Monthly Archives: April 2012

Stop searching

“When someone is searching,” said Siddhartha, “then it might easily happen that the only thing his eyes still see is that what he searches for, that he is unable to find anything, to let anything enter his mind, because he always thinks of nothing but the object of his search, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed by the goal. Searching means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal. You, oh venerable one, are perhaps indeed a searcher, because, striving for your goal, there are many things you don’t see, which are directly in front of your eyes.”

I was lost. I found something awesome.

Went up to my parents’ New Hampshire this weekend and headed out for the nearest trail. I missed the sign that pointed me in the direction of the trail I wanted with a gentle 4.2 miles with 800 feet of elevation. Instead, I ended up climbing 600 feet in under a mile (~13% grade) with roots, rocks, leaves and tree fall. Also, woodpeckers, meadows and old stone walls.

Green glasses, orange long sleeve shirt, green shorts, orange shoes

Worked up a hell of a sweat despite the fact that it was 40 degrees and windy

When it's warmer, my cool down from running to the top of the hill at the top of the lake will be a swim in the lake. Right now, it's a bit too cold.

The Pearl Izumi Peak IIs were freaking solid. Never was worried about losing my footing during the run.

Hey Jealousy

I’m fortunate that I have bulletproof (but sweaty and stinky) feet and joints. Well, except for the time when I tore the tendon across the top of my left foot. Or the time I sprained my right foot which hurts like holy hell. Or when I almost (maybe did) tore my ACL playing rugby. Growing up, I was told that my flat feet always required bulky stability control shoes. Between that and playing either ball sports or rowing, I never really wore a lightweight pair of running shoes until after college. In fact, it wasn’t until after my second ironman that I decided to go lightweight. I think I had been reading Jordan Rapp’s blog or tweets or something and he noted that shoes were essentially dead weight for a lot of people and they should look to get into the lightest weight shoes possible. Being naive (where is my diaeresis when I need it?!) I decided that I would try to wear a lightweight shoe. So my first lightweight shoe was the Mizuno Wave Musha, which I bought (of course) because they were green. These got me through my first open Marathon (Philly). They caused no harm, but I wasn’t quite as fit as I would’ve liked to be for that race. Also, they may have been a size too small as I ended up losing a toenail or two after the race. The bigger issue was that they required wearing socks, which in triathlon is a bit of a pain as you can’t swim with socks on. I eventually threw these shoes out (only this year!) after my apartment flooded.
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Boston Marathon Weekend

It seems hard to imagine that the Boston Marathon was only a little more than a week ago. Despite not running (my time at Marine Corps qualifies me for the 2013 marathon, not the 2012) I had a number of friends running, some whom I had just met and others who have become a core group of running friends. I also had the Blindfold Challenge and working the expo for Powerbar on Saturday morning. On top of all of this, I was sick with an as yet still undiagnosed malady (that seems to be on the wane but who knows? I feel like I’ve had said malady on and off since December).
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Blindfold Running is Creepy

One of the members of Team Racemenu, Josh Warren, works for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and as one of their fundraisers, they have slots in the BAA 5K (and the marathon). The catch is that the 5K runners run the race blindfolded with a guide. It doesn’t sound that hard, right? Close your eyes, walk a little bit… not so bad, right? Yeah… I now have more respect than I could have ever imagined for visually impaired runners. You can support them here or here.

My guide is my brother in law Chris. He ran his first marathon in November, is doing his first triathlon in June, and I trust him in most things. Our first and only practice was last night. After listening to the instructor (Joe Q, a blind runner) teach the guides how to, well, guide the runners, we set out for a sighted lap while Joe ran with his guide and passed us all (this was so the guides could hear how to guide runners through a pack). It was then time to set off on 3 laps of blindfolded running.

Holy crap

This is easily the creepiest, scariest thing I’ve done in a long time. When you’re walking, you always have a foot on the ground and you can, most of the time, adjust your balance if you run into an object with your foot. When you’re running, there’s little there to save you. If you trip, you’ll likely go down. You can’t feel out for what’s out there in front of you. You must have complete trust in your guide, and even then…

Just putting on the blindfold and standing still, knowing you are about to run, is disconcerting. The first lap of the track consisted of very choppy steps as I adjusted to not knowing where I was putting my feet and ignored the crack of the softball bats and soccer players kicking balls on the edge of the infield. As we got another lap in, my steps grew with confidence, but I still spend much of the time elbow to elbow with Chris, using his elbow as a physical guide to where his body was and where I should go. He would count down the distance to the turns, tell me how far we were into the turn, and then let me know we were back on the straightaway. And still, the slightest change in environment, the slightest noise, the slightest change in pace was amplified. We rounded one of the corners and the lighting in my blindfold changed. Instinctively, I raised up my hands to protect myself from what I was sure was a lightpole. But there was nothing there, and we continued on. Eventually we completed a mile of running blindfolded, and while my confidence is there, this will easily be the most difficult 5K I’ve ever done.

I’ll post a recap of the race. Including some photos, perhaps, if anyone shows up to watch. You should watch, because I’ll be freaking out with 6,000 people running alongside me. None of whom I can see.

Josh had never run blindfolded before, so a couple of us decided that I would guide him for a lap. We made it 30 yards, as it was freaking him out. I don’t really blame him. Training was the first time he had ever met me, and having someone guide you who you don’t really know… I have no idea what that’s like.

Chill out

I understand how odd it is to see an advice post from me after my last post about not liking to assert myself that way.

It’s now 3 days before race day… and the National Weather Service is calling for 84 degrees… so feel free to

A bunch of my friends running the Boston Marathon got a bit freaked out by this forecast today:

I’ve done quite a bit of racing in the heat (most recently in Costa Rica), but I’ve had to run two marathons (in iron distance races) in extreme heat.

Ironman Arizona 2008

Ironman Canada 2009

Both runs started around 2PM, so it was just getting to the hottest point of the day. Here are some tips on how I survived:

  • Adjust expectations. At Arizona, one of the racers on the rack across from mine was saying that if it were an open marathon, he could run a 2:40. I later passed him, walking very slowly, during the marathon
  • Pre-hydrate. Before Arizona I had extra Gatorade because I knew I would lose a lot to sweat. As Jamie points out in the comments, don’t use just water.
  • Do not pass up the opportunity to get water at an aid station. You’ll need it.
  • If someone gives you ice, put it somewhere that it will stick on your body. Easier to dump it into your pants in a tri-suit, but you can also put it underneath a sports bra, etc.
  • Sunscreen
  • Just keep going. If it gets really hot, walk the aid station and take on extra water.
  • Wait until a day or two before to freak out about the weather. In Arizona, it was cooler all week, but the forecast didn’t settle on hot until a couple of days before.

That’s all I got.

Ask, I’ll Tell You What I Think

I’ve noticed that I don’t do a lot of “This is how you should do XYZ” posts. I appreciate people who can and do (especially when it’s helpful), but I just have a problem asserting myself to say that they way I do something is the right way (especially when it often isn’t the right way, or I don’t have evidence to back it up). To that point, I won’t tell people they shouldn’t lift weights (I don’t know if endurance athletes should or not, but I haven’t in years — and it shows HA!). It’s not as though I don’t have my own beliefs in the right way to do something, and if someone asks me what I think is the right way to do something, I’ll let him/her know. I put my faith in my coaches to tell me the right things (mainly because I am too lazy to read the same materials); perhaps, this is a flawed approach. On the one extreme, I’m looking for coaches whose ideas of how to train correctly are in the same ballpark as mine. On the other extreme, what if my coach is wrong (I don’t think this is true… results matter)? But I did have one experience where a coach changed up his training philosophy/methodology mid-season… and that was something that I had a hard time dealing with. Now, his approach might have worked (and probably does for some athletes), but it was such a dramatic change that I couldn’t accept it as THE WAY.

I provide this example only because it illuminates the reason I have a hard time saying XYZ is the way. I could be very wrong.