Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dr. Visit

Yesterday I took the day off work and went to the doctor. He found there was some fluid behind my ears and decided to treat me for bronchitis and an ear infection.  I was prescribed an antibiotic, cough suppressant, and nasal decongestant.  It;'s good that I'm being treated, but that means I'm still grounded from running.  I had intended to run a Labor Day race, good thing I held of on signing up for it. 

Other news going on in the Runner's Bug household:

  • I bought a new laptop yesterday.  I've been wanting to get one for awhile.  My desktop is aging, and has been having a USB hardware issue for awhile.  I'm also planning to toss out the old desk and get something simple.
  •  Paige Starts Kindergarden tomorrow.  Yesterday she had a meet and greet with her teacher.  She's so excited!
  • Connor is going to a gastroenterologist today to address is lack of weight gain.  He's nearly 2.5 and still wears 6-9 month pants.  He's not sickly looking, but just seems to have stopped growing.
  • Jen has an old friend coming to town tomorrow night with her new baby. I have a feeling I'll have the house to myself this weekend! 
  •  Tuesday I head to Upstate New York for a short work trip.  I've never been up that way, so it should be an interesting trip.
  • Thursday, Fala is getting spade.  We're hoping that will help settle her down.  She's one hyper little dog.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men Often Go Astray

Or in the original text by Robert Burns:

The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy.

I’ve been fighting a cough for the last several days and I’m beginning to think it may be bronchitis.  I haven’t had other cold symptoms and the cough has gotten deeper in my lungs.  I’m basically hacking away about every couple of minutes all day long.    Going to be calling the doctor tomorrow on this one.  Grrrrr!!  What does this mean for my training?  I’d say I’m grounded for the time being.  I went to bed last night with the intention of attempting my 5 mile long run, but this morning I decided it was best to not push it.  Especially after reading some peoples horror stories about running with bronchitis and causing major problems.  Even though I feel like I’ve become a slacker because of lack of running the last few months, I know I’ve made the wiser choices regarding running and my health by not pushing it with problems.  My health comes before running plans.  But damn!  can’t I catch a break this year?  

I’m feeling pretty confident that as long as this doesn’t turn into COPD or something else that knocks me out for more than a few weeks, I should still complete the Army 10 Miler without problems.  I was doing great with distance runs back in May and culminated with a 10 mile on June 4th (I looked back and realized I didn’t blog about it.  It was right before we left for vacation).  SO for now I need to focus myself on nursing my lungs and getting back to running condition, then I’ll jump back and adjust my training schedule accordingly.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and good luck to those running the Annapolis 10 Miler this morning!

Friday, August 27, 2010


While reading other running blogs, I noticed many people have PR's from years ago, often with gaps between their running. I've been wondering what to consider as my PR's.  Listed on my blog are PR's for races I've done since starting the blog, yet these are not my lifetime PR's.  16-17 years ago, I was a cross country runner and spent two years running on a high school team.  My 5K PR for that time is, if memory serves, 21:12.  Now there is no way in hell I'm going to even come close to that time.  I also had a few brief stints as a runner throughout my 20's where I ran several 5K's.  These times too are much faster than I am now, and will likely never be that fast again.  Therefore, I decided to post PR's for different stages in my life.  They're now on the left under "Upcoming Races"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Triple Threat Thursday

1.  Yesterday around lunchtime my left Achilles tendon started to get sore.  It wasn't horrible, but enough to affect my walking.  The Wifey even told me I need to get a handicap sticker for my truck because of all my feet problems.  I didn't have any pain killers with me at work so I wasn't able to take something until about 7:00.  This morning it's gone down a bunch but I took some more Aleve just in case.  I must have over exerted it on my Tuesday run.    Sometimes I feel like Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable, minus the god complex. Tonight's Tempo run has been changed to an easy run.  I'm not going to push it!

2.  I sometimes get really fed up with my work computer.  The restrictions they've placed on internet access and administrative rights are ridiculous.  I can't use a flash drive or hook anything else up to it.  I can't access many sites because they are blocked.  Not even flickr or other photo sites.  I like to catch up on blogs during breaks but even that has it's issues.  For some odd reason, certain blog comments are blocked.  Meaning I can read the post, see what people have commented, but the section for me to add a comment is gone.  Makes it frustrating when I see something and want to comment, but have to wait until I get home.  Oh well, at least I have access.

3.  Next week my stepdaughter Paige starts kindergarden.  She's extremely exited and is going to be a great student.  She has a knack for science and wants to study dolphins when she grows up.  I try and teach her all about nature and she loves it.  Heck, when it comes to bugs, she's going to be teaching the teacher!  Tonight we have "New Student Orientation" for her.  We'll get to check out the school and see what it has to offer.  Since it's her last weekend, we're trying to do something special for her.  Maryland Rennaisance Festival starts this weekend. We might hit it up.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I just wanted to post that my 3 miler tonight was awesome, even if it was cool and wet out. 31:26 for 3 miles with a 3/1 run/walk pace.  Could this be the start of a speed increase?  I hope so!

Tuesday's Tidings.

I was reading Andrew's blog over at  Running Man Wannabe and today he posted his cross training routine.  It got me to thinking "I rarely do cross training", and wondering "Why is that?".  I really have no clue why I'm so lackluster about cross training.  I've never been much on strength training (Probably why I've got the arms of a holocaust prisoner).  I've tried using the Wii for exercise and while it's fun to play, I really don't get much exercise from it.  For my 10 miler training, I've listed Wednesdays as a strength day, but really I've not come up with anything to do.  I could used some assistance in developing a simple cross/strength training program that is simple, easy to do in my basement, doesn't require equipment, and most of all, is something I can be motivated to do.  A couple of stipulations to go with it.  1) I have minor scoliosis at the lower back, so sit-ups and crunches are not an option.  2) I'm not really looking for cardio, but strength training. 3) I need some way to be accountable so that I keep with it.  Any good suggestions

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Mama Goes Masters" Virtual Race Report


MCM Mama is hosting a virtual race to commemorate turning 40 and I decided to join in.  The details of her race is to choose either a 4.0 mile, 8.25 mile, or 40K run and run it between 20-25 August.  I choose the 4.0 mile run and here is my report.  *Note that some creative license was taken with the prerace and some details may have been embellished, but the stats are correct.  Oh…… and names have been changed to protect the innocent.  By the way, if you don’t follow her blog, she has some great posts.  I always enjoy reading them!

Warning…. Warning…… It’s a long post!

The day began simple enough.  My boy, lets call him “Mr. Sassy” spent the night with me in the basement.  It’s been awhile since we’ve had a boy’s night and we enjoyed it immensely.  At 9:00 he was still out, Mrs. Wifey headed out to target and didn’t get back until nearly noon with a nice cup of coffee and donuts (Yeah I know! such a great pre-race breakfast!!).  I then set out for the pre-race setup.  This entailed a gas up and trip to Walmart for some non-race related supplies.  Then I was off.

My destination was Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area where I planned a 4 mile trail run.  I’ve hiked here many times in the past and even scouted it out on Friday with a short hike.  I chose this area because it’s a fairly demanding trail, but not over strenuous.  There are several loops and some pre-race surveillance online (courtesy of mapmyrun.com) gave me a route that was nearly 4 miles (roughly 3.86 using estimated mapping of the trail due to tree cover.  I’ll have to admit, this falls short of the 4.0 mile goal for the virtual race, however, due to the nature of trail running, and that there were many quick and short turns and obstacles to overcome, I most likely came very close to the 4.0 mark.  Before heading out, I’d noticed it was looking somewhat scary outside and so I checked the weather online.  Sure enough, there was the potential for rain in the area, but only around 40% chance.  I risked it

Here are a couple of pictures from the area I’ve taken on previous hikes, This area is unique to the Eastern Seaboard, in that it contains a large amount of serpentine rock.  I’m no geologist, but that basically means there is a lot of rock embedded on the trails making for some interesting stepping at times.  It also contains a fair amount of prairie landscapes making for gorgeous scenery while hiking or running.

Here are a couple of pics from previous hikes in the area.

One of my favorite pics of this place.  It was a rainy day and I was making HDR photos. Typical view of the trail in flat areas. There are several minor streams to cross. This is a close up view of serpentine rock. It looks hardcore, but that's low to the ground, it's only a couple of feet in length.

I arrived about 12:15, did some stretches and headed out. My watch lie comfortably at home, wondering why I didn’t take her with me…… I forgot.  Being with out a watch, I did what I could and noted the time on my cell phone.  The run started off well.  I had decided to run the larger of the two loops on my route.  It starts with a slight uphill through some windy woods, then heads down hill for nearly a mile before turning and heading back upwards.  Without my trusty watch, I had to rely on my wondrous mental powers to track when to have my walk breaks.  I was aiming for around 2-3 minutes of running to one minute of walking.  About the time I came to my first prairie opening, the rain hit.  Light at first, then steadily gaining strength until it was downpour.  I continued on, hoping at any minute it would lighten up, but of course I have no such luck.  I made it to the bottom of the loop crossed the stream pictured above, then it was back up the hill to the parking.  This is where it hit hard.  The rain was still pouring and I was soaked!  My walking time started to exceed my running.  This leg of the route is roughly 3/4 a mile long, up hill the entire time, through many rocky patches.  It was tough, but I made it through, and settled into a good run along the visitors center road.  I had about a 1/2 mile stretch of road to run on before hitting the parking and starting the other loop.  It was a good change of pace. flat, smooth, and not muddy!

The second loop is easier, not as rough incline/decline’s and less rocks, but since it’s been pouring for roughly 25 minutes, the mud was growing.  about 1/4 mile in on this loop is an interesting feature, one of the worlds first chromium mines. It’s basically nothing more than a big hole in the ground with railroad tracks leading down.  Here’s a pic of it from a previous hike.


Of course, I didn’t stop to see it today, I was on a mission….. no,no, a run…… wait, scratch that, I was on a RACE!  So I kept going.  Through the forest of many roots (for some reason the trail is riddled with a ton of small, maybe 1 inch thick roots inter twining.  Pretty hard to maneuver through while running I must day.  At some point while through this wooded area, the rain stopped.  It suddenly became hot, humid, and even steam was coming off the rocks.  This made for the last mile or so of the run rather brutal climate-wise.  Thankfully it didn’t last long.  I hit the bottom of the loop and was immediately confronted with another rocky, inclined path.  Not near as hard as the previous loop, but enough to induce longer walks and shorted runs.  Finally I saw the road. From here it was approximately 100 yards to my truck, dry, cold air, and a drink.  I pushed on.  I hit the road and my goal was in sight.  I speed up, not knowing how slow or fast this run was. Just knowing that it was rough and tiring, but still one of my best runs of late.  I hit the truck, opened it, and checked my time.  49:50 (roughly, my phone doesn’t have seconds, so I was estimating based upon the minute changes).  Faster than I was expecting after the hills.  I relaxed for a couple of minutes, said my goodbyes to the crowd (no humans around, but plenty of birds, cicadas, and crickets applauding my victory!), then hit the road home.

Overall it was a great run.  While running through a few areas, I had visions of this scene being published in Runner’s World on those pages with someone running on a gorgeous path with nothing but themselves and nature.  I always love hiking.  Mostly it’s a solitary act for me.  A way to get outside of the crowdedness of the suburbs and into a natural habitat.  It reminds me of growing up in rural Oklahoma.  I used to frequently take hikes alone in the woods behind my house.  This place always reminds me of that. 

During the entire run I only came across four people, I don’t know their names, but in keeping with protecting the innocent, I’ll call them Mr. and Mrs. Older Hippie Hiker.  I crossed paths with them twice, as they were going opposite me. They looked like an old couple that goes hiking frequently and is at peace with the world, possibly coming from the hippie era.  The other couple I’ll call Mr. and Mrs. Soon To Be Married.  They were a young couple probably have been together for a while, maybe newly weds.  Who knows.  Regardless, Only seeing 4 people for an entire 4 mile run was great. 

So there you have it, my first Virtual Race Report.  Thanks to MCM Mama for hosting the run.  I’d love to win something, but I’ve just enjoyed participating in the run and writing out this rather long race report.  looking forward to reading others race reports.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Slows As a Tortoise

I just finished running my first speed workout.  It should go without saying, I am whipped and out of shape, but it won't.  I admit it, today's workout kicked my ass.  According to my training schedule I was planning to do 4 x 800's.  After giving it more thought, I had planned to do 6 x 400's as I've always preferred them over the 800's.  However, when I got to the track, the little voice in my head said "It's too hot to be running 400's, why not do 200's and walk the other 200's in between."  Well, that little voice was quite convincing so I ended up running 6 x 200's and walked the in betweens.  The running it's self was rough.  The first few nearly killed me.  Taking a full 2+ minutes just to catch my breath between runs. I know I ran the too fast, more like the 100 yard dash than intervals.

Next week, I have to not let that voice talk me into something less than intended. my training schedule has me at 5 x 800's but since I prefer the shorter sprints, I'm going to change it to 8 x 400's.  I've still let to catch up on everyone's blogs.  We've been cleaning the house like a bunch of mad freaks trying to get the place in order.  Tomorrow I'm off.  I'll try to catch up on everyone. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Proof is in the Pudding

I have continually been amazed by the administration of the 10K I ran on Saturday.  Not only was it an awesome course and very well executed, but to top it off they had many different people taking pictures and apparently even an unmanned aerial vehicle taking photographs and video from the sky!  The aerial stuff isn’t posted yet but I’ve looked through literally a few thousand photos of the event……… and all of them are posted for free!  How awesome is that? 

As I mentioned in the post race report, it was a tough course and even had a river to cross, well guess what?  They got a few pics of me crossing it.  So here’s the proof this was not your ordinary 10K.

Water station about mile 3.

Just starting to cross the river.

check out the wimps in back heading for the bridge. Not me, I bravely (or stupidly) trudged through the river. 

Tomorrow I have my first speed workout.  4 X 800.  The weather is supposed to be in the 80’s making a decent day for sprints.  I plan to run them at the track at work, probably around 3:00.  Wish me luck!  I foresee some sore legs on Friday!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Army 10 Miler Training Schedule

Today starts my training program for the Army 10 Miler.  I developed my own routine based mostly on a cross between the novice and intermediate versions of Hal Higdon’s 15K program.  I’m posting it here as a way to keep myself in check and stick with it.  I may alter my speed work to do 400s instead of 800s though, We’ll see after the first set. 


Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Great Race and a Challenge for Next Year.

First off, HAPPY 100th POSTING!!  I started this blog in the hopes that it would help me stick with running.  It’s been a long and struggling haul to get to the pivotal 100th post but I made it!  Now on to push for the 1 year mark.

Today’s run was great!  The course takes you winding through hill country up and down rocky trails and along several river banks.  The scenery was amazing.  Apparently it is considered the 5th best 10K trail run in the country.  That being said, I also heard it was the 4th toughest!  Yeah, I was totally not prepared for this race.  A lack of running for the last month, no hill workouts, and not knowing it was really a trail run, I’m just glad I finished the race!

It was such an amazing race though, I’ve already told Jen that this will be one of next years challenges.  So now what everyone is waiting for…… THE RACE REPORT!

To begin with, I have to start of with yesterday.  It was a full travel day home from Phoenix.  a 4 hour flight, 20 minute lay over, then a 1:15 flight.  Getting me back to Baltimore at 9:15.  I finally made it home around 10:30.  Then I couldn’t sleep because of the time difference and anxious about the race.  I didn’t fall asleep until after 1:00.

Then we were up at 6:00.  I knew I needed a pick me up so we stopped at Dunkin Donuts and got our coffee/sugar fix then on to the race.  It took place at this cool ranch in up state Maryland settled in some rolling hills.  There was a western theme to the area.  We grabbed the registration packet and got ready to go.  Here are my splits:

1 Mile - 11:03 - Feeling pretty good, started with the 4/1 intervals but the first big hill I had to walk more, It was an extremely steep incline that lasted about 1/4 mile. I was very winded and had a stitch in my side (which I rarely ever get).

2 Mile - 14:20 - Lots of hills, the beginning of the rough terrain, but with rolling elevations.  Still struggling with being winded.

3 Mile - 14:19 - Finally got to some plateaus, mostly exhausted from the climbs.  Dropped my interval down to a 2/1.

4 Mile - 15:08 - The beginning had rocky inclines and declines from hell, actually had to use my hands to help get up.  This leg of the race was PURE EVIL!!!!  I wasn’t as exhausted/winded but the trails made for extremely slow moving with lose rocks and steep inclines.

5 Mile - 14:20 - Along the river, two river crossings, the first one was a narrow bridge, the second had two options, narrow bridge or a cut across the river.  I took the river and it was about 20 feet across with water over my calves.  It felt great but now my socks and shoes were soaked and I still had about 1.5 miles left.

6 Mile - 12:22 - Finally some flat areas!   I was able to catch my second wind and kept it steady with intermingled walking (gave up on the interval timing a few miles back). About midway through this, the kids 1 mile race started and as we merged I thought it would be awesome to run with Paige. I slowed and actually backtracked about 50 feet to meet up with her.  She was thrilled! 

6.2 Mile - 2:33 – We made the last turn and it was a straight away through the frontier town with a finish coming across a covered bridge.  We ran it in hand in hand.  A great way to finish a race!!!

Even with the lack of sleep/running, I felt great at the end, better than some of my previous 5K’s.  I was totally exhausted but not in any pain.  My feet are feeling good, but I took some ibuprofen just in case.  Now it’s nap time then off to do something with the family.

I’m glad to finally be home after two long work trips!!!!

Here are a couple of pictures of the race.

IMG_5264 IMG_5266 IMG_5268

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Gout, Tai Chi, and a Treadmill

My conference is going well.  Phoenix is a great town with beautiful scenery and a much slower pace than the Baltimore-Washington area.  My feet were still fairly sore when I got here, so I wasn't sure what my plan was for this week, running-wise. 

On Monday afternoon I attended a 4 hour workshop on Tai Chi, where we learned some basic moves and did a lot of practice.  Right before the workshop started, I was hobbling over to the room, at the end, the pain was nearly gone, and has been gone since then.  When I get back I'm going to have to research it more and maybe find some classes.  From what I understand it is great for blood flow and inflammation.

I've been busy with the conference and visiting with my sister, but last night I hopped on the treadmill and got in 45 minutes.  A SLOW pace, but didn't want to push anything since I haven't run much the last month.  It felt great, but I was sweating like a pig and as read as a tomato when done.  Afterwards I felt awesome!

I plan to get another run in tomorrow morning, then a long day of travel back home.  I get in late and have the River Valley 10K saturday morning.  I hope I can get enough sleep.  It's going to be hard as hell trying to get up early on Saturday after being 3 hours behind. 

My next post will be my 100th!!   Wish me luck on Saturday so I can have a great race report for it! 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Between Trips Check in

I’m back from the Jamboree and head out to Phoenix on Sunday.  The Jamboree was AWESOME!  Most of my time was spent between our onsite tick pathogen testing lab and assisting the installations pest control division with complaints (mainly yellow jackets, wasps,  and hornets).  The days were long, hot, and tiring, not leaving much energy for running.  Alas, I still haven’t returned to a normal schedule.  Here are a few pics from the jamboree.


My daily obstacle course.  It took forever driving anywhere.


Patch trading is a BIG thing with the scouts


Scouts having fun on the lake (The whole reason we were there!)


The awesome pest management team.  Most of the soldiers were reservists and they did a hell of a good job.


The pest group with our equipment.  It was fun driving the off road vehicles around.


Mass vespid carnage!  With yellow jackets, we removed the nests instead of just spraying them.       


Digging out a yellow jacket nest.  You can’t tell but they were flying all around me and nope, I didn’t get stung once!


This was one huge hole, nearly 4 feet down to get the nest.

On the health front, My last day I came down with a bad cold.  I’ve been fighting it off and trying to recover since then.  Mostly better but tired.  My feet are still bothering me.  I haven’t been incapacitated again, but dull pain continues to bother me.  it seems like it’s deeper in the joints than before.  I don’t know if that’s a good sign or not.  Right now, both big toes are sore and I’m unsure about this next week.  I have a 10K to run a week from now and hopefully I’ll be able to get rid of this pain by then.  I’ve returned to daily use of the NSAIDs to try and push it off.  Once I’m back from phoenix, I will be consulting a podiatrist regarding the best medicine for my gout and going to stick with it.  I think it’s time to give up on the alternative methods and go with the prescription meds. 

I’m looking forward to this week.  The conference isn’t packed full of relevant stuff for me, it’s mostly for military doctors, so I should have some free time to relax and do some things around the city.  A few of my coworkers (Army Captains) and I talked about doing some early morning runs this week.  I really hope I can do them!  

I hope everyone in the Blog O’ Sphere are doing great.  I plan to catch up on everyone this week as I’ll have my laptop with me. 

Catch ya later!