Author Archives: dvxprime

About dvxprime

I am a 44 y/o retired Marine who was inspired to enter and run in this year's Marine Corps Marathon after celebrating with friends who completed the Marathon last year. My goal is to complete the marathon as well as make changes in my life.

Chicago Bears 2021-22: FIRE EVERYBODY

I normally post at firejerryangelo.org via my WordPress login; however, I have had problems doing so for the last two months. Therefore, I will post my rant here.

I am writing this on the last day of the 2021-22 National Football League regular season, aka Week 18. My team, the Chicago Bears, are not on the national TV schedule today, so I have Steelers-at-Ravens on in the background. I live within a 60 to 90 minute drive of the home stadiums of the Washington Redskins (the devil take Dan Snyder and his “Football Team” copout) and the Baltimore Ravens. The Redskins ownership and management disgust me, and I have never really warmed up to the Baltimore Ravens, even though they have been more successful than the Chicago Bears since I moved to Maryland over 11 years ago.

Ed McCaskey conned the NFL into swindling ownership of the Bears from the Halas family in 1984, and they have been mostly running the team into the ground ever since. Matriarch Virginia McCaskey’s contribution to the game? Firing the Honey Bears cheerleading squad after the Bears’ Super Bowl XX win over the New England Patriots.

The New England Patriots still have cheerleaders. The Patriots have also been back to the Super Bowl ten more times since 1984, with six Super Bowl wins.

Way to beat sexism, Ginny.

Virginia’s younger son Michael was made the Bears chairman in 1989. According to Jim McMahon, the Bears’ Super Bowl winning quarterback, Michael told Jim (paraphrasing), “I don’t really care about Super Bowls, I just care about having a full stadium.” Jim McMahon moved on from the Bears as soon as his contract was up.

When Michael screwed up a Bears head coaching hire, Ginny fired him and made older brother George the team chairman. George worked his way up in the Bears’ ticket office for 20 years, eventually being the ticket office manager. His contributions to the Bears? Openly admitting he knows nothing about football, and hiring “nice guys” to run the Bears. Unfortunately, those “nice guys” have proven lacking in competence to run the Bears…or any other NFL organization.

How many other former Bears general managers and head coaches have gone on to be GMs and His elsewhere in the NFL? I’ll wait…

Ted Phillips will end his 23rd season as team president today. He is more of a glorified CPA than an actual football operations lead; like George, he knows nothing about football…NFL, college, or any other league or level. He is more or less George’s best friend and right hand man, and had a hand in helping with the GM/HC searches in the 23 years he’s been on the job. Twenty three years, five playoff berths, one Super Bowl run.

Technically, team president is supposed to carry out the chairman’s/owner’s vision of the franchise and be responsible for carrying it out. It seems that all Ted Phillips has ever been good for is ensuring that the Bears’ ledger is always in the black…the results on the field be damned.

Ryan Pace is ending his seventh season as the general manager for the Chicago Bears. There is really no case for him getting an eighth season: head coaches John Fox and Matt Nagy have been failures in leadership, play calling, on-field discipline, putting touchdowns on the scoreboard, and winning football games. Both coaches wasted a pretty good defense, leaving them on the field because the offense could never hang on to the ball enough. Both coaches offered nothing but excuses and “we’ve got to do better” mantras at post-loss press conferences.

If the head coaching failures were not enough to warrant his firing, his selections for quarterback-The Most Important On-Field Position in the NFL-should do so. Mike Glennon was signed for 3 years and $45 million, and was promptly pulled after four turnover plagued starts. Pace drafted Mitchell Trubisky ahead of Patrick Mahomes (2-time Super Bowler with the Kansas City Chiefs) and never drafted or signed free agents who would help him prosper. Same with former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles and a productive veteran QB in Andy Dalton.

With his job and career on the line, Ryan released All-Pro safety Kyle Fuller, leaving a secondary with one somewhat decent second year corner Jaylon Johnson and a pu-pu platter of pass interference, personal fouls, and miles of receiving yardage and passing TDs for opposing teams. Ryan signed a 38 year old left tackle to protect his QB’s blind side…and the Bears ended 2021-22 with the most sacks allowed in the NFL.

For all the top-to-bottom failure in the Chicago Bears’ chain of command, Matt Nagy is the one most likely to be fired. Failure to develop two first round draft picks at quarterback in Trubisky and Justin Fields. Not game planning an offense that would allow Fields to display the same awesome talent and skills he displayed at The Ohio State University. Half-assing, instead of harnessing, the skillsets that won Nick Foles a Super Bowl and got Andy Dalton to seven playoff berths as a Cincinnati Bengal.

On top of that, unimaginative and stale play calling that got next to nothing from his QBs or a pretty good running game. Wasting a defense, and letting the pash rush get old, tired, and hurt, while letting opposing QBs of various levels of experience and skill tear apart a secondary bereft of skill, talent and sometimes common sense.

Worst of all, post game pressers where he would always say “we’ve gotta do better,” and then doing almost nothing to make substantial changes…four years of defining insanity.

As depressing as all of this to contemplate and make keystrokes on a cold winter Sunday night, here’s the rub: George McCaskey is seventy-seven years old. From Ted Phillips down, he has been more concerned with hiring “nice guys” than hiring actual football people who can actually run the Chicago Bears like an operation that wants to win a Super Bowl (see: Green Bay Packers, Patriots, Kansas City Chiefs). Phillips has done nothing to learn about the game of football or the NFL. Pace is reportedly good friends with the Mc Caskeys and the Board of Directors, and has maybe hoodwinked everybody that “there is a good core of players we can build around for next year…,” even though his two coaches have been busts, he has had one winning season in seven, and the Bears have a grand total of four draft picks for 2022.

At his age, I believe he will be resistant to change. The TV money checks from the NFL that the Bears cash every year, must be enough to keep them financially solvent. If the Mc Caskeys are set for life, what incentive do they have to make the drastic changes for the Bears to be contenders? Does George Mc Caskey really have enough money to insulate him from the Chicago Bears’ fanbase, and probably “bribe” the Chicago media to not create too much of a groundswell of dissent?

I started this blog entry around a quarter to four this afternoon, and I am now wrapping it up at a quarter to eight. The last Bears game of the season (Vikings 31, Bears 17) ended over three hours ago. If there are true changes coming, they will start tonight. If only Matt Nagy is fired, and Pace and Phillips remain, then it will confirm the suspicion I have always had about the Mc Caskey family: they’re in it for the money, and the Chicago Bears fanbase be damned.

For those of you who stopped by for my running/Marine Corps Marathon takes: I am planning on picking up running again sometime this month. I also need to go pick a fight with the Marine corps Marathon organization about my entry into the Runners’ Club (another story for another time!).

Also: still waiting for my beanie from the St. Mary’s Thanksgiving/Prediction 5K (same deal).

MCM 2021: Trifecta Review

It was exactly this time (0920) last Sunday that cramped, seized up calves forced me to call time on the Virtual MCM 50K, so this is a good time to take a look back at what was, and what might have been…

Virtual MCM 10K, Oct.24: It was cloudy, but the full moon was out that morning.

To be honest, this run was over before I knew it. Knowing it would be just six miles, I opened the throttle and pushed it from the get-go. I ran the Superwillow 6 course; started from the entrance at Abberly Crest Apartments at Abberly Crest Lane. Ran north up Willows Road through the intersection at Willows and Great Mills Road up through Shangri-La Road, then turned around and ran Willows south all the way to the intersection at Willow at MD-5.

When I got to the intersection, I kind of forgot to go out about 20 yards, so could be sure I got the exact measurements for the 10K, or 6.22 miles. Never mind, I just turned back up Willows all the way back to where I started, going full speed to the end.

I checked the Strava app on my phone: 10.01K and 6.22 miles on the dot.

Virtual Marine Corps Marathon (26.2M), October 31: After spending three hours in the car on Saturday afternoon, one would think I would be tired enough to get a good nights sleep. I went to bed at 9:30 p.m. (2100 hours) for a 3:30 a.m. (0300) reveille.

At 0245, I woke up. Now the course that I was running, the Indian Head Rail Trail in Indian head, MD has a posted policy that no one is to be on the trail until dawn. I toured the area the day before and I found the area to be kind of sketchy. So, at 0250, I moved reveille to 0500.

I did get up at 0500, ate my breakfast of muesli (Greek yogurt/honey/granola/dried berries) and Sparkling Ice + caffeine, got dressed. Stretched out for about 40 minutes. Set up my FlipBelt and my knapsack, which would hand crossed by my shoulders. I left the Red Roof Inn about 0615 and headed for the park, which was a five minute walk from the IHRT, and the actual parking spot for it.

I stepped off for the MCM at 0640. It was still dark, but the trailhead area was well lit, between the church parking lot and a sheet lamp or two. I got an extra ninety minutes of sleep, but I got a later start than I should have. Also, it was a little more overcast that last Sunday, so not much of a full moon.

My strategy was to push for a 12;30 pace for as mic as possible, then Marine Corps shuffle and PowerWalk to the end, if I had to. IHRT is 13 miles, end to end. Going out to the Charles County end is a gradual five mile climb to the 13 mile point. I made the turnaround, then ran a few more yards “just to make sure” of that tenth of a mile.

The second half of the run was the real grind. Going back to the eight mile point (Mile 18) was where I shifted into shuffle mode. Believe it or not, I got enough “second winds” where I could do more shuffling than power walking. I missed the six mile marker going back; that was significant because four of the remaining six miles going back would be uphill. When I saw the five mile marker, I knew everything was going to be alright.

“Do you have another fifteen minutes?” Made it to the four mile marker.

“Do you have one more hour in you?”

Apparently, I did.

The end of the virtual Marine Corps Marathon was a blur. 26.87 on the Strava. Cooldown walk back to the car. Drive back to get the obligatory selfie to post online. Back to the hotel for my post race epsom salt bath.

I did see a man on the course wearing an MCMmock turtleneck, asking me if I was running that day; I told him I was running the virtual MCM this morning. I was him again on the way back and he told me “You’re doing fine, keep it up!”

The KT bands on my thighs and Copper Fit knee braces were a boon. I wish I added KT tape to my calves.

The Dream:

“0300 on November 10th, 2021. The Marine Corps Birthday, but also the very last day I can run and submit a time for the Virtual MCM 50K.

“I text my supervisions at work that I’m taking a day of leave today. Not sure if i want to explain right why right now. I am up, I eat my breakfast. I add slice of English muffin covered with peanut butter to my muesli entree.

“Forty-five minutes to stretch. KT tape on my thighs and calves. elastic knee braces. Brooks running tights, bought just over five years ago. The infamous ‘People’s Mock’ from 2017. My plain white tech shirt, which was my ‘honor shirt’ for the Trifecta.

“0500 and I’m off. Half moon is out and I’m feeling good. Still feeling shaky from Sunday but I don’t care…I’m doing this run today, dammit!

“About 0615 and I’m at the SAIC Building…just over five miles in. The workday traffic is just building up. I don’t care who sees me at this hour. I’m just running.

“Ten mile mark, and I’m shuffling. I don’t care about speed, I don’t care about a Personal Record. Shuffle/shuffle/shuffle…Marine Corps shuffle.

“Faith Baptist Church and the turnaround point. Still feeling the after-effects from Sunday. The morning rush towards Naval Air Station Pax River continues. The KT tape and the knee braces are physically holding me together. May need to look for a bright star in the east, because this is a miracle.

“The shuffle continues. Damn, I didn’t realize so many inclines on the run back.Going on sheer willpower at this point. Then suddenly, I see the 20 mile point. Two thirds of the way done.

“Still shuffling…holy cow, suddenly I’m back in Hollywood, MD just outside the Outback restaurant. Okay, let’s see if we can make it back to the Wawa gas station at the intersection. Another incline and then a decline…not too steep but damn it’s long. Look across the street…it’s Wawa and a pee break.

“Still shuffling into California, MD…the strip malls, the Chick-Fil-A. The McDonalds and the Popeye’s Chicken (which is the worse of the two in town). Just keep shuffling and looking for the landmarks…almost home.

“Before I know it, I’m down one more long incline and up another one. Oh, look, the Chesapeake Professional Building where I work. Does anyone see me? Does anyone recognize me? Do I care at this point? I look again, and I’m across the street from NAS Pax River. One more incline…

“Enterprise Rent-a-Car. H&R Block. Oh, look, it’s Gate Two and the turn off Three Notch Road. Turn onto Willow Road one last time…I pass John Hancock Park…Mile Thirty. One last jog down Willow Road.

“One last second wind…one last selfie…up the hill to the entrance, then down the hill to the back entrance…one last shuffle past the three fireplugs, then the top of the hill.

“Pull out the smartphone, pull up the Strava…50.15 km.

“Thank you God…I’m done.”

“It’s 12:30 p.m. on November 10th, 2021…the 246th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. But there will be no potlucks, or birthday cake, or reading of General LeJuene’s Birthday Message. Today, there is only…the Trifecta.

“Epsom salt bath for half an hour. Pull on my olive drab USMC sweat bottoms and another clean mock turtleneck. Compression socks, black, with USMC in red lettering and trim. I check into Strava on my computer, enter my time on the MCM website.

“Two p.m. I email a copy of my 50K certificate to my supervisors and my coworkers.

“1415 hours…2:15 p.m. on the 246th Marine Corps Birthday. I could die happy…but I just go to sleep instead.

Postscript: 7:30 p.m. 11-10-21:

A bite of dark chocolate, a long pull of the cigar, and a sip of bourbon. I’m at the VFW in California, MD for the Marine Corps League’s birthday celebration.

Sitting next to a good friend who has just won a barbecue smoker. Feeling good for the first time all week. Happy Birthday, Marines! Happy Birthday to me.

Bite. Pull of the cigar. Sip.

“Dammit, I should have put some KT tape on my calves.”

Bite. Pull. Sip.

Turn the page.

MCM 2021: Random Observations

“you don’t say…”

Mileage tracked on MapMyRun, February through July 2021: 188 miles.

Mileage tracked on Strava, August 29 through November 7, 2021: 244 miles.

My training was wildly inconsistent this year. Too cold/snowy to run in February, so I didn’t run regularly (sic) until March. Too many missed days, a couple of DNFs. 30+ days gap between May and June, then a couple of weeks in July. July 23 was my last recorded run on MMR.

First week in August, I got a newer/bigger/better smartphone. I had no way to port over the MMR app or it’s information, so I uploaded Strava instead. Strava looks nicer and filled the need. Unfortunately, like MapMyRun, I can’t figure out how to CONSISTENTLY get the voiceovers for my mile splits.

Running was much more consistent in the August thru November period; not surprising, since I suddenly remembered I was running for the Trifecta (10K plus first ever 50K/31.1 mi. run in addition to the Marine Corps Marathon).

No cross training this year. Excuses?

“I didn’t know the gym in my apartment complex opened up back in the spring.

“I couldn’t find the perfect set of adjustable weight dumbbells for my P90X workouts.

“I found Crossfit too late (September-ish) to really get into it.

“I thought i would just relax and not worry about doing Yoga X and Stretch X in the days before the 50K.”

Yeah, okay…have fun packing up the 50K swag box and sending it back to the MCM Organization.

Still waiting for my MCM swag box, tho’…

No more briefs on long-a$$ runs. The cuffs bit into my nether regions and I got al hell of a burn/rash. And no vaseline in the house either.

I weighed 239 before my first run in September. I weighed 227 after my aborted 50K. I would have maybe lost a few more pounds had I not attempted to “fill the gas tank” for the Trifecta.

My seven year-old Kodak Pixpro FZ243 mini-camera’s screen burned out, sometime between MCM and 50K. I think I got MCM pix, but I’m not sure. Had to use my smartphone for the first time taking pics for the 50K. Because of security, I had to stop and input the code before I could pull up the camera app.

Took 23 minutes for my Uber “medieval” this morning. Thirty-something dollar ride home.

Post run comfort “brunch:” McRib combo from McDonald’s.

Little victories, y’all.

Song of the Day: “Du Hast”/Rammstein. Just because.

Virtual MCM 50K: The Journey Denied

  1. Excuses:

Maybe that two month vacation from running wasn’t such a good idea.

Maybe I should have pressed on with P90X without waiting for dumbbells.

Maybe I should have at least gone to the gym and done my old, tried-and-true circuit routines.

Maybe Crossfit, or some kind of cross-training.

Maybe I started out too fast this morning.

Maybe I should have done Yoga X and Stretch X, like I had planned.

Maybe I should not have waited until just before Labor Day Weekend to start losing weight for running.

Maybe I should have taken leave on November 10 (Marine Corps Birthday, but also a workday) to run the 50K

2. The Run

I did get the extra hour of sleep from moving the clock back for the end of Daylight Savings Time, but my night’s sleep was a restless one.

My pre-run prep was okay, and I did shift the priority to being ready to run instead of “out the door at 0455 and step off at 0500,” like I’ve been doing for years. However, I spent about 15 minutes going back and forth, going back and getting this and that.

I started the run off as planned: hold nothing back the first half, then shuffle/power-walk the second half. I was mostly running MD-234/Three Notch Road, up to North Seagraves Road/Faith Baptist Church and back. The hills were more inclines, but they were about a quarter to a half mile long in some stretches. Maybe one or two kind of steep hills, but nothing major.

The run up to Faith Baptist Church did’t feel that bad. After passing North Seagraves and crossing MD-234 for the run home, I took a quick pee break under a grove of trees (being careful to watch for any law enforcement vehicles coming or going) then started down the road back.

The need to shift from full run to shuffle mode was evident, so I did so. I planned to do the trip by breaking up the run into blocks of four miles at 15 minutes a mile (“CAN YOU GIVE ME ONE MORE HOUR???) and breaking the run into little segments (okay, shuffle ’tile get to that sign, and then we’ll power-walk for a bit).

Not no, but hell no, my calves screamed…maybe I should have KT-taped them as well as my thighs? I didn’t pull them or strain them, but they seized up something fierce. They weren’t bad enough to need a trip to the emergency room, but no way was I going to He-Man the last half of the run on them. Walking? Not an option. No second wind was coming this week.

Just short of 30K, I sat down on a brick stairway next to a mailbox, and summoned an Uber. Surprisingly, there was a lone driver on this cold Sunday morning, but it would be a 20-plus minute wait. Hoping that the homeowner would not come out and find me lowering on his/her property, I leaned back on the bricks and waited for the “medieval” home.

3. Life Lessons Learned

So I did complete the 10K two weeks ago, and the virtual 26.2 marathon at Indian head Rail Trail last week. I will keep the 10K and the 26.2 medals and swag (if the MCM package ever gets here!). The 50K swag box, with medal, and any Trifecta items (if they ever come) will be put into a box and sent back the Marine Corps Marathon Organization.

Failing to complete the Trifecta sucks. Next year, the Marine Corps Marathon Weekend should go live again, eliminating the need for any more virtual events. Maybe one year, I will forgo the MCM in favor of the 50K; if a virtual option is offered next year, I will attempt the Trifecta once more (and actually train for it!!!).

Given the circumstances, and my eight excuses, I am disappointed with myself, but I’m not going to go into depression or stage an active shooter event over not completing the Trifecta. I will simply acknowledge what I have not done, be grateful for what I have done…

…and turn the page.

I am going to go see my endocrinologist next week; if she has good news for me, I may be inspired to keep running over the winter.

The St. Mary’s Thanksgiving 5K/Prediction 5K/Fun Run-Walk is going virtual again this year. Thinking of a moonlit, pre-dawn sunrise run. I do this every year to signal the end of my running season, been doing this since 2013…the year before my first MCM.

Songs of the Day (WARNING: Possible Repeats inbound)

“Paint it, Black”/Rolling Stones: Last song playing on YouTube before I stepped out for the run. Rest in peace, Charlie…give our best wishes to Brian.

“Turn the Page”/Bob Seger: Okay, the subject matter is away different, but I am going to turn the page on my failed Trifecta attempt. Part of the reason I kept this blog: some days I get Did Not Finish on my runs, and not all the ones I finish are happy events either.

MCM Trifecta 2021/50K @ T-minus 3

Two months and a blown iMac hard drive later…

It is Thursday night, November 4, 2021. Sunday morning, I run the virtual Marine Corps Marathon 50K…the final leg in the 2021 Trifecta.

Thursday/Friday/Saturday, the plan is to

  1. Fuel and hydrate: Eat kind of hearty at meals and drink until my urine is clear and white. I want enough fuel and water to carry me thirty-one miles.
  2. Go into Sunday morning fully recovered from Sunday’s marathon. That means Yoga X on Friday and Stretch X (both classes from P90X) on Saturday. Maybe one last epsom salt bath between now and Saturday night.
  3. Minimal biking and no running. Couldn’t imagine running or riding the bike to work after running the MCM 26.2 on Sunday. Three hours in the car Saturday, two hours in the car on Sunday, after the run, and another three hours in the car on Monday. Not a real help for the day before or the day after the run.

The course is simple, out-and-back. Starting at the entrance to Abberly Crest, up north Willows Road to Great Mills Road, Great Mills out to NAS Patuxent River Gate 2, then turn left and follow Three Notch Road/Highway 234 about 15 miles to North Seagraves Road, then turn around and run/shuffle/powerwalk the 15 miles back down Three Notch/MD-234 to Great Mills, then left onto Willows Road and back home. I was hoping to rent a car and do a route tour, but no cars available on Friday or Saturday.

Strategy? Go all-out, pushing for a twelve minute to 12:30 pace for as long as I can. Running on three days of meals and hydrating; I will get one tall can of Sparkling Ice with Caffeine, with a packet of Ucan Hydrate mixed into the drink. Only carrying a coupe of Gu energy packets and a single bottle of water mixed with Ucan and pickle juice.

Yes I will put KT tape on my thighs and wear CopperFit knee braces. I am expecting it to be cold, so I will probably wear running tights and long sleeves. One way or another, I will be wearing my white “trifecta” tech shirt over whatever I decide to wear.

Sorry, no song of the day because 1) it’s late and 2) nothing really inspiring on YouTube right now.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Trifecta 2021: Moonlight (Pt. 2 of 3)

Superwillow 6

Maybe it was the feeling of running under a full moon for the first time in months. Maybe because I am losing weight. Maybe it’s because I’mm glad I am able to get out of the rack at 0430 for an 0500 run.

Ran six miles at an 11.53 pace, the first sub-twelve minute pace I have run in months, maybe since last year.

I was supposed to run Thursday morning, but it was overcast and a constant threat of rain. If the rain did come, it was not really long enough. In fact, I could have said “to hell with the moon for this morning” and knocked out my five miles. The rain finally went away after work, but I didn’t feel like trying to do two runs within twelve hours. I put it on the schedule to run an extra day next week.

Gear News:

Sunday will be the last full run with my Brooks Adrenalize shoes. This weekend it’s a trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods to see if I can’t get a pair of asics GT1000s or GT 2000s at clearance price. Maybe pick up a few pairs of running shorts…prefereably ones that don’t look and feel like basketball shorts.

The 2Toms Sport Shield roll-on is my new go-to chafing protector. Rolled it on in my unmentionables last Saturday and I felt good afterword. Sunday’s thirteen miler will be a stiffer test.

I am using Strava now to track my running progress. I need to figure out how to get the voice to announce my mile splits.

MCM is All Virtual

The announcement came this morning that the Marine Corps Marathon weekend will be all virtual, to include the runs. No big deal for me; I only planned to drive up early Sunday morning, park the car, run the MCM 10K, then check into a newly vacated Embassy Suites room…after an extended stay at the MCM Finisher’s Festival, of course.

Since all three runs-10K, marathon, and the MCM 50K (31-plus miles) are now all virtual, I can alter my calendar. I can switch the dates for the MCM10K and the marathon (10K on Oct. 24th and virtual MCM on Oct.31st), with the 50K on November 8.

Oh, and one more thing…I CANNOT afford any injuries at this point. Anything that needs more than three days to recover, and I’m pulling out of the Trifecta.

Song of the Day

“Ecstasy of the Gold (Remix)”/Ennio Morricone: Featured in commercials for the Modelo beer and Nike NFL commercials. In 2003 Ennio Morricone released two albums of remakes from his most popular film scores. If you’ve ever seen the spaghetti wester classic The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, this is the score playing when Eli Wallach (as Tuco) is running around the circular Civil War graveyard looking for the grave that has $200K in gold coins.

Remember Arch Stanton!

Trifecta 2021: Moonlight (Pt 1 of 3{?})

Moonlight Challenge

Sooo…Monday I skipped the run. Side effects of an unscheduled “cheat day.”

Monday night, I noticed a full moon outside my front porch window. I had not run under a full moon in months.

So, here’s the deal. This week is a full moon week. Not sure if it’s waxing or waning gibbous. I propose to run consecutive days this week-Wednesday/Thursday/Friday-under the full moon. If the moon is visible, cloud cover nor not, I run. If it’s too cloudy or raining, the run is postponed to the afternoon (or I run at work near the end of the workday). 4 miles Wednesday, 5 on Thursday, and 6 on Friday.

Raineri Run 4

11:30 last night I ate my “dinner:” two tubs of Chobani vanilla yogurt, topped with 1/2 teaspoon of honey, a handful of granola, and some microwave thawed frozen berries.

4:30 the next morning: up, dressed, lubed with Skin-So-Soft, stretched and out the door at 4:56. Started the run from the Abberly Crest entrance by completely securing my smartphone in my Flipbelt first, then taking off.

The morning was warm, and the moon was visible under the cloud cover. Still, pretty warm for pre-dawn September autumn. The run felt good and I felt faster than I have in months. Running back up and down Willows Road to the Willows/Shangri-La and Great Mills Road intersection, I felt good enough to try and push the pace. Trying to push a twelve minute pace over 26 miles may be a stretch at this point, but for today I can give it a shot.

I cruised up the semi-hill up to Abberly Crest Road, then back downhill. I cruised up the hill to Ranieri Run Road, rather than just slowing down and trying to just keep running. Made the last turnaround and headed for home.

Stravia had me at a 12:07 pace today. Right now, I am just looking to finish the Saturday and Sunday long runs, but just keeping the pace at twelve minutes on the shorter runs will work for me. Perhaps I can cut some more weight and maybe some more time? We’ll see.

Raining right now, and I got caught in a short burst of rain on the bike ride home tonight. Nothing heavy, but I hope I see the moon again tomorrow morning.

Song of the Day

“Dance With Me”/Lords of the New Church: Genius has lyrics, but not much about the actual song. Also adding Open Your Eyes, because the lyrics for that song are somewhat prophetic…or maybe too many reruns of the movie They Live.

If punk bands believed in supergroups, this was it: “Lords of the New Church, the English-American post punk band was formed in 1982 of the four punk rock legends Stiv Bators of The Dead Boys(vocals), Brian James of The Damned (guitar), Dave Tregunna, of Sham 69 (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Nick Turner of The Barracudas (drummer).

“Lords of the New Church advocated living punk rock as a life-style, a religion and a state of being, which is reflected in Bators’ lyrics:

“You, too, can be a lord of the new church, the punk church. But you have to live it―you have to believe.”

HT: Genius

Trifecta 2021: SE Loop 10

The Run

Up at 0400…like I used to.

1 tub of Chobani vanilla yogurt with a teaspoon of honey, some granola, and some microwave-thawed berries. Breakfast washed down with Sparkling Ice + Caffiene, with a packet of UCAN Hydrate Plus added…the first packet of the year.

Dressed, stretched, one quick sit on the toilet…out the door ten after five.

Starting at the telephone pole across from the entrance to Meadow Lane. Moonless pre-dawn, no big deal. Hit start on the Strava app, and off I go.

I am still carrying more weight that I should, and yet, this morning I feel better. Climb up to Ranieri Run, head down Willows Road to MD-5 South, then left and up the hill. I go easy on the climb, then I push the pace as I near the top of the hill. The turn onto Point Lookout Road at mile three, then a quick pee stop. Down The road and then the turn left onto Three Notch Road/MD-234 going northward and steadily upward.

As I make the run up MD-234, I think about the Indian Hills Rail Trail, which is a perfect 13.1 mile length running end-to-end, one way. It is an hour drive north from where I live, with a Super-8 motel down the road and hopefully at least one BBQ rib shack further down the street running just outside the Navy installation. The current run up Three Notch reminds me of the last 4.5 miles…a constant gradual climb on the way back. The last time I attempted running IHRT, I saw the never-ending climb; not very steep, but a perpetual steady incline that never seemed to end.

Now, this climb I was going on wasn’t completely an incline, but running this four mile stretch gave me the idea to run the virtual Marine Corps Marathon at the IHRT this year. I believe that I will do a little better, since I am running the course in late October than late July. However, I don’t really have the mileage that I did when I made the attempt four years ago.

Since I had breakfast in my stomach and UCAN-reinforced water lubricating my systems, I focused more on the war going on inside my head, and less about the fact that I took a two months-plus vacay from running this summer. The four mile stretch of Three Notch Road came and went; the familiar buildings that were the signposts of the run came and went. At 6:58 a.m., the familiar traffic lights leading to NAS Patuxent River Gate 2 came into view. A left turn onto Great Mills Road, a short stretch going to the Willows Road/Great Mills intersection. The last mile plus on the road back home, with the familiar uphill to Aberly Crest Road to end the run.

10.25 miles in 2:06.45. 12:22 pace.

Lost ONE POUND between Sunday and Saturday?

The Gear and the Diet

More bulletproof coffee (swapping in the heavy cream, pat of butter and the two packets of Truvia). Veggies during lunch. Mio water enhancer instead of Red Bull to add flavor to the Aha Sparkling Water + Caffiene I’ve been drinking with lunch. No more grits and bacon for late supper.

Stravia is a good run app, but I need to figure out the voice settings for my phone. I have heard mile splits once in the three weeks I have been running.

Probably time to make a trip to Dick’s Sporting Goods for some new shoes, my Brooks Ravennas have been going on a year and probably more than 400 miles.

Song of the Day

“It’s in the Way That You Use It”/Eric Clapton: 80s Eric Clapton hasn’t lost a step from his days with the Yardbirds, Cream or Derek and the Dominos. Good track from the 28-years later sequel to…oh, man I can’t think of that movie. Back in the 60s, it was Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats. Paul reprises his role and mentors a young Tom Cruise.

“Cinnamon Girl”/Neil Young: I love the guitar work and the hand-clapping in time with the drums. When neil Young does his guitar work, he never tries to be Clapton or hendrix or any other guitar legend, he just does Neil and lets himself go. From the liner notes of his Decade greatest hits album: “Wrote this for a city girl on peeling pavement coming at me thru Phil Ochs eyes playing finger cymbals. It was hard to explain to my wife.”

Trifecta 2021: Okay, THIS Time I’m Back…For reals…

Triple E 5

So, back to the usual starting point at Meadow Hill Lane, heading south on Willows Road toward the MD-5 intersection. I got off to a little bit faster start than I have been since I resumed running about two-plus weeks ago.

After climbing the first uphill at Ranieri Run Road, I pushed the pace a little bit, all the way downhill towards the MD-5 tee. Took the south road, going left, and made the steep climb up until the road leveled up midway past Nach-T Farms. I didn’t really need a second wind tonight, because my first wind was a good one, probably the best I’ve felt in a long time.

At the halfway point just past Triple E Farm Way, made the turnaround. Just kept pumping my arms and legs all the way back down MD-5 towards the tee and back up Willows Rd. The climb back home was the steepest of the run, but I didn’t let up off the gas that much. Finally to the realtor’s sign at the top of the hill, then the final down-up-down sequence before crossing meadow Hill Rd and the climb past the Three Hydrants to the finish at the Abberly Crest Road sign.

Final distance: 5.12 mi. @ 12:17 pace

The Rules:

  1. Running every other day from now until November 8.
  2. Diet will be as much keto as I can stand, and cutting out as much “processed” sugar as possible. No junk food or desserts.
  3. Substituting soft drinks for sparkling water (with caffeine, if possible).
  4. Long runs alternating on Saturdays and Sundays.
  5. No more missing runs…summer vacation is over.
  6. Maybe one of these days, start alternating run days with circuit courses at the gym (good luck on this one)
  7. Weigh-ins after every long Saturday/Sunday run.

Daf**isdiss**t?

Okay…excuses time.

Between the National Mall run on July 4th and August 29th, I simply stopped running.

Too tired to run after work.

Couldn’t get out of bed to run before work.

Needed a week to “take care of business.”

Too much stuff going on in my head/not motivated.

Yadda yadda yadda.

Why I’m Back:

Two weeks ago, a Marine friend from my Yuma, Az days, Trish Burke, committed suicide. I found out on Facebook messenger from another Marine friend, Dennis Rosales; he attended her funeral that Saturday.

Late Tuesday night, I got a text from Dennis. I didn’t get the text until Tuesday morning, before I went to work. I texted him back, and we face-timed me. he told me that a Sergeant from my work center in Yuma, Jason was in some bad times.

I gave Jason a call, and let him speak for a half an hour. One of the best phone calls I’ve had all year. Without going too much into his personal business, he told me that he was on the mend and he was going to get back with his family the next day, and put himself and his life back together.

What I can tell you about Jason, besides being a happily married with two grown children and a retired Marine (commissioned officer as a Sergeant, naturally) is that he is a WAAAAY more experienced runner and blogger than I am. This year will be my seventh Marine Corps Marathon; Jason has finished 36 MCMs, in addition to many other marathons, half-marathons, several ultra-marathons, and had the bravery to attempt a hundred-mile marathon…which he said he will make the attempt again, one day.

As awesome and extensive as his blog is, he told me last night that he really did enjoy reading mine. He did enjoy reading about my roads to the previous six marathons, from the most mundane and workaday, to the days where I really got into the spirit of running, as well as the MCM itself. Talking to Jason, and him telling me that he was alive, healing, and thankful that I reached out to him…I was truly glad that I could reach out and touch him that way. And that he ready MY blog…and liked it?

Yeah, I was wondering how I ran a little faster today.

In reality, I’m supposed to be writing these blogs as a way of keeping me honest about my progress in training. In fact, I used to post these blogs on an MCM runners’ website before the admins asked me to stop; my goal was to inspire other runners, but their stance was that I was promoting myself too much.

Fair point.

I have noticed, mostly in my email folder, that I get notices from WordPress about people who have read entries in my blog and enjoyed reading them…especially when I actually TRY to write something worthwhile.

So, Jason, if you do get a chance to read this, thank you for being alive…thank you for letting me listen to you talk…and thank you for re-lighting the spark for me to re-start this blog, as well as get back on the road.

And yes…you and I SHALL run the Marine Corps Marathon next year…live and in person, God willing.

Song of the Day:

Jason also enjoyed my Song of the Day selections. To be honest, 99% of my running is on public roads during the pre-dawn through morning hours. Headphones are not a good idea with the early-morning NASCAR Craftsman Series wannabes burning through the local roads…at twenty-plus miles over the posted speed limit.

To be even more honest, many of my selections over the past year or so have not necessarily been running or even workout tunes. But I persist.

Over the last year or so, I try to provide a brief snippet of history about the song, and why I picked it. However, it is getting late, so my SOTD picks will be brief:

“True Faith”/New Order: The original 80s video was kind of stupid, so I think of the scene from the movie American Psycho, when this was played. This song depends more on the bass and rhythm guitars, so I don’t think it’s necessarily a “synth pop” song.”(“True Faith”) is about drug dependency. I don’t touch smack but when I wrote that song I tried to imagine what it’s like to be a smackhead and nothing else matters to you except that day’s hit: vocalist Bernard Summer.

“Visions of Gideon”/Sufjan Stevens: The version I’m playing here is a slowed down and melancholisized version of the original song, which was the closing song of a romantic drama movie named Call Me by Your Name. I found this version on a fan-made video for the Netflix foreign language teen-drama Exile.

This is more of a cool-down/yoga track than a running track.

“Promontory aka The Gael”/Last of the Mohicans soundtrack: I have never seen Last of the Mohicans, but I do enjoy Gaelic music such as this (similar track: “The Blood of Cu-Chulainn” from The Boondocks Saints); this does get my blood up for a run, I tell ya!

MCM Trifecta 2021: Twilight Lamentations and Rudimentations

0425: This morning’s excuser not getting up and running: “Y’know, I haven’t really slept in all week, and this looks like a good time to do it, so…I’ll check the weather and see about running at 6:00 or 6:30 at the latest.

So, I slept in until about 7:30-ish and got my first breakfast: a DoorDash order from Bob Evans. Strawberry-topped brioche French Toast and three sausage links. Took back the rental car around noon and did housework. Second breakfast at 3:00: McGriddle pancakes, which are actually made with pancake batter poured into egg/muffin molds. Side of Oscar Mayer oven baked bacon. All washed down with my third 6-oz. cup of coffee of the day.

About 3:00 I started hydrating for the 6:00 run. Temps were at 84 degrees, with cloudy skies; ten degrees cooler than yesterday. Two 17-oz bottles of water with a splash of Mio water enhancer in each bottle’s worth, each poured into a 20-oz Zak! drink bottle.

About 5:30, I finished hydrating and started stretching. Got dressed and put on my Proven insect repellent. Effective after using it for a month, but damn, it smells…I miss my Skin-So-Soft. At 5:55 I was out the door.

The run wasn’t great, but it was done. My pace has dipped to about 13:30/mi. lately. Right now I just focused on finishing, and damn the pace for right now until I can seriously start losing weight. Went and took a pee break in an off road path, about the same spot going out and coming in.

Supposedly I was to go eight miles round trip to Sheetz on the corner of MD-5 and Great Mills Rd, but I ended the run at the Abberly Crest office instead of finishing at the top of the hill. Ended up doing 8.3…no biggie, since I was supposed to run five yesterday but pulled up lame. No, not really sore or hurting, just…lame.

Shopping list:

New iMac (current iMac is 8.5 y/o, which is about 84 years old in human years (and not that healthy either). Gets stuck in recursive loops after powering up; takes about 2.5 hours to be fully ready to use. After powering up, it can’t save to my OneDrive and I have to erase and reformat my 1GB hard drive so I can save my stuff again. Ongoing issue with un-commanded power time outs. Running slower than ever.

New smartphone. Memory full AF.

Dumbbells or dumbbell set for P90X.

Plane ticket home for class reunion.

Lamentations:

Just got on the scale: 239 lbs. Oh, and I’m postponing my P90X run because I’m traveling home at the end of July and won’t be back until first Monday in August. Need to do something to lose weight because my run-times and A1C need to get much MUCH better.

Looking at a hella-expensive Amazon/QVC-HSN shopping spree…eventually.

Military Order of the Devil Dogs, Pax River Pound 344 Growl this weekend. Pound leader’s house had a pool. Pound leader and I both jumped in it and each of us swam for about five minutes. Both of us retreated to the inside of the house for lunch because it was simply too damn hot.

I bought a beer mug for the Marine Corps Ball at MCAS Yuma, AZ in 1991 (yup, third years ago). At the Growl, I drank beer out of it for the first time in thirty years.

The Pound leader’s wife liked the silicone whisk I used for my perrjack cheese mashed potatoes.

I left the mug at the pound Leader’s house. I left the whisk in the back seat of my ride home (I think).

Song of the Day: “Promontory (aka “The Gael”)”/The Last of the Mohicans Original Soundtrack: I have NEVER seen this movie, but I clicked on the link for the video on YouTube. Awesome. In the same vein as “The Blood of Cu Chulainn” from The Boondocks Saints.

It’s after 9:00 p.m. That’s all I’ve got.