Then I got sick. So, I am hoping to jump back into it this  week. I am on my way out to Vegas and the weather is going to be beautiful, so I'll try to squeeze in a few runs between hangovers.

And since I am going to Vegas, I will not be able to run The Blues Cruise 50k this Sunday. And to be honest, I am not heart broken. The weather is predicted to be on the high side, and I havent done jack shit in two weeks. I think this race would be 8 hours in the pain cave for me.

I am on an airplane, about 30,000 ft off the ground. US Airways wants to bend me over for Wifi access. I wonder if the stewardess is going to pass out vaseline before they jam it up my keister.

I dont know what's worse: The PA system on airplanes or the PA system on the older Septa Trains. The pilot just made some sort of announcement I couldnt hear a word of it. For all I know, he could have just told me that were trying course and flying to Fiji and I would be none the worse for wiser.

I Got Chased by a Racoon

Seriously. I was sitting in the backyard and I got chased by a raccoon. Little bastard snuck into the yard and I chased him around the front of the house, until he stood on his hind legs and stared at me with those little beady coon eyes. Then he turned around and started after me. I ran like a sissy.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


I am on a mission. A mission from God. Well, not quite. It's not that I don't believe in "God" or some derivation there of, it's just that I don't think God is all that interested in the fact that I need to a) lose 25lbs by the Spring and/ turn some of this copious amount of body weight into muscle. I think he/ she has bigger fish to fry. Like the government shutdown. Or figuring out that whole chicken or the egg thing.

"I'm on a mission from God"
I have a plan together, comprised of some weight training and some other cardio activities. I've decided to lay off of some other stuff that I kicked around, like Yoga. As much as I would like to give that a try, I need to really focus in on this goal, and I have found that the key to success is to become really good at 1-2 things, not mediocre at 4-5 things. The law of diminishing returns. I am also giving running a bit of a break, just to mix it up, and to give my hamstring/ piriformis some downtime. I hopped into a spinning class for the first time in months earlier in the week. One of my running compadres teaches a crossfit/bootcamp type class weeknights and that might be something to try out. I am not a big fan of classes where I can't tie-in some sort of complimentary benefit. At least with spinning, it gets me prepped for Spring Mountain biking. I tend to spend most of the spring on the mountain bike. Not sure why, it's just always been that way. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Breaking News: My Father Trims His Nose Hair.

When I woke up this morning, I said to myself, what the hell am I thinking running this race only two weeks after a 50k? Then I wondered why my cat looks particularly extra furry in the morning.

On the furry scale of 1-10, she's an 11.
I managed to snag a bib at the last minute and so with a bit of hesitation, I got my ass out of bed this morning and headed into the city to run this facocta race. Thank christ I have an office in the city. It offer alot of convenience for races in the city. And I dont have to piss in a bottle in the back of my car when I have to squirt.

On the warmup run from office to the Start I felt like poo poo. Just tired and in a "you should have stayed in bed numbnuts" kinda way.

Darcy's Dad (from whom I snagged the bib) predicted a two hour finish which had me lined up in Corral #9, which is where I ran into Sue from the RRC and Mike, a veteran Pickler. That friggen corral filled up real quick and after about 20 minutes of shooting the shit, they started moving us up to the starting line. I find these rolling starts at these big races very surreal, because essentially it's a brisk walk as they start to move everyone up to the line, and then it's a trot and then it's BAM - run! Oh, and for those who feel the need to sprint the 20 yard gap between to the actual start line, welcome to 2013! We use this crazy thing called chip timing! It's all the rage! You're individual time doesn't start until you actually cross the Start line. So need to run like an asshole before you get to the Start line, although odds are good that you're still an asshole. I am just keeping it real. And some times, keeping it real is a hard dose of reality. 

I have been doing these big races for a very long time. And what I have yet to figure out is the mentality that some runners have that causes them to line up in a corral that's clearly way above their goal time. I was passing "runners" in the first 2-3 miles that were barely running. And this was happening consistently throughout the course of the race, from start to finish. These people are the type of clowns that sit in the left lane doing 55. I can tell. Stupidity is not single threaded. If you are going to walk, fine. If you are going to line up in a corral for people that are faster than you, fine. But at least stay to the friggen right so you dont get trampled.

I kindly asked them to move to the right, and this is what I get
So the bottom line is that I was in a bit of discomfort through most of the race, which is fine because it's what I expected. I didnt come into this thing thinking I was going to set a PR. I've been feeling a little less than stellar since the 50k. This was a long run for me. My weekly mileage has been low. When you're not feeling it, you're not feeling it. And it's my friggen feet. They are killing me. Today, they were the first to go on me within the first five miles. I gotta admit I was running a little scared there for a while, no pun intended. The feet were killing me and my hamstring was of course throbbing with a consistently dull ache. I slapped some music on around mile 7 and it was like someone gave me a shot in the ass with adrenalin. Don't get me wrong, I don't think I could have run a marathon, but the music definitely got me through the last half of the race.

Do I really need to add a caption for this picture?
So for the remainder of the week I am going to lay low. The 20in24 is this weekend coming up. I have to run 33 miles in 24 hours. That's four laps at 8.34 miles a piece with about 5 hours in between laps. I might try to jump into a couple of spin classes this week so I can keep the fitness level up.

Proof that Darwin was wrong

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Heavy Legs

I think I over estimated my recovery time from that facocta race last week because I did 8.5 miles this morning with Delco and I felt it when I was done, especially in my feet. And my feet are always the first to go. It's not helping that I am running on dead shoes. I got 270 miles logged onto the Brooks PureFlows that I am running in now and those shoes need to be rotated out anywhere between 250-300 miles.

"My dogs are barking"
And that damn muscle thing under my ass cheek was giving me ogida again this morning. I get to go see the Doc tomorrow night for an hour's worth of what is really on par with medievil torture. If you have never had the experience of ART therapy, I highly recommend it. It doesn't tickle though.

Please Sir may I have another!
I am pulling the trigger on the Blues Cruise tomorrow so I can take advantage of the early reg fee of $65. That will be in 6 weeks. I think I am going to lay low with any more weekend long runs for a while. I got 20in24 in two weeks and I will be running 34 miles in a 24 hour span (not continuously) and I'll count that as a "long run" even though it doesn't fit the exact definition of a "long run." But really, what I am doing right now isn't following any sort of structured plan anyway. I am running my long runs on the same schedule as the group of folks I run with on weekends from the Running club. Everyone is running a marathon this fall, so we're all on sort of the same schedule for various races, give or take a race here and there.

Thinking about giving this hot yoga shit a try. I know people swear by it and one of the girls who works for us at RTD has been going to this joint in Chadds Ford. There was a point in time where I was so friggen flexible right around the time that I hit the peak of my martial arts training. We'd stretch like lunatics and just the very nature of the type of movements we'd do would naturally increase the range of motion in the legs. I could do a split at one point in time. Now, I am so friggen tight you could bounce quarters off of my hamstrings.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Since this blog is technically  called "Racetimer.blogspot" I figured I'd actually touch upon race timing. Today was the kickoff of the 2013 Fall Race Timing Season and we kicked things off with a nice little 5k for the folks at Holy Cross Academy in Drexel Hill. About 65 people, everything went off smooth. Here's a to a great season. Let's hope I don't f*ck anything up.

Things that I cant wait for with the start of every new timing season:

* Angry Runners complaining that the course is too short, too long, not enough water, blah blah blah
* Angry Race Directors who need a scape goat. A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part
* AlI the soft pretzels I can eat
* Bibs every where. All over my house.

Cheers! Because quite frankly, I am awesome.

So after I got home from my race, I slapped on a new pair of shoes and went out for a run. Horrible. The shoes were awful. I felt like poop. My calves were super tight. This happens to me on occasion with calves. It happened at the 50k as well. Eventually, the issue will dissipate if I stop and stretch periodically, but it still sucks none the less. So between the shoes and my calves, I bagged it. And I took the shoes back...

I am about to pull the trigger on the next 50k....

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Run. Recover. Repeat

I did a nice little trail run tonight with the Road Runners and I have to admit that I didnt feel half bad. I stayed with the regular runners as long as I could until my legs said "No more, banana. We give up." To be honest, I think I felt worse after my last marathon, in the days that followed. I gotta lot of high fives and congrats from many of the runners tonight. That's really awesome and it's why I like running with this group of people.

So I wanna keep the good times rolling and there's another 50k that I am looking at on October 6 - Blues Cruise at Blue Marsh.


Looks fun, with a challenging course - about 4000 ft of elevation gain over 31 miles. Unlike the Labor Pains, this course is a big loop around a lake, which seems like it would be a different race for me mentally. There was a point on Sunday where I knew every goddamn rock, rut, and branch on that course. In some ways, there's an advantage to knowing the course that well - one can anticipate what's next; I was starting to think in terms of "just get to the downhill section right after the water stop" and then "once you climb up this hill you're only a mile away from the finish." Breaking up the loops into smaller segments was really helpful for me, but I think the attraction of a big loop, where there's a constant stream of new things to see, sounds really appealing. There's lots of aid stations and they are all apparently "themed." Speaking of aid, you know what would really be awesome? A St. Bernard running around the course with a barrel of beer.

Do I have to tip him?
I've always wondered what St. Bernards keep in those little collar barrels. I am hoping it's a Stout. And it would be cool if the St. Bernard had a really cool name, like Mr. Snoodle. This way, I could say "come here Mr. Snoodle, I need a beer, good sir" when I see him trapesing 'round the course. I dare anyone to tell me what would be more awesome at a race, then a friggen St. Bernard named Mr. Snoodles, with a barrel of Sly Fox around his neck.

My friend Mike wants me to run the Western States. My friend Mike also needs a swift kick in the ass with my size 10.5's. But the fact that the kid thinks I can run 100 miles shows that he has confidence in me, and that I can appreciate. The runners who do that race and some of the other more advanced ultra's arent human. They are some sort of semi-intelligent life form with a high tolerance for pain, low body fat and a really good VO2 max. I wonder if the male aliens have really big alien balls*, because you have to have an extraterrestrial set of nuts to run that kind of race.

Mike's cycling coach to Mike: "I like the way your cheeks squeeze together in your bike shorts"

 Although one could argue that running down Kelly Drive at 3 am is tantamount to running through Death Valley and I am about to do that in about 2 weeks. And I doubt I would need to carry any sort of personal self defense, like mace, in Death Valley, unless there was a decent chance of getting attacked by a wolf or a coyote. Seriously, it would be kind of cool to get attached by a wolf, just for the bragging rights. I think the convo would go something like this:

Runner: "So Frank, how was Western States?"

Me: "Dude it was awesome! Hey how was your 5k this weekend?"

Runner: "Not bad but I twisted my ankle at mile 2. I had to ice it for like a day afterwards. It's still a bit sore."

Frank: "Wow man... thats a real shame. Bummer.  [dramatic pause] Yeah, so um like a rabid wolf tried to eat me at mile 87. I had to give myself 150 stitches with a pocket knife and the drawstring from my running shorts"

I googled "rabid wolf eating runner" and this was the picture that came up. So I am going with it.

* It would be even cooler if those big alien nuts glow in the dark. Dont get me wrong; ET's little parlor trick with the glow in the dark finger is cute, but nothing beats glow in the dark genitals. Granted, I don't think glow in the dark balls are bringing dead plants back to life, or healing cuts and bruises, like ET's red glowing finger trick, but cmon- we're talking about glow in the dark balls here. Just let that settle in for a bit...

Monday, September 2, 2013

The Good. The Bad. The Ugly

First, the easy one. The Ugly: me. That goes without saying

Pre-Race. Thumbs up. Like the Fonze

I had the pleasure of having some friends along side of me at the race: Janet Smith, who rode up with me and who won this damn thing two years ago; Matt Morse, who's family is part of my running club [as is Janet] and who are also avid Picklers. My fultra marathoning riend Juliana was there along with my one of my old Drexel engineering classmates - Anh Dong - who is one hell of a triathlete and an Ironman. Some other Delco RRC members took a ride up mid day: Cheryl, Jen and Bill, and they paced Janet through some of her laps. We had the tent set in the little "tent city" sprawling across the Liederkranz compound and really settled and made the place our home for the next 12 hours. 

The Play By Play:
The course is a 5 mile loop with a little bit of everything - including a water/beer stop half way through each lap. Apparently, this was a new/ modified course from the year previous. I really can't comment on whether this course is good/ bad relative to last year's course, but I heard a few people say that it was a bit tougher. From my perspective, it was a b*tch.

First half the course was up. Not like a straight shop up, but definitely alot of elevation gain over the first two miles. Take a look at the course elevation map.

We started with an uphill start out of the parking lot of the Liederkranz, onto a paved road for maybe 60 yards, then up a grass hill, then a straight, flat shot down a small residential street and then a dog leg into the woods via one of the local's backyard.

During that first lap, there was alot of walking for the first two miles because we were bunched up in a big group. When we finally hit the single track, we all settled into a single file stream of runners, and when we hit the hills, we all walked. . It reminded me of my old mountain bike racing days, where the field would start together in one big blob of riders, and we'd get a hole shot into the woods off the line. The hole-shot was typically an all out sprint to get positioned prior to heading into the meat of the course, because once you're on the single track, you're stuck in line behind the rest of the clowns in front of you, at least until you've had the chance to pass where and when you can, as the slower riders start to drop off the pace. 

Anyways, I dont like uphill starts. I dont mind running up hill - I've actually been getting better at it over the course of the summer, with all of the hilly trail running I've been doing - but uphill starts KILL my calves to the point where they are SCREAMING for mercy. So the only saving grace that I had on the first lap is that we took alot of walk breaks. 

Once we passed the 2 mile-ish mark, the course levels out and then ultimately starts descending back down to the start/ finish area. Years and years of mountain biking has given me the ability to read a trail at speed better than most trail runners, and it was evident: on the first lap, I passed a couple of people taking it easy going down some of the steeper hills which made up for some of the time lost during the first half of the lap.

I felt fine on the 2nd and 3rd laps. I felt a little light headed after the 3rd lap, and I took way too long of a break  - nearly an hour- before I headed out back out for the 4th lap. For the rest of the laps, I kept the breaks under ten minutes before heading back out for another dose of fun. I saw Janet come in for at least three of her laps, and she'd be right back out in the door. Friggen amazing.

After that third lap, I was checking my heart rate every five minutes and it was pinging over 100 bpm. After sitting still for40 minutes, it should have been much lower. I was eating fine, and hydrating very well - if not over hydrating. This might be a bit TMI for most, but my urine was a good color so I ruled out dehydration. I figured it might have been due low sodium/ electrolytes so I hammered down some potato chips and my friend Juliana gave me a couple of Electrolytes - and I took one dose between each lap for the remainder of the race. 

Note the banged up Knee on J. Took a nasty one at mile 9

 Oddly enough, she was complaining about being light headed as well. It was hot and I didnt expect it to be that warm that day, and since I've been doing most of my training since the dead in the summer in the cooler weather, I think the heat caught up with me. The first lap was ridiculously muggy to boot. I was DRENCHED after the first lap and I sucked down nearly two bottles worth of water. I had decided to go with my hand held bottle rather than my trusty Nathan Hydration pack, at least for the first lap to see if the Nathan pack was really necessary for a five mile loop. After the 2nd lap I made the switch to the Nathan because the weather kept getting hotter and hotter, and I was sucking down nearly three-quarters of a bladders worth of Gatorade/ water mix (2/3's G-ade to 1/3 water).
Things got quiet after the 1st lap - the field was super strung out. There were points where I didnt see another human soul for miles at a time. Every once in a blue moon I'd catch a group in front of me and run with them for a bit. 

 Big Foot got in ten laps before the angry villagers chased
him back with pitchforks.

Very conversational pace - most of us were bull shitting most of the time and I think alot of people tend to be more like me; mentally, I like having people around me to occasionally shoot the shit to break up the mental monotony. Plus, I like having someone to chase/pace.The leaders would pass me every once in a blue moon, running like they just started ten minutes ago, not six hours ago. 

After Five Miles. Still Smiling
 Starting with lap 4, I was getting sloppy with my feet and my lines. I nearly tripped at least three times in the last three laps. At least twice I hit my big toe on a root or a rock hard enough to make me yell some rather unsavory language. I literally thought I broke my toe after one doozy of a stumble. My feet we're dragging from the fatigue and I was not getting good ground clearance. By the time I hit the 5th and 6th laps, I started taking it easy over some of the more technical parts of the course. I felt like poop on the 5th lap. I walked most of the first half of the 5th lap, but picked it up on the downside.
After ten miles. Who looks like shit? This Guyyyy

The pre-race crew at Camp Wannalickahoochie chillin before the rac
The sixth loop was a shit show. I walked most of the first two miles, and ran "most" of the last half of the lap, with a healthy lay-over at the water stop to have a one of PA's finer beverages - Yuengling out of a can.  It was at that point that a beer sounded like a very, very good idea. It sounds crazy, but it did perk me up enough to get my ass moving for the remainder of the loop. Cheers to you, Mr. Derr. You know what I am talking about my friend. 

Me after another ten minutes at that beer stop.... 

And finally, to hit the exact 50k distance, it was a quick trip back into the woods, hit the 50k turnaround point, and back to the Liederkranz.

The Miscellaneous (Nutrition, Gear, etc)
Nutritionally, I think I had everything dialed in as best as I can. This isnt my first rodeo, and I have been doing this long enough to know what works and what doesnt work. I dont think I could keep enough fluids in me long enough to keep my electrolyte levels up - I am a heavy sweater. So thank the sweet baby Jesus in the sky that my friend Juliana let me poach some Electrolyte tabs off of her. But I think I over did it on the 5th lap, because I couldnt stop peeing for about two hours after the race was over.

I kinda got sick of PB&J and Gu after my third lap, so I started nibbling on chips, gummy bears, and believe it or not, half a hamburger between each lap - but I still banged down a GU about 4 miles into each lap. I stayed away from any caffeine throughout the race, especially after that third lap when my HR was pinging on the high side. I hit 300 mg of Advil after every other lap (about every two hours).

I changed shoes after the first lap. I started out with my heavier Cascadia trail shoes, not knowing what to expect. Between the sweat and pouring three cups of water down my back at the rest stop, my shoes and socks were soaked, and rather than chance a blister, I popped on my road shoes, which held up surprisingly well in terms of my stability. I felt no worse in those shoes than I did my trail shoes, which is saying alot considering that I was dragging my feet like a caveman later in the race. 

I ran with no music. I am not surprised. I like running in the woods without music. I gave it a shot on the 5th lap, but it was distracting me, not helping, so I gave it the boot. This has happened before in both of my previous marathons - the music tends to take away from my focus, rather than take my mind off the fact that I am in pain. 

I saw some crazy shit out there and I saw some very impressive stuff as well. Like this young lady who has to be a good six months preggo out there on the trails. I heard she did three laps running/ walking. That kid is going to shoot out of her and punch the doctor in the mouth.
Thats one bad b*tch yo
Then there is this guy, I think his name is John. I have see him around the races off and on. Anyway he is 82 and ran 36 miles. One tough SOB

Word has it that John offered to take these two back his tent to show them how its done

And in Summary....

The Good:
  • I ran the 50k which was my goal )although I have to admit that after my fifth lap, that 26.1 distance was looking very tempting. But, I started my sixth loop and passed the 26.1 turn-around with an "ah fuck it" in my head)
  • I was hydrated, if not over hydrated.
  • I didnt injure myself.
  • The event was a blast and I had a ton of fun - lots of friendly faces at the race as well.
  • Lots of food

The Bad:
  • My facocta hamstring was on fire for the first ten miles. This has been a nagging issue for me especially in the last couple of weeks, but it seems like once I get a couple of miles in me, and I stop and occasionally stretch, it seems to ease up. I saw my ART guy earlier in the week and I am going to pop into to see him one night this week as well.
  • The first half of the course was [mostly] up. 
  • The weather was warmer than I anticipated. 


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Wake Up b*tch

I'm awake. I feel good. I'm hungry. I'm about to get Janet. 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

T-Minus (written last night, posted this morning)

It's 9:45. I am wide awake. I am about to take enough ambien to knock out a pregnant elephant. Otherwise I am never going to bed. Then I am going to set four alarm clocks each set to start at 4:40 am abouThit ten minutes apart from each other.

Gonna have this guy at my bedside at 4 am

I have an ear infection, which is just my luck before a big race. It's not terrible, but I had been feeling a bit run down during the day all week so I knew something was up. I spent almost 2.5 hours this morning at one of them little clinic jawns at Walgreens. I am not a doctor, but I knew it was an ear infection going in. So they gave me some Amoxicillan. Taking that ultimately gave me a nasty case of "gastrointestinal discomfort." Use your imagination.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Apparently in my world, "tapering" means "do not run for the entire week before an event" or at least that is the direction that its heading. This week has been a blur. I have had something going on every night this week, including tonight and then Ifelt like I was getting a cold or something so I decided to back off for a bit and not chance it. And quite honestly I still feel a little icky. And for some reason, over the past few months I cannot get out of bed in the morning to run, even though for years early morning running was my sweet spot. Now, it's as if my body is telling me to go eff myself when that alarm clocks rings at 5:00 am. I typically have no problem getting up early. I do it all the time for race timing. I guess I am in an early morning running funk. A funk that's been going on for close to a year. 

Regardless, I am going to squeeze a few miles in after work before I head over to this benefit thing that I have to go to tonight for a race that Lynne is promoting. And then a few more tomorrow, rest Saturday. Then game time. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013





I have the attention span of a gnat

I've signed up for an ultra this weekend upcoming and I thought it would be fun to "blog" during the event to chronicle the pain and suffering that I will undoubtedly feel as I slog through the long hours of running in my attempt to run a 50k (31 miles). My unofficial "record" is 46 miles as a pacer at the 20in24 last year. I have zero expectations for this race. None. I don't think it would be realistic to compare this event to anything that I have every done up to this point in my running experiences. I can't compare it to a marathon because I don't expect to be running anywhere close to my marathon pace. But if I had to draw one parallel it would be to the 20in24 last year, which is better than nothing. Everything is relative....

Comparing my fitness now, to that same point in time last year, I would say that I was in better shape last year going into 20in24, then I am now going into this thing. I was deeper into my marathon training  back then. But it's not like I am in terrible shape now. I've been putting in some good miles with a good stretch of long runs for the past six weeks. I hit my first 20 miler yesterday and I felt great and I have been seeing continual improvement through the summer. My long run progression has been 18, 13, 15, 19, 15 and 20, with an average of 30-35 miles per week, which on a volume basis is much lower than I wanted it to be going into this thing. On my long runs, my average pace has been dropping consistently with the biggest gains happening over the past three weeks. I think I'm finally dialing in alot of the variables - hydration, nutrition, etc. The summer heat wasnt helping things either, so naturally, as the temperature has ratcheted down, my pace is dialing up. My trail running - which has been limited to about once a week with the Delco RRC- has gotten stronger - stronger as in I don't want to stop and die at the top of the steepest hills. 

Aot of what works for me can't be factored into a training plan. It comes with experience. Granted, the long running obviously has a physiological benefit and unless you're some kind of genetic freak, long running is a requirement for my sort of endurance event. But for me, the real lesson is figuring out what works. What socks give me the least amount of issues with blisters? How often should I be taking a Gu? What should I eat before a run? How often should I eat? These are all the types of things that can't be scripted in a training plan. Aside from the logistical lessons, the mental prep is huge for me. Lots and lots of running with nothing but me and my thoughts. I do train with some other club members on my long runs, but nine times out of ten, we get kinda spread out as we all settle in to our different paces. And even if we're running at the same pace it's inevitable that we are going to run out of stuff to talk about, or the pain of running just requires me to put the mental blinders on and focus. I have found that I can have the best long running partners in the world, but at the end if the day, it's just me, the road, and my aching feet (my feet are always the first to go). 

So this week is a taper week. I'm rather sore from my 20 miler yesterday- but in my defense I was hammering (by my standards) the last ten miles. I'm gonna be taking it easy this week. I have an appt with my ART guy tomorrow to work on my shitty piriformis which has been nagging me Undiagnosed for the last year ever since the Quad Cities last September. My feet are really killing me more than anything else today so I can't see myself doing anything until at least Tuesday, and maybe 2-3 miles at the most. Ill skip my Wednesday night trail run because with my shit luck I will twist my ankle four days before an ultra. Run Thursday and/ or Friday, skip Saturday, race Sunday. 

And then there's the rescheduled 20in24 at the end of September.....

Friday, May 10, 2013

Girls On The Run

Lunchtime running is back. And yesterday I took a lunchtime shower thanks to the rain storm that caught me near the tail end of my run. I guess it beats coming back to the office all stinky.

Ten weeks to go before the race. It looks like I might have to pick up an extra lap if we cant find an alternate. One of our team members can only do two laps. We can either use an alternate or the other team members have to pick up the laps. I think I could pull off 40 miles. I'll get a couple of hours rest in between in each lap. I dont think I'll be setting any speed records on that 3rd and 4th lap though.

I did a double yesterday. I ran again with the Delco Road Runners at our weekly Wednesday Night Run. I ran with four girls that I have been running with for quite some time. And these b*tches were hauling ass. The entire time that I was running (behind them) I kept asking myself who pissed in their  cornflakes this morning. We were pushing an 8:20-8:25 pace, which doesnt sound all that fast. But I am out of shape, I was running on tired legs, and these chicks dont normally push that kind of pace. I have to up my game.

Did some trail running tonight. Trail running is kicking my ass. And I have been doing alot of running at Ridley. You're either going up, or going down. There's very little "flat" trails out there. And I am still stopping on some of the hills. Although tonight I did manage to tackle the "Gut Buster" (or Ghost Buster has my 7 year old calls it). Take a look at the elevation profile of my run

Good news is that I have already dropped a few pounds.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

So it begins

So technically tomorrow, May 1, is the "official" start to my training for the 20in24. I created a training plan with some fluff time built into over the past two weeks to give me some "ramp up" time to get used to the training plan. As always, my biggest objective is to lose a couple of pounds. I am about 20lbs over the line (last time I checked, which was about two weeks ago)

So, what have I done in the interim period of time since my last post? A lotta nothing, except eating. I am very good at eating. But I dont like fish. And things that are white. Except rice. I like rice. I am referring to more of the cream based foods that are white, like ranch dressing, and mayo. I like cake icing. That's white. Where the hell am I going with this?

So aside from eating, I made the realization that I am still quite bored of running. And that's a problem considering that I am doing a 24 hour race in 2.5 months. Over the pas weeks I have made a handful of attempts at running on a treadmill. Normally, I have no problem running on a treadmill. While its not the most pleasant experience in the world, I normally have a good tolerance for the monotony. However, I cannot express in words the abject disgust I felt being on that treadmill.

Then one day, I was sititing there, daydreaming about ice cream or perhaps some sort of delicious fried food, and a thought popped into my head - trail running! I was avid trail runner for a very long time, but as my interests turned to long distance road running over thr course of the past few years, I moved away from it, partly because I needed the long miles with marathon training, and partly because I didnt want to risk injury by twisting an ankle which is very common with trail running.

I went out and bought a snazzy new pair of Brooks Cascadia's. I've owned two pairs of this fantastic shoe over the past five years. That now brings my total running shoe count to 10. I think. I might be missing a pair in there somewheres. Regardless, Ive been hitting the trails over at Ridley about twice a week. Trail running is one of the only physical endeavors (aside from sex) that doesnt require the use of music as a distraction. Ive tried to trail run with some tunes, and I have found the music to be the distraction.

Let me tell you that this trail running is kicking my ass. The trails at Ridley are anything but flat. Theres lots of downed trees and rocks and roots that require me to jump/ hop. Its fantastic cross training. Its a bit of a re-training with the way my mind works. My speeds are much slower than my comparable road runs. Granted, I am out of shape so I expect the speeds to be slow for bit more until my body starts to get acclamated.

But, I cannot avoid the plain truth - that I need to get in some volume miles on the road in the next 8-10 weeks. While trail running is a fantastic workout, I need to get in some good road miles as a prep for this race in July.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Speed Kills

I'm at the point now where I'll maybe run one, maybe two 5ks a year, for no particular reason. Generally, it's a matter of convenience. For example, every year, for the past five years I've run the Brookhaven Sunshine Foundation Run, which happens to be in my hometown. The course takes the runners past my house twice. RTD also times it, which is fun, because in the last couple of years, I've managed to snag an age group award, and it's always fun to give myself an award whilst announcing the winners.

So, I ran the Brookhaven 5k yesterday. I ran it in 24:37, which is about 30 seconds slower than last year. That finishing time may not seem like anything that's fast by comparative 5k standards, but, for me, it's pretty darn good considering that my running has been minimal in the past 2-3 weeks, and certainly nothing built around any sort of speed work.

I think that if I were to actually put some time in, I could shave 2 minutes off that time easily. But here's the caveat: I think 5ks are a joke. The fact that I can go out and run a 5k with little training and do moderately well is proof of that. Anyone can run a 5k with some minimal training. Where is the challenge for an experienced runner? Certainly, there is something to be said about speed and setting PRs and seeing how fast one could go. Example: I once ran a 5k in 20:30. That's my PR. Could I break that if we're to have continued to trained? No doubt, but realistically, how much much time would I have shaved off? Enough to get me to break 20? And then what? At some point, I think there is a law of diminishing returns with 5ks. A runner dedicates an inordinate amount of time to training, for a very small gain. Seconds.

Granted, all of this is the opinion of a long distance runner. Once a runner makes that transition from small distances to marathon, I think perspective changes. Alot. Christ, I'm at the point where I think 1/2 marathons are getting kinda wishy washy as well. Clearly, everyone has their own goals and challenges, and I respect anyone who puts the time in to accomplish their goals.

Am I coming off as being a bit "elitist" because I've run marathons? Probably. But you're getting my opinion, because its my blog. Its not to say that I won't run another 5k, or half marathon. I'll run anything. But the point is that those types of events don't make me tingly anymore.

When I first joined my running club, I definitely got the sense that one didnt become a "real runner" until having completed the marathon. That's a very old school way of thinking, but it still holds some weight. Anyone who runs any distance, from a 1 foot to 100 miles is a runner. But I don't want to be "just a runner." And lets leave it at that.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Go big or go home

Wanted: trainer. And not som mamby-pamby trainer who makes house wives lift kettle balls two times a week. Someone who is going to kick my ass. I miss having my ass kicked on a regular basis. When I was training in the martial arts, every Wednesday- I'd get my ass kicked. To whomever is reading this, send me an email at frank.durso@gmail.com

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Swim with the fishes

I feel like shit. I got the flu coming on. Which sucks because I wanted to run a 5k on Sunday. I took first in my age group last year and this is a fantastic race because it literally passes my house twice. The girls come out and cheer and all tht fun stuff. I haven't run all week and with the way I feel it's very doubtful that ill run between now and Sunday.

Lou is trying to talk me into doing a half marathon in September. Lets back up a sec and look at my illustrious multisport history. I can't swim to save my life (no pun intendend) hence the reason that I chose to participate in duathlon for many years. And I don't care what anyone says, duathlon is harder than triathlon. There, I said. I have never done anything over the sprint distance. But could I do it? Could I do a half? Sure, but I'd have to get my ass in a pool and put some ridiculous training in, and I'd probably have to get a swimming coach. Nothing else about the event scares me. I could easily do 58 on a bike and a half marathon immediately after the bike. The first couple of miles of the run would suck but they always do when making that transition. And let's be real -  because I'm keeping it real. Half marathon? For real? I've run two marathons and an ultra. I could bump out a half in my sleep. Might not be a PR after riding 58 miles but its probably the leg of the race that I'd have to focus the least amount of my training.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

24 Hour Party People

I've formed a team for this year's 20in24 ultra marathon. I paced a runner last year, running 45 miles in the span of 7 hours. This year, I decided to "scale it back" and try and form a five person relay team for the "Platinum" relay category. Each relay runner completes four laps (not consecutively).

Welcome to team "Five Finger Death Punch."

On the lineup: Cat, Lea, Sebastian, PJ and team captain, me.

So I've resurrected this blog to try and provide a written record of my training and a what eventually will be a live feed from the event itself.

The training really isn't anything that needs to be over the top. I have to run four laps of 8.3 miles each. Since its a really, I'll have a good five hours in between each lap. That's plenty of time to nap, rest, and recover. Although I would like to try and hammer each lap. So I am working on middle distances with some speed. The training has been going so-so. The last two weeks have been rough- work is killing me and I've been awful about getting up to run. However, in the last three weeks I've hammered out a good 10 miler and a 13 miler with Linda. And that's with little to no running in between each of the longer runs. So I have a good base right now. Consistency is the case!