Wednesday, March 26, 2008

And We're Off. . .

This is a short week and trying to get everything in is tough.

Yesterday was a quick business trip to Boston and back. Today is my only day in the office. Deb and I leave early tomorrow for New Orleans for the weekend.

So far, I've been able to get a couple of runs in. 6 at home on Monday and 9 at the gym before work this morning. Looking forward to a 12 mile long run on Saturday through the French Quarter. Hope I'll be able to run right past those 2 for 1 beer signs on Bourbon Street!

What else will we do there? Eat. I don't think there is a bad restaurant in the city. There are a few that we're gonna try out from previous visits. We'll have to be careful not to let it all get away from us, but we'll be sure to have lots of fun, regardless. Looking forward to getting to a jazz club while we're there.

We come back Monday, just in time for opening day at the Orioles. It's an annual tradition that I go with my dad and brother. The way the O's have been playing the last few years, we also look forward to being tied for first place at least until the game is over.

Counting down to flight time. Have a great weekend, all. Full report next week.


Monday, March 24, 2008


A whole bunch of stuff to get through so I'll just pick up where I left off.


The weather was iffy for the big run Saturday, but I couldn't fathom 18 miles on the treadmill. The weatherman was calling for a 50% chance of rain and temps in the upper 30's to get started. In order to get all the miles in and not keep one of the Team-In-Training coaches there until mid-afternoon, I hit the park early to get in 4 miles before the group arrived. As the sun came up, there was no sign of rain.

About 2 miles in, the local running club guys flew buy me, not even an acknowledgement to a fellow runner. Hrumph! As I finished my 4, the group was assembled for the morning introductions and instructions. One of the alum running with the group, Kelly, had run her first marathon 4 years ago and in her 11th, last weekend, she Boston Qualified. The coaches were very proud of her and it was exciting to see their excitement. Maybe in a few years, they'll be cheering for me!

Shortly after 8, we were off. I was feeling very strong and made it to the 4 mile point (8 miles total) in pretty good time. At that point, I started to run with one of the other runners at my pace doing 12 for the day. We were able to to keep each other paced pretty well at a 12 minute pace or so until we hit the worst of the hills.

I decided to run with her for the duration and then pick up the last mile and a half that I'd be short back at the park. As we approached the last hill, 2/3 mile uphill to the park, I started to feel some pain in my right big toe. I suspected a blister. We got to the park and parted ways and I was off to try to get in the rest of the mileage, but I didn't think it was worth trying to push it.

In the end, it was 16.65 miles in 3:30:56 running time, a 12:40 pace. It shows a bit slower than last week, but I'm sure my breaks (social water stops, that is) were shorter, so it's tough to compare.

I headed home and got in the tub. Soon after, I developed a charlie horse in my right inner thigh. OMG, that was painful. Tough part was getting out of the tub. Ultimately, it was short lived and I recovered pretty well through the rest of the day.

For the afternoon, we didn't do much. More accurately, I didn't do much. For dinner, we headed out to eat Mexican. I love Mexican, but it's tough to find much low carb or low fat there. On long run day, I'll eat it all. It was great.


We didn't have much planned on Sunday until later in the day. I spent the morning working on taxes and catching up on blogging. We had tickets to go to a place called Medieval Times. The idea is a two hour show with dinner, medieval style. They tell you to get there early. The tickets say an hours and when I called, they said an hour and a half. "There's plenty to do!" Well, that's what they said.

I'll start by saying that the show and dinner were very good. There are knights, bad guys, kings, a prince and princess, jousting (Maryland's state sport -- bet you didn't know that!). The meal was also good -- served with no utensils. Half a baked chicken, one rib, and a bowl of soup. Service was good, too, once Deb begged our server to check for Diet Pepsi after he insisted three times that they had regular only. Amazing that he was able to track the diet down.

The issue I had was getting to the show. When you arrive, you are immediately bombarded with with every kind of huckstering known to man. The Disney folks could learn something from these guys. Before you get in, they take your picture. My kid walked up to a stockade for me to take a picture -- oh, no, the photographer will be right back. You can get knighted. Drinks? I bought three drinks -- two virgin, one not -- thirty-six bucks, plus tip. When we finally were allowed to go to our seats, there was a constant stream of hucksters walking around selling light sabers and flags and roses. You name it. It was worse than the circus. It was exhausting.

If you're still interested, you can find the link on your own. I'm not giving them a free ride.


Today, of course, is recap day.

33.9 miles of running -- a bit short of the target due to Saturday's run cut short, but still a lot of miles. Total miles for the month are now over 113, a new record for me, still with a week to go.

The scale was down today 1.6 pounds (15-day average) to 234.3. A new total loss of 179.7.

We spent the rest of the day doing errands and getting ready for school to get back in session tomorrow. (Yeay!)

Well, I'm sure you've heard more than enough from me. Looking forward to a short week as Deb and I are heading off on a grown up weekend in The Big Easy, where we plan to do lots of grown up stuff. Just 59 hours from now and we'll be on our flight, but who's counting.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Propel Taste Test

I got an email about a week ago from a woman that works for the ad agency for Propel Fit Water. Immediately, it looked like more than just spam, it refereced very specific things from my blog. She had done some homework.

I have really struggled with the whole activity, beverage, gel, etc, calorie thing. What do you drink or eat, when do you do it, yada yada. My whole dieting life, I've thought Sugar=Bad and not much beyond that. Of course, I know more now, but it's still a struggle.

In her email, she said: "I wanted to share with you and your community some surprising information regarding the range of calories found in many vitamin enhanced waters. Propel contains 25 calories per 20 oz bottle while other vitamin enhanced waters can contain 125 calories per 20 oz bottle."

So, I didn't just ignore the note. Maybe I could learn something more here. After a few emails back and forth, she said she'd send me some Propel to try. Now, first I'm thinking she'll send me some coupons. I guess the coupon thing leaves too much wiggle room. No certainty that the prouct will ever make it into my hands. She was mailing them.

When I got home from my run on Thursday, Deb said that I had received a package from Fed Ex. Sure enough, the Propel folks had overnighted me some stuff. (I couldn't help but to think that there must be a better way to get this stuff to me rather than spending thirty bucks on FedEx, but who am I to complain.)

The sticker on the side of the box reads "Thirsty for something new? Look inside." Okay, I can follow instructions.

Inside the box are three bottles of Propel: Lemon, Grape and Kiwi-Strawberry. And, another box labeled "New" with a G2 logo. Wow, that's a lot of packaging! It sure looks pretty, though, don't you think? Couldn't wait to see the inside of the box.

I opened the box inside and there is a bottle of Gatorade (Lemon Lime) and G2 (Fruit Punch). There was also all kinds of information on the products themselves. Calories, when to use, stuff like that.

After my shower, I took the time to do the offical taste test of the Propel. (I skipped the Gatorade, since I find the lemon lime original flavor barely drinkable. The G2 is my preferred beverage and flavor as well.)

I was most skeptical of the lemon flavor. I don't like lemon in my water and always appreciate the when the server in a restaurant asks if I'd like it. I tried this first and was surprised to find that the flavor was mild, but sweet enough that it didn't leave the drink tart. Next up was the Grape. This flavor was strong, too sweet for me. The kiwi-strawberry was okay, but I'm not a strawberry guy.

All in all, I was surprised how light the drinks tasted. I expected a thicker taste, more like gatorade, but these were much different that I expected. For me, the lemon was best and with just 25 calories in a 20 oz bottle, it's low enough to get instead of a diet soda.

This morning, I did the taste test with the kids and Deb. We came out united -- like lemon best, grape the least (including one official "yuck!)

So there you have it for what it's worth.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring Break Part II

Friday was a pretty quiet day with a rest day scheduled for me. By mid-afternoon, it was time to get out with the kids.

Bowling is another acitivty that the kids ask about often. I had some free bowling coupons from Brunswick so we were off the bowl the big balls. We had a nice couple of games and I might have been convinced to bowl a third, if not for the constant back and forth to the arcade during the last 5 frames. In the second game, my eldest pulled off a two bumper strike early in the game and held me off until the last frame, when I managed a strike to pull ahead by a few pins.

We came home to Friday pasta night. With my long runs on Saturday, we've started this weekly tradtion to get the proper carb load for running.

Deb made a batch of chicken parm and a batch of eggplant parm. We all went to town. The eggplant was out of this world. Probably ate too much, too. I'm thinking she's got some I-talyin in her blood some where. Tasted just like Mama Mia!

The rest of the evening was spent watching the NCAA Tournament. No better sports entertainment, I'm sure of that. The numerous upsets coming out of the Tampa games kept me up WAY too late for long run Saturday.


Friday, March 21, 2008

Spring Break

The kids have been on spring break all week, so I took off a few days to hang around with them.

On Thursday, after deciding that sleep would be more enjoyable than getting my morning run it, I got the privilege of taking the boys to the dentist. For some reason, Deb was most excited about my opportunity to handle this activity solo. It was pretty uneventful, other than my little one fearing the application of fluoride. Kept trying to get out of the chair. Otherwise, they did great. The hygienist even said my older one's teeth looked better than they had. Of course, more flossing and brushing for both would be good.

From there, we began one of several "yes" activities. What's a "yes" activity? Well, it's one of those things that the kids ask if we can do that Deb and I are constantly say "no" to, or maybe lying with a "maybe" when we know in our mind that maybe=no. (I think that's a parental prerogative, isn't it? I figured out when I was like 12 that maybe never meant maybe yes, it always turned out to be maybe no.)

Anyway, our "yes" activity for Thursday was a trip to Dave and Busters. If you've never been to a D&B's, it's a bar, restaurant and huge arcade, designed to separate parents from their wallets. On this particular day, the NCAA Basketball Tourney was set to start and one of the local sports talk shows was broadcasting live from the restaurant/bar in front of their giant tv's. I listen to The Mark Viviano Show pretty regularly when I'm at lunch, but my kid's had no clue who they were. Mark's sidekick is nicknamed "The Bulldog" and my eldest happened to be wearing a Georgia Bulldog ball cap. I was amazed that he went up and talked to Bulldog during a commercial break. After he came back to our table, Bulldog called him back up and handed him a tourney bracket to fill out. If Stanford makes it to the championship game, my kid's a sure winner!

After a healthy lunch of chicken fingers and cheese burgers, it was off to the arcade. The hardest part for dear old dad was to keep track of both kids heading off in separate directions. I think I logged 2 miles of walking just looking for one, then the other. Finally, after an hour or so, their "Power Cards" were used and it was shopping time. I was able to convince the kids to save their points for the next visit. This, however, is good news/bad news. Good news is there is no added plastic crap for them to leave around the house, today. Bad news is I'm committed to taking them back. I'm sure something will come up when bribery is in order to take them back. (Or, wait a minute, maybe I can con my folks to taking them there. Hmm, great idea! Better keep that one to myself.)

Next was an unscheduled loop around the mall. I saw a deal in the Bass outlet and the kids were amazingly behaved as I tried on shoes and walked out with a couple of pretty nice pair for a great deal. From there we came upon their new favorite store, Five Below. Now, I hate Five Below. Personally, I think it's a scam. The have all the stuff that a dollar store has and sells for a buck and they can charge two or three. Yes, I suppose that there are some deals, but just start adding up all the $5's. So dad "yessed" to Five Below. I gave them each five bucks and told them to enjoy. And they did.

Finally done with Arundel Mills mall, we were off to the next "yes" location: Rita's Italian Ice. Rita's was running a first day of spring free ice promotion, so not too much convincing was needed. Just a "no" to the upgrade that the kids requested, but hey, they still got their treat.

Off to home, at last, where Deb's peaceful day was about to come to an end. She suggested that I go get in my 5 miles. Temps were in the low 50's, perfect for a rare neighborhood run.

After getting geared up, I headed out the door and into the wind. Yeah, didn't realize what a stiff wind was blowing until I headed right up the street directly into it. Made for a very slow uphill start. I was surprised to see my first mile at 11:14, a pretty good pace for me considering the uphill and the winds. As I continued around the 'hood, my times looked very strong. I knew when I hit the driveway with 5.01 miles in under 55 minutes, I'd finally broken through the 11 minute/mile barrier. In addition, this is the farthest I'd ever run non-stop. Not a single walk break. I walked into the house and announced to Deb that "I rocked!"

Route:--Elev. Avg:369 ft
Location:Columbia, MDElev. Gain:+10 ft
Time:04:43 PMDifficulty:2.3 / 5.0

Distance:5.01 miles
Speed:5.5 mph
Pace:10' 50 /mi
Elevation (ft)

Posted from

It was a great run with splits of 11:14, 10:43, 10:38, 10:55 and 10:41. I was totally jazzed. Finnaly broke through that wall on the street runs with negative splits and all.

I finished the day with a bit of a "yes" for me. I joined my brother and some of his friends to celebrate his 41st birthday at Ruth's Chris for much wine and red meat. Not a bad topper to a most busy day.

Well, that was enough for one day, I think. More from Spring Break to come.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Big Week Done, Big Week to Come

Big mileage numbers this week as I ran almost 33 miles including Saturday's 16 miler. I am amazed how quickly the miles are adding up, but I must admit, I am feeling fatigued today. Woke up early to hit the treadmill and never made it out of the house. Right now, I'm in the meat of the training plan with the second of five consecutive 30 mile weeks on tap this week.

Those miles, along with one spin class and control over my eating led me to a loss this week of 2.0 pounds, down to 235.9. A total loss of 178.1 pounds. I'd like to think that I can continue these losses right up until the big race to get into the 220's.

I'm really missing the other activities that I was doing. Just one spin last week. I'd like to do more. No weights. I need to do more. 33 miles is just 6 hours of running (assuming I kept an 11 minute pace, which I did not), but add in the early hours, the travel to and from the gym and it adds up. As the weather gets better, I know I'm gonna want to be on my bike.

What's on tap this week -- just 35 miles, including 18 on Saturday.

C'mon, May 4 -- Just 48 days and counting!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

TNT Long Run

Yesterday was the big 16 mile long run. Finally, a nice day to get back outside with decent weather. Probably in the low 40's at the start, low 50's by the end -- and DRY -- but very very windy!

I met the Team in Training group at 8. At the start, I was a bit behind the others, but I caught up at the water break.

In the "its a small world" department, one of the women training for the Frederick Half, Laura, went to a nearby high school to mine and her sister and brother in law were a year behind me at my school. Another woman training for Alaska lives down the street from me. It was great to be able to run with some other folks for a change and not just tied to my treadmill or ipod.

As the run went on, the winds began to kick up. Probably a good 15 mph in some of the open areas and, since no one else was running at my distance, I began to struggle toward the end, wondering what how I would ever make it another 10 miles in just 7 weeks. I felt so much weaker than my long treadmill runs.

The data here does not include stops at the water breaks. My total time to finish 16 miles was 3:40:08 -- a pace of 13:43/mile. YIKES!

(I tried out the website for the upload below. There are some other inconsistencies, such as the 19 splits below and the 85 degree temp that I was able to delte. I'm not sold on it, but it looks really really cool!)

By the time I finished, the TNT cooridnator had already called Deb to see if I had returned home and not signed out. The last 3/4 mile uphill, walking, was a killer. I was wiped.

As I loaded the data from my Garmin, I quickly realized that the difference was the elevation changes. LOTS OF HILLS! In fact, the Garmin data on my computer shows elevation changes over 3000 feet (different than the data here.) I think the Marathon course is less hilly (I hope.)

So, that's my long run for this week. Looking forward to the big 18 next weekend!


Route:--Elev. Avg:403 ft
Location:Columbia, MDElev. Gain:-13 ft
Time:08:07 AMDifficulty:4.7 / 5.0

Distance:16.05 miles
Speed:4.8 mph
Pace:12' 28 /miHeart Rate:140 bpm (Avg)
Calories:2917175 bpm (Peak)
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
Heart Rate (bpm)
Heart Rate Zones
In Zone
In Zone
Zone 5165 - 1830h 00m0% 0.06 mi
Zone 4146 - 1651h 14m36% 8.23 mi
Zone 3128 - 1462h 07m63% 10.93 mi
Zone 2110 - 1280h 19m9% 1.37 mi
Zone 192 - 1100h 14m6% 0.42 mi
(none)out of range0h 00m0% 0.01 mi
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Heart
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
111' 21-1' 075.3+0.5141-82 ft
211' 12-1' 165.3+0.5134+53 ft
314' 09+1' 414.2-0.6142+27 ft
47' 20-5' 088.2+3.4136+62 ft
58' 00-4' 287.5+2.7135-13 ft
611' 15-1' 135.3+0.5144+26 ft
712' 00-0' 285.0+0.2142-56 ft
810' 47-1' 415.6+0.7143-3 ft
917' 23+4' 553.5-1.4140+16 ft
1011' 50-0' 385.1+0.3139-69 ft
112' 10-10' 1827.5+22.7149+40 ft
1213' 12+0' 444.5-0.3142+43 ft
1315' 23+2' 553.9-0.9142+29 ft
146' 16-6' 129.6+4.7140-36 ft
1512' 49+0' 214.7-0.1141+13 ft
1614' 53+2' 254.0-0.8143-82 ft
177' 38-4' 507.8+3.0141+9 ft
1812' 00-0' 285.0+0.2136-36 ft
1913' 09+0' 414.6-0.3140-19 ft
end15' 44+3' 163.8-1.0135+65 ft
Versus average of 12' 28 min/mile

Posted from

Monday, March 10, 2008

Another Week in the Books

Mileage continues to pile up en route to Frederick, now less than 8 weeks away.

Saturday's long run at 15 miles was moved indoors (nothing really new, here) as winter's grip continued in the area with a chilly rain. I took a short break at each hour mark to refill my water bottle so splits worked out like this:

Hour 1 -- 5.40 miles -- 11:07 average
Hour 2 -- 5.35 miles -- 11:13 average
Final 4.25 miles in 51:23 -- 12:05 average

Total of 15 miles in 2:51:23 -- 11:23 average

I had a goal to break 3 hours for the run, so I'm happy with that time.

Total mileage for the week was about 28 miles. This was just short of goal of 29 as I struggled to get in a decent run after my Body Pump class on Thursday -- Oh, the pain!

This week's mileage target is 32 miles, including 16 long and 8 "sorta-long" runs. Unfortunately, it's looking like the weatherman has more rain in store for this area on Saturday. Hopefully, all this rain will bode well for a dry marathon on May 4.

On the scale front, more cooperation this week as I erased last weeks gain and dropped 1.3 pounds to 237.9, just off a new low on the 15-day average. I've really tried hard this week to bank more of the calories burned rather than to consume them.

Speaking of consuming calories -- we had a great dinner on Saturday at Macaroni Grill. They have a design your own pasta dish that was fantastic. Mine had whole wheat penne with grilled eggplant and red peppers with a spicy red sauce. Throw in some mushrooms, tomatos and onions and enjoy. Mmmmm! Woulda licked the plate if I could.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Penn State-Georgetown Face Off in 9 Year Old Champoinship Game

The stage was set on Saturday as the Penn State Nittany Lions, coming in with a league-best 10-2 record were set to face off against the Georgetown Hoyas at 8-4. Penn State were strong favorites as they beat Georgetown in week 2 31-16. Since the, Georgetown added a strong center to bolster their offense and rebounding to come back in the league.

Early on, it looked like a repeat of week 2 as Penn State took a first quarter lead of 8-2, but as the lineup changed in the second quarter, Georgetown had a clear height advantage, outscoring Penn State 13-0 to lead 15-8.

Coach Keith rallied the clearly dejected troops with a stirring halftime speech.

In the third, Penn State drew closer as son of formerly fat running guy made a key free throw and added several rebounds. Forward Mike's hot hand returned and Teddy made his first basket of the season as the crowd moved to the edges of their seats. The score after three had Georgetown ahead 19-16.

Penn State continued with the hot hand as Georgetown moved quickly into foul trouble. State took the lead mid-way through the fourth and a see saw battle ensued.

With 2 minutes to go, State went ahead 26-24 and Coach called for the perimeter stall. The plan worked with Georgetown frustrated for nearly 90 seconds until they were forced to foul. Mike hit 1 of 2 for a seemingly insurmountable lead. As the seconds ticked, there was little Georgetown could do to turn the tide and the boys from State were left to celebrate as the crowd cheered and consoled the disappointed Hoya team.

After the teams shook hands, the championship trophies were awarded.

9 Year Old Boys Champions Penn State

(Son of formerly fat running guy - top right)


Friday, March 7, 2008

Answer: My Cholesterol

Question: What's lower than the number of miles that I ran in February?

That's right, Jeopardy fans, my cholesterol is LOWER than 99! This formerly fat guy's cholesterol is down to a very skinny NINETY-EIGHT! (Of course, the bad is good and the good is good, too.)

Is it possible to have a level too low? Google says yes, but I can't find any difinitive numbers. Gonna see Dr. H. next week. I'll see if she can spread some light on the subject.

Steak for dinner tonight!


Tuesday, March 4, 2008


No, not my temperature. That's the number of miles I ran in February. 99.7. One might say to themselves -- "self, Jeff ran 99.7 miles for the month. Why not just add another 3/10 to make it an even hundred." That's a really good question. One to which I have no answer. Certainly, had I filled in the spreadsheet any time on Friday, I would have jumped on the treadmill in street shoes to make the even 100. But, alas, it was not to be. Guess it will have to wait until March when the training plan alone schedules over 130 miles.

For the week, my mileage totaled 28.1, including the B&A Half on Sunday. Unfortunately, the scale seemed to not want to cooperate. (Yes, I'm certain that my scale has a brain, otherwise, why would I not weigh 206?) The 15-day average jumped 1.2 pounds to 239.2, a new loss total of 174.8.

I'm committed to focusing on my weight to get down to 230 by marathon day. Still 10 pounds over my original target, but any loss will make the runs more comfortable. No more free passes on long run days!


Monday, March 3, 2008

Kids, Friends and a Run -- What a Weekend

Deb and I knew a week ago that we'd have little time to ourselves this weekend. Lots of kids activities, a visit to the Maryland Jaycees board meeting to see old friends, and a little run on Sunday.

Friday started out with a spin and short run. Both were good finishes in prep for the Sunday run. After work, I headed to the Tae Kwon Do studio to watch #2 test for his green belt. He did us proud and tested well. We rewarded him with a sushi dinner.

After a brief visit home, I was off to the Jaycee meeting in Timonium. It was great to see old friends, some that I hadn't seen in many years. A return visit on Saturday was in order. I visited two meetings and spoke about my Team In Training goals. By the time I had left, I had secured donations from the Maryland Jaycee Militia and the Maryland Jaycee Senate. Both are lifetime membership groups that I belong to. It was great to see everyone.

From there, it was a rush to my eldest son's semi-final basketball game. This week, they were playing the top team from their league. Event though both teams had 9-2 records coming it and we had beaten them early in the season, we knew it would be a good game. Early on, it was a defensive battle as our opponents led 2-1 at the end of Q1. By the half, they were up by 3 and our shots were just not falling. Their defense was tough and they had one player clearly 3 inches taller than any other boy on the court, but our guys were hanging in there. We were still behind at the end of 3 and everyone was getting nervous. The crowd was really into the game and it proved to be one of the best of the year as our boys turned a 5 point deficit early in the fourth to their first lead of the game with 2 minutes to go. They relinquished the lead shortly later, but with 22 seconds left, took it back and added 2 to win 17-14 and punch their ticket for next Saturday's final. Whew, what a game!

After the game, I headed over to the "expo" such as it was to pick up my packet and occupy the kids for a few hours. No big goings on there as most people were waiting for race morning to get their bib and swag. Gotta say, for a race with just a $40 registration, the swag of a hunter green fleece vest was pretty sweet. (Who needs another t-shirt?) (See pic down below, way down.)

Saturday night, after a pre-race pasta dinner, I was informed by "stretch coach" Deb to be prepared to stretch for 20 minutes in the morning at her direction. "Ya mean you're getting up with me at 5?" "Yup!"

After a pretty restless night by both of us, fearing we'd miss the 5 am alarm, we were both up and ready to go. Race Day had arrived! Deb ran me through a battery of stretches personally prepared for my running pleasure. By 6, I was on my way.

As I walked outside, I quickly determined the unofficial weather to be "holy crap it's cold." My unofficial forecast was soon confirmed by the car thermometer -- 23 degrees. My kinda running weather (NOT!)

I got to the school where the race was to start at 6:30. First order of business was to find Katie, without whom I'm not sure I would have even know about this event. Shortly after I walked into cafeteria, Katie saw me and waved. Katie is a fellow blogger and a sister Baltimorean. We both ran races at the Baltimore Running Festival, she the 5k and me the relay. I saw Katie briefly there as I ran past her. She had a sign in hand for me there to cheer me on, but I was never able to find her after the race. So, I met Katie and her dad, who came to cheer her on. We talked for a bit, hit the restrooms, then headed outside as the race time was near.

As we began to line up for the start with the other 1,498 runners, the race director figured out that we were all heading the wrong way. All 1,500 of us had to relocate to the other side of the driveway. No biggie. Whoops. Sorry, wrong again. Okay, everyone, go back to where you were. Oy! Half way to the other side and she was once again wrong. Turns out her first relocation was the correct one. Anyway, we all got a nice pre race chuckle and were ready to go.

And we're off!

The B&A Trail is just about 8 feet wide -- barely wide enough for three bikes or four runners abreast. I was wondering how they would handle all of these runners simultaneously. The answer was given early on -- the first two miles or so of the run were done on local roads. Plenty distance enough to separate the 6 minute milers from the 12 minute milers. Katie and I ran together at the start and it was nice to be able to run with someone close to my pace. We talked about our friends in the Tumbleweed Running Club (Pat, Karen and Lisa) and how neat it must be to be able to run together every week. We talked about running and just enjoyed the chilly morning.

At two miles, we finally hit the trail. I could tell that I was pushing Katie a bit and I also felt like I could move the pace up as well. We ran together through the first water stop and I told her I was going to head out on my own, but I'd see her at the turn around mile 7.

From there, I kicked up my pace to about 11 minutes/mile. Soon after, I caught up with a couple of runners who noticed that my shoes have a squeak. They sound a bit like I'm stepping on a mouse at every stride. So, of course, they nick named my squeaky. Off and on we'd pass each other than they'd note "here comes squeaky" or something else like that. I've been called a lot worse, I guess. From 3 miles to the end of the trail, about another 3 miles or so, everyone passes one another either coming or going. There is a turn at almost 7 mi where your double back around a cone and run back from where you started. It was very cool to see the Naval Academy Marathon Club running the race all in their blue and grey running gear. As per usual, lots of friendly runners on the course wishing everyone well.

At mile 6, the race leaves the end of the trail and heads onto a street -- downhill. Of course, what goes down must come up and I quickly saw runners walking their way back up the hill. I was able to jog about half the way back up and soon saw Katie running towards me. I was very surprised to see her at this point, thinking she would still be a bit further behind. She looked very strong, but I knew not at all happy about returning back up the hill.

Everything was going well through 8 miles, but that was about to change. Beginning shortly after the 8 mile marker, my right foot began to hurt and my pace began to slow. I stopped at one point to take off my shoe to see if my orthotic insert was in the wrong shoe -- it wasn't. I suspected that the pain was due to the curvature of the trail and how my foot was being forced to shift to compensate. I tried running as much to the middle of the trail as possible and that worked a bit. In many ways, I felt strong and had I not had this pain, I think I'd still be going strong through the rest of the run. I even tried running for a bit on the grass. That worked but there were obstacles to avoid there. I spent the last few miles, some strong, some not, thinking about how I would be able to make it twice this distance in just nine more weeks.

As my pace had slowed, I realized that breaking my 2:30 goal was getting farther and farther out of reach. I kept thinking that Katie would catch up to me any minute. As I got past 11 miles, I knew I could kick it back up a notch through the finish. As the turn off the trail was in sight and we there was just a few tenths of a mile to go, I pushed as hard as I could to finish strong. As I came to the finish, I saw Katie's dad and crossed the line at 2:36:03 -- a PR by 31:57. Quite a respectable time considering the difficulties I had during the last 1/3 of the race. Without the pain, my goal was certainly in reach. My Garmin tracking is below.

After the race, I joined Katie's father as we waited for her to turn the corner. I told him how strong she looked at the half, but what we would later find out is that she, too, began to struggle at the 8 mile mark.

We headed indoors for post race snacks -- hot Papa Johns pizza and other high carb foods. Man did that pizza go down good! Shortly after that, we headed to our cars, Katie gave me the sign she made for Baltimore and we headed our separate ways.

The final "official" weather range for the race period was a low of 28, high of 39. The killer was the winds, which were as high as 9 mph, certainly dropping the temps a few degrees, particularly on some of the wide open parts of the course.

The Annapolis Striders did a very nice job on the event. I was told that this was the first year that it has sold out. They had tons of volunteers. Every at-grade crossing along the trail, and there seemed to be one at least every quarter mile, was staffed with at least two volunteers. The premium was cool as was the medal. Props to Annapolis!

All in all, a very good run.

Sunday afternoon, I struggled with foot pain. Taking ibuprofin and icing down my feet seemed to be enough to get me through the day so we could hit our poker game. Although I never won a hand, Deb was the big winner of the night, so at least it all stays in the family.

Today, I feel pretty good. Not much pain at all -- a very good sign. Looking forward (well, sorta) to my next long run -- 15 miles.

I think that's enough for now. Thanks for hanging in through this long post.