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Showing content with the highest reputation on 05/14/2019 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    Embrace the Suck It is cold. I am wet. Why am I out here? These are the thoughts that keep running through my mind as I have almost reached the halfway point of my twelve miles out and back on the Pinhoti Trail. I also keep making the internal observation that this would be a good trail to run. It is a little wider than single track and although it is constantly going up or down it is not too steep. For a moment I lament the fact that my hips can only handle a pace of about 2.5 miles an hour. Those are the cards I have been dealt, so might as well play the hand I have. It is also a shame there will be no views today. I will get up above 3000 feet in elevation but most of the time I feel like I am hiking in a cloud. Even as I start to feel the cold water seep into my Hoka’s I am happy to be out here on a dreary February day in Georgia. It has been over two hours and I haven’t seen a soul. This time is my sanctuary. It gives me the opportunity to work through my own mind, but to be honest I am probably an idiot for going out into the woods on a day like today. I am goal driven if nothing else and the goal is to complete all the Pinhoti in Georgia even if I am only doing about 6 miles at a time and even if I can feel the moisture accumulating on the inside of my raincoat. “Embrace the suck,” that is the other thought that echoes in my mind as I smile at the small creek that is overflowing and that I will have to walk through. Its ok, my feet are already soaked Why I left Being a type A goal junky is what got me into running in the first place. It is why I found the original loop and started blogging. It was part of a change in who I was. I was moving from NJ and a comfortable job to Georgia and a lot of unknowns. Being a part of a group gave me identity and it provided positive reinforcement for the habit of frequent exercise which almost slid into an addiction. Being type A is also why I stopped blogging. I realized after a while most of what I was writing was “look at me, look at what I have done even after the doctors say I shouldn’t run with an artificial hip.” But it wasn’t just that. My goals were changing, and I wasn’t running as much. My writing as well as my running had to be more than succor for my ego. After my first Triathlon in 2010 I told myself I need to become a better runner. A few laps around the local track wasn’t going to cut it. So, I dove in and set my long-term goal on doing a ½ ironman. I improved at running, built up to completing my first and only marathon 3 years later and then found out I have a congenital problem in my hips call Developmental hip dysplasia which leads to early degeneration of the cartilage and eventual bone rubbing on bone. I thought my running days were over. I had the hip replaced. Being the stubborn idiot that I am and against doctor’s advice I did a sprint tri 6 months after surgery and a half marathon less than a year later getting to my first and only loopfest at Marshall. Fall of 2015 I completed my goal of completing a ½ ironman and I told myself if I never ran a long race again I would be happy. Even so I have done a lot of short triathlons since then. I never thought I would run a big race again. This past fall I found myself running 6 miles, then 9 and eventually 11, so I had to run a half marathon with my wife. The most enjoyable races I have had done have been when I paced someone else. Helping my wife get her PR and reach her A goal made the 2 months of pain following the race worth it. Compromise There are some days I feel great after I run. Other days I have lingering pain in my left hip (the bad hip) for a day or two. This is my body telling me that eventually this mechanical hip will wear out and I will have to have this replaced. Some days I have pain in my right hip (not the bad hip but getting there). I know one day I will have to have surgery on that one too. I have become very religious about not running two days in a row and I have incorporated yoga and other core strengthening exercise into my routine. On days when I swim I make it a point to hit the weights, but I know that the final result is inevitable. Nevertheless, I still run. In fact I am currently training to do the same ½ ironman in Augusta that I did 4 years ago. Just one more big race I tell myself, then I will hang up the shoes. I have become very good at lying to myself. Go big or go home. Over the winter I frequent a spin class which is full of characters. I not only go for the exercise but also for the comradery. There is a lady named Jackie who is at least 15 years my senior and who is constantly picking on me during class. She has an Australian accent and has lived in the south now for over 30 years, so it doesn’t even feel like she is yanking my chain, and most of the time I just laugh. “Scotty, what’s wrong you can’t keep up? You are almost going as slow as me today Scotty. Yes, when the class leader is telling those slackers to pick it up she is talking about you.” Needless to say, every class ends with a puddle of sweat on the floor below my bike. By the way Jackie is the only one who gets away with calling me Scottie. Jackie, is one of those people you look at and you are motivated just by her being present. I say to myself, when I grow up I want to be just like Jackie. Still smiling at the world even when she is pushing herself. Knowing that her days of being fast and riding long miles are behind her, but there still are good days ahead. My favorite days in class are when Jackie wears her favorite t-shirt. At some point during the class I will hear her roar in her Australian accent, “Go big or go home.” It is printed right there on her gym tank top. How could you miss it? Being honest with myself I recently finished Scott Jurek’s book North about his FKT. I was surprised by many things including the friction between hikers and Scott during his attempt as well as how unprepared he was for this journey. It was uplifting to read about all the friends and strangers that helped him on his way. What resonated most with me was how he described why he needed to attempt this record and the deep dark place he went to be able to reach his goal. One of the reasons why he tried to get the FKT was because he wanted to find his edge and push it a little farther. Pushing that envelope is something that he has realized is getting harder to do at his age. He realized he needed to challenge himself when his wife called him out for mailing it in during his most recent races. It just so happened that his limits led him to a very dark place within himself and then he had to find a way out. Most of us Type A people need to find our limits and then try to push just a little farther. Maybe it is a desire to better ourselves. Maybe we don’t want to admit that like all things we have limits. At some time in our life we all find ourselves in that dark place. It is the struggling with ourselves that helps us claw out. It is our friends and family who reach out their hand to pull us from the dark. It is the experience of being in this place during a race or on a run or in the middle of a hike that reminds us that this too is limited and we know that we will find a way out. Struggling with the limits that come with getting older is the place I find myself currently. Looking back at all that I have been able to do and to truly be thankful provides a solid foundation. Looking ahead to what I still want to accomplish gives me motivation. The goals may have changed due to my limits but they meet Jackie’s criteria, they are big. See there is this mountain in Maine that is calling my name. Rocky Top, Great Smokey Mountains
  2. 1 point
    Colorado Women’s Classic – 10 miler | Westminster, CO | May 12, 2019 Race 5/12 for 2019 When one chooses to sign up for a race, the results of that race will directly reflect the training you put into getting ready for it – barring any unforeseen, unfortunate circumstances. My result of this race directly reflected my lack of running, as of late. Nonetheless, I have completed my May race and my 5th of the year! I’m still on track to complete one race each month for the year, so I am happy with another successful race finish! Not every race this year will be amazing, and some will be used as reference points and motivation to stay on track. One of my best good buds, Erin (the one you constantly read about in my FBF and TBT posts!), came to visit me over the weekend! It was a short trip, and we only had all day Saturday to spend together, but it’s always amazing to see her for any amount of time. I wanted to make sure she had a great Colorado experience and to make the most of the day we had. I took her up Chimney Gulch to Lookout Mountain in Golden to have a nice overlook of some of the Rockies, Boulder, and Denver. Re-u-nited and it feeeeels so good! It was a decent hike that I could feel on my legs the next morning. After that, we went to a local brewery for some beer and got a cheeseburger and fries from a food truck. Later that day, we both got plates of BBQ and sides to take to another local brewery for more beer and games. I tell you this because these food choices definitely effected how I felt on race day. Erin and I got up at 5:25 on Sunday morning and was off to the airport by 5:45 – she was leaving already! I headed to the race right after dropping her off, and wasn’t feeling so hot. I didn’t have any solid plans to meet anyone at the race, so I got there early, got my stuff, and just sat in my truck. After the announcer needing to announce where the PoPs were, I quickly used one. What’s with the weird PoP situations at races lately?! Ha! See the PoPs way back there behind the cars? This was up a hill from the race start. Weird spot. I did call my mom to wish her Happy Mother’s Day! The temp was in the low 50’s and after starting, I regretted wearing capris and not shorts – at least I had on a tank. It wasn’t a big race so I started towards the front, just so I wouldn’t have to weed through too many people. I planned to start out a little fast, and then settle into something comfortable. I forgot my watch so I was using the Strava app on my phone to track my run. It was tucked away in my FlipBelt and I never looked at it once. I knew I was probably running mid to low 8’s and miles 1 – 2 were 8:23 and 8:25. Right after the start: I am between the pink shirt and red tank girls. I was just about to cut over behind the gal in the pink pants so I could pass. I’m loving my new Goodrs! They are some of the mirrored ones This course was one of the more boring ones I’ve ever run. It was very exposed, no shade, and there was construction throughout – a lot of the dirt shoulders were uneven due to construction. The sun was right in our faces the whole first half and it was quickly draining me of energy. I didn’t bring anything with me so I took cups of Nuun at every aid station starting at 3. I knew I was going too fast, but I’ve been able to hold the faster paces lately without bombing. Miles 3 – 5 were 8:38, 8:46, 8:43. I was starting to feel everything at the 5 mile turnaround and I was getting REALLY hot. My feet were hurting which tells me I need to stop running in my Nike Pegasus 34’s – but I like them better than the 35’s! Boohoo. Right after the 5 mile turnaround, we cut right and were on a packed gravel trail. Yes! A break from the pavement! It was welcomed but I was fading. The sun just felt sooooo hot – I think it was only in the lower 60s but that’s getting hot to us CO folks! The gravel only lasted for a mile and I started taking my first walk breaks around mile 6. This was way too early to start walking. Miles 6 – 7 were 9:45 and 9:43. When we got back out to the pavement, I felt done. Why didn’t I do the 10K?! But thank heavens it’s not a half marathon! I probably walked a couple of times during each of the last three miles. I was over it and just wanted to finish. I got a, “Hang in there!” from one lady that passed me. Ugh. Miles 8 – 10 were 10:24, 10:17, 10:13. You can see some of the construction crap strewn about. With maybe .05 to go, I could hear someone speeding up behind me and knew she was definitely planning to sprint by me at the finish. Now, I hate it when people suddenly pick up the pace to sprint at the end of a race (when you were running slow before that), because if you have that much energy left, why not use it during the race?? HOWEVER, I wasn’t getting passed right at the end. I felt like shit but I wasn’t letting her by me. So I sprinted to the finish and didn’t let her pass me. I never looked back to see who it was, haha! I DID look at the results and saw that it was a 54 year young lady! You go girl! Finish time: 1:33:18 | 9:18 pace | 34/148 ladies | 7th in 30-39 AG They boasted about how much food there would be at the finish, but it was a total letdown. I did get a tiny cupcake that I killed in one bite, and half a banana, but the other few things I saw were packaged bars. I grabbed a bar and then left. I didn’t want to hang around. I didn’t feel very well the rest of the day but did manage to kill some sushi (a combo of four salmon nigiri pieces and then two other salmon rolls!) at lunch. Even though this race sucked ballz, I am glad to have successfully finished another race. I was due for a blowup and am surprised it hadn’t come sooner. Heat and tummy issues didn’t help, but I ran what I trained for! They can’t all go perfectly but we learn something from all of them. Next up in June, The Vertical Mile Challenge! EEEK!
  3. 1 point
    Hi FT!!!! 👋 It's good to see you around!!! Good luck bagging that mountain!
  4. 1 point
    Great adventures! I'm looking forward to more hiking/running adventures on the East coast myself. Best of luck in your Ironman training!
  5. 1 point
    What Dave said. Thanks for the inspiration FT.
  6. 1 point
    This mortality thing is for the birds, isn't it? It's inspiring to see you still kicking back at the universe. Nice to hear again from our old friend the Flying Tomato.
  7. 1 point
    I miss being fast. Colorado sucked that out of me. Let's see if I can get it back
  8. 1 point
    People are asking, "How was your race"? How'd you do?" and I have to pause because I don't want to say, "Well, I missed all my goals and ran 4:06" because that really doesn't tell the story. Boston 2019 was a fabulous time, as Boston always is. It is really not about how the race went. It is about soaking in the atmosphere and being part of a running carnival. Walking the streets surrounded by runners in their Boston jackets. Feeling like part of a secret club that you were lucky enough to earn your way into, that has been given control of a major city for the weekend. Sure, much of that is silliness in our heads, but it is palpable nonetheless. So, how'd I do? I did great. I got to run with 26,000 awesome people and get yelled at by 100,000 more. I got to have the same feeling that I did in New York of being a rock star, despite just being a guy jogging down the street at 8 minute pace, and slower. I enjoyed the hell out of it, so, yeah, I met my goal. But I know you want details, so I'll break it down for you. I flew across the country on Friday - a trek that took 14 hours after one flight got diverted and delayed and I missed my connection. But I eventually got to Boston and met up with Carissa and Adam. We rented an Airbnb apartment in an old building within walking distance of the finish line that looked like this. We had the 2nd floor of that corner building. It was basically a studio, with a 2nd bed in a room the size of a closet. But it was fine. It was great to have them to hang out with all weekend. Saturday was a busy day. Carissa ran the BAA 5K so I did a little shakeout run with her and watched the race. Then I hit the expo in the AM and picked up a few souvenirs before we all went to Fenway for the afternoon Red Sox game. It turned out sunny and beautiful and we had front row seats in right field just past the bullpen. Later we met up with Loopsters Ken and Glenn for dinner before finally getting some rest. Sunday was less busy as we mainly just ate and rested. Watched Tiger win the Masters, and Adam introduced me to Game of Thrones. Carissa whipped up a spaghetti dinner for traditional carb-loading. Then we laid out our gear and planned for the race. All week, the forecast had been for rain. First it was cold rain. Later it was warmer rain. And thunderstorms. But as it turned out, the rain came early and was done before race time. Unfortunately we had to walk to the bus at 7:30 while it was pouring down and we got drenched. Shoes and socks were soaked through. Oh well. The smart people wore throw-away shoes and carried their race shoes. Never thought of that. Happy to spend the hour on the bus with this crazy chick. Once we got to Hopkinton it was dry, but the fields were muddy. Not too horrible though. Plenty of time to take care of business. Carissa took off for her wave 2 start and I had a little time to myself. Then the long walk to the start line. I always like that. It's like a little parade where we can shake off the nerves and celebrate being there. Then we get into our corrals and there's a few minutes to converse with strangers that are (mostly) all smiling and excited. Wheeee!!! It's Boston!!! And then we're off. So my plan was just to run at comfortable pace. Not too fast. So I wanted the first two miles over 8, preferably closer to 8:30. Then I figured to settle into a pace about 8:00. Definitely wanted to avoid sub-8s in my usual (futile) quest to not go out too fast. Hoped to get through 16 close to 8 minute pace and then just see what happens after that. And that's basically what happened. I wanted to break 4, because, well, it sounds better! But I also was treating it like an ultra, where time didn't really matter. I gave myself permission (ahead of time) to walk on the uphills and enjoy the journey. And that's what happened! But I'm getting ahead of myself. Everything felt good as we started running. None of the injuries that have irritated me over the previous months even made a peep. Knee fine. Ankle fine. Hammy fine. Feet fine. First two miles were 8:16 and 8:11 as I ran with the crowd and relaxed. Then the splits dropped as we kept going downhill. 7:51, 7:46, 8:06, 7:52, 7:51, 7:57, 7:51, 7:56 through ten miles. I hit ten in almost exactly 80 minutes. I felt good. But not great. Not like I was itching to go faster. Carissa had put my name on my shirt with cut out duct tape letters, so I got to hear people cheering for me for about ten miles before the letters apparently fell off after I was sweating too much. It really helps hearing your name constantly. I also did a lot of high-fiving and smiling at people. The sun came out about this time and it started to warm up. Still felt pretty good through 13 and into Wellesley. 8:02, 7:48, 7:58 and halfway in 1:44:53. Just under 8 minute pace. The Wellesley girls were as loud as ever. I didn't stop for smooches, but I slapped hands with a hundred of them and soaked up the energy. I was feeling the fatigue come on, but I knew I was doing better than last time (2017) when I started bonking by mile 14. I was starting to bargain with myself about when I could take my first walk break. Definitely wanted to get through 16 and a big downhill there. 14-16 were 7:55, 8:14 and 7:49. And then the first of the Newton hills. It's not too steep but it's long. I downshifted and switched to training run mode. I told myself I could run over this first one at least. So I did. Got to 17 in 8:44. But by the time the 2nd hill started in mile 18 I was ready for a break and started to walk. My stomach had been uncomfortable for some time now. I made the mistake of eating THREE Clif bars before the race. Plus a bagel and a banana. And apparently whatever is in those Clif bars was creating some chemical reactions in my innards. So not only were my legs worn out, but I just didn't feel like running because of my belly. I started looking for port-a-potties but there were none about. Walked most of the 2nd hill because I had switched to Ultra mode and just didn't care anymore. Still happy though. Enjoying the people and the experience. Mile 18 was 12:27. I did some running mixed with walking for the next three miles over the rest of Newton. I had mentally checked out and thought about walking it in and it seemed fine. Hell, I've done it before! The upset belly just made the idea of running sound not fun. Mile 19 was 10:46. Finally I found an open p-o-p and went in, but it was a fruitless effort. Still clogged up I guess. I wasted over 2 minutes in there and then headed back out. Mile 20 was 15:20! But then relief came in the form of some eloquent flatulence. I let go with some lengthy tooting (silent, but also deadly), and suddenly felt like running was a much better idea. Grateful for the 20mph breezes (which were mostly behind us (ha)) the brown cloud soon parted. As I reached heartbreak hill in mile 21 I was chatting with another walker and we both decided to run. I made it most of the way up. But I did stop for photos at the top. Mile 21 was 14:00. But it was all downhill from here. Sure I was still sore-legged and spent. But I could run. So I got into a decent trotting pace and the walk breaks started to get farther apart. Mile 22 was 11:19 and I calculated that I wasn't going to break 4:00, but if I could keep moving I could still break my 4:11 disaster from 2017. So I kept moving. Mile 23 was 11:50 and 24 was 10:13! Flying! Seriously these last three miles were this year's highlight. Instead of suffering and shuffling like almost all my marathons, I was running! Albeit slowly. It was a nice surprise after feeling like crap a few miles back. Now on my 3rd Boston I knew the course better and that helped with the visualizing. I knew what was coming up and I kept trucking. Mile 25 was almost all running in 9:45. I knew I had it in the bag now. I was smiling and enjoying the huge crowds. The cloud cover had returned with some cool breezes (cold front) and then it started to rain with about a mile to go. It felt great. I took one last walk break as we dipped under the road before Hereford. And then I ran it all the way in - something I couldn't do the last two times. Mile 26 was 10:35 and the last .46 miles on my Garmin were 8:59 pace! Turning left on Boylston and running those last few blocks in a deafening roar was superfantastic. So much fun. I had my arms up for the finish and then my calf cramped with literally two steps to go. Hence the wince in these pictures. And then the smile. Done! 4:06:32. We'll call it an age-group course record. Hobbled the mile back to our place. The usual glorious shower. No chafing. No blisters. Pretty medal. We all went out to celebrate at the top of the Prudential. 52 stories up for a beautiful view. Life is good.
  9. 1 point
    This was not one of my better run races; not by long shot. I’m not really upset by that though. First the basic facts: This was my second Boston and 12th marathon finish. Finish time of 3:28:52 was my third fastest marathon and a minute faster than last year.. My PR from last fall was 3:17:53. Goal for Boston was 3:15. The weather forecasts a week or so before the race was predicting conditions very similar to last year: cold, wet, and significant headwinds. As the race got closer this started to change to warmer temperatures but still wet. The prediction for winds were pretty varied but in the couple of days before looked like it would be a tail wind. I wasn’t too happy about temperatures in 60s but thought that with the cloud cover, some rain and tailwind it might be okay. So what happened with weather? It was actually pretty nice at the start; it felt almost cool, it was cloudy, not much wind. Unfortunately, the temperatures only got warmer and at about the halfway point the sun actually came out. (Note that it did rain later but by that time I was walking from my hotel to a bar to meet my running club buddies.) I picked a pace band at expo for my goal time (3:15). This wasn’t a generic pace band with even splits (7:26) but rather, considered the downhills and uphills of the Boston course. My pacing for the first 15 miles was pretty close. I knew the Newton hills would be hard but was hoping that I could grind through and recover and get back on pace for the last five miles. Unfortunately, I started to struggle mightily on the hills and ended up taking walk breaks on the third hill and on Heartbreak hill (miles 20 and 21). By the time I got to Boston College is was in survival mode and taking a walk break every mile. The upside (?) was that I had plenty of company. I may have been in 3:15 shape but just not in 3:15 shape for a warm Boston day. The decision to go for a significant PR at Boston was certainly bold but I already had a BQ (minus 17 minutes) from the Marine Corps Marathon last fall so I felt like I was playing with house money. The upside of a “nice” spring day was that the spectators were really out in force. I was really in awe of the number of spectators out last year in that miserable weather but this year there were at least 3 times (or more) out there. The singlet I wore to race included the Maryland state flag and I got a lot of cheers for that; it was really nice to hear “Go Maryland!” and “Terps” throughout the day. I probably could feel upset and frustrated about not hitting (or even coming close) to my goal. I’m not. I was last year (which had a similar story) but I think that I so enjoyed the process of training for the race that the race result wasn’t the most important thing. There are a couple truths: you can’t control the weather and the Boston course is tough. I would have loved to have run a PR (or even just decent race). Hopefully, if all goes well this summer, I’ll be toeing the line at the Marine Corps Marathon ready to run a new PR. And next April I’ll be back in Boston.
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