Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fat and Slow

Last night after work, I started out the door for 3 miles. My youngest decided he'd like to scoot along with me. Sure, just one kid, I can handle that. That was my conclusion after the last run with kids in tow.

Little one was immediately behind, just like before. As we headed up hill, he yelled for me wait. Ok, now I'm on foot and I'm not too fast. C'mon kid, catch up. And by the way, why aren't you wearing your helmet? "I dunno." Good answer.

As we crested the hill and went down into the next neighborhood, I directed #2 to the sidewalk. Moments later, the sidewalk jumped up and grabbed his front wheel. A fight ensued and my boy put in a valiant effort. We'll call it a draw, even though the sidewalk was left unbruised, but my son left with two bloody forearms and a bloody finger. Oh, and calls for mom through the tears.

Soon after we started walking back (and I realized that he would live) (and no ambulance would be required), I stopped my Garmin and noted that I'd set a PR for my first ever 0.57 mile run!

And then there was the tweak.

I felt just a slight pull in my lower back. Not where the last problem was, but just north of there. Around the kidney area. I took some ibuprofen and slept through the night.

When I awoke, the pain was still there. I've had some kidney issues before -- a few stones and some other maladies. Could it be something serious like that? I sure hope not.

The pain is dull and almost non existent except when I sit or bend over to a 90 degree angle. When I do that, the pain is sharp and feels like when you've run on a really cold day and struggle to catch your breath. It's that super cold feeling in your lower back.

A scheduled visit to the chiropractor this morning and he worked on the pain, providing some relief.

After a long day at work (highlighted by a 2 hr conference call that lasted 4:39 -- must be a record, I think), I needed to get a run in, despite the pain.

I got home, changed, and dropped #1 off at the ball park for practice and took off to run. The pain was bearable. Not too bad. I immediately noted that I was running more slowly than I had been, mid-11's. I also felt really fat. First time in a long time I have felt that way. Lots of jiggling going on. I probably looked at my Garmin 40 times. The miles were ticking by way too slowly. How could my last run be so great followed by this one, so seemingly lousy?

In the end, I slogged through 4 miles in about 46:30. I felt fat. But I did it.

Am I ready for Sunday? I sure hope so. Not much I can do about it now. This new pain has got me down a bit. After all the other pains, could I handle one more? Now? Oy!

3 days, 10 hours, 41 minutes 'till Frederick.


Monday, April 28, 2008

6 Days and Counting

Just 6 days until Frederick. Not that I'm obsessed about the weather, but I've been checking the 10 day forecast since there was a 10 day forecast. Now, it's just the weekend forecast. What started out looking bad -- 60% chance of rain -- has dropped to 30%, with a low of 52, high of 74. Not too bad.

As for the week that was, just 19.5 miles last week, 1.5 off of the training goal. No biggie, though, I feel like I'm in a really good place for the week to come.

The scale is down a half pound this week to 232.2. I'm disappointed that I haven't been able to transform the big calorie burns this year into a lower weight, especially after changing my goal from 220 to 230 for race day.

Guess I know what I've got to work on starting NEXT Monday.


Sunday, April 27, 2008


Since there were a few questions about it, I ran today pain free. (Yeay!)

I spent about 15 minutes stretching before leaving home (about 2 hrs before race) and another 15 about a half hour before the starting gun. Also, took 4 ibuprofin before leaving.

I really believe that the three pronged approach of chiro, stretching and ibuprofin is making it all work.

Mileage plan is just 3/4/2 leading up to the big day. I can't remember the last time I ran just 2 miles (other than pain shortened.) Seems hardly worth putting on a clean set of workout clothes!

Unfinished Business

In my very first post, I wrote this about the Pikes Peek 10k held last April:
Dave had mentioned a 10k race held each year not far from home at the end of April. I thought that the challenge would be good for me, so I dutifully signed up. Given that I had only ever gone 5 miles just once, I should have been training for this 10k, but I slacked off and did very little training in the weeks leading up to it.

I felt like I got creamed. Though I did meet my goal of not being the lanterne rouge (the last official finisher in the Tour de France is called the lanterne rouge, or the red light as on the back of the caboose.) My time was nearly 89 minutes. My treadmill times had been running under 13 minutes per mile. Given the fact that the course is known for personal records as it is almost entirely down hill, I was disappointed. When I called Deb from the post race event, I told her that this was the most self-inflicted pain I had ever had.

Today was Pikes Peek and while running an event is generally not recommended the week before a marathon, I felt that I had some unfinished business from last year.

As I left for the race this morning, I couldn't help but begin to make comparisons from the beginning. Certainly, my preparation for a "short 6-miler" far exceeded last year. There was little stress beyond whether my leg pains would remain in check.

The weather was great for a run -- 54 degrees and overcast. Last year was much warmer and sunny. As the race was about to start, my toughest decision was to decide whether to go off with the 8-10 minute pace group or the 10+ pace group. Since the course was one way, downhill, my goal was to slice 20 minutes off of last year's 88:50 time, an 11:08 pace. In the back of my mind, though, I wondered if I could manage 10 minute miles, given the downhill course and my sub-10 mile earlier in the week.

I decided to go with the 10+ group figuring that passing other runners would be better mentally than getting dropped by the quicker group.

Once the gun went and our group went off 4 minutes later, I felt strong. I began passing people almost immediately. I didn't spend a lot of time looking at my Garmin, but I knew I was just off the 10 minute pace I was thinking about.

I skipped the first water stop at mile 2.5. From there, I started to see a lot more walkers. I yelled out some good wishes, remembering where I was a year before. At the second water stop, I took a cup of water and one sip of the warm water and I just dropped it and chugged to the finish.

As the finish line came in sight, I knew I was kicking major butt and I gave a big cheer as my name was called at the finish.

After a bottle of water and trip around the post race party, I headed back to the finish line to cheer on those who were where I was a year before.

In the end, my chip time was 1:03:21, a 10:12 average. Out of 6 full miles, there was only 1 uphill mile -- on that mile, my fastest split -- a 9:45. Does that make sense? Not really, but the adrenalin was really pumping and I was thinking hard about a week from now. Even if I had managed to break an hour, I don't know that I would feel better than I do now. What a great way to lead into the final week before the marathon.

Business finished. (Until next time!)

Route:--Elev. Avg:428 ft
Location:Derwood, VAElev. Gain:-158 ft
Time:08:04 AMDifficulty:2.0 / 5.0
54 F temp; 89% humidity
54 F heat index; winds NE 13

Distance:6.24 miles
Speed:5.9 mph
Pace:10' 10 /mi
Chip Time: 1:03:21 -- 10:12/mi average for 10k.
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
110' 03-0' 076.0+0.1-40 ft
210' 22+0' 125.8-0.1-6 ft
310' 12+0' 025.9-0.0-33 ft
410' 20+0' 105.8-0.1-29 ft
510' 27+0' 175.7-0.2-10 ft
69' 45-0' 256.2+0.2+10 ft
end8' 32-1' 387.0+1.1-49 ft
Versus average of 10' 10 min/mile

Posted from


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It's a Boy!

Monday morning, after my chiro appointment, I head to the airport for my flight. Moments after I turn on my phone it rings: "Hi Honey, I need to talk to you about something." Sorry, love, waiting for the car shuttle, can I call you back. "Sure, but soon, okay."

Ten minutes later, finally getting to the car, my phone rings: "I thought you were going to call be back." Just got to the car, what's up? "Well, I know the timing isn't what we had talked about, but Ann called and she's at the dog shelter and found a dog for us." Okay, well, we were gonna wait 'till the end of June. "I know, but Ann said I have to see this dog. He's perfect for us. I'm on my way to the shelter. What do you think?" Well, this wasn't the plan. Call me from there.

We're not dog people, but we want to be. The thing is, a dog requires commitment. It requires planning when you're traveling. All that stuff. And besides that, we're just not that spontaneous.

Deb calls me again and says she can't see the dog because they're neutering him. She now knows that his name is Andy and he was found at a Baltimore tennis court wandering around with no tags. He was on death row in the city when the shelter rescued him. She gives me the shelter's web site to look at him.

Okay, I'm a big dog kinda guy. Growing up we had a retriever and I love that size dog. Andy is a poodle. I think of poodles as really small, but I looked at the web site and saw this cute little guy and had to approve the deal.

After school, Deb took the kids and they met Andy. The shelter approved us as being suitable and responsible pet owners (who knew there was a test?) and Andy came home with them.

My new son, Andy

Monday, of course, was Boston Marathon day. This is not the first time I've been in the Boston area on Patriot's Day. One day, I'll actually figure out how to finagle a visit to the course to watch. (Or, I could always shave 2.5 hours off of my expected Frederick time and just run it.) It seems like everywhere I went in public, there were folks wearing their official long sleeve t-shirt Very cool.

I was staying at a hotel in Dedham, MA and decided that it would be nice to run on the local street. New England towns have such a warm feel to them, what could be bad. Although I did wake early enough to get out, laziness overtook and I headed off for an exciting day at the office. As the day wore on, I though I could still get a run in after work, if the daylight would hold out. And it did. After a good stretch, I headed into the center of town to see all of the 17th and 18th century buildings. I felt really fast with almost no pain from the injuries.

How fast? I'm glad you asked. For the 4 miles, my splits were:


Total: 4 miles, 42:00, 10:30 average.

What's that you say? Is that your first EVER sub 10-minute mile? Well, yes, as a matter of fact it is. Thanks for noticing. Am I a bit full of myself? Well, YES, I AM! It was a bit of a down hill start to the run, but the second mile was fairly flat. I am always amazed when improvement happens. It almost always seems to come out of nowhere. It felt really good.

One of my co-workers, Rich, had said he'd be running at lunch today and invited me along. After telling him how slow I was, he said no problem. Would I be jinxing myself after yesterdays run? Would the pain in the butt return? Well, no. We went out at lunch time -- 71 degrees and sunny -- and did about 3.1 miles in about 35 minutes. My concern was more how I'd feel. I felt good.

I'm certainly not going to declare myself totally fit for the big day, but I'm feeling a lot better about it than I was just a few days ago!

That's it for now from suburban Beantown. Gotta run!


Monday, April 21, 2008


Just don't know what to think today -- more soreness today than yesterday, for sure. I suspect that since yesterday was later in the morning and I had been up for hours, there was a natural stretching that occurred, rather than this morning, when it was outta bed, stretch, then treadmill. Just a mile running and a mile walking today. Felt pretty sluggish -- probably from a couple nights of big Passover meals.

Just 13 days till the marathon and I'm sure I'll just stress over ever twitch and tingle.

The scale has been consistently positive this week and I've broken new ground. Down 1.5 pounds to 232.7. T0tal mileage last week of 16.2.

Need to stay focused this week, particularly on diet, as I've got some business travel scheduled. Until next time!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

I'll Have a Sacroiliitis with Piriformis Syndrome on the Side, Please.

So, that's what I have -- sacroiliitis with secondary piriformis syndrome. Guess I shoulda guessed that. Silly me.

The doc wants to see me three times a week for the next month or so when he'll continue to do some electrical stim and manual adjustments. Having read what others have done, this is in line with their diagnosis and results.

What about running? He said I should give it a try. I added to it stretch number 3 from here before trying to run 3 this morning. The results were positive. I did 3 1/2 on the treadmill, of course analyzing every tiny little twitch. I was able to run 3 miles non-stop, which is better than I could do on Thursday or Friday. I felt a bit of the tightness in my left thigh at about 2.5, but nothing like I had experienced earlier in the week. From there, a very mild feeling.

I'll call it cautiously optimistic, but certainly better than it has been. From here, I'll keep pounding the ibuprofen, stretch that baby a few times a day and try to slowly increase the distance during the week to get back to the taper schedule for next week.

Thank you all so very much for your kind words and encouragement. With now just two weeks to go until the big run, you have truly helped me through this. Hopefully, it's all good news from here.


Friday, April 18, 2008

I've Got An Extra Inch and a Half!

Running Lots of Miles. . . Not

The week has most certainly not turned out the way I had hoped. About my pain in the butt, it has yet to go away and it is certainly a concern. On my last post, my friend Terry did a great job diagnosing the problem: "that is your sciatic - and I know a good chiropractor that could help." Her diagnosis was backed up by some posters on the Hal Higdon board, where I posted my problem as well.

After running 4.5 sluggish treadmill miles yesterday, I gave Terry a call to see if Dr. Howard could see me. No problem, come in Friday at 8.

The pain continued. It's not a severe pain, but it is nagging and somewhat constant. Running doesn't make it worse, but it's not good, either.

This morning, I felt pretty good and decided to head to the gym before my appointment. Got off only 3 miles before I had to stop. In fact, I probably walked 1 of the 3. Not a good sign. My foot is dropping some as I run.

After a nice strong Starbucks, I headed off to Dr. Howard's office where he started by taking my history and doing some measuring. At one point, he informed me that my left leg is about an inch and a half longer than my right. (Now for those of you who thought the title of my post was about something totally different, please, PLEASE, get your mind out of the gutter!)

It didn't take long for him to find the problem spots and do some electric stimulation and a few other things.

I'll go back tomorrow for the results of some tests and x-rays and some more stimulation, no doubt.

Just 16 days until Frederick. This wasn't what I had in mind for my taper.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pain in the Butt

The whole day got turned upside down yesterday, fueled mostly by my desire not to get out of bed early and to run outside. By the time I got home, we were in full early evening frenzy -- Deb was working on dinner and the kids were looking for something (someone) to occupy them.

"Hey, boys," Deb said, "daddy's going to go run 5 miles, do you want to scooter with him?" "Do you mind, dear?" Of course not. 5 miles? I'm sure they'll be fine. They do that kind of thing all the time (yeah, never).

So, I quickly got changed and put on the fully loaded fuel belt. (The belt is a Nathan Triangle, 4885N, just in case anyone is interested.) After all of the comments yesterday about the new fuel belt purchase, I had to give it a whirl even though I wouldn't normally worry about hydration for a shorter run.

Deb, in the mean time, was getting the kids ready. Get shoes and socks on, get the scooters out. "Ok, guys, the water's just for daddy. You won't get any until we get home. Have fun!"

We were off. As we headed west out of our neighborhood into the adjoining one, I definitely noticed that the belt was there. It didn't bother me, but it was some added weight. No jiggling as I had been concerned about. After a few minutes, I tried out the bottle itself. Worked fine, albeit a bit of a tight fit into the holster, but I'd expect that it would loosen over time.

After 3/4 mile, the first "how far have we gone" question came from the inquisitive 7 (almost 8) year old. Not quite a mile. About a minute later, "have we gone a mile yet, dad?" No, almost. I could definitely feel that the added weight of the belt was slowing me down. At least that would be my excuse. 11:43 for the first mile is close to a minute slower than I've been running on this type of run.

As we continued, there seemed to be a pattern developing -- #1 son about a block or so ahead, #2 about the same distance behind. Most of our course was on not too busy roads, but it was still a challenge to keep both in sight when I was concentrating on running. Soon though, "Daaaaaaad, myyyyyyyy shooooooooooooooooe is untiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiied." Oy! Okay, #1 --tie your brother's shoe please. "No, dad, you'll run too far." Please do it or we'll just go back home. You'll catch up to me. "Ok." And he did, and they caught up to me.

It was about this time I noticed a belly ache, around the area where the belt was on the opposite side of the bottle. Seems that the weight of the bottle was really starting to bother me. But we continued.

At about 2 miles, this was hear from behind me: "Dad, I'm REALLY thirsty." Sorry, bud, mom told you there would be nothing to drink. "But I'm REALLY REALLY thirsty." Now, in retrospect, it might have been smarter of me to just give him some water, but this was going to be a lesson that what we say is what we mean. I don't know why I thought at this particular moment in time that this concept would sink in, since it hasn't up until now, but my feet were dug in.

Heading up a hill, #2 continued to fall back, to the point that I had to stop to wait for him. Decision made -- we're heading home where I can dump one fuel belt, two scooters and two scooter drivers.

And so it was.

Once I dumped the belt, I ran much better. Mile 2 and 3 were both over 12 minutes. Mile 4, without belt or company was 11:38 followed by 10:55 for the last mile.

Not sure what to do with the belt now. Fill it half way? Ditch it? Anyone else have similar issues? Did you get used to it?

As for the kids, I'd definitely try the run/scoot again with some changes. #1 -- no mp3 for daddy. Just didn't need it and it was one too many distractions. #2 -- shorter route preferred. #3 -- if possible, just take one!

And the Pain in the Butt -- the title of today's post? You thougt it was my kids, didn't you. No, more literal, that's what I woke up with this morning. Very sore left buttock down the back of my thigh. Feels muscular, but it was very painful just to get out of bed this morning. Not sure if it was the belt or not. Hope it works its way better and soon.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Last Week -- What Could Be Bad

The biggest mileage week on the schedule was, well, big. 44.9 total miles from Monday through Sunday. That's big! Not a whole lot else for the week, but when would I have done anything else, really?

Amazingly, all those miles really didn't translate into the scale. I was dead even for the week at 234.2. Nothing gained, nothing lost. Well, better than gaining, I suppose. Still, with all of those calories being burned, hard to believe I made up for all of them. Oy!

The week ahead has about 30 miles on the schedule. As of now, Tuesday morning, I haven't run an inch -- planning to get back out tonight, though. Will try out the cool new (geeky?) fuel belt I bought over the weekend -- just like the one to the left, in black. Gotta love new toys.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ma!

Today is my mom's birthday. Hard to believe that a woman so young could have a son so old.

Mom has been my life long biggest supporter -- she was always there. Still is too!

Happy Birthday, Ma. Looking forward to many many more.

I love you!


Just Another Day in Paradise

Thought I'd share a little snippet from our day. The following instant message discussion happened while I was on a conference call at the office. Enjoy:

Deb: having a plumbing crisis!

Jeff: yes -- what's the crisis?

Deb: sinks in the basement all backed up as is the washer -- OY with every
sock that this family owns in it...water all over the floor of course and into
the middle room -- UGH!!!!!!!!!!!

Deb: On an upnote -- while on the phone with BGE, I made the appointment
for the furnace check!

Jeff: oy yoy yoy

Deb: so the deal is...BGE plumbing will be here sometime between now and
6:00. The guy on the phone suspects that there's a clog in the washing machine
as well because it didn't drain -- so we have an appliance guy scheduled for
tomorrow. THEN, the furnace guy will be here on Thursday. I know there'e really
never a convenient time for these things to happen but I got things to do,
people to see, etc..

Deb: can't even cook for the weekend because I was going to Walmart to buy
a container for the matza balls and I didn't have you pick-up enough onions for
the sauce -- OH SHIT!!

Deb: I'm going to have to call the Anderson's to take Matty to baseball if
the BGE guy doesn't come by 4:50 -- UGH!!

Deb: should be a very pleasant afternoon

Deb: I even called Vern (I think he's a plumber) but he wasn't

Deb: Since you're not responding, I'm assuming that you're tied up on the
phone -- remind me to ask you about the attic

Jeff: sorry

Deb: while the plumber is here, I want to ask him about the kids sink -- I
don't know if you've noticed that the drain is broken

Deb: HEY, I gotta make the eggs and bacon

Deb: NO worries my love...

Deb: all is peachy keen here at the Sweren house

Deb: life is good

Deb: hmmmmmmmmmmm!

Deb: love you

Deb: call me later

Jeff: sorry, love, not what you had planned for the day

Deb: oh well

Jeff: i'm certain it's from all the underwear i've washed!

Deb: what can I tell ya

Deb: that must be it

Jeff: call you soon

Deb: and the BGE furnace check is called in!

Deb: look forward to it!

Deb: BGE is on the way!!


Deb: good thing too because Vern just called me back and said based on what
I told him that it sounds like the main sewage line -- he recommended not using
the toilet -- aughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Deb: you're at lunch aren't you?

Jeff: i'm back

Deb: bge is here!! The day is saved -- I here water running!!

Jeff: woo hoo

Jeff: maybe vern was wrong

Deb: it's a gawd awful mess though -- had to move dresser and all the
clothes and then of course, everything piled up high on the dresser -- OY!! Not
on my agenda!

Jeff: oy

Deb: not sure yet -- you say main sewage line to a plumber and they
automatically grimace -- I'm going down to check now

Deb: ahhhhhhh, all done -- it was the laundry line -- HURRAY!! not much you
can do about it other than what we do. Kudos to BGE for getting here within 45
minutes -- HS!!

Deb: I'll let you know th cost in a minute --

Jeff Sweren: ok

Deb: 179.91

Deb: hey, better than having another technician come tomorrow

Jeff: what!

Deb: it's unbelievable how fast they came

Jeff: holy crap -- were there parts or just time?

Deb: that's with the 10% discount before you ask

Deb: where ya been baby? we haven't had service on anything for at least
2-years -- plumbers have gone up. It was 90.00 to walk thru the door!

Deb: he had to open up the pipe and then used the electric snake

Jeff: oy

Deb: deep cleansing breathes my love


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Let the Taper Begin!

I can say without hesitation that the best part about running (such as it was) 20 miles in training for a marathon is that upon it's completion, the taper begins. Between now and May 4, just three short weeks, the longest run on the schedule is a "mere" 12 miles.

The weather for Saturday was kinda iffy. We had a nasty thunderstorm Friday night that had threatened to hold over until Saturday, but it wouldn't have mattered. There was no chance these feet were gonna see a treadmill on Saturday. It was all pavement for me, rain or shine.

The TnT group was scheduled to meet at 7:30, but with my eldest baseball game on the schedule for 10:45, I decided to get an advance start.

I arrived at the park at 6:15 hoping to get in 5-6 before the group run. At that point, the sun was just at the horizon, the air was cool, with a nice mid-50's breeze. I was off. I felt very strong early, and my 10:36 downhill first mile showed it, but that would not last. At 2 miles, I got to the mall, hoping that the Starbucks was open for a bathroom break. Unfortunately, coffee drinkers would need to head elsewhere and there was little life inside despite the 6:30 opening time on the door. No worries, I was headed back to the park where I knew a bathroom awaited. After a few intentional detours to increase the mileage, I was able get in about 5.5 miles including a run up the last hill, a 350 ft incline over half a mile.

Once the group got under way at 7:40 the sun was up and temps low about 60. Shortly after we started a brief rain shower hit, one of several to muddy up the course. As the miles ticked off, I was keeping an eye on my time, hoping to maintain an overall pace of 12 minutes/mile. If I could do that for the full 20, I'd be very confident in a better than 5:30 finish at Frederick. At 10 miles, I was a few minutes to the good of that pace with 10 to go. At 12, I lost the pace I was hoping for and was surprised to be struggling this early on. Still 8 miles to go. I ran most of the next 2 miles, but from there, it got pretty tough. I ran as much as I could, but at the last two miles, I had nothing left and walked almost the entire length at 17 minutes per mile.

Final tally: 20.00 miles -- 4:27:17 -- 13:22/mile pace.

So, it's done and despite the pace, I know there are some positives here:

  1. I'm still not 100%. Lingering effects of the cold still kept me pretty snotty through the run. That should be gone soon.
  2. My ankle ailments seem like a distant memory. 20 consecutive miles with no pain.
  3. The course is not as hilly as the weekly runs, other than a few significant inclines between mile 16 and 18. Pretty much downhill from there.
  4. The design of the TNT runs have water stops every 2 miles. These become social calls, which is fine, but it's sometimes easy to relax here. I think I'll lose much less time walking through water stations at the marathon.
  5. If I had to, I could have gone another 6.2 miles. Not sure how fast, but in the midst of the race with the TNT coaches on the course pushing me along, I'd get it done.
Now, it's time to taper and let my body rebuild after all of these weeks of heavy mileage. 21 days and counting!

The rest of the day was pretty much recovery. My feet hurt, but not a lot else. I ate. A lot. Dinner was burgers and veggies on the grill, baked potato and two ears of corn. Yeah, baby, a meal fit for a long run day.

Up until 8 this morning, I was thinking about a Sunday ride with my group. It's been pretty sparse since November, my last ride with them. Temps today were just in the upper 40's. My mind kept saying to go, but my body said otherwise. Just muscle aches in my lower extremities. Pretty much from my butt south. Not sure I'd make it a mile. Oh well.

Route:--Elev. Avg:389 ft
Location:Columbia, MDElev. Gain:+3 ft
Time:06:15 AMDifficulty:4.4 / 5.0
Weather:Partly Cloudy
72 F temp; 45% humidity
72 F heat index; winds N 13

Distance:20.00 miles
Speed:4.5 mph
Pace:13' 22 /mi
Pace (min/mile)

Posted from


Friday, April 11, 2008


For most of my running "career", such as it is, I have run on the treadmill. With about 800 miles in the last 21 months, at least 80% have been on the 'mill. I've written about my long runs in the low teens on the mill, all taken in stride. What could be bad -- a controlled environment, all the comforts of home or the gym, no potholes, etc., etc., etc.

I could go back and quote the comments that mostly read something like this: "Oh, my, 14 miles on a treadmill? More power to you!" And I thought "no biggie!"

Well, my friends, I have turned on my dear treadmill. After a few more outdoor runs last week, this weeks treadmill runs were painful. Well, maybe painful isn't the right word, but unfun. (Is that a word?) Tuesday's 10 miler did it to me. After a couple of miles, all I wanted was fresh air and pavement. At 5 am, though, I opted for the 'mill. Wednesday's 5 miler wasn't much better, the wishing just started earlier.

So what of my treadmill runs? Well, I think I'll use them as protection from the elements, but less so for all of the other conveniences.

I'm actually looking forward to hitting the pavement for 20 tomorrow. Up till now, I've spent the few days before each longer long run in nervous anticipation of the new mileage, but not this week. I'm ready to go tomorrow. Then the taper begins.

As for my treadmill . . . sorry to turn on you, old friend. I'm sure I'll see you some, but it's time for you to get your rest. I'll be back, but just for a short visit!


Monday, April 7, 2008

The Big Week Ahead

First, a recap of March, just a bit late.

Hard to believe it but I ran 134.5 miles in March. Wow, that's a big number. Goes right nicely with 5.3 pounds lost. A great month, I'd say. Year to date totals of 287 miles and 7.9 pounds loss. I'm finally above the average mileage I'll need to hit 1,000 for the year.

I'm not sure what more I can say about last week. Just 11.6 miles with a training goal of 33. Before two weeks ago, I was pecking away at my training plan deficit. I had been running about 9 miles short, almost since the first week. No, there's nothing magical about getting all of the miles in, but given the sheer number on the plan, I really wanted to get it at in. Down by 34 now, that will be tough to make up. This week's plan is 40 miles, including a 20 miler on Saturday and then its 3 weeks of taper leading up to the big day, just 27 days away.

Without the exercise, the scale went up, too. Up 0.6 pounds to 234.2. With all the miles this week, I'm hoping to take that right back off.

Deb asked me the other day "what's next?" Good question. I realize that my success has been best when I've been training for a next event. I'm sure I'll pick up a couple of little ones over the summer, but maybe I do need to shoot for another big one in the fall. I'm determined to hold off until after Frederick to see what will be next.

Thank you all for the comments on my before and after pictures. I look at them and I'm totally amazed by the change. Was I really that big? Yes, I guess I was.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sick Days

It's been a sick kinda week. After getting back from New Orleans with grand plans to hit the running trail hard for a scheduled 33 mile week, a nasty head cold took over and squashed that endeavor.

Wednesday was my first run after New Orleans and what started out to be my sorta long run of 9 miles turned into 5 1/4, but I still had plenty of time to get in 9, 5 and 14 on Saturday.


Seems my body had other ideas. I woke up Thursday feeling like crap. Stuffy nose, headache and otherwise lethargic. No running Thursday. Friday was worse, but there was too much to do at the office. What I was hoping for an early day became a late day instead. Satruday's long run was out, too, but I finally started to clear my head yesterday afternoon.

Although I'm still stuffy and have a bit of a headache, I was determined to get out or on the treadmill today. Since we had no plans for the afternoon, why waste a perfectly good morning with a run. I got out for 6 1/3 good miles this afternoon. Not bad considering I was hoping to get in just 5. Even better, the miles were non-stop, a new long for me. Although the pace was a bit slower than I had hoped for, it was good to get it in.

The marathon is just 4 weeks from today and the week to come is scheduled for 40 miles, including a 20 miler on Saturday. If all goes well, I'll slip in an extra run tomorrow, a scheduled off day, to make up some of the lost miles from last week.

Route:--Elev. Avg:368 ft
Location:Columbia, MDElev. Gain:-10 ft
Time:02:21 PMDifficulty:2.6 / 5.0
50 F temp; 76% humidity
50 F heat index; winds NE 15

Distance:6.36 miles
Speed:5.4 mph
Pace:11' 09 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
110' 50-0' 195.5+0.1+13 ft
211' 01-0' 085.4+0.1-4 ft
311' 11+0' 025.4-0.0-10 ft
411' 14+0' 055.3-0.0+6 ft
511' 15+0' 065.3-0.1-9 ft
611' 20+0' 115.3-0.1-3 ft
end11' 52+0' 435.0-0.3-3 ft
Versus average of 11' 09 min/mile

Posted from


Before and After

A few weeks ago, Mike requested showing some before and after pictures. Finally getting around to digging some before pics up.

This picture was taken at the lava fields at Mt. Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii in March, 2004.

It's hard to believe that the guy at the left is/was me. I look at it now and barely recognize that guy. No wonder I put fear into fellow passengers on my flight as they realized they had to sit next to me.

This family shot is from the same trip.

The next time we head to the Big Island, maybe it will be to check out Iron Man!

This picture was taken at my niece's bat mitzvah in January. (Photo credit to my niece's grandmother, Ann.)

Deb and the boys from the same event. (Photo credit, Ann.)

One more -- March, 2006. Three holes in one on the 10th!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Orleans Jazzed

As an introduction, I'll say that the weekend was awesome. One of our best ever. It was great to get away for lots of grown up fun. We ate, we drank, we walked, we shopped, and some yada, yada, yada, too!

I will probably include too much detail about our trip. If this sorta thing doesn't interest you, feel free to move along.

Eating Our Way Across Town

I don't think there is a bad restaurant in the town. Whether it be a small dive or world class restaurant, the food is all good. I had decided that I wasn't going to worry too much about the diet this weekend and I followed through.

I wanted to take Deb to some of the places that I had enjoyed several years ago when I was down there with work doing post-Katrina recovery work.

On Thursday, we went to one of those places: Tujague's (pronounced two jack's.) The offer a pre-fixe meal that includes a shrimp appetizer, soup, brisket, a choice of four main courses and bread pudding with caramel sauce. The restaurant is almost 100 years old and I think some of the servers have been there that long. The meal is prepared creole style -- lots of sauces, a bit of spice, but not too much. The food was very good, but it's the experience there and you get to taste lots of different things. Desert? Oh, yeah, I more than tasted. Then I finished Deb's bread pudding.

On Friday, we took a trolley ride (picture of us on the trolley) up to the New Orleans Museum of Art. We figured out that in 13 years from dating to now, we had never been to an art museum. Well, it was about time.

After our visit to NOMA, we taxied to one of my favorite spots: Port of Call. This place is the perfect dive, but it serves the best burger I've ever had. One anomaly, too, no fries, just baked potatoes. (See picture of the uneaten meal above.)

As you can see, I enjoyed my burger. There was nothing left on the plate when we were done.

On Saturday, we hit Cafe du Monde for coffee and beignets. What's a beignet? It's fried dough with powdered sugar on top. Now what's bad about that? Nothing! I'm not sure I could eat too many of these, but the one and a half I had were delicious.

The rest of the weekend, we continued to dine well. Saturday dinner at Brightsen's was an awesome meal exceeded only by the best service we've ever had. I had the seafood platter that included one of just about every kind of seafood prepared in a different way. Couldn't resist desert of creme brulee. What a meal.

Sunday was highlighted with brunch at Commander's Palace. Another epicurean delight of a meal as we tasted all of their amazing soups, followed by eggs and finished up with their famous bread pudding casserole. The guitar player at the right played a song for us along with his trio right at our table. Very cool!

Did we really eat all of that? Yes, we did!

Running Round the Quarter

The running plan for the weekend was to get in a 4 mile short run and 12 long. We had built our schedule around the Saturday run and I figured to get the short in on Thursday afternoon or Friday.

Checking out the weather on Friday, it looked perfect for a run around the quarter. Mid-60's with lots of humidity. About 8:30, I headed out of the hotel toward the riverfront. There is a 1 mile paved path which was great for running. Lots of others out and about on the path. Once the path ran out, I headed north into the French Quarter. I'm pretty sure this was my first run through city streets. Very different animal than paved paths or even suburbia sidewalks. Lot of ups and downs, dodging people, dogs, cats, roadkill, potholes, beer trucks, bums, drunks, more potholes, cracks in the sidewalks, crack heads, more drunks, well, you get the idea. This was new to me. But it was one of the most enjoyable runs I've had. Traveling down Bourbon Street was cool. Jackson Square has four concentric circles that I ran through. I know some of the tourists walking though the square thought I was nuts running around these circles, but hey, it was there, had to be done. I finished up running round Harrah's casino searching for the dough I had lost on Thursday. No luck on that one.

In the end, 4 miles in an 11:53 average time. Not bad considering the terrain. You can see the split changes as I get further into the quarter.

Route:--Elev. Avg:9 ft
Location:Gretna, LAElev. Gain:-3 ft
Time:08:17 AMDifficulty:1.7 / 5.0

Distance:4.03 miles
Speed:5.0 mph
Pace:11' 53 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
110' 59-0' 545.5+0.40 ft
211' 34-0' 195.2+0.1-7 ft
312' 13+0' 204.9-0.1+3 ft
412' 02+0' 095.0-0.10 ft
end12' 30+0' 374.8-0.20 ft
Versus average of 11' 53 min/mile

Posted from

I had originally planned to run 12 on the streets of New Orleans and had mapped out a route. I figured that it would be better to do the treadmill run Saturday and the street run on Friday. The weather was iffy and I was a bit nervous about running far from our base to get the miles in. So this would not be my first long treadmill run.

I hit the treadmill about 10 am and immediately wondered how I'd get in 2 miles, not to mention 12. I started to suffer almost immediately. Seems my legs and the stomach had other plans. Might it have been the late night Friday night? Maybe it was the most unusual diet of high fats and proteins, rather than lots of health carbs. I dunno, but whatever it was, I wasn't feeling the treadmill love. I quickly started to figure out how many miles I'd let myself get away with, even if I had to walk. Four maybe? Oy! Not good.

After a couple of miles, I started to feel some hunger pangs. Hungary? Well, gee, I haven't eaten anything but a banana in more than 12 hours. How about an early gel. That seemed to do the trick. First time I've ever gotten a jolt that I could feel from any mid run nourishment.

Anyway, not to belabor, I finished 8 of the 12 and was happy to get that in.

I'm thinking that the 2-4 miles we walked a day more than made up for any shortage of running.

Rockin' the Quarter

In all the time I had spent in NOLA on business and on our two prior visits, we've seen very little live music. This trip would most definitely be different.

Friday was going to be music night. The concierge at the hotel recommended that we go see Kermit Ruffins. I've never heard of Kermit, but he said we wouldn't be disappointed. So, we had a plan.

We got to the club early. Very early. And waited until the 10:30 show got started at 11:15. The club was not too packed at that point, but as the music got started, the place filled up. We quickly figured out that this was going to be a special show for us. The music was up beat and Kermit added a sax player to jam with them for the evening. After about 15 minutes Deb said "who's idea was it to leave the camera back at the hotel?" She then repeated the question about every 10 minutes from there on. (I don't think she ever did figure out that it was a formerly fat guy guilty of the sin.)

There was an old guy in the crowd that must have been 90 if he was a day, dressed to the nines. He was out there on the dance floor the whole evening just enjoying the music. What luck -- we ran into him in Jackson Square the next day and he was more than receptive to having his picture taken.

During the show, at one point, Kermit brings up James Winfield, "The Sleeping Giant" to sing. What a voice. He sang three songs. Shortly after that, he brought up a woman to sing. No idea what her name was but she was teriffic. Deb was in love with her "Killing Me Softly" rendition.

We stayed through the first set and into the second when us old folks needed to find a bed. What a night.

After brunch on Sunday, we headed off to Bourbon Street for more music and some adult beverages.
It was a really great afternoon. Deb and I spent time in four different bars, imbibing in each and enjoying the musical offerings. Deb is enjoying one of at least one "Hand Grenade" at right. I pretty much stuck to beer.

Other than drink, we heard jazz, rock, more jazz and more rock. Dinner? Well, we weren't too concerned about eating, but a slice of pizza did for me and a gyro for Deb did the trick. Perfect to absorb the alcohol in our bodies.

What else? I'm sure I'm missing a lot, like that we shared our hotel with the Lousiville Cardinals Women's Basketball Team, playing Univ. of NC in the sweet 16, but I've also shared plenty. We had a fantastic trip and will definitely go back. New Orleans is a great town with lots to do. Not exactly kid friendly, but hey, there's plenty of other time for kid stuff.

As we headed back to the airport, we have plenty of great memories and plans to work off the weekend we had enjoyed. Thank's for sticking with me for this ultra long post. Just think, this was just four days worth!