Dec 30, 2011

2011 Is Over

2011 was my first full year "running". I developed a passion for running which continues to grow. I ran nine races this year with my major being the Hartford ING Marathon in October. Two races that I consider my best  were the Iron Horse Half Marathon in June and the Malibu Fitness 5k on Thanksgiving day. Both were personal record runs and couldn't have gone better. I have signed up for races in 2012 and hope to do much more than 2011. Right now I expect to run in two marathons, four half marathons, and a ton of short races. Depending on how the Hyannis Marathon goes I may even try a 30 mile Ultra in April.

If I had to pick a running goal in 2012 it would be to improve time. I don't expect to get significantly faster but should be able to shorten average running times by 5-10%. It all depends on this nagging achilles issue. As long as that clears up during January the rest of the year should be a breeze.

Dec 26, 2011

Holiday Notes and Big Run

Christmas is basically over and its time to get back to a normal routine. We had a great Christmas with Kate and Aiden living here with us. Aiden had a ball waiting for Santa Claus and enjoying all the mystique around that tradition. During December Chris always played Christmas Carols in her car so Aiden learned many of the lyrics. When we drive around he is especially good at "The 12 Days of Christmas" but also can sing along with the Muppets and Polar Express. Fun to hear and it makes you feel good to listen in. Its great that he is really enjoying a stable life and even greater to see Katelyn enjoying her son as he grows. Christmas morning was typical with everyone over for a big breakfast and opening gifts. Chris and I cooked which everyone enjoyed.
The Big Breakfast-2011
The kids had fun playing with all the new treasures they received from Santa and us. A bit noisy but great to watch as proud grandparents.
Aiden and Britton attacking the stockings!
In the afternoon we all went to Pat & Dons for the family luncheon and party. We played games, ate a big late lunch, and generally enjoyed the day. By nighttime all were very tired and ready to kick back and relax.

On Christmas Eve day I planned a long run. My right lower leg was a little sore but figured I could still do my run. I needed a 20+ miler at this time as part of my training for the Hyannis Marathon in February. I planned my meals as if I were actually running the marathon. I started slow and made sure I kept the pace slower than my race pace. It felt good especially through 10 miles. I noticed when I did stop the lower leg pain was a bit worse. Something told me I was doing some harm. But I had to get back home so on I went. Running was good. No difficulties. I kept reciting words from the motivational videos I watched the night before. That made it easy when the running was getting tougher. In the end I did 21 miles at an average pace of 10:14. Really good. But later in the day my Achilles swelled up and the pain became worse. After some easy research it was apparent I had Achilles Tendinitis. Not good and my fear was that I was close to tearing the Achilles. Therefore I went into leg "shutdown" and did as much as possible to stop using/flexing my lower leg. Iced it and kept it elevated when possible. As I write this it is day 2 and now I have Ibuprofen, Vitamin E, and Lysine...all recommended to help recovery. Two days off is normal after a  long run but I have accepted the fact I will not run until completely healed. Days or weeks....whatever is needed because I can't afford to do more damage. I do feel it is getting better with less burning pain and the swelling seems a bit less. 
My run record for the long one.......

Thats all for now and hopefully I'll be able to run in 5 days for the January 1st Joe Vailonis Memorial 8 miles. 



Dec 17, 2011

New York City-Annual Holiday Trip

Once again we traveled to New York City for some sightseeing and holiday fun. The first stop was the 9/11 Memorial to see the new waterfalls and the progress on the new buildings. Even though 10 years past that terrible day I am still moved when I think of the poor people in the towers and on all the planes who were unknowing victims of a very sick group of radical Muslims. This country must never forget and always be on guard so it cannot happen again.

Quite a dramatic memorial. It was a cold day and the trees had lost their leaves. It will be a beautiful yet somber place to visit in warmer weather. There are two huge waterfall/pools each at the site of the original two towers. They are the size and shape of the original North and South towers.
South Tower Waterfall. Chris, Katelyn,Aiden

It was a dramatic display and really hit home when you realize there were two towering structures ten years ago. In between the waterfalls was the actual museum which is still under construction. Inside you can see the famous steel frame left standing after the collapse. That will be the focal point because those beams are basically the signature image after the collapse. Security was high and we noted the large number of police and security roaming around the memorial. It was crowded with Americans and foreigners just observing, commenting, and remembering that terrible day.
The new towers are going up. I believe five in all. Tower #1, the highest, is completed up to the 90th floor. Impressive structure that will top off at 1776 feet and be the tallest building in America. It can be seen in the photos above in the background.

While in the city we ventured over to the American Museum of Natural History on the upper west side. Aiden had fun seeing dinosaurs and sitting through a Hayden Planetarium show. 
One of the dinosaurs at the museum.
In the evening we went down to Times Square. Aiden was amazed at the lights and large screens. The 2012 New Years Eve ball was in place and lit in preparation for the big night just two weeks away. The Naked Cowboy and many other street performers were there to entertain. Aiden loved it all.

Times Square
We all had a good time and saw many sites. Always good to get away and do something fun and educational. I'm sure we'll be back down to NYC soon.



Dec 2, 2011

RSNA is over...Christmas can begin

The RSNA(Radiologic Society of North America) meeting is finally over. The annual trek to Chicago was a success and many new possibilities for our business were identified. This morning I woke up with a cold and slight laryngitis. One of the pitfalls of meeting and shaking hands with hundreds of people.
Our booth

Main hall at McCormick Place


Each year after the meeting I come home to finish decorations and setup the tree. We did that tonight. Meg and jason took a night off to go to the casino therefore we have Britton overnight for the first time. Aiden is here as well. All of us, Kate, Britton, Aiden, Chris and I had fun setting up the tree. Aiden actually managed to hang ornaments this year. It was great to share this tradition with the grand kids. I hope it remains in their memories. Britton was funny because he knows a few basic words but does not know how fragile ornaments are. He protested when pulled away from the tree but still had a good time.
After we setup the tree I took this picture(on left) of Chris and the boys. We are glad to be able to share these times, have some laughs, and hopefully teach them what families are all about. Next year we'll have our third with the addition of Adylin in January. But for 2011 its all about the boys.

Nov 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011-Racing and Family

Thanksgiving 2011 is coming to a close. It was a busy day starting with a 5K road race at 6:45am and the big family gathering in the afternoon. It was a great day.

The Race....I ran the Malibu Fitness 5K road race in Farmington. I had recently learned of this race which fit perfectly into my Thanksgiving schedule. I cook the turkeys each year and that process starts at 8am so any race had to be very early. This 5K was perfect for me because I needed to test myself on a short course and I have been running well in the 3-5 mile distances. It was cold with the temperature hovering around 30f. This also meant there were ice patches out there. Everything worked.....I felt good, I ran well and at a good pace, and the roads were not crowed even though 700+ entered. Results are at this link. My time was 24m 34s which is a personal record for me. I came in 155th place out of 713 finishers. Also was 18th of 71 in my age group. Those stats are goof because typically I place in the 50 percentile. A good race. Rose, from our running group, came in 1st in her age group of 60-69 year old.

The rest of the day went well with the family coming over for the big Thanksgiving dinner.
The Thanksgiving dinner
We all had a great day. Its great to have our daughters and grandkids together with the other relatives. The kids played and we all had lots of laughs. I did the turkeys and mashed potatoes as usual and both came out better than ever. Chris did everything else from side dishes, deserts, managing the long table, etc. Getting that table setup was a big goal since we never sit together at family functions. She squeezed it into our sun room with little free space around it. I planned the photo but screwed up the flash. But thankfully we edited and shaded the picture for the result above.

This shot was random and I hammed it up. The potatoes are always the focus of the meal because of the large amount I make each year. This year was 14lbs. Meghan couldn't resist the photo-op.
14lbs of potatoes with 3 1/2 lbs of butter!
It was a great "family" day which makes great memories and reminds us to be thankful for what we have.



Nov 16, 2011

Back On Track

This is a good "run" week with solid morning runs. It feels good again as it did just prior to the marathon. My pace is 9/mi or better without much effort. I've adjusted my diet because it was becoming apparent some old bad habits had creeped in. Such as devouring massive amounts of peanuts, having more bad snacks(donuts, cookies), and generally being lax. I started measuring food content for vitamins and other key nutrients to make sure the daily intake is balanced and matching my caloric output.

Today I did the following route (Bristol/St Paul 6 miles) easily. I think this will become my most common morning run because of its length and the fact it has two medium hills at 2 and 4 miles. Good practice run.

This winter I will enter a variety of races to stay fresh but now I'm starting to review the spring/summer races. I want to do more half marathons and 10ks. There are plenty to choose from. The Brickyarders are going strong and will be a helpful part of my training going forward. Fun as well.

Last I am including this screen shot of my official time at the Hartford Marathon. Nice summary of key stats.

Nov 12, 2011

Brickyarders

My Saturday long run was a bit different than usual today.  I hooked up with the "Brickyarders" and ran 10+ miles. Lee Bradley, Rose Famiglietti, and Leah Crown were the regular runners that invited me in. This group has run together here and in races for a long time. I'm glad I was able to join them. The recent storm created a mess in Farmington, where they usually run, so they ran through neighborhoods in Wethersfield. Around 40F and sunny it was a great run with wide open roads and nice mix of small hills, a park, and casual conversation. Lee and I shared stories of our similar pasts in regards to running and computers. I like the group and hope to run in future Brickyarder outings.

I signed up for the HTC 8K Cross Country Challenge next week. I have minimal trail running experience except for approximately 1 mile during a partial trail run last year. This race will be interesting and a test of my ability. I don't expect anything too dramatic and should do OK. That race is one of many I plan on doing trough the winter as part of my training for the Hyannis Marathon which I signed up for last night.


February 26 which gives me about 15 weeks to prepare. I have to shoot for a sub 4 hour time. Lee sent me this link to a sub 4 marathon plan. I will follow it closely although I expect to run a few additional miles than the plan calls for. All in all a good day and now I'm off to plan my marathon training.

Nov 10, 2011

The Surprise Snow Storm of 2011

On October 29, 2011 we had snow.....not just any snow but a big, wet, blowing storm that wreaked havoc across Connecticut. It was a Saturday and we were having a family get together for Chris's parents. The predictions were bad but because often storms are way over blown I assumed it would be "no big thing". Boy was I wrong. It came fast and stuck to the trees like super glue. By 5pm things were already breaking.
Rt 6 in Bristol around 4PM.
Besides downed trees the roads were slick










Before the party ended around 8pm our maple in front had split and fallen into the road. As people left the final large branch fell as well. About 20" total snowfall.
The maple Meghan and I planted 20 years ago.
Throughout the night, without power, we listened to creaking trees and then falling trees. Scary time because as you listened to a large falling tree in the dark, you had no idea if it was heading for the house. In the morning the devastation was widespread. Our neighbors had much more damage than us. Our ornamental trees took the biggest hit.

Our neighbors driveway completely blocked.
We spent 9 days without real power but provided heat and lights with a generator. No cable or phone for 12 days. Regardless of the mess I went out running everyday. Surreal to run in complete darkness with the sound of generators everywhere.

Really awkward time for all. Today final cleanup is underway and the highway crew is picking up piles of branches. The town is back in business although a little messy.







Oct 23, 2011

What next?

Its been a week since I finished the Hartford Marathon. Sunday and Monday were recovery days. Tuesday was my first time back on the street which turned out to be a pleasant surprise. I figured two miles because my legs would be weak or sore. I started the run at a slow pace and noticed my legs felt great. At the end of two I decided to do three....then four....then ended after five miles. My body and legs felt fantastic. On Wednesday my run was six miles and normal as ever.....like I hadn't run a marathon just days before. In other words...I was back to normal. Since then I have run normal morning distances with a ten miler on Saturday. Feeling this good just raised my confidence way up so the search for new races began. My running club is sponsoring a 8K trail run in two weeks. I am already scheduled at the Burlington 5K road/trail run next Sunday.

After the Burlington race I need definitely scheduled races throughout the winter so I stay motivated. I will run the Hartford Marathon next year and will break four hours. Just have to train smarter and harder next summer.

Another "What's next" will be new shoes. I am using the Saucony minimalist shoes for basic road running but need a regular shoe that works well on trails. I'm researching that now. 

Did more "door-to-door" campaigning this weekend. Great to meet and speak with residents. Most are very happy with how the town runs. All republicans seem to have broad base support even with Democrats. Two more weeks until the election. Its been a busy fall but beats sitting around doing nothing.


Oct 16, 2011

The 2011 Hartford Marathon

I did it! Yesterday I completed the 2011 Hartford Marathon which is my second and I'm happy with the results. I missed my goal of finishing in four hours but not by much.
Finish!
Actual time was 4h 13m.



The weather was perfect and the entire race from registration to caring for finishers at the end was well done. My time was 4h 13m. Not bad considering that is 8 minutes faster than my first marathon 28 years ago(Ocean State Marathon). Mike and Mollie came in at 4h 2m which was on plan for them.
Aiden with me after the finish

I prepared well by loosely following several marathon training guides. I had been in "taper mode" the past two weeks and adjusted my nutrition as well. Friday night I could not stop thinking of the race, how I would do things, and how I could push myself at the end. Therefore I wasn't well rested. Good thing I was sleeping more in the days prior to the race. Saturday I woke at 4am and had a light breakfast of whole grain toast, coffee, a banana, and two egg whites. I wanted some energy but didn't want to over do the food volume. I headed out at 5am for Hartford. Got to a close by parking lot as did many other runners. To kill time I went over to the park to watch the setup and then up to the XL center. Grabbed another coffee at the Starbucks then back to the car for final preparations. Once all organized I headed to meet Mike, Mollie, and Denise.

The race was crowded with @10,000 runners lined up because the half and full marathon runners started together. It was exciting. Between the heightened anticipation and the extra coffee I was jittery and ready to go. We started at 8:00am. The first few miles were through downtown and easy. My pace kept getting faster and I had to force myself to slow down. When I looked at my Garmin it was near 8/mile which was way too fast. I would slow down then creep back to the fast pace. After about 7 miles I settled down to an 8:50ish pace. The course twists and turns through Hartford and along the Connecticut river. Great park down by the river. Once we crossed into East Hartford I realized it was time to get focused for now we had a long out and back route to South Windsor. I was doing great staying close to a 9/mile pace. That was the game plan all along. As I headed north on the main course the professional runners were already coming back towards Hartford. I didn't see Solomon Too the first place male at 2:21 but I did see Erica Jessman, the first female who finished at 2:45. The final turn back to Hartford was around 17 miles which was a welcome sight but also a motivator because that's what I considered the final stretch. I was good and passed Mike and Mollie who were still going north towards the turn. But at 19 miles my foot started hurting. Inside sole was sore. Not a twist or sprain but just sore. I was slowing down and getting tired. Eventually Mike and Mollie caught me and went on ahead. I was OK though but too focused on my foot and legs. As I was passing 22 miles I started short breaks of walking......just couldn't keep it going. But started up running again with occasional walking breaks mostly around the water tables. Then I turned after 23 miles towards Hartford. Looking at the office buildings I realized the end was near. It motivated me to work at finishing strong. I was beat and it became clear that in the future I must incorporate a 23-24 mile training run. But I crossed the river and was in downtown now within a mile of the finish. I struggled to pick up speed so I could make up and seconds/minutes lost from my walking. I came around the corner and saw the finish line and the timer was at 4h 12m which was great to see. That meant I beat my 1983 time at Ocean State yet at 57 years old. That was the best part of the day. I was glancing left and right down the finish shhot trying  to find Chris, Kate, and Aiden. I ran across the finish line overcome with emotion that had built up over the prior 13 months of training....I did it!

They handed me the foil warmth wrapper....I went over for a long drink from the water fountain.....received my metal and then stood there in a daze. Relishing the fact I accomplished an significant task of running 26.2 miles after years for poor physical condition. It felt good.

Soon Chris and the kids found me. Aiden had his little sign and was running around excited. I was thrilled. Then disaster started to set in.....I was very weak and extremely light headed. I didn't tell Chris at that moment but felt something serious was wrong. I laid down. I was very dizzy and disorientated. I couldn't even sit up. I laid there for about 20 minutes while Kate found some food. I believe two things happened(which I need to remember for my next marathon). First, even though I drank at the water stops, I was severely dehydrated. Second, I only consumed two "gels" and not Gatorade during the race. The last gel was around 14 miles and only half at that. I believe my energy stores were gone. I should have had a gel or two more between 14 miles and 24 miles. Stupid. Or at least drank more Gatorade. Live and learn or should I say almost die and learn!

I recovered within the hour to feeling good with just sore legs and back. The cheeseburger Kate found for me was great.

Link to results:
https://s3.amazonaws.com/bazu-static/iframe/hart2011-txt-results.html

I'm thrilled with my overall performance. For my age and training I am satisfied with this marathon and now am ready to move on to another. I know I can be sub 4 hours with a bit more training.

My final stats:
1168 place of 2308 finishers.  Official time is 4h 13m 22s. My half time was 1h54m. My 20 mile time was 3h 2m. My overall pace was 9:40/mile. I also came in 45th of 85 in my 55-59yo age group.


Oct 4, 2011

Today's run is what I need on October 15th

Great run this morning. Just a good feeling 7.4 mile run that was random, unplanned, and surprisingly good. This was needed at a time of big stress in my life and the past few runs were not great. I actually started to worry about the marathon and how I would perform. But today was a pace that I expect and was doing in the past month. Not sure what made the difference so I will be re-tracing what I did and ate yesterday to find a clue.


Between the election, family stress, job stress, and just plain busy it will be a miracle if I can muster the energy and self confidence to have a four hour marathon. I must reach that goal after the time I put into training.

I'm officially a member of the Hartford Track Club. I want to get involved but this is not a good week. They hold many fun runs in the area so I should join them. 

Oct 3, 2011

"Occupy Wall Street"...is misguided.



This impromptu "world protest" is an odd distraction from real issues of the day like the economy, politics, and terrorism. I'm trying to understand what the goal is here. Misguided beliefs about what is good and bad for this country. Mostly young college students protesting against capitalism even though most are there because of capitalism. They have ipads, cell phones, college educations, etc. I'm sure the vast majority drive cars and use most forms of entertainment. If they were funded by their parents it was because of capitalism.

All the outrage is against large companies, banks, Wall Street, and wealthy Americans. They tout being the "99%" which represent the non-wealthy. Do they realize that the wealthy pay the majority of taxes to support the entitlement programs, public services, and national security? Do they realize that those taxes fund the majority of educational grants, scientific research, "green" programs, etc?

Its comical to watch the interviews. These protesters sound delusional, uninformed, or even high on something. They talk of starting small cities and governments within their protest camps. Huh? Now it appears the liberals that support President Obama are equating this to the Tea Party movement because its "protesting". There is no comparison in my view. The Tea Party incarnation was a reaction to larger government, a movement away from the principles set out by our founding fathers, and increased taxes being wasted. The Tea Party is not a major political party but people have come together to influence other Americans. They understand how our society and political process works. They are exercising their rights with peaceful protest and demonstrations. They are not blocking streets or businesses and they are coherent in the process. The Obama supporters should be cautious to claim the Occupy Wall Street movement is equal, because it has all the signs of burning out rapidly and actually developing a very negative image. If the Obama supporters claim ownership it will increase the disgust with the administration.

People in this country must stop attacking capitalism and instead embrace it. Capitalism is a reflection of a very free society and is the reason America remains the most successful country in history. Basically "don't bite the hand that feeds you".

Sep 24, 2011

Hogsback Half Marathon.....OK but not my best

Just finished the Hogsback Half Marathon in Colebrook, CT. I completed the race in 1h 59m 55s. Just inder 2 hours. I found a burst of energy as I approached the finish line and saw the timer at 1h 59m. I was determined to stay under two hours. Its a great race through state forests and it finishes right on top of the Goodwin Dam. All country roads with little traffic. The roads followed the Farmington River. Today was a very humid and somewhat hot day which slowed me down. I prepared well with training, nutrition, etc and I stayed hydrated throughout the race but didn't set a personal record. The good news is that the sub 2 hour time is good considering the hill at the end, the humidity, and the fact I walked through each water station to drink. So 1:59:55 isn't bad with all those issues impacting the run.

Cool Running Results for Hogsback Half

There were about 200 runners in all which apparently was their best turnout in the 11 years.  Some dropped out. I came in 70th place which isn't bad. One amazing runner was a woman who is 7 months pregnant! And her time was just over 2 hours. Even though a small race it was well run. Plenty of food after as well. The Hartford Track Club people made it a fun day. I joined the club this week and will soon be participating in many of their runs.
Hogsback Half Marathon start. 9/24/2011

View from top of the dam where the finish line was located.


Overall a good prep before the Hartford Marathon in Oct. I did have a pasta dinner last night and planned my breakfast so I had the right amount of carbs in me. My preparation today showed me how to prep for the marathon. Looking forward to it.

Sep 18, 2011

Four weeks until the Hartford Marathon. Saturday I ran 18 miles in an unorganized random way. I just started running not sure what distance I would cover or where I would go. I started down towards ESPN as usual at a slow pace. I averaged 9min/mile but not intentionally. So I felt good after 5 miles and decided to turn left towards Forestville and Plainville. At that point I listened to my music and just ran. As I left Plainville I headed to Farmington again without a plan....just running. Overall a good long run that too 2h 44m. As usual I struggled around mile 17 which I've accepted as my "wall".
Hogsback Half Marathon Sept 24th
The Hogsback Half Marathon next Saturday is my next race and a good distance. No longs runs until the marathon so that half will be perfect. Then just normal 4-6 mile daily runs until Oct 15th. I know my pace, nutrition, etc so I'm ready.

Today I rested the legs. No run. But Chris, Kate, and I took Aiden to the Big E in Springfield MA. The northeast's premier fall fair. We spent the whole day eating, checking out the sites, going on rides, etc. Great day in great weather. It's wonderful to spend quality time with Kate and Aiden. No issues or stress...just good fun.


Sep 15, 2011

Running for Selectman begins this week

My two year term as a selectman for Burlington flew by. This week is sort of the start of the election season now that Tavern Day is over. Signs are being printed and starting to pop up around town. Meetings are underway, door-to-door visits are being planned and we are all fine tuning our talking points. I enjoyed serving the town and having a say on issues, planning, and celebrations. Taxes have been kept at a minimum while at the same time we accomplishing things like aquiring a new fire truck, pushed through the water line for businesses, repaired senior housing and the library, improved recreational facilities. When the details are reviewed its clear we improved the town.

As this election season begins we are already seeing the vandals attack only republican signage. Sad. But those vandals cannot change our record. Even though the labor union and a handful of others are trying to tarnish our accomplisments we are not concerned. The public sees that we had no real controversies.

The current state of the Obama administration will likely help our efforts. People are more in tune with issues, doing homework on the web, and making decisions on records not fluff. The fact that jobs are scarce, money tight, taxes are going up, and the world losing respect for the US after three years of President Obama will have people seeking new ways to govern with new people. Conservatives are working to bring back tried and true principles both fiscally and morally. Time for the country to make some tough but smart decisions and return us to the great society we once were.

Sep 3, 2011

First 20 miler

Today I got the first long training run in before the marathon. I had been thinking of this one for a long time and just couldn't get it scheduled. I prepared for this by watching the diet, getting rest, and a different pre-run breakfast. Still experimenting so that I have a solid plan for the actual marathon in October.

Rested yesterday and cut back on the "sweets". Nothing in the evening except for some Cheerios. This morning I got up at 4am and immediately ate a banana with my one coffee. Recently I've noticed my runs were tougher and other running blogs mentioned bananas, etc pre-run. Just before leaving the house I downed about 12oz of water. A change this week was I didn't take my running belt and water bottle. The belt bothered me and I could stop for Gatorade on the run.



When the run began I had no idea where I was going. Might seem odd but I decided to play it by ear as I ran. In the end I made a big loop that touched five towns before heading home. Mostly flat and at 5:20am the traffic was light. Surprisingly I felt great most of the way. The last two miles were not pretty. I was running out of steam even though I downed a Gel at mile 13 and had drank plenty of fluids. And at 19.66 miles my right knee gave out and hurt. Almost dropped to the ground but I limped a while and worked through it. I have no idea what that was. As I got closer to home it was fine.
Had to take a shot of my Garmin since I feel its a big milestone in my training. Don't be fooled by the 8:30 pace. That was a quick run in that final .1 mile. Average pace overall was 9:34 during the 3h 12m run. I'm OK with that although I want to be closer to 9:00.

I can check off a significant training run that has given me confidence I can do a decent job with the full Hartford Marathon. Only 6 more weeks of training until the big day.

Aug 27, 2011

Good run resulted in sore legs

I completed my first run with my new Saucony Kinvara shoes. Nice feel to them and definitely different.


During the run I noticed a few small pains and changes in how I placed my feet. Near the end during mile 12 I developed some severe pain in my left foot where the toes join the metatarsals. First thought was I fractured something because I couldn't run. Terrible thoughts being so close to the marathon. But I gingerly kept going although slower and within a quarter mile the pain dissipated. Another development was that my calve muscles definitely got a workout because they are sore. So I was running more on the ball of my foot. Soreness is worth it because it means I am running better. Since only August I'll have time to strengthen those muscles on subsequent runs.

Today's total was 13.2 miles with a time of 1:56 and average pace of 8:57. That is very good for me considering my first half marathon in the spring was 2:15. I must get my average pace down to 8:30 but that may be nearly impossible with 7 weeks until the marathon.

Aug 26, 2011

New running shoes, hurricane, and my 13.1 mile challenge

I needed new running shoes before the marathon and the tax free week in Connecticut was all the incentive I needed to buy them now. So I headed down to Fleet Feet in West Hartford to let the experts help me out. After reading "Born To Run" and other articles I knew the "minimalist" style was worth trying. It made sense that all the technology and cushioning in standard running shoes wasn't as advantageous as it appeared. After discussing my running style and history with the sales person I looked at a Brooks shoe and a Saucony shoe. She let me try both on and even go outside for a run. At first I thought that was an odd request until I went outside and saw three others testing shoes. I was inundated with information regarding stride type, plastic used in the shoes, the fabric, when to use them and when not. After all that and some thought I went with the Saucony Kinvara. I will break them slowly on some 3-6 mile runs and then save them for races. Very light and thin soled. Good start in the minimalist realm.

Saucony Kinvara shoes I purchased
The hype over Hurricane Irene is out of control. Yes its big and yes it has winds of 100mph. But that is two days away. It has to go over land and colder water before getting to us. I suspect it will be a tropical storm before long.


Thankfully Saturday will be clear and I can get in my long run of the week. The past two weeks I've done 18+mile runs. Time to shorten that for a while. I plan on a 13.1(half marathon) to test myself. In recent weeks my pace/mile has improved and for many miles. I would like to do a half marathon time of 1:50. I think I can do it. Tonight I'm eating lightly and no snacks. Tomorrow hopefully I'll wake up energized and ready to beat my old time. Even if I don't it will be a perfect long, but not too long, workout.

Aug 14, 2011

Good long run this week.

Saturdays are always my "long" day. That is the weekly run for endurance. Typically its 12-14 miles and I do OK. The weather yesterday was great and I had lots of time. It was in the high 50's when I started out at 5:00am. Had my Gatorade on the belt and a target in the next town that if achieved would be a round trip close to 20 miles. I focused on trying to maintain a 9:00min/min pace. A goal I have for the upcoming Hartford Marathon in October. The run couldn't have gone better. I was maintaining the pace with some splits sub-9 min. No issues and light traffic. At 9 miles I felt some thing sticking to my shoe. I ignored it. after another mile I took the earphones out and heard a "clicking". I had to stop. Sticking in my shoe was a screw bit adapter for a drill. About 1" long and a straight puncture in the middle of my shoe. It didn't reach my foot thank God. I pulled it out and went on my way. No big deal but it killed any interest in running barefoot!!

I got back up to my target pace and went all the way to 18.25 miles. Good training run that could have been longer. Regardless of my recent claim to drop the iPod and run silent, I have started using music again because I find it keeps me focused on the beat of the music instead of evaluating my every move and ache. I have fine tuned the playlist to be all hard rock and industrial. A strong beat and "metal" genre keep me revved up. After this run I'm encouraged and feel confident the next 9 weeks of training will go well.


Map and stats of the run from Garmin:
Saturday 18+ mile run


Today I skipped running to rest the legs. I had gotten away from "rest" days and felt my times and endurance was decreasing. Now that I returned to a resting day I feel much better each Monday/Tuesday.

We are almost done with my new office in the basement. That will be much better for cooling down after a run. No need to move around the upstairs with sweat dripping off me. Also can ditch the running clothes without stinking up the house. Chris, Don, and I have put a lot of work into changing the old room into a really nice office and storage room for Chris. Pics to follow once done.

Aug 12, 2011

Training showing results

Even though its been extremely hot and humid in August I've tried to train hard prior to the October marathon. My Garmin site shows that my average pace/mile is falling. Each run usually has at least one sub 9:00/mi split and sometimes two. Those splits above 9:00/mi are usually in the low "9s". To reach my goal of a 4 hour marathon I must maintain a 9ish/mi pace. I went back to using my iPod because it does help me keep my pace up. Running in the morning quiet was great but the music does help. Will I continue using music? Don't know.

Jul 30, 2011

Back on track with running....but tired of Budgetgate

I headed out a little after 5 am for a long run without a definite distance, course, or plan. Just my Gatorade on the belt, one gel pack, and a positive attitude. The weather was great because the humidity was down. My attitude was "take advantage of this to start longer runs". I did. After a random course out towards ESPN and back I completed 14 miles. I was temped to go farther but decided not to push it. Taking it slow with a steady increase as the Hartford Marathon gets closer. If I can do a 20 miler by end of August I will be happy.

Posting more on Twitter now because so many runners and people training are there. I'm following some in Europe who post their run maps. Fascinating to see the routes in other countries. Plenty of funny tweets as well so it an entertaining few minutes when reviewing what has been posted.

The budget news is getting to everyone. Unreal politics in play with the back and forth between the House and Senate. Its simple.....cut back spending and have a balanced budget. Who can argue with that? Regardless of what is said there are plenty of goofy programs we don't need. Another reality that we need to face is some "OK" programs may have to be cutback. Taxpayors can't be expected to foot the bill for everything and relying on the rich isn't fair nor is it the best answer. The "rich" are actually small businesses. Penalize them and the economy suffers.

Politicians need to do whats right for the country and stop playing the game.

Jul 21, 2011

Hot-Hot-Hot

Last couple of days have been very hot for running. The temp is only in the high '60s but the still humid air in the mornings have been rough. I'm drinking plenty of water and being very cautious as I run. Even though the conditions are bad I still get 5-6 miles in each day. Tomorrow will be a light day around 4-5miles. Saturday will be another long run in the 12 mile range.

I've been running without music for two weeks. Love it. Especially on the quiet back roads. One thing I've noticed is amy times are faster. Can this be because I'm focused on pace and not the beat of the music? On Tuesday I ran 6 miles with splits all well under 10 min/mi and one even under 9 min/mi. If I can get the majority of my miles around 9 minutes I will do well in the marathon.

I've also started to run "lighter" meaning I don't have the iPod, phone, etc with me. Heading in the minimalist direction. In preparation for the upcoming marathon I have backed off on the excess food and the evening snacks. This could result in losing a few pounds so I'm eating more fruit as snacks during the day.

Staying on track with the training.....only about 11 weeks to go until the big day!

Jul 13, 2011

Vacation update

More than halfway through the vacation and enjoying every aspect. Running every day and doing activities with the grandsons. I've run each morning averaging 6+ miles each time. Key development is...no music!! I have not used my iPod once yet and really enjoying it. Might be through forever with music especially if I continue on country/wood runs. Now that my summer activities are settling I have to get more serious about training for the marathon in October. Another development this week is I tried barefoot running. Interesting to say the least and enticing. But the reality of my town is that winter running will prevent me from being barefoot 365 days a year. So its onto minimalist shoes.

Cape Cod has been great. Went on a whale watch and saw many in the feeding area off Provincetown MA.

The pictures came out better than expected and I might have a few choice examples for my office wall. Also had a great day with just Chris in Wellfleet. Had a nice lunch and some easy going shopping.

The last two days of the vacation will be beach days and maybe a Nantucket trip. Just taking it day by day. Just have to squeeze in one long run.

Jul 9, 2011

Vacation time

I'm relaxing on the bed in our rented house in Orleans Mass. On vacation with our kids and grandchildren. Long day that started with a great 13.1 mile run through the hills in Burlington. Garmin map/info here. I decided to run the hills at 5am where it was very quiet and peaceful. No iPod. Just running and thinking. It was a great 2 hour run...one of my better ones. After Chris and I packed up and headed out for Orleans. We had a nice dinner at Arnold's in Eastham and just sat around on the deck after enjoying a wonderful summer evening. Aiden and Britton were great entertainment. Chris and I are very happy our whole family will be here on vacation again. Just like two years ago.

Tomorrow I'll go for another run but not a long one. Maybe Monday I'll shoot for 8 miles. This week off will be a great training week.

Jun 25, 2011

Its been a few weeks.....

It's been a few weeks since I've posted anything. Been busy but running non-stop.

In recent weeks I've done long runs on Saturdays. Last week 16.8mi and today 16.2. Last weeks run was OK but became a mess at mile 14 where I had huge hills to run up. Something wasn't right and I think it was diet combined with downing a gel during the run. I'm reading up on how I can eat better before and during long runs. The final downer last week was that my iPod Nano died at mile 15. But the next day Chris gave me a Garmin 110 for Father's Day.

The Garmin.....very happy to finally have one and perfect for my needs.

Tracks everything and produces some very nice data about each run. Better quality info than what Nike+ provided. Here is a sample data set from a run. I also bought an iPod Shuffle. Simple, small, lightweight. I realized that I only listen to one playlist and never watched video or pictures so why spend the money. Works great but today it ran out of power fast. Last night it was plugged in to charge but the switch was "on" and the laptop timed out preventing charging. Therefore 10+ miles was without music. I rarely run without it. Very enjoyable run being so quiet and peacful. I may try more runs without it.

I'm at the point where Ihave to get serious about my marathon training. The Hartford Marathon is 14 weeks away. I'm OK but to achieve my goal of 4 hours I've got some serious training to do.

Jun 3, 2011

Long Week that is finally over

What a week. A short one after the holiday but with many headaches. I started by driving to Philadelphia Monday night(a holiday) for a Tuesday morning meeting with Einstein Medical Center. We presented the plan for replacing the trauma room x-ray equipment. The medical staff was not happy to hear of a 3-4 week shut down. They finally understood the need for the badly needed upgrade. From there we went down to Temple University Hospital where our x-ray room installation was stalled due to problems. Some were electronic and one was because we installed the tube crane so that anyone walking in would hit the x-ray tube with the door. Not good and potentially costly to us. Easy human mistake that we need prevent in the future.
Wednesday I flew to Washington DC for the SIIM show. Two of my new salespeople lived in the area and could also attend. They met their colleagues and learned about our products. Very positive interaction between them and some customers they knew stopped by to find out what was new at Fuji. While there I found another tea store. Capital Teas. Nice selection of teas and I purchased some Dragonwell. Am I obsessed with green tea? Probably? But it's healthy.
Now I can kick back, relax, and spend time focusing on the half marathon this Sunday. Reading up on how best to prep for the race. Planning meals, finding best ways to rest my legs, and everything else needed to have a successful run. I had a good 6.2 mile run this morning.
Planning for a big race is worse that planning a vacation.
What I need for Sunday.....
-ID bands
-Carb Gels
-Nipguards(embarrassing but necessary)
-iPOD review for a proper music list
-Washed all my running shorts/shirts so I have options
-Meals must be planned
-Checking sites for race number pick up, rules,checking the maps for the route
-etc, etc, etc

After all that....I'm stocked up, feel good, and running with confidence....I think I'm ready.

May 27, 2011

One week until the next half marathon

One week away from the Iron Horse Half Marathon. This one is a real test of my training and general condition. It will also be my way to determine the training needed before my marathon in the fall. There probably will be more races through the summer but this one will be my baseline. The New Bedford Half was my first and I came in a few seconds over 2 hours. My goal in the Iron Horse is to make it in 1h:50m. Shouldn't be a problem. But tomorrow will be my last long training run over 10 miles. If all works out I hope to do at least a 12 miler and maybe a full 13.1. Flat and along the river in Simsbury this course is perfect for me to set a PR of under 2 hours. Some of this course is actually the same as the 5K I ran last month. Plus this race is at 7:00am which is better for me since I train with only morning runs.

I am prepared with better gear. First I finally found the right pack for carrying music, keys, etc at Amphipod. This looks perfect for size and is soft for comfort. Doesn't look as bulky as others.
These products are carried by Fleet Feet in West Hartford. I went there for the first time and was pleasently surprised. All running and staffed by runners. Very busy place and when you see the products on display one understands why. Everything a runner could want. They even carry nipple protectors. Two weeks ago after a 12 miler my shirt had blood down the front. I guess I'm a real runner because my nipples were bleeding which I had read about but never experienced. They carry NipGuards.
Apparently they work well based on reviews. I'll find out on Saturday morning. I also bought a new set of ear phones that wrap on my ears. Should be more durable and wind resistant.







I've had some good runs this week even though its been warm and humid. The amount of perspiration is amazing. I'm drenched when finished each day. This week will be all work in preparation for the Iron Horse next Sunday.

May 22, 2011

Shine On 5K race in Burlington

Today was the 1st annual Shine On 5K Road Race in memory of Karen DuCotey. Karen was a young school teacher in Burlington who lost her life in 2010. She was a popular teacher who at 30 years old died way too soon and shocked those who knew her. Her family and friends started this race to raise donations for the Karen DuCotey Memorial Award.

Flickr Photostream of the race by Jessica Rinaldi.

For a new race with little publicity there was a good turnout. About 270 people entered the 5K race. There was a 1 mile fun run and a "Dolphin Run" for young people. Many sponsors also pitched in to help make it a success.




The course was a loop through the neighborhood just north of the Lewis Mills High School. Relatively easy with just two hills that provided a little challenge. We were warned that traffic control was not ideal and we learned first hand as several times we had to move over for cars. But with temps in the 60's and overcast the conditions were ideal to crank it up. I started off at a 9min/mi pace with a few big bursts as hills permitted. I was determined to make this my best 5K to date. There was a guy next to me most of the race who appeared to be about my age. I shadowed him and occasionally passed him throughout the 3.1 miles. At the 4K mark I moved ahead comfortably and figured I would beat him. But, as we rounded the last 100 meters he exploded, caught me, then blew by me to come in 3 seconds faster. Live and learn. My final stats were 25:33min at an 8:14/mile pace. Finished 63 out of the 270 and about 5th of about 18 in the 50-59 age group. A new PR for me and a great race.

I'll run it again next year and hopefully have my 5K time sub-24min by then.

May 15, 2011

Quality Time

Today was a day off from running so nothing to say about that. But we had fun tonight with an enjoyable night out with one of our grandsons. We took Aiden out to dinner at Chili's and then out for an ice cream cone. He was great. Well behaved and just making us laugh. At Chili's he could see the large flat screen TV that was showing a NASCAR race. Cars are his passion right now and he watched as they zoomed around the track. Then later the show switched to one about race crashes, general crash videos, etc. Made him laugh.

He had some macaroni and cheese with oranges and of course some chocolate milk. He really does well when out but had a few silly moments as any 3 year old should. The picture below was when he decided to wear a food basket as a hat. One an a million picture that I just happened to catch.


Not sure why he struck such a pose but it will make us laugh for years. Next was a trip to Dunfrey's Ice Cream. He picked his flavor and then sat nicely to enjoy the cone. Handled it like a pro but hit a snag when he accidentally poked a hole in the base of the cone. When I tried to help he decided to take a short cut and he bit off the base of the cone. That released a flood of melted ice cream on his hands then mine. Very sticky and messy. He learned a lesson on how to handle a cone with that move. But we all kept smiling and let him savor the treat.
The best part of this evening was when we got home and he wanted to hide to see if I could find him. We took that opportunity to teach him "hide and seek". He learned the basics and for a while we had fun finding each other. He laughed like never before.

All a good night and moments we will treasure. He's a good kid and we're lucky to have him around.

May 13, 2011

Ultra runners....determination....self motivation

This is a short video about an amazing runner with an inspiring story. David Goggins is an ultra runner from the Navy Seals who doesn't just run, but runs distances far greater than a marathon . Frequently 50-100 miles. The video is shot out in the desert which makes it more impressive. This type of running is not for me but his determination and accomplishments are fascinating.
http://youtu.be/0kidOBV7yxY
There is a little bit of his drive in many runners because running requires self motivation and the need to constantly push farther and faster. There is no team....there is no score to compete against. Runners compete against their own limitations.

May 10, 2011

How true is this.....

Funny video about "us" runners. These characters are used in a series of cartoon videos that are mostly political. Very funny. How many of us sound like this guy?

May 7, 2011

What's 1 mile?

Farmington Flats at sunrise

My long run today was one of the best I've done and is the longest to date.

15.8 miles at a 9:37 pace. 2:28:45 which for me is fantastic.

Initially I set out to do more than a half marathon as usual but as the run reached that point I felt good and kept going. At 14 miles, nearing my street, I decided what the heck "what's 1 more mile?". Funny how last year there were mornings where I wondered if completing a single mile was possible. Guess the training worked!

I tried a new route that was long enough and easy enough to test my abilities. The link to the map is here. My run took me through Burlington, Bristol, Plainville, and Farmington. This was the first time I ran through the Farmington Flats which looked dramatic early in the morning. The pictures were taken with my cell and I stopped running for about 30 seconds. No cars and no people with the sun and fog made for a surreal setting to run through. Great place to run as well with the wide path and long flat areas.

Overall I felt good with no major problems. Had some left thigh pain around 11 miles but it went away. After reading an article about Ryan Hall and his running technique I worked on my strides. (Video below)Trying to land my feet and lift my legs properly. It definitely feels better when running properly. During the run I consumed one 8 oz Gatorade, 12 oz of water, and one Gel. As I work towards the marathon I must determine what the best mix of fluids and carbs are to get me through the race.

I'm definitely taking Sunday off because I've pushed really hard lately. Need to rest the legs.

Interesting video on running technique

May 1, 2011

Running Weekend

Good running weekend with a long 13.2 mile run on Saturday and a 5K race on Sunday. Yesterday I started out on one of my long runs that had to be at least 10 miles. Felt good all through it which helped extend into a +13 miler. Decent time on a beautiful day. Need more of these.

Sunday was also beautiful. There was a 5K in Simsbury so I decided to skip my day off (against my normal routine) and get entered. The River Run.  I wanted an official time from a competitive 5k before the Shine On race in Burlington on May 22nd. About 300 people enetered the 5K run. I was very pleased with my result since I finished at 26:35. That's a huge improvement from the fall. I also placed well in my age group with 7th out of 21 in the 50-59 class. In my age group most were in their younger 50's. But in the 60+ class there were many at or below my time. I really need to work on my overall speed. Endurance is not a problem...its my average pace!  Have to get in the low 8/minute/mile pace.

Found this at the "Patch" website.
They took this as I ran towards the finish.
With todays results and three weeks to train I think I can show well on the day of the next 5K.

Apr 27, 2011

New York City Marathon-NOT Hartford Marathon-I'm In

Unfortunately my number didn't make it.
Today was the start of the New York City Marathon which means they announced who was picked in the lottery. Unfortunately I didn't make the cut. Although a premier race with a great course I'll have to try again next year.



My goal was to run a marathon in the fall so my other choice was the ING Hartford Marathon which I entered tonight.
This marathon is supposed to be one of the better ones for course, entertainment, timing mats throughout the course, etc. Plus its right up the road so easy to get to and easy to get home. The course goes across the Connecticut River through East Hartford, up into South Windsor and back.  There are 35 live bands spread throughout the course which will be interesting. I'm looking forward to it and begin a 20 week training period.

Apr 24, 2011

Funny video about what goes through the mind of a long distant runner. Some of his thoughts are not far from reality!!


 

Apr 22, 2011

Republicans Who Might Run in 2012

The Republicans have many people toying with the idea of running for president in 2012. Some have already committed. The news this week is that no one person stands out and polls indicate the general population can't really identify most. The good news in that is there are many who could become the best candidate and it allows for a healthy exchange of ideas between conservatives. Conservatism has many variations that will appeal to different factions within the party and conservatism is what this country needs. Just about all republicans agree the Obama administration policies and actions of the past two years are not good for the economy and the image of America on the world stage. Half way through his term yet Obama has not shown  real action or ideas that have proven results. Many of those ideas either come too late or have not been well thought out. Mid East policy and reactions to aggression are not effective and confuse our position on issues. Spending wildly and increasing the deficit while trying to stir up a class war by demonizing the rich shows a political motive for everything instead of real results that improve peoples lives.

Therefore, as in the 2010 congressional races, the Republicans have a chance to win the presidency back. The potential candidates are making themselves heard through appearances, blogs, Twitter, TV interviews, etc. TMI(too much information) for most and way too early. Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post reviewed the candidates and offered his quick odds that each have to win. I like Krauthammer because he has a keen political mind and is usually on target with identifying facts that impact the issues of the day. In his review he basically says Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney have the best chance at winning the election. Based on their records and positions on issues I agree. Trump and Palin are entertaining and actually bring big issues to the forefront but the circus atmosphere that surrounds them will hold back many from voting for them. They should stay on message and be a lightening rod for criticism allowing for national debates without harming the key candidates. They will be motivating forces for the next two years. Newcomers like Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, and Nikki Haley look like very formidable candidates but need time to develop their names and reputations more fully. Their time will come in the future. For now the conservative options are clear and have a chance. I'm looking forward to this race which should be very entertaining.

Apr 21, 2011

Tested my speed

On my run today I decided to experiment a bit with speed. I have the Shine On 5k race coming up in May.  It's in honor Karen DuCotey who was a teacher in Burlington but passed away last year at a young age last year.   I want to do well there so it is imperative I put more effort into speed on short runs. Today, instead of a typical 5 mile run I decided to run 4 miles and see how I might do in the 5K. I ran 4.01 mi in 36min 45sec. That is an average pace of 9.09. Good for me and I figure I can do that 5K in about 30 min. Now I have a milestone to beat. Each week I'll do a few "speed" days in order to improve that time/pace. If I do these well and increase their frequency and distance it should really help my marathon efforts in the fall. Of course during actual races I tend to run faster so I'm hoping a 8:30 pace in within site.

Apr 16, 2011

Vegas for Meeting and Golf

Our company national sales meeting was held in Las Vegas this week. We flew in a day early to play some golf. Unfortunately the first day was in the 40s and drizzling, the second was nice and sunny but still a bit cold around 60F with wind. Notice the snow on the mountains in the background. But we had a great time golfing. A lot of kidding around and good laughs. Great to get out. Shot a 94 at Paiute Golf Course outside Las Vegas on the way to Hoover Dam.
l to r: Randy Nagel, Evan Shepard, Barry Muradian, me

Each day I ran 5 miles up and down the strip. was easy and very entertaining. During the meeting I stuck to my diet as well with just a little cheating on desserts. At 5AM on the strip all the dregs and drunks are still out. Singing, yelling, etc as they stumbled around. Pathetic.

I was disappointed in the strip of Las Vegas. Seems like the quality of tourists has gone down since my last visit. People were on the street drinking and generally acting badly. Lots of sex ads, etc as well. I saw many people drinking and being very drunk. I don't mean a beer or drink...I mean chugging out pof whisky and wine bottles even though all dressed up and looking respectable.

Is it me or is the generally population becoming a little more white trash like? Sloppy, obnoxious, ignorant, etc is the way I describe people I meet. Its annoying and almost unbearable. I hope people begin to clean up their acts and society gets back to normal. 

OR----is this me just being old??