Category Archives: Mission

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!!!

Dear Tony/P90X-Day 45: Adapt/Improvise/Overcome

Dear Tony,

Yet another Wednesday double: Cardio X at lunch, to make up for Monday, and I just finished Chest-Shoulders-Triceps/Ab Ripper X.

Full disclosure:

I am 50 years old, and not as flexible or athletic as I was when I first purchased the P90X DVD set. For example, I am somewhat bowlegged and my spinal column can’t quite hold up and bend as much as I’d like to.

For some of the routines, I decided to position my body so I can perform the routine and still work the intended body part.

For today’s Chest-Shot-Tri’s, I remembered that I am not only fifty years old, but I am not the late great Jack balance either. That means that if I work some of the early push up routines to max reps, I may not have the legs to hold up for some of the later ones. So, yes,I bend my knees, but I focus more on working out my chest and get a wider push-up stance.

Another life lesson today: pay attention to the routines where you use the bands! Hit the pause button if you need to see what davey is doing with the resistance bands. I’m not doing meaningful numbers if I’m not following what he’s doing.

Damn my arms are sore. I hope this recovery drink works.

ABX, as I like to call it: probably the best example of adapt/improvise/overcome. I’m bowlegged and can’t bend at the waist well, but if I cross my legs, hold my back straight on the floor to where I can pull my legs into my chest, I can still work my abdomen and get as many good reps as possible. So today, not only did I get a lot of good numbers, but my abs were pretty sore when i got done. I needed two cobra poses to finish up after ABX.

So today marks the halfway point of P90X. I took a picture to commemorate the moment of being halfway done. I’ll check the pictures out later, but I already feel better than I did when I started way back in April.

Today I drew up the schedule for my Marine Corps Marathon training. I may do a run on Memorial Day, simply because next Wednesday will make ten days without running. I finish P90X lean on Independence Day, and my schedule has me doing a 20-miler the next day. I have decided that after I grad P90X lean, I will take a week off and start P90X Classic and work that until the taper period for the MCM. P90X Classic will finish up about two weeks before the big run.

Yoga X tomorrow…see you next time, Tony…maybe after work, I kinda like this sleeping in stuff.

Song of the Day: Falco/”Rock Me Amadeus:” Genius had some information on the song, but it’s in German. Here is the translation of the lyrics to English. The song is off Falco’s eponymous third album, Falco 3. and the song was released in the wake of the smash hit movie Amadeus back in 1985. The song was so good it spawned a US version.

Dear Tony: P90X and the COVID-19 Saga

Mr. Horton, I presume…it’s been awhile.

In 2009, I purchased your P90X DVD set, and managed to get just about all of the workout materials that your “Bring It” starter DVD recommended. I believe I got halfway through P90X, then got a good score on my Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test…then sporadically picked up a disc once or twice…and then never picked up the P90X DVDs again.

In the last eleven years:

2010: Retired from the Marine Corps in 2010

2010-2012: Gained a whole bunch of weight

2012: Contracted Type 2 Diabetes…while on vacation in Las vegas

2014: Ran the first of five Marine Corps Marathons

Bringing us to a week before my 50th Birthday. I am currently training for the MCM Semper Fit Double: Running the Historic Half Marathon in May, then the full Marine Corps Marathon in October. My training schedule, since 2014: Working a circuit cycle routine in the gym Tu/Thu/Sat and running W/F/Sun.

Thursday, 3/19/20. The morning of, I slept in and vowed to make it up in the afternoon. I came home from work that afternoon to find that the fitness facilities in my apartment complex have been closed, courtesy of COVID-19 and to help contain its spread. The fitness facilities joined every other gym in Maryland (my Maryland) in being closed down.

I relied on the circuit cycles to help keep my running muscles intact and durable for a 26-mile run, not necessarily for bulking up. With no gyms open anywhere, I was looking around my apartment house…and looking at my dusty entertainment center, in the bottom shelf, was my dust-covered book of P90X DVDs.

Back in business…?

So, I have spent the last week trying to cumshaw as much gear and food as I could, under the current COVID shelter-in-place order that the State of Maryland handed down last Monday morning.

Bad news first: I don’t have any of the p90X supplements. No multivitamin, no recovery drink, no meal bars. I have two tubs of whey protein and six weeks’ worth of energy bars, and I’m currently working on a keto diet. I don’t have the books, but perhaps I can find some snippets, or get a kindle subscription or whatever and try to read something from them.

I do have most of the gear. My Iron Gym pull-up bar has long disappeared, but I did find a couple of resistance bands, a yoga mat, and a yoga block. I managed to buy a new pulp bar and a heart rate monitor watch. No barbells anywhere in town, and if I order them online, there’s currently no telling when they’ll actually ship.

However, God forbid I make excuses. I may not have all the gear and none of the supplements. I may have to review my diet. But I do have your DVDs, the need and the desire. I believe I can work with that.

Tonight I am going to put together the puli-up bar, print out some workout sheets, and draw up the schedule for P90X Lean. Oh, the pictures too. Tomorrow at 0500 sharp, I’m taking the fit test. At noon, I start with Core Synergistics.

I’m coming back, Tony. See you at noon tomorrow.

HH2020: Return

First run back

0445: Getting dressed this morning, I hear an argument outside my window. I decide to stay out of it unless it gets really violent.

0500: On the road for my first run in a week, a five miler out to NAS Patuxent River and back.

0505-ish. A police cruiser briefly stops by me as I run. A minute later, it pulls up behind me. The officers question me about WTF in the apartment complex; I answer truthfully “Wasn’t me.” After the police confirm I’m not on America’s Most Wanted for anything, the let me go on my way and head back to Abberly Crest.

A little shaken up and having lost my rhythm, I decide to cut my 5 mile run down to just three. On the homestretch coming up Willow Road, I am passed by a truck with two loudly barking dogs riding in the window seats. The truck pulls into a side road, makes a u-turn, and passes me on the other side of the road…and the dogs are still barking.

Yeah, three miles was enough for me today.

Virtual MCM

If I had to run a virtual Marine Corps Marathon in October (running 26.2 miles elsewhere as opposed to the annual run in DC/VA), could I do it?

Why yes! The Little Flower Long 18 for the first part, and then the Glen Mary Farm Lane 4. Combining those two would put me at 26.35, meaning I would probably make the full marathon distance just before the last hill going up to the main Abberly Crest entrance road.

I could also keep going on Three Notch Rd./MD 235 (instead of turning onto Great Mills Rd. for the run down Willows Road) until I got to Route 489 and take that to MD-5 and back up Willows Road to finish. I will have to measure that out.

Welcome Back, Tony

Rather than do a separate blog, I will be adding another subheader/category to this one. It’s called, “Dear Tony,” which is basically a progress report/journal/diary to the founder of P90X, Tony Horton.

I am planning to work the P90X Lean schedule. I am doing this in place of my circuit course workouts, which I cannot do because every gym in Maryland is closed…to include the three fitness facilities here at Abberly Crest Apartments. My intent is to get down to my marathon running weight of 200 lbs. and build enough muscle and flexibility in my legs. My goal is to do all 90 days, consecutively, of the P90X Lean program.

The P90X Fit Test I will do first thing in the morning; and the first official workout at noon (work schedule permitting). P90X goes six days a week at 0500, and my Wednesday and Friday runs will be in the afternoons after work, no later than 6:00 p.m. If the weather is way too hot or there is a threat of afternoon rain, I will switch the runs to 0500. Long runs on Sunday, which will be my P90X rest day…or maybe I’ll do some StretchX before the run?

Song of the Day: Hair OST/”The Flesh Failures/Let the Sun Shine In” I loved watching the Milos Formal film adaptation of the original Broadway musical. This is not the time or place to do a history lesson, and I have never seen the actual musical in its entirety, but the final scene of the movie is still with me, forty years after first seeing it on HBO.

 

HH20: Planning

So this is going to be my weekend:

Normally on runs of ten miles or longer, I carry a 16-oz. bottle of water mixed with Mio Energy water additive. I do this in addition to downing another 16-oz. bottle of Nuun Energy prior to the run. As of now, I have plenty of water…just not in 16-oz. bottles.

Last week I went 8 miles with a single packet of UCan hydrate, and managed to maintain a 12:00 pace on a fairly hilly run route. Eight miles, do I hear ten?

So this is what I will do tomorrow: I will get up a little early before the alarm and get dressed and stretch. First I will get the 8-oz. protein shake that I usually take after my circuit cycle workouts; this way I will get a shot of protein without having to take a pre-run or an in-run “No. 2.” Just before I go out the door, I will take my 16-oz. dose of water with Ucan. That will be it; no in-run hydration of any kind until after the run.

It will be 55 degrees at 0500 tomorrow, with clouds but no rain (probably no moon either). I plan to run the Little Face 10; that course is the run to Sheetz, but this time passing the gas station/connivence store and continuing up MD-5 (HWY-5) on an uphill until I get to the Holy Face Church/Little Flower Grade School facility. I will run around the parking lot uniting the two buildings, then back down…and then back up…MD-5 until I get back home.

The question for tomorrow’s run: can I maintain a 12-minute pace with somewhat steep ascents going out and back over ten miles, and still be properly fueled and hydrated?

I will gladly pay you cash for a DVD today…all I need is a basic Mark 1 Mod 0 DVD player. Wal-Mart has one, but can I make the trip up there? If not, I will have to get creative in regards to playing my P90X workouts. I may also have to get other equipment for P90x, which I am planning to start the Lean workout schedule on Monday.

I finally got a cheap flatscreen TV to play my Atari Flashback 9. I did get the firmware downloaded via SD card. Unfortunately, I need something to fix the spaces and .bin from my iMac OS when I downloaded it onto my SD card. Tech assist time!

So…with my movement limited, how much personal stuff can I accomplish online? We will see…

Song of the Day: Robyn Adele Anderson/”Personal Jesus:” The missus is good looking and has a good voice, and has a talent for taking a jazz/blues twist on popular music. Thank God for YouTube and Patreon.

Historic Half 2020/Health and Comfort

So, what am I getting myself into on May 17th?

“The scenic course tours colonial sites and the quaint downtown before scaling the now-famous Hospital Hill on the way to the stars-and-stripes adorned finish and the US Marines. Along the way, runners pass significant landmarks dating back to the nation’s beginnings and notable neighborhoods that were home to America’s forefathers, including Presidents George Washington and James Monroe. Great medal + Amazing crowds + Terrific weekend getaway= an instant favorite.”

Here’s the Course Map. Five miles all downhill going into downtown Fredricksburg, VA, and then a steep two mile climb back out of town (up the infamous Hospital Hill) before a short decline to the finish. So, basically I need some hill prep into my training.

An old Marine friend gave me some good advice when he saw my blog post on Facebook: paraphrasing-“Don’t get too crazy during the start because you have a serious climb near the end.” To be honesty lot of my runs have had some level of inclining as I headed towards the finish. I am tempted to take a trip out to Rockton, MD and run a lap of the Carl Henn Millennium Trail a week or two out from the Historic Half, or maybe run the Indian Head Rail Trail, with four of the last six miles going back to Indian Head being a steady but constant climb.

My current pace is about 12:15~12:30…when I know where I am going and I can clear the fog from my glasses. Hope fully I well have lost some significant weight in the next two=plus months. Which brings us to…the keto diet. Today is the first day in a while where I have stuck through the diet for at least two meals. I am also hoping that the Duke’s Shorty Sausages snacks are not necessarily deal breakers. I am making efforts to eat only what I need, and eat better. Yesterday I was too tired to make breakfast, and I basically ate junk food and snacks the rest of the day. No big steak dinner like I also usually do on Sundays.

I also need to clean out the fridge.

My new pair of shoes is not optimum; not really overpronator-oriented and I could use a size larger, or at least a wider width. Running Warehouse did not have any ASICS Gel Contend 6 (ran with a Contend 5), so I may have to go to ASICS website and hope for the best. I also saw some Brooks Ravennas on sale at RW, for about $20 more. If it means my feet will be better for it, I may have to pony up the extra $20. Not really interested in plantar fasciitis right now, I’m just under 90 days (88, to be exact) before the Historic Half.

It occurred to me today that every circuit cycle workout missed was two cycles, and I only made up a total of two workouts. So, my workout schedule for the next two weeks:

Tuesdays: Three sets, reduced weight. This is ten pounds under current weight. For example, instead of two sets of leg presses at 125 lbs., I do three sets at 115.

Thursdays: 2~3 laps intervals, then three sets reduced weight.

Saturdays: Two sets at max weight, or ten pounds over current weight. Leg presses would be two sets at 135 lbs.

Come April, I will add 10~20% on to the current weights (back to two sets), then cut them to two sets of reduced weights in May, two weeks before the run. Intervals will be at two laps for at least two more weeks, then three laps through May.

Ahhh…the best laid plans.

Song of the Day: Boomtown Rats/”Up All Night:” Before Pink Floyd: The Wall and Band Aid/Live Aid, there was Bob Geldof on lead vocals for the Rats. The video on MTV was my “formal” introduction to Mr. Geldof and Co. Oh, and I just learned that he’s singing “Oooh, za za,” not “Oooh, staying up…”

Madness/”One Step Beyond:” The song is basically an instrumental, outside of the opening speech and “One Step Beyond” being repeated at intervals.

 

Historic Half 2020: Scenic

Significant events since my last blog entry:

A good friend of mine passed away late Sunday night.

I have logged about 32~33 miles that last two weeks.

15 of those miles have been run aboard Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD.

I have spent the last three cycle circuits sessions making up for the week that I missed all my circuit workouts; instead of two sets at regular weight, I have been doing there sets with ten fewer pounds on each excercise.

 

Wednesday morning: Hey I think I’ll take a mini-vacay into DC this weekend.

Later: I ask the Marine Corps Marathon & 10K Facebook page for recommendations on a good 4 mi. run.

Wednesday night: Book a hotel room and pack about 85% of my stuff.

Thursday morning: Check out the MCM/10K page. Most popular recommendations are for Rock Creek Park, the Capital Crescent, and the National Mall.

Thursday evening: After work, I load up and head into DC. I miss the last turn and spend an extra 15 minutes in the car.

0200 Friday: After 5 1/2 hours of sleep, I get up and stay up. Still have no idea on where to run.

0300: After an hour on YouTube, I hop on MapMyRun an plot a convenient course from my hotel, the Graham. A short run on the C&O Towpath to the Rock Creek Trail. Follow the trail all the way across the Arlington memorial Bridge and back. 4 miles and a few pennies.

0330: Temperature at 0500 step-off will be 38 degrees. I packed shorts instead of my running tights. No gloves, No balaclava or knit cap. My near-empty bottle of Skin-So-Soft, which I did pack. will not be used this morning.

0440: Dress and stretch. Out the door at 0450.

 

Me at 0500: “Wait, where’s the C&O? (checks MMR) OOPS, went too far.

//run deleted, back to the Graham to start again.

Me at 0505: “Okay this is the Towpath, just follow it to the Rock Creek Trail. Should be easy to spot.” Good luck spotting anything with fogged up glasses at just past 0500.

I hit Rock Creek and followed it…sort of… to the Lincoln Memorial and the Arlington Bridge.

“Damn…can’t really feel out this path..oh, with there’s the Bridge. Wait, no not this way, let me turn around.”

Lots of “turning around” to come.

Heading west on the bridge: “Damn! All this construction! Screw this let me turn around and go back home.

“Wait, can I cross the street and run on the other side of the bridge?

//manages to safely cross over

“Okay! Let’s see if I can cross the bridge and run the full circle back!”

I made it across the bridge, but because of the construction and the traffic patters, there was no way I could fully circle and make it back. Ran the same path back across the bridge.

“Great…can’t see squat…where’s the bridgehead so I ca cross back over?” This is where I got some extended run time this morning. I got flummoxed and ran into the staging zone around the eastern bridgehead, where they were doing construction. After struggling to get out of there, I got disoriented trying to find the Rock Creek Trail. Forgetting to look for Parkway Drive, I wound up on 23rd Street NW,

“Okay let me turn MMR on and find out where I am…

“Yep…waaay off course. Okay let me follow this highway and it should take me back to the Trail…”

“Damn…can I cross here without getting hit by a car?

“Glasses are fogging up way too much…

“Okay, right here, and I can go right back on the trail…”

“Okay, I’m back on the trail but going the wrong way…”

I did find my way back to the Rock Creek Trail, and I loved it so much that I ran up and down a half mile stretch of it trying to go in the direction that would take me back to the C&O Towpath and back to the hotel. From Virginia Avenue NW, I ran up and down the Trail for about 22 minutes and an extra mile and a half before I finally found the C&O Towpath endpoint and the up-and-down brick path back to the Graham.

The weather didn’t become a problem until the homestretch back up the Towpath. The extra mileage and time put a bit of frost on my left arm, as I had used it to hold my smartphone while I paused and navigated MapMyRun for the right path home.

I did finish the run, with some bonus mileage. I spent way too much time getting lost and trying to find my way back, so my pace was totally shot. However, my feet held up from adding more wear and tear to my over-pronated shoes. No plantar pain or other soreness. That being said, I will either have to spring for another pair of shoes or break out my new pair of Brooks for the Sunday 8-miler.

Song of the Day: Radiohead/”Paranoid Android:” From Genius:

“Paranoid Android,” the first single from OK Computer, is characterized by three distinct moods written in what Thom Yorke referred to as three different states of mind. The song’s lyrics tie in with a number of themes common in OK Computer, including insanity, violence, slogans, and political objection to capitalism.

“Yorke’s lyrics were based on an unpleasant experience at a Los Angeles bar during which he was surrounded by strangers high on cocaine. In particular, Yorke was frightened by a woman who became violent after someone spilled a drink on her.

“The woman inspired the line “kicking squealing Gucci little piggy” in the song’s second section. Yorke her as “inhuman”, and said

[…]there was a look in this woman’s eyes that I’d never seen before anywhere… Couldn’t sleep that night because of it.

 

Historic Half 2020: Punitive

New rule for 2020: I miss a run day for any preventable reason, I make up the run on Monday, sleep and distance of the run be damned.

I missed six Wednesday runs from July through September last year, which may help explain why I was not at my running weight and/or my poor performance at the Marine Corps Marathon last year. So, from now on, if I miss any run and I have no real excuse for it, I make it up on Monday.

On Friday, I could have done a better recon of the area at lunch, or I could have just started my run at my usual site on base and made that turn. Either way, I tried to run on Monday and I screwed up because of poor run routing.

So, I made it up this afternoon. Nothing fancy, just the usual Willow Road to Shangri-La and back. I was tempted to go the full three miles, but I decided to save it for the rest of the week.

I ran at an 11:48 clip, my best pace of the year by 3 seconds. I ran 2.79 miles; adding the 0.28 from my Friday abort puts me at 3.07, so I’m good.

I thought a lot about the base run, and I thought up a couple of new routes. I will only be able to test one of them this week (I’m off Friday, unless I really like riding in to work just to run). We’ll see what happens.

Winter Gear:

With my accelerated run schedule, I am finally making good use of the commemorative MCM mock turtlenecks that are issued to runners every year at the Runner’s Expo. I prefer the thicker mock turtlenecks because I only have to wear a compression shirt or a regular tee-shirt underneath to keep arm. With the thinner tech shirt that we were issued last year, I have to wear a base layer or long-sleeve tech shirt underneath.

I spent $200 in  Brooks running tights at the Runner’s Expo in 2018. I think I spent about $60 in tights between Kohl’s, Wal-Mart, and Dick’s Sporting Goods in fall/winter 2019.

My preferred non-Brooks tights are from Athletic Wear from Wal-Mart. I wear a size large in those tights, while the Brooks are a snug-fitting but okay fitting medium. AW’s tights are loose around my crotch/groin area, and the cuffs hit me right at the ankle, so they look and feel good. I had to “retire’ two sets of  medium tights to house duty because they neither fit me or looked good.

For my run today, I wore a long-sleeve tech shirt from the 2016 Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half-Marathon. The 2014 WWB Half was were I got a PR (personal record/best time) for half. The first race I attended was well organized, but then they went downhill from there. I miss that race.

It wasn’t an issue today, but i wore my ball cap instead of my ear-covering ski-cap. I bought two pairs of ear muffs this winter and I lost both pair. $22 down the drain.

I don’t think my current running shoes (Brooks Ravennas) are gonna make it to May 17, the date of the Historic Half Marathon.

Song of the Day

Beatsie Boys/”Fight for Your Right:” This song just popped into my head for no reason at all after the run today. Fourth single from their debut album, Licensed to Ill. The Beasties started their life as a punk band, founded by a female named Katie Shellenbach. Katie was cut when Rick Rubin signed the band to Def Jam Records. Slayer Guitarist Kerry King played the guitar solo on the track.  Also sprach Genius:

  • The song was written as a satirical, sarcastic jab at “party anthems”. The group indulged in this image with their tongues firmly in their cheeks, but to their disappointment, the joke was lost on the masses. “Fight for Your Right” became a frat house battle cry and the Beastie Boys became synonymous with the lifestyle they were parodying…

“Rhymin’ an’ Stealin’:” My first ever favorite Beatsie Boys song. I heard the drum samples from Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” and I was hooked. Arrr, matey, they be Jewish pyrates from Brookyn!

 

Historic Half 2020: Moon/Sun

I postponed this morning’s iStore 4 mi. run until 0615, so I could catch the sunrise. It was cold as I stepped out the door, but then I saw the supermoon in all it’s glory as it was heading down towards the western horizon. I realized then that maybe I should have kept the schedule at 0500, or at least 0530 because I enjoy running during a full moon. Something about running in such brightness in the early morning hours ( and maybe because I also see a little bit better). However, the supermoon was a nice contracts to the slowly emerging sunrise that took near full bloom as I finished my run just after 0700.

The distance was just short of the 4 miles I was shooting for, as MapMyRun measured 3.91 miles out of a four mile course. My underwear and tights also bunched up my crotch, but I don’t think I can attribute that to my 12:36 pace. Like I said, it was cold (about 35 degrees at the start), and I dropped my phone from my FlipBelt about a quarter mile from the iStore turnaround point near the end.

As the weather gets warmer and my weight gets lighter, I believe my pace will get better. Now that Super Bowl Weekend is in the rearview mirror, I can start taking my keto “diet” a little more seriously. Back to the bulletproof coffee ( whining cream and one packet of Truvia) and trading the junk food for Mio water and the occasional packet of almonds and peanuts. Washing down my meat and veggies entries with LESS sugary drinks at lunch and dinner.

I made all of my gym workouts this week. I spent Tuesday at the Drill Hall facility on Tuesday morning. Because I was unfamiliar with the equipment, which I also had to share with a fairly populated gym full of active duty and retired military personnel, my workout took an extra twenty minutes. It was back to the Apex Clubhouse for Thursday and Saturday mornings, where the smaller environment still has one or two other people besides myself working out.

I was hoping to b get back on the bicycle and start riding to work again this week, but the weather forecast is calling for rain all this week until Friday. That kind of sucks because I could use the extra workout boost; I gained back a pound from the four that I lost a week ago.

Song of the Day:

Avenged Sevenfold/”Babylon the Great:” That opening howl/battle cry/Rebel yell from hell though!!! From Genius

“This song is about the Fall of Babylon from the Book of Revelation in the bible and how it compares to Hollywood. It was the 3rd single released off the album City of Evil. The song also gained Avenged Sevenfold some attention after being featured on the video game Guitar Hero 2.” If you check the Book of Revelations (King James version), most of the main lyrics look like they were pulled from there.

Yardbirds/”Stroll On:” Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck jamming together; ’nuff said. Oh, and they were going to play “Train Kept A Rolling” for their star turn in the Antonini movie Blow Up, but licensing restrictions made “Train” a no-go, so lead singer Keith Relf had to change up the lyrics.