Category Archives: Daily training

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: 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 2021 (pending): Capitol Crescent 10

Be advised: I just got back to the hotel and I am just free associating this to a tee because I am trying to get something between a snack and a sandwich…at 9:30 p.m. in Washington, DC.

About 5:00 p.m., as the UEFA Champions League Final was marching towards the 1-0 final score for Chelsea over Manchester City, I got dressed and lubed up for a 10 mile run that should have happened thirteen hours earlier. I got up at 4:00 a.m. this morning, spent 20 minutes on the throne, and then dreaded the prospect of a ten-mile ruck through the rain. I promptly went back to bed putting the run off until after The Game.

At 5:15, I set about stretching for 15 minutes. Unfortunately, after yet another trip to the can, I didn’t leave the hotel until ten of six. In theory I could have taken an Uber to the Georgetown Waterfront Park and been there in five minutes, or driven down there myself and parked. But you know…lazy.

I was let out at the parking lot and walked about a half mile to the actual entrance/start of the Capitol Crescent Trail. The area around the waterfront has been greatly improved since my last run of the Crescent about two years ago. It used to be really seedy and dirty and perpetually under construction; when I got there about sixish, I noticed some newly opened up eating and drinking establishments and other nightlife. The Georgetown waterfront had opened back up since my last trip in February.

I made my way to the trail’s unofficial start/finish line, a strip of pavement with the yellow dotted traffic stripes. One last stretch, and off I went. As I launched my run, I realized I had to tinkle; however, I was able to hold it until just before the tunnel just before the four-mile mark.

The Capitol Crescent Trail has mile markers and half mile markers just before the opposite ends of the trail. That was good, because my MapMyRun app wasn’t sounding off with my split times and mile markers.

Frome the Georgetown end of the roundup to the five mile marker, it is mostly uphill, with the uphill culminating after crossing a bridge about Mile 3 (7 mile marker). Even though I was climbing most of the way, I felt good and I believed I was going faster than my final splits were telling me. After turning around just after the five mile marker, I pushed my pace on the downhill back towards Georgetown.

The rain was there, but mostly…not. In retrospect, I should have just dealt with rains best as I could. There were no real heavy torrents, and I was soaked with mostly sweat rather than rainfall. It was kind of chilly at 55 degrees, so I opted for long sleeve tech shirts and my Brooks running tights.

Before I knew it, the ten miles had come and gone. MMR took forever loading my run time and splits, and I had to wait before I could take a couple of pictures to post to the app as well as Facebook.

Although today was the longest run of 2021, my pace was one of the slowest at 13:06. I attribute that to my weight (around 230 lbs despite running since March) and the weather. That and maybe the two meals I had before the run.

But anyway, I just wanted to post this and let y’all know…

I’m back, baby.

MCM 2020/T-Minus 59: Uh-oh

Today I just got out there and ran. No stretching or pre-eun hydration, just got out there and got in the four miles.

Thirteen minute pace. Uh-oh. Major drop off from when I started earlier this winter.

Basically I am going to attempt to run every other day from now until the (virtual) Marine Corps Marathon on October 25. Maybe one day I’ll atemto to do P90X on alternating days.

Two things I’m hoping for this Saturday: 1) Finishing the eight miles in at least 12 minute pace…or at least finishing standing up. 2) Hoping I lost at least three pounds this week.

Gonna be a long, hard two months. Oh, and I haven’t missed so much training time in four years. My MCM was seven hours that year. Ugh.

Song of the Day: The death metal kick continues…and it’s multilingual!

Alien Weaponry/”Tai Kangata:” Holy Cow! A New Zealand metal band that does all their singing in Maori hakas! From the YouTube description (f**k you Genius!)

“The title literally translates to ‘Eat People’; and refers to the ancient Māori tradition of eating the flesh of their enemies after battle in order to insult them. It is also an ancient term for a war party.

“In their epic 7-minute song, the thrash metal trio recreates the memory of the early 19th Century musket wars, where Ngapuhi (Northern) tribes, newly armed with muskets, attacked and decimated the de Jong brothers’ Te Arawa (Central North Island) ancestors, who at that time were still using traditional weaponry. The driving riff that carries the song echoes the pounding footsteps of the war party, while the chorus traces the parts of the full body moko (tattoo) traditionally worn by Māori warriors. The images are of brutal hand-to-hand combat and the taking of slaves, with flashes of white teeth reminding us of the eventual fate of those unfortunate captives.

“Some people might find it a bit grisly,” says singer and lead guitarist Lewis de Jong. “But it’s stuff that actually happened and nobody ever talks about it. We’re not saying it’s right or wrong, it’s just a part of our history.”

Ningen Isu/”Heatless Scat:”  Damn I love this song! Lyrics translated to English in the comments section.

 

Dear Tony/P90X, Day 80: Balance

Dear Tony,

So, the resistance/weightlifting portion of P90X Lean is over, and now it’s about cutting the last few pounds and toning those newly built muscles. Started that process tonight with Yoga X.

I knew I was in for a difficult evening when I stumbled a little bit on the standing hamstring stretches. I usually have good balance, but not tonight. Of course, I was doing the yoga wobbles during the advanced warrior poses and the standing balance postures (tree/royal dancer.standing let balance).

Maybe that Baby Ruth and the bag of Skinny Pop kettle corn? Nahh….

Unless I can find some way to do something about my bow legs, the crane and plough-to-shoulder postures will be challenges. But I won’t stop trying.

Schedule change: I am going to do my Sunday run on Saturday, a nice five mile stroll to NAS Patuxent River Gate One and back. Weekly weigh-in will go right after the run.Kenpo X will go in the afternoon, followed by a nice Independence Day supper of surf and turf.

And yes…I will do X Stretch on Sunday.

Engage the core…breathe.

Core Synergistics tomorrow afternoon, Tony…see you next time!

Marathon Training During COVID-19: Reset

With back-to-back DNFs on the last two Sunday runs, I decided to scale back my planned distances over the next month and start as if I had finished conditioning, instead of training for the Historic Half Marathon.

This Sunday I am going for five miles (course TBD) so I took the Shangri-La not-quite-three miles. I turned around at the corner of Willow Road and Great Mills Road, instead of going all the way up Shangri-La Drive. I guessed wrong about the actual turnaround point and came up at 2.95 miles instead of the full three.

Two things of note: 0500 and Daylight Savings Time doesn’t necessarily mean sunrise. I still need to dress for low-light/very early morning. Also, I had a nice sheen of sweat on my arms as I approached the two mile point; gonna be a very humid summer.

 

P90X, Day 80: Back and Biceps/ABX

Lessons learned on the final resistance/weights routine of the P90X lean Cycle:

  1. Learn to hit “pause” if you don’t know what to do on the lawnmower routines. I think I got some of them bass-ackwards.
  2. I didn’t hit the heavier band until the second half of the workout. Got a bunch of reps but did I get the pump or the burn?
  3. When I get down to my “fighting weight (maybe 205 lbs?) I need to hit a pull-up bar on base.
  4. GO BUY SOME WEIGHTS, DAMMIT!

Too tired, and not a good day, so no SOTD today. Yoga X tomorrow.

MCM2020: Three Days/Friday

Ranieri Run 4

Forty-eight hours ago…

Reveille at 0430. Out of bed at 0445.

0450-0540: On and off the toilet for nearly and hour.

0555: Applying my Skin-So-Soft…and then abandoning the run.

Since I really can’t afford to lose any more miles, I am running all weekend: Friday and Saturday as well as the Sunday long run.

Today was a good pace for a short run, but I have to remember to throttle that pace back for Sunday. Can’t argue with a 10:55 pace; not bad for not having run in four days.

Really not that much to say. Out of bed at 0435, dressed and stretched, Skin-So0Soft and out the door at 0455. And I ran the Three Fireplugs after I crossed the 4 mile marker.

Business as usual. Where was this on Wednesday?

Aside from running three straight days I am also working P90X about 5:00 p.m. each day. Today is Core Synergistics, tomorrow is keno X, and Sunday will be X Stretch, provided I am in good health and better spirits come Sunday afternoon.

 

Interlude:

One more week with no COVID-19 symptoms. Going for my cataracts surgery pre-screen next Thursday.

This weekend I need to EAT as well as DRINK WATER.

 

P90X, Day 75: Core Synergistics

Dear Tony,

Another Friday, another buttkicker of a Core Synergistics workout.

For the second time in three sessions, I had to bail on the bonus round because i was worn out. Can’t really blame the run that much, and I did have something to eat before the workout. Also, note to self: watch the eating and the diabetic meds before the workout, so you don’t have to pause the workout to take a No. 2

Good Lord am I tired. Looks like another early Friday night.

 

Postscript:

I am running the virtual Marine Corps Marathon this year. If there is an onsite run in Arlington, Va., there will be up to 24 starting waves of 500 runners each…which may be a two-hour wait to actually start running. Not a good idea, regardless of the weather. Also, no finisher’s festival or beer garden. Probably no Runner’s Expo this year either.

Song of the Day: Fatboy Slim/”Praise You:” I loved the video directed by Spike Jonze. Flash mobbin’ before flashmobbin’ was ever a thing. I’m too tired for any more inputs, and I was fortunate to find the video.

Oh, and have you ever seen Fatboy’s original (and still used) recording/sampling set up?

Dear Tony/P90X, Day 74: Yoga X

Dear Tony,

Just got done with P90X and I’m waiting for my freshly-cooked green chicken soup to cool down so I can get something resembling dinner for the first time this week.

Last four days with P90X:

  1. Workouts starting between 4:30 to 5:30 instead of 0500 start time
  2. Eating meals has become an issue the last few days. Completely skipped breakfast on Tuesday and didn’t get anything until after Cardio X.
  3. Very little “dinner” after workouts.
  4. Sleeping like a baby though, with “bedtimes” being earlier than usual (9-9:30 p.m. vice 11-11:30 p.m.)

I really need to stress eating because that was part of the reason I DNF’ed last Sunday. So I need to set a goal of eating three full keto meals over the next two days. Scratch that: gets three full-sized meals (of any kind) over the next two days.

To recap the last two days:

Shoulders and Biceps/ABX: I treated this workout the same as Shou/Bi/Tri on Monday: pace yourself on the first set, then max it out on the second set. I got the best numbers I have ever got on this workout, and got the burning arms to match. Still kind of glad to see “The Gun Show” for the last time on the P90X Lean Cycle.

Ab Ripper X: At this point it’s about powering through it so I can finish. I still work the core and the gut as much as possible during the workout, but man…what a grind.

Yoga X: No heart rate monitor today, and no pushups for the basic warrior/advanced warrior poses (too much ‘Gun Show’ this week)…just focusing on engaging the core, breathing, and focusing on the moment. I am bowlegged enough that properly executing the crane and plough stances will be a challenge…but I’m not going to stop trying.

P90X will be a part of my “five o’clock world” through Sunday. The next three days will be runs in the morning (4 tomorrow, 5 on Saturday, and 13 on Sunday) with P90X starting no later than 5:30 p.m. Depending on how I feel on Sunday, I will push for X Stretch in the late afternoon/early evening.

Green chicken soup: chicken drumsticks, two 32oz. boxes of chicken stock, about a pound of broccoli and cauliflower, a 14 oz. can of okra, chicken seasonings, chicken flavors, salt and pepper, parsley leaves and bay leaves. Yum yum.

Se you next time, Tony!

Dear Tony/P90X, Day 72: Cardio X

Dear Tony,

(Note to readers: Do NOT try this at home)

I was all kinds of lazy today. This is supposed to be Taco Tuesday, which means tacos chorizo y huevos for breakfast, and ground beef tacos with queso tacos and Pace Picante sauce for lunch and dinner. As of this writing, at 6:20 p.m. I have not had a solid meal all day. I am living on my fourth cup of coffee, and I have eaten handfuls of rice crackers, raisins, mini-chocolates, pigs’ feet, and Kawamata olives.

Today was Cardio X, and I was able perform without crashing. My heart rates were behind the curve for the yoga sequence, but as good or better for everything else. I also measured my heart rate immediately after the core routine was finished, instead of hitting “pause” on the DVD player, and got a high of 61 bpm. My bpm for keno wasn’t bad, considering I had to go check the phone first before I measured my heart rate.

BPM Scores: yoga-58 @ 27:20/kenpo-57 @ 18:06/plyo-68 @ 10:53/core-61 @ 3:43.

Tomorrow I am going to run the Ranieri 4, so P90X will be an after-work event for the third straight day. Hopefully I will have two full meals for Shoulders and Arms/ABX.

See you next time, Tony!

Song of the Day: Donald Fagen/”New Frontier:” Taking your girlfriend for a makeout date in your folks’ nuclear fallout shelter…a kinky idea by the former lead vocalist of Steely Dan. This song doesn’t fall too far from the Steely Dan tree. From Genius

“On The Charlie Gillett Show on London’s Capital Radio in 1988, Fagen said:

You’ll hear a little blues guitar played by Larry Carlton, and it’s kind of a track reflecting the spirit of the times. The storyline is basically about a bunch of kids who have a party in a fall-out shelter while their parents are away for the weekend.”

See? Told you so…