MCM 2019: Death March in the DC Triangle

Got up at 0500. Breakfast of English muffin and a banana with peanut butter. No yogurt (just thinking of this almost twelve hours later).

Out the door at 0600. Wait, do we have to take the Metro down there??? Actually, I walked down to the check-in site as usual. I did get close to where the Metro dropped off runners, when I dropped of my bag at UPS. I put my Marine Corps olive drab sweats and a pair of compression socks for my post race cool down. Not sure if I want to do the UPS thing again, though; that was a lot of pre-race and post-race hiking for my cool-down gear.

The rain was there almost all morning. I was soaked by the time I finished the Blue Mile (Mile 12), and that impacted my Kodak mini-camera and my smartphone. My phone is taken apart (battery removed and cover off) in hopes that drying will solve its problems.

Because of the staggered start this year (by expected finish times), the starting howitzer was fired at 0755, but I didn’t get started until 0815~0820. MapMyRun actually worked for a little while. However, I grabbed my phone at Mile 16 and pressed the home button…and got nothing. I assumed that between MMR and my weak battery, the smartphone had been quickly bled dry. Sadly that was just one of the problems I had sixteen miles into today’s 44th Marine Corps Marathon.

I did follow my strategy of not going out overly hard the first eight miles, and gradually pushing the pace over the final two-thirds of the race. After Mile 8 I checked my pace: 11:57, not bad!

Unfortunately, Mile 16 was where it all fell apart. I got my Mile 16 picture, but when I went to do a pace check, my smartphone was dead (or so I thought). My 20-oz. bottle of water, with Tailwind and pickle juice, apparently sprung a leak somewhere after Mile 12 because it was empty. Also, the rain had stopped and the sun came on strong. I had my cotton base layer on over my compression shirt, so it was getting pretty warm. At Mile 17, I took of my base layer and put my bib on the compression shirt, hoping that the new Chafe Defender roll-on would protect my nipples over the last nine or so miles.

I don’t know what it is about the Gauntlet (Miles 16-19, in and around the National Mall in DC), but every year I end up struggling here. By Mile 17, I was implementing Plan B: marching for a quarter-mile or so and pick up enough to at least try running again. I did make the Fourteenth Street Bridge, but it was more of a relief that a feeling of accomplishment from years’ past.

Mile 22: Rosslyn. Let the party begin, right? I doubt this had anything to do with what happened, but…I grabbed a shot of beer and a fireball shot. Normally I stay away from the hard stuff while running, but I figured my Personal Record day was already shot to pieces, and I would be lucky to finish in under seven hours. At Mile 23, my calves seized up. I couldn’t even Marine Corps Shuffle  (slightly faster than a jog) let alone run. I was forced to march until Mile 25.

I had decided at Mile 17, after a few minutes of soul=searching about 2019 (training and life in general) that I was not going to do anything less than FINISH…no excuses or bullshit. I ground out the Gauntlet, the Bridge, and Crystal City, so I decided that i would march until the last half mile…where I passed the same starting corrals that I had passed only six hours earlier. From there, just run as hard as I could until the end.

6 hours, 7 minutes, 52 seconds. Twenty minutes worse than last year, and an hour better than my Sore Knee Shuffle of 2016.

Post-mortem/observations:

  1. I’m too fat right now. Next year I plan to be under 205 when I come to Arlington.
  2. Too many DNFs and missed runs, none of them due to injury. Bulshit. If I’m going to run the MCM (or any marathon) I need to take this seriously.
  3. #2 above includes a better diet. Running and biking can’t burn off every calorie.
  4. Famous Dave’s BBQ: RIB SHACKS DON’T PLAY JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE ON THE FRIGGIN’ RADIO.
  5. Loved the St; Louis ribs and fries, tho’.
  6. As the rain poured down and I saw the Marine lieutenants lining the MCM course in the rain: “Hey, Brooks Running: People will pay a good chunk of their disposable income for a Gore-Tex running tech shirt. Especially if they’re in fluorescent (night/low-light visible) colors. Y’all need to get on that.”
  7. Back of the pack (anticipated 6 hours or so finishing corral): Business in the front, party in the back…what party? If everybody was anywhere near as sore as I was, didn’t see a lot of Toby Keith-type action.

 

Song of the Day: 44th Marine Corps Marathon Special Guest: TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS!!!

Running Down a Dream: Otherwise known as my first fifteen miles. Genius ain’t shit, and don’t even ask me about the video.

Refugee: When I discovered Tom and Co. on The Video Music Channel/Night Flight/or the other pre-MTV stuff in the late seventies, early eighties.

Mary Jane’s Last Dance: I ALWAYS hear this song near the end, to in the beginning when I have to go park the car. The video is to creepy, so…lyrics. Also, not necessarily a song about drugs (oh, hey…thanks, Genius!).

Won’t Back Down: This song wasn’t necessarily in my head after Mile 17, but I wouldn’t have banished such a thought from my head.

 

 

 

MCM 2019/T-Minus 1: Road

I made the hour and a half trip back to Lexington Park because I wanted to try on my suit for the Marine Corps Ball next week. It fit just fine, so I took it in to get cleaned and pressed. I also picked up some last minute stuff: a change of running shorts (to better carry my phone), some peanut butter, a coupe bottles of water, and some other stuff.

After the run to the cleaners and a quick stop for donuts and coffee, I made the two-hour drive to the National Museum of the Marine Corps. The highlights of the trip: buying a Marine Corps tech shirt that may be light gray enough to be seen in the dark, and attempting to bet a shot of me in front of an AV-8B fighter-bomber hanging from the ceiling. The idea was better than the execution.

The drive back to the hotel took and extra fifteen minutes because traffic was jammed up on the I-95 going east. I figured it was the pre-game tailgating traffic for the World Series Game 4 between the host Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros.

In about 12 more hours, I will be on the starting line at the 44th Marine Corps Marathon, at the 5 hours 30 minutes corral, looking for the 12:30 pace guy (or at least I will ask him/her what mile pace he’s/she’s running). In about 24 hours ( just before sundown) the beard I have been sporting since march will be gone.

Not as reflective this year as I was last year. Mostly because I have tow logistical matters on my mind: trying to find a date for the Ball next week, and filling out my FFA license to pick up a .22 pistol I won at a raffle. Oh, and there’s also one last carbo-loading supper and hydrating before tomorrow.

Wake-up is at 0500, which means I get to sleep in tomorrow. Heading down to Runner’s Village just after 0600, and I plan to be on the starting corral around 0700. Start stretching about 0715~0720 until the National Anthem. Set up MapMyRun (yes, I plan on burning my smartphone just for the MCM), chug down the Nuun water just after the starting cannon (yes, the MCM begins with a cannon firing), and off I go.

Song of the Day: After almost four hours on the road today, I picked up two real good pre-run tunes. Oh, by the way: modern country music SUCKS.

Survivor/”Eye of the Tiger:” Written by guitarist/producer Frankie Sullivan and keyboardist Jim Peterik, who tells how Survivor contributed to the Rocky III soundtrack:

“I got home one day, and there’s my big old answering machine. I hit ‘Play’ and I hear, ‘Hey yo, Jim, that’s a nice answering machine you got there. Give me a call. It’s Sylvester Stallone.’ I go, ‘Yeah, right.’ I play it back again … ‘Karen, does this sound like Stallone, or is that just Sal, my roadie?’ ‘No, that’s him.’ So I call him up … He says, ‘I’ve got this new movie called Rocky III, and I don’t want to use that “Gonna Fly Now” song. It’s a good song, but I want something for the kids. Something with a pulse. Can you help me out?’ I go, ‘Uh, is the Pope Catholic?’

Led Zeppelin/”Kashmir:” This song was written by Robert Plant, inspired by a road trip through Morrocco:

“The whole inspiration came from the fact that the road went on and on and on. It was a single-track road which neatly cut through the desert. Two miles to the East and West were ridges of sandrock. It basically looked like you were driving down a channel, this dilapidated road, and there was seemingly no end to it.”

Even if you’ve never seen Rocky III, you listen to the singer, the driving rhythms, and you just get all pulped up. “Kashmir” is this ongoing slow build-up with Jimmy Page’s guitar and John Bonham working with John Paul Jones on a sledgehammer rhythm that just keeps pushing to this climax that you never reach…and almost don’t want to.

 

MCM 2019/T-Minus 2: Expo

This year’s haul from the 2019 Marine Corps Marathon Runner’s Expo:

From the Brooks Running Area:

One pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19, size 12.5 D width. Thicker, more cushioned soles than my current Brooks Ravennas. They fit nice and feel nice, and I have a little more room for my big toes. Sadly, they will be in storage until next summer, after my current pair reaches “the end of the line.”

To commemorate this year being my fifth Marine Corps Marathon, I purchased one long-sleeve and one short sleeve tech shirt. The long sleeve has the Iwo Jima Memorial silhouetted against a sphere with descending shades of gray. The short sleeve has the Marine Corps Emblem (Eagle, Globe and Anchor) in white on a gray field, with “Marine Corps Marathon” on top and “Always Earned, Never Given” in a U underneath the emblem.

This year’s mock turtleneck for MCM entrants/participants is a black  number with subdued grey stripes running diagonal, and a light grey stripe across the center. The National Ensign (United States Flag) is over the left breast and the MCM logo is over the right. Zippered collar. Nice design, but nothing may ever top last year’s design for the mock, which was a shot of a crowd of runners over a light gray field. The reactions went from “WTF” to “WHOAAA!!!” You either loved it or you hated it. I have seen quite a few people wearing that particular mock through the year (eventually even I put it on), including more than a few people this year.

On the main floor:

I spent most of the expo looking for a pair of running shorts, similar to the tights that I purchased from Brooks last year. No such luck. The shorts they had were all lightweight material, and I wanted a set of shorts that were more ‘form fitting” and less likely to ride up my crotch. The lululemon stand had some, but…nah.

I bought three packs of Tailwind and one box of Ucan hydrate, looking for something to replace my Mio water, so I can have potassium/salt/whatever in my thighs and calves so I don’t tighten up near the middle stages (Miles 16~18) of the marathon. I’ve used Tailwind before, so I will go with a half pack of Tailwind and mix it with some dill pickle juice.

Yeah, yeah…”ewww, gross.”

Lastly, I bought two different anti-chaffing products as an alternate to the Body Glide that I bought with me. A friend of mine told me about this aerosol spray, but that particular  vendor wasn’t there this year. I will go with the Chafe Defender over the Stop Chaffing product, since Defender was a roll-on that felt real smooth when I tried it today. I’m doing this because lately I have felt some burn after my longer runs this year (after, not during).

I had lunch at the Public House in National Harbor, just across from the Gaylord Hotel, where the Expo was being held. Very nice club sandwich with side salad, and the local Public House Lager went down smooth.

Tomorrow will be a long day. Driving back home to get my suit tailored for next week’s Marine Corps Ball, then from there the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Hope I can find something on the radio than the BS that passes for country music these days.

The weather is nice out right now, but the forecast calls for rain on Sunday. I have a long sleeve base layer with me to wear over my tech shirt, but I will just go with shorts instead of grabbing my tights tomorrow. The tights are only going to get wet and slow me down.

Song of the Day: Shallow Gravy/”Jacket:” Just came out of nowhere, folks. This is the extended version from the Venture Bros. TV show, and here’s the full Ladle to the Grave version.

Why thank you, YouTube. The mini-episode “Ladle to the Grave” is now behind a paywall (meaning you have to pay to see it!). Here’s the original cut from the episode “Homeschool Prom.”, as well as the original video.

MCM 2019/T-Minus 4:Logistics, T-Minus 3: Ceremonial

T-Minus 3: Ceremonial

Working backwards from right now, 5:01 p.m. EST

Just got done with a very late lunch from District taco, a short walk outside my hotel in Arlington, VA. Three delicious spicy shrimp tacos and a small bag of chips with guacamole. All for sixteen bucks.

After what I spent on the hotel and rental car-and oh, by the way, your debit card is on-hold until you check out Monday morning-I’m on cash for Marine Corps Marathon weekend. Which means cooking up a great big Dutch oven full of my classic Chili Cubano. I call it that because the meats resemble those found in a traditional pressed Cuban sandwich: pulled pork, ham, and in variant, spicy pork chorizo sausage. I’m using Johnsonville chorizo; it’s pretty good, but it’s not a traditional Mexican brand chorizo.

But I’m eating it and you’re not. Hahaha!

Anyway, I’m planning on fixing my dinner-cum-carbo loading for the weekend about 7:00, an hour before the last Major League Soccer conference semifinals.

Today, about 2:45 p.m. EST:

I was somewhere on I-395 south, heading into the Arlington/Rosslyn area, when I saw the standards for the runner’s corrals. There are where the runners will be grouped by their expected finishing time.

I saw the standards, and then it hit me: I am driving down the road where the 44th Marine Corps Marathon will be starting. This is it. This is why I spent so much money yesterday. This is the payoff for all the midwinter conditioning…answering the 4;30 a.m alarms (and sometimes earlier)…the early mornings at the Apex Clubhouse gym…and all the running of damn near every hill that the State of maryland could offer, from the Capital Crescent to the Chesapeake and Ohio Towpath.

This is why I’m here…to finish. For the FIFTH time.

I saw a Facebook post by a guy who had a picture of all the MCM patches from forty-one consecutive runs. May I live that long.

Wal-Mart Parking Lot, 1:15 p.m.

…aaand I’m on the road to Arlington, VA, leaving Wal-Mart only fifteen minutes later than I planned, but I’ll just get to the hotel just in time for 3:00 check-in.

I had to hit Wal-Mart for a bottle of Fairlife chocolate milk. It cost me about $3 at Wal-Mart and would cost me a lot more in VA. I also bought some cheap throw-away sweats for Sunday. I am expecting it to be cold and rainy, so bought a zippered hoodie and a pair of sweat bottoms with side pockets, both in large. Mediums would have been tight, but maybe I would have been warmer. I expect to be drenched in sweat and much warmer when I finish the Marathon on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking of sweats, I plan on breaking an old habit and actually using the clear plastic security bag that is packed with my runner’s bib, this year’s mock hoodie and accompanying patch, and other swag from the packet pick up. I plan on better recovering from the run this year, so I will pack my old olive bra green Marine sweats and a pair of compression socks. As soon as I finish, I plan on donning those sweats and socks. Maybe I can find a vendor selling chocolate milk to go with the post-race bananas handed out by Marines.

So what did I forget to pack this year? Just my epsom salt and dishwashing liquid for the post race cool-down bath. The Target had both; didn’t mind the expense, but I wish there was a smaller size bag or carton available for the epsom salt. I also forgot my rechargeable batteries; I had to borrow the set I was saving for my small camera that I use to take my in-race selfies (race start, Mile 8, Mile 16, just before 14th St. Bridge, Mile 24, finish). One more trip to Target.

Marine Aviation Detachment headquarters, 8:35 a.m.

The Ceremonial, the very last run of the training cycle. Arrived at the MAD at 0750. Five minute warning at 0755. Morning colors sounded at 0800. I took off my ball cap, put it over my heart, and faced in the direction of the flag to render honors. Made a few other drivers stop and pause…LIKE THEY’RE SUPPOSED TO WHEN COLORS SOUNDS on a military installation.

At the very last second, I decided to ditch MapMyRun and just go and run. Today was not about pace or negative splits; it was about taking the first step in regaining that Marine Corps connection. I remember the morning that I decided to run my semi-annual Physical Fitness Test on the same day I was due for pistol qualification. My arms weren’t that sore from the pull-ups, but I didn’t feel them until I had to fire those last five rounds on the twenty-five yard line slow fire.

Yes…that kind of Marine Corps connection.

I remember the last half-mile, going back to MAD HQ; I realized that this was the last of all the training I was doing for this year’s MCM. All the early mornings (and late afternoons), all the humidity and cold, and every hill that I climbed this year…it was almost over.

That last half mile, and then the final turn for home, I just took off. Ran fast enough to reach the official sign outside of MAD HQ…and then I got in the car and took off.

I was so focused on getting home to go pee that I completely forgot to get a selfie next to the MAD HQ sign. Instead of taking a few moments to be…y’know…in the moment, I skipped out to go take a potty break. Yipes.

Post script: Just Crack an Egg is a very quick (total 2 minutes prep/1 minute cook time) and very good source of pre-run protein. No water of any kind because I didn’t want to take a No. 2 this morning. Had to take a No. 1 though.

T- Minus 4: Logistics

Just after midnight, Apex Clubhouse

Just got done watching Seattle beat Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference Semifinal. Good game by Seattle, and going to their third conference final in four years. Sad way to go for RSL goalkeeper Nick Raimundo, who won the penalty-shootout for RSL just ten short years ago.

Toronto knocked off NYCFC, converting a last minute penalty kick after drawing the most obvious foul ever in the NY penalty area. Single-game elimination, that’s how it goes, y’all.

I will let the official MLS website break down the matches right here, but for the record, Seattle and Toronto are advancing to the Conference Finals with the same head coaches and core players that got both teams to the MLC Cup Finals in 2016 and 2017.

3:40 p.m. yesterday

Getting ready for the bus so I can pick up the rental car and so some quick shopping. I got a hotel room (at the last minute, NOT recommended) so I have transportation and a hotel room within VERY comfortable walking distance…just a block from the MCM Finisher’s festival, although there is a couple of flights of steps/stairs to navigate.

In reality, I was prepared to do without the hotel room, if there were none available. Plan B would have been:

  1. Stay in Lexington Park for the weekend
  2. Uber to The MCM Runner’s Expo and back. Packet pick-up, shopping at the Expo, lunch in downtown National Harbor, then Uber back home.
  3. Sunday morning: Uber to the MCM Parking Lot (or closest point thereabouts), arriving no later than 6:30 a.m. Check in, run the MCM, chill out at the Finisher’s Festival, then either attempt to get a hotel room or Uber back home.

Plan B would have been much MUCH cheaper (how much? I’m pleading the Fifth).

But it would not have been the same experience.

Song of the Day: Robert Plant/”Big Log”

This is how I feel, near the end of a journey I started way back in February~March. Not exactly from Robert Plant, but from a Genius contributor:

“Truckers in the US comply with driving legislation by filling a log book recording miles and hours drove,
“A Big Log is slang for a long journey, hence lots of time and miles recorded.
“To me, as an ex-trucker, this song is about the call of the road, the next city and the next stop.
“It’s the thoughts that go on in the background of your mind as you punch out the miles on automatic.”

 

MCM 2019/T-Minus 5: Three!

Next to last run of the training schedule. Three miles of Shangri-La Drive…well, actually northern Willows Road all the way through Shangri-La Drive.

Up at 0430, contacts put in within five minutes. It is a decent 61 degrees, so I go with one of my Marine Corps Marathon mock turtlenecks over a tech shirt. Regular running shorts, no tights. Good stretch and out the door at 0455.

I step out to a light drizzle, but there is some moonlight. As I activated the MapMyRun app, I loaded the Shangri-La 3 route. Checked it out, and going from Abberly Crest through Shangri-La Drive, then back down Willows Road down to Green Meadow Lane, then turning around, is just over three miles.

At the start of the run, I got a new feature from MMR: the run tracker now pauses before you start the run, giving you a few seconds to store your smartphone. Nice!

The weather held off on the rain until the turnaround point at Green Meadow Lane. Not like the shower that greeted me on the bike ride back from the supermarket, but some rain nevertheless. 35:51 at an 11:26 pace. MMR did track me for three miles; the only little glitch was that the voice that called out my distance and pace was garbled and broken up. Might need another update to fix that?

Bathroom break

Okay, just got a look at my beard. It’s not pretty, but it’s what I’m wearing to Arlington Thursday for the drive up there. Tempted to at least trim the mustache; it doesn’t look right around the corners of my mouth and the hairs are growing over my lip.

Oh, by the way…the beard is getting shaved after I get back from the MCM Sunday afternoon. Sundown.

Sleeping in tomorrow, packing as I go, and taking care of some last minute logistical stuff. I plan on cooking my homemade Chili Cubano for the weekend, so I’m going to include a trip to the grocer’s tomorrow. Plan to drive to Arlington on Thursday, Runner’s Expo on Friday, Marine Corps Museum on Saturday, and the Marathon on Sunday.

Rumor control on the Facebook page says that there will be rain the morning of the 44th MCM. I’ve never run MCM in the rain before.

Song of the Day: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers/”Don’t Come Around Here No More:”

Okay, you really don’t need Genius to tell you what the song is about, especially if you read and listen to the lyrics. Good opening drums and percussion, and I love the sitars by Eurythmics musician Dave Stewart. The video, inspired by the tea party in Alice in Wonderland, is pretty bizarre, but it does match pretty well with the song’s styling. Also, lovely use of backing vocals and strings.

MCM 2019/T-Minus 6: Brooks

Random stuff , six days out from the 44th Marine Corps Marathon:

I put up some pretty good paces on the last week of my taper period, guesstimating an 11;30-ish pace. My strategy for the MCM is to basically stay with the 12 to 12:30 pack until I clear the last upward slope at Mile 8, then take off from there…if I have enough gas in the tank at that point. I am trying to prevent the burnout that I had last year, as well as have enough to see me to the Fourteenth Street Bridge just after Mile 17.

When I cross the bridge, I will probably do like I did at the National Capital 20-Miler: if I feel really worn out, just slow to a march, then march then I can pick up a “second wind” and start running again. After the bridge comes the crossing into downtown Rosslyn ( Miles 22 through 24), which will be the biggest celebration of the race. The crowds there are AWESOME, and they provide enough of an emotional boost to get the runners through the last four miles.

This week will be two short runs: the last Shangri-La run tomorrow morning (last turnaround at Flower of the Forest) and the Ceremonial (Marine PFT Course at NAS Patuxent River). The goal is to get in two more warm-up runs without sustaining any sort of nagging to sever injury that may impact me on Sunday.

I have started rounding up the gear I will need for Sunday, to include my running outfit. Whatever tech shirt I choose will be immediately retired after the race, hung up in my closet with this year’s MCM medal draped on the clothes hanger it will share.

What I would LOVE to see at the Brooks Runners’ Expo this year ( but I will probably overspend and buy a bunch of junk anyways):

A Dayglo-colored (neon yellow or hunter orange) mock turtleneck, similar in design and fabric to the mock turtleneck given to MCM runners with the MCM Bib “Swag Bag.”

Runner’s/performance shorts similar to the runner’s tights that I purchased last year; I like the tights because they don’t ride up my crothc so much when I run.

New pair of shoes for next year.

A couple of compression shirts, like the ones made by Athletic Wear that I purchased from a Wal-Mart in Rockford, IL so long ago.

I may have to take samples of the stuff I am looking for, so one of the sales reps from Brooks can better help me waste about $300 at the Expo next Friday.

Bears v. Saints

I’m going to guesstimate that I blew $75 on Uber roundtrip and food and beverage at Buffalo Wild Wings yesterday…all to sit through Saints 36, Bears 25.

My beloved bears are 3-3, and yet their 2019 season is doomed. Let me count the ways:

  1. The offensive line can’t block to save their lives
  2. Because of 1, the bears don’t have a running game.
  3. Neither Mitchell Trubisky, nor his backup Chase McDaniel, have any mobility/agility, no accuracy, no arm strength, no deep ball ability, no field vision
  4. The defensive line are pushovers
  5. Khalil Mack, the Bears’ star linebacker, can be double-teamed into oblivion
  6. Because of 4 and 5, the bears don’t have a pass runs
  7. Because of 6, the Bears’ secondary can be burned deep, or cut to shreds at medium range, or get beat when the opposing offense needs to move the chains

I braved the rain yesterday to see all of this in action. Yipes.

Song of the Day: Tim Curry/”Paradise Garage:” (WARNING: Possible repeat choice here!)

Tim Curry is the best rock star that never was. “Paradise,” was one of two songs, along with “I Do the Rock,” that were played as “rock videos” before the theater played The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This is the longer album version from the same-titled album.

MCM 2019/T-Minus 7: Ritual

Detailing the last workouts of my taper period for the Marine Corps Marathon

Friday morning:

Up at 0430 for a 0500 run. Actually, up at 0420 so i can put my contacts in.

I realize that my dayglo long-sleeve shirts are all in the dirty clothes hamper. However, my cell phone is charged, so I can use my MapMyRun app.

0440: I get dressed in a white compression tech shirt, covered by one of my long-sleeved tees from the St. Mary’s City Turkey Trot. Long black running tights. FlipBlet to hold house key and smartphone.

0445-0455: Full stretch, then out the door.

0540. Back after the run. HWY-5 run. The full moon was out, and I was glad I brought the long sleeves and the small gloves this morning. Pace was 11:19 for three miles. Nagging throbbing in my upper left thigh. Not connected to a groin muscle. Put some IcyHot on it after the run.

Saturday morning:

0415: Up before the 0430 alarm, again to put in the contacts. I’m getting better at this, because now it’s taking me about 3~5 minutes.

0445: Dressed in Starter basketball warm-up pants and another long-sleeve tee. Listen to some YouTube because 97.7 the Bay is getting on my nerves.

0455: Out the door for the short walk to the Apex Clubhouse to work out in their small but adequate workout center. I stopped going to the workout center in the clubhouse I call “the Valley” because the flatscreen TVs were all burned out. That was way back in early march, I think. I did peek in the windows of the Valley on my last intervals run and found that the TVs have long since been fixed.

0500: On deck at the Apex and stretching. Nobody but me on this dark and chilly Saturday morning. Last gym workout before the MCM; even though I dropped the weights about a month ago, I still focus on good form and working for speed not weight. I am actually sweating as I wrap up the last set of abdominal crunches…but am I not supposed to be sweating?

0530. Workout is done. TVs are turned off and so are the lights to the “gym.” It will be nice to sleep in on Saturday mornings for a while.

Sunday morning:

Last long run of the taper, and the training cycle, before next Sunday’s MCM.

0355: Out of the rack and on with the contacts.

0400: I grab a Greek yogurt for breakfast…that just happens to be 11 days past it’s due date. I open it up: no mold and no fouls smells, so I eat it. No banana or peanut butter, because it will be a very short run, at most an hour and twenty minutes. No Nuun  or Mio water this morning either.

0420: Get dressed; compression shirt, long-sleeve dayglo tech shirt, which is actually a base layer shirt, tights, handball cap. No FlipBlet today because my tights have side pockets.

0425: Bathroom break; do it now because there are no  bathroom stops on the run. Check that- there is a Donut Connection bakery on upper Shangri-La Drive, but no sense waiting so long.

0445: Full stretch.

0455: Out the door to Green meadow Lane, where I will start the Superwillow 6 miler. Light drizzle but not the rain that the weather called for.

0615: The run is done. For the third time this week, I finish just short of the running distance. Not sure if it’s me or the GPS on the app. First mile clocked at 11:04, and I knew that wasn’t gonna last. Hit 12:06 and 12:17 at Miles 4 and 5. Also, extending out to the end of Shangri-La didn’t add enough distance for MapMyRun to count it as six full miles. Ended at 5.97 mi.

The “rain” was mostly a drizzle until it sort of picked up as I headed down Willow Road towards Abberly Crest on the homestretch of the run. My hopes for finishing the taper schedule with a full moon was dashed by the rain on the forecast; however, there was moonlight, and enough to make a difference. So, that happened.

I need to make sure I have my knee sleeves for MCM next Sunday. Also, I could probably ise some KT tape on my left thigh.

…and just like that, the work is done. Three more logbook entries after this: a short run on Tuesday, the Ceremonial on Thursday, and then the MCM next Sunday.

Song of the Day:  (WARNING: repeat entries past this point!)

Traffic/”Dear Mr. Fantasy:” Yup, this is a repeat entry. Got it here because this was the last song I heard on YouTube before heading to the Apex yesterday. Also, thank God for Post-it Notes so i can remember to write stuff down and stick it on my computer somewhere. Steve Winwood was a pretty busy musician before he was able to legally drink.

Last of the Mohicans OST/”Promontory:” Heard this one after the workout yesterday, and I just had to include it. This was included on one of my YouTube lists and it just hit me when I wasn’t looking. The video is actually a remix of two different versions of the song from the movie soundtrack, plus an ending piece thrown in. AS far as running goes, it’s a nice piece to set a temp to.

Tommy James and the Shondells/”Draggin’ the Line:” Nothin’ but a good ol’-fashioned feel good song from the Sixties…thanks Genius.

Bill Withers/”Lean on Me:” Genius says, “a Black Nationalism anthem and as an educational song for little children.” I say, a good cool down song for a Sunday morning.