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Showing posts from 2008

What was I saying? Oh yeah...

When last we left this blog, I was desperately trying to get my act together for a long holiday break. And now, here I am, on the 7th day of my 12 day winterfest. So where are we? In no particular order...

* This holiday break was supposed to be a little hectic, with upstairs bedroom and bathroom floors getting re-done. Alas, we lost the "little" when - one hour before we were supposed to go to Christmas Eve service - our gas alarm went off again. The results? a. a later church service. b. a condemned gas furnace c. double the contractors I expected to have trouncing through my house d. more than double the money I expected to spend this holiday season. As I write this, the last contractor has just left (finally).

* The day before Christmas, one of my personal e-mail accounts got hacked. That was a joy, both for me and the 3,000 people who think I've lost the ability to spell and like to visit websites selling Chinese merchandise. If you got the e-mail - my apologies.

* Ope…

A For Consistency, D for Improvement...

For the past three years, my final race of the season has been the Jingle Bell Run, one of the bigger 5k's in the area.

Last year, I came in 26th place w/ a 19:47. This year, I came in 26th place w/ a 19:53. Last year, though, I missed an AG award by a minute. This year, I missed it by three seconds. Ouch.

Without a doubt, it was an interesting year of running, and mainly a good year. My early spring races were all PR's and gave way to a good summer of training for a fall marathon. There were definitely points in the late summer, early fall when I think I was ready for some fast races. However, I didn't deviate from my plan and ended up with a lackluster marathon and without a final 5k PR. About that, I'm not pleased.

More than anything, I'm confused going into '09. While I don't think it's weird that 07 and 08 were so similar, given how differently I trained this year, I guess I do... my low-mileage high speed plan yielded very similar results to my high-…

Five Miles in Detroit...

I got into Detroit last night at midnight. Now, it's six pm, and I'm back in the Detroit airport, ready to fly home. That's how I roll -- well, except for the two hour delay part. That's how US-friggin'-Air rolls.

Even though I got to sleep around one, the alarm went off at 7:30 because - well, I have no good reason, other than that runners run. And also, one of the things I do love about being a runner and being a sometime business traveler is that it's a great way to see the city, assuming the city is worth seeing.

Where I was staying was actually in a suburb of Detroit. I was there for a longish meeting, but knew if I dragged my butt out of bed I could see some Detroitish roads before the meeting.

Looking out the hotel window, I realized it was cold and wet and miserable. Colder, wetter and more miserable than I'm used to on Dec. 1. I briefly considered going back to bed. Also briefly, I thought about running on the treadmill in the sterile hotel workout r…

R.I.P. The Shield...

Wow, what a series finale last night. I honestly feel like I lost a good friend last night. I'm no critic, but you can read a wonderfully detailed review of the entire gut-splitting 90 minutes here.

My only critique of the review is I would've liked a bit more about Ronnie... I feel for the guy, I tell you.

The series ended with an awesome (and relevant) old tune by Concrete Blonde, which you can hear on YouTube here.

The guy who wrote the great review has an event better Q&A with Shield creator Shawn Ryan. Don't miss it.

Vibram Runs #4 and #5

What is happening is that Vibram runs are getting longer and faster. What isn't happening, so much, is that they aren't getting easier, yet.

On Saturday, I planned to run to the local pharmacy and back. I thought it was 4 miles, but it turned out to be 5.1 - the furthest I've gone "barefoot" yet.

Yesterday, I did 4 miles at a barefoot PR pace of 8:31 miles, including one of them @ 8:15. All of which sounds good, except for the fact that the soreness in my legs after four miles @ 8:30 pace is fairly equal to the day after a hard interval day in shoes.

So mostly I'm thrilled with how the transition's going, but also looking forward to having my legs completely make the adjustment.

Interesting to note: the Vibrams are AWESOME at protecting the feet. All of my soreness is in my calves and a little in my one achillies. My feet - believe it or not - feel great. Also, my biggest complaint during the first week was cold feet and while my toes are still colder than wh…

Medtronic Pulled a Fast One On Me (Again)

So a few months ago while being on the phone w/ Medtronic to order insulin pump supplies, the rep told me that my blood sugar strips were now being covered by my insurance, to which I said, "Really? Cool. Add them to my order."

Apparantly, the rep was wrong, though, because Medtronic just billed me for them - 2 orders to the tune of $612. Keep in mind, I could've run these things through my mail order Rx program for $120! But since the rep said they were covered, I believed them, expecting them to be paid at 100% along with my pump supplies.

Like most medical supply houses, the bill comes on on Saturday, when there's no one there to talk to.

But you can bet we'll be talking Monday and the first thing I'm going to ask about is that little voice that says, "Some calls are recorded," because I've ordered a lot of diabetic crap over the years and I know exactly what they said.

UPDATE: Check the comments for how this one is continuing.

Foxy Runner on Letterman

The lady who had a worse run than you last week was on Letterman (bonus recreation animation footage!).

Vibram FiveFingers - Run #3

But first, Vibram Run #2.

On Tuesday, I did 2 miles in the Vibrams, followed by 4 in my shoes... Putting on my shoes (with orthotics) was like strapping on big marshmallows... very very strange, indeed. But all went well and yesterday's rest day was barely needed.

So today was Vibram Run #3. On this one, I did 3 miles in the Vibrams at 8:40 pace (the fastest I've gone in the Vibrams, yet!). And then, I ran in my shoes, without orthotics... The transition was much, much smoother and I was pleased with the overall result.

All in all, I'm pleased with how this is working out. I'm sure things will get dicey as the mileage goes up, but it continues to be an interesting experiment in becoming a minimalist runner.

Next week, I'm hoping to bump the runs to 4 miles Vibram and 2 without.

Cure on the Horizon?

Seriously, you can google "cure diabetes" and spend the day chasing down witch doctors and herbal supplements online.

Still this video from NBC, of all places, is quite encouraging. Thanks to Kerri for posting this first. Unlike her, I didn't cry (not that there's anything wrong with that). Truth is, I don't think I waste much time on hope, going with Red's quote from Shawshank: "Hope's a dangerous thing - it can drive a man insane."


Just because I'm curious, I googled "Gleevec costs" and "Sutent costs." When treating Leukemia, it seems we're in the neighborhood of $32,000 per year (though the article does point out that the drug might not need to be taken more than a few months to cure diabetes).

But - assuming this works on people - that will be the next thing the bean counters at the insurance companies work on. Is it worth $10,000 in drugs (four months use) for an 80% chance this diabetic can be cured?

Or perhaps a mo…

This is Not How I Look in My Toe-Socks

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Perhaps the biggest problem with my Vibram FiveFingers is that toe socks are not cheap. In fact, I haven't found any less than ten dollars per pair. However, as the above pic shows, there sure are some creative (and flexible!) people marketing them.

Thus far, Operation FiveFingers is a good success. Make no mistake: after three miles in the Vibrams on Friday, I was plenty sore on Saturday. The wife asked me to join her for a two mile jaunt and I did, but not in the Vibrams. I wore the Nike Frees for that. Yesterday, I did a six mile trail run in my trail shoes. And, during all the non-running time, I wore the Vibrams, which are getting more comfortable by the hour.

Tomorrow, I'm planning a six miler over lunch. I think I'll lead off in the Vibrams for two miles, and switch up for four in my regular shoes after that.

Vibram FiveFingers - The Next Frontier

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Technically, you should conquer the last frontier before you go after the next one, but what can I say? It'll be several months until I'm ready for another shot at Boston.

What you're looking at are the Vibram FiveFinger KSO's. My goal - over the next several months - is to run in them.

There's a lot of hype about the healthfulness of barefoot running and a lot of debate, too. Quite frankly, I don't know what's correct or - more important - what'll be correct for me. But here's why I'm trying to do this:
1) Currently, I go through the outsoles of traditional running shows in 280 miles - approximately every seven weeks. That's a lot of waste and a lot of $.
2) Though I did a lot to get through shinsplints and knee pain, barefoot proponents say that eliminating shoes is a better way to eliminate pain.
3) November/December is my experimental period. I try to do something different... Last year, every run I did in December (except one race) was a tra…

2008 Harrisburg Marathon Report

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Well, this thing's overdue. Heck, I'm almost not sore now. In fact, I was 80% unsore yesterday and wore one of those detox patches on the bottom of my foot last night, and today I'm feeling near perfect. Yesterday, I even wobbled two miles. But still, there's a story to tell...

When I got to Harrisburg, the forecast was good... low 50's and "breezy." Not too shabby. The plan was to go out @ 7:15 pace until the wheels fell off. However, let's recap how I came to that decision:

* I really really wanted to get to Boston (7:26) 3:15.
* I decided to aim higher (7:18) 3:11

Before the race started, I bumped into Marc Buckwalter's wife... Marc was the fellow who I'd done my best 20 miler with a few weeks prior, and he's decided to take it easy for this race to spare his winter racing season. "Taking it easy" for him meant 3:10, so I had a bonafide pace group on my hands. In fact, here we are early on:


Now the problem I tend to have is that if…

Let's Go With Plan C

3:23:57
Exactly five minutes slower than last year.
The short version:
A 1/2 marathon PR, which probably should've been saved for a 1/2 marathon.A high blood sugar reading at mile 20 (yes - I stopped to test once I realized Boston would have to wait)A wicked cross-head wind from miles 7-12 which helped to seal my fate.There's a lot I did wrong in this one, but here's the one thing I did right: making my C goal be to finish. Without that, I'm not sure I would've. So many lessons to learn that I can't say I'm overly bummed, though I'm obviously a bit disappointed. A longer report tomorrow. For now, I'm a little obsessed with figuring out how I'll make it up the steps to bed. :)

Well Here We Go....

Three mental miles over lunch today, and that's it until Sunday's Harrisburg Marathon.

I really wish the race were yesterday... yesterday I was pretty Zen and felt like I could've done something special. Now - I'm a bit more normal for me, which isn't so Zen-like.

But the hay's in the barn, etc. etc. Nothing I can do about it now. And no matter what, it's not like I'll be running with a rabid fox on my arm like some runners do. (Thanks, Maggie)

Earlier this week, I laid out the nutritional plan. Here's my detailed pace plan:

7:15 miles until the wheels fall off. Period.

Some things I'm not good at. Some things I am. I promise you I won't come back and say I got excited and burst out of the gates at 6:55. Ain't gonna happen. I'll be close to 7:15 for the first mile and the one after that and the one after that.

Around 15, that won't be as much fun, and I'll work hard to keep 15-20 between 7:15 and 7:25.

And after that, well there'…

Taper Insanity...

This is the part before the marathon that they warn you about... the part where you're ready to lose your mind.

Ironically, you don't feel like a runner, because feeling like a runner means something usually hurts and something is stiff, but because you're in the taper your legs have none of that. An optimist would say, "I feel fresh," but since you're in the taper you're convinced all of our fitness has disappeared like a bag of Doritos that gets left on the lunchroom table.

Last night, I ran three miles. Just three miles. My wife said, "That's strange," and I said, "What's strange?" She said, "You're a marathoner. You should be doing workouts I can't do. I run three miles." This isn't the greatest thing to say to a runner five days before the marathon.

This, of course, led me to go through the stack of running books on the bed-stand to verify that I had read things correctly - that doing three miles for a r…

The Marathon Nutrition Plan...

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Here's the plan for next Sunday, nutrition-wise:

1) Powerbar for Breakfast, about two hours before the marathon. Take enough insulin to put me on the starting line with a blood sugar of 180-200.
2) Run insulin pump at .05 units per hour - the lowest setting it has.
3) Have a tangerine, double-caffeine Powerbar gel every 4 miles. I had originally planned to do one every five miles, but I've been running low on recent long runs. Turning the pump off seems to result in high blood sugars and I can't set it any lower. I also considered leaving it off for the first 90 minutes and then turning it on, but I've never experimented with this. Moreover, this only results in me having 1 extra gel in the race and 27 extra g. of carbs. *shouldn't* push me dangerously high. Finally, recent research seems to indicate that more gels might be better for you (IF your stomach can handle it. One advantage diabetes has given me is that I can pretty much eat anytime, anywhere, anything, as t…

Things I Can't Control....

12 days before the marathon, my mind becomes fixated on the things over which I have zero or minimum control.

On the plus side, next week I'll do a good job of focusing on the things I can control, but for now, there's no time like the present for needless worrying. In no particular order:

1) I might be getting sick. I have one of those tiny tickles in the back of my throat... Now, it could be the cold, damp weather or it could be the fact I ran five miles in the cold, damp weather. And even if I do get a cold, I'm still 12 days from the race. But still: I worry that I'm getting a cold.

What I can do: Eat chicken soup, OD on Zicam.

2) The weather might suck come race day. I've said it before: early November is an iffy time in Central PA. It could be 50 and gorgeous, 65 (like last week) or 40 and rainy (like today). I'm on the BQ bubble here and anything less than the meteorological median has the potential to derail my dreams.

What I can do: Don't pay attention …

Taper Rambling...

Week 1 of a 3 week taper is coming to a close. It's only a mini-taper at this point.. The six milers all became five miles, six days of running became five and the twenty miler becomes a 13 this weekend.

Last weekend was the final twenty miler (of five)... The only thing that comes close to the satisfaction of finishing a marathon is finishing all of the 20's in my plan.

For this one, the goal was 7:45 - 27 seconds slower than my goal marathon pace. However, I elected to do this one with a sub 3 hour marathoner who doesn't own a Garmin, which meant that I spent three miles mumbling about things feeling a bit too quick before I said, "Ah, the hell with it," and went all in.

For the first 18 miles, we averaged 7:26. A monster hill (and 18 ill paced miles) lead to an 8:11 in mile 19, but I recovered nicely on the last one to finish the whole thing with an average of 7:30 - 15 seconds faster than the plan, and just 12 seconds slower than my goal pace. A breakthrough wor…

Various and What-not...

Because my life is spinning quite quickly now, I'll just give a random list of observations...

1) This is my final peak week of marathon training, culminating with my fifth 20 miler this weekend. (Goal pace: 7:45)

2) However, this week all of the "out of towners" are in town for a week's worth of meetings and dinners. I need to fit 4 runs over all day meetings and 2 dinners this week. Hmmm...

3) I've set my goal for the Harrisburg Marathon: 3:11 - 7:18 pace. This would be a seven minute improvement from last year and five minutes under what I need for Boston. Also, it puts me within shouting distance of 3:10 if I'm feeling spunky at mile 20.

4) I doubt I'll feel spunky at mile 20.

5) While I thought I had my blood sugar plan in place, I ran too low during last week's 15 miler (7:35 pace), which means I'm still not done tweaking, which is a bit of problem since I'm almost done training.

6) I wish Harrisburg weren't so late in the season. I'm …

Knoebels Lumber 5k Race Report...

Disrupting a marathon plan for a 5k isn't really a brilliant idea. But I was curious to see how I'd do in the same race I did last year, when I ran 20:11, mostly rested, though a week after a 1/2M.

This time around, I was 5 days removed from a 1 mile time trial, and 48 hours removed from a 20 mile run. So, I was far from rested, and this course is far from flat.

In the end, I was pleased. I finished with a 19:52, 12th out of 140 overall, and I repeated as the 35-39 AG winner. I figure, fully rested with a good course, I should be around 19:25 or so. Even 19:52 was only 5 seconds off my 5k PR.

This also means the tune-ups are over until the marathon. I've got four more weekend runs of 15, 20, 13 and 9 miles, and this weekend's 15 will be @ 7:40 pace. It's time for the final grind. :)

Working is Easier Than Not Working...

I took a vacation day today. However, it wasn't a sleep-in, watch tv, drink beer vacation day. Oh nooooo... since we're going out of town this weekend, I sacrificed a vacation day for a 20 mile run (my 4th of 5). Five days after my last long run, it left me a bit, uh, crunchy (to coin a Dave phrase) but with an average pace of 7:52, we'll call it successful.
After that, though, I mowed the grass. And after I post this post, I'm off to the dump with the rest of our trash from our basement remodel (yeah, I know - we finished this like six months ago).
Truth is, it'll be nice to be a cubicle slave again tomorrow (and I use that term loosely.. it's hard to be a slave with free Gatorade just a few feet away).

City Running Tours Review... And Then Some...

The miles fly by. Work flies by. And when it all does, this blog just sits here. Anyway, in no particular order:
1) Office Olympics today - or at least the 1600 meter run - which is the only event (I'd argue) not 100% based on luck. Anywho, last year I won it in 5:52. This year, my goal time was 5:30. So, I had my Garmin on lap pace and chased it around the track @ 5:27-5:28. Except --- it was off by .06 miles, which meant I actually finished in 5:44. 8 seconds faster than last year. 1st place (though my buddy Dave was definitely holding back) again. Most important? VDOT says this equals a 3:08 marathon.
2) Speaking of marathon, the training's going well. Later this week is the 4th of 5 twenty milers. Last weekend was 15 @ 7:48 pace. Things seem to be spinning toward a 3:10ish.
3) Blood sugars have been behaving real well. I keep the pump on a low basal for the long runs, sip Gatorade G2, and take a gel every 5 miles. So far, so good.
4) Last week at a big tradeshow, our company s…

Screw You, Sports Illustrated. Runner's World Has It's Own Curse...

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A few weeks after appearing in Runner's World, people are calling for NFL referee Ed Hochuli's head.

Maybe that's what happened to Ryan Hill in the Olympics.

Harrisburg Half Marathon Race Report

So yesterday was the Harrisburg Half Marathon - basically a mini-version of my key race, the November Harrisburg Marathon. It starts in the same place and goes the same directions, just not as far. So it serves as a nice dress rehearsal.

Last year, I ran this one in 1:40 flat as a marathon pace run and promptly freaked out since it didn't feel "easy" to me. So three week's later I ran a different half marathon pretty close to all out in 1:34:32, which fixed my head in time for the marathon.

This year, the plan was to have a nice PR here -- in the 1:31-1:32 range -- so that my head was in good shape heading into the final weeks of marathon training.

And then, during last week's speed workout I hurt my shin, pretty much in the same place where I always hurt it. I went into holycrapIneedtofixthisormyseasonsgoingtohell mode, spending the entire week icing it, wrapping it and putting smelly creams on it. And mostly, I trained through it, though last week was a scheduled …

August in the Rearview...

This past Saturday was my second of five 20 milers in the marathon plan (out of 5) and also marked the last day of August. Random thoughts and observations:

1) August finished with just under 183 miles - my highest count ever - a full 8% more miles than July, my previous high.

2) However, August was also a month w/ 5 weekends and if you're doing a long run on the weekend, that helps. I actually missed four workouts during August: 2 due to UK travels and 2 due to small injuries I wanted to heal. Which they did.

3) However, none of the 4 missed workouts were KEY workouts - they were all recovery runs.

4) August of 2007 - on the FIRST plan - I ran just over 130 miles, so this year I ran nearly 40% more miles.

5) More importantly, my key workouts are better than I did last year. My tempo runs and 1 interval workout were better than my FIRST results in 07 and while my long run paces are slower than last year, they're only a tiny bit slower.

6) Still finding the right magic dose of insul…

Cocky....

For the past couple of weeks, I'd been feeling a bit cocky about my marathon plan. I'm up to 45ish miles per week, and the long runs are getting faster each time. I had zero - ZERO - pain. Good stuff.

But then I started to worry because my plan still doesn't have speed work for 3 more weeks. While this will give me 8 weeks of speedwork, it didn't seem like enough (considering I did FIRST last year, which had 16 speed workouts, nevermind the fact that I failed at MANY of them).

So I did 6 800's today w/ 90 second rests. The fastest was 3:08. The slowest was 3:10.

And now - like a good marathoner-in-training, I hurt. Everywhere. And I need a nap. And I'm already dreading my next speed workout.

Good news? Weekend after next, I'm running a half marathon, so next week will be a mini-taper/cutback week. Gee - I guess I won't be able to fit the speedwork in. :)

Two Sides to the US Team Running @ the Olympics...

The negative:

Dropping a baton isn't bad luck, it's bad execution. Responsibility for the relay debacle lies with many people and many groups, from administration to coaches to athletes. That's why, when these Games are completed, we will conduct a comprehensive review of all our programs. It will include assessments from inside and outside the USATF family, and included in the assessment will be the way in which we select, train and coach our relays.

BTW -- the fact that the USATF has a blog is cool. The fact that there is no feed is not.

The positive:

My Olympics four years ago when I had to drop out of the 10,000 doesn't compare to this at all. I carried that memory with me for four years. Dropping out was never an option today. If I had to sit on the side of the road and drink my bottles until I could get going again, that's what I would have done. I wasn't going to drop out again. Now there are more Olympics ahead for me, I hope. I've got to just keep clim…

My Feet Look Fast...

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To thank me for coaching her to her first 5k (this weekend), the wife got me a pair of Nimbus 10's. Since my current pair had 280 miles on them, timing was perfect, as I go through the outsole in under 300 miles. But here's the cool part: she ordered the just-released bright yellow and black color. I friggin' love them.

My Bosses Rock...

Check it out, yo: I work for one of the fastest growing companies in the US. Even better: there's a shower so I can run over lunch there.

Bad Blogger, Better Runner...

As always, when there's a lot to write about, I'm too busy to write about it.

The two weeks since returning from England have been mondo-busy - work is busy, running takes time and the the wife (and kids) go back to school next week, so the little bits of free time have been full of summer shoving (getting stuff done that we intended to get done two months ago).

The marathon training has been going extremely well... 24 hours after returning from England, my buddy Dave and I did a 17 miler together, and we followed that up with our first 20 miler last weekend. In between, I had my finest marathon pace run to date, with 5 miles @ an average of 7:14/mile. The day after that one, I did take an unplanned rest day as my calf was tender, but it healed up perfectly in one day.

The marathon pace run was great for me, mentally. My tempos last summer were supposed to be faster than marathon pace, but I struggled with them big-time. I'm encouraged that I'm hitting the marathon pace s…

Sometimes Diabetes Is Just Funny...

The Canals of Manchester

If you tell somebody in Manchester that you're going to be running in their town, they'll likely tell you to run along the canals. Canals, after all, are filled with water and when people tell other people where to run, they like to tell them to run in places in close proximity to water, be it the ocean, a lake, a river, etc.

It's worth noting that because most people don't run, when they tell you where you should run, they're not really telling you where they have run, but rather where they would run if they did run, which they don't. At best, they might have walked where they think you should run, but more likely they've only seen it from a a tram or a car.

While these are decent vantage points, there are many things a non-runner won't notice. In the case of the Manchester canals, for instance, a non-runner won't notice the following:

*The terrain includes a multitude of cobble-stone and brick pathways.
*The parts that aren't cobble-stone or brick…

Running Shorts for Diabetics

Commenter Jenny asked about what I wear to run with all of my diabetic supplies... For me, the only choice is RaceReady. Lots of pockets and lots of styles. While not cheap, they're perfect.

If You Are Diabetic Flying to England...

Don't leave your blood sugar meter on the plane. You'll have to buy one in England and then Google how to convert mml/L to mg/dl. At least, that's what I had to do.

While nobody in Manchester seems to have One Touch Ultra Smarts, the concept is similar to how it is in the US: sell the meter cheap and kill you for strips. So, I had a bright idea: I bought 2 meters for 10 pounds each, netting me 20 strips total, enough to get through my trip for only pounds. Sadly, 20 pounds is 40 bucks these days, but it still was cheaper than buying 1 meter and a bottle of strips.

One thing that was funny - the local pharmacy asked where I was staying and offered me the option of coming by and having my blood tested there. Why completely unreasonable for a diabetic on a pump, the offer totally cracked me up. :)

Running-wise, it's 20 degrees cooler here, which means running when I get home will be brutal, but is wonderful for the time being. Despite the jet jag, I managed six nice miles th…

Bye Bye July

Like a Ryan Howard home run, July is 'outta here. According to the log, I ran 168 miles. In all actuality, it's more like 190, but I don't put the wife's C25k miles in the log. Honestly, I don't know if I should or not. They're about 4 minutes per mile slower than my regular pace, but they are miles. I think of it as kind of doing a poor-man's double.

Even at 168, July's my biggest month ever, just nudging out July of 2007. This was due to good mileage on long runs, more mileage on recovery runs and only 2 missed workouts.

For August, I'm expecting similar mileage for the month. The long runs will get longer and I hope to boost the recovery runs a bit, too. However, that will be offset by a trip to the UK, which I figure will cost me 2-3 workouts. For that particular week, I'm considering the 3 core workouts to be critical, but will have to go easy on myself for the recovery runs while I adjust to jet-lag and do the work that needs done.

I See Diabetic Athletes...

I rolled out the current version of this blog around two years ago with the tagline, "A Type 1 diabetic endurance athlete, unable to find any good blogs about how diabetics handle endurance sports, decides to write his own. Here it is."

The thing is, two years ago, I was one of the only diabetic endurance athletes to regularly blog. I'm not anymore, and that's a great thing.

Now diabetics can choose from Jamie, Jerry, Erika, Missy and even Sarah (the newest diabetic athlete blog I've found). Now when I read my old tagline, it reads as if I'm disrespecting these writers. Truth is, I don't miss anything any one of them writes and if you're a diabetic athlete, neither should you.

So, I've changed my tagline to be "A Type-1 diabetic marathon runner blogs about running, diabetes and life, in no particular order," not because I've changed, but because the world and the Web has changed, which is a wicked cool thing.

While I'm writing about …

I Browse Like a Girl...

Here's a button that predicts whether you are a dude or a lady based on your browsing history. According to the button, there's an 82% chance that I'm a girl.

It must be all the time on the Oprah site...

The Oakland A's Have a Plan To Cure Diabetes by Killing All Diabetics

Hey, I kid because I care.

Hey, A’s fans! Don’t forget to show up a little early for tomorrow’s 12:35 p.m. game against the Royals - ’cause it’s MUG Root Beer Float Day! For the past eight seasons, Oakland’s AL club has scheduled a day to serve up the frosty treats - complete with $15 commemorative mug ($25 for one with a Mark Ellis autograph) - to raise money for a worthy charity.

And this year’s beneficiaries of the selling of the sweet treats? The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, of course.What better way to show support for diabetic children than by slurping up a delicious beverage they would so desperately love to enjoy, yet could kill them if they did.

*Disclaimer: Root beer floats will not kill diabetics. If this were true, I would've been dead about a bagillion times now. However, I do think there's a bit of a disconnect between the cause and the execution on this one.

Xterra Xduro 21k Race Report or - Is It HOT in Here or Is It Me?

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So the day after I returned from the beach was the Xterra Xduro 21k Trail Race in Nottingham, PA. I chose this race for several reasons:

1) With marathon season underway, I try to make sure most (if not all) of my tune-up races are 1/2M or longer.
2) I love trail racing and believe that once the Boston monkey is off my back will do most of my races this way.
3) It sounds cool to say you did the "Xterra Xduro" last weekend.

All of that being said...

1) I'm deep into training so I didn't taper for the race at all.
2) As mentioned, the day before the race was hectic, with returning from the beach.
3) The day of the race marked the 4th straight day of 90+ degrees. There was one of those you're-a-moron-if-you-go-to-the-mailbox warnings. Also, the race had a 9am start time, so by the time we finished, it would be hot.
4) I'd never run in Nottingham Park before and had no idea about the course.

I showed up at the race early, after getting about six hours of sleep. It was alr…

So Much to Say... So Very Little Time to Say It...

After a gorgeous one week vacation, this past week nearly broke me.

After a monstrous half-marathon last Sunday (race report still forthcoming), this was my week:

1) 3 company dinners. All wonderful, but all quite late.
2) 4 lunch-time runs
3) 2 late nights of swimming (one meet for the kids, one party) on the two nights I wasn't out for work
4) 2 early mornings of running with the wife (who's training for a 5k)
5) 1 eye doctor appt. that went over two hours (However - that's always a scary appt. for diabetics, and yet, I now have avoided eye complications for 24 years running!)
6) 1 blood test for next week's doc. appt.

Like I said - this isn't a complaint. These were all necessary things (though I realize the term necessary isn't applied exactly right here), and they were all good things. But let me tell you: I'm wasted. Completely and totally fried.

I have a 13 miler tomorrow morning, which will give me nearly 50 miles in the past 7 days (including the runs w/ th…

Back on the Grid....

Well, back from the beach, where we had a view of the bay and I had enough beers to keep micro-brewers happy for weeks to come.

In between, there were many runs, though this one was my favorite. I had a marathon pace workout scheduled that day... I ran 1 mile to the boardwalk and then ran 2 miles down the boardwalk. At the bottom of the boardwalk, I ran into 30 coast guard recruits just beginning their two mile fitness run. By the time I turned around, they had about a twenty second headstart. I decided to haul in as many of them as I could. When I reached their turnaround, only the first three were left in front of me. The extra motivation made it my easiest marathon pace run by far.

In my next post, though, you'll learn about my hardest run ever, just yesterday. But first - 200 e-mails I haven't gotten to, yet.

Greatest Diabetic Runners?

Probably because I'm a diabetic runner, I love learning about (and learning from) great diabetic runners. I've been keeping my eye on Brian Duplechain, who hopes to be the first known diabetic to break four minutes in the mile.

Still, the mile is too much of a sprint for a long distance guy like me, so my nod to "best diabetic runner" would have to go to Missy Foy - the first diabetic to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials, who has since gone on to great success at the ultra-marathon distance.

All of which brings me to my point: Missy just launched a good looking website and has some great insights on her blog. Be sure to check it out!

Volume Up.. So Far, So Good....

Last year, I used the FIRST method, running 3 days a week en route to a successful marathon. This year, I'm using a 6 day per week plan. Here's what I've learned so far:

1) Mentally, six days per week is tougher. With the FIRST plan, I started each run fresh. With six days per week, most of the runs involve a first mile where my legs are saying, "Are you kidding me?"

2) My long slow build over the spring was just what the doctor ordered to stay healthy. Though my legs are more tired than they were on FIRST, I'm surprised how injury-free I am at the moment. Only a year ago, I couldn't imagine staying healthy on six days per week of running, but so far, so good.

3) Even though my legs "feel" slower, I'm actually a good amount quicker. This isn't really a fair comparison, as I'd only been running a year when I did FIRST, but my tempo's are roughly 20 seconds per mile faster than last year. I found this particularly interesting because …

Post Run Massage?

Tomorrow will be an interesting experiment.

I'm off work (yay summer hours!) and am starting the day with a 15 mile run. Several months ago, the wife gave me a gift certificate for a massage at a local spa. Friday afternoon, I'm cashing it in.

I was last at this spa a few years ago when I wasn't running. It was a truly glorious hour of my life, but was made somewhat worse when I could barely move the next day (which somehow seemed to defeat the purpose).

Now, I'm not sure what to expect. My fitness is way beyond what it was back then. However, running doesn't exactly make you more flexible. And, 15 miles tomorrow morning isn't exactly a walk in the park either. The massage, I'm sure I'll love. But the aftermath? Stay tuned...

Halle Berry Has Competition in the "Hot Chicks Who Think They Can Cure Diabetes" Category....

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We haven't heard much from Halle Berry since she had her baby. This was particularly disconcerting to those of us who were hoping Halle would maybe share a bit more about how she's cured diabetes.

Thank Heavens, when somebody drops the syringe-baton, somebody else picks it up. Enter Jenna Phillips and her website Mission Possible. Here's what you need to know:

Jenna is Ben Stiller's personal trainer (when he's in LA).
Jenna went from 50 units of insulin per day to 5.
Her mission: The reality of being diabetic forever was also not an option for me. From that point on I have been on a mission to become insulin free.

Come on, Halle - Jenna's going after your legacy. I smell a reality show in the works. Let's lock them in in a room with one bottle of Humalog and see who cracks first.

Consider Me.... Tempted.

Of late, I've been thinking about trying a pair of Brooks Glycerines. Why, I don't know? I love my Asics Nimbus 10's - heck, I'm already on my second pair, but I've been mulling it/considering it/thinking about it, which seems irresponsible. Why leave a perfectly good pair of shoes?

And now this: Brooks is giving me (and you!) 90 days to try out some of their shoes. 90 days, no questions asked. (Never mind the fact that at current mileages I only get 60 days out of shoes...)
Hmmm.... now would be a good time for Asics to send me a shirt or something to remind me that they're happy I'm a customer. While I can't be bought, I can definitely be rented, particulary for 90 days.

Running in Central Park

I've run in Central Park a few times and have always marveled at the number of runners. However, on all of my ventures, I've stayed on the popular Loop Road, because it seems difficult to get lost on and is six miles long, like many of my workouts.

However, this new inteactive map from the NY Times points out all of the major trails, including what appears to be a more scenic "Tom Kelley Loop." I'll aim to hit that one next time.

Shhhhhh.....

Don't tell my legs, but I ran over lunch today.

This is my first week of running six days in a row... I had 4 decent workouts earlier this week, and 15 miles on tap for tomorrow. But today I had to sneak in a 3 miler (which I'll bump to 4 next week, and then 5, etc.)...

I went to the park, but rather than hit the hills and technical trails, I went to this area where there's a 1/3 mile loop in the woods with one tiny hill. I ran the loop 9 times, very slowly, very quietly, not once letting my legs know we were running. When I wake up at O-my-God-o'clock tomorrow, I really want my legs to think, "Gee, after our rest day, this won't be bad!"

Here's hoping my legs are as dumb as the rest of me. :)

Marathon Plan Under Way, Kind of....

I've got 4 days behind me this week, 1 very short 3miler today and then 15 on tap for tomorrow morning with Dave. And that will mark my first six day running week in a very long time.

I'm still 19 weeks out from the marathon and the plan I'm going to follow is Bart Yasso's from his new book, which I highly recommend (the book - the plan I won't be able to recommend for at least 19 weeks), but that's a 16 week plan, so I have these three weeks where I'm simulating the plan, but not really.

My body's definitely able to handle the Yasso mileage, but what I need to do over the next three weeks is get used to six days in a row of running. In addition, I spent several months doing all aerobic work and I'm working on getting my body in the hard-easy rhythm of serious training.

Looking forward to the 15 w/ Dave, though.. We've promised each other to go no faster than 8:15-8:20/mi., which is a great way to make sure I won't get injured in these early we…

Keeping Good Company...

As advertised, my high school alumni meet was today. 37 runners - mostly alumni but including some of the current squad took to the Solanco High School Cross Country course. Too tired for a cohesive post, but here's a laundry list of thoughts:

* Hands-down, the greatest thing for me was to see the two most important coaches of my life. Their enthusiasm and passion taught me much, and it thrilled me to be able to catch up with them.

* I was suprised to learn that the cross-country program has had only 5 coaches in 42 years - 4 of whom were there today.

* I was also to be surprised by Brett Shelton showing up. Brett was only a year behind me and drove all the way down from Corning, NY just for the meet. We were the only two representatives from the 80's.

* The program I was in was very successful - I remember being "disappointed" the year we finished 17-4. But when you're in the company of several years of that greatness, it's pretty inspiring. A recent college all…

Back to High School

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Tomorrow is the the Solanco Alumni Cross Country Meet. I'm a Solanco Alum, so I'll be there.

I haven't run on the high school course in 20 years (!!!), and I know from my few visits to the school that the landscape has changed, so I've got no idea what to expect, terrain-wise.

Likewise, I've got no idea what to expect competition-wise, either. I'm not expecting to see many (any?) guys I know, as the 86-89 crowd seems to be either not local or running these days. Last year's alumni run seemed to include a lot of faster kids in their college days and a slower group of guys from the 70's who had some awesome times back in the day... The 80's, though, were largely unrepresented, which is a shame. To make up for it, I plan to play Guns-n-Roses Appetite for Destruction on my way to the meet.

All in all, I want to wrap up my June racing season with a strong performance and move into marathon season. But first - as the shirt says - I must "return to the f…

What's My Story?

K had the nerve to tag me. ;) Here goes:

How would you describe your running 10 years ago?
Non-existent. I ran competitively in high school and college and quit cold turkey for 14 years. There were some years in there when I know for a fact I didn't run any further than to the mailbox in the rain. Understand this, too: my driveway is short.

What is your best and worst run/race experience?
I tend to be rather even keel about my racing. I don't live in the glory of the good ones very long or lament the bad ones very long, either. In the end, though, I think I'm most satisfied when I execute on my plan - whatever plan that is. Certainly, my marathon was big, accomplishment-wise, but I can't say it gave me much more satisfaction than a lot of other ones.

What is your best race experience?
Didn't I just answer this? Well - it might be referring to the race itself, rather than my own performance in it. If so, I always have a blast doing the Hands-on-House Half Marathon. Fun co…

Medtronic Once Again Welcome Old Heroes...

Several months ago, Jerry asked for my opinion about a clause in the Medtronic Global Heroes program that prevented diabetics over the age of 40 who've had diabetes for more than fifteen years from even being considered.

As is typical of me, my response was angry and long.

Yesterday, this showed up in my e-mail:

Marcus, thank you for your previous comments regarding the Medtronic Global Heroes program and its guideline related to runners with diabetes. As you know, under that guideline, runners with diabetes older than 40 who were diagnosed with diabetes more than 15 years ago were ineligible to apply. As promised, Twin Cities Marathon, Inc. and the Medtronic Foundation committed to review and re-evaluate this guideline following the close of the 2008 program applications. We thought you would like to know that we are removing this guideline for the 2009 program.Of course, runner safety remains the primary concern of both Twin Cities Marathon, Inc. and the Medtronic Found…

Diabetic Cyclists Come in Second in RAAM

Here's a big shout out to Team Type 1, which just finished second in this year's RAAM (after winning the team division last year). I first watched the RAAM on Wide World of Sports in '88 and have paid at least casual attention to it ever since. The fact that Team Type 1 - which is made up of all diabetics - can perform so well in this event is a testament to the individuals, their support crew and the technology provided by their sponsors. Well done!

Smith's Challenge - 10k Trail Run Review

Well that was rather painful.

Yesterday was Smith's Challenge - a 10k romp through the County Park trails, which consist of a lot of single track, large rocks and burn hazel. There were also two water crossings - the first to mid-thigh and the second high enough to make one worry about leeches.

Because I had the Garmin on auto-stop, it missed a couple points (and seconds) where the brush and the water slowed me down so much that the 405 thought I was catching a snooze, but you can check out the link with most of the action here. Garmin note: using auto-stop during a race is obviously a bad idea.

Last year I'd done done this one in 54:43 - good enough for 38th place. I'd set a goal of sub 50 this time which sounds too aggressive and it was, but still I was pleased overall. I finished in 52:16, good for 27th out of 156 in this all-male race. I would've liked to place higher than 9th in my age group, but the fact of the matter is this race attracts a lot of local talent, so…

Garmin 405 Review Plus Bonus Reptile Sighting...

Took the 405 for a spin over lunch over at the county park where I'm racing this weekend.

As you know, the 405 doesn't really do anything that the 305 doesn't. The difference is all in how it does it...

Though some bloggers real that Garmin has over-stated the smallness of the watch, I don't think anyone has pointed out the lightness of the 405. On my wrist, it feels lighter than my Timex - unlike the 305, which feels every bit as big as it is.

The 405 might be a bit more accurate... Though I won't explain my long-winded reasons here, I'd always suspected the 305 was off about a tenth on a 6 mile loop I do very often at the park. Sure enough, the 405 said the course was a tenth longer. Hardly conclusive, but still...

Some people have written about the sensitivity of the bezel and I think this is a fair concern, though there are ways around it. During the trail run today, I came across a downed tree and wanted to turn off the timer while I navigated around it. Inste…

For Your Viewing Pleasure....

Anne and her pals at Triabetes have a nice video out... almost makes me want to swim again. Almost. Check it out here.

As I write this, I have a new Garmin 405 dangling from my wrist... It's all charged up, set up and ready to roll. Alas, I'm about 3 hours from my lunchtime run, after which I'll post a mini-review.

Early thoughts:

1) I'm glad I have girly wrists. It fits me perfectly - and I think it will fit most twiggy runner wrists. But not water polo wrists.
2) The navigation is easy - not super easy - but easy. But it took me a while to get used to the 305, too.
3) It found a satellite indoors in about 20 seconds... around these parts, my 305 used to take about a minute outdoors.
4) It's small enough to get away with wearing a watch, though barely. It's the same width as my Timex, but the face is twice as thick. Chunkier, but not overly so.
5) I was able to buy the one for $300 (without the HR). However, it's the same unit as the one w/ HR (just without the H…