Monday, July 30, 2012

Fifteen Mile Run

We like to do our longest runs on the Gateway Trail, because there are porta-potties here and there, and even water in a few places.  I ran 15 miles this morning, while my sweeties ran almost nine.  This was not a nice day to run - the temperature averaged about 75 and the dewpoint about 70.  I did OK, though, running 30 seconds of each minute, finishing in 2:43:51 for an overall pace of 10:55.  This is not quite as good as the 10:31 pace of a week ago, but that day I ran only 10 miles.

Today I was able to increase the pace a little in the last mile or two, which is good, but I doubt I could have maintained the overall 10:55 pace for the remainder of a marathon.  Not in this weather.  I did carry water, drinking at least 40 ounces, and took three Clif Shot gels as well.

Chicken thighs, chard with cranberries, cherries,
tomatoes, all organic except the chili pepper sauce.
Whining:  For while I felt a very local pain on the outside of the right hip, probably a bursa.  It went away.  Later, right after standing up to leave a porta-potty, I felt a sharp pain at the very top of the right shin bone, just below the knee.  The pain got bad enough to limit my pace, forcing me to walk for a couple of minutes.  It gradually got better, though, and was gone entirely within a couple of miles.

Splits:  11:18, 10:25, 10:55, 10:06, 10:34, 11:09, 11:04, 11:33, 10:43, 11:05, 11:29, 12:07, 11:09, 10:06, 10:07, total 2:43:51, pace 10:55.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

More Like It!

Temperatures were in the low- to mid-sixties again this morning, as the Saint Croix Valley Runners gathered 16-strong to enjoy a comfortable morning run.  I decided to run the whole 5 miles, if I could, with no walking, but slowly, with a goal of finishing last.  It worked, too.  I ran all but perhaps 100 yards while we waited for one of us to pry a rock out of a shoe, and I didn’t even finish last.  Quite.

Four of us ran the "alternate" route, a.k.a. "Wayne’s route", which I prefer because it avoids Manning Avenue with its high-speed and high-volume traffic.  Time 50:03, distance 5.0 miles, pace 10:01.  It would have been slightly under 10 if that naughty rock had not jammed itself into the tread of a shoe.

This is the farthest I’ve run without walking (except briefly for the shoe) in a very long time.  I’d have to go way back in the logs to find another time.  It’s a hilly route, too.  I felt OK, but breathing was fast, indicating that I was working pretty hard even though the pace was quite modest.  Usually I can cruise at a breathing rate of one full breath every four footfalls, though it may increase to one breath every three footfalls toward the end of a race.  On this run it was one-per-three almost the whole way.  This will improve as I train more.

Whining: None!

Gluten-free Sunshine-made meat loaf with lots of organic trimmings

Friday, July 27, 2012

Cooler Morning, Nicer Run

This morning the temperature was in the mid sixties and the dew point was only 60, ten points lower than it has been recently.  A fresh breeze made the running even better.  I ran five miles on the wet grass trails in the park, running 30 to 40 seconds of each minute and up all hills, with some hills taking as much as two minutes.  This is a bigger feat than running up all the hills on the paved trails, because the hills on the grass trails are longer and higher.

This morning's post-run breakfast.
There is oatmeal under there.  All organic.
Time for the 5 miles was 54:25, so the overall pace was 10:53, the first time since surgery that I’ve run sub-11 on the grass trails.  It’s good.  I’m a happy runner.

Whining: None.  Even happier.

24 miles this week, ramping up toward 30 per week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wishing for Snow

I know - no one wants snow, not yet, but this weather is so uncomfortable I’d certainly enjoy one fresh, cool, even breezy morning - one of those mornings when my shirt dries off almost as fast as I can make it wet.  This morning the temp was 77 degrees with a dewpoint of 71.

Five miles on the park’s paved trails this morning, in 54:02, for a pace of 10:48.  Sub-11 again, good enough.  I didn’t feel much like running at the beginning of this run, I felt awkward and clunky, but gained strength and felt pretty good at the end.

Whining:  None.

Splits, per 2.51-mile loop: 27:38, 26:24, total 54:02 for 5.02 miles.

My sweeties brought this to me this morning while I was in my law
office watching an on-line continuing legal education webcast.

Monday, July 23, 2012

100% Humidity

When I got up this morning the airport weather station closest to our home reported a temperature of 72 degrees and a matching dewpoint of 72 degrees.  That’s heavy air!  By the time we got our shoes on and drove to the Gateway Trail, the car thermometer said 77 degrees, but there was no wind, so of course the dewpoint probably hadn’t dropped any.  We all felt it.  The humidity prevents evaporation, so we sweat even more than we would in drier air.  I did carry water, and drank at least 26 ounces on the ten-mile run, sweat almost drizzling off the bill of my running cap.  There is no way to drink enough in these conditions - a runner’s stomach can’t handle it.

I pushed pretty hard, running at least 30 seconds of each minute and extending the running on the uphills.  The Gateway Trail is mostly shaded, where we run it, but there are a few places where you can go a tenth of a mile or more without shade.  The sun was fierce, and I did slow deliberately when I felt overheated in a couple of those places. Nevertheless, I ran the ten miles in 1:45:11, for a pace of 10:31.  I’m very pleased with that pace, and surprised that I could do it facing such ugly air.   Maybe I’m getting a little of my speed back.

10:31 extrapolates out to a 4:36 marathon.  I could have kept going a while longer, but certainly not another 16 miles.  Wouldn’t that be nice though?  Maybe someday.  In better air.  If so, then: BQ time for a man my age is 4:25.  Oh, be still my heart.  I really really don’t want to run Boston again, but I’m a competitive old fart and would love to qualify again.  Maybe someday.  A man can dream.

Whining:  The right hip flexors complained slightly toward the end.  They’ll get over it.

Splits:  10:56, 10:38, 10:47, 10:15, 10:34, 9:52, 10:10, 10:17, 10:37, 11:04, total 1:45:11, pace 10:31 over ten miles.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

E-Race Cancer Media Stories

After running 50 or so marathons on our own, my family and I joined up with Team Continuum and Tackle Cancer last year. Both charities were started by men with myeloma, both raise money to benefit families with children who have cancer, and both have research goals as well.

This is the E-Race Cancer campaign, which has resulted in several media stories about my running. I've never really been a public person before, but I must admit that this is sort of fun:

Date   Media/Place   Link
2012 Jul 07 Burlington VT Free Press Internet Story
2012 Jun 28  Living with Myeloma Internet Blog
2012 Jun 26 Alaska Public Radio Internet Video
2012 Jun 25 KYUR/KTBY Anchorage  Internet Video
2012 Jun 25 KTUU TV Anchorage Internet Video
2012 Jun 21 Anchorage Daily News Internet Story
2012 Jun 17 KSTP TV Mpls/St Paul Internet Video
2012 Mar 08 Bay Weekly, Annapolis Internet Story
2011 Dec 14 Internet Story
2011 Dec 12   Brazil Internet Story
2011 Nov 30 Alternative Medicine Mag   Internet Story
2011 Nov 29 CNN Video Internet Video
2011 Nov 04 Internet Story
2011 Oct 24 Business Wire Internet Story
2011 Oct 23 Mpls StarTribune Internet Story
2011 Oct 17 For Colored Gurls Internet Story
2011 Oct 15 WFSB TV Hartford, CT Internet Video
2011 Oct 13 Kick Runners Forums Internet Story
2011 Oct 02 WCSH6 TV Portland, ME Internet Video
2011 Sep 30 Portland Press Herald Internet Story
2011 Sep 16 WJET TV Erie, PA. Internet Video

We have now finished 65 marathons in 46 states, including four so far this year.  We are already registered for marathons in the four remaining states: West Virginia, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Hawaii. If all goes well, we will finish this December.

A permanent link to this list is located in the right panel under E-Race Cancer Links. The list will be kept up to date.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Morning Thunderstorms.

We had planned to run with the Saint Croix Valley Runners this morning, but thunderstorms were coming through and we don’t run in lightning if we can avoid it.  We stayed home and avoided it  We did get 1.25 inches of rain, too, which we needed.

Later in the morning we went to the park and ran on the paved trails, which were already dry enough.  I ran two loops of the main trail, 2.17 miles each, 4.34 miles total, in 47:26, for a pace of 10:56.  Sub-11 again - that was a goal for today.  As on Wednesday, I ran half of each minute and up most of the hills, walking down most of the hills, and sprinting to the finish.  It feels good.

Whining:  The right knee with chronic patellofemoral syndrome (PFS) complained a little throughout the run, but not loudly.  I’d better get back to my core training.  Yesterday’s sharp pains in the hernia repair have gone away.

Friday, July 20, 2012


The loons were calling this morning.  I don’t often see them, but we hear their unmistakable call from time to time.  Most loons nest farther north, but we’ve had some loons nesting within earshot in the past few years.

100% grass-fed beef.  Everything else
including the mango salsa is organic.
I ran on the park’s grass trails, wet with dew and a little bit tricky, but more fun for me than the pavement.  6.13 miles in 1:10:33, for a pace of 11:31.  I did my walk/run again, running half of each minute, but enhanced that by running all the way up every hill, except for one really big, steep hill, where I ran up half way and walked the rest.  Good training.  I wasn’t as fast as Wednesday, but wet grass, dirt, and sand are not as fast as pavement, and I didn’t feel quite as strong this morning as I did Wednesday.

Whining:  None at all during the run.

However:  The hernia repair has been yapping at me a little in the last two days.  From time to time there is a sharp pain near the incision, and I can’t tell whether it’s near the surface or farther down where the repair actually is.  When it happens, I can’t tie it to any particular movement or activity - it just happens.  There is still some paresthesia (sensitivity to touch) in the skin around the incision, but this is nothing like the paresthesia I’ve felt before, and it’s independent of touch.  There is also numbness around the incision, and I guess it’s possible that the pain is from a nerve that’s trying to re-grow and re-establish normal sensory feeling there.  That would be nice.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Between the Storms

We experimented with Greek yogurt a while ago, but
went back to regular organic plain yogurt because it
costs less and it's available everywhere.
We got a little rain last night, so I chose the paved trails in the park this morning, rather than the grass (& mud) trails.  More storms were on the way, too, so we went out fairly early.  The temperature was 70 with a dew point of 68 (ugh) but we did enjoy a nice breeze.

I ran at least 30 seconds of each minute and up every hill, to finish 6.84 miles in 1:13:43, for a pace of 10:47.  Yay!  Sub-11 for almost 7 miles, and there was plenty more in the tank - I actually sprinted to the finish.  It felt so good.

Whining:  None!  This is such a wonderful time now, injury-free and full of pep, that I want to run all day, fast, charging up hills.  But in the past, that excess enthusiasm has gotten me hurt, so I’m going to ramp up carefully. Not over 30 miles per week, running 30 seconds of each minute this week, maybe a little more next week.  So far so good!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Running in the Park

Jim and I had a very nice run on the grass trails, early in the morning.  The temperature is reaching toward 100 again today and already 75, so if we were to run at all, an early run was required, even if the trails were still wet from dew.  Bless his heart, Jim put up with my run/walk pace, now running 30 seconds of each minute.  We ran fast enough to limit my efforts at conversation somewhat, but of course this was a comfortable jog for Jim and he easily filled in the voids.  I enjoy that.

We marveled at the flowers in the park’s open fields, sailed over wet spots in the shaded woods, almost hit a deer driving into the park, stepped carefully past gopher mounds, skipped over a little snake, got our shoes really dirty, and more or less wallowed in nature this morning.  What more could a runner ask?

6.22 miles in 1:12:18, for a pace of 11:37.  Huh - I thought we were going faster - I was hoping for a sub-eleven result.  Oh well - it’s still pretty good (for me) for a 6-mile run.  I worked hard, pushed up most of the hills without regard for the run/walk ratio, and certainly felt the effort in my legs.  It’s the kind of run that may help me get back some speed.

Over the next weeks and months I’ll gradually increase the proportion of running in the run/walk, and do some speedwork or perhaps some 5k races.  If I can stay injury-free, that should help me get some speed back.  A year ago I ran a sub-5-hour marathon, and I’d love to do that again this fall.

Whining:  None!  It’s a masterpiece.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Muggy Days

Saturday, July 14, 2012:

The St Croix Valley Runners meet every Saturday, 7:00 am, rain or shine, at Northland Tennis Courts on County Road 12 in Stillwater.  We had 14 runners and walkers, mostly runners, tackling another high-humidity morning, everyone arriving back at the tennis courts drenched in their own perspiration. The standard route is 5 miles, but I went 4, doing my run/walk, this time running 20 to 30 seconds per minute, more than I’ve been doing.  I finished in 44:43, for a pace of 11:11.  No pains of any kind.

One of many beautiful scenes on the
Family Means garden tour

Next week I’d like to finish in less than 44 minutes, for a pace below 11 minutes per mile.  It’s time to get some speed back.

Friday, July 13, 2012:

We ran later in the day today, with temperatures in the eighties and a dewpoint to match.  But I took it easy, running only about 15-20 seconds of each minute, and finished 3.93 miles on the paved trails in 35:19, for a pace of 12:10.  Nothing hurt.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012:

What a beautiful recovery run!  The grass trails in the park were dry,  the morning air felt cool and light, and I felt very good.  Still running only 15 or 20 seconds of every minute, I had no pains, even though I’ve stopped using my special hernia shorts.  No whining today.

My legs did run out of gas easily on the uphills, but recovered quickly and the overall time was fine.  Three miles in 35:20, pace 11:51.  Not bad for a nice, easy run.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Mad Marathon, Waitsfield, VT

If you want a “challenging” marathon, try this one.  I haven’t done Pike’s Peak, and I’m sure there are other very-hilly marathons, but in my 65 marathons this is easily the most-hilly road marathon I've run.  This is not a complaint - I signed up for this and, now that it’s over, I’m very glad that I did.  It really is beautiful, with views of hills on one side of the road and the Mad River Valley on the other side and, from time to time, views of each of the three major ski hills in the Sugarbush area across the valley.  Lots of mountains.  Add plenty of milk cows, horses, and even a few chickens.  The sign said “Free Range Eggs,” and sure enough, there were the chickens right out on the gravel road.  I enjoyed myself as much as I ever have in a marathon.

My Race:

I finished in 5:51:26, fifth in my age group of 70+.  I think there were more who finished behind me, but the results are not on the internet as this is written.  This is state number 46, marathon number 65 since my diagnosis of myeloma.

Before the race I was quite concerned about cramping up, because I had that problem just two weeks ago in Anchorage, in a marathon that was hilly but nothing compared with this one.  But no cramps have appeared, during the race or since.  The calves mentioned the problem a couple of times in the later miles, but I stretched ‘em out and they settled down.

Because I was concerned, though, I had adjusted my pace a little slower than Anchorage, run/walk 15/45 seconds, which I thought would bring me to the finish in about 6 hours.  But that programmed run/walk actually didn’t happen much, because there were few flat parts of the race and I basically walked up hills and ran/walked down them at whatever ratio felt good.  I did wear a wristband calibrated to the 13:44 pace that makes a 6-hour marathon, and at one point found myself behind schedule by a couple of minutes, but evidently made up some time later in the race.  The last three miles of the race are mostly downhill, and that helped a lot.  Even at the finish I could still easily do my 15/45 run/walk.  Every muscle hurts now - calves and quads especially, and I really, really need a nap, but that’s how it’s supposed to be after a marathon and life is great!

If I can do this marathon, I can do ANYTHING!

I rarely wear a hydration belt in a marathon that has regular aid stations, like this one, but I wore one this time and I’m glad.  I was able to take a gulp or two any time I felt like I might get thirsty, and that may have helped hold off the cramps.  Maybe a lot.  And I took salt, for the cramps and to ward off hyponatremia.  Also I took six Clif Shot Mocha gels (with caffeine) along the way.

We stayed three nights at Woods Cottage, a cute little house with a kitchen and an upstairs private bedroom, in Warren, not far from Waitsfield.  It has a flat-screen TV with digital cable, WiFi, a king bed upstairs, a double bed downstairs, and much more.  Matt and Ashley Woods, the proprietors, took very good care of us.


1. The hernia repair bothered just a little, only on the pounding downhills, starting about mile 17.  It actually got better, though, and was not a concern in the last six miles.  Is it better than it was before the surgery in April?  I’m not sure, but healing is still happening.
2. The right knee with PFS didn’t bother much.  We ran on the left side of the road, facing traffic (thank you Dori), and that knee apparently doesn’t make trouble on surfaces slanted to the left.  Yay!
3. Otherwise nothing!  In other words, I have very little to whine about.  Gosh, I’ll just have to run another marathon.

The Mad Marathon:

1. It’s on rural roads with no shoulder, some paved and others not.  This was also advertised on the web site.  Many of the roads are shaded.  Automobile traffic was light, and was undoubtedly even lighter for runners who finished an hour or two sooner than I did.  Every driver was courteous.  I did step off the road surface onto the grass a couple of times when cars met, but I needn’t have.
2. The start was great - running right down Main Street Waitsfield, automobile traffic banned for the moment.  The finish was equally great, in a huge lawn just a few yards from the start.  We went through two different covered bridges, both ways each.  These bridges are not for show - the residents of the Mad River Valley use them every day.  Single lane for cars (take turns), but easily wide enough for runners to pass in both directions.
3. The race is mostly, though not entirely, a set of out-and-back segments.  If you just can’t stand out-and-back, do a different race.  I liked it though, because I saw the race leaders for both the half marathon and the full go whizzing by, male and female, each escorted by a bicycle, and I enjoyed seeing the other runners too.  Lots of attaboys and attagirls with the runners passing in the opposite direction.
4. I finished quite late, compared with most runners, yet there were still oranges, bananas, and other food at the finish.
5. Volunteers were plentiful and very helpful.  There was no chance of taking a wrong turn.  One guy even drove by and asked me if I had gels.  When I said yes, he said “Well, are you actually taking them?” That’s slightly beyond helpful, but of course he didn’t know I was on my 65th marathon.
6. All aid stations had water and Gatorade, and volunteers were wonderful about ensuring that the runner got what s/he wanted.  I usually wanted my water flask refilled, and they happily complied.
7. The race was warm today, 61 at the start, 77 at my finish, and mostly sunny, probably typical for a Sugarbush day in July.  A nice breeze helped a lot.
8. Dori Ingalls is the race director (organizer?), she’s wonderful, and she was especially good to us, so even if I did have a negative or two to say about the marathon I would just drop her a note with suggestions for next year.
9. This part of Vermont is recovering from the body-blow delivered by last year’s Hurricane Irene.  You can see where some of the damage was done, but it’s all fixed.  There is no reason to stay away.

Splits.  These vary a lot, because of the hills and because I had to take several “natural breaks” in the first half of the race: 12:03, 15:54, 11:23, 11:37, 11:19, 12:08, 12:04, 21:55 (2 mi), 14:41, 15:22, 15:52, 12:11, 12:47, 12:10, 26:17 (2 mi), 13:27, 13:19, 12:12, 13:45, 11:48, 14:05, 15:09, 11:37, 13:38, 2:29, total 5:51:26, pace 13:24.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Dog Days

We went out to run fairly early this morning, yet the temperature was 81 with a dew point of 72.  That’s not as much fun as a normal summer morning.  It’s been hot all spring, though - the corn is supposed to be knee high by the fourth of July, but it’s already as high as an elephant’s eye and ready to tassel out.

I ran 4 miles in 47:47, for a pace of 11:47.  Plenty fast enough for today.  Lots of sweat.

Whining: (1) The hernia repair felt fine, actually normal, for the whole run; (2) The Lisfranc ligaments on the left foot bothered when I got up in the morning, but not on the run.

The oatmeal is colored a little pink from the juice of frozen blueberries:

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Saint Croix Valley Runners

Saturday, June 30, 2012:

The SCV Runners showed up in strength this morning, about seven men and five women.  I did my usual walk/run, 40 seconds / 60 seconds, but I felt good and several times extended the 20 seconds to 30 or even more, finishing four miles in 44:57, for a pace of about 11:14.  That’s pretty good for me lately.

Whining: None!  For the first time since the April hernia surgery, the right side of my abdomen felt entirely normal. Not only no pain, but no hint of trouble, nothing odd at all.  Just a week after a tough marathon, that’s a very good sign.  Perhaps the repaired abdomen is really, finally, stronger than it was before the repair.  A shorter race with no walking will tell that tale, but not until after the next marathon, which is just a week away.  Easy does it until then.

Pretty much everything is organic.  That's chicken thighs with squash, you can see the rest: