Monday, April 21, 2008


Here it is. Decision time. I have done the training and run my last long run, and run it in strong fashion I might add. Now I have to decide how I will run my race.

In two weeks I will line up for the Flying Pig Marathon. My first Pig and first marathon was back in 2001 and I ran a 3:33 and hit the wall hard. I have never hurt so badly in my life. It is funny, I can’t remember exactly how it felt, but I do remember telling someone after the race that every part of my body hurt – even my hair hurt. I do not want to experience that again.

In 2004 I ran The Pig as part of my training for the Vermont City Marathon that was four weeks later. I ran a smart race, paced myself and finished in 3:38. I felt great at the end and ran even better at the end of the month in Vermont (3:37).

Then I blew out my left knee and faced a long rehab. In 2007 I ran The Pig again, just to prove I could do it. I trained using the “moderate consistent” plan and just wanted to finish in maybe less than 4 hours. I again ran smart, finished strong and crossed the line in 3:50.

Now this year. This will be the fourth time I have run The Pig and I may be in the best condition yet. I have trained very well. I have done speed work and increased my mileage to 48-54 miles a week. Last Saturday I ran my last 16 miler at an 8:05 pace, which started me to thinking – what if I could run a 3:30? That would be a qualifier!

The race predictors say I should be able to run a 3:35 based on my training and recent race times. So, if I push it a little could I get a 3:30? It would be an incredible accomplishment. But if I do push that hard is the wall waiting for me? Hitting it again would take much of the joy out the race, but qualifying would be like a dream comes true.

I suspect the decision will be made on race day, at the starting line. What the weather is like, how my taper goes, how am I feeling, all the usual factors. I trust that I will be able to change my goals mid race if conditions change. But I am already starting to feel like I may have to go for it.

And if I hit the wall and my hair starts to hurt again – well, I have a lot less hair now than I did in 2001.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I am an outside runner. It does not matter what the weather – I run outside. I cannot say exactly why I am so stubborn about it, but I have never found a day when I would not run outside.

We actually have a treadmill that my wife and kids use. It is in our bedroom which means that if I used it when I run in the early morning; I would wake the whole family up. But it does not matter if we kept it in the basement – I still would not use it.

Since I run in the early morning, it is never too hot and the colder it is the more layers I wear. It is kind of fun to run when it is super-cold – like below 10F. The icicles start to form on the eyelids and frost covers your hat. It makes for a pretty cool picture when you are done.

Recently I ran in a blizzard – 25F, snow and wind. I had a 15 mile run scheduled so I just kept doing a 2 mile loop around my neighborhood. The road would cover over with snow, the snow plow would come by and clear the road. It would get snow covered again, the plow would come, and I repeated the cycle for 8 loops; sometimes on clear roads, sometimes on snow covered roads. I got some really odd looks from my neighbors.

The one type of weather I hate is rain. Now I am sure that there are people that like running in the rain. My daughter that runs cross country and track told me she likes to run in the rain. I will run in the rain, but I don’t like it – I endure it. I dislike everything about it, the wet shoes, and the clinging clothes. If there is one type of weather that makes me think twice about running outside it is rain.

But I do it. I just can’t run without the feeling of pushing against the ground and the sensation of propelling my body through space. The weather is just another element, another obstacle, like a hill, to be overcome. Outside I am focused, centered and things become clear as my progress is marked by landmarks and not a digital counter on the treadmill display.

Running inside to me just feels like cheating, but next time it is pouring rain as I step out the door, I may wish that treadmill was in the basement.