Sunday, November 30, 2008

Keep Right!

We spent an enjoyable Thanksgiving visiting family in the Virginia Beach area. I got a couple of runs in, including an 11-miler early on Black Friday (running is a great way to avoid the crowds). One of the humorous sights on our trip was a sign on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

Keep Right! If I were any further right, we’d have been in the drink.

Over the past week, the outside of my right knee becomes slightly sore, or weak, once I run beyond four or five miles. I believe the discomfort is due to my iliotibial band. Regardless, I’m going to Keep Right and take it easy for a few days and then I’ll stick with some shorter runs before testing the four to five mile barrier again.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Like Night and Day

My schedule has been just a tad bit hectic this week and I resumed the nighttime running. Last night, after putting Braedon to bed, Joe and I ran our regular five mile route through the VA and the park. There are no street lights in the park, so naturally we slowed down to avoid running into anything. Once our eyes adjusted to the low light we picked up the pace slightly until we got to the wooded road that exits the park. It was pretty dark in the woods last night, and even though I am very familiar with this route, I was still straining to use all my senses to navigate the winding road. At one point I even adjusted my touke to rest above my ears to help me see better, which of course is utterly ridiculous as I do not have bat-like capabilities. Eventually we emerged from the big dark woods unscathed (maybe I do have bat-like capabilities). This afternoon, Braedon, Joe, and I ran the same route in broad daylight. To no surprise, the three of us traversed the five miles much quicker than Joe and I did last night.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Braedon's 1st Race

What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday, the race’s scheduled day, the race was postponed, although fairly warm, due to the course conditions after several days of rain. The water remaining on the course today was frozen and, while bright and sunny, the race time temperature was twenty-six degrees. There was a slight delay in the start time while the race coordinators made some last minute preparations, which allowed us more time to properly warm up. Braedon and I went on several short warm-up runs. Some observers may call this “chase a three-year-old around a field and then carry him back to Mom,” but I can call it a warm-up run.

When we were called to the starting area, my biggest challenge was to get Braedon situated in the stroller. Just as earlier in the week, Braedon didn’t want to cover up with a blanket. It took a strong bit of reasoning to cover him up with the blanket.
Once the gun went off, he did a good job of keeping us on course by pointing out the next flag marking the route. He also said, “They’re getting farther away,” when talking about the runners in front of us…nice encouragement. There were a few hills, and the stroller’s engine almost stalled on the upside. Most of the course was on grass, but we did one lap on the track. That track felt so smooth after running and pushing the stroller over frozen bumpy grass. I was putting forth a bit more of an effort than I anticipated, but the nice thing about a 5K is that the discomfort does not last too long. And once the finish line was in sight, we had no choice but to kick it into the next gear. In a photo-finish, it was Braedon that crossed the line ahead of me by a stroller-length with a time of 26:13. Not bad at all for our first race together. Later in the day we admired the new necklaces that we won and our race shirt, and then ate a big lunch before naptime.

Friday, November 21, 2008


It snowed here in Maryland today and I couldn’t have been happier. Joe Louis and I went out for a six-miler in the stuff. It was coming down pretty hard at times, and the river and sky met in an indistinguishable gray blur. It seemed like we were always running into the wind, and the snowflakes kept sticking to my glasses. But was it ever refreshing. While there is a good possibility I’ll see some snow at tomorrow’s 5K, I can’t help but wonder if snow also awaits the runners of tomorrow’s JFK 50 Mile Race near Hagerstown. The JFK is a race I plan to run in the next few years.

Braedon and I revisited our race strategy for our 5K. Yep, I’m going to run and he is going to ride. “Real fast” were his instructions. We’ll see about the fast part. Actually, I don’t think that pushing a stroller will add a lot to our time – it will add a lot to the effort, but I don’t have much speed, with or without a stroller in front of me. So, just as last week, the plan is to enjoy the run.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

That Wonderful Cool, Crisp Air

It was cold today (low 30s, with a breeze – that is almost winter conditions here in Maryland). When I got home from work I bundled the kid up, got the dog’s leash, and the three of us headed out for a run. Now, before we left, Mom asked Braedon if he was warm enough no less than seventeen times. Oh, he was plenty warm until about a minute into our run when he decided he’d heed Mom’s advice and begged Dad to go back home for a blanket. It was no problem, although wrapped snug under a blanket, it looked like I was out running with the dog while pushing only a little face in a stroller. We saw several trains (Braedon’s favorite), a few squirrels (Joe’s favorite) and I enjoyed the way the cool air felt on my face. I’ll take these nice cool temps (for running) any day over heat and humidity. We even saw the sun disappear below Havre de Grace while running along the Susquehanna River.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Would You Like to Stop Running Now?

I got up early for a ten-miler this morning. I was surprised by how much cooler it was this morning (mid-30s), considering that yesterday, even with all of the rain, it was nearly 60 degrees. Today was the first time since last month’s marathon that I ran ten miles. Ten miles is well within my mental comfort zone for an achievable running distance, but after several weeks of shorter runs and a minor calf strain, I knew that this run would not be a “jog in the park,”…..well, actually it was, as I did run in the park. Ordinarily, I rarely stop mid-run, and then only if absolutely necessary. Today I took a different approach and stopped and walked for one minute after every twenty-five or so minutes of running. I felt just as good when I finished running as I did when I started. It worked out that I walked for three minutes. Three minutes may not sound like much, but I do not think I would have felt so good throughout the entire run had I not had the short walking breaks. I have read about this training strategy before, but never tried it because somehow felt I would be cheating myself if I didn’t “run” the entire time. I decided to use this run-walk approach in looking ahead to the 50K. My goal is to finish in an efficient manner and recover quickly. To meet my goal, I do not intend to “run” all thirty-one miles of the event, rather I will take short walking breaks on a regular time and terrain basis.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


The rain over the past few days and last night turned the planned 5K route into a muddy soup. It was pouring when we arrived at the site, and the support crew personnel were already dirty from their reconnaissance of the course. As such, due to liability concerns, the race director decided to postpone the race until next Saturday. That is too bad because running in the mud is a lot of fun. But, I’m glad for the race delay because there was no way I would have been able to push a stroller through some of the mud holes on the course, and my son is psyched for his first race. So we will try again same time next Saturday. When we returned home, the dog and I went for an appropriately muddy run of our own through some of the nearby fields.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Number 5

I picked up my racing bib for tomorrow’s 5K at the local running store. Bib number 5! No doubt, the low number reflects my elite status in the stroller pushing division, err, or maybe I was just the fifth person to register. Oh well, it has been rainy for the past few days and it will probably be more of the same tomorrow. No big deal. The course is mostly on grass and there are a few hills, but we will just take our time and enjoy the run.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nighttime Running

Due to my schedule this week I have had to run at night. Just running at a different time of day can make all the difference in the overall experience. The same boring route looks so different once the sun goes down. I run a fair amount by dawn’s early light, but that is a lot different than dusk’s late light. Just the “change” of scenery forced me to slow down, which is a good thing – not that I am a speed demon by any sense of the imagination (and speed is relative to the individual anyway…). On shorter runs I tend to go too fast. And there is no reason to go fast, so this nighttime running has allowed me to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Just the Boys

My wife spent a relaxing weekend in Hershey, PA, leaving me and my son to fend for ourselves at home all weekend. And we had a good time. We kicked up some “reindeer” on our morning run through the “big woods.” We also played kickball in the rain, jumped into mud puddles, and a lot of other fun stuff that Mom does not allow.

Running wise I felt pretty good this week. I expect I’ll be able to get some longer runs in over the next few weeks. I’m looking forward to pushing my son in the 5K on Saturday.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Going Long

My next long event will be the Hinte Anderson Trail (HAT) 50K in March. One of my friends mentioned the event and I kind of said that would be fun. When I looked at the event’s website my interest grew when I noticed that it takes place about a fifteen minute drive from my house in the Susquehanna State Park. Being that it is so close, I figured why not, and I registered for it. Since registering, I have thought more about it and have grown more and more excited about it. Running on trails and through fields is a more pure form of running. There won’t be any mile markers, the hills will be steeper as the trails are not graded for cars (No cars, YES!!!), and the streams (did I mention there are stream crossings), well, I’ll have wet feet. All in all, it sounds like a nice way to spend a few hours – or more.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


My son’s third birthday was today. I can’t believe he is already three, and at the same time it is hard to remember what life was like before he was born. This morning we went for a five miler; first to the river, under the train tracks, then around the park, and finally through the “big woods.” Last night we had family and friends over to celebrate the big day. My wife knows someone through work that is very talented when it comes to making and decorating cakes, and we truly enjoy giving her a challenge. This year she made a dinosaur cake, which is all together fitting because my son was a triceratops for Halloween. In the spirit of Halloween, the dinosaur was “dressed” as a ghost. I can’t imagine what a cake like this would retail for, but I’m certain it would be more than I would want to pay for a birthday cake. Knowing a creative cake decorator has made my son’s past two birthdays even more memorable. She did a phenomenal job in my opinion.

No Discomfort

I ran three times since Thursday night’s chiropractor visit, totaling about twelve miles. I did feel some mild tenderness in my calf at first, although I am unsure how much of that was due to real discomfort or the fact that I am very conscious of the recovery. All in all, my calf feels very good and I think the Graston Technique assisted in the recovery.