Last Run

5.2 mi

00:44 /08:31 pace

Nice & cool tonight. posted 8 hours ago

Week Miles
13 mi
2014 Miles
986 mi
Total Miles
6163 mi


Dirty paws and a furry coat, she ran down the forest slope.


We’re getting into the brutal heat part of summer and that makes everything running related more difficult. I also don’t have a race for the next month so my motivation Salel, Sambu, Desisa is somewhat lagging. I managed to get my goal of 40 miles in this week but just barely, finishing up with a hard run from Bedford home tonight. Fortunately it’s still light late and the lingering heat after 6pm isn’t as bad without direct sun.

More melancholy – I didn’t run the BAA 10K this morning. It was the 3rd annual, and the first I’ve missed. I walked down to the course & took some photos though, which was fun in it’s own way. That’s the winner there in the middle, Stephen Sambu, with the black shirt with green side panels.

My next scheduled race, such as it is, is a half-marathon at the Narragansett Summer Running Festival in late July. Bison vs MazdaEven with an 8:30am start I expect it’ll be roasting temps, and unless by some miracle it’s raining don’t plan to run a particularly fast time. The Mad Marathon is in two weeks as well – I went up last year and registered the morning of and ran a terribly slow race on the hot, hilly course. I’m almost entirely sure I won’t do that again this year. Almost.

Last thing to mention. Today is the last day of the first week of an 18 week cycle for the Columbus Marathon which I’ll be running on 10/20. It’s a long way off and I don’t tend to think of things that sort of time frame anymore but I mention it because Mikey is running it with me, and I want to, if he’s reading this, both encourage him and hold him accountable the best way I possibly can, while not being a jerk about it. I know it’s a tough slog, getting ready for an distance like this, particularly the first time through. I very much think he’ll be able to do it, he is strong like bull. Just please know that you have my support.

Song of the week, inspired by YJP’s awesome mid-year 13 in ’13 update, Of Monsters and Men’s Dirty Paws. I don’t see an official video for this but the audio mix on the live in studio version was terrible, so here you go, go ahead and watch somebody’s cat’s paws on this guy.

1 comment to Dirty paws and a furry coat, she ran down the forest slope.

  • YJP

    Go Mikey, go!! Nan’s a pretty good guy to train and run with, at least he is when he remembers to wait for you at the finish!!! (JK!) I’m training for a full in November, we can all three get through this together. Good luck!

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Fifteen percent concentrated power of will


This weekend found me in deepest, darkest Columbus Ohio for my 3rd marathon of the month. I took the week between this race and Chicago off from work, and managed to fill my time visiting Sean & Aunt Sue in Urbana and helping some new-to-Columbus friends move into their new house. I went to the race expo on Friday instead of Saturday, a luxury of scheduling which turned out to be judicious as Saturday was mostly cold and rainy.

Race morning – I woke up 10 minutes before my (3:30am) alarm. I don’t know how this happens, but it’s not the first time. Coffee & bagel. I try to be quiet in the kitchen since Mikey’s crashed out on the couch.

At 5:15 I head downtown. I was a little stressed by the fact that I hadn’t pre-planned parking, but this worked out for the best. There was a massive line of cars trying to get into one garage, but I found a surface lot across the street for $5. It took a while to find someone to make change for me (I only had $10) but finally did. Back in the car to warm up briefly before the mile walk to the start line.
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This race was much colder than last week’s, sub-40 at the start. I didn’t have a disposable sweatshirt which would have made things better, but I did bring a pair of socks to use as temporary gloves.

1385984_10152000163083274_728691177_nThe start was actually quite remarkable. During the national anthem fireworks were shot off during “rockets red glare”, and during the start itself there were these giant flares type things on the top of the starting line structure.

My only frustration here was that I couldn’t get a GPS signal. I started trying five minutes before the start, and never got close. Typically this is too early to start, as my watch will drop it again after a few minutes of waiting. I need a better solution than Nike+. Anyway, no signal, the footpod was screwed and I never got an accurate pace for the rest of the race. Problematic.

The first half of the race goes pretty quick to me – I’m mostly reminding myself to put the brakes on over and over. I should have started closer to the back of my corral, as I know I’m not pushing as hard today. We head east, lap a park then loop back against the flow of traffic. At mile 6 I see signs for the first patient champion I notice – Addie – who wants to be a palentologist, which makes me smile. I’m at mile 7 and people coming towards me are only at mile 2, the field must have been bigger than I realized.

I’ve had a steady growing dissatisfaction with my body and finally convince myself to stop and pee at mile 9. I think I could have pressed on without stopping but I was concerned it would have inhibited me from drinking at the fluid stations which would have been bad. So I chose to lose 30 seconds for this.

The patient champion for mile 11 was Madeline. I notice her in particular because there’s an explosion of pink, pink shirts, balloons, signs. Lots of positive energy here. The internet tells me she’s in remission, which I’m glad for. I read some article when I was up in Chicago about smiling during a race so I make a conscious decision to try to smile from here on out whether I’m feeling it or not. It actually does lifts you up.

There have been lots of bands along the course, and the occasional DJ. I started with my headphones in but around here I decide to take them both out. From here until the end of the race I’ll run with either one or none in.

At the halfway mark we lose the majority of the field. I’m at 1:46:43 here, about four minutes behind last week. The full marathoners continue to head up north on a straight shot up North High Street to mile 15. I’m looking for Mike & Kristie here as this is one of the places I told them might be good to watch, but no luck. The neighborhood is called Short North, and has a series of arches over the road. Interesting looking place, but sporadic support.

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At mile 17 we’re winding around the area of the OSU campus where I was yesterday for the football game. I see this dude running in a gas mask and rucksack – I’ve read specifically that this won’t be allowed at MCM next week, but it’s impressive. We cross over the fakey Zakim then head towards the stadium. The course actually enters what used to be the open end of the horseshoe crosses the end zone. There’s actually a sign here that says “steep hill” for the few percent incline down into and out of the stadium, which is amusing. Still super cool to run through the stadium – we were supposed to do this in Green Bay but it didn’t happen.

P1010069I look for AZ &/or Martin at mile 18 as I’m going by their house but don’t see them. Still, something to occupy my mind to look for them (I still occasionally look for Steven near mile 17 of random races even when I know he’s not there, after the one time he jumped in to help me finish). We’re shunted off the road here onto a path through the “corny field” which is filled with jokey signs and bad TV jokes. It takes me entirely too long to get the pun on “corny” (I’m literally looking for corn stalks – prefrontal brain function is suffering).

At mile 19 the race really changes in feel from a big city marathon to a more suburban one. For the first time here (and several times between 19 and the finish) people call out to me by name, on my bib. I don’t know why, but this is immensely helpful. I can remember specific instances of this boost from this race and others in the past (New Jersey, and New Orleans). Maybe I look like I’m sick and struggling or that I need a boost, but these strangers are trying to pick me up, and somehow it works. Sometimes when I myself am watching a race I get into the habit of just scanning through the field trying to find the face of whoever I’m waiting for, but this experience is a helpful reminder. Look for and connect with people near you now, they may be strangers but they need your help too.

UntitledI was losing it around mile 21, physically, emotionally. The patient champion for this mile was Bryer, and immediately I noticed his first sign was written in past tense. Later I learned that he passed away just over a month ago. I’m already feeling weak and slow and now I’m trying not all that successfully to not cry, it’s an emotionally vulnerable place. What each of these kids has had to go through is so much worse than my temporary situational weakness.

A half mile later I get a really big boost, the best of the race when I see Mike, Kristie & Eliose on the right side of the course. For some reason I veer off the course behind them, failing completely at the normal task of high-fiving. K asks me how I’m doing and all I can remember saying is “this is not my finest hour”. She runs with me for a half block. I am so, so happy they are here.

Between 23 and 25 is a bit blurry. I took two half bananas from someone along the way here, and they don’t sit well in my stomach. Green bananas = bad. Somewhere past mile 25 I see a sign that I think says 26, but as I get closer I can see it says 1/2 mile to go, so 25.7. Somehow this 0.3 mile miscalculation feels like the most unjust betrayal of linear measurement, particularly on a day when my GPS has spectacularly failed me, but moments later I see Mike & Kristie again. I didn’t know they were going to come down to the finish so this is very exciting. From there it’s only a matter of moments before I’m in a heavily fenced area downtown with screaming fans several layers deep. This is a fantastic finish, no matter how I feel. I’m happy crossing the line.

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My final time for the Columbus Marathon was 3:42:20, an 8:29 split. This is almost exactly halfway between my PR last weekend in Chicago and the slow race the week prior to that in New Hampshire. I’m completely satisfied with this time. I’m getting to the point where I can be satisfied with a solid run without beating myself up over a PR.

This race marks the second time I’ve pulled off the three marathon in three weekends trick – back in October 2011 I ran Baltimore, St. Louis & Cape Cod in consecutive weeks. Next week I’ll try to break that record by finishing up my October with the Marine Corps Marathon. If you were inclined to wish me luck I wouldn’t try to dissuade you.


Song of the week, the entirely NSFW Remember the Name by Fort Minor which for some reason is on my long run mix and always feels appropriate whenever it comes up.

One Response to “Fifteen percent concentrated power of will”

  1. Hondo says:

    Awesome medal! You’ve really tackled the heartland this month!

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When I’m back home I remember the old days, when I’d walk along Lincoln Way.

Fairly uneventful week for me, running-wise. I relaxed much of the long weekend, happy to get to see all seven of my nieces and nephews. I decided not to run the Cape Ann 25K this morning, so no race to report on. YJP on the other hand rocked her 20 mile trail race yesterday. I’m a bit skeptical of the overall winner who ran the 20 miles in 0.2 seconds: this works out to 72,000mph, roughly Mach 93. It’s fortunate everyone else survived the plasmised air.

So instead, a list-wise look at my events for next couple months:

The other exciting thing – it’s now September, and by the end of this month I should know for sure about my lottery entry into next February’s Tokyo Marathon. I’m working under the assumption that I’m going to get in but will be happy when I know this for sure.


Song of the week from an album I’ve spent entirely too much time listening to this week, Hey You Bastards I’m Still Here by Mark Kozelek & Desertshore. I saw this dude play with Red House Painters back when I was an undergrad – I think he’s gotten better over the years.

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Fall flights of fancy

Hi from AustinBack in February of 2013 YJP & I went down to Texas for the Livestrong Austin Marathon. We had fun, a good time, ran a few miles, drank a couple beers, had some tacos. I’m always happy for an excuse to go to Austin. The one problem with getting to Austin is there’s no direct flight from Boston, and the tickets are a little pricey – I think I paid something like $290 for that flight. More than I would have liked to, but justifiable as we crashed with some friends instead of springing for a hotel. All in all it seemed worth that much to get my Texas marathon in and spend a warm weekend out of the New England winter.

On the way home from that trip YJP & I went to the airport four hours early, as her flight was scheduled at some stupid early time. coastlineI tried to get on a number of earlier flights out but couldn’t, as everything was oversold. By the time my flight came around, I had decided if they asked for volunteers I’d take the bump. They did, I did, and that’s how I ended up with a $400 flight voucher. The best part was they put me on a shuttle from Austin to Houston (a fairly interesting drive in and of itself) and I ended up catching the exact same connection home anyway.

I’m remembering this this week as I’ve just finished booking travel to three of my four October marathons (Chicago, Columbus and Marine Corps). I’ll be flying into Chicago, kicking around the Upper Midwest for a week until crashing with Mikey in Columbus, flying back home, then back on a plane to DC the following weekend. All of this on United’s dime. So thanks for that! That brings my per-marathon flight average for these four races down to $72.50. I even have another $19.40 worth of credit to go! :)

One Response to “Fall flights of fancy”

  1. YJP says:

    When I started reading this I really thought you were going to say that you were going back to Austin. For the record, no ones allowed to go to Austin without at least giving me a chance to go with them!

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Fall planning

& west
It’s quite premature, yes, but I’m already planning ahead for Rocktober III (note: please see the results of I and II). Come October 5th I’m confirmed for the New Hampshire Marathon, a make-up race for last year’s New England Double that I dropped out of after spraining my ankle. October 12th is Hartford, October 13th is Chicago – I’m planning to do one of these two (but not both – will have to decide when Chicago registration opens at the end of next month). October 20th is confirmed for Columbus, which I’ll be running with Mike. October 27th would, in theory, be my 4th in one month. I’ve not tried to do that before, but am aware that the Marine Corps Marathon is a) on that day, b) drivable from Baltimore and c) counts as a Virginia race for the 50 state plan. Should I feel super adventurous I could (in theory) dump the Marine Corps and pick up Indianapolis on the 19th, as my rental car & I will be in the general area anyway. I’m hesitant to try a double weekend as I got all psyched up about it last year only to have things come apart.

The short of this is – doing a batch of back-to-back races like this means the later ones will not be particularly fast, especially given the first one is quite hilly. So if I’m looking for a PR at this distance in 2013, it would either have to be in Nashville at the Country Music Marathon on April 27th or at the second October race (either Hartford or Chicago), after taking New Hampshire easy. Unsure.

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