Category Archives: Mission

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

MCM Trifecta 2021: It Begins

Friday:

“Traditionally,” I like to open my Marine Corps Marathon training program with a “Ceremonial” run of the old Marine Physical Fitness Test course, located at Naval Air Station Pax River, MD. This was the last PFT course that I ran before I retired in 2008, so it ties in with the Marine part of my training (“Honor, Courage, and Commitment”), which says that I am going to max out my MCM training to the best of my ability and finish the Marathon for this year.

About 45 minutes before the run, I officially registered for the 2021 MCM Trifecta. This consists of not only running the 26.1 mile Marine Corps Marathon, but the MCM10K (6.1 miles) and the MCM50K (31.2 miles). I took the option of running the 10K onsite at the MCM course in Arlington, VA and running the regular MCM as well as the 50K as virtual races. I won’t run either at Arlington, but I will be running them locally (Lexington Park, MD) on courses of my choosing.

The 10K will be a much shorter MCM Weekend than usual, which means I plan on driving up on Race Day, running the 10K, then hanging around long enough to get much at the Finisher’s Festival before driving home. The virtual MCM I will run the same course as last year, probably a week before the 10K. The 50K I would like to run up MD-5 North from my home in Lexington Park to (probably) Leonardtown, Md and back. As soon as MapMyRun allows me to properly chart a course, that is.

But I digress. The Ceremonial is meant to be a run to reflect on what it means to be a Marine and how it relates to committing to train for the race (or races) this year. Usually, though, my head is somewhere else, and usually I never think about maintaining a good pace. Technically it’s more “fun run” than training run.

The weather was not great out, but the heavens didn’t fully open out during my late morning run. I did remember to get my “official” post-run selfie with the sign of the Marine Aviation Detachment (my last command when I retired, so long ago). The run was pleasant, considering I had not run since my 10 mile trek on the Capital Crescent a month ago.

Quick aside: I planned to take a week of running to “take care of business” so i could have a clear head before I started training for real. That week, unfortunately stretched into a month. On top of that, I planned to start P90X Lean next Monday, but I’m going to be doing that very, very cold. I have not done any cross training or gym work since my aborted attempt at P90X last June.

Yikes. ‘Nuff said.

Sunday/Independence Day:

I also attempt to uphold the tradition of running the five-mile circuit of the National Mall in Washington, DC. This year was not about pace, but yet another commitment to train and to run.

Although I set my alarm for 0400, I was already up an about at 0315. Got dressed for the run and made a last minute check on where to park my car and where to start. I decided on the National Gallery of the Arts.

At 0430, I headed out to the parking garage for the 10 minute drive to the Mall. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my car out of the parking garage (what do you mean, “Failed to check-in???”). I decided that this was an issue to take up with my hotel front desk, and made the twelve minute walk down 6th Street to the Gallery.

When I run the National Mall, I try to run the whole Mall. Start at a landmark on Constitution Avenue (i.e., the Gallery), then run all the way around the Lincoln Memorial, as much as traffic and safety allows me. Then down Independence Avenue up to and around the US Capitol Building, then back to the start-finish point…plus a block or so to hit five miles on the dot.

Running down Independence Avenue, the run turned into a bit more of an adventure than I had planned. Apparently, the National Mall was fenced off, especially around Independence. The Wall was still fenced off to the point where pedestrians/runners/bikers/tourists could not use the sidewalks adjacent to the Mall. Halfway down Independence, I encountered a female runner who asked me “Can I run around the Lincoln?”

“Yes, ma’am, it’s not fenced in.”

“Isn’t this crazy though? I’m adding about fifteen minutes to my run!” Felt your pain, ma’am. There’s a difference between running on the sidewalk than on the grass.

I did make it to the Capitol Building, but it woo was fenced off. I was tempted to try and run around the back of the building, But i was in no mood to get lost and run any extra miles that I didn’t have to. In hindsight, I could have taken Indy-First St-Constitution back to the Gallery, but I’ll just save that for next year. After my usual awkwardness about looking for the turn back onto Constitution, I found my way back to the Gallery.

Only 4.95 mi? I ran to corner of 7th to get my “full five.”

A couple of pictures (way too much flash for the FB selfie!), and then the cool down stroll back up 6th Street and my hotel. Who needs parking?

Epilogue:

I am typing this from Room 706 at the Motto by Hilton. Designed as a “traveler’s hotel,” this is the smallest hotel room I have ever been in! I have had bigger rooms at cheaper hotel chains! However, the Motto has a rooftop bar that serves very good bar food (though pricey, as per DC standards). Still, I plan to head to the Rooftop Bar in hopes of catching the National Capitol Fireworks Show…along with the other guests of the Motto.

Song of the Day (yup…It’s Back!)

Roxy Music/”Virginia Plain:”  From Genius: “In 1964, when (lead singer/pianist) Bryan Ferry was an art student (Newcastle University), he painted a picture called ‘Virginia Plain.’ It was reportedly a packet of cigarettes with a woman portrayed on a plain background. Three images, one song title: “What’s her name?/Virginia Plain.” Brian Ferry wrote this song via stream of conscuisness as a potential hit single; Roxy Music’s debut album was a surprise success, but “the A&R man said ‘I don’t hear a single (thx Tom Petty!).” Also, great synth solo by Brian Eno!

Rachid Taha/”Barra Barra:” This song was selected as part of the soundtrack for the movie, Blackhawk Down about the US Special Forces’ mission in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1993. You’ll get more information about the song and the late, great artist on the actual linked YouTube video (lyrics translation included!) and Rachid’s own YouTube channel than Genius.

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.