Tag Archives: schedule

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!

MCM 2018: Outbrief

It is 0905 on Sunday morning as I write this.  I ran and finished the 43rd Marine Corps Marathon last Sunday, and I am slept in this Sunday. I don’t see much running on the schedule except to prepare for the St Mary’s Turkey Trot on November 17th.

So, with no more long distance running on the schedule, this is a good time to reflect on what I learned in this, my fourth full year of running since 2014. Last year, 2017, I didn’t run the marathon and therefore, didn’t train for anything, so last year doesn’t count.

  1. I don’t know the official/proper name for the yoga stretch known as the Japanese ham sandwich, but it was a great help to my pre- and post run stretching routine. Stretched out my back  the backs of my legs.
  2. In the aftermath of my groin injury, I added a groin stretch as well.
  3. Check the elevation changes before you run! If there are more elevation changes early, don’t work that part of the run so hard; you might not have anything left for the rest of the run.
  4. Need more bananas for pre-and post run nutrition. Also, more sodium. My legs kind of gave out on me at the MCM, and I took a lot longer to heal than I should have this year. Most of that was because I barely ate/drank anything of subsistence after the marathon, and thus my legs were still sore until Tuesday afternoon.
  5. Chocolate mile for the post-run routine! I don’t know the nutritious benefits, and maybe it’s just comfort food, but damn I loved gulping down some of the brown stuff!
  6. Epsom salt bath: good. Whirlpool: better…IF you can get one (Hilton Garden Inns, y’all).
  7. I am an overpronator with heavy emphasis on my right side. Based on the analysis, I purchased Brooks Ravenna 9s at the MCM Health and Fitness Expo this year. They will sit in reserve until next August.
  8. Head-up/eyes up on the uphills, work the limbs and stride on the downhills.
  9. Take time to re-start your smartphone for the MapMyRun app to reduce the possibility of the GPS cutting out during your run.
  10. Between adjusting your smartphone, the wrist holster, and starting/stopping the app, subtract about a minute from your final run time (or just check your wristwatch).

So what does the future hold? Probably some light exercise during the holidays, then maybe re-starting conditioning in February (but no later than March 1). I am going to start the Intermediate Six Month marathon training plan in April, with the intent of running a couple of half-marathons or maybe one full marathon before the MCM next year. Circuit course will be light to moderate weights (two cycles) in March and April, four cycles of moderate to progressively heavier weights May through August, maintenance in September and tapering off a month before the MCM in October.

Song of the Day: “Strange Brew”/Cream. Courtesy of MTVs’ Closet Classics video mini-block, this was my introduction to the supergroup of Eric Clapton on guitars, bassist Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker pounding the skins. Eric Clapton made his name with the Yardbirds, but I need to find out how the rhythm section (Meesrs. Baker and Bruce) got their reputation so that Cream could be known as a “supergroup.”

MCM 2018: Afterburnout

Revile went at just before the 0500 alarm. After a leisurely breakfast of two English muffins with peanut butter and a tub of Chobani Black Cherry Greek yogurt (Lordy what a mouthful), I headed out the door at just after 0600. The trek from my hotel to the actual Marine Corps Marathon took about a half hour. Walked from the hotel to and through the security gates, then a visit to the portapotties, and finally what seemed to be a 1~2 mile trek to the starting corrals.

During the walk, I realized one thin: I really missed Dave, Greg, and Steve not being here this year. I’ve run races alone before, but not having the guys here hurt a bit.

My sore right thigh muscle was still an issue, so I put some Real Time cream and gave it a few minutes with the Roller last night. This morning I stretched for about 45 minutes before the opening cannon (yes, the MCM starts with a cannon being fired). I was so into stretching that I forgot to stand for the National Anthem.

I spent a lot of MCM Day reflecting on a lot of stuff (most of which I won’t go into here for personal reasons). Just before I started stretching, it finally hit me about what and why I was here, that all that running and everything connected to it was all about this day. I even welled up a little bit as the cannon went off promptly at 0755.

First eight miles: I started off behind the 5 hours 30 minutes pace group. I wanted to keep an even, steady pace because of my right thigh. However, as I progressed through the opening hills and valleys in the opening third of the course, I defaulted to my hill strategy: work the hills heads up/eyes up, and stride the downhills.

Blue mile and beyond (Miles 12 thru 19): I left it all on the road in the opening third, and boy, did I pay for it here. After I got through the Blue Mile, I got to the 14 mile marker and promptly hit the wall. The miles up to the Fourteenth Street Bridge, in my humble opt ion, are the “grinder miles,” where you finally realize that you’re running a marathon and you do the work to get to the finish. Unfortunately I never found that extra gear.

Around mile 17 I had to walk,my thighs were making noise, my hamstrings were feeling the strain, and I just couldn’t get that second wind. I was never so glad to see the Bridge; I saw the clock before the bridge and it read 12:18 p.m. and change. Hot damn, I’m gonna make it.

On the Bridge, I had to part walk, part Marine Corps shuffle it. More reflections…on my brother and sister, on absent friends, on my training this year…on everything. So much to do and so much to make right in the next few months.

I was prepared for the Maze of the Minotaur, a.k.a. the road around the Pentagon after mile 21 before entering into downtown Crystal City. Fortunately, we turned right into Crystal City and saving the run around the Pentagon for Mile 24. I always see the Mile 22-23 run into downtown as the celebration of the run; you’ve beaten the bridge, a lot of people are here to cheer you on and even offer you beer and liquor, and you get the sense that you can do this. For some weird reason, Crystal City was a lot quieter this year. Not as big of a crowd, although the offers of alcohol were there (beer, wine, jello shots and fireball shots).

The final two miles and change I found enough pride and a bit of a second wind to finish running. This was no epic day by any means, but it was a nice jolt to hear the announcer call my name in the final stretch to the finish line.

The People’s Marathon: it’s the little things, y’all.

I was done. Collected my nice bright red medal that opened up to reveal a gold piece (Transformers: The Movie:”Now…light our darkest hour!“), got the healthy snack basket, Gatorade and two bananas, collected my complimentary finisher’s beer…and staggered back to the hotel.

Postscript on the hotel: I never found roommates for this weekend, but Residence Inn did have a smaller room available that was about $700 less. In theory, I should have found another, cheaper hotel, especially since I am a Hilton Honors member. That being said, in  my condition I was grateful to only climb a flight of stairs and walk about a half block to the hotel. Stagger to the shuttles for a half-hour ride on the DC MetroRail? Yeah…no.

Medical notes: Note to self: clip your toenails before long runs.

That KT Tape was a good idea: maybe I should apply it to my calves and thighs before 20-miles or longer?

Add pickle juice to your Mio water, so you have some salt to help prevent The Revolt of the Thighs.

BTW: Take a look at the course layout (to include inclines/declines) to better map out your running strategy.

Final time: 5:45.53, 13:12 pace. How I got that time after the day I had…never mind, I’ll take it.

Song of the Day: I have a feeling “Happy”/Pharrell Williams is a duplicate pick, but I heard this song as I was heading on the out-path from Crystal City. I sat through ONE hour of his “24 Hours of Happy.” Assuming Pharrell assembled some real talented dancers, I’m not sure I’d binge watch this for any extended length of time.

“Hurts So Good”/John Cougar Mellencamp: So early MTV 80s but so appropriate for a day like today. Especially when you’re collecting your medal and the post-race goodies/swag afterwards. Yes, I know it’s basically BDSM (google it, don’t ask me).

“Alive”/Pearl Jam. Never mind the subject matter of this classic song, that’s how I felt after finishing the MCM.

“Wish You Were Here”/Pink Floyd. Not the happiest Pink Floyd song ever (much like the album), but like I said: this morning was when it hit me how much I missed being with the guys.

Postscript: With the exception of the St. Mary’s City Turkey Trot the Saturday before Thanksgiving, I am done running for 2018. I am taking the week off before doing some half-assed training for the Turkey Trot.

As for this here blog? Tomorrow will be my last official entry for 2018, and then it goes dark until next spring. I may stop in to bitch about things of a sports or political nature, but life really is calling me right now.

MCM 2018/T-Minus 4: Grocery?

Just about packed up…got all my clothes and running gear for the weekend, and now I have to go to Wal-Mart and get groceries for the weekend menu.

I would like to make my (in)famous chorizo and black bean chili, chock full of the delicious Mexican pork sausage and plenty of vegetables and served over a bed of rice. Just a matter of drawing up the grocery list and heading down to Wal-Mart. or I can wait until tomorrow and go shopping at the Safeway supermarket that’s catty-corner from the hotel.

I would also like to make an attempt at some form of deep fried tacos, using store bought or possibly home made tortillas. Not sure. Gonna run up a big grocery bill between tonight and tomorrow.

Quick itinerary for the weekend:


0500 shakeout run for my new shoes, attempting the Zion 6 tomorrow morning.

Haircut and maybe beard trim.

Grocery shopping.

Drive to the hotel.

Finish (?) grocery shopping



MCM Runner’s Expo (need to research MetroRail routes to the shuttle bus taking us to the Gaylord Center at National Harbor, MD)

Lunch in National Harbor


Marine Corps Museum, Quantico, VA




Also, run up cellphone bills calling family and friends.


Shop for Halloween costume on the way home.

Song of the Day: “Levels”/Avicii. I love this song. The longer the remix, the better. One of those songs where you thank God for YouTube and creative DJs.

MCM 2018/T-minus 5 (again!): Logistics

So, it’s 10:15 p.m. on Tuesday night, five days before the MCM (once again…I can’t count!). I didn’t necessarily need to pack tonight, but it would have been nice to have all my gear at least set out so I won’t have so much to do between now and the Thursday afternoon drive to Arlington.

This is what I plan to pack:


Day-Glo cap/Marine Corps logos Day-Glo tech shirt/under tech shirt/red USMC sweats/copper sports socks/Asics runners/smartphone shoulder holster/FlipBelt/6 Gu/20 oz. bottle of Mio water/Bodyglide/Skin-So-Soft/training log/1 Nuun tab for 20 oz bottle of water/throwaway sweats/compression socks


Marine Corps tracksuit/Marine Corps sweats/Marine Corps League shirt,cap, and jeans/2 polo shirts/2 jeans/underwear/sleeping t-shirts/sleeping long johns/zippered hoodie/umbrella


Chili recipe items/deep-fried taco recipe items/Dutch oven/frying pan


iMac/shower and shaving gear gear/beard electric razor

…and a bunch more stuff that I will suddenly need to pack and then end up leaving Lexington Park at 4:00 on Thursday afternoon…right into DC/MD/VA rush hour traffic…because I can be that stupid.

As of 10:30 p.m. I have maybe 5% of that stuff staged. Gonna be a long Wednesday night.

Oh, and I’m running my shakedown/breaking-in run for my new shoes on Thursday. Sweet.

Song of the Day:”Potholes in my Lawn”/De La Soul. The album that this song is from, Three Feet High and Rising, is twenty-nine years old. Holy cow, what happened to hip-hop? Spent a few minutes trying to look at the comics in the CD jacket; something of a challenge with cataracts and 1.75 readers. Man, everything about that song was tight: the sampling, the beats, the rhyming…nothing violent or degrading to women, just a good tune that people can relate to. Yeah…


MCM 2018/T-Minus 5: Steps

Last week started out good with a nice 8 mile run and ended with a sore right thigh that derailed my tapering for the Marine Corps Marathon. I am hoping that rest, a good epsom salt bath (one of these nights), and a new pair of shoes mean that I can focus more on the run and less on the pain come Sunday. I had a good 11:25 pace going through last Sunday, and I wanted to take my last few short runs easy and not worry about time.

Thursday night was my last session at the gym for this marathon training cycle; at this point, I have built up all the muscle/tendons/ligaments/knee cartilage that I’m going to get. Last night was a beautiful full moon, although it was cold as all get out; I would have enjoyed one last moonlit trot in the hour before dawn.

No roommates this week, and the deadline is tomorrow for my hotel reservations. Unless I can find a smaller room (HAHAHAHAHA!!!), I am going to pay through the nose. God be merciful to me, a lowly, stupid-ass sinner.

Yesterday I took a good, long look at my training log that I have maintained over the last four years. I keep it in an orange-covered notebook that I got from Elbit Aerospace (technically their Helicopter Systems, but Elbit maintains a displays presence where I live and work). This year was arguably the most disciplined I have been about running, based on the amount of log entries I have made. So many notes about all the places I have run, addresses of the hotels I stayed at and the sites where I ran. All the reps and weights on my three-times-a-week circuits courses. Taking yoga and other classes at the World Gym where I had a membership. Between the logbook and this blog i think I did an okay job of chronicling my annual journey to the Marine Corps Marathon.

I am multitasking now, playing YouTube and writing this blog while chatting with a Marine buddy, Dave Lauck. He is one of the quartet that goes up to the MCM for the last four years. The band has been broken up this year: Greg got promoted at the family business and has teenagers on his hands, and so does Steve. Dave took a breather from training this year. I was hoping that another marine buddy was going to show up, but he bailed as well. So it’s just me carrying the torch this year.

So, tomorrow will be a last shot at the hotel room, and tonight I need to reserve a rental car for the weekend…which I just did. I wonder if I could have gotten it cheaper had I made my reservation earlier…I’ll have to ask.

Song of the Day: “Renegade”/Styx, because sometimes I make my own trouble, most of it avoidable. I also like the undercurrent of “Atlantic City” by Bruce Springsteen. That opening verse about the Chicken Man getting blown up in Philly sets a darker tone than the song suggests.

MCM 2018/T-minus 7:Shutdown

Yesterday, I applied some Icy Hot to my affected right thigh, and managed to get some of it..where I wasn’t supposed to put it. Sadly it seems the Icy Hot only affected…THAT area (OWWW). My right thigh didn’t get any better, so I made the decision yesterday to shut down the rest of my marathon training until next Thursday. This gives me seven calendar days off to heal.

Next Thursday I plan to break in my new shoes, which I am going shopping for this afternoon. Looking at a minimum 5 to 6 mile run to “properly” break them in. Only decision is where and when. I am probably not going to get a new roommate between now and Monday, when I need to lock in my reservation at the hotel where I am staying.

Tomorrow is when I will finalize all my travel/hotel plans for MCM Weekend, including rental car. Not gonna be a cheap weekend as it stands right now.

On the brighter side of things, I plan to let my “inner chef” out next weekend. I’d like to make a weekend’s supply of my chorizo chili recipe backed up with rice. I’d also like to try this shredded beef taco recipe, including the corn tortilla shells, that I saw on YouTube. If I can’t run well, at least I will be able to eat well.

The bad part about shutting down a week before the marathon is that I’m losing at lot of the momentum I had coming into the last week. Also, no guarantee that I’m not going to be fully healed on Thursday, let alone the MCM next Sunday. The good part: guilt-free sleeping in for the rest of the time until MCM Sunday.

Song of the Day: “The Fall”/Gary Numan. He has been one of the defining figures of the nNew Wave movement in popular music, but I have always known him for “Down in the Park (SOTD #2)” and Cars (SOTD from long ago, but not today). I just discovered this song today, a good liver performance. I also recommend any live versions of “DitP.”


MCM 2018/T-Minus 11: Tardy

At home 5:00 p.m. Dressed for the gym at 5:15. At the gym at…6:30.

No, really? Do tell.

I don’t think I’ll really be excited for the Marine Corps Marathon until I am actually at the starting corral on the morning of the run. It won’t hit me about what I’ve done until I’m on my approach to Ye Olde Fourteenth Street Bridge.

Until then, it’s one last full week of workouts, and one last “long” run. After the Sunday six miler, it’s light gym work Monday and Wednesday, then three milers on Tuesday and Thursday, then off the Friday and Saturday before MCM.

Just put some Icy Hot on my right thigh. Hope that gets better, I don’t need any kind of knocks before MCM.

A few things to do before the big day…roommates, get my bib number sent to my new email…

Oh, and I may have to just run with the shoes I’ve got now. The Aspics website didn’t have the shoes in my size, and no time to break in any new shoes.

Less than two weeks. Joy.

Song of the Day: “Kashmir”/Led Zeppelin. And “When the Levee Breaks” while we’re at it. Everybody knows Kashmir-duh!-but I first discovered “Levee” as a sample to the Beastie Boys’ “Rhymin’ and Stealin’.” Didn’t find out the real song until 1997, in a barracks with roommate David Winters in Iwakuni, Japan.

Currently listening to “Sheep” by Pink Floyd as I wrap up this blog…

MCM 2018/T-minus-12: Trouble?

I think I overdid the runs on Friday and Sunday because I have a sore right thigh. Might need some Icy-Hot and a probable no-show for the circuit tomorrow.

I finally advertised my need for three roommates on MCM weekend; let’s see how long it takes me to get booted of the Marine Corps Marathon and 10K Page (probably on two strikes for posting too many videos and my blog). Staying off Facebook for the next 18 hours.

Got my smartphone activated and transferred my apps and contacts. Didn’t transfer all my old voicemails or my old pictures from my phone. The games continue.

…and I need to contact the MCM organizers about getting my bib sent to a different email address; the one I used-my old work email-is long gone.

Might need to “borrow against myself” for MCM Weekend…

Man I need to trim my beard.

Lastly, I need to think about a shopping list for cooking on MCM weekend. I would like to make my chorizo chili with a side of white rice. I also saw an awesome way to cook tacos, using beef filet and actual corn tortillas made with actual corn.

In fourteen more days, I’m going to have to confront life again. The less said the better.

Song of the Day: “Trouble”/Lindsey Buckingham. The Fleetwood Mac guitarist gets me so well today. I saw a recent picture of him after he politely told his Mac mates that he wasn’t going to join them on their latest tour. He looked so ready for his “golden years.”

“Golden Years”/David Bowie. Speaking of…


MCM 2018/T-Minus 61:Skip

Out of laziness, and then out of frustration of my apartment’s air conditioner STILL not being fixed, I skipped yesterday’s circuit course. BS excuse, I know.

About 24 hours ago, I plotted a couple of five-mile courses and this week’s ten-miler on MapMyRun. Both of the five milers start by going south on Willows Road towards HWY-5. I decided to save the harder run for Friday and do the Abberly Crest to NAS Gate 1 for this morning.

The Gate 1 course normally goes over five miles because I run all the way to the guard post and back out to Three Notch Road. I decided to shorten it by just turning around at the light, but ended up shaving a quarter mile off the course.

The humidity returned this morning, but at least I had the full moon for at least one more night. It was nice looking up over my shoulder and seeing it as I ran under the forest canopy about a quarter mile from my start point. Having the moonlight was a good thing because dawn didn’t break until just after six this morning. So much for early sunrises in the summer.

I ran at a good pace, although I really didn’t feel it. Maybe it was the Red Baron pepperoni mini deep dish pizzas I ate the night before? And MapMyRun accurately caught my run and showed me how much I cut off the original course.

Because I also have the 45 fartlek tomorrow morning, I will need to “hit the gym” a little earlier than 0500 tomorrow. Oh, and for missing yesterday’s workout, I am doing two “heavy sets” tomorrow and Saturday.

Song of the Day: “It’s All Too Much” and “Hey, Bulldog”/Beatles. IATM was the closing song to the Beatles animated movie “Yellow Submarine”, and HB was the song played in the scene deleted from the original movie. God alone knows why HB was left out of the original film, the song really rocked. So did IATM.

Oh, and my air conditioner is working again.