Wednesday, December 31, 2008

out with the old

Needed 2.1 miles this morning to have even miles for the year of 2,579. Would have added a mile to get a more even number of 2,580 but this was my last run before the Fat Ass tomorrow. The taper this time wasn't kind. The combination of fewer runs, less miles and holiday food helped to add 6 pounds. All of that should be gone by this time next week. Really surprised at the number(pounds). I only gained 3 pounds on the taper for the Monkey marathon.

Weather has changed again. Yesterday was sunny and 60 degrees. Nice to have the windows down and the sun roof open. Went to the bank before the lunch time rush in Green Hills. Made a stop to check out Trader Joes in the old Wild Oats location on the way back to the office. Hate driving in that part of town, way to much traffic. Decent beer selection, but the main reason for stopping was to check out the "house" brand beers. They had 6 packs for $5.99 for most of the major beer types. I picked up three Stockyard Oatmeal Stouts and three Kennebunkport Porters. This store is about half the size of the old Wild Oats. I didn't browse any of the store, quick trip to check out the beers and back to work.

Very gusty winds this morning. Temperatures in the mid 30's and winds of 22 mph, gusting to 33 mph. Glad today was only 2 miles. Sure hope this wind is gone by tomorrow. Weather forecast calls for temperatures in the low 20's tonight and sunny skies and highs in the low 40's. The window for the 50k should be around 35-41 degrees, sunny skies and winds from the north around 5-10 mph. About the same weather as the last couple of years.

Monday, December 29, 2008

back to work

Christmas Eve
The long holiday weekend is over. Mine started on Christmas eve. Paula had to work and I was off until Monday. Had to take a personal day on Friday, because it was a work day. I cooked omelet's for the boys. Dylan and I had a ham and cheese. Darrell's was a portobello mushroom and cheese. I've pretty well figured out how to make a good omelet. First thing is a six inch non-stick pan with a pat of butter. I saute the main item of the omelet and then add two eggs. Keep the pan moving so the eggs cook and slide in the pan, until they are done enough for the flip. Add some cheese and fold and they're done.

Dylan and I went out to General Bragg's HQ's to gather some kindling for the fire for the Fat Ass 50k on New year'S day. We emptied the fire pit container and stacked enough fire wood to have some that would be dry. Also did a little exploring down the railroad tracks. The wind was howling something fierce. We took Lance with us. He really enjoys getting out.

I took the boys out to mom's for a couple hours. We left murfreesboro around 1:00 and hit torrential rain around harding place. Saw one wreck from a car which had hydroplaned in the downpour. Visited with mom and my sister. Mom showed us a bunch of the genealogy stuff she's been working on. Pretty cool stuff. Really interesting story behind the Mormon testament given by a couple from Utah.

Christmas Day
Dylan was up at 4 am, but we didn't get up until 5:30 am. Usual busy christmas, seems like every year they come and go quicker. We opened ours presents at home and then went over to Granny and Pop's. Did the christmas breakfast and ate way to much. We had quite a spread, regular pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes, country ham, bacon, biscuits, hash brown casserole, sausage balls, and sausage links in croissants. All the adults were cooking except for Paula and her sister. The boys were playing.

Went back home to rest for awhile. I took the day off from running, so I raked the leaves in the yard and piled them up in the street and smoked a cigar with a beer. Really nice day. Later in the afternoon we went over to Paula's sister for a late snack fest. Lots more food. Ate way to much again. Watched Will Smith in "the pursuit of happyness". (don't know if that's how they spelled the title, but it's a big premise of the movie) The movie was a yawner for me. The kids played Rock Band.

The boys slept in and Paula and I went shopping. Didn't really buy anything, just checked out all of the different stores to see if any bargains were to be had. Did stop by Total Beverages on Thompson lane. I went into the liquor side of the store to check out their high ABV beer selection. Wow, just as many, maybe more than Barleycorns. No need to go to Nashville for the high octane beer. I picked up a 6 pack of Old Rasputian, a russian imperial stout. (edit: I missed the singles rack)

The Old Rasputian is the best of the different beers I tried this weekend. Followed very closely by the Arrogant Bastard Ale. The Fat Tire I had tuesday evening is a really good beer that would qualify as a session beer. Same as the Flying Dog Old Scratch. The 4 pack of Flying Dog Horn Dog is gone, it was very good. Different style beer than I'm used to drinking. The big disappointment was the Duvel. Just don't see the big deal about that beer. I'd rather drink 3-4 of the Yuengling Black and Tan's. That's a decent beer for the price.

Got a easy 6 mile run in the mud on the new section of the trail on the Murfreesboro Greenway. Darrell went to Florida for 2 weeks with Granny and Pop. We bummed around the rest of the day. Picked up some movies and Mario Kart for the WII at Hastings. We'd been trying to buy that game for the last several weeks, but can never find a copy. Dylan and I played mario kart and watched the "Dark Knight". That's one of the better Batman movies. Pretty scary portrayal of the joker. Even scarier to think the world really has monsters like that character.

Took down most of the Christmas decorations. Only thing left up is the tree. We should be able to get it all put away in the next couple of days. Watched the Titan's game, what a pitiful game. Titan's looked ragged and the Colt's looked hungry and strong. Don't think they'll have enough for the Chargers next week. Just hope the Titans show up to play in 2 weeks and don't get knocked out. Glad to see Vince play. He's a lot more exciting to watch than Collins. Went to the theater to see "Marly and me". Pretty good movie for anyone who is a dog lover. Everyone who has owned a dog can relate to this movie.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

against the wind

we were running, against the wind. Well I was anyway. Didn't run with the fast guys today. Did my own 25 minute tempo run. Nice and warm again today, but lots of wind. 54 degrees with winds from 19 mph, gusting to 29 mph. Sure felt like a brick wall when I turned into the wind after my 2 mile warmup and started the tempo work. That part of the route goes out 1.5 miles, I turned around at 1 mile after talking myself out of not even doing the tempo workout. Glad I stuck with it. First mile adjusted for the wind was about where it needed to be. The second mile with the wind at my back was right on. Turning home, the wind was at my side for another mile which came in a little quick. Ended up with about 3.7 miles of tempo work for the 25 minutes.

Wore the heart the monitor for this workout. Tried to keep the heart rate at 164 bpm, ending up averaging 166. That's about 1 tick below where I was running tempo workouts at the first of the year. Don't have near the endurance, though.

Did another weight workout this morning. I've really slacked off on the weights in the last month. My back has been sore the last couple of days. I think its because of the lack of weight training. I'd always been under the impression the running helped my back. I guess the cross training with the weights is equally important. All about strengthening the core. Also started to do some different variations of the wall stretch for my calves. They've started to tighten up on me again.

Really need to buy another pair of shoes. I'm not as happy with this second pair of Asics Gel Cumulus. This pair seems to have a wider toe box and tighter heel cup. That may be what has been aggravating my achilles.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Run down or cold?

Overslept this morning until 5 am. Supposed to meet the fast guys at 4:30: set the time on the alarm, but evidently not the alarm itself. My back up alarm, Lance, little fur ball even slept in. He usually wakes me up around 3 am most mornings. Must be the cold weather. We stayed home all weekend. Paula made a pot of chili on sunday. Nice not to have to get out in the cold. Monday was a scheduled day off for running, didn't even do any weights.

Did make it out the door this morning for an easy 6 miles. It turned into a progression run kinda by accident. Felt good. Temperature was 28 degrees and little to no wind. Versus sunday's long run which was not very pretty. I had hopes of hanging with the fast guys for 18 miles. Temperatures were around 34 degrees and the sun was shining. Nice day for a long run, except for the 18 mph north/northwest wind. First 3 miles were cold and I decided, I wasn't going to be able to hang with the guys. I did my own thing. Last 4 miles home into the wind were especially cold. Brrrrrr. Took forever for my thumbs to thaw out.

Final work day this week for me, today. I took friday off. Paula is only off on Christmas day and Friday. Hard to believe Christmas is already here again. Got fewer Christmas cards this year than in years past. I'll have to look through them this week and see who's staying in touch.

Friday, December 19, 2008

For the love of beer

Went to Barleycorn's a couple of days ago after work. Bought $20 worth of high ABV beer: a 4 pack of Flying Dog Horn Dog, a bomber of Arrogant Bastard Ale and a single Duvel Belgian Golden Ale. I'd tried a couple liquor stores in Murfreesboro for the high ABV beers and only found one with 2 different kinds. Haven't tried the store on Thompson Lane, yet. Barleycorn's is one of 3 different recommendations from the Beer Advocate website. The others, Mid-Town Wine and Spirits and Frugal McDougals. Barleycorn's had about 20-30 different kinds of high ABV beer, at least. It's a very small section of the store, 12 foot wide perhaps. I didn't go next door and check out the "regular" beer selection. Tennessee, being ass backwards doesn't allow the sale of the high ABV beers except in liquor stores. That's why some liquor stores will be co-located with a beer store one side and the liquor store on the other side.

Tried the Horn Dog last night. Great beer. Poured a reddish to dark brown color, similar to a Nut Brown. Very little head. Would be easy to down a few of these, but it'd kick your ass. Liked this one better than the Gonzo porter. I'm not a complete beer snob. I've really come to enjoy the taste of the imports and micro brews the last couple of years. But that doesn't stop me from drinking a 22 ouncer of the cheap domestic stuff on a pretty regular basis.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2,502.66 miles

Wow, what a jump in mileage over the previous years. As of this morning I've run 2,502.66 miles and still have 14 days left in the month. Probably sprain my ankle or something tomorrow.......

Started off January with the intent of putting in more miles by running 6 days a week versus the normal 2 days off per week. I've pretty well kept to that schedule the entire year. Took off extra days during the taper for my fall marathon. Other than that, not to many extra days off. No real major illness or injury that sidelined me for any extended time. Week off in March with a sprained ankle. Week off in May, due to a strained calf.

The increased mileage did help me to achieve my sub 19:00 5k goal. Other than that, the only benefit seems to be the ability to hang with the local fast guys for alittle longer. But, only for a little while. I'm still just a middle of the pack runner. I have seen some room for improvement in some of my race times and will set out for trying to make some of that happen in 2009.

Drizzly run this morning with FM2 and Speedy. They both are coming off of colds so it was a pretty easy 8 miler. Haven't really done any speed work in over a month. May try some hill repeats on Friday.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Rain turned to sleet late yesterday afternoon and was actually snowing as I left the office and headed into Nashville for our office christmas party. My car was covered with snow and everything was snow covered at the office. The closer to Nashville I got, it all turned to rain. Heading home after the party the snow line was around Hickory Hollow mall southward. We got about 2 inches worth at our house.

Paula's christmas party is tonight. She didn't go to my party. Just didn't make sense for me to drive all the way back to Murfreesboro and then back into Nashville. No way would she even think about driving to Nashville on her own, plus why have two cars to make the 72 mile round trip.

I had a good time at the party. It was at Ombi. They closed for our party, which was pretty cool. Tried a couple of beers I've never had before. The first was a high alcohol content Belgian blonde beer, Popering's Hommel. It was actually almost like a pale ale without the high alcohol taste of the only other high alcohol beer (Gonzo Imperial Porter) I've ever tasted. Next beer was a Fort Collins, Black Mountain Mocha Stout. This is the style of beer I've really come to enjoy. I enjoyed a few, plus some great gumbo, oysters and humus.

Called speedy on the way home to see if we were still a go for our 4:30 am hill run. This morning all of the slush had frozen and the roads were to icy to run. We decided to run on the golf course instead. We only did one loop for 4 miles. It was a really slow pace. The snow slowed us down, but the bigger thing was dodging the giant puddles and ice. It was cold enough to freeze the top, but still left some real cold water to dunk your foot. Added bonus, it was a full moon so no problem seeing were we were going.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

cold rain

Typical Tennessee winter weather pattern. Cold, windy and temps in the 20's two days ago. Warms up to the 50's and then the rain comes. This morning, 39 degrees and a steady soaking rain, plus steady wind. YUCK. Whenever it's cold enough to snow, no moisture in the air, usually clear skies. Just as well, snow around here shuts down everything.

Tried out a new loop course this morning. I've run most of it before, just connected it all together this morning to make a loop, instead of the usual out and back course. Estimated it at 8 miles, but it came out to 9 miles. Good thing about a loop on a windy day is only having the wind in your face for a couple of miles or so. This loop goes by some nicer homes on Riverview adjacent to the Stones River Country club. Lots of little rolling hills in quiet subdivisions. One busy section on Sulphur Springs road, but its wide enough and has sidewalks, so new issues. Only a small section of road on Haynes with no shoulder. This will be a good route for some marathon or tempo pace runs to practice running the small rolling hills at the end of the Flying Pig marathon.

Google Maps street view image of one of the houses from the loop this morning.

Finally have just about got the cold, windy, run in the rain clothing figured out. Tights are essential for warm legs with wind and anything below 39 degrees. I usually wear the loose fitting tights, but the "tight" tights are the way to go with the rain. No getting around wet feet. My shoes and socks were soaked by 4 miles. Coolmax, polyester or technical t-shirt or long sleeve shirt depending on the distance. This morning was a coolmax t-shirt under a wind proof, breatheable bike jacket. Wore a hat to keep the rain out of my eyes, with a beanie over the top to keep my ears warm. Most important is the glove selection. Short distance you can get away with a lightweight pair of windproof gloves. But, they usually absorb all of the rain and are only good for about 4 miles. Lately I've been wearing a pair of lightweight leather motorcross gloves. They block the wind and don't absorb the rain as quickly.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

marathon observations

If you want to run a fast marathon, you need to run on a fast course. Or so it's said. Lots of truth to that. A course without any hills is easier to run than a hilly course. Any hills or even rises after mile 20 seem like mountains in a marathon, like the hill at the golf course on the monkey marathon at mile 23. I think a course needs a few rises and falls, rolling hills at least to give your legs a break from the same motion. The Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, Alabama is a "flat and fast" course. It does have a few hills, very minor. The year I finally qualified for Boston, I knew it was the day when I hit mile 17 or so and floated up and over the one major hill on the course. It only rises about 50 feet, not a hill by Tennessee standards.

I've run several of the fast marathon courses over the years chasing after that elusive Boston Marathon qualifying time. Kansas City was a DNF. Austin's old course wearing race flats, ouch. Kiawah had to many turns and I strained my calf. Country Music Marathon way to hilly. Chicago and Mid South marathon dehydration problems. Really the only course that wasn't PR friendly would be Country Music. But, its the local marathon, like the Flying Monkey, so I made an attempt.

Trent started a thread on the strider board with marathon elevations to the same scale. He pulled the information from or really he probably ran most of them. This is really helpful to see the true rise and fall of the courses as compared to other courses. Below is the official, "flattened" out course map of the Flying Pig marathon and the Motion Based map. The official map doesn't show the several little hills at the end of the marathon. Pretty sneaky, huh?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

frosty cold

Yesterday we went to the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro. Lots of cool stuff for everyone. Saw a really big gecko and a corn snake. I was surprised we had something like that in Murfreesboro. Dylan's favorite part was the 2 story tall slide. Could have spent 3-4 hours there, easily. But, we only went for about 2 and a half hours. We planned on going to a afternoon movie, immediately afterwards. Forgot to bring my camera. Jeez.

Movie was the Quantuam of Solace, the new James Bond flick. It was ok. Best part for me was the opening scene car chase. No gadgets like the old Bond movies. This is the first one I've seen in over 10 years, at least. I don't think I've even seen any of the ones with Pierce Brosnan.

Speedy and FM2 wanted to try a new route today. It was a out and back from Lascassas Baptist Church. They were going 16 miles, I only wanted 13 miles. I've done this route from the house before in the summer or early fall. Way to exposed for my liking but I'm ready to run on some different routes. The guys took it easy on me and didn't drop me until I made the turn around at 6.5 miles. Kinda nice taking it easy. Seemed like a headwind the whole way back, but mostly all downhill.

New out and back route on Hwy 96.

Elevation map of the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon from Sportstracks.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

few old pictures

The boys from Atlanta.

Atlanta boys at a trail race in North Carolina

Dirk and Dylan, MTSU game day

Dad, Rocket City marathon late 70's early 80's?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

windy morning

Pulled into the parking lot to meet speedy this morning to rain blowing sideways and temps at 44 degrees. We both were really tempted to just go back home, but went ahead and got our run done. Nothing fancy, speedy did a tempo yesterday so we did an easy pace for him which is about marathon pace for me. Wind was pretty fierce when it was in your face and the rain was blowing.

Trying to plan out the next race and plans for the spring. Current plans are to maintain about 40-50 miles per week. Next race is going to be the Fat Ass 50k on January 1. Talk on the strider board about another race on the 11.2 in Percy Warner Park. I'd do that again, but not really racing it. Wonder if anyone is going to step up and volunteer to organize and score it?

Next major race is going to be the Flying Pig marathon in May. Plenty of time to build up with the Daniels program for a fast marathon, 3:10 or 3:15. Need to check out to get a B race in case the Pig doesn't work out. Maybe pace the 1:45 group at the Country Music half marathon in April.(if Peter will have me back after last years debacle).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black friday

Back yard battlefield.

Only one more day left in the long holiday weekend. Paula and the boys will be putting up the rest of the Christmas decorations. Pulled everything out of the attic today. We put up the outside stuff, but no lights this year. Seems like the lights only last one year anyway. May put some in the bushes. Did put up the trees, one small one upstairs and the other downstairs in the living room.

Thanksgiving was at Paula's sisters house this year. We watched the first quarter or so of the Titans game before we went over to their house. Good to see the Titans able to control the game. Everything clicked. Did the turkey and ham and all of the trimmings. Ate way to much and laid around the rest of the day. Paula, her sister and mom and dad all went shopping later that afternoon. Told my brother-in-law that was good, that way we wouldn't have to do the "black friday" shopping. Wrongo, they only went to one store the whole 3 hours they were gone. Think I accidently let the "f" bomb slip.

Paula wanted to get up at 3:00 am and hit the stores at 4:00 am. She had read all of the sales circulars and planned her strategy of where to go first. I woke up at 3:00 am as usual and woke her up, but she decided she didn't really feel like getting out of bed. Cool by me, I went back to sleep. She woke me up 20 minutes later because she couldn't get back to sleep. Argh, so much for missing "black friday".

Got to the first store at 4:15 am. Not a parking place anywhere and lines of cars trying to park. I dropped Paula off and circled around to the back of the building and snagged the only spot left, behind a 18 wheeler. Recession wasn't evident in this store, I found Paula in line at the very back of the store. Two lines snaked all the way from the front of the store around to the back and started back up to the front. Wow, I took her spot in line and she continued shopping. Lines moved rather quickly, they had plenty of staff on hand and kept everything orderly. Next store was a big box electronics store. We had to wait outside for 10 minutes before we could even get in the door. They were even better organized, pallets of items and plenty of people buying. Lots of big screen high definition tv's coming out the door, as well as guitar hero. The one item we wanted was already gone. We didn't go away empty handed, to many deals. One item to pick up at Walmart, the store was a disaster area. No organization and complete chaos. Walked to the rear of the store, saw the lines and couldn't get out of there quick enough. Last store was just as organized as the others and lots of deals.

Hopefully next year Paula, her sister and mom, go back to tradition and do the "black friday" shopping and I stay at home.

Did a easy 10 mile run from the house this morning. Didn't start until after 8:30 in the morning. Wore a compression support on my ankle to keep my achilles warm. I have a touch of achilles tendinitis, which didn't really show up until Friday. This makes the Rocket City marathon a no go. The achilles is just slightly swollen and hasn't stiffened up yet. I took it easy on the recovery. Didn't run the day after the marathon, probably should have. Tuesday was an easy 4 miles, Wednesday an easy 6 miles and then 8 miles on Thursday. I was able to get 4 miles at a 7:12 average pace, without any issues.

Rode my bike for 20 miles Friday afternoon. Just did an easy spin because it was kinda cool for the bike, about 55 degrees and overcast. Plus, I hadn't been on the bike in two months. I wanted to head out on the country roads, but just rode down to the greenway and out to the Stones River Battlefield. Good thing, the greenway breaks some of the wind. Not much wind, just enough to make it chilly. Had 2 close calls on the greenway, that's why I really would rather be out on the country roads. The walkers, kids and dogs make you slow down and even when you announce "on your left", the person in front doesn't always move to the right but left right into your path.

Went to the Beer Depot next to the Slick Pig (best smoked wings) this afternoon. Damn, what a beer selection. Never seen such a selection of beer. I bought a six pack of Sierra Nevada Porter and Highland Brewing Oatmeal Stout. Can't believe I haven't been in that store. It's been open for 3 years and I didn't even know it was there. It's in the old "grog shop" location. Same building, use to be a liquor store.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Random post race thoughts

Ok, little secret, I really had visions of a 3:20 at the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon. Pretty cocky, I'll admit. I thought if I was in shape to run a 3:15 marathon or even a 3:10, 3:20 would be within my reach. Running effortlessly for the first 14 miles it seemed within grasp, especially when I knew I already had 4 minutes in the bank for a 3:30. Reality struck around mile 16 when I was struggling to keep up the pace on the downhills. By mile 17 I was slowing as runners were catching me. Once I started to walk up 9 mile hill the race was over.

Big deal, once I was walking and slowed down, I saw the deer and the turkeys. It wasn't like I was completely zoned out for the first 18 miles, just focused. I still saw the monkeys and the signs that reminded me that I was an idiot for running this marathon. Percy Warner Park is still my favorite place to run in the middle Tennessee area. Every detail about this race is geared towards making this a fun and inviting event for the runners. It's also family and spectator friendly. I can see why volunteers come out in the cold for hours to help the runners, they're angels. If I don't run it next year, I'd definitely volunteer in some capacity. (even if it was an unofficial, adult beverage aid station at the crest of 9 mile hill)

I'm glad I brought a chair. I set it up right in front of the finish chute. It gave me a place to stow my pre-race warmup clothes and post race warmups. Surprised more people didn't bring chairs. Had the family came, I'd probably have brought a small tent for them to crash until I came across the line or just to stay warm for the first couple of hours. The large field for the finish area had lots of room for the kids to play. I fire would be nice, but I doubt the Park Service would allow it. I wonder if they would allow a grill? A cheeseburger would have been great.

First race where my shoelace came untied, very unsettling. It was coming up the hill before 3 mile hill, mile 7, maybe 8. I've never had a shoe come untied in a race, nor a marathon. Probably, burned up a bunch of energy blasting up the hill after that. (M7,7:32,M8,7:32,M9,7:45)I know EB told me stop and tie it. I wanted to wait until the top of 3 mile hill. She'd brought a honey bear container with water, because she didn't want to take any of the water on the course. It started leaking from the start so I carried it until mile 14. My right arm is still sore today, don't know why, I've carried water for distances up to 50k?

Seemed like I didn't take in enough water on the course. I was purposely only doing water about every 2 miles, but it seems like I must have missed a station or 2. I know I forgot to take my succeed until an hour after I should have. From mile 18 until the finish I took water and gatorade at each stop. Glad I brought two pairs of gloves, one with fingers under a pair of mittens from the start. Once my hands warmed up; I just wore the gloves until around mile 20 or so when they started to get cold and I switched to just the mittens.

Stayed comfortably warm most of the race. Didn't overdress. Did get a little chilly in a couple of spots, especially after I doused my legs with water at one of the aid stations. Saw lots of tights, glad I didn't wear them. Had this been a flat course marathon I'd probably have gone with the arm warmers and a singlet.

This course did seem to beat my legs up a little bit more than a typical marathon. Only 2 small blister issues, that weren't even an issue until post race. May explain the soreness in the top of my foot and outside of my shin on that leg. Should have run yesterday, but waited until this morning. I went 4 miles and it really helped get a lot of the soreness out of the legs.

Race swag was terrific. Not to many races where you get a long sleeve technical shirt with YOUR name on it, plus a t-shirt. All marathons have a medal, but what do you call it if it's made of wood? A bumper sticker and a tattoo. Plus, post race door prizes for everyone, pick what you want. The bib has your name on it or your alias. I wore a bib on my back with "Old Man".

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Humbled by the hills

Only picture from the race

Holy crap the hills ate me alive at the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon. No excuses, I rationalized walking up 9 mile hill when it appeared the runner who just passed me wasn't gaining that much on me. That was the beginning of the end. From that point I walked almost every incline to the finish. Couldn't decide if it hurt more to run or walk. Did manage to squeak out a sub 4:00 marathon, by coming in at 3:50. Big gap from the 3:30 I was targeting. Hit the halfway mark at 1:41, 4 minutes in the bank for a 3:30 finish.

Glad to have EB pacing me through the first 14 miles. She definitely helped to hold me back. I had way to much energy in the first half and charged a little to hard on the ups. Only real mistake other than starting to walk was forgetting to take my succeed cap after the first hour. Didn't take the first one until a little after 2 hours. Never did completely cramp up on the course, but everything was super tight from about mile 18-24.

The carb loading and taper were perfect. Plenty of energy in the first half, the hills just suck it all out of you. Still haven't decided about Rocket City. I'll have to see how the recovery goes the next couple of days.

Only negative of the entire race was the turn at the bottom of 9 mile hill and back up towards the flag pole. Seems like I left half of my big toe on the pavement in that turn. But, that's one spot were I had a huge cheering section. Lisa and Jill rode their bikes to that point, plus Alexa and Luke were there as well. Very enthusiastic. Thanks!

Counted about 10 people who passed me from mile 18 to the finish. Unfortunately, I'd passed at least 3-4 of them only 4-5 miles earlier when I was still feeling really strong. Really glad for the group of 4 who picked me up at mile 24 and pushed me to the finish. I'd been trying to hang on to the various runners as they passed me but couldn't keep the legs moving. Three of these guys pulled me all the way through to the finish and two came through with the exact same time. Thanks, guys.

First marathon I've ever run where the beer didn't need to be put on ice. Yazoo Pale Ale and Dos Perros on tap. I enjoyed a few of the Dos Perros, got a Yazoo poster as a door prize and grazed on the GIANGANTIC spread of food. Great marathon. Top notch on every level. Capping the race at 200 runners makes for a nice intimate race, no big race logistic problems. Able to get a great massage. Can't think of a thing I'd do any differently.

Brought the camera but only took a couple of pictures before the race. Wore the Garmin and the Timex, but left the Ipod in the car. According to the Garmin, I only ran 25.79 miles? Missed a few of the mile splits on my Timex, no problem. This wasn't exactly a stellar race effort.

Some post race thoughts.

Couple of pictures I forgot were in the camera

Saturday, November 22, 2008

marathon excuse list

The Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon is not my goal race. Well, it started out that way. I just wanted a fall marathon. It's close and definitely challenging. But, it's not a course that is meant to be run fast. I really would like to run a 3:10-3:15 marathon. That was the target back a few years ago after I'd run a couple of marathons and had visions of a Boston qualifier. According to the McMillan calculator I should be capable of 3:05. Always seemed out of reach, but with the increased miles this year, it seems a more reachable goal. But, it'll take a hell of a lot of work to get there.

The byproduct of the increased miles this year is a little more speed, maybe endurance. Or perhaps, I've just HTFU. It finally got me to a sub 19:00 5k, just barely. As of today my mileage is 2,325.73. I'll end the year with right at 2,500 miles or more. First time ever over 2,000 miles. It actually is getting easier, lots of tough days sure. The one constant is it's still fun. Sure some of the long runs aren't fun, at times. Then again some of the hard stuff isn't either. But, the satisfaction when I'm finished is what keeps me going. So, all of this has helped to make some of those lofty 3:10 goals seems very doable.

Back to the monkey. I'm subtracting 10-15 minutes from the finish time of this race to gauge my fitness and the possibility of running Rocket City as my A marathon for the fall. It's 3 weeks later, plenty of time to recover and not lose any fitness. The one gianormus x-factor are the frickin' hills at Percy Warner Park. I wilt on the hills. Usually I can gauge my fitness level before a marathon by how well I run the double loop of the 11.2 at PWP. This will be my first trip back for the double plus since last year.

Excuse list

Hills. They either will kick my rear end or I will conquer.

Taper. It was to long, nope. It was to short, nope. Two weeks seems, just right.

Carb loading. This was an experiment. One big positive has been the loss of energy from the carb depletion phase which takes away all of the usual taper jitters/apprehension and such.

Training. Not really much structure to the training plan this cycle. Probably should have run a little longer mid week run. Probably need to approach 60-70 miles per week to get the "fast marathon".

Weather. Looks like we'll get temps at around 33 degrees to start and warming to around mid 40's, with sunshine and little to no wind. Almost perfect for the runners, tad chilly for the volunteers/spectators. Paula and the boys are staying home.

Colds. Pretty certain I've managed to avoid getting any of the crud or chest colds that are going around. Slight cough yesterday, probably just allergy related.

Fueling/Hydration. Should not be an excuse. Plan for 5 powergels every 4 miles, after mile 8. Water every 2 miles, with a succeed cap every hour and I should be golden. Need to make sure and water log tonight. Last solid carbs 4 hours before the gun fires. Probably carry a bottle to make sure I have fluids.

Pacing. Plan to average around an 8:00 pace, which may mean a 9:00 pace climbing the bigger hills and 7:00's on the downside. Unknown is the how much will be left after the beating on the downhills.

Injury free. No injuries or strains on the day before. Phantom aches and pains from taper never lingered.

I've left off a few I'm sure. Bottom line, Percy Warner Park is one of my favorite places to run in the middle Tennessee area. Having a marathon within the park is sweet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dirk's Fat Ass 50k III

Started thinking about the 3rd running of the Dirk's Fat Ass 50k, a couple of weeks ago. Puppymeat shot me an email last night and wondered if it's still a go. I'll be out on January 1 running a 50k from General Bragg's HQ at 8 am. I need redemption for my DNF last year. Come out and join me.

Last year we had 14 runners. The inaugural run we had 6 runners. 30 runners this year would be a success. The course will remain the same, 3 loops on the asphalt of the Stones River Greenway and Stones River Battlefield. I'll use the General Bragg Headquarters as the staging, start and finish area. This is an unofficial race, no entry fee, no bibs, no times, no awards, no wimps, just the satisfaction of starting off 2009 with 50k in your log book. Or just one loop for 10 miles or 2 loops for 20 miles. We had some folks do different distances.

The course starts at the General Bragg HQ in Murfreesboro, TN. The course out to the battlefield is basically a lollipop. One mile to the battlefield, a two mile loop and the one mile return to the pavilion at Bragg. From there, a six mile out-and-back to Cannonsburgh. Each loop is around 10 miles and only minor elevation changes, no real hills. Bathrooms at the battlefield, the start and at Cannonsburgh.

Report from Fat Ass 50k III

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

carb loading

I've never tried the carb loading routine before a marathon. Decided a week or so ago, that I'd experiment before a marathon to see if I could gain any benefit. I'm not going the new school direction of only loading, but the old school method of depletion and then loading. One of the blogs I follow, Fast Master used a 10 day depletion cycle and then a 3 day loading phase. His approach is to extreme for me. I'm going with 3 days of depletion and 2 days of loading. Today is day one of the depletion, all proteins and minimal carbs. Basically an extreme Atkins diet.

I'm not expecting to lose much weight, perhaps a pound or two. I'm still at 155 pounds, which would be the lightest I've ever run a marathon. Usually weigh in at around 160 on marathon day. Whatever weight is lost, should be replaced in the carb loading phase. Ideally, I'll hit the starting line at 155, with my glycogen stores packed to the hilt. That's the primary goal of the depletion and then the loading. The body is tricked into loading more glycogen than normal. That's the theory, I'll see how true it is for me.

Only real negatives I can see from this experiment is the moodiness, loss of energy and general fatigue from the depletion phase. I've seen that effect before, but hopefully I won't experience but 2 days of that. Don't expect any of that today, probably just the urge for some carbs. The bigger concern is porking up to much in the carb loading phase. I'll just need to make sure and eat sensibly with moderate portions and not splurge or gorge myself.

Still need to get my marathon excuse list ready. I'm still adjusting this last week of training on the fly. This mornings workout was 6 miles, with a one mile warm up and cool down. The middle four miles were supposed to be at marathon pace of 7:15, but came in alittle hotter, not much though, averaged 7:10 pace. Monday was a complete rest day from running, but did do a weight workout to keep the metabolism brewing. Saturday did a super easy 8 miles at 9:00 pace, followed by 10 miles on Sunday at 7:45 pace. Workouts are feeling easy, which they should.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Wow, the weather looks like its coming around nicely for the little jaunt in Percy Warner Park on November 23rd. I favor cooler weather to run a marathon. Overcast and 45 degrees would probably be about ideal. When the temperature gets above 60 degrees my performance suffers and I start having dehydration issues.

Weather is one factor that is uncontrollable for the marathon. The only adjustment would be to slow down the pace if the temperatures weren't favorable, for me above 60 degrees. Don't know if it's the accountant in me that makes me so obsessive about the race or I'm just OCD. Read a great book about performing at your best. "Programmed to Run", Thomas S.Miller, PhD. Bottom line, you put in the training and you get it back on race day. Reap what you sow.

Taper time just makes me edgy. I'm still 9 days out from the race. Got my bib number from the website, 477. The first year Trent let runners pick their bib number. He continues to let the veterans keep the same number. He's -1. Don't know what the numbering scheme is this year. Some numbers are into the 500's and this is just the 3rd year of the marathon. 139 monkey virgins, 76 veterans and 28 coming back for the 3rd time. Almost half the field is from out of state. (I dumped the entrant list into an Excel spreadsheet, just for grins) Longest distance probably goes to the runner from Austria or maybe its Australia. The monkey has truly gone international.

Easy 4 miles on the gravel on the "under construction" Old Fort Parkway, Barfield connector trail this morning. They've put down another 6 inches of the super small gravel and flattened and smoothed it out. Super nice running surface. That was me without any rhythm listening to Willie sing a jazz version of Caldonia with Wynton Marsalis.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

marathon pacing

What pace should you run for your marathon? Even pace, negative split or put some time in the bank? I usually tried to put time in the bank, by going out a little quick, knowing I would slow in the latter stages of the race. I've changed that approach the last couple of marathons and went for the even split. Negative splits have been a pipe dream I've accomplished, perhaps in 2 races. (no marathons)

Hal Hidgon has a good article about marathon pacing with a local quote. My ideal marathon goal has been a 3:15 and "pipe dream, stars align, and everything comes together", a 3:10. According to Higdons chart, a 3:15 is a 7:26 pace, I've used 7:24 as the "marathon race pace" in the past. Best effort to date has been a 3:17 at Rocket City in 2004. The strategy for that race was a Boston qualifying time of 3:20, so I went out at a 3:15 pace.

Monkey marathon pace is going to be 8:00 average hopefully. The hills are going to slow each mile by at least a minute, but the downhills should get about 30 seconds back. The downhills at PWP beat the sh*t out of your legs. Couple that with the gut sucking the uphills will take out and any kind of pacing strategy quickly goes out the window. I figure the marathon should be about 10-15 minutes slower than my best marathon effort. Knowing all of this, I'll probably run with my Garmin and my Ipod. Oh, the horror. Never have run PWP with the Ipod, I actually enjoy the quietness of the woods. So, the Ipod my stay home. I may even go old school and leave the Garmin home as well.

This mornings workout was another made up modification of my last marathon training program schedule. It called for 2 x 20 minutes at marathon pace. I did 6 miles at marathon pace. Or what I'd thought was marathon pace. The target was 7:24 per mile. I averaged 7:15's. Hmmmmm, back to 3:10 pace. Easy workout, "no chain". Makes my thought to attempt another 3:15 at Rocket City even more feasible. First I've got to make it through the monkey.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Beauty of the morning run

Thank a vet today.

Reminded this morning of one of the best benefits of the early morning run, sunrises. This mornings was spectacular. Almost missed it. I was headed home, with the sunrise off to my left. The reds against the almost complete cloud cover was amazing. The clouds had the swirly look of snow clouds. Not cold enough for that, but made for a great sunrise. Bet as a runner I've seen more sunrises than most people.

Got up at 3:30 this morning for my speed workout. Got distracted reading about tapers and didn't make it out the door until almost 5 am. Pulled out my log books from prior years to find what taper I used for my Boston qualifier at Rocket City in 2004. Two weeks, with lots of rest and not much running. I ran the Mid-South Marathon in Wynne, Arkansas 5 weeks earlier.

Googled "best marathon taper" and got Runners World, Ten Things to Avoid in a taper, McMillan, Pfitzinger , and Letsrun. I'm going with 2 weeks of taper. I've tried 3 weeks in the past and thats way to long. Really like the idea of running the day before the marathon, its worked for me in the past. Typically only a couple of miles. Just enough to loosen up the legs.

This mornings workout is a modification of the speed workout from the Rocket City training. It was 3 x 800, 600, 600 at 5k pace. I did 6 x 800 meters instead with equal recovery a little quicker than 10k pace. Pretty easy workout and total of 7.1 miles for the morning.

Monday, November 10, 2008

2 weeks out

Hay is in the barn and all of that. Training for this marathon just hasn't been at the same level as the BQ attempt at Rocket City in 2004. Saturday was the perfect day for a long run, but wanted to do my last one two weeks out on Sunday. Saturday I went 10 miles nice and easy from the house to the Greenway. Leaves were crunchy under foot and the sunrise over the river was spectacular.

Dylan and I went to the MTSU game later in the afternoon. Great day for a football game, 60 degrees and sunshine. Raiders just eked out a win. They dominated the first half, but per usual fell asleep in the second half. Turned cold once the clouds moved in with the wind and the temperature dropped a couple of degrees. Dylan and I met Paula and Darrell at Mellow Mushroom after the game. We've been Mellow Mushroom fans since 1996 and our days in Atlanta. The "mighty meaty" is my favorite, but I really did like the new "buffalo chicken" last night with an oatmeal porter. They took the jerked chicken off the menu. Plus, the beer selection at the "shroom" is the best in "boro".

Back in our Atlanta days Taco Mac had the biggest beer selection, but Mellow Mushroom was a close second. We haven't tried the Flying Saucer in Nashville or any of the other places with big beer selections. We have made quite a few trips to the Blackstone brewery in Nashville, great food and beer. Whenever we are out of town, a micro brewery is always first on the list for food. We have yet to be disappointed with that tactic. Lots of good food and beer.

Sunday's run was supposed to be 18-20 miles. I decided 18 miles with either some tempo in the middle or marathon pace would be a good workout. Speedy and FM2 were heading out to Lascassas to run the St. Johns loop. I wanted to tag along and try and get a few fast or marathon pace miles. Fast stuff didn't happen. FM2 stayed home and I couldn't keep up with Speedy from the start. Only managed 3 miles at a sub 8:00 pace. The hills just ate me up. The back half I started to cool off and Speedy was out of sight. I slowed considerably, couldn't keep up the monkey pace. Average pace for the run was 8:33. Not the way I wanted the last long run to go.

The rest of Sunday was a lazy day. Finished mowing the grass and laid around all day watching football. Good to see the Titans can change the game plan and come away with a win. That seemed to be the thing they haven't done in the last couple of years. Dylan rented Batman for the WII. I just can't get the hang of those computer games. We ended up watching the movie, "Agent Cody Banks".

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Could see the importance of recovery in this mornings tempo workout. Last weeks tempo effort the day after 8 miles at real marathon pace wasn't an adequate recovery run. Yesterday's easy 5 miles didn't take anything out of this mornings tempo workout. Average pace was 6 seconds quicker per mile and perceived effort was "comfortably hard" versus "feels like a 5k" last week. Speedy and PS, pulled me through the workout this morning. Almost the exact same course as last week, rolling hills, but nothing compared with the hills of PWP.

First run with PS, he's training for Rocket City. He's about the same level of runner as Speedy and FM2. I just chase after these guys and try to keep them in sight. Be good to get someone else to run with us during the week.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

falling back

One of my favorite times of year. The leaves are falling, the mornings are cool, sunrises are awesome and the colors just seem brighter. But, the whole spring forward, fall back with the clocks is a pain in the ass. First 2 days at work going home when its dark are difficult. The mornings aren't that big of deal, just seems like forever for the sun to come up.

Took Monday as a scheduled off day from running. Did my regular weight workout instead. Tuesday it was time for another speed workout. Planned to do 8 of the Yasso repeats. Ran down to the greenway, which gives me a 2.5 mile warmup and 2.5 mile cooldown. First repeat was to conservative, but did dial in the rest, at or under target. Number 5 was a little hot, thought I was letting up, and then number 6 came in at 3:06. Sheeeit. Little to quick, took way to long to recover and then started number 7, but caved after a 100 meters. Slogged it back home for about 9 miles worth of work for the morning. Don't know if its the recovery is to short, 1:30 versus equal recovery per Yasso, or I'm just chicken shit. Felt a twinge in my plantar on the warmup and the achilles felt a little tight. Everything felt good during the speed work and on the way home.

Glad the election if finally over. Flipped the channels for awhile last night and the same crap on every channel. Watched the Green Mile instead. Going to be a very interesting next four years. Hate to even bring it up, but big pet peeve. Double Standard. Notice any of the tip toeing around issues or comments from the different broadcasters or news channels? Seriously doubt any of the mud slinging that has been directed at Bush over the last year, will be any kind of news fodder for our new president elect. Take the typical shot of the radicals shooting their weapons into the air in other countries. We had that right here in Nashville last night, would have made a great news clip. Didn't see it anywhere.

This mornings workout is 5 miles of easy on the MTSU gravel loop from the house. Loaded up Dylan's Ipod, mine keeps crashing, probably just about dead. It's the first generation shuffle. I'd like one of the bigger Ipods, but that wouldn't work for running. The new shuffle, like Dylan has is perfect. It holds twice as much music as the old shuffle and is about half the size.

Monday, November 3, 2008

3 weeks out

All the training is done. Some will start a taper now. My taper is going to be 10 days. One more 18-20 miler next weekend. Trent's probably right, pretty foolish to try and train for the monkey. Best training would be to run in the park every weekend. I've been once in the last 6 months. Geez, just hope I finish in under 4 hours. Just not feeling as strong on the hills this cycle.

Weekend went by way to quick as usual. Can't wait to read the rest of the Ironman recaps. Sounds like Jill and company had a great time. That may be the best way to "do" an Ironman for the first time. Only thing we did exciting this weekend was play a game of laser tag at Phazer Kraze. Dylan has decided that's were he'd like to have his birthday party.

Saturday, Speedy pulled me through 13 miles of hills at Spain Hill at real marathon pace, after I warmed up for a mile. One bad patch climbing Spain, slowed to a 8:00 mile. Last 3 miles are all down hill, so pretty easy to pull the average pace back down.

Sunday I went back out to the new Barfield connector trail. Saw 2 other runners out, plus a couple with their dog and a gazillion deer. The trail has been smoothed and graveled from the start to the bridge, 2 miles. The access road, mostly dirt and gravel from Hwy 99 adds three quarters of a mile one way. Crossed the bridge and able to run on another side for a half mile or so of freshly smoothed gravel and then another mile or so of single track dirt road/trail. I was able to get 8.75 miles of gravel/dirt without repeating any sections, all just out and back.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Didn't really do a recovery run last night. Supposed to run 8 miles easy with EB, but she pulled me the entire way, right around marathon pace. Not a tough workout, able to talk the entire time, instead of just during the warmup or cooldown like usual. Paid for it 10.5 hours later this morning on my tempo run with Speedy and FM2.

Decided ahead of time to do 2 miles warmup before the 6 miles of tempo work. Really nice to be able to talk for the first 2 miles, instead of breathing like a old locomotive. Hadn't seen FM2 in quite awhile, so had some catching up to do. Between the two of them it was decided I'm pretty much a big *(family blog). I'm ok with that. I do train hard, but just not at the same level as those two.

Tempo workout was difficult this morning. First mile wasn't bad, but the second mile up and down Compton was tough. The pace wasn't the issue, but the oncoming traffic and the shoulder of the road. Lots of cars for 4:30 in the morning. Never could get a good rhythm going. Slowest mile of the six. Better once we got off that road into the sub-division. Lots of small climbs on this route. Should have stopped for a nature break, but didn't. Gutted out the tempo work with a average pace of 6:50. Not bad, but 5-10 seconds from where I wanted. It was about all I could muster this morning.

Felt really odd when I got home. Body was itchy all over and had hives on my legs and arms. Kinda strange, I've had some kind of rosacea on my chest before, after a workout. Felt really light headed and lips were numb as well. Felt 100% better once I ate a little bit of breakfast. Usually only get that kind of feeling when I'm dehydrated.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Titans fan, yes: tights, not so much

Slept in on Monday, it was a scheduled day off. Went back out to the gravel on the new Barfield connector trail, on Sunday. They have gravel from the start all the way to the bridge. It's the smooth gravel, pea size or smaller and packed down with the heavy rolling machine. I wouldn't mind having about 10 miles worth of this kind of trail, but it's only 2 miles worth so far. Tried to run some of the trail, way to muddy. Took a half mile to get the extra 20 pounds off my shoes.

I'm pretty much a fair weather Titans fan. I watch most of the games. Stayed up and watched the entire Monday night game, that's a first.(least in the last year, since I've been getting up at 3:30 am to get in my runs). Titans didn't look bad, couple of dropped passes, never did get the running game going. Had just enough for the Colts.

Sure made getting up the next morning difficult. Knew it was going to be cold, around 38 degrees and windy. Finally got out of bed at 5:30 am. Started out the door so late, the roads were clogged with rush hour traffic. Ran down to the greenway for my workout. Did the second set of Yasso 800's. Hadn't really planned on using them this cycle. It was just a last second change of plan last week. I didn't get on the track, so decided to do 4 x 800 meters on the road instead. This week I did 6 x 800 meters, I only used a 1:30 recovery. Kinda gun shy of this workout. I got achilles tendonitis 7-8 years ago on repeat #8 about 6 weeks out from my goal marathon. (DNF at Wichita at mile 16) Split times were surprising. I was targeting 3:15 and the first came in at 3:08. The greenway is only marked every quarter, so I wasn't watching my time, just hitting the button at the end. Typically when I look at the watch at 400 meters, I'll slow or speed up to much. Times held between 3:08 and 3:10 for the remaining 800's. The last came in at 3:15, just about the right number of repeats. Next week I'll go for 8, with maybe a little more recovery.

My rule of thumb in the past has been the tights don't come on until the temperature gets below 32 degrees. I've relaxed that the last couple of years to factor in the wind. I've got 2 different types of tights, the loose fitting and the skin tight. Tuesday morning I went with the skin tight. Glad I had them on, comfortable for the warmup and cooldown and not unbearably warm for the speed work. The thing about the tights is the chafing on the inner leg. Usually just on long runs, not on issue on Tuesday. I did pick the wrong gloves, they were to warm for the speed work. Almost should have had 2 pairs, a lighter pair for the speed workout and the heavier pair for the warmup and cooldown.

Looking at the log for the year and I'm trending towards 2,700 miles for the year. That's quite a jump in mileage from previous years. Most miles in a year was 1,913 in 2001. That was one of my big Boston qualifying pushes. Didn't make it. Pretty certain I've been pretty smart about the increased miles this year. I've backed off when something hurts. The soft surface runs are a tremendous help. This marathon cycle I've completed 2, 18 mile runs and 4, 20 mile runs. Next weekend is a 14 miler at real marathon pace and then a final 20 miler or 18 miler the following week. 18 miles two weeks out and then taper, sounds like a good plan. After all I'm not racing the monkey, just participating. Should I still feel the urge for a fast marathon, Rocket City is a short drive and 3 weeks later.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

4 weeks to go and a day

Marathon doubts are starting to creep in. I haven't run a marathon since Boston in 2005. Trained for one in 2006, but didn't make it to the starting line. This training cycle was mostly twice a week speed workouts, hills and scheduled six twenty milers. I'm almost certain that's the most I've ever done. One big thing I've overlooked this cycle is the mid week long run. That, plus I've cut back on the recovery runs from eight miles to five miles.

First started questioning my training this cycle after talking to J. He ran a 3:08 in Hartford, CT on two twenty milers. But, he had about 70 miles per week. My mileage has only been around 55 to a high of right at 60 miles. Then this thread showed up on the Strider board. I wouldn't call it a myth. The twenty miler is a necessity for the marathon, two is a minimum. Not that you can't run a marathon if you don't run any twenty milers. It just makes the last six miles manageable.

I have been the victim of running my 20 milers to fast in training. Back a few years ago when I was training for a 3:15, my Boston Qualifying time at that age, most of my 20 milers were right at a 7:30 pace. The alternating weekends, I would run 10-15 miles at marathon pace, roughly 7:15 miles. Never did qualify with that training. Looking back, probably over trained by the time I got to the line for the goal marathon.

Well this mornings scheduled 20 miler was reduced to a 18 miler by design. Asked Speedy yesterday, if he would pace me through 11 miles at 7:30 pace on Spain Hill. We finished with a average of 7:26, first part played perfectly. The rest of the run was just to get the 18 miles. Went out at 8:00 miles, but that only lasted for 3 miles and a nature break. Took way to long on the break and the feet were lead starting back. Slogged home the remaining 4 miles. I'll call it a successful workout, actually felt good when I finished, versus feeling wiped out after a typical 20 miler.

Don't know if I'm in the same shape as when I ran my marathon PR of 3:17 in 2004 at Rocket City. I am down about 5 pounds. Never really thought I'd get those pounds off. Almost feel like I'm in better shape, but the long runs seem to be getting tougher. Depending on how the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon goes, I may have to go to Huntsville and run Rocket City, one more time. I'd really like to run a 3:15, and I'm almost in that kind of shape.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ultra slow

Another slow run this morning. I use the same route for my recovery runs since I stopped going to the golf course. Pace is the same on either course. Can't justify driving to and from the golf course for a 5 mile run. Stopped doing the 8 milers, that was getting way to monotonous. The current route is from the house out to Miller Coliseum. The road use to be gravel by the horse corrals, they put tar and gravel down, which is a step below the smooth surface of asphalt. I run on the shoulder on what's left of the gravel. Only about a half mile of true gravel road is left. But, it's a soft surface for about 2 miles.

Fair or really just a carnival is coming to the 'boro. They've set up in the back gravel parking lot of the Miller Coliseum. According to the website it's the Middle Tennessee Fair from October 22-26. Funny, haven't seen a thing about it in the news. At least not on the Murfreesboro's Post website. They stopped delivering to my house long ago, and I don't read the DNJ/Daily News Journal.

The pace I ran this morning is what I've come to call the ultra shuffle. It's a pace that would get me through a 50k at least. Hopefully a 50 miler, which I've really started to have second thoughts about. Sure hope I don't get reduced to that at the monkey. I've run or biked every section except for the mile or so of the start of the course. The race director has managed to get every hill in Percy Warner included in the 26.2 and just for fun, you get to do the main drive in both directions. I've only been out to PWP twice in the last couple of months. I'll just enjoy the course, time is secondary. Realistically, 3:30 is doable. I figure about 10 minutes extra time to my best marathon time. Don't know if I'm in quite the same shape or not. Speed wise yes, endurance is where I have the doubts. Oh, and all of those pesky little hills. Either climbing or descending, only flat section is the start. Climbing is ok, it's the descending that beats the crap out of my quads and hammy's

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

diggin' the dirt

Sundays run was on the dirt and gravel trails of the new Barfield / Old Fort Parkway connecting trail. The bridge across the Stones River is finished for the most part. I was able to get 9.5 miles of nothing but dirt and gravel. Great crisp fall morning. Waited until almost 7 am to start running, to let the sun start coming up so I wouldn't twist my ankle. Legs were chilly to start, could have worn tights, but glad I didn't. The legs warmed up after a mile or so.

This was the first time I'd run across the river. They are putting up 3 new pavilion's and restroom facilities about a quarter mile from the river crossing. Looks like its off of Stoney Meadow Drive. Not much site work has been done on the trail on this side of the river. The erosion control fencing is in place and the trail marked up until the fork in the Stones River and another creek. I lost the trail over by Barfield Road and parallel to another creek. The trail quickly turned into knee deep ruts from the "boys and their toys". Did run parallel to the creek on one section of exposed limestone for about a quarter mile which had been worn smooth, almost road like. This looks like the creek that runs through Barfield Crescent Park. Didn't make it that far, got within a mile or so.

Don't know if they will continue working on the trail this winter. Either way, the completion is still over a year away. Should be able to enjoy the dirt for quite some time. Just have to be careful when deer season opens up. Last time I was on the trail someone camped out in a cornfield. Sunday, met a pickup coming out of the woods. Lots of deer. Saw lots of tracks in the dirt.

Monday I slept in and took a day off from running. Tried to get into work early but an accident on I-24 botched that effort.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

5 more weeks

Catch up week with training. Only 5 weeks until the Monkey. Total of 61 miles for the week. Up from the cruise week of 21 miles because last weeks long run was on Sunday and counts on this week. Plus this mornings long run. Friday I was still sore from the tempo workout on Thursday. Just did an easy 5 miler on Friday. Legs were still tight this morning or maybe it was the 47 degrees? Took a mile for them to warm/loosen up. I did 14 miles at Spain Hill, starting at 5:30 am. The sun didn't start coming up until around mile 6. Wanted to run at marathon pace, but came it at monkey marathon pace instead, 8:00 mile average pace. I must relax to much without Speedy pulling me through. Nice morning, cool enough for gloves and my beanie hat for my ears. Plus, the sugar maples were bright orange and some leaves are starting to fall. Fall is in the air. Temperature was still right at 47 degrees when I finished. This is my favorite time of the year for running. Probably even jump in the hot tub this evening with a beer.

Reason for starting so early this morning was the Bell Buckle Craft Festival or really the 32nd Annual Webb School Arts and Crafts Festival. We've been going every year since we moved back to Tennessee. It's always been a must do every year. Probably been going off and on since the late 80's. Darrell was born in 1989, so at least that long ago. This year Paula's sisters family rode down in the van with us. We met her folks at the festival. This year, I decided to bring a chair. Nothing I really want to see. I just like the food. This trip it was the fried bologna sandwich, white beans and cornbread and a tenderloin biscuit. Dylan had some chicken on a stick. Paula only got some of the coated almonds and some kind of pumpkin Halloween decoration.

Always lots of good folksy crafts. This year I really liked the metal works. Especially the flying pigs. I didn't even look at any of the art this year. I sat in my chair watched the boys and the crowds. Lots of people bring dogs. Usually just the smaller ones. One women had a lab, with a harness with a small bag on one side and a pocket on the other for her water, very cool. Listened to the band play quite a few Beatle songs, and a couple of other oldies. Just 2 guys on guitar and a drummer. Weather was perfect, lots of sun, little cool, little wind. Kind of weather were a sweathshirt is comfortable, but a jacket is to much.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

it's over

Watched the debate last night. Didn't change my mind on my vote. Which isn't a vote for the candidate but a vote against the other candidate. The commentators following the debate summed it up pretty well. Obama showed he is presidential, McCain is just a bitter old man. He didn't use Palin to her full potential and she's costing him votes now. Hopefully we only get 4 years worth of Obama, and don't slide into a depression.

Hate to even bring up the election. Politics is one topic I usually avoid. This morning Speedy was the only one talking and that didn't last long, most of the time I was to far off his shoulder to hear. I was breathing like a freight train for the most part. I did get a good rhythm going from mile 2 through 5 or 6, before it got to be work to maintain pace.

Speedy pulled me through a tempo workout this morning. I wanted 8 miles, which we got in 57:06. Plan from my standpoint was a two mile warmup, 4-6 miles of tempo and a couple miles of cooldown. But, it was his workout so I told him I'd just hang as long as I could. It was an easy day for him, so he wanted 8 miles under 7:00. First mile was 7:10, so much for a warmup. Next 2 miles were at 6:38, then a 6:39, a 6:43 and finished with a 6:47. Last mile was a push, but doable. Hacked up some of the cigars on these miles. Speedy just glides when he runs. This morning I was chasing the entire way, his splits were completely different than mine. He'd ease up when I started to gap, but according to my splits, I kept a pretty even pace. All in all, a pretty darn good workout. Six miles of quality tempo, I counted the 7:10 first mile, which wasn't really a warmup as it was a jump into pace. Easy 2 miles home were pedestrian, Speedy circled back around 2-3 times and I still couldn't stay with him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ports of call

wrestling boys at Cozumel

This cruise had only 2 ports of call. The first was Grand Cayman. This was our second trip to this island. Paula and I had stopped here on our first cruise 17 years ago. On that cruise we did the island tour. This time we took a tender from the cruise ship anchored off shore to the island. We were only in this port from around 10 am until 3 pm.

We only did one excursion, the Pirate encounter. It's geared toward the kids, with some rum punch for the adults. (they did tie up two moms to the mast of the ship, funny stuff) The pirate ship was about the size of a tug boat, but it looked like a pirate ship should. The captain and his crew, dressed and played the parts of pirates, to the point where they made one little boy cry. It was all in fun, they made all of the kids take an oath to be a pirate and made them scrub the deck. The captain anchored the ship just off shore after circling around the cruise ships and firing their miniature cannon a few times. The cannon was pretty authentic looking and took a shotgun shell with a loud bang that made everyone jump 3 feet every time they fired.

The pirate encounter only lasted a couple of hours. We swam for a an hour after the kids scubbed the deck. The rum punch didn't seem like it had much rum, I drank about 6 to get my money's worth. On the way back to the dock, I went for one more refill as the pirates were mixing the batch for the next trip. He was filling the container with 2 fifth's of rum. He fulled my cup with straight rum. Needless to say the rest of the day I was one happy tourist. The rest of the time on the island was spent shopping. Not me, the girls mostly. I smoked a cigar and watched the boys.

Cozumel was the second port of call. Paula and I had been to this port on the last cruise as well. The ship docked directly at the pier at Cozumel and we were able to walk off the ship. Longer day in port, from 8 am until 7:30 pm. But the ship actually left the dock at 7:20. Way to much shopping, Paula and her sister had to look in every shop. Tim and I entertained ourselves with 2 Corona's for $3 and me with another cigar. Boys bought some wrestling masks and the locals seemed to get a kick out of them.

We took a taxi from the pier to Paradise Beach. It was about 10 kilometers away. We spent the rest of the afternoon, swimming, climbing a inflatable rock wall, kayaking and snorkeling. They also had a coconut tree to climb, the boys did that as well. Nice way to spend the afternoon. Paula got way to much sun, even though she did put on some sunscreen. Regret not bringing a disposable underwater camera for the snorkeling. This is my idea of the way to spend vacation, hanging out at the beach taking it easy.

No run today, slept in until 6 am.

Boys on the pirate ship before we left the dock

"what's this ?"

Boys scrubbin' the deck

Boys climbing the coconut trees at Paradise Beach

Dylan and me kayaking at Paradise Beach

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Here's a scary picture, self portrait, Old Man at sunrise

Big cigar fan. Doesn't help my running. Actually can tell the effects of the cigar on my speed workouts. Yet, I can't resist a good cigar. Most training cycles I abstain from smoking. Smoked 2 cigars on the cruise vacation. One in each of the ports of call. Supposedly they were "Cubans", no big deal, smoked the same as any other good cigar. One great thing about smoking a cigar is the buffer zone it creates. Most people are offended by the cigar smoke, thus the buffer.

Didn't get any pictures of myself or the cigars, but my sister law did. Sure looked liked I was enjoying myself. Must have been the rum. As an ex-smoker, cigarette smoke really bothers me. Really was bothersome in the on board casino of the cruise ship. Seems like everyone was smoking.

Can't blame the cigars on my pitiful speed workout this morning. Think it was more likely due to no speed work last week and the lack of miles and only 4 runs. Ran a total of 8 miles, all before sun up. Speed workout was the usual 12 x 200 meters with 200 meters of rest. Times were 2-3 seconds off of my last effort.

Incident in our neighborhood(Man injured when dragged by truck), got me thinking about early morning runs. I use to always wear a reflective vest when I ran before sun up. It hasn't been but the last couple of years that I stopped and only because the vest had become so threadbare. So, this morning I carried my red blinky light from the bike. Seen another runner the last few weeks with one on the back of his hand, with some kind of strap. I've also seen someone else wear one on the back of their shorts.

Monday, October 13, 2008

cruise food

No food pictures, Dylan and the "walrus" towel creation in our cabin

Food and lots of it. If you're hungry on a cruise, you must be a real picky eater. Granted its not gourmet food, but it is good. I ate omelets every morning, compared to my normal breakfast of yogurt and granola. Lunch and dinner were experiments in whatever looked good and if it wasn't, going back to try something else. I really counted on gaining a couple of pounds, but didn't. Not because I'd be pigging out, but because of less runs and less volume. Only ran 3 times on the ship for 5 miles each time and once before we left for a whopping 21 miles for the week. Did weights twice. Would have run on the treadmill on the ship, but they require a shirt in the workout room. Geez, I sweated like a pig for the short time lifting weights, no way I was going to do 40-45 minutes on the dreadmill.

Ate lots of fish, broiled, fried and baked. Dylan and I had lobster on one of the nights we ate in the main dining room. Lots of different desserts. That's one item where I overindulged. Each night, they would have at least 3 different desserts. I tried them all, each night. We never made it to the midnight buffet, that probably would have packed on some pounds, eating that late and then going to bed. We did stay up each night way past my usual bed time. No montezuma revenge issues with the cruise food. We didn't eat at any of the ports of call. Only one meal went through me and drained my entire digestive tract, but only before tying it up in knots. That was a mexican dinner the day before we left in Tampa.

The kids pretty much ate the same thing every meal. Pizza or hamburger, plus, ice cream or frozen yogurt. Ryan was eating ice cream before every meal, and the little boys were trying to keep up with him. Dylan did try some sushi. I thought it was pretty good. I had a few of the octopus, mahi mahi and spicy mackerel. Dylan tried the octopus and spicy mackerel and didn't like it at all.

The cruise line makes up for all of the food you eat, by charging you for cokes/sodas and all alcohol. Every day is a new "fun" drink with a souvenir glass for $6.75. I didn't drink on the ship, just the ports of call. The servers were everywhere, no excuse for not having a drink if you wanted one. Dylan caught on real quick with getting the servers to bring him another coke. Thought he was big stuff.

The 3 runs on the ship were on the upper deck "track". Eleven laps equaled one mile. It was the kind of track that is rubberized. The first day I gave up counting after 5 laps and just ran for 43 minutes. The turns were tight and the straights couldn't have been more than 50 meters long. I ran after the sun was up and it was probably already 70-80 degrees. I would have actually preferred the treadmill, only because the wind was so brisk and the turns were so tight. The next 2 times I counted the laps, 5 x 11. Good thing for the Ipod. The open ocean doesn't change much and dodging the walkers isn't much entertainment. Most of the walkers would walk the outer perimeter, except for a few who wouldn't budge from the inside lane.

This morning I ran 5 miles easy on the road and gravel, plus lifted some weights. Sure is different from the 5 miles on the ship. Even though the sun didn't come up until I'd already finished 3 miles, the time went by a lot quicker. Didn't even have my Ipod, it ran out of juice about the same time I did on my long run on Sunday.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Dylan and his cousin, Ryan dock side in Cozumel

Lots to blog about the cruise. Running on the road/cruise ship, driving 10+ hours, food, ports of call, gambling, snorkeling, pictures, rum, pirates, cigars.............

We left for Tampa at 1:30 am on Sunday morning. According to Mapquest, 682 miles in 10 hours. We drove the van and Paula's sister followed in their car. Starting early in the morning is my preferred way to travel long distance with the kids. Hopefully you're able to get lots of miles and time down the road before the kids wake up and start the how "long till we get there", "I've got to pee", or "I'm hungry". We only made three stops on the way down and were able to combine them into bathroom breaks, food breaks and gas fill-ups. Trip down went very well. We arrived in Tampa around 2:00 pm. (Darrell stayed home, he had class)

Trip home seemed to take forever. We got off the ship around 8:30 am, Saturday morning (yesterday) jumped in the car and started driving. Made it home just before 8:00 pm. That was a long day on the road.

What are the odds of Paula and her sister booking the same hotel I stayed in on one of my 2 trips to Tampa, over 7+ years ago? They were remodeling some of the upper floors. We were able to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stadium from our room. The picture I took of Paula and Dylan on the balcony, you can't really see the stadium. Boys were able to swim in the pool after we got back from a trip to the dock to see where everything was for our departure the next day.

Bryan and Dylan in the atrium of the hotel in Tampa

Got one treadmill run in on Monday morning a week ago. I hate the treadmill. But, didn't really feel good about trying to run outside from the hotel. One good thing about the treadmill is dialing into the pace you want to run. That's about the only good thing. Time stands still on the treadmill. I did 6 miles, one mile at a incline and another mile at faster pace and the rest just plodding along. This treadmill had fans, which helped a little bit. It's still hot and the sweat just slings everywhere.

This morning was my first run on the road since last Saturday. Started at 8 am, way later than usual. Usually done with my long runs by that time, because of the heat. Scheduled for a twenty miler. It was 60 degrees when I started but right at 80 degrees when I finished. Got my 20 miles, but with a 2 mile warmdown walk home. Hell it wasn't warm, it was downright hot. I was breathing just as hard walking as the miles I slogged from 16 to 18. The early miles were great, real marathon pace to monkey pace and felt great. Guess the cut back in runs/distance from the cruise with the lack of pre run hydration kicked by butt.

Best picture of the cruise was of Paula's sister family at sunrise