Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Haven't Been Running, I Haven't Been Slacking

"People try to put us d-down (Talkin' 'bout my generation) Just because we get around (Talkin' 'bout my generation)" The Who

So just when I get back on track, or should I say "back on the road," life gets busy and I don't run. Yes, this past Sunday was the last day I ran. This Saturday will be the next day I run. A 6 day break is usually unacceptable for me, but I do have legitimate reasons for my lack of a runner's high. Monday I worked my regular job, then a 5:15 (hey, another "Who" song) meeting for Weight Watchers. Tuesday was work, followed by traveling an hour to see The Who concert at Mohegan Sun. The concert was ok; at times it seemed like they were just going through the motions. Maybe being the fact that Roger Daltrey is "64" was also a reason. Yesterday was work, followed by a meeting with a "Bride-to-be" (I'm also a JP) about her wedding next June. By the way, I do wedding ceremonies for free everyone! Then home to attend to my son Robert's needs, then off to work at Weight Watchers. There's another factor involved in my lack of free time this week, but I'll have to explain that on Friday. Anyhow, it is impossible for me to run in the morning, as I get up at 4 a.m. weekdays. OK, it's not impossible, just impractical! I HATE running after dark, but as of this Sunday I will have to suck it up. Yes, we "fall back," so it will be dark here in Connecticut at 5 pm, if not earlier. At least my running clothes are reflective, as are my shoes, and I can wear my arm band with the red flashing light. The bad thing about wearing my arm band is I tend to be fascinated by how "cool" it looks flashing in the dark, and that's not good if I'm running on a busy road!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Yup, I ran this weekend...

"Trying hard now, its so hard now, trying hard now..Getting strong now, wont be long now, getting strong now..Gonna fly now, flying high now, gonna fly, fly, fly." Theme from Rocky

OK, so I admit it...As I'm running, wearing my mp3 player (No, I don't own an ipod). I listen to '70's music: Elton John, Eagles, ELO, Chicago, Grand Funk Railroad, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and even Abba and a bunch of one-hit wonders to name a few! Any song that brings back pleasant memories of me being in my teens or 20 something is probably on my mp3 player. So as I ran my usual 5 mile course both days this past weekend, I'm sure the persons driving by me on Route 10 were wondering if I was smiling or grimicing from pain (I was smiling) when they saw me. Saturday's run (43:00) was a struggle, especially running up what my daughter Stephanie has nicknamed "The Killer Hills" on Blacks Road. I have no idea why my body felt "blah", but like any runner I was happy that I sucked it up and did it. Sunday, I decided it was "Hammer Time" (see previous posting) again. The combination of apple cinnamon gel, energy bar, and Heed worked like a charm. I didn't feel as if I was running any faster than Saturday, but it was a lot less effort. I was shocked when I discovered that my time was 41:12, nearly 2 minutes faster than Saturday. So once again, Hammer Time came through.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I Behaved, and My Lawn Looks Great

"The answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind, The answer is blowin in the wind." Bob Dylan

Well, I resisted the normal Friday after work "Literary Club" meeting at Humphrey's yesterday. Literary Club is what we call Happy Hour at the school I work at, so the students don't realize that we're going out drinking. Instead of having my average of 4 Sam Adams and way too many buffalo wings while watching "Giada" do her bendovers on the Food Network at 4:30, I did the responsible thing and went home. Instead of going for a run, I decided to beat the rain that is forecast for today and mow and fertilize my lawn. So, I "fired up" my 20 horsepower Sears lawn tractor and put the pedal to the medal. One hour later, my lawn was looking good. I followed that with an application of Scotts® Lawn Pro® Super Turf Builder With Winterguard fertilizer, and I was all set. But wait!! I "accidentally on purpose" spread some fertilizer on the driveway and sidewalk. No problem, as I recently bought a new Toro Ultra Blower Vac 51599, $70, a CR Best Buy. Just so you know, I don't buy anything (running shoes excluded) without checking out Consumer Reports magazine rating first. Even though it's electric, it has POWER. I made a few "Tim the Toolman Taylor" noises as I blew the fertilizer off the sidewalk and driveway. It's my new favorite "Boy Toy." I decided that my reward would be a couple of Coors Lights, since I didn't have any Sams in the frig. However, drinking alone just doesn't quite measure up to drinking with co-workers and being served my Sams by Alisha, the "easy on the eyes" bartender at Humphreys. I guess it's the price I paid for being good.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

It's Hammer Time!!

Hammer Nutrition That is...

Today I decided to run my new favorite 5 mile course, created by my daughter. Actually it's the same 5 miler I ran a few days ago. It's a big loop, starting and ending at our home in Cheshire. It has a pretty steep downhill part to it between miles 1 and 2, then a long, gradual incline between miles 2 and 3, followed by a steep, gradual upward incline for miles 3 to 4, and finally mostly downhill from mile 4 to home sweet home. I decided that since I was tired from having worked Weight Watchers last night (Yes, I faxed my 5 lb. weight gain) and only getting about 4 solid hours of sleep, I needed some pre-run help. So, I decided it was "Hammer" time. A month ago I received some free samples of Hammer Nutrition products at the Niantic Bay 1/2 Marathon. Hammer products are made with natural ingrediants, so me being the curious one, tried them. Well, as the old Alka-Seltzer commercials used to say "Try it, you'll like it." I did, and I did. So I now have a stash of Hammer products. Anyhow, I had a chocolate energy gel and mixed up and drank the Heed High Energy Electrolyte Drink prior to running. All I can say is "WOW!" While my time wasn't spectacular (42:20; 8:28/mile), the ease of running the 5 miles was unbelievable. I can honestly say it was effortless. I probably could have gone another 2 or 3 miles, but didn't. Even better was the fact that my achilles behaved, and so did my knee. Maybe the additional stretching I did beforehand worked? Tomorrow is Friday, which usually means Happy Hour Sam Adams time, and a day off from running. Maybe I'll skip the beer and buffalo wings and run instead......or, maybe not!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Achilles Pain?? That's a New One

"No pain, no gain?"
Before I get to my achilles pain, I have a confession to make. I've gained 5 pounds in the past month. I attribute it to my over zealous pre-marathon carb loading. Probably the fact that I took 8 days off from running didn't help either. I thought I'd mention all this since I also work part time as a receptionist for Weight Watchers. At one time I weighed 218 lbs. Because of Weight Watchers and common sense, I usually weigh between 175 and 180. I have to fax my weight tomorrow night to my boss. I'm thinking of faxing a disclaimer along with it. Maybe I should also wear a sign at tomorrow night's meeting that says "Do as I say, not as I do." Anyhow, I'm 2 for 2 with post marathon runs while experiencing pain in my right achilles. Yes, I know I should stretch more. I HATE stretching, since I'm about as flexible as a 2 by 4. At least the pain has moved from my knee to my achilles. I'm hoping it goes out the bottom of my foot next. Yes, I'm being sarcastic. So, today was a 5 mile run along Cheshire's streets, on a course created by my daughter. I ran it alone, and realized how much I appreciate the quality father-daughter runs that we sometimes do. My time was 42:37 (8:31/M), which isn't bad for a solo run. OK, time to go ice my achilles...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Has it really been 8 days????

"Run Rick Run"
8 days after completing the Hartford Marathon I finally ran again. My 23 year old son has been sick the past week, but he's finally feeling better, so I went for a run. I love the Cheshire Linear trail this time of year. The leaves are various colors, it's busy, but not too busy, and it's just the right temperature... more or less. I went to, as I usually do before a run, and discovered it was "feels like" 44 degrees, which caused me to wear my long sleeved marathon shirt plus sweatpants in addition to my regular running gear. My normal rule is "Less is best," but I also HATE to be cold. Anyhow, I intended to run an easy 4 miles, which turned out to be a "comfortable" 6 miles instead. It wasn't the same as running in a race, as any runner knows. I tend to feed off a crowd and other runners, and have much better times in a race. But I ran a respectable 52:57 (8:49/M). My motivation to run has decreased, as it did after running the marathon in Providence back in May. It's time for me to focus on the Manchester Road Race, which happens on Thanksgiving day. 10,000+ runners plus a fantastic crowd is definitely something to train for and look forward to. Plus it's a short one....just 4.78 miles.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Marathonman Runs Again! Mission Accomplished

"Quitting is not an option"
This past Sunday I completed the "ING Hartford Marathon." 4+ months of training on the Cheshire (CT) Linear Trail and local roads finally paid off. During that time, I ran a total of 380 miles, including four 5K and three Half Marathons from June 8 to October 10 to prepare. OK, so I'm including the New Haven Road Race as a Half Marathon...12.4 miles is close enough! Enough babbling...I ran a 4:22.19, which was 30 minutes faster than my first marathon back on May 4th in Providence. I almost accomplished my goal of averaging 10 minute miles, missing by one freakin' second. I knew the bathroom breaks in the woods would eventually catch up with me! Oh well. I have discovered that carb loading definitely works. You might say I'm a "Carboholic." I follow a schedule I found online, where I stuff my face with as many carbs as I can 3 days before, especially for breakfast and dinner. (I'm so sick of Bruegger's bagels right now). Then I do less complex carbs and more simple carbs for days 2 and 1. Marathon day I'm carrying about 2 extra pounds of bagels and pasta, which works wonders as I chug by the "carbless" runners towards the end, who are walking or just giving up. I must say that gooping my toes with vasoline was the way to purple toes or lost toenails, like what happened by running Providence vasoline free. Live and learn I guess. As far as Hartford, what a fun race. LOTS of cheering spectators and a very fair course. Best about it was there was plenty of fellow marathoners willing to engage in conversation with me. Miles 12 to 15 were made easier by to women running their first marathons, one from Durham, and the other from I forget where. Of course I forget their names, but if they happen to read this, "thanks" and "great job." Then there's "Laura," the "Wonder Woman" of running. She and I talked on and off for several miles. During that time I found out that she has her own blog,, which is well worth reading. She's an inspiration to anyone contemplating running. I hope to run again with her, if not, she'll be remembered as one of those people I've met in my life whose made an impact on me. Anyhow, it's 2 days post marathon, I'm walking ok, just a little leg pain, so life is good! Now I've got to figure out what's next major race wise....probably the Manchester CT Thanksgiving Day race. If you haven't run the 4.78 mile course with 10,000 others, you've missed a lot of fun. Speaking of fun, the Christopher Martin's 5K race (New Haven, CT) in December is the best post race party in the world! 5 kegs of beer flowing, plus lots of food. I'll be in the front row at the bar, drinking and passing the cups of beer!!