September 30, 2006

fifth ave mile just not happening

got home about an hour and a half ago. Three hour delay in chicago, when the itinerary didn't even mention a stop in chicago. So I've been travelling for about fourteen hours and now that therapy is done, I can eat. If I don't wake up in enough time to get to Fifth Avenue Mile, so be it. Well...five hours sleep has been enough in the past, maybe it will be this time, too. And hey, thanks to the septasemidecicentennial I celebrated a week ago, my heat is 15 minutes later than last year! Yay me!

September 29, 2006

leaving for new york

well, i did not get my run in here in seattle. Once I got to the hotel yesterday, I had little time to get to Pike Market - the buses took forever. But it was worth it and I'm carrying back some very nice tuna for tonight's dinner and got more of those amazing peaches. I have turned into a food tourist of sorts and I also tracked down the Cold Stone Creamery I'd heard about and got myself a mint ice cream with chocolate chips mixed in. I'm not aware of anything like Cold Stone or Maggie Moo's in my area, so I had to take advantageof this. (I also picked up some interesting candies in Calgary. One is a large tube of fruit-flavored jellies, which were good, except for the black currant flavor. Another was some big chocolate-toffee-nut concoction which wasn't the amazing experience I'd hoped for. What IS good, though, is the Mack caramel bar. You smack it on a hard surface to break it up before eating and the caramel is so very chewy. I love it.)

By the time I got back to the hotel, it was pretty late and I got to bed about nine, fully intending to get up and run this morning. 4:30 came and went. Too damn tired. This whole two weeks has piled in on me and I feel like I really need to get back to the regular routine. I have learned that I can't function and keep up my running unless I'm getting at least seven and a half hours of sleep a night, no exceptions. Any less and runs become slow, awkward, and more painful than not. I also need to get back to my regular diet.

It's too bad I didn't go this's foggy outside and that would have really been something. There's a little lake not too far from this hotel and it would have been neat to find out if there are any running paths around it. Well, better luck next time.

The bigger news is that I nearly amputated the tip of my ring finger.

it's hard to see here because the focus isn't great, but the front half of the nail is gone. I got my finger caught in the calgary hotel's TV turntable thing. It pulls out from the cabinet and then can swivel. Well, to pull it out, you have to grab underneath its lip and pull. But it is unwise, to say the least, to keep that hand position when you swivel the TV. The TV was big and had a lot of weight. The turntable was sticking. Once it got going...well, inertia spun that TV around smartly, trapping my fingers underneath the turntable between a piece of it's wood and the slider that allows the whole thing to protrude from the cabinet. I take it that the impact was great enough to immediately flatten my nail, which then shattered in a bit of a zigzap pattern and separated from my finger. It was left hanging on by a little bit of skin and nailbed, which of course was no fun when I had to rip the rest of the piece of nail off. I believe that if my nail hadn't been there, I might have managed to clip off the end of my finger completely - now I know what nails are actually for: they're armour!

This happened night before last and as I waited for a cab yesterday morning, I spoke with the manager about it. I will also be writing a letter to Holiday Inn Express about it. I'm not seeking any kind of payoff or anything, but a letter of apology for their stupid design would be nice as well as seeing some action taken to remedy the situation. I CAN'T be the first person to have crushed his fingers that way, it is simply too natural a way of manipulating the turntable. And I can't imagine the fallout if some little kid were to manage to sever a finger in this way, especially if they didn't fix their turntables.

September 27, 2006


Last post from Calgary. You should see the sunrise here and how blue the sky is.

This morning's run, at quarter 'til five, did not go as planned. The leg pain was back (apparently my reprieve was not due to orthotics on top of liners) and I couldn't figure out how to cross a certain expressway and continue on towards the Olympic park. I never even saw the park. I got as far as some construction on a new hospital wing and that was it. (I've never seen a cleaner worksite in my life.)

The sidewalks are also not helpful. They twist and turn, stop and start at will, seemingly put in place only by the businesses which property they're on and not owned or maintained by Calgary. So I ended up running a lot of blind ends and many surfaces: dirt, gravel, mud, concrete, grass, and asphalt. Barely over 3 miles and I was exhausted. Having to navigate while running, instead of following a memorized path or just a bunch of other people, really takes it out of me.

Oh, and it was 3 degrees celsius outside. No huge deal, but I did waste a few minutes going back inside for an extra shirt and I really wished I'd brought my running gloves. But it was nice to be able to see my breath, and shorts were fine, and this 3 degrees didn't feel as cold as the 3 degrees I experienced two years ago in Sault St Marie on a rainy morning... perhaps because it's dry now and I wasn't going 70 kmh.

Not every run can be a winner, I guess. Next run will be tomorrow evening in Seattle.

September 26, 2006

dark jog in Calgary

I'm mid-way through my business trip in Calgary (teaching a seminar) and since I can get to the training room a little later this morning, I was able to get up early enough to put in a short jog. I guess I went about three miles. I've been having leg and knee pains on the left side most of last week and especially yesterday after wandering all over campus in dress shoes trying to find the training room, cafeteria, etc. Dress shoes just don't cut it, even with orthotics.

So it was a nice surprise to find that my legs didn't hurt at all this morning, not even for the usual amount at the beginning of the run. I was fairly quickly able to go from warm-up jogging to my usual just-under-10m/m pace. I began the morning by trying an energy gel I hadn't seen before: Honey Stinger, which as one expects is mostly honey. The flavor I tried also had ginseng and kola nuts in it. The ginseng gave it a funky but not unpleasant taste, but the kola nuts gave it a nasty texture, not at all smooth like other gels. Still, I'll give the other flavor I picked up a try. I also picked up Sharkies, which appear to be a knockoff of Cliff cubes.

I took the safe bet and ran along sidewalks and roads parallel to the major arteries, keeping them in sight the whole time. I ended up mostly running north beside Crowchild Trail (not a trail; a highway). It was about 8 degrees celsius when I ran and it was sprinkling lightly when I got back. The whole run was in the dark - the sun doesn't come up here until about 6:45. Tomorrow, I'd like to head out further along the Trans-Canadian highway and make it over to the Olympic Park, which I think will put the whole run between five and six miles.

When I got back to my room I discovered that in my sleepiness I'd put my orthotics right on top of my liners, instead of under like usual. The shoes hadn't felt especially different, but I wonder if that made the difference between pain and no pain? I will try it again tomorrow and see. I will also take my cell phone tomorrow to try to get a picture of the ski jump; perhaps it won't be too dark. But don't expect Life-quality photos.

On a larger-picture note: I'm really beginning to consider taking a pass on this year's New York marathon. My training has been lumpy and uneven due in part to some extraneous factors but also - I admit - to a lack of motivation on my part. I simply do not feel ready or that I will be ready. Still, I'm going to tackle the long runs remaining in my plan and see how they go. It is possible things will go well and that after the 18-miler in a couple of weekends, I'll feel like things are a go. But I am keeping in mind that if I put it off, run a February marathon instead, and tackle next year's... it's not the end of the world and it might prevent injuries that would sideline me completely for a couple of months, which would be terrible news for my lungs.

September 24, 2006

A last deck jog

September 22, 2006

I didn't do too badly this week: four runs, three on deck, one on land. The best run was on land, in Sitka. The deck jogging has its own challenges, chiefly the rolling of the deck and the other people on deck.

Friday the 22nd, I was going to go out and run on deck in the morning. I felt pretty crappy - too much unfamiliar foods - and the deck would be crowded later, I knew. But after talking to my sister, who also wanted to run, we decided to do it right after the On Deck For The Cure event, a 5K walk benefitting the Susan G Komen Foundation. This is a cause both my mother and sister have worked for and with mom being a cancer survivor it was a cinch. In fact, it was I that pointed the event out to them early on. So we all did this together, even with my non-athletic sister Becca, though sadly without other three male members of the family. Dad, I understand, can't walk that far and neither can my 4-year-old nephew, but I do wish Dad had watched Aidan and let brother-in-law Bill walk with us.

Loads of people on deck for this walk and it took about an hour. Rachel and I got going finally on our run - we planned five miles - but I just wasn't warmed up and by the time I did, the leg pains were back. It was turning out to be a bad run and I didn't want to push things, so we cut it short at 2 miles.

All of the next day (yesterday), I hurt. Not just knees and legs, but practically everywhere. Why, I don't know. My non-running sister and I had the day free in Seattle, so we went to the Space Needle and Pike Market, both of which were a lot of fun. Pike Market has the best and freshest fruit I've ever seen and I bought a giant peach and a load of figs. On my way back through Seattle from this next week, I'll try to get back to the market and get some tuna, which looked really good and they can ship it in a 48-hour pack. And, of course, more peaches.

So, yes, I should have woken up with the sun this morning and gone for a run in the fresh Seattle air, but I am feeling wiped out. How strange is it that a week of vacation can be so tiring?

September 21, 2006

Sitka - I run this town

September 20th

Wow! What can I say about today's run? I set out for a long run, getting up at 6 a.m. and was ready to go long before the first tender was ready. We docked at 7 and the I got on the first non-tour tender out at 7:30. Plans changed immediately: it was raining. And cold. And here I am, the only person on the tender with nothing more on than my running shorts, ball cap, and a long sleeve T. This was necessarily going to have to be shorter than 12-16 miles - the last thing I wanted was to get caught in some remote area, exhausted, out of energy, soaked, and cold. That would spell getting sick. Besides, I had a timetable to stick to, so putting in about 10K sounded about right.

The nike thing failed to work again today (I'm going to have to return it) and so I just put on a Phedipidations of 54 minutes and figured I'd run until I was through 10 minutes of it's second playing.

The run was pretty standard as I jogged along the streets of the waterfront until I came across the Sitka National Historical Park, where I hopped on a trail and prayed to God I didn't get myself hopelessly lost. In an attempt to keep track of where I was, I kept taking right-hand turns at forks, and tried to keep the water in sight.

I fairly immediately found myself in a dense second-growth rainforest with extremely well-kept improved cinder trails. This was my very first trail run. Turns out I did a little over four miles on those trails, and ran nearly all the trails in that little park. The park itself holds more than thirty totem poles of the Tlingit tribes and various markers commemorate the 1804 slaughter of the Russian settlers at Sitka by the Tlingit warriors - and the consequently 1806 beat-down the returning Russian navy gave the Tlingits. It is a sad story, this bit of history - little different than any other white-man/native-American encounter elsewhere on this continent. For a truly well-written account of Alaskan history, including the settling of Sitka, read Alaska by James Mitchener.

One of the bizarre aspects of the run was that even as I was jogging along these trails looking at these historical spots, I was listening to a Phedipidations that focused on the "towns we run through" and how we, as runners, get a better connection to the history and culture of the geography than people who merely drive by at 75 miles an hour. This is true, I'm sure, but Steve Runner could have had no idea I'd be doing a jogging tour of an historical park in Alaska while I was listening to him!

At one point, I came across a little footbridge over a stream. I'd been smelling something pretty fishy and foul for some time and now I'd found the source - it was a stream full of spawning salmon. I went down on the bank for a closer look. The banks and edges of the creek were lined with dead and dying salmon, while those still with their vitality - some males fighting out for dominance over a female - were towards the center. Pale pink salmon roe could be seen lying on the river bed. In the middle of this place I'd discovered accidentally and all alone in a misty, moisty morning wood, with the rain continuing to come down - well, this was creepy, awe-inspiring, and nothing short of stunning.

I did a loop of trails on the far side of the bridge, retraced my steps out of the park, then headed back toward the cruise ship. I hadn't reached my time mark, so I kept running all the way to the far side of a distant suspension bridge and back to the tender dock, where I immediately got a tender all to myself. I could have run longer - I was only just beginning to feel tired - but there were other things to tackle today. A quick, hot shower, a large breakfast, and I met my family for the native-guided tour of Sitka - which included some of the park I'd just been to, including the footbridge and salmon stream, and also included a show of native dancing and a visit to the National Raptor Center - an impressive hospital for eagles, hawks, owls and other birds of prey. For the first time in my life, I got to see a bald eagle up close - no more than ten feet from me as he sat on his handler's arm. Stunning, simply stunning. We got to see a couple of other bald eagles while on the tour, this time free wild ones sitting in trees drying their wings in the brief sunshine.

I could live in Sitak. It is not large and I don't know what I'd do, but I could live here. And with the other runners I saw, I wouldn't be alone as a runner. Ah, Sitka - all the exoticality of Alaska, all the weather of Seattle.

September 19, 2006

I am Iceman

Define irony: Taking half an hour to track down ice for my baggie to ice my knees after this mornings jog, when a mere half-mile across the water from me is several hundred cubic miles of the stuff, some of it tens of thousands of years old.

This morning's run was on deck, twelve laps, as we putt-putted into the harbor where the great Hubbard Glacier empties out. The first six laps - two miles - was nothing short of fantastic: nice brisk pace, easy footing on wet teak, not too many morning walkers. But I did have to contend with a pretty good rolling of the ship and it might be because of that that my knees started giving me trouble on the seventh lap. More walkers also hit the deck, and thankfully most of them go in the standard counter-clockwise direction (the regular-exercisers among us just seem to do this naturally); but there was one group of four little old ladies who had to go against the grain. (You don't know it, but I made a joke there, seeing as how the deck is made of wood...okay, pretty weak, I admit) I pushed on through to finish four miles and then went below to find some ice.

When I came up, we were pushing through lines of broken ice slurry and approaching the six-mile-long face of Hubbard glacier. While much of the ice is white or a dirty brown, quite a bit of it is an astonishing jewel blue - a product, I'm told, of centuries of crushing all the air out of the ice, which results in the ice reflecting only the blue spectrum back at the viewer. It was perhaps most interesting to see it up close as the ship passed large chunks (not quite icebergs) in the water and I had binoculars to really magnify the view. We spent a few hours looking at the glacier and I got to see many calvings, which fall off the glacier after a crack propogates ultra-quickly through the ice with the sound of a distant cannon boom.

September 18, 2006

I am an Alaskan

for today. I am in Juneau, the beautiful capital of our 50th state. It is not a very large capital, but it has everything a capital should have: some government buildings, a couple bars, and one each of Chinese, Japanese, and Mexican eateries. And, like all good capitals-on-the-water, big honkin' cruise ships. Well, at least for today. There are three cruise ships here, and I am on one of them right now making this entry. This is the last week of the cruise season. My family and I went out and looked at Mendenhall Glacier and a salmon hatchery and my mom and sister are at a salmon bake right now. I had work to do, so I came back here to finish it up.

Part of that work is my ankle weight exercises, foam rolling, stretches, and the like. I need to keep on top of this - I even packed a one-foot length of foam roller in my suitcase.

Yesterday was a little too cold and soggy on deck to get a run in, particularly with the boat rolling with the swells we had (the tail end of a storm system), but this morning was perfect. I got out on deck about 6:20 Alaskan time as the boat was making it's way up the sound towards Juneau, and put in nine laps - supposedly three miles. I'll go longer tomorrow if I can - today was something of a test. As I was doing my after-run stretching, my sister showed up and we jogged a loop of the boat together and I hope we can do more together before this cruise is over. The deck was quite easy to run on, as easy as cinder track and not nearly as dirty. Though it was wet from the langolier's** washing, traction was really quite good on the teak and it was also easy on the knees. Yes, I have to say this is one of the most pleasant running surfaces I've encountered. I didn't mind making constanct left-hand turns, either, nor dodging the few elderly walkers who were out and about. It was cold, though, and that will take some getting used to. well...that would have to happen soon anyway, right?

Next port of call is Sitka, I think, and I fully intend to get in at least twelve miles while there, just so I can say I ran IN Sitka. I mean, how cool would that be?

Having a great time, wish you were here.

**I call the deck hands and cabin crew the Langoliers after the creatures of the same name in Steven King's novel - the create the world before you live it, deconstruct it afterwards, and - in the case of a cruise ship - are constantly rebuilding and renewing when (they hope) you aren't noticing.

Friday's run

Took last Friday off, trying to get prepared for a two week trip. Managed to get myself to the doctor's office for some PFTs. Numbers are down a bit and they put me on Levaquil. (Update: received a phone call saying my culture's show resistance to Levaquil, so we'll be trying Lanasilid next - as soon as I can find a pharmacy. Maybe Sitka, more likely Vancouver or Calgary.) I am feeling junkier these days and have lots more coughing fits and production. I'm a little depressed about it, since I could have put money on this happening about this time and I wonder more and more if I will have to postpone yet another marathon. We'll see, we'll see.

I DID get out for a run. Not the sixteen mile long run that still sits on my schedule like a giant hairy spider, but a good solid six miles, run pretty steadily, no walking except for two coughing fits that wouldn't let up. Legs felt good, very good, and that's a beautiful sign.

September 12, 2006

an improvement over Saturday

Did a quick 3.4 this morning, 2 lower loops of Central Park, then it was time for physical therapy. The run was OK, not spectacular, but at leat a lot steadier than Saturday's run. Lots of leg pain and some tightness in the lungs and tons of coughing, enough I had to walk a couple of times due to coughing fits. But overall, a better, steadier run, especially on the second loop, than Sat. But it felt like five miles.

I honestly don't know how, when, or if I'm going to get past these leg pains. Things are being done to address it, and that's about all I can do, but I am beginning to get that sense of doom again, like back in March or April when I realized I wouldn't be running the Nashville whole marathon. I really don't want to fail to run my town.

Physical therapy is comforting in its familiarity, but it sure as hell hurts right now. Even the powerplate hurt, and that's never happened before. Things have got to turn around soon. If there's time tomorrow afternoon, I'll put in about five miles in the park, and hopefully another three or four Thursday morning. If the pains start to lessen, I'm going to attempt those 16 miles again on Friday. Ambitious, I know, but I don't see me realistically getting a long run in this weekend - travel plans.

On the plus side, the weather right now is just about perfect. Rain is forecast, but I'm hoping that's just a threat, not a promise.

September 10, 2006

I am living this in reverse

The next evening...

Okay, I think the pains, emotional and physical, have faded enough for me to blog this run now. I'm polishing off the last of my Mike's Hard Lemonade, a six-pack of which I've taken more than two months to work through because it's vile, but I refuse to throw out alcohol I paid for.

Later that evening...

Hanging out with my running pal neighbor Mark and his friends was great. He threw a barbecue in honor of his 25th birthday. He ruminated a bit on having reached the quarter-century mark. I allowed as how I could barely remember being 25, though I'm sure I must have been 25 once, doing something vaguely beneficial and mankind, because I vaguely remember giving a fuck back then. Geezus, when the hell happened to me? When did I stop caring? Snakes on a plane...I'm going to bed.

The following takes place between noon and 1:30 p.m.

*snorezzzzzzsnore* Naptime.

9:15 a.m.
For once, I finish not gasping or wheezing or coughing; because I just didn't push that hard in the race. But I'm in a lot of pain and I stop by the med tent in search of Tylenol. To my surprise, Maharam is there and while he doesn't have Tylenol (WTF?), he does look at my stance and foot alignment and tells me to make sure I get an appointment in on Wednesday, when McNeerny (who built the orthotics) will be there and we can all work together. Maharam is as concerned as I am about getting to the marathon starting line in good condition. After this chat, I spend the next hour and forty-five minutes gathering my stuff and trying to get out of the park. The goodie bags for this race were amazing, well worth the entry fee by themselves. The shirts aren't too garish, either. Way to go, Fitness magazine!

I stumble my way back over to the finish line and wait for the ladies to come around on the loop. At 23 minutes, they still haven't appeared, and I can see a good ways down, to about half a mile before the finish. They're slow today, but I'm not surprised; I think the humidity and relatively late start has affected everybody's performance. It sure as hell affected mine.

I start cheering lustily - uh, no...bad association, how about gustily - as the front running women appear. Like pronghorn antelope or gazelles, they go leaping and bounding through the park, appearing effort-free, light, and graceful. Amazing. Even more amazing is that among the first dozen is a little girl of extraordinary ability. (I looked it up - one Elizabeth Briasco, 14, of Forest Hills.) She keeps up running like that, and she'll mature into a world-class runner and every young girl's heroine.

Fifteen minutes later, as I'm shouting at the runners coming in that they have only 200 yards to go and the finish line is the next thing they'll see, I get a cheery wave of recognition from someone I don't recognize. Weird, huh? But I don't see, or don't recognize, the blogger I came out to cheer on. A little later, the first one comes trotting back down the hill from the finish and introduces herself as Debbie, from Terrier Tracks. It was pretty neat meeting her. I was looking for MBee of Incessant Ramblings, but no joy. As I chatted with Debbie, I brushed salt from my arms, quite a bit of it, and some of it wouldn't come off.

Later, I move up the slope toward the finish line and chat with another runner there, a very toned, handsome black guy who is in training for his first marathon, too. As we finished cheering the last of the runners/walkers on, I was hit with the mother of all calf and back part of my thigh. I ended up on the ground with my foot jammed against the curbe straining to hold in a string of curses. I haven't had calf cramps like that since high school and I've never had the back of my thighs cramp up like that. This was like Charley Horse x 2. SUCKED!

As I headed out of the park at last, I was greeted by the runner who'd finished the last mile with me before - he'd just finished up a park loop, to total ten for the day. Did I inspire him, or was that his plan today? Either way, I congratulated him and limped off for the long, long eight block walk to Columbus Circle. I haven't been in so much pain since Nashville, and even that pain was not the same - that was just ill-trained muscles pushed to the limit, but as I hobbled home, my muscles hurt, my joints hurt, my belly hurt, and I'm surprised I didn't pass out. I was in pretty poor shape. I stopped and got a Gatorade and could not believe how salty the first taste was - almost like it was mixed wrong. But it was probably just my body telling me how much I needed salt. And the dark yellow color of my urine tells another part of the story, too.

8:29 a.m.
I wrap up my second loop-of-four and trot over to the baggage area, intending to grab a shot of gel and drink part of my Recoverite; I figure I need it at this point. I am still in a great deal of gastro pain, but having had no luck in the port-a-johns earlier, I knew it would be a waste of time trying to move something out. Though it was 8:29, I figured I had ten minutes to find my stuff and get some gel and fluid in me, so I turn to the mountainous pile of segregated baggage and *BLAAAAAAANH!* the horn for the race goes off. I forget the fuel and fluid and dash off to the start line, late for a race for only the second time ever. I hit the start running, but not fast or well. I'm already in bad shape and the next four miles teaches me a hard, hard lesson. I ended up walking cat hill again and, indeed, most of the hills - I just didn't have the energy. I dump two cups of water in my water bottle at the first tables and continue on. I'm not real thirsty, but know i need water. On the other hand, it isn't HEED or gatorade. :( The next three miles begin to seem very large. By the halfway point at the 102nd street crossover, I have decided it would be futile and foolish to do a full 16 miles today, but the knowledge I now only have two more miles to survive brings no relief. The one thing I'm thankful for is that my lungs themselves are doing OK.

I jog and walk the third mile and it is early in the fourth mile that I overhear some guy asking where the finish is - a valid question as the course wasn't exactly published well. I had found it previously in an unexpected spot NOT on the 72nd street crossover, but rather uphill towards about 68th street on the west side of the park loop. I wait for the guy and tell him where it's at and we run the last half mile together. He spurs me on to my fastest and most consistent half mile of the entire day and I cross the finish line a ittle ahead of him, but just barely under 44 minutes. (Actually, I didn't even look at the clock, I looked up this info later in the day.) All I can think about is the bottle of Recoverite in my baggie.

Episode IV: A New Hope
I come awake before the alarm goes off and try to get out of bed. My stomach hurts and I can tell this might be a problem. But I have an hour before I have to leave the house and maybe I'll have a good BM by then. The gout is gone, banished by two days of Indomethicin. Good stuff. I'm hoping that Thursday's run was a temporary bump, not a harbinger of things to come. (Hah!)

The hour passes as I gather my running stuff and do my morning routine. I go to make a large bottle of HEED for my planned 16 miles and discover I have only enough left to make maybe a half-pint, much to my dismay. I mix it up and fill the bottle full anyhow, having no choice. But now I'll be dealing with mostly water on today's run, instead of sports drink of any kind. *sigh* I leave the house, get to the gas station and grab a coffee, and remember that I'd forgotten my little flask of powersnot. Back to the house.

On the subway to Central park, I look out the windows as the train crosses the Manhattan Bridge and imagine this conversation:

"So, how early didja get up to go run?"
"How early?"
"Like O-dark-thirty?"
"O-dark-fifteen? Man you are hardcore."

I get to the park just as the NYRR crews are setting up. I chat with the baggage area superintendent and he tells me to just put my bag whereever and he'd put it with my number when the numbers got set up. I've chatted with him before, so I trust that. good volunteer, thanks man.

I get going on the first of four planned four-mile loops. It isn't long before I begin having troubles. I'm having trouble adjusting to the re-vamped orthotics - the don't pinch or anything, but the consistent odd footfall is rapidly adding up to some pain. And - more troubling - my gut is killing me. I tough it through the first four miles and notice I'm perspiring heavily, despite the cool temperature - about 67 degrees at the time. The humidity, though, is high - around 80%. I tough through the first four miles, with minor walking, and then take advantage of the still-virgin port-a-johns and try to drop a load and see if that will help this guy pain.

It does not. My day is dropping from below-average to less-than-stellar. I also have a hard time getting the Nike thing to wake up again and continue the workout. In fact, it loses signal again half a mile into the second loop and instead of battling with it like at the NYC Half Marathon, I decide to just turn it off. I think the accelerometer part is not functioning correctly - not sensitive enough to movement.

I walk quite a bit of the second loop and my belly and leg pains have become quite active. I run out of weak HEED and end up on pure water in the last mile. I decide that after the third loop - which will consist of the Fitness Magazine four-mile race - and then maybe walk the final loop today. I am aware that a short race and a long training run don't mix well, but I promised MBee I'd run this one and then stay to cheer on the women runners - plus, how could I pass up what promised to be an easy qualifier? Pay $11, cross the start line, cross the finish sometime later (no time limit that I could find), and a nice goodie bag to boot. So this was my eighth qualifier of the year, according to my excel spreadsheet, and I have at least two more planned - Fifth Avenue mile, Grete's Gallop, and Staten Island Half.

As I finish the second loop and go to get my stuff for some quick re-fueling, I am aware that things have gone terribly wrong today: my orthotics and I were perhaps not ready for a long run in them; I am massively under-fueled and under-electrolyted, a fact which would become even clearer in about an hour, and would still end up under-hydrated as well; and my gastro pain just wasn't going lessening, sorta coming and going in waves. (As it happened, I am finishing up this entry and STILL have the same gastro pain, though it is somewhat less tonight.) I confirm with myself that I am NOT racing this race; just using it for qualifier-accumulating and mileage.

the statistics are interesting: this was not my worst race ever. Qualitatively, it now holds second place as my worst race, bumping Nashville to third, with Manhattan half retaining first place. But according to the numbers, I have run much worse in the past. Fully one-third of my races have been at slower paces. And I have had a lower age-graded percentage, much to my surprise. I didn't place well, of course, with 93% of the field finishing ahead of me - but they were all men. Also, looking at previous races, I have found out that in the last two races, I've finished ahead of at least 50% of the field, a fact that gives me hope at a relatively good marathon run, but one that also points to a field of runners that is slowing down in general. This also was not my slowest four miles by far. Having my lungs on my side is helpful, as far as that goes.

So. Miserable fucking run. Absolutely a waste of a glorious Saturday morning. I could have stayed home and thought about running hard and accomplished better training. And now, with Sportscare therapy added in, I'll be getting up early and going to Maharam's offices every single day next week.

Well, week after this one, I'm off to Seattle, Aslask, Calgary, and environs. I am hoping things turn around and I get some interesting runs in. I want to say I did 18 miles on a cruise ship's 1/8-mile track. I want to run in Sitka. I most especially want to run in Calgary.

September 7, 2006

I am feeling resigned

Well, the gout is back. Isn't that peachy? Lucky for me, it didn't hit til about midday today.

Yesterday, saw Dr. Maharam about my knee and leg pains. He was unhappy about the state of my orthotics and diagnosed runners' knee again. He put some more foam underneath the orthotics and for the rest of the day I felt like I was walking around on balls or something. The alignment is better, but adjusting to it means aches and pains.

In an effort to accelerate adjusting to re-vamped orthotics, I went for a jog this morning. Lying awake at quarter to five ante-meridian, I reflected that my bed was nice and cozy and I really didn't want to get up; that I could just put off my run until this evening, as I'd have plenty of time after work, etc. But then the alarm went off and I prodded myself out of bed to "at least run three miles." Three turned into five, on my flat out-and-back route, and I took my Nike thing to record it.

Rough run; really rough. It wasn't so much the running that was the problem, so much as the weird pains from adjusting to the orthotics and all the dry (and not so dry) heaves all along the route. I could RUN at slightly better than 10 minute pace this morning. But after "heaving-to" several times (and outright puking once), my average pace came to 11:11 per mile. Crap. This is not the way to train for a marathon, but I have to believe it will all pay off.

Still, I really somehow enjoyed this run. Perhaps it was just because for the first time in two weeks, the morning was sunny with a promise of a whole day of sunshine. Just what I need to recharge my motivational batteries!

So then, of course, the gout picks today to start up again. Not bad timing actually, since my next run is Saturday morning - it's quite possible the gout will be done by then. Of course, if it isn't.... then I have a painful 16 miles in my future. And that will REALLY test my resolve!