Category Archives: Marine Corps Marathon

Semper Fit Challenge 2020: The Road I Travelled

It has been a little more than 24 hours since I finished the (virtual) Marine Corps Marathon and completed the Semper Fit Challenge, which was completing the Historic Half-Marathon as well as the MCM in the same calendar year. AS I draw down the curtain on 2020, I want to recap my last two months and explain my extended absence on this blog.

First, I put a pause on blogging because I put an extended pause on training. I didn’t get back into serious training until September 13, a mere 42 days before the (scheduled) virtual MCM. I proposed an aggressive schedule for myself: running every other day until the MCM. One week would be Su-Tu-Th-Sa, the other week Mo-We-Fr, with long runs on Saturday. In retrospect this hurt me on some of the long runs because I was used to a We-Fr-Su running schedule, the long runs being on Sunday mornings.

The second reason I paused my blogging, while resuming the running, was because I wanted to show progress while I was training. I did complete runs of 13.1, 15, and 20 miles before yesterday’s MCM, but I also had a couple of aborts while attempting to run 15 and 18 miles. I had also put aside P90X for the year; with access to the gyms at my apartment complex restricted to appointment only, the only cross-training I did was riding my bicycle to and from work.

On the Mondays thru Fridays I alternated between 5 and 6 mile runs every other day. Rather than focus on the mundane runs, I will take a short look at the longer runs that defined my run-up to the virtual MCM.

Southeast Loop 10/Sept. 6: This was the longest run I had done since June. The stretch of Three Notch Rd/MD-234 was mostly uphill, and I thought that I did a pretty good job of maintaining my pace on this part of the run. My pace was 12:28, and I learned to live with it.

St. Mary’s City 13.1/Sept.19: The same route that I ran the virtual Historic Half, and the longest I had run in FIVE MONTHS. In retrospect, i was supposed to be running 20 miles and should have had a one or two (virtual?) half marathons under my belt by now. I finished eighteen minutes slower than the HH that day. Also the issues with MapMyRun began this week: the app was not verbally calling out my mile split times.

Sept. 24: Plot twist…and ankle twist. Today, while riding home from work, I slipped off my right pedal and spilled the bike, and twisted my right ankle in the process. Eventually the ankle would recover, but I would feel it in the weeks to come. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation…I would do none of this process and would pay for it later.

RTN 7 Walk 3/Sept.27: This was my first attempt at 15 miles. It was all sorts of dark out when I started (no moon), and as I was heading south down Three Notch/MD-235, I was struggling to find the turnoff to Route 489. I eventually did make the turn…and then I flat ran out of gas about 100 years down the road. My get-up-and-go just got up and went. I power-walked the rest of Route 489 to Point Lookout Road/MD-5, hoping to get a second wind. The restart never came, and at the foot of the Willow Road uphill, I ended the run. It should have been Run 7 Walk 3, but I was not in a good mood and couldn’t see straight.

For some reason, my smartphone dialed 911 just before I gave out on 489.

Three Point Mills 15/Oct. 3: THREE Notch Road, north to south, then POINT Lookout Road/MD-5, after running the 489, then Great MILLS Road/MD-246 after hitting the last intersection. The 246 had the most elevation changes, but I did manage to up the pace before heading into the home stretch on Willows Road. With the UCAN Hydrate in my system, I had gone 15 miles without needing a water break, and I still had not touched my spare GU. My thighs kind of flared up around mile 12, midday through the 246.

The week of Oct.11-17 was to be my most ambitious training week ever. I planned to run the Mt. Vernon Trail on the 11th, then run the Carl Henn Millennium Trail on the 17th.

Mt. Vernon Trail 6/Oct. 11: Ouch. I was anticipating a cold rainy run, so I put on a yellow thermal tee over my black tech shirt. The weather was dry and a bit warmer than expected. Maybe too warm because I flat out burned out two miles into the run. I just overheated and limped to the port-a-johns just outside the Reagan National Airport. After taking a No.2, then realizing the port-a-john I was in had no toilet paper (my what a lovely morning I was having), I limped back to the start of the trail.

PS: Next year I will stay at the Marriott just outside of the Rosslyn end of the trail instead of the Hilton at Arlington Courthouse.

Millennium Trail 20/Oct. 18: I was supposed to run this on Saturday instead of Sunday, but I got a serious case of nerves just before I was getting ready to stretch. This run was two laps of the 10.7 mile trail located in Rockville, MD. I remembered having to cut the run short just after Mile 16 last year, so I resolved to maintain a steady pace over the first lap, then gauge how to take the hills on the second lap. I did make it past mile 16 this year, by taking a power walk at the Thomas Wooton High School on the last serious uphill. The final pace (14:08) wasn’t that great, but I chalked it up to the constant elevation changes, and my lack of long mileage and conditioning (i.e. no running and no P90X) over the midsummer.

The weekend trips to Arlington, VA and Rockville were good chances for me to get out of town, even though only Rockville was more of a confidence boost before the MCM.

Epilogue

Not making the trip to Arlington for the MCM in-person was kind of a drag this year, and took away the anticipation of the event. The Runner’s Expo, the annual trip to the Marine Corps Museum, being found my Marine Friends, and the entire race day experience…the walk through the security gates and the longer walk to the starting corrals. Hearing the music and the public address announcers. Feeling the atmosphere with the other 40,000 runners while stretching out. V-22 Osprey flybys just before the run.

Hearing the starting howitzer going off at 0755. Shuffling towards the starting arch, then crossing under it and taking off, with adrenaline in your veins.

The Blue Mile at Mile 12. The long stretch from miles 14 thru 17, when you realize OMG I’m running a marathon!!! Realizing you’ve made it to the George Washington Bridge, with time to spare ( supposed to reach it by 1:00p.m. or get pulled off the course).

Crossing the bridge, and the near silence. So many people running on fumes and sheer determination.

Crossing into Rosslyn and the party in the streets, as you once again see the cheering crowds. Mile 24…two miles to go!

The Mile 25 and the highway that you started on so long ago is now the homestretch. The the final run up to the finish arch.

A United States Marine wrapping the finisher’s medal around your neck.

The Finisher’s Party and the celebration of the end of a long year of training.

Yeah…I kind of missed that this year.

Song of the Day: Closing Ceremonies

Presented without commentary or explanation, because I’m really not into Genius right now:

Bury Tomorrow/”Choke”

Orbit Culture/”The Shadowing”

The Revels/”Comanche”

MC5/”Kick Out The Jams”

Beatles/”Slow Down”

Baltimora/”Tarzan Boy”

Hugh Cromwell (Stranglers) and Mariachi Mexteca/’Golden Brown”

Van Halen/”Runnin’ With the Devil”

Night Ranger/”Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”

Crash Test Dummies/”Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm”

Ghost/”Square Hammer”

45th Marine Corps Marathon, Patuxent River MD

//oh, snap…my password still works? Time to get my blog on…

So today, six days past the original date, I ran the 45th Marine Corps Marathon, virtually here in the Patuxent River area of St. Mary’s County, MD.

The Course:

  1. Start/finish line was the entrance to Abberly Crest Apartments. 2.
  2. Started to run north up Willows Road to Great Mills Road to Gate 2 of NAS Patuxent River. 3.
  3. At the gate, took a left up Three Notch Road/MD-235 to Chancellor’s Run Road.
  4. Left onto Chancellor’s Run all the way downhill to Great Mills Road/MD-5.
  5. Took a right and an uphill MD-5 to the parking lot connecting Little Flower School and Holy Face Church.
  6. Ran around the parking lot and back down MD-5, then turned left and back up Great Mills to Chancellor’s Run, running up and down that back to Three Notch Road.
  7. Three Notch Road to Gate 2, to Great Mills, then south down Willow Road, past Abberly Crest.
  8. The above was the opening 18 miles.
  9. Willow Road all the way to MD-5 north, taking a left and following MD-5/Point Lookout Road all the way to Berne Way, the last turnaround point.
  10. At Berne Way, turned right around on Point Lookout Rd/MD-5 all the way back to Willow Road south.
  11. One last uphill on Willow Road, all the way back to Abberly Crest.
  12. 26.22 on the dot.

MCM Day abort:

0330-0400: Reveille/breakfast/get dressed

0345: Realize that I forgot to charge my cell phone from the night before. Not a good thing, since my MapMyRun app is on my phone.

0400-0445: STRETCH

0445-0455: Pack my FlipBelt with spare bottle of water, mixed with pickle juice and Mix Water energy additive.

0450: Step out into the pouring rain. Dammit, rain for the second straight year.

0500: Step off

0505-ish: Realize that I don’t have my neck gaiter. In this world of COVID-19. you can’t enter a public facility of any kind without a make or face covering. Since I had three gas stations along my route with very public toilets, this was kind of a big deal. Looking back, however, I wasn’t willing to put up with the rain, so I trudged back to the apartment to get the neck gaiter.

Back in the apartment, warm and dry, I realized that I dropped my driver’s license and my ATM card outside, whilst putting my cellphone way for the run. Back outside in the rain to recover my cards.

The rain started pouring much harder; I had not seriously done any running in the rain this year, so I decided to hold off until noon, when the weather was supposedly better.

Honestly? Out of laziness and stupidity, and allowing for the loophole that I had until November 10 to run the MCM and submit my score, I put off the run until Saturday.

“Game called due to rain.” Good Lord.

T plus 6

Two changes to last week’s pre-run routine:

  1. Substituted on of my tubs of Chobani yogurt (black cherry flavor) for a toasted English muffin with peanut butter. Maybe a little too filling, because I had something of a bubble gut the first four miles.
  2. Stretched for only thirty minutes instead of forty-five.

At 0509 EST, I stepped off. There was the blue full moon out in the pre-dawn darkness, but it was a fairly cloudy night. It was there, but kind of…not there.

I had cut down on my pre-race day water consumption, but man…was my bladder active. I had to stop at the Wawa’s gas station about a half-mile from Chancellor’s Run. I was going to stop at the Sheetz gas station at the Great Mills/MD-5 intersection, until I saw about seven police cars and the parking lot taped off.

The stretch of Chancellor’s Run/Great Mills/Little Face took a lot more out of me than I anticipated. I started getting my annual Revolt of the Thighs during the up and down return leg up Chancellor’s Run. At Mile 16 on Valley Road, I had to power walk while I took my second GU energy pod of 2020, and a four ounce chug from my water bottle.

I don’t think the pickle juice helped that much.

From Valley Road back to Abberly Crest, I power walked until I could find enough of a second wind to do a Marine Corps shuffle. That’s when you chop or shorten your stride when you run; Marines running in formation would do that (on command) when the platoon leader wanted to slow the platoon down.

Green Meadow Lane, the back entrance to Abberly Crest, was where I started a lot of my runs. I was like “Okay, this is the same run I’ve done so many times. Just go out to Berne Way, and then back here and I’m done.”

Uphill to Raineri Run, then Willow Road downhill to MD-5 South. MD-5 uphill then it flattens out, with some inclines and declines to Berne Way.

When I finished my climb/power walk up MD-5, I took one last water/GU break at mile 20, on Manor Way. The run down/up Point Lookout Road/MD-5 felt like running in a tunnel (where’s the turnaround point?), but I was able to run to Berne Way and turn around.

At Manor Way on the final return leg, I snapped my last traditional selfie (taken at 8/16/24 mi. points) and got one last second wind. My hamstrings made some noise, but I was still able to shuffle uphill on Willows Road, past the Bay Montessori School, one more uphill and downhill towards, Green Meadow Lane.

At Green Meadow Lane, I ran through the “arch” formed by the street sign and the STOP sign, then one last uphill past the three fireplugs and toward the Abberly Crest sign.

I pulled my smartphone out of my FlipBely, and pulled up MapMyRun.

PAUSED, then FINISHed the run.

26.22 miles in 6:19:24. Virtual Marine Corps Marathon for 2020: DONE.

Semper Fi Challenge (Historic Half and MCM in the same year): DONE.

Aftermath

One last post-run selfie for the year. Saved my run to MapMyRun to record to the MCM website later on. Way to sore and tired to do a post-run cool down walk, so I walked back home.

Epsom salt bath. One last step on the scales: 222 lbs. Warmdown dress of long-sleeve tee, running tights, and compression socks.

Posted the run time and my MapMyRun app screen to the MCM website. Decorated my Finisher’s Certificate.

Done. All done.

Lessons Learned:

About a month after finishing the Historic Half (also virtual), I had back to back fails on running 10, then 13 miles on the course at NAS Patuxent River. Overtraining, maybe? This year was the first time I had started my training in February.

I had cataracts surgery on each eye, three weeks apart. The day after the post=op consult on each eye (about eight days), I should have been back on the road. I had some complications with my left eye, which were remedied with switching my eyedrops prescription. Still took WAAAY too much time off (about three weeks).

After failing to graduate P90X Lean, I never picked it back up. I should have, because even with running in the morning and P90X after work, I was still reaping the benefits. I was running an average of 11:15~11:30 right after the Half; I never saw above 12~12:30 after I restarted in late August.

I scrapped the keto diet and got addicted to Doordash.

All that being said, UCAN hydrate was a revelation. After adding a packet to a 16-0z. bottle of water and chugging it before the run, I can go at least 16 miles before I have to run. That’s a good then when you’re running a long training run or a virtual half-or-full marathon sans benefit of water or fuel stations.

Either I need a new cell phone or some quality time with MapMyRun’s customer service. I didn’t hear my split times in the last three weeks of running…to include today.

High marks also for the Chafe Paint anti-chaffing cream made by Kanberra. No chaffing over 26 miles, and no sore spots in the nether regions.

Final thoughts:

Ah, the loneliness of the long-distance runner.

No water stations or food/fuel stations.

No cheering crowds.

No howitzer to start the race. No running under a red and gold finish arch to end it.

Just me, God, Patuxent River, and my smartphone with my MapMyRun app.

Then again, there was that first marathoner, though.

Remember Phillipedes!

One last entry tomorrow, with a Song of the Day…I swear!!!

MCM 2020: I’m Back!

So, today was something of a watershed moment for my oh-so-abbreviated Marine Corps marathon training. Yes, although I have been absent, and I have missed days and weeks of training this summer, I’m still training and still aiming to finish this year’s Marine Corps Marathon.

Today, I ran the St. Mary’s City 13-miler, the same course I ran for the Semper Fi half Marathon waaay back in May (four months ago…Holy Cow!).

One: Longest distance I have runs since may, and the longest distance I have run in my MCM training.

Two: Finished the run. My legs were sore as hell, but I made it across the line. Well, actually, I crossed under the street sign and STOP sign that kinda-sorta make up a “finisher’s gate” at the Green Meadow Drive back entrance into Abberly Crest Apartments.

Three: MapMyRun has been a quiet pain in the a$$ lately. Quiet because I haven’t heard it call out my mile splits in the last three weeks. Today, after almost three hours of running, I pulled out my smartphone to check my final distance and time…and discovered that MMR was on the Settings screen. Nothing of my run was recorded.

Allegedly, I ran today’s run in 2 hours, 48 minutes. Much slower than the Semper Fi Half, and no idea what my pace was, as of this writing.

Four: First time in two months I have run three times in a single week. My goal way back in August was “every other day.” Unfortunately, I have been too chicken to deal with way-too-humid and inclement (rain) weather, so I have been lucky to smuggle two or three runs. I am seriously behind the power curve as far was what distance I am supposed to be at in my training.

All that said, to day I finished. So there is hope!

No long run tomorrow, so I am going to attempt to make tacos al pastor.

No song of the day today because YouTube is acting up right now, and I really need to go shopping.

But, yes, I’m back baby…I’m BACK!!!

MCM 2020: Popeye’s

Lunchtime yesterday: “Hey let’s go to Popeye’s for lunch.”

Me: “Okay.”

Four of us drive to the Popeye’s on Three Notch Road, across from Hobby Lobby, not the one in San Souci Plaza on Great Mills Road.

I am the first of four to order. Two-piece spicy dark (leg and thigh), corn on the cob, medium drink, apple pie.

Zero apple pies available. At 11:00 a.m. on a Monday (just before lunch).

Also, no corn on the cob ready. At 11:00 a.m. on a Monday (just before lunch).

Everybody else has ordered, paid for, and received their orders. Still no corn on the cob. I take Cajun rice instead.

My chicken looks like it was raised on growth hormones and tastes awful. Dirty rice may as well be dirt. No dessert to comfort my straight-up ghetto meal.

Twelve years I’ve lived here. Most of the time I get my Popeye’s at the San Souci location, and I have never had a bad meal from that location. First time in twelve years that I’ve had to throw away a Popeye’s meal.

 

4:00 yesterday: home from work.

5:00-6:00. Postpone, then ultimately blow off P90X (Cardio X).

6:15: Screw it, I’ll ride my bike to Weis Market in St. Mary’s Plaza for PT; I need to get some coffee and stuff.

6:30: Rain clouds moving in; call Uber instead.

7:00, coming out of Weis…the sun is out.

The weather: God’s favorite practical joke on Man for over two thousand years.

 

International House of Pancakes on Three Notch Road closed it’s doors today. Riding home from work, I saw a big FOR LEASE sign where the IHOP used to advertise their specials. All of the IHOP signage stripped from the building.

Didn’t stop to see if the proprietors left a sign saying “We’re closing for good tonight, thanks for your patronage all these years.”

IHOP is the third restaurant to close in my area since COVID-19 put Maryland on lockdown. One was Nick’s, which made awesome Greek gyros. The other was Captain Pat’s Seafood, which burned down a few months ago.

 

Raineri run 4 miler sucked this evening. I doubt if I made a twelve minute pace.

MCM 2020is an issue in doubt. That is all.

 

Song of the Day: Ningen Isu/”Namahage.”

I have been on a death metal kick on YouTube lately, and this sounded pretty good.

The band performs in Japanese, so forget Genius. Here’s a link to an article on the band in Japan Times.

MCM 2020: Eastbound and Down

Sooo…about twelve hours ago, I stepped off into the darkness. And man was it dark, with none of the early false dawns that I saw a few short months ago. Didn’t see the first hints of sunlight until Shangri-La Drive of my run.

Long story short, the run was Superwillow 6. Starting from the back entrance of my apartment complex at Green Meadow Lane. Run down to the MD-5 crossroad, then uphill back through Green Meadow and past the Three Fireplugs uphill back up Willow Road north. Run all the way through Shangri-La Drive up to the stoplight, then all the way back down Willow south to Green Meadow Lane.

I was shooting for a twelve-minute pace, given the way-too-long layoff. However, the rust I have been gathering manifested itself on the northern half of my run. I ended up with 14 and 15 minute splits for miles 4 and 5, finishing with a thirteen minute pace.

Wednesday will be sixty days until the Marine Corps Marathon. I am running it virtually this year, here in the Lexington park, MD area, on a self-designed course that will be much more difficult than the annual run through the District of Columbia. the actual run date is October 25, but virtual runners have until November 10, 2020 to submit their final run times.

I am waaay behind on my training mileage, and I was just a lazy bastard all last week. So now I must attempt to implement an aggressive running schedule which has me running every other day until the vMCM. Long runs will alternate between Saturdays and Sundays. One week: Su/Tu/Thu/Sat (long run day), then Mo/We/Fr and the long run on Sundays.

Second, I have to get back to P90X. I have put off butting a dumbbell set for over a month and now it has put me behind schedule.This week will be a rest/refresh course, running the more cardio routines every other day (Mo/We/Fr/Su) and starting P90X Lean next Monday.

Lastly, I have to set run times and stick to them. This week, I am back at the office, so my goal is to be on the road or hitting “play” on the DVD player for P90X no later than 5:00 p.m. (or at least no later than 45 minutes after I get home).

“Miles to go before I sleep…”: Robert Frost

Song of the Day:

Jerry Reed/”Eastbound and Down:

“East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’/
We gonna do what they say can’t be done/
We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there/
I’m east bound, just watch ol’ Bandit run

In other words, my running life for the next two months…

MCM 2020: 20/20

…aaand, just like that, I’m back.

0445 this morning. Just got off the toilet and getting ready to put on some Skin So Soft when I heard the thunder and lightning…and the accompanying heavy-ass rain. I checked the day’s weather forecast on my smartphone: expected to rain until after 6:00 p.m. tonight. Okay, no later than six, and then on the road, rain or shine.

0830: Breakfast is done, and so is the rain. Shooting for an 11:30 a.m. step-off.

1030: The sun comes out like gangbusters. My 11: 30 run time is confirmed.

11:35: Step off for thee miles of Shangri-La Drive.

Just past the two mile point, which I never heard because MapMyRun was silent…like my muted smartphone. A little sprinkle/drizzle, but nothing really heavy.

12:12: 3.18 in the books. Some watering in the eyes, but not a real showstopper. The pace wasn’t sexy, but I believe it will get better with more miles on the road and some more P90X Lean.

Long story short: I’m about 70 days out from the Marine Corps Marathon, and I haven’t done any PT in over two weeks. Mostly dealing with recovering from cataract surgery in each eye, and not wanting to upset my newly repaired eyes any more than necessary. Now I know I can go at least three miles running without any major problems with my eyes.

Also, that 20/20 vision, tho! Bit I still have to wear reading glasses.

So, it’s running every other day and P90X on alternating days until October 25, the day I run the virtual Marine Corps Marathon. If worse comes to worse, the last day that the MCM Organization will take virtual marathon results is November 10, but I don’t want to string it out that long.

Lastly, I need to get back on the keto diet horse. Way, way, waaay too much Doordash these last two weeks.

Song of the Day:

Gary Go:”Wonderful:” I thought of this song the other week, just thought I needed something to inspire me to get back on the road. Genius stole this from Wikipedia:

“Wonderful” is a song by British singer Gary Go, released on 16 February 2009 as the first and debut single from his debut album Gary Go. It reached #25 on the UK singles chart and was a Top 40 on the Hot AC chart in the US. The song was selected as Pop Song Of The Year by iTunes US in their Rewind recap of 2009 releases. A version of the song became the title song for the German film Men in the City (German: ‘Männerherzen’) for which a new music video was filmed on a Berlin rooftop including scenes from the film. It is also used in the trailer for the Disneynature film Oceans, in the TVI Portuguese novella Mar de Paixão, at the conclusion of an American Idol episode, and in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 during the interval, in a mini movie involving clips from the shorts that were broadcast before every song from the contest. “Wonderful” was also used in Sky Sports’ closing montage of the 2011–12 Premier League season.”

Orbital Culture: “The Shadowing:” This death metal song caught me by surprise when I heard to on Sirius XM this past week. Genius has nothing but lyrics.

The Damned: “Nasty:”First heard this song on the British punk sitcom The Young Ones waaay back in the 80s. Not sure about the thought process how I remembered this song, but I was looking for a death metal cover of the sone. I found this instead. Lyrics.

 

MCM2020/Day 96: Orange

It is twenty minutes to seven on a warm evening somewhere in southern Maryland. I am enjoying a dinner of cold cuts, olives and pickles as I type this.

Tested negative for COVID-19, FTW!

Right eye cataracts surgery went smooth as glass this morning.  The only pain I really felt was when the nice nurse stuck a needle in my had for the intravenous drip. What I saw during the surgery would be great CGI/laser images for a Pink Floyd show, but it was painless.

As I type this, and not necessarily in need of reading glasses (yet), I have no swollen right eye from the surgery, nor am I suffering headaches of any magnitude.

My diabetes is mostly under control, except for today. I will fix that with my second dose of medicine.

Alive and healthy…once again, For The Win!

 

The bad news is that my marathon training schedule has been put into arrears. I just spent twenty minutes on my work laptop rearranging my schedule.

Starting tomorrow, I will alternate runs (of gradually increasing distance) with some of the more cardiovascular workouts from P90X. Not in any particular order: Cardio X, Core Synergistics, Kenpo X, Yoga X, and X Stretch.

I also made a strategic decision regarding resuming P90X. I will be resuming P90X in August, after my last eye surgery. I will be repeating P90X Lean instead of going to P90X Classic.

First reason: I FAILED TO GRADUATE.

Second reason: I need to get back on the losing weight program. My purpose is to build a stronger, leaner, more durable core and strengthen my legs for what may be an aggressive program.

I also want to get under 205 lbs.

Third reason: I need stronger muscles and ligaments, but not necessarily bigger ones. I’m not traveling to neither Ocean City, MD nor Arlington this year to display My Personal Gun Show, and I may be still struggling to much with my longer runs.

Looking back at my Marine Corps Marathon schedule since May (right after the Historic Half Marathon), I am seeing far too many missed workout days. I color code my workouts like this:

Green/done!   Gold/P90x and a run done, same day! Blue: Shortened/aborted run. Orange: F’n lazy a$$ no-show (did not do)

Not really wanting to count, but I bet I have more orange than green on the board…or maybe 52% to 48% green and blue (combined) over orange.

However, the calendar still reads July. I am still motivated to complete the virtual  Marine Marathon on October 25.

Quick aside: The MCM Organization officially cancelled the on-station MCM Weekend in the DC Triangle this year. No Runner’s Expo National Harbor, MD), no special events in the DC/VA area, no running events in the Nation’s Capitol, no Beating the Fourteenth Street Bridge or the party in Crystal City, Va. No uphill finish at the Arlington Cemetery or post-run photo by the Marine Corps’ Iwo Jima Memorial.

Okay sadness over. the thing is, I have mapped out a course that threatens to be much tougher than the traditional MCM course. Uphill/down hill, then downhill/uphill on Three Notch Road/MD-235, then downhill/uphill on Chancellor’s Run towards Great Mill Road, MD-5 south uphill/downhill towards Holy Face Church/Little Flower School. And then all the way back in reverse.

That’s the opening 18 miles.

The final four mile out and back is running all the way south down Willow Road towards MD-5 North and then out to whatever MapMyRun declares to be Mile 22. The finishing 2.2 is one last climb up the hill of Willow Road going back to Abberly Crest, with a last triumphant run past the Three Fireplugs and the finish (Mile 26 and change, for the official MCM record).

Objectives:

  1. Getting out of bed at 0430 for a 0500 workout
  2. Getting the workout started no later than 45 minutes after getting home from work
  3. Slowly but surely getting back on the road
  4. Finishing the runs, especially the Sunday (and occasional Saturday) long runs…pace be damned
  5. Working the hills…as many as possible, and looking for survival and consistency
  6. P90X: Hit play. Engage the core. Breathe.Work the hips.
  7. X Stretch every Sunday afternoon/evening. Before bed of you have to.
  8. FINISH. EVERYTHING.

 

The fun starts Wednesday morning.

 

Songs of the Day:

Bob Dylan/”Jokerman:” I have always loved how the images from the video (ancient and modern art, popular culture images/scenes) hep tell the story that Bob is trying to tell…even if he admits that he may have overthought this song and the rest of the album (Infidels). From Genius:

“ ‘Jokerman’ is the first track from Dylan’s 1983 album Infidels. This album is often seen as Dylan’s return to secular music after a conversion to Christianity and three gospel records.

However, “Jokerman” is still laden with religious imagery and biblical references. Like Christ, the Jokerman has messianic aspirations, but unlike a legitimate godly figure who will die for others, the Jokerman ultimately is unaccountable even to himself

Dylan: “That’s a song that got away from me. Lots of songs on that album [Infidels] got away from me. They just did.”

ST: “You mean in the writing?”

Dylan: “Yeah. They hung around too long. They were better before they were tampered with. Of course, it was me tampering with them. [Laughs] Yeah. That could have been a good song. It could’ve been.” If the YouTube comments section means anything, Bob Dylan’s fans would respectfully disagree.

Bruce Springsteen/”Atlantic City:” I think this song is just Bruce on acoustic guitar and some dude (maybe Little Steven?) on mandolin. It works…and my God is it so hauntingly beautiful.

” ‘Atlantic City’is perhaps one of Springsteen’s most dour songs. It depicts a young couple’s romantic escape to the New Jersey seaside resort of Atlantic City, where the man in the relationship intends to take a job in organized crime upon arriving in the city.

“The song wrestles with the inevitability of death and the hope of rebirth in various ways, especially in life and in the actual city of Atlantic City, which was going through an attempted mob takeover while the state government was trying to implement casino gambling within the city.

” ‘Atlantic City’ started as a demo recorded in early 1981 at Springsteen’s home studio at Colts Neck, NJ called “Fistfull of Dollars” (for the Clint Eastwood movie). He changed the title and the chorus to “Atlantic City” later that year, and on January 3. 1982, recorded 4 takes, along with other “Nebraska” demos that later made up the album of the same name. Take 2 was the one chosen for the album, released in fall 1982.”

 

MCM2020/T-Minus 97: Vision

Twenty-four hours from now, I hope to be walking out of MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital taking my first steps towards improved vision in my cataracts-infected eyes.

Tomorrow morning, I am scheduled for the first of two cataracts laser surgeries. My right eye will be done tomorrow, and my left one will be done two weeks from tomorrow.

Wednesday, I was tested for COVID-19, a prerequisite for my surgery. Unless I get a phone call or get the bad news upon reaching the hospital, I will presume I have tested negative. The testing required that I immediately depart the testing area and go straight home into lockdown: no trips to the store, to work, to anywhere. Also, I assumed no running.

My lockdown meant that I have not run since last Sunday, and I have not done any P90X, or any other cross-training, in two weeks. Getting back on schedule is going to be quite the long climb.

I plan on running again Wednesday morning, barring any prolonged medical problems after the eye surgery. From there it will be running every other day until next Sunday, then another two day hiatus, then back on the road the Wednesday after the second surgery. Running distance will be progressive distances, with longer runs on Saturdays and Sundays.

I will also ease back into P90X again, doing workouts on every other day. When I get back into shape (and lose my “fear” of doing P90X) I will start P90X Classic in August. P90X will be may preferred cross training routine throughout the rest of my Marine Corps Marathon training schedule.

To this point, July has been mostly shot, and hopefully I can rebound quickly, now that I am under the hundred-day mark.

Meanwhile, I do have a few “projects” I would like to complete today:

  1. Update MCM Training Schedule
  2. Work project, because I may be out of pocket until Wednesday morning
  3. Firmware/game mods load for my Atari Flashback 9 Gold

In between all that, there is the matter of getting enough food and hydration, because I am not allowed any food or beverage after midnight tonight…that includes water and any medication. I will be on a twelve hour fast until after the surgery.

And…that’s it until Tuesday. Just thought I’d post this here to let everybody know I’m still alive and relatively healthy. Alas, no Song of the Day either.

Talk to you Tuesday!

MCM 2020/T-Minus 100: Awaiting

Two years ago, I revived this blog by tracking my training for the Marine Corps Marathon from one hundred days out all the way through race day.

A lot has changed in those two years…hell, a lot has changed since I started training for the Historic Half back in February.

Today marks sixty days since I finished the Historic Half Marathon run for the 2020 Semper Fi Double (Historic Half plus MCM in the same calendar year). The last sixty days have not been kind.

Two DNFs while trying to run double-digit runs.

Failing to graduate P90X Lean.

All but scrapping the keto diet.

Plateauing in my struggle to lose weight/

But wait, there’s more…

In preparation for my cataracts surgery next Monday, I had to get tested for COVID-19 yesterday. As soon as the doctor got done swabbing by nostrils, she told me to come immediately and forthwith, putting me in isolation until I was cleared for surgery (or until I got news that I tested positive).

Lockdown means staying in the house until I get word, one way or the other. Outdoor PT wasn’t mentioned so I assumed it meant no running. So, right now, I am pretty much on a training time-out, at least until next Wednesday morning.

I was supposed to start P90X Classic next week, but with surgery on Monday and not knowing WTF on Tuesday, I’m pretty much on standby for that as well.

Oh, and I STILL haven’t ordered my new dumbbells from Amazon, either.

So, all I am doing is putting everything on hold until at least Tuesday night. Right now I am just watching the cell phone waiting for THAT CALL. If I don’t hear anything by 4:00 tomorrow, I start calling around to see what’s going on.

But at least I have a Song of the Day:

Violent Femmes/”Blister in the Sun:”This song was unplugged before MTV Unplugged was cool.

Genius:

“The lyrics are about heroin abuse and getting rejected by girls. You know, a normal teenage frustration tune from Violent Femmes.

“In 2007, Ritchie filed a lawsuit against Gano for band earnings and ownership rights stemming from Gano’s approval for their song “Blister in the Sun” to be used in a Wendy’s commercial. Once again, the band broke up.”

Ritchie: bassist Brian Ritchie. Gano: vocalist/guitarist Gordon Gano. And Victor DeLorenzo is the drummer, for completion’s sake.

“I Can Change:” Written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut… FTW!!!) and covered by the Femmes for the excellent movie soundtrack.

MCM 2020: Reset/Refresh

Great Mills 8

0400 reveille as usual. No breakfast, because the last tub of Chobani yogurt in the fridge was three days past its sell-by date, and I did not want to look at mold or get food poisoning this morning.

Dressed and lubed by 0430. Stretched at 0440-0450. Out the door at 0455.

It was cooler than I expected this morning, after running in the humidity all week. As I started the eight mile trek around Great Mills, I noticed the first-quarter moon was out. A good sign.

The goal today was a good, solid eight miles. Not so much worried about the pace, so much as I wanted to feel like zi could go a little further than eight miles. There were a lot of inclines and declines in the eight miles, so no use pressing for negative splits.

I actually felt good over the first four miles, as I rounded the turn from MD-5 onto Great Mills Road. While the splits may not have been with me, I did feel good about the run. I was even able to shrug off not having my Under Armour fluorescent white running ball cap, which I didn’t notice that I had forgotten until just after the first mile marker.

The ball cap serves two purposes: 1) to protect the top of my head from mosquitos, and 2) to help block out the sun with the bill of the cap. The route had some woodlands, but the mosquitos were not quite the problem as they were aboard NAS Patuxent River the last two Sunday. However, as I headed down (up?) Great Mills Road, I realized I was running in the direction of the rising sun…and with no visor to at least partially block it, I could barely see where I was going.

The blinding sun aside, the made the there miles go Great Mills Road with no problem, as I made the final turn onto north Willos Road. There was even a convenient Port-A-John, across the street from Lancaster Park. The stop was a relief, although that may have impacted my last mile split. I just barely made eight miles as I passed the road crossing into Abberly Crest Apartments, topping out at 8.04 mi. as I ended the run.

I finished with no real negative splits, but an acceptable 11:28 pace. Not bad.

 

P90X and Other Stuff

My strategy of performing P90X after the end of the workday went belly up, as I finished late and tired on Wednesday and Thursday. I was already a week late on finishing P90X Lean, but having screwed up the schedule I had to throw in the towel on this cycle.

To be frank, I really have no excuse as to why I didn’t finish. This was the last low stress portion of the cycle, with routines like Yoga X, Cardio X and Core Synergistics, and Cardio X on call for this last week. I was just too bummed out from sitting on telecoms all day to execute anything at midweek. So, not only am I STILL NOT a P90X graduate, but I paid for it on the scale this week with two pounds added onto last week’s total. Looking back, I really could have used the Kenpo X and Cardio X on tap for the Wednesday and Friday runs.

So while the runs are slowly getting back to normal, I am going to take a week off and start P90X Classic next week…maybe.

 

Good news is that I am still healthy and COVID-19 free, although I am still a bit heavier than I’d like to be.

The bad news? As part of my prep for my cataracts eye laser surgery next Monday, I have to have a COVID-19 test this Wednesday. If I don’t hear anything by Sunday night, I am cleared for the surgery next Monday morning. If I get the call, it won’t be just the eye surgery that gets put on hold.

I believe that COVID-19 test has somewhat upset my equilibrium this week. That and the added logistics of my transportation to and from the eye surgery. It can’t be just an Uber driver who drops me off an picks me up; someone has to stay with my at the hospital then monitor me as I come home from the surgery. So, there’s that as well.

It is now almost 8:30 on Sunday night, and I am now just eating my second full meal of the day. Yeah, I’ve got a few things on my mind.

 

Song of the Day: I’m sorry…I have none, and I know it’s been a while since I last posted. YouTube isn’t cooperating tonight.