Sunday, January 14, 2018

T Minus 15: BORING!

T-minus fifteen weeks until the Eugene Marathon and I have to say that this week has created a more hopeful attitude about the journey ahead. While it was far from a perfect week, it has ended on a high note and for that I am thankful. Yesterday (Saturday) I ran 10 miles. I wasn't supposed to, theoretically it was scheduled as an 8 mile run. But I just felt so darned good that I kept going.

This 10 miles wasn't a PR (don't think I'll ever run 51:45 again), it wasn't even anywhere close to being fast. What is turned out to be was a run of 10 miles without significant knee pain. Haven't had one of those for a while.

What this means, hopefully, is that slowly the knee re-therapy is beginning to take effect. Not like, I'm ready to run a marathon tomorrow, take effect. More like I might actually be able to train for one. AND..... After appreciable effort and a plethora of youtube videos, I have found the Rock Tape protocol that seems to work best. Looking at the taping as a short term psycho boost. For now, I'll take that.

All in all, 43 miles logged and building to 45-48 next week. Feeling confident about a mileage increase as the last four days were 7, 4, 10, 7 with no ill effects. Hoping to stay on a healthy path.

Boring this week? Yep, sometimes it is. Not a fan of drama anyway.

Run on.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Every-Other-Step at a Time

I know from experience that it will be this way for a while: the fear, the gingerness (is that a word?), the focus on each and every time my left foot hits the earth and engages everything that happens up to and beyond my tender knee. Am I slapping my foot down with too much force? Is it going to buckle THIS time? Have I maneuvered one more every-other-step on the road to pain free? Scary stuff when it's your knee. Scary stuff when it feels out of your (my) control. Scary stuff, this every-other-step fixation.

So, this first week of 2018 is in the training log and all is progressing "nicely." Nicely means this: the goal was to run every day, log 35 miles, do my "square one" knee exercises consistently, and get in a run of 7 miles. The actual week was 38 miles with a 7 AND an 8 thrown in for good measure. So, I'll take it. In fact, the 8 mile run, which was today, was highlighted by feeling BETTER as the run went from 2 miles to the end.

I consider one of my strengths to be self-awareness. Self-Awareness comes in several packages: physiological, emotional, cognitive, spiritual. And while it's often easier for an athlete, a long time runner, to be physiologically self aware, I think I have taken this to an entirely new stratosphere. 

I DO NOT, you see, want another knee problem. And, while straddling this fine line between strengthening my knee and using my knee to do this thing I love to do, I'm finding my conscious fixation (translated: OVER fixation) with every other step to be absolutely fascinating (in a weird way). Foot strike becomes really significant; the running surface becomes really significant; flat, uphill, or downhill becomes really significant. Every-other-step becomes really significant.

I guess in a way, this is an easy thing. After all, every-other-step means I have this over-fixation just 50% of the time. The other half, I have off, right? Well, I'm finding that assertion to be false as preparation for the next foot strike becomes almost as big an obsession as the actual foot strike. Wow, sounds exhausting. WAY better than sitting on the couch, though.

Next week is supposed to be a 40-42 week. Hoping for a double digit longer run next weekend, AND..... with sixteen weeks to go until my re-entry in marathon world, it's time to get serious about visits to the pit of misery. But, more on that later.

Thanks for reading. Run on. Oh AND....... saw this today and loved it:



Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Thanks @running_usa, I'm Inspired to Reflect

Had the pleasure today to "chat" with a pretty incredible young woman today on Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/running_usa/ is where you will find her "running_usa." Her goal is to race in every state in the good old USA, and it appears as though she is well on her way. 10 down, 40 to go. AND..... she has also run in some pretty cool spots outside of our country. Thailand, Japan, Cambodia, the Greek Islands; just to name a few. Follow her at the link above (and follow me on Instagram if you'd like at https://www.instagram.com/runningrich/).

So, anyway, it got me thinking about my own journeys as a 51 1/2 year runner with a few miles on the Nikes (111,000+ give or take 15) and where that whole thing has taken me. Turns out I have raced in 20 states (plus the District of Columbia, and Canada several times). It's about a fifty/fifty split between races from my collegiate career, and races as a marathoning old man.

After pondering the racing world, I thought I'd look at which states I have simply run in (sorry English teachers). Oddly, that one was pretty easy as every state in which I have taught a seminar, I have run. That would be 45 (plus DC). The ones missing are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Mississippi. Looks like a trip to New England needs to happen.

I have to confess to having run in some pretty cool places in the good old US of A. Upon reflection, here are some of my favorites (in no particular order):


  • Mesa Trail, Peak Trail, Barr Trail, right here in Colorado (not to mention my backyard, the Cherry Creek State Park)
  • Nisene Marks State Park and the whole area around Santa Cruz
  • Moab and the Grand Canyon
  • The Strand near San Diego
  • The trails around Chatanooga
  • Pre's Trail and Hayward Field
  • Flagstaff
  • Central Park, NY
  • Belle Isle, Detroit
  • Mosca Pass and the Great Sand Dunes 
  • Sleeping Bear dunes in Traverse City
  • Chicago Lakefront
  • Jemez Valley and La Luz trail, New Mexico
  • The Mall and C & O Canal Trail, Wash DC
  • Boston Marathon Course
  • Porcupine Mountains and Pictured Rocks Lakeshore trail, Upper Peninsula, MI
  • Oak Mountain Park, Birmingham, AL
  • Flagler Beach, FL
  • Na Pali Coast Trail, Kauai
  • Grand Tetons & Yosemite
  • the Mikelson Trail, SD
  • Wolverine Peak Trail, Anchorage, AK
"Just to name a few?" I'm sure I am missing some great places, but this is my inspired list for now. Thanks @running_usa! I needed that.

In other news, most of my New Years cynicism has stalled, making way for some semblance of optimism. A few decent runs this week and knowing that no one gets ready for a marathon in 17 1/2 weeks by moping around has been enough to ignite a few sparks. Still pretty pissed about the downside of a "surgically repaired knee," but it's nothing that some pain free runs won't cure. 

So check with me tomorrow. Supposed to run 7-8, all right here near home. We'll see how it goes.

Run on

Saturday, December 30, 2017

You Can Trash 2017 AND One Year Warranties Suck!

So tomorrow, New Years Eve, I will probably run 5 miles. That will bring the total for 2017 to 1473. That is the worst mileage total for me since 2008 AND my eighth lowest year EVER! So, from the running standpoint, you can take 2017 and put it exactly where the picture on the left indicates: the TRASH.

Don't get me wrong, the rest of my life is pretty okay. I have a wonderful wife, great sons and step-daughters, had a fantastic year in business, and for the most part have few complaints. BUT this running thing, has GOT to get better.

Between recovering from knee surgery (and more on that later) and this piriformis syndrome crap, I'm not sure I've ever had a more painful year of running..... and a slower one. I missed yet another New York City Marathon, and logged PS's (Personal Slowests) in the 4 mile, 5K, and 10K.

I'm older, I get that. Frankly, however, it's just not a good enough excuse. And, by the way, I don't mind slowing down a little bit. I've been doing that since 1980. What really bugs me is that I almost don't care. Note: "almost" don't care. Obviously, I care enough to whine about it here and I care enough to commit the next year to turning things around. But really..... I'm seriously considering that maybe, just maybe, I need to move on and find some other activity that isn't quite so deeply rooted in my life; something a bit more casual and enjoyable. Until then, weight loss, knee therapy, attitude adjustment.

Almost a month ago, I hit the one year anniversary of my "surgically repaired" knee. Surgery: what a costly disappointment. Six months to feel even moderately okay running, followed by six months of okay-ness, followed by...... wait for it...... the warranty being expired. You know how nothing terrible happens to your car, your appliance, your computer until the warranty is up? Well, I must have had a one year warranty on my knee. What a pain.


So now, back to square one therapy and ice and everything else so that I can get back to being a back of the packer. (Geez, am I whining quite enough yet, or do we need more? Deep breath....... okay I'll stop).

Here comes 2018, the year of the new, improved version of ME (see? feeling better already). We'll see how it goes. 2000 miles has always been the benchmark of me seriously running, so that's the goal. I have six "races" scheduled at this point. Two of them are 10Ks: Bolder Boulder and Fortitude, two half marathons: Canyonlands and Georgetown, and two marathons: Eugene and Chicago. Would love to do some others. 

Next years log is waiting in the wings, bring it on.

Run on.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

So, What's Next?

After donning my big boy pants a few weeks ago, I have been forced to answer the question, what's next? It would have been easy to decide that this running thing, and especially the racing component, needs to be relinquished in my life. Seriously, I contemplated that. It's way uncomfortable, sometimes hurts, and I'm not getting any younger.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I know me well enough that while I could have decided to never race again; to drop this whole marathon thing, I was never going to consider not running. I've been in this too long AND get too many extra benefits to not run.

SO...... I devised a plan to refocus myself and set some new goals. Here's a few:

1. Mileage. I love the fact that over the fifty-one years I have been running, I average over 2000 miles a year. I consider that my "seriousness" gauge. In 2016 and 2017 my knee surgery severely "crippled" (pun intended) my mileage. Anticipating no severe issues, I expect to be back over 2000 miles in 2018.

2. Races. I really think that some of marathon success can be based in racing shorter distances more often (at least for me). I think the more you race, the easier it is to rehearse the structure of training and racing. Even just working on your training cycles for a 10K or half-marathon will help when you construct your marathon training program. My goal is to race under the marathon distance a dozen times in the coming year. Have five scheduled already.

3. Marathons. While I would love to swear these off forever, I can't. Something in me wants to hit a certain number before I croak. I have seventeen under my belt so far, and while I can't tell you the number, I have a goal. By the way, I can't tell you the number not because it's a secret. I just don't know it yet. It might be 26, or maybe 50. Don't know. I do know I want to run three next year: spring, summer, fall. Up first, Eugene on April 29.

Sunday is the New York marathon. I will watch it on TV (well, record it). I may shed a tear, maybe not. All in all, however, I want to focus on getting back to pain free running, logging miles and feeling good about myself as a runner. That's what it's about for me anyway.

Run on.



Friday, October 20, 2017

Putting On Our Big Boy Pants

I have put off this latest post for what seems like FOREVER

This was going to be a post about my Hot Chocolate 15K (a good run), my turnaround on the butt thing (how my fave guy, Pete Emerson gave me the cure), and some Chicago Marathon thoughts. I also figured I'd include some pre NYC Marathon thoughts. It's not, however, going to be about any of those things. Today, I put on my Big Boy Pants, and cancelled my New York Marathon trip.

It wasn't fun, but it makes sense. If I were younger, skinnier, tougher, I might go ahead and run on my crappy mileage, the six weeks of real training I missed because of the butt thing, and the lack of significant long runs and just tough it out.

Unfortunately, I am NOWHERE near where I had hoped to be and I simply cannot, with any kind of adult conscience, drop the two grand this trip would cost on "Gee, I hope that maybe I can finish under five hours." I am not happy about it, but I actually feel like an adult at this moment and every once in awhile, that's a good thing.

So, maybe another time, New York (although probably not really).


Run on.

Friday, September 22, 2017

My Attention is in Berlin and my Butt

Week three of the road to the Super Bowl has begun. The World Series is just around the corner. Who cares? Sunday morning is the Berlin Marathon and I am psyched.


One of the greatest match-ups of all time is almost here: Eliud Kipchoge vs. Kenenisa Bekele vs. Wilson Kipsang. Arguably the greatest marathoner ever vs. the 5K and 10K world record holder vs. the last world marathon record holder. YIKES. AND....... if that isn't enough, can you say "world record?"

Yep. most experts are saying that barring the unforeseen, which is always.... unforeseen, a new world best is expected. The pacers are scheduled to take the runners through on world record pace. The participants are talking about running fast, so 2:02:57 could be in jeopardy. So, who's running? Three guys and of course thousands of others. Mostly three guys.

Kenenisa Bekele:   Current best at 2:03:03. One of the greatest 5 & 10K runners/kickers is the defending Berlin champ. While terribly fast, it's unsure which Bekele will show up. Will it be the tough, fast, runner from last year's Berlin, or the inconsistent one who did not finish in Dubai in January and was 3rd to Kipchoge and Stanley Biwott in London in 2016?

Wilson Kipsang:   Current best 2:03:13.  Prior to Dennis Kimetto's world record run, Kipsang held the fastest time. Kipsang's strength is his consistency. Four times he has run under 2:04:00. He is also the only one who has beaten Kipchoge over 26.2 miles.

Eliud Kipchoge:  Current best 2:03:05. Kipchoge, I will admit, is the man in my humble eyes. Coming off the Nike Breaking2 project and running 2:00:25 in "artificial" conditions in early May, Kipchoge has extreme momentum on his side with that run as well as an easy Olympic Marathon win. Moreover, he is the marathon Zen-Master. Listen to this guy talk about running, marathoning, and life and you will be dazzled by his coolness.  

Awesome National Geographic special on the Breaking2 race.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2ZLG-Fij_4

So, I am ready. It airs (and will be recorded) on NBC Sports at 3 am. I won't be up until 5:30. Don't spoil it, please.

Butt Update: Went to a highly recommended physical therapist Wednesday, and lo and behold, I have been right all along: piriformis syndrome. SO..... slowly we have the magic exercise in place and hope to be in the land of pain-free for the New York Marathon in a little more than six weeks.

Nothing against the previous "experts" I have seen, but I know my body and I KNEW what was wrong with it. Just been unsure about the treatment without the proper guidance. Hoping to have it right now.

Run on.