Category Archives: We’ve accomplished something!

Trifecta 2021: SE Loop 10

The Run

Up at 0400…like I used to.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lost ONE POUND between Sunday and Saturday?

The Gear and the Diet

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

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

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

Song of the Day

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

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

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.


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”

Dear Tony/P90X Day 60: Milestone

Dear Tony,

Day 60! Time flies when you’re having fun!

Today started with Yoga X, and to be honest, not the best session I’ve ever had. When I progressed to the warrior two pose, I felt the back to back days of pushups and pull-ups on my biceps and triceps. Man, was I sore. Also, a little back wards progress on the plough and crane stances. I just didn’t have the mind-body fusion for Yoga this morning. I mean, I got up at 0430 and pressed “Play” at 0500, but the soreness from the last two days caught up with me.

Cardio X was a little better this afternoon. I got an extra eleven minutes of yoga today, but my heart rates weren’t as good as the other Cardio X sessions.

Yoga: 54 bpm @ 27:20          Kenpo: 61 bpm @ 18:04

Plyo: 69 @ 10:52                     Core: 55 @ 3:44

I think I drop off way too much right after core ends. Maybe it was the Superman/banana after the squat run?

If anything, my diet needs to get a lot better, I have taken too much time off on the “keto” diet. I need to get back on that horse, stat!

I did get my Day 60 picture. Knowing what I just said about my diet…I’ll look at it later.

Holy cow…60 days…and thirty more to go.

Gotta get to WORK!!!

I’m going running in the morning, so I’ll catch you tomorrow after work with Core Synergistics. See you next time, Tony!

Song of the Day: The Jimi Hendrix Experience/”All Along the Watchtower:

“The great Hendrix covered Bob Dylan’s sparse original for his album Electric Ladyland and gave new life to it. It’s noted for its cryptic lyrics, and this version is known for the solo before the final verse.

“The lyrics have been decoded for the Dylan version and can be found here.

“The rich history of “All Along the Watchtower” embodies collective work, as it was built upon by such artists as Dylan, Hendrix and Bear McCreary(who composed the score for Battlestar Galactica).

“While the lyrics have been unpacked and analyzed in detail, another way to view it is as a larger metaphor in its entirety. The references to a relatively large cast of characters—from the influential (princes, businessman) to the underdogs (plowmen, servants, women) to the independents or outcasts (joker, thief)—present the multitude of points of view that make up everyone’s reality (the view from the watchtower, the distance). The conversation suggests the tension between these realities, the confusion as to what or who is right and wrong, as well as to the futility of trying to make sense of it.

“The clue might be in the title. The song progressively lifts the perspective from the intimate setting of a one-to-one conversation to the level of the watchtower where princes can see the others coming and going—even the riders approaching from the distance. In the end, the wind seems to reign supreme over all these different perspectives and realities which seems to suggest that there exists not one objective reality, but different individual perspectives.

“Hendrix takes Dylan’s song and rewrites the music to expand and highlight the meaning of the lyrics. McCreary’s version in Battlestar Galactica can be said to do the same by adding stormier oriental accents. Both musical arrangements appear to recognize the wind as being the protagonist of this song. (TY Genius)”


HH20: KCA 10

Wake-up routine for Sunday morning, with a twist or two:

Protein shake instead of Chobani. Skin-So-Soft and Chafe Defender. Yellow base layer over white tech shirt, with CD on the nipples just in case (the shirts have dissimilar material). Finish dressing and stretch. Drop a packet of UCAN Hydrate in the bottom of a 16-oz. tumbler and fill with water; mix thoroughly and chug it down. Out the door at 0455. At 0500, hit the MapMyRun app and off to the races.

I was so excited, or my FlipBelt security was not so good, that I dropped my Samsung smartphone just after the first mile marker. It’s not a Galaxy and it doesn’t have a protective case, so it’s a miracle if it drops and doesn’t even show a crack. Back in the belt and back on the run.

It was just God, me and and my smartphone this morning, very few cars on the road at this hour. I was feeling very good about the times as MapMyRun’s female voice read them off. I also noticed that the road going on MD-5 south had a few more climbs than i remembered, or really noticed. I climbed the hills without missing a beat, and charged down the downhills with everything I had.

I originally planned to do the turnaround after crossing the parking lot at Little Flower Grade School and Holy face Catholic Church. However, as I hit the top of the hill before reaching Little Flower, MMR announced that I had crossed the 4 mile marker. Little Face and back was not going to be ten miles.

After exiting the parking lot, I headed toward Callaway Township in search of a five mile turnaround point. I saw the brightly lit sign for the King’s Christian Academy and decided to turn onto the service road there. MMR announced the five mile mark just as I passed the 5MPH sign leading into the Academy’s main drive. I looped in front of the Academy’s building, headed back down the service road, and back towards the downward slope of MD-5 going north.

As I passed in front to Holy Face for the second time, I was startled by the sounding of the church bells. Although the clock had just turned six, the bell sounded a lot more than six times.

I headed uphill, then back downhill on MD-5 north; I may not have liked the splits I was hearing at miles 7 and 8 (12:25 and 11:51), but I was still feeling really good. Best of all, I wasn’t cotton-mouthed nor was my stomach growling. This is significant because in the past I carried a 16-oz. bottle of water filled with Mio Energy additive; every four miles I would take chug of water to wash down a packet of Gu. All I had in my system was the protein shake and the Ucan water; I had no Gu or spare water in my FlipBelt this morning.

On the final stretch home, I had considered doing the traditional climb up to the Abberly Crest Apartments entrance road. However, ten miles was ten miles and I had done enough peaks and valleys for one Sunday morning. I crossed the “finish gate” formed by the street sign and another pole at Green Meadow lane, took a quick look at the last uphill, and then called it “good.”

Just savin’ it for next week.

Pass in Review

My “keto” diet is finally kicking in, and I actually lost three more pounds this week. This is a god thing despite having my physical training schedule cut in half over the last ten days. Gyms all over Maryland were closed, so I have not been able to do my circuit cycle course.

I do want to keep my muscles and ligaments in running form, so i am going to try to resurrect the P90X exercise program…from over ten years ago. I still have the DVD set. I may have most of the required exercise equipment. Do I have a DVD player? I have twenty-one hours to find out…

Song of the Day

Billy Joel/”You May Be Right:” I was introduced to this when they played the chorus as the closing bumper music from the “Son of Svengoolie” monster movie show (WSNS, mid 70s to mid 80s). Might be a good song to show the runner’s mentality. Might be a good song to show my kinda-sort mentality.

“Following the heavier side of Billy Joel’s pop heading into the 1980s, the song tells the tale of a character who is unaware of how crazy he is, but uses that as a pick up line for a woman who is, apparently, much more reserved.” C’mon, Genius.





MCM 2019: Five

It was the Monday afternoon after the Marine Corps Marathon, twenty-five hours after I crossed the MCM finish line for the fifth time.

I rented my hotel room in Rosslyn for one more day. The weak, lame-ass excuse was to attempt to save my rain-drenched smartphone by covering it in a bowl of rice for twenty-four hours.

It was just before 3:00 p.m., and I was doing my laundry from the weekend. I decided to head down to Compass Coffee in downtown Rosslyn for a cappuccino and some sort of pastry while waiting for my load to dry.

On the way down to Compass, I saw some of the signage from the MCM still out on the streets. Ninety percent of the festive decorations from the MCM had been taken down but the signs giving directions to the various Marathon events (most of them connected to the Finisher’s Festival) were still there.

I had not really taken a moment to reflect on the MCM, or the running season in general, so I ambled down the street where the Finisher’s Festival was held. I made my way towards the Iwo Jima Memorial, where they were still taking down the last of the MCM signage and other materials. I traced my way back to the finishing chute and that last upward slope towards the end.

Five times I climbed that last hill.

Five times up that last straightaway towards the finishing arches.

Five times RUNNING WITH PURPOSE, FINISHING WITH PRIDE (hey, it’s only an ad slogan until you’ve actually RAN the damn thing, then you know it’s a way of life)


As much as those last ten miles sucked this year, could I really have just said, “no,” and quit? Could I have really lived with myself?

Bad enough I was forced to take a year off and not even run; could I have really started an MCM and NOT finished?


I finished the Marine Corps Marathon five times.

I have five MCM medals, hanging around the shirts that I wore when I crossed the line, bibs still pinned to them. Each medal a story that ended with me crossing the finish line.

I won those five medals because I raced myself…and I beat ME.

Song of the Day: Meg Myers, “Numb:” I discovered this song while waiting for my cappuccino and chocolate biscotti at Compass Coffee; the baristas were nice enough to tell me the name of the song and the performer. It took em a couple of days after i got home to remember the song, and a little while longer to  find out who sung it.

From Meg: ” [“Numb”]….

is about how I was feeling when my (former) record company was looking for something out of me that just didn’t feel right for many reasons. I was frustrated and it came through in this song.

“Desire:”   “Sometimes it takes two days or two weeks to come up with a chorus, but “Desire” was done in a day. There was something really special about it. I had been listening to Nine Inch Nails a lot, and I really wanted to make something with that vibe. I don’t know if that comes through. We started writing that and it just had that sexual vibe to, and it actually wasn’t about anybody. Andy was really feeling that Nine Inch Nailsinspiration too. We were on the same page with that, which was awesome.”

And, yes that’s her in the video; it was three years between albums.

Lifestyle postscript: Looks like I’ll be scrounging for an Atari Flashback 9; the Flashback X is smaller but has no SD card slot.

Tomorrow: Song of the Day: Greatest Hits!

MCM 2019/Thirty Days and Six Years Later

What I didn’t mention in my last post about the Thanksgiving Prediction/5K, or what I lovingly call “the Turkey Trot:”

The 2013 edition was the first race of any kind I had entered since i retired from the Marine Corps in 2010. It had been about a month after I agreed to enter the 2014 with my Yuma Marien friends Dave Lauck, Steve Scwezc, and Greg Meins. It was about eighteen months after I had been diagnosed with type two diabetes.

The most memorable moment from that first Turkey Trot was probably somewhere during the second mile of the run, about a half-mile after the 1.5 mile turnaround point.  I had been passed by a young mother wearing a denim jacket, turtleneck sweater, and a full-length denim skirt.

On the day of the run, I think I weighed about 260~270 lbs. and had completely blown off a three-week plan to train for the Turkey Trot.

Wow, was I so grossly out of shape.

Six months later, in May of 2014, I found a training regimen, drew up a training plan and started this here blog.

As of this writing, I have six total marathons in the books: five Marine Corps Marathons and one trail marathon that I survived back in 2016. I ran a 15K, three Woodrow Wilson Half Marathons, two Riley’s Rumble Half Marathons, a Capital 20 miler. and annual runs of the St. Mary’s Hospice 5K, Leatherneck 5K, and Thanksgiving Prediction 5K.

For the record, the 15K, the Riley’s Rumbles and the Capital 20 did not award medals for completing the races. However, I DID gain valuable experiences from this runs, and they were building blocks toward the Marine Corps Marathons that I would run later in the year.

Two weeks after this year/s MCM, I got back in the saddle for the Turkey Trot. The first two runs were done in the 0500 darkness and mid-November cold. Nothing fancy, just jaunts out to Shangri-La and back. The Saturday run was postponed to Sunday morning because of the 20 mph winds that were kicking up that weekend. On Sunday afternoon, a week ago today, I said “hell with it,” and got out and ran. yes there was wind on the run out, but it was much less on the trip back home.

In other words, I slept in for nothing.

On Tuesday evening, forty minutes after my bike ride home from work, I made another run to the end of Shangri-La drive. My updated MapMyRun worked better than the Sunday run, which cut off a huge chunk of the run distance for some reason. The weather was much better, but I had some soreness cropping up in both my legs. My left knee acted up on the outward split, then my whole right leg was feeling it on the return leg.

Thursday afternoon, I decided to run on base at lunch. Because I was not able to map out a course on MMR, I did the run totally off the cuff. From the Moffatt building parking garage, I went up to Cedar Point Road, ran it up to Gate 2, and then turned onto Cuddihy Road. I followed Cuddihy back up Base Road, then back down Buse to the parking garage. I managed an acceptable 2.57 miles.

Note to self: remember to pack a bottle of soap and a towel if you plan on running on base.

My paces were not exactly flank speed for someone working towards an 11:00 pace (averaged about a 12:35 for the six runs), but it was never about a PR. Maybe I could have pushed for getting close on my prediction, but I forgot to enter my predicted finish when I filled out the form. As of this afternoon, I don’t even know what my finish time was.

At this point, does it really matter?

At this year’s Marine Corps Birthday Celebration (more on that tomorrow), I talked to a friend, Laura Braunbeck, about taking the Semper Fi Challenge for 2020. This event combines running the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in May, along with the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

Sunday night, she talked me in to it.

Monday night, I signed up for it.

I discovered that my MCM Runner’s Club membership was not active even though I had completed the requisite five MCMs. After further research, I found I would not get my membership invite until February. I have printed up my Semper Fi challenge receipt, so hopefully I can get the MCM 2020 fee waived (and my debit card refunded!).

However, yes I am running the Historic Half in May, which means accelerating my training schedule to start back on the road in February. Much to plan for this winter.

I will probably be running at lunch a couple of days a week through December and January, weather permitting. Just gotta remember to bring the shower gear.

For now, though, I will enjoy sleeping through the 0430 alarm clock instead of answering it and prepping for the 0500 runs.

Songs of the Day (WARNING: No guarantee they will have anything to do with running!!!)

Sorry, I can’t find my headphones and my lunch is getting cold. SOTD will return tomorrow, FA’ SHO’!!!


Turkey Trot 5K 2019: Blase’

Apparently I have had a few visitors to this here blog since the Marine Corps Marathon almost a month ago, so here we go…

I planned to do this %k over a month ago, registered for it on Tuesday ( and even got the shirt delivered to me by a friend of one of the race organizers!), and still half-assed getting to the run.

The St. Mary’s Thanksgiving Prediction Run and 5K Race is held at Historic St. Mary’s City, 2019 being the 23rd edition. SMC is a ten-minute drive from my house, and I was even able to Uber to it last year. In fact, it is a six-miles plus run from my apartment to the race’s starting line, making it an excellent half-marathon training run.

The race kicks off at 0900. I usually arrive early because I do race-day registration, then hope there is a long-sleeve souvenir  shirt in my size. Because I pre-registered and already had my shirt, I didn’t leave the house until 0830. I got to the site of Historic St. Mary’s City in time to find a parking spot, check in and get my bib, and do a perfunctory stretch.

I entered the Prediction 5K Race, where you try to guess the time you will finish the run; prizes go out to the three runners who finish closest to their guessed times. Prediction runners are not allowed to wear any sport watches that gauge a runner’s pace and distance. I did not want to cause an unnecessary  controversy with the smartphone and attendant MapMyRun app, so I left the phone in the car. Also, I made a last-minute decision to take my Kodak mimi-camera, bit I couldn’t find it in a reasonable amount of time. Because there were no mile markers, I couldn’t even really take my traditional mile marker pics.

No MMR, no in-race selfies, and just the basic, bare bones stretching I do before short runs. Having run the MCM a few weeks ago, I had been pretty blasé’ about today’s run. Traditionally, the “Turkey Trot” is my finale to the running season for the calendar year. It should have been a time to reflect on the year and celebrate my fifth Marine Corps Marathon. I did think about the MCM a little bit on the first mile or so of the course. About a quarter mile from the turnaround point, I saw the trailing group of the pack of runners that were at my direct front. I had thought about trying to turn on the afterburners and seeing how many of the trailing pack I could catch.

Unfortunately, about a quarter-mile after the turnaround point, I myself was caught by a trio that was running together. As they passed me, I mused about running with a pack and in groups; I likened it to how flocks of birds collectively gain more lift and speed as they travel together. It also reminded me that I was not out here to “beat anybody” but li’l ol’ me.

Near the final approach for home i was passed by two other single runners and a young girl. AS the girl and I mounted the up-sloped straightaway for home, I decided to give her some encouragement and told her to pass me, then go after the two runners in front of us. She took the encouragement and made a good finishing kick. I made my finishing kick as well…and then the running was done.

…for the year.

I caught up with one current co-worker, and another former co-worker during the after-race festivities and snack-time. My former co-worker, Jared Byrd, introduced me to his wife and almost-teenaged son. I marveled at how long it had been since I had seen him: he’s got a teenager?

Just before I hopped in the car and went home, Jared and I shared a conversation with Manny Gaffud ( who helped me with getting my shirt early this year). Jared shared this profound thought: “If there was one thing I could do differently about my high-school running days, I would tell myself-‘you’re not running against anybody else, you’re only running against yourself’.”


My apologies, no Song of the Day today because YouTube is acting funny. I will be resuming the blog through Thanksgiving, so plenty more accompanying tunes to follow. Watch this space.

So good to be back.


MCM 2019/T-Minus 13: Homestretch

Had to go get my blood drawn (and a urinalysis!) for my doctor’s appointment on Thursday. Local mass transit to the laboratory: three buses over an hour and twenty minutes. Total procedure time. from entering to exiting the office: Five minutes.


  1. Check in at office window
  2. Present ID and lab paperwork
  3. Get blood drawn
  4. Provide urine sample (and I actually had to pee!)
  5. Leave the office.

I took an Uber home.


So this is the last full week of training for the Marine Corps Marathon. Three more trips to the Apex clubhouse fitness center for my circuit cycles. Three more runs: Shangri-La 3, HWY-5 3, Superwillow 6 (extending all the way out on Shangri-La Drive for the northern end of the run). Next week will be two short runs: Shangri-La 3 and my annual Ceremonial run of the Marine Physical Fitness Test 3-mile course on base at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. I am sorely tempted between now and next Thursday, when I am planning the Ceremonial, of staying overnight in DC and running the National Mall. We’ll see…

Last week was a good week in the gym and on the road. The eight miles on the Great Mills 8 that I ran Sunday have more hills than the opening eight of the MCM; however, I took the MCM way too fats last year and I was running on fumes before I reached the Fourteenth Street Bridge (Miles 18-20 of the MCM). The goal here is to not only finish, but to finish with something at or near the end.

Song of the Day: Daft Punk/”One More Time:” If there was ever a song that I wanted to hear in the final stretch of a run, it would be the seven minutes-plus remix of this song. Also: PARTY SONG!!! From Genius:

“Daft Punk’s single, “One More Time,” is that kind of song: a piece of superreligion with an invincible beat and a nailed-to-the-wall vocal by house singer Romanthony. It is stamina itself, an anthem to keep on dancing that’s already a huge hit in clubs and on the radio. All those knowing listeners who bought Homework and signed on for the pair’s rascally, nudge-wink grooves now have to figure out what part of “One More Time” is for them. Is there a subversive part of “One More Time?” If so, where does it begin?

“Generally about their music, which this song represents perfectly, Thomas Bengalter said

The healthy thing is that people either loved it or hated it. The worst thing is when you make art and people are not moved.


MCM 2019/T-Minus 21: Drill

Not sure what happened with the GPS on MapMyRun this morning; the post-run map had me turning earlier than expected. I should have turned onto Cedar Point Road from Tate Road, but it looks like I just cut all the way across the property along the road. That probably made a difference in the mileage, and why why Mile 9 checkpoint was about a quarter mile later than it should have been.

But then I’m just nitpicking. Ten miles is ten miles, the workout is done, and I am in good health and good spirits. I finished at a 12:09 pace, which is not too bad considering the uphill climb from Cedar Point Road to Buse Road out of Gate 1 and going upMD-235 going back home. As I hit the slightly late Mile 9 checkpoint on MapMyRun, I considered lengthening the return leg up Great Mills Road to FDR Boulevard, then following that to Shangri-La and back onto Willow Road for the finish, but…nah.

MapMyRun worked as advertised. I took a few strides to stow the smartphone in my Flipbelt after starting the run tracker, and it did pause the workout when I went off course at Mile 5 to take a pee break at the base skeet range. After my No.1, I got back on the path to running and heard “workout resumed.”

Ah, technology.

So, the last double-digit run before the Marine Corps Marathon is in the books. I didn’t wear the knee sleeves this morning and my legs feel fine. No epsom salt bath today, just a  banana and some chocolate milk for the post run/pre=breakfast cool down. Also, the workout week is done a day early, so I get two days to sleep in-Sunday as well as Monday. Going marching in the Color Guard at the Blessing of the Fleet in Solomons, MD, and now I won’t have to do march and carry a full-sized flag or rifle for an unknown distance after a ten-mile run.

Yay! Three more weeks…

Song of the Day: Ennio Morricone/“Ecstasy of the Gold (Remix)”

WARNING! Possible repeat!

From the movie The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, this song is played as Eli (“Tuco”) Wallach makes his epic run around a Civil War graveyard, searching for the grave marker of Arch Stanton and the possible booty of stolen gold buried within. About fifty years later, this song appeared in commercials for Nike (the “Leave Nothing” ads embedded in the link) and Modelo beer, remixed with a drum beat and a guitar sample.

There is actually an album with the great composer’s best hits, all remixed.

MCM 2019/T-Minus 26: Committed

So, unless something catastrophic happens in the next 6 hours, 22 minutes…I am all in for the 44th Marine Corps Marathon 2019.

Oh, by the way, midnight tonight is when the bib transfer period ends. If a runner isn’t able to run the MCM this year, he/she can apply to transfer his bib to the next year without having to pay a penalty or re-register for next year. If I change my mind about running, I can still defer to 2020, and it won’t cost me anything as far as entry fees or registration.

I took a look at my training schedule as I was making some changes and updating my progress to date. One week out due to injury. Five Wednesdays full of no-show woe. Two long runs tagged as Did Not Finish.

I tried to do the intermediate training cycle, and I jus wasn’t up to it. The off-week cost me two Sunday long runs, and then I tried to come back too much, too fast. I ran eight miles my first week back, then tried to follow it up with sixteen. It didn’t help that there was a heat wave that Sunda. The heat wave was no better then next week, when i cut the distance to 11 miles.

I think i forgot two things about some of the courses that I picked for my long runs: 1) lots of uphills near the ned, and 2) some of those runs are tests of character as well as training. I especially forgot that with the attempted two laps of the Carl Henn Millennium Trail.

Yesterday’s National Capital 20-miler was probably just what I needed: a test of character, and finding a way to finish. I learned that if I slowed from a run to a good old Marine Corps march, I can get something of a second wind, especially if it’s lots of hills near the end like the Mt. Vernon Trail or the Millennium Trail.

No doubt about it: it’s been a rough summer. But it is what it is, and what I ‘ve done, I have. I’m in the taper period now, and I’ve got three more weeks until MCM week.

No sense worrying about what might have been…iy’s all about looking forward now.

Taper minus 3 (T-3) is going to have a change in the schedule. I am running Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday because I have to march in the Color Guard on Sunday. Also I am lightening the load on my circuit cycles.

Song of the Day: Beatles/”It’s All Too Much:” The closing song of the Beatles’ animated classic Yellow Submarine. From songwriter/guitarist George Harrison:

“It’s All Too Much was written in a childlike manner from realizations that appeared during and after some LSD experiences and which were later confirmed in meditation.”

Actually, I was thinking of something to describe running all these damn hills this year, but…I’ll take it.