Monday, March 31, 2008

Call Me Tenderfoot

My right foot is still hurting. I'm still not calling it an "injury" yet, but I'm afraid that just plain soreness and inflammation should have gotten better by now.

I'll be icing the foot again today and hope that I'll be ready for a 5 mile easy run tomorrow. Luckily today is a rest day.

I also have a difficult decision regarding tomorrow - I was planning to wear my new shoes, but the weather will be rainy. I don't really want to have my first run in the shoes be in the rain. I guess if it is really rainy, I may hit the treadmill at the gym which would be fine to break in a new pair of shoes.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Is It The Shoes???

My feet are still a bit sore after yesterday's run. Luckily it is just soreness and not an injury, but it is definitely limiting how much I can get around today.

This morning it hit me - how many miles do my shoes have? I checked my running log, and my shoes have 328 miles in them right now. My shoes are usually retired after 350 to 400 miles, so I'm getting close.

So - it's time to start breaking in a new pair of shoes! Luckily, I have them already.

Brooks updated their model of shoe that I wear - from the Glycerin 5 to the Glycerin 6. I really didn't want to switch shoes in the middle of my marathon training plan, so a few weeks ago I checked around at a few stores to see if anyone still had a Glycerin 5 in my size that they were discounting. Metro Run & Walk had one and discounted it 20% for me. I usually like to shop at my neighborhood Fleet Feet, but they were all out of my size on this shoe.

This week, I'll start to do some of my runs in the newer shoes, but I'll do next week's long run in the current pair. By the 20 mile run the week after next, I should be completely in the new shoes.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

18.8 Miles - OUCH!

So, last night I had to figure out where I was going to run for my 18 miler this morning.  I had an inspiration: there is a new road in Rockville - Montrose Parkway - that has a really nice, wide asphalt sidewalk along the road.  I mapped out a course to get down there and back - 18.8 miles.  If I'm already doing 18 miles, what's an extra 0.8, right?

I went to load music on my iPod - I decided since it was a long run that I would listen to The Beatles - I hadn't listened to them in a while and I love their music, and there's lots of it.  I open iTunes click under artist for The Beatles and drag the albums into a playlist...and something looked strange.  Hmmm.  All of the albums were sorted in chronological order - not alphabetical!  How did that happen??  Well, somehow - when my son was playing on the computer - he sorted by "Album by Year".  I didn't even know that option existed!

Having your kids playing on the computer is kind of like that Friends episode when Ross's pet monkey was playing with the remote control and he turned the Spanish audio on - and no one could figure out how to turn it back to English!  I can tell when my kids have touched the computer since there is always something that has changed or is missing...

This morning, I woke up at 5:10am (I actually did not hear my alarm, but my wife did and kicked me out of bed) got dressed in shorts and a long sleeved running shirt and ate a Clif Z-Bar for a little fuel before my run.

Mike - Aren't Clif Z-Bars for kids???  Yes - and I'm sure every parent has a similar story:  Kids eat a certain food and say they want more of it; parents see that there is actually some new food that their kids will eat so they buy 5 boxes of it; 2 days later kids say they don't like it anymore.  So we have a bunch of Clif Z-Bars in the house that the kids won't eat and we need to get rid of them before Passover.

Before I left the house, I decided to check the weather one more time.  I'm so glad I did.  It was 37 degrees - but the wind chill was 29 degrees.  I decided to go back upstairs and put on my windbreaker and some gloves.  Good was definitely needed today.

All in all it was a good run.  It actually was a very good run until about mile 13 or so.  At that point, my right foot started to hurt.  It wasn't too bad - and I told myself that I could definitely run through this.  I slowed down a bit and the pain subsided.  About 10 minutes later the wind started to pick up.  I was soooo glad I grabbed my windbreaker and gloves!  But I tend to run faster when there is wind, and today was no exception.  Of course this brought the pain in my foot back again :-(

The last 3 miles was like a comedy of errors.  First, I went to grab a tissue out of my pocket and they all dropped out.  Stop run, turn back and pick up tissues.  Then one of the water bottles on my AmphiPod water belt would not stay in place.  I would click it on the belt and after a stride or two it would fall out again.  Stop run, turn back and pick up water bottle.  This happened about five times (I thought I felt it click in each time, so I was certain I fixed it), until I finally decided to hold the water bottle the rest of the way.  Finally, while I was crossing the last major intersection on my route, I was watching the road for traffic instead of the ground in front of me (smart, right?) and it ends up that the walkway portion of the median is a raised a bit from the street.  Of course I tripped on it - and luckily caught my balance, but barely...

When I finally arrived home and stopped running - in 3:34:56 - I realized how much my body hurt.  Mostly my foot, but also some pain in my hips and knees - actually every part of my legs hurt.  I came inside and took a warm shower and then sat in a cold bath for 10 minutes.  I still find it difficult to get in that cold bath - so much so, that I have all but given up putting ice in the bath.  My feet feel like they are going to freeze off as soon as they get into the water, how the heck will I be able to do this when the water is colder???

I'm still sore now - a good 12 hours after my run.  I've been hobbling around all day.  I'm hoping that a good night sleep will heal some of the pain.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Frantic Friday!

At some point during my workday today, I was going to try and map out a route for tomorrow's 18 mile long run.  It needs to be an out-and-back or a loop since we have a pretty busy day (synagogue, lunch bunch, etc.).  However, it's 5:15pm and I haven't found the time to do it.  I guess I'll do it after the kids are asleep.

Actually, I've also wanted to post a blog entry too.  About 45 min ago, I had the fragment "At some point during my workday today, I was going to try   " and the phone rang again.

It's been a really hectic, frantic Friday trying to catch up from my business trip earlier this week.

I can't wait until שבת מנוחה (peaceful Shabbat).

Thursday, March 27, 2008


2:45am is when I got home last night (this morning?)

I dozed off a bit on the plane and I was exhausted on my drive home and then I had trouble falling asleep when I got home. Unbelievable!

The kids woke up around 5:30am, so between 5:30am and 7:30am (when my wife took them out of the house to drive my older son to school) I was in an interrupted sleep. I finally got out of bed around 8:30am or so when I figured that I wouldn't fall back to sleep.

Needless to say, I will most likely not run today. My first non-scheduled rest day so far. (I almost took one a few weeks ago, but I ended up running after all - I doubt this will happen today).

I'll rest up today and tomorrow in preparation for the big 18 miler this weekend.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

DFW Airport :-(

So, I'm blogging from DFW Airport - 9:30pm local time.

I was supposed to leave at 7:35pm, however, my original flight was canceled and the next flight they booked me on - 8:45pm departure - is now departing at 10:10pm. I'm now supposed to land at DCA at 1:45am.

So much for running tomorrow morning.

It will be very nice to be back home and get into a routine again. At times business travel is nice, but it definitely takes its toll. Trying to eat right while on the road is a struggle - not due to a lack of healthy choices, but more due to the humongous sized portions when eating out. Luckily I ran 6 miles on Monday and 9 miles on Tuesday to counterbalance the portion distortion.

If my running shoes weren't in my checked luggage, perhaps I would have done some running around DFW :-)

White Rock Lake

Yesterday, after my training course ended around 5pm, I quickly got into my running gear and drove to White Rock Lake in Dallas. I got there around 5:45pm which would give me just enough time to run around the lake before the sun set - hooray!

It was sunny and warm - temperatures in the low 70s - but really windy. There is a footbridge on the north end of the lake and while I was running on it I almost felt like I was going to be blown off. It's not so easy to run in those conditions, but I handled it well.

It is a really pretty part of town. In the 5 years that I lived here, I did not come down to the lake once (OK, I went to the Arboretum which is on the lake, but I never came down just to be at the lake). I was trying to think about why I never did and then I remembered - I didn't run back then and we didn't have kids (there are a lot of playground areas around the lake).

The trail around the lake is very runner/pedestrian friendly. Trashcans are all over the place (you can see my rant about trashcans on some of my long-run posts), and there were about 5 or 6 water fountains!

Actually, seeing the water fountains made me realize how far I have come in my running - and confidence of going longer distances. A few months ago when I was preparing for my 9 mile "long run" I purchased my Amphipod water belt so I would have water on my run. Yesterday was also a 9 mile run and I had no issues running without a water belt (I didn't take it with me on my business trip). I did have plenty of water and some Gatorade in the car for after the run, but I knew that I'd be able to make it without water if there were no fountains.

Another thing I realized - I am definitely a morning runner! It took me a while to get in a groove yesterday - the first 30-40 minutes were really tough. Also, I find I focus better throughout the day when I run in the was not easy sitting through the training course without my morning run. I hope I'm OK today!

I finished the 9.3 mile loop of the lake in 1:39:27 - a bit under an 11 min mile pace. I'll definitely be running here again the next time I'm in Dallas!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Running In Richardson (TX)

I am in Richardson, TX for a training course this week (Lean Six Sigma - DMADV and Lean Process training).

I flew into DFW last night and I didn't get to my hotel until 12 midnight. On the schedule was a breakfast meeting with our financial adviser at 7:30am (we still use him even though we moved from Dallas in 1999 - if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right???) and class starts at 8:30am. Also on the schedule was a 5 mile run, so I set my alarm for 5:10 am - I could get sleep on Monday night, right????

After a not so good sleep, my alarm went off. I was considering going back to bed, but I figured if I didn't sleep well from midnight to 5am, was I really going to sleep any better from 5am to 6:30am??? So off I went.

Since I got into the hotel so late, I did not have time to plot out a running route. I lived in Richardson for 4 years and have run here on business trips before, but I did not have my routes saved on RunningAhead so I wasn't sure which route was a 5 miler. I took a stab and ran towards my old neighborhood, then north on Floyd past UTD (where I received my Masters Degree), into the Cottonwood Creek neighborhood and past Beth Torah, then back onto Campbell towards the hotel.

During my run I was not watching the time - just watching my heart rate. Again, my heart rate was a little higher than I wanted it. I am a "dissociative" runner and tend to get lost in my thoughts (or music) while running instead of being tuned in to what my body is telling me. I didn't run with music this morning and I still wasn't listening to my body - this is definitely something I'll have to practice a bit more before my first marathon on May 4.

At the end of the run, my watch was registering 1:05:25 / average HR 154. Based on how I felt my pace was, I knew that this was longer than a 5 miler. I finally had an opportunity to map the route during my lunch break - 6.1 miles. I guess since I knocked a mile off of a few of my runs last week that I'm compensating for it this week!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Week 12 Weigh In - Huh???

Since I'm traveling this week and I won't be near my scale on Monday morning, I weighed in today instead. I really had no idea what the scale would show...

It was Purim this week, which meant I had eaten my fair share of hamatashen...although I definitely ate less this year than in years past. This was difficult as Sherry made chocolate hamantashen dough and a prune filling from scratch (in addition to M&M and Reese's Peanut Butter cup filled hamantashen!!!) Also, yesterday late afternoon/evening we went to a friend's house for a kid's playdate/dinner - dinner was delicious, but very high in fat (i.e. higher caloric intake). They made a salmon dish which had a really nice sauce (almost like a hollandaise sauce) and a mashed potato casserole with chives and sour cream - YUMMMMM.

On the other hand, I ran 12 miles yesterday morning and went to an Israeli Dance party late last night....and I didn't eat anything when I came back from the party around 1am.

So...I was quite surprised when the scale showed 161.5 this morning!

That's 2 pounds less than last week. Perhaps I was trying to compensate for the hammentashen and not eating enough other things? I'm not sure. However, I know that I'll need that good weigh-in as I'm about to go on a business trip - and that's never good news on the weight front!

Actually, I think I may be OK on this business trip. I'm in Dallas for 3 days, and I have a 5 mile and 9 mile run scheduled during that time - so whatever additional calories I'd be consuming on the business trip will most likely be burned off.

I lived in Dallas for five and a half years, so most of the time when I visit I let all of my friends know I'll be in town. However, I know I'll have a really compressed schedule this time. I'm there for training (Lean Six Sigma), so I'll be catching up on my normal work after hours. Add that to the longer runs that I'll be doing - I'll have much less time to socialize.

Luckily, the weather in Dallas will be 20 degrees warmer! I'm looking forward to (hopefully) running around White Rock Lake on Tuesday after my training session in 70 degree weather :-)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

No Rain - Hooray!!!

So yesterday I was a bit bummed out that the weather was supposed to be cold and rainy this morning. I'm glad to report that it did not rain! It was a bit chilly - 37 degree wind chill - however, I dressed appropriately so it was not too bad.

I had a difficult time keeping my heart rate below 150 at the rate that I wanted to run. I believe this is attributable to my blood donation earlier this week - my body has not fully bounced back to its full aerobic capacity. I also think that I may be a bit dehydrated - I drank lots of water on Monday after the blood donation, but on Tuesday and Wednesday I was not in my office and I ended up drinking more coffee and sodas. I got some NUUN tablets this afternoon to try and get some electrolytes back in me...we'll see if that works.

I ended up running pretty well - 12.25 miles in 2:11:43 - a 10:45/mile pace. My average heart rate was higher than I would like for a long run - 159 - but I'm hoping that some more time and hydration will help bring that back to where it should be.

I had a lot on my mind during my run, so the time went quickly. There are a few issues at work which are bugging me a bit - one of which is how to convince my management on the number of Project Manager I need for my current project, as they are not sold on my initial recommendation - so I had a few ideas that I may try to work on during my plane ride to Dallas tomorrow night.

I also was thinking about the NCAA Tourney - I did get to catch the OT buzzer shot that put Western Kentucky over Drake, but all in all I have not spent much time on the Tourney this year. In previous years, I would fill out multiple brackets, read about how the teams did in the regular season and their conference tournaments, and would take at least one of the afternoons off during the first round to watch some games. I actually was planning to "work" from the Wine Harvest Cafe on Friday afternoon - they have free WiFi and a television that would have the games on...multitasking at its best! However, at around 3:45 on Friday afternoon a colleague of mine IMed me asking if I was there and I had totally forgotten about going! I believe that I may have lost about 1 hour of productivity during work this week on the NCAA Tourney - it must be a record for me :-)

The backdrop to all these thoughts was wonderful scenery - I saw a few deer when I ran on the overpass through Seneca Creek Park on Great Senaca Highway - and some Israeli music. I listened to Rami Kleinstein's "Tagid Et Zeh" and then a collection of Israeli Hits from 2006 "Rak B'Yisrael 2006".

Friday, March 21, 2008

Forecast For Tomorrow Morning - Cold and Rainy...YUCK!

Tomorrow morning is a "stepback" long run of 12 miles. The weather forecast is calling for about 35 degrees and about a 50% chance of rain - not my favorite weather to run in. On the bright side, at least it is calling for only light winds, right?

I can't really complain as the DC area has not had a bad winter. It only snowed a handful of times and none of them were huge snowfalls. Friends and family of mine in Michigan and Ohio have been slammed by bad weather this winter, so I'll just keep my trap shut and hope that Spring weather is around the corner.

Actually, warmer weather is in store for me. I'll be going to Dallas on business next week, so I'll get two of my runs in while I'm there. It looks like it will be sunny and about 25 degrees warmer there than here...WOO HOO!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Running Alone Or With Groups?

Last weekend, I had spoken to a few people about my running and marathon goal, and they were quite surprised to find out that I am doing all of my running on my own.  Both of them have run marathons, but trained and ran the race with a training partner.

In the book that I recently finished - Hal Higdon's Marathon - The Ultimate Training Guide - he talks about the many training groups that he coaches around the Chicago area to prepare for the Chicago Marathon (this also seemed to be the case with a few of the people that were focused on in the Sprit of the Marathon movie).

I got to it out of the ordinary to be doing most of my runs solo?  Am I missing something by not running with a training partner or training group?

So - I've posted a brief survey on the right column of the blog (right under my photo).  Please let me know how you run!

Not Feeling It Today

I did my 5 mile run this morning on the treadmill at the gym, but I wasn't really "feeling it" today.  I felt like I was just going through the motions - I needed to get my run in, so I did it.  Counting down the miles, counting down the minutes.

I'm not sure what's hitting me - lack of sleep (but I always suffer from lack of sleep, right?), recovering from my blood donation earlier this week, being really busy at work with the feeling like I'm a bit behind (I've logged in during the evening every night this week), or just feeling monotony of the fact that I've been doing this for 12 weeks straight without a break.

I'm hoping that tomorrow's rest day along with some NCAA basketball viewing will help me out of my funk.  Also, tonight starts the Jewish celebration of Purim - I will be chanting a chapter of the Scroll of Esther tonight at synagogue - and tomorrow morning at another synagogue as well.

If anything else, I'll need to run to burn off the chips and beer consumed while watching March Madness this weekend and the hamantashen that I eat for Purim!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Falling Behind

Yesterday was a really busy day - customer meetings, a lot of work to do once the meetings were over and finally my NCAA Tourney Draft in the evening. As a result, I didn't find time to blog yesterday - so I apologize to the loyal blog readers who missed an update yesterday...

This morning, I was scheduled to run 4 miles. It was my first run after giving blood so I was going to take it easy and hope that I didn't lose too much aerobic capacity. I checked the weather report and it looked like it was going to rain all night and into the morning, so I prepared to hit the treadmill at the gym rather than running outside.

In the middle of the night, my 2 year old woke up (and woke my wife and I up) at 3am. I ended up falling back asleep, and slept through my 5:15am alarm. Shoot!!!! I woke up at 5:40am and rushed out the door. I got on a treadmill by 6am and got 3 miles and a cooldown in before I had to hit the shower (I had to leave earlier for work this morning since I was going to our office in Virginia). My feeling is that a shorter run is better than no run at all...although I feel bad that I couldn't get the full 4 miles in.

The good news - my pace was 11:26/mile at an average heart rate of 145. My body is recovering nicely from the blood donation. Hooray!!!

I'm hoping I can get the full 5 miles on my run tomorrow morning since each of my other runs this week have fallen short of the distance on the training plan.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Milestone Monday

I was looking at my training log and I noticed that I hit a milestone during today's run: 250 miles this year! Three years ago - when I first started running - I barely topped 400 miles for the year, and I'll top that before May!

Another milestone - this was the 12th time in my life that I have donated blood (6 of those have been in the past 18 months when I decided to make a commitment to do it). The American Red Cross advertises that each time you give blood that you potentially save 3 I am up to saving 36 lives. Here is why 36 is such a special number:
  • In Hebrew, letters are sometimes used to represent numbers (the equivalent in English would be A=1, B=2, C=3, etc.)
  • The number 18 is represented by the letters Chet (8) and Yood (10) which spell the work Chai - or Life.
  • So 36 is equal to "double-chai" or two-times life!

I Despise Early Daylight Savings Time!!!

As a morning runner, early Daylight Savings Time is horrible!!!  This morning, I ran a little over 7 miles - not a "short morning run" for me - completely in the dark.  That's just not right.

The run went very well.  With the cooler temperature (around 30 degrees) and very little wind, I felt pretty comfortable and therefore was able to keep a nice, steady pace.  I also had some mellow tunes with me - Jack Johnson this morning - which kept me from darting out too fast.  Average heart rate was 145.  Average pace was 10:43/mile.

Since it's Monday morning, it is weigh-in day (I had to remember to weigh in before my run).  The scale showed 163.5 and then bumped up to 164.0 (my scale only goes to the half pound).  Bottom line is that keeping my net calories in the 2000 per day range is the right place for me to maintain my weight.  As an aside, on Saturday morning after my 17 mile run, I decided to step on the scale and see how much water weight I had lost on the run.  The scale showed 161.0 - so I had lost about 3 lbs of water weight!  I probably had lost even more, as I drank 24 oz of water on my run and nearly finished a 16 oz tumbler of water immediately after I got home.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

GU Flavors

Thanks to Tootie for posting a comment about GU flavors (I've had others ask me a similar question...)

I prefer the Just Plain flavor - it tastes a bit like caramel, but not too over the top sweet.  I also like the Vanilla flavor...although it is a bit on the sweet side.

I like the Lemon Sublime flavor mid-run - this tastes like lemon-lime Gatorade, and I guess I'm just used to having that type of taste in my mouth as an energy replacement mid-run.  Also, the Lemon Sublime flavor does not have caffeine - I needed to cut down on the amount of caffeine I had each day as I was starting to get sensitive to it.

The Chocolate flavor is amazing - it tastes like chocolate frosting - but it's a bit too sweet for me to eat while on a run.

Sunday - Sore Day =)

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 3874
(Exercise Calories: 1925)
Total Net Calories:  1949

I'm pretty sore today.  I guess 17 miles - and over 3 hours - of running will do that to you.

Specifically, my left knee is sore and my calves are sore.  I'll try to ice the knee and stretch the calves at some point today.  I'm not going to go to the gym to do the elliptical for cross-training.  I had a "semi" cross-training workout early this morning - I walked my 5-year old son to the Star Diner this morning for breakfast (1/2 mile each way).  Of course, at points he wanted to race me -and running hurt this morning!  I also have Israeli Dancing tonight, so I'll chalk up the mile walk and dancing as my cross-training today.

This week I'm going to rearrange the training schedule a bit since I'm giving blood tomorrow at lunchtime.  I'm definitely going to run Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.  However, I may move the longer run to Monday morning (8 miles) and then do the shorter runs (4 and 5 miles) on Wednesday and Thursday since I'll still be recovering from the blood donation.  I also have some meetings in Columbia, MD on Tuesday morning, so by not running that morning I should be able to avoid some traffic.  I'm going to make all the runs this week easy runs - no speedwork.  That should also help me recover quicker.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday Morning Long Run

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  2225

This morning's plan was to wake up early and do a 17.2 mile out-and-back/loop from my neighborhood to the Rockville Millennium Trail and back.  The training plan calls for a 16 mile run, but this seemed like a good course that I'm familiar with - so I decided to do the extra 1.2 miles.

Since we had to leave to go to synagogue around 10am, I needed to be home around 9am.  I figured this run would take me about 3 hours and 15 minutes, so I needed to get out the door by 5:45am.  5:45am is exactly when I got out of the house - and 3:15:10 was my time...not too bad on the planning side!

My plan was to try to keep my heart rate under 150 for as long as possible - staying at a nice even pace for the entire run.  I decided to pick some mellower music to help out with this.  I had a collection of Indigo Girls, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Rufus Wainright and Don MacLean among others.

It worked for most of the run - my average heart rate was 153.  I know that towards the end of the run my heart rate was in the low 160s, so I did a good job regulating my pace at the beginning of the run.  I seem to have a problem regulating my speed when going up a gradual incline...I have a tendency to keep my normal pace which sends my heart rate up.  On bigger hills, I slow down more, but on the gradual hills I don't do such a good job slowing down.  I'm going to have to work on this before the marathon.  It will actually help me for all races in the future - not just the marathon.

I ran pretty much the entire 3 hours, 15 minutes and 10 seconds.  There were a few times I had to stop.  Just as I was getting onto the Millennium Trail, I had a pebble in my shoe, so I stopped, took my shoe off and got it out.  On the Millennium Trail, there are only two trash cans so I was going to take my GUs a little before each of them so I could throw the empty packets in the trash cans.  However, the first trash can caught me by surprise, so I stopped for a few seconds to do my GU shot and take a drink.  There was also one traffic light that I had to stop at for about 1 minute as cars were turning - I had good luck with all the other traffic lights (of course, there's not too many cars on the road between 5:45am and 9am on Saturday morning!).

About 13-14 miles through the run I still felt great!  I was thinking, "heck, there's nothing to this...once I get started I can keep on going forever."  However, around mile 15 my legs started to feel sore.  It didn't stop me from finishing out the last 2 miles, but those two miles were not easy.

My hydration/fueling plan for today - I ate a chewy granola bar before the run and brought 3 GU packets - the plan was to take one at around each hour into my run (or at the trash cans on the Millennium Trail, which happened to coincide pretty nicely with hours 1 and 2!).  I added the 3rd water bottle to my AmphiPod RunLite, so I had 24 oz of water with me.  The water belt with three water bottles was a little strange at first, but I got used to it pretty quickly.  I rationed it out the water pretty well, but I think I would have drank more if I had more.

After I got home, I took a quick warm shower and then a cold bath (no ice - I whimped out).  This supposedly helps with inflammation and to bring your core temperature back down quicker.

So this was my longest run - 17.2 miles - and my most weekly mileage - 34.3 miles!

Friday, March 14, 2008


Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2638 
(Exercise Calories: 579)
Total Net Calories: 2059

Today is a Scheduled Rest Day.  I will not run.  Really, I mean it.

I'm gearing up for my 16 miler tomorrow.  I set out a potential course - utilizing the Rockville Millennium Trail - but it is a little over 17 miles.  I should be able to do it, but I'm wondering if I should try to map something out a bit shorter.

I'm also planning to dust off the 3rd water bottle for my AmphiPod RunLite.  We'll see how running with three bottles on my belt goes.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Non-scheduled Rest Day??? NOT!!!!

Today was a beautiful day here. Sunny with a high in the mid-60s. A bit windy, but overall it was awesome weather.

I was stuck at my desk most of the day. Tons of back-to-back conference calls. But suddenly, around 3:45pm, things started to slow down.

No more calls. I was waiting for data to process a change order. I was waiting for people to call me back.

I had to send out minutes and an updated action register from one of the calls I chaired, but I could do that after the kids were in bed.

I logged off and went for my run on a beautiful March day. I was pumped and ran a bit too fast for an "easy" run. Average heart rate was 155. Pace was 9:54/mile.

So much for a Non-scheduled Rest Day!

Non-Scheduled Rest Day

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake:  3085
(Exercise Calories:  1303)
Total Net Calories:  1782

This morning when my alarm went off, I didn't hear it.  I was so dead asleep that the alarm didn't even register.  My wife heard it and woke me up, telling me to turn it I did.

At that point I thought about going out for my scheduled 4 mile run, but shook it off.  Perhaps this is my body telling me I need some rest.

Unfortunately, my work day is packed with meetings - so I doubt I'll find an hour to duck out for a run during the day.  There's a remote chance that I'll go and run after the kids are in bed...we'll see about that.

Otherwise, this is my first "non-scheduled" rest day.  Once in 11 weeks - I guess I can live with that...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A "Run-Thru" McDs, Mental Training and Fast Intervals

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2598
(Exercise Calories: 541)
Total Net Calories:  2057

This morning I had an 8 mile run on the schedule.  A speedwork workout as it is my longer weekday run.  My plan - jog to the track at Quince Orchard High School (1.6 miles from my house), do a 5 miles of a Yasso 800s workout at the track and then jog back.

When I left the house it was a lot windier than I had thought it was going to be.  I almost went back into the house to get my windbreaker, but I didn't want to risk waking everyone up.  I was probably a little underdressed, but I didn't want to overheat while running intervals.

One thing I did forget to take with me were tissues.  The cold wind across my face made my nose start to run (English is such a funny language - your nose can run and your feet can smell!).  I remembered that there is a McDs right across the street from the High School, so I ran in, grabbed a few napkins and ran out.  There were no customers in there at the time, so I was not inconspicuous to the people who worked there...I'm sure they probably thought I was nuts - but they probably see all kinds of nut cases every day, so maybe they didn't think anything of it.

I got to the track and I really did not want to be there.  Not that I was lethargic - I probably could have easily run a steady 8 miles without a complaint - but it was dark, windy and a bit chilly...not the best day for a track workout IMHO.  But I started running my intervals.

Frequent readers of my blog know that my heart rate monitor watch does not have a backlight, so I was pretty blind as to how fast I was running my intervals and what my heart rate was.  Since I was running "by feel" I did not wear my iPod during the track portion of my run today.  I wanted to listen to my body and try to tell whether I'm overdoing and how my pace was.  I didn't listen all the time, as I felt that I was running the intervals faster than normal (see later in the post which confirms this), but I was able to run them at this pace, so perhaps I was just running them too slow previously.

Unfortunately, part of me just wasn't into doing this whole speedwork thing today.  After each of the first few intervals I kept hearing a voice that said "OK, you've now run 1.5 miles at the track - with the run to and from the house that's a bit over 4.5 miles...that's respectable, right?  Can I go home now???"

But another part of me - and this part won out - kept saying "you're at the track for 5 miles to complete your 8 mile workout...harden up and just do it".  That part of me continued to count down how many intervals were left and kept me focused on finishing the track work.  I believe this is the type of "mental training" that will keep me strong and moving during the marathon.  The training plan is not just about training the legs, it's also about training the brain.

There were a handful of other crazies at the track in the pre-6:30am darkness with me.  One guy was also doing some kind of interval work as well.  He was a good deal faster than me, but on the last two intervals I was doing my best to not let him get too far ahead of me.  That was a good boost and kept me going.  Ironically, when I finished running home and started to walk around my house for a brief cooldown, this same guy passed me!  So he was actually a neighbor with the same crazy idea.

When I got inside, I checked my watch for splits.  HOLY COW!  I was smokin' on the track!  Here are the 800 splits:  3:59, 4:09, 4:04, 4:01, 4:05, 4:02, 3:59

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Deciding Whether to Give Blood

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 1962

It is 8 weeks since I last gave blood. Which means, this would have been the week that I donated again. I'm not sure why, but I started to think about it more this week. I had pretty much decided to not give blood again until after the marathon, but given where I am now, I don't think that giving blood will put me back too much. So...I have a decision to make - to give, or not to give?

My training is going great right now. My easy runs are about a minute per mile faster than 8 weeks ago. I'm running longer distances without too many issues or soreness. I have not had any injuries so far.

I'm 8 weeks away from the marathon right now, so I don't see donating blood now impacting my performance on May 4.

This is a pretty big week - 32 total miles with a 16 mile long run - however, next week is another "stepback" week with only a 12 mile long run. So, I'll likely schedule a blood donation for Monday next week. I'll run Monday morning and make Tuesday a rest day. Perhaps I'll even rest on Wednesday as well (or make it a very easy and shorter run than scheduled). I'll do my weekly "longer" run on Thursday instead of Wednesday. Then I'll be back on track.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Planning The Week's Runs

This week, I have two 4-mile runs and one 8-mile run during the weekdays and then a 16 miler on the weekend.

It looks like the weather won't be too bad during the week, so I'll be able to avoid the dreadmill and run outside. Which is great news as one of my normal neighborhood routes is a little over 4 miles.

For the 8 mile run, I can either do this loop twice, or perhaps run to the nearby high school track (about 1.5 miles each way) and then do 5 miles of speedwork.

Week 11 Weigh In

Regular blog readers may have noticed that the past few days I have neglected to post my calorie intake. That's because I wasn't monitoring it closely. Heck, I was running 15 miles this weekend so I was going to burn through whatever I ate, right?

Sort of...

The scale showed an increase of one pound this week - 164.5. I'm not going to get too concerned yet as (1) this could just be common cause variation with my weight (see the last paragraph of the General section here) and (2) since I wasn't monitoring what I was eating on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I'm thinking if I just get back to being accountable for what I put in my mouth it will all balance out in next week's weigh-in.

So, I'm not going to cut down on the number of calories per day (2,000 net calorie intake). I'm just going to make sure I'm not going over that amount by too much each day.

I WILL need those calories this week. The plan shows a week 11 total of 32 miles. I've never run this much in one week before. But after this past weekend's long run, I believe that I can handle anything now.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hydration On Long Runs

An Anonymous poster left the following comment, "What do you use to hydrate during your long runs?"

When my runs started to get over 90 minutes, I purchased a water belt - the AmphiPod RunLite 3.  I chose this one since it was modular - I could choose how many water bottles to put on and where they should go, and there was also a pouch for GU, my cellphone, keys, etc.

I currently have two of the 8 oz water bottles on the belt - so I'm carrying 16 oz of water with me.  I'll most likely add the third water bottle for next week's 16 mile run and for runs longer than 3 hours.  I usually carry two GU pouches - I take one about an hour into my run and another one about an hour later if I'm still running.  I guess I'll carry a third GU packet for runs longer than 3 hours.  YIKES!

As for posting anonymously - I understand if you don't want to log in with a Google account or another email address, but you can at least sign your name when you post.  So far this has been a nice blog with a pretty friendly exchange of information so you should have nothing to fear :-)

I hope this helps!

Sunday Morning's Weather Report

At 8am, the weather report shows 27 degrees with a wind chill of 19 degrees.

Even with the hail storm I ran through, I'm sooooo glad I ran yesterday afternoon!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

15 Miles!!! - Or How I got my revenge on the weatherman...and he got me back!

I thought about my long run and started to dread doing it tomorrow.  First of all the weather report was for colder temperatures - about 30 degrees when I was going to head out - and gusty winds.  Second of all, tonight we move the clocks forward - so waking up at 5am will really be waking up at 4am...YIKES!

So, when I was at synagogue this morning I saw that it had turned into a beautiful day.  Sunny and 50 degrees with not much wind.  I started thinking...perhaps I can get this long run in this afternoon instead.  I decided to not eat too much at the "kiddush" luncheon just in case I could swing it.  When I got home, my 2 year old was napping, my wife was resting and my 5 year old son asked to watch a video (how could I say no???).  It was a perfect opportunity for me to slip out and run.  But for close to 3 hours?  I got the green light from my wife, got into running clothes (shorts, a running t-shirt and a running baseball hat), got my water belt ready with H2O, GU and my cell phone, and off I went!

I was going to run the same loop course that I had mapped out for this morning.  It goes through the neighborhood that I grew up in and I stowed an extra water bottle in my parents' mailbox :-)

The first few miles were tough.  I still had my lunch digesting so I couldn't get into a groove running.  It was pretty sunny and I was thinking to myself perhaps I should have taken my sunglasses.

That thought was short lived...

About 2.5 miles into my run, dark clouds started rolling in and the wind picked up.  Oh no!  Here I thought I had timed my run right and now it looked like I could be soaked for the next 2 hours.  It ended up only raining lightly for about 15 minutes and then the sun came out again around mile 4 of my run.

Around mile 5, I crossed paths with a friend of ours from synagogue who was walking his dog.  I gave a quick hello as I passed him - Boy was he surprised to see me running near his neighborhood!

By this time the sun was shining, and it was a glorious day to run!  I got into a pretty good zone, made it around the loop of my old neighborhood and got the water bottle at my folks' house.

At around mile 10 I started to get a little pain in my left knee.  My heart rate was over 160 - and had been over 160 for a while since there were some big hills in my old neighborhood - so I decided to slow down and got my HR under 150.  Within a few minutes the pain was gone...and did not resurface for the rest of the run.

Everything was going well at this point.  I was thinking since it was such a nice day that perhaps I would walk my boys up to Five Guys for grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.  I also was thinking that I would take an ice bath after the run to help with the inflammation of muscles and soreness the next day.

Unfortunately, those thoughts were also short lived.

The clouds moved in again at some point between miles 11 and 12.  Unfortunately, this was the real deal.  The temperatures dropped - probably by about 20 degrees - and the wind started to pick up.  Then they started to gust - HARD.  This was just about the time where I turned onto Darnestown Road - and I was running directly into the wind!  I was searching deep inside of me for something to pull me through running into 20-30 mph wind gusts.  Luckily, my iPod provided the spark.  It was at this point when The Theme from "Rocky" started playing.  That got me through running into the wind for a few minutes.

And then, it happened.  The rain started.  But it wasn't just rain.  There was hail as well.  BB pellet sized hail.  In 30 mph wind.  Coming straight at me - in my shorts and t-shirt.  After being welted for about 2 minutes I ducked behind a tree and stopped my stopwatch until the hail died down.  I figured that I had just gotten my ice bath.

Finally, after a few minutes the hail stopped and I got back on the sidewalk.  Ironically, I saw another runner about 50 yards ahead of me come out from a tree as well.  So, I wasn't the only one :-)  However, that runner was wearing a windbreaker...I was soooo screwed.

There were 3 miles left.  It was probably in the mid-to-low 40s by now with strong winds and a little rain.  I had already been running for over 2 hours.  Time to HTFU and finish this out.  It was me against the elements and I was not going to let the elements beat me!  I was concentrating so much on finishing the run that I was not focused on the fact that this was my longest run to date and that my legs were getting sore.  Getting home was my main concern.

At this point, my iPod developed more ESP.  As I was nearing my neighborhood, Daughtry's Home started playing.  This brought me up, but as I entered the 'hood I was starting to lose steam.  I started thinking that there was one song that I definitely knew would get me to finish the run out strong - the theme to Chariots of Fire.  And lo and behold, that's the song that came on for me to finish my run.

At the end, I was sore, I was cold, but I finished.  In 2 hours and 50 minutes - an average of an 11:04/mile pace.  My average HR was higher than it should have been on a long run - 159 - but a lot of that was the last 3 miles trying to beat the elements and finish out the run strong.

I Could Strangle The Weatherman!

This morning I had my 15 mile run scheduled.  Yesterday I mapped out a route (I was going to run to the neighborhood I grew up in and back) and checked the weather to ensure it would be suitable for a long run.  As of yesterday morning, the rain was supposed to subside overnight leaving a light rain or drizzle in the morning - temperatures in the mid-40s.  Not bad weather for a long run.

Last night before going to bed, I checked the weather again.  The forecast now said that there would be heavy rain - 3/4 to 1 inch overnight with more heavy rain and wind in the morning.  I wasn't going to be outside for close to three hours in pouring rain, so I decided to switch my Saturday and Sunday schedules - cardio on Saturday and long run on Sunday.  I did not set an alarm; my mind was made up.

This morning when I woke up at around 6:15am, I didn't hear any heavy rain.  I looked out the window, and there was the drizzle that the original forecast called for.  It was already too late for me to start my long run due to the hectic schedule we have this morning.  So I hit the elliptical at my neighborhood's clubhouse.

So instead of having my 15 mile run behind me now, I have to wake up early tomorrow to do it in colder - but drier - weather.  Damn the weatherman!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Charting Out the Long Run

Tomorrow is my long run of the week - actually, it's the longest run of my life so far - 15 miles!

I was thinking it would be a really cool idea to do a point-to-point run, so I went on Gmap Pedometer and started going to town! It ends up that I can leave my front door and run all the way down to the Bethesda Metro station which would be 15 miles. I could leave my car at the Shady Grove Metro station - closest to my house - this afternoon (take the bus back home) and then after my run to Bethesda in the morning I would take the metro back to Shady Grove and then drive home. (if I didn't run so darn early, I could take the metro to Bethesda first and then run back home - but Metro doesn't start operating until 7am on the weekends).

Then reality set in...

The downside to a point-to-point run - or any run where I actually need to get into a car/bus/train to get to or from the point that I'm running - is that it adds extra time to the run. Heck, I'm already going to be running for close to three hours tomorrow - can I really afford to be out of the house for 3.5 or 4 hours? Unfortunately, tomorrow I don't have that luxury.

Tomorrow morning Sherry is leading the "Tot Shabbat" (programming for 2-5 year olds) at our synagogue. She'll need my help with the kids so she can get ready for the program, so I'll most likely need to be back home by 8am or so.

So back to Gmap Pedometer I go!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Be The Bunny...

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 3202
(Exercise Calories: 916)
Total Net Calories: 2286

This morning was a 4 mile easy-paced run. I was longing to run outside and one of my normal neighborhood routes is a little over 4 miles, so I was determined to go outside this morning to run. Luckily, the weather cooperated - a clear crisp 30 degree morning!

As I opened my front door at 5:30am, a bunny rabbit darted across my front lawn. At the time, I didn't realize that it was a sign of good things to come...

Since it was an easy run, I wanted to keep my heart rate below 150 for the majority of the run (there are a few big hills which I knew my hr would go up on...but as long as I would recover to under 150 I'd be happy). I started out at a pace that was definitely faster than normal, however, I felt good - and my heart rate was still in the problems. This continued throughout the entire run - I could feel that I was faster, yet my heart rate was not climbing. It was a great feeling!

I finished the 4.4 mile run in 46:12 - a 10:26/mile pace at an average heart rate of 147. The only times I had run that route faster was during tempo runs. What an awesome feeling!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Running In Cadence With The Tunes

One thing I forgot to mention about my tempo run this morning - once I hit my "comfortably hard" pace I couldn't get into a good rhythm for a few minutes. Then the song Kashmir by Led Zeppelin came on my iPod and the cadence of my run matched the beat of the music.

It was a wonderful 8 min and 28 seconds...

A Change In Plans

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 1984

This morning's scheduled run was 7 miles. I have been doing speedwork on my mid-week longer runs - mostly Yasso 800 interval runs on the treadmill. Since the temperatures had warmed up, I was really hoping to run outside, so last night I decided that I would do a tempo run - start out at a relaxed pace for about 1 mile, then go at a "comfortably hard" pace for about 5 miles and then slow down to a relaxed pace for the last mile. No problem. I had the 7.33 mile loop from my house set up from a long run a few months ago, I laid out my running clothes - shorts and a long sleeve running shirt - before going to bed knowing that I was going to have a wonderful tempo run outside this morning.

Except that the weather did not cooperate.

At 4:55am (only 20 min earlier than my alarm was going off, so the time didn't annoy me too much) I was awoken by a torrential downpour outside. Buckets of rain, high winds - really sucky conditions to run in :-( I'll run in the rain - I'll even run in the cold rain...but I won't run in a downpour. I didn't go to a half marathon that I signed up for and trained for due to the Nor'easter that came through the area last April (I still feel strange wearing the shirt for that race since I technically did not run it...but since I did all the training I still feel I "earned" it).

Anyhow, my plans had to change this morning. I was doing my run on the dreadmill at the gym. Yuck! At least I'll be able to control my pace for the tempo run...

Despite it all, I ran well. Warm up mile of 11:13, followed by 5 miles at an average pace of 9:09 and a cooldown mile of 11:12. My Personal Record (PR) for a 10K is at a 9:03/mile pace...if I can now train close to this pace for a tempo run, I should be able to set a new PR. After May 4.

After that run I was HUNGRY! I had a yen for a breakfast burrito. With potatoes. Lots of potatoes.

I got home in time to help with "the morning rush" (fixing Doron's lunch for school, getting Matan dressed, etc.). While helping out I started to peel and cut up an onion and a potato (yes - the full russet spud made it into my burrito!) and had that simmer in a tablespoon of olive oil. While looking in the fridge for components of Doron's lunch I spotted a few extras to throw into the burrito stuffing - a mild green chili pepper and some kale. Those were thrown in the mix as well. After a few minutes I scrambled up two eggs and threw them in the pan. When it was all done, it was laid in a burrito shell with cheese and topped with salsa and Cholula hot sauce. Yummmmmmmmm! At first, there was too much there to wrap the darn thing so I had to attack it with a fork first :-)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Rest Day (Well...It almost WASN'T!)

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: 2447
(Exercise Calories: 432)
Total Net Calories: 2015

It's another warm day in the DC area. It's cloudy and it is supposed to rain...but no raindrops so far.

Today is a rest day (well actually, yesterday was supposed to be the rest day but I ran instead). Since it was so nice, I was thinking to myself this morning "If work is slow around lunchtime, perhaps I'll head on over to the high school track and do my 7 mile speed workout that I'm scheduled to do tomorrow morning..." I much prefer to run outside vs. the "dreadmill", but I haven't been able to do a speed workout at the track yet since it is still dark outside when I start running (my HRM watch does not have a annoying!)

Unfortunately, my boss called around 11am and asked me to put some information together for him. That took me until 1pm when I was famished. There was no way I was running 7 miles with no fuel in the tank :-(

So, today is officially a rest day. Tomorrow morning I'll do my 7 mile speed workout. I may try to do a tempo run instead of an interval run just to have some variety (and to run outside if it is not too wet). We'll see how it goes...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Inspiration Lake Lunchtime Run

The sun is shining, the temperatures are in the low 60s and I didn't have any meetings on my calendar this afternoon. That's a recipe for a lunchtime run :-)

I hit Inspiration Lake one more time (and perhaps my last time during the marathon training, as there are no more 3 mile runs on my training plan until the taper). It was a bit windy which made me run a bit faster than I wanted to at the beginning (I'm not sure why I speed up in the wind) and I had to make an effort to slow down and get my heart rate to an acceptable level for an "easy" run. I ended up with an average hr of 153...I'd like it to be a bit lower, but I felt really good afterwards, so I won't complain. My pace was a little slower than last week, but not by much - 10:16/mile.

I put two compilation albums on my iPod - Layla Gov and Layla Gov 2. Both of these feature duets of famous Israeli singers with Gidi Gov from his TV Show "Layla Gov".

After the run I was hungry for lunch and I had a yen for a crepe - spinach, mushroom and ricotta cheese. So...I shut down my computer, got on my bicycle and headed for Crepes-A-Go-Go in my neighborhood for a "working lunch". I love places with free Wi-Fi!!!

Week 10 Weigh In

Yesterday's Total Calorie Intake: ???

The Week 10 Weigh-In was more of the same.  163.5 again.  7.5 pounds down so far this year.  3.5 to go - but those may not come off until after the Frederick Marathon...we'll see.

This is actually a good thing for two reasons:  (a) I had increased my calories from the "losing weight" level to the "maintenance" level last week and it seems to have worked, and (b) since my in-laws were in this weekend, my eating habits went off track a bit (notice that I don't have a calorie count for Saturday or Sunday...and Friday's was quite high).
Today is supposed to be a gorgeous day - high in the 60s and sunny - so I will most likely run at lunchtime today and make tomorrow my rest day.  Hopefully I'll be able to make this work!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Nine Weeks of Training Down....Nine More Weeks To Go!

I am officially at the halfway point of my training in terms of time (I have a few more weeks to hit the halfway point in terms of mileage).  I feel good - no injuries, and I'm running faster while exerting less energy - and I have been able to keep to the plan through the months of January and February.

Up until now the training plan has slowly stepped up my mileage about 1 mile per week starting at 15 miles nine weeks ago until last week's 25 miles (and this week's "stepback" week of 24 miles).  However, that will all change in the second half of the program.

Next week I jump from 24 miles to 29 miles for the week, then up to 32 miles.  After a stepback week of 29 miles I jump to 36 miles for the week.  And then two weeks later I'll peak at 40 miles.  That's a lot of miles to cover over the next few weeks.

Another thing that I'm a bit surprised about:  we have not received much snow yet in the Washington DC area this winter.  In winters past, if we would have little to no snow in December or January, we would get dumped on big-time in February.'s March 2 and we still haven't seen the big snow yet.  Will it come?  Or can I expect for the temperatures to get warmer soon?  (for my running's sake, I hope it's the later...).

One last thing....      Don't get too excited...I'm not Steve Jobs saying that in an Apple keynote ;-)

This is my 99th post to the blog.  At the end of the 9th week of my training plan.  Pretty cool, eh?

I have received many thank-you's offline for blogging.  It has become part of the daily routine for some to check my blog, it has kept some others motivated in their goal to continue running or lose weight.  My blog has also become a "first page Google hit" for searches such as "running with ear pain" and "Spirit of Marathon Blog".  Keep the feedback coming and comment often!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Rockville Millennium Trail Long Run

Yesterday's Total Calorie Input:  2575

This morning was my long run.  It's a stepback week, so it was a 10 miler, so I ran the Rockville Millennium Trail again.  This time I ran a lot faster than four weeks ago - 1:55:05 (10:42/mile pace) today vs 2:07:01 (11:49/mile pace) the last time I ran it.  I ran a bit harder today - my average heart rate was 156 vs. 152 when I ran it four weeks ago, but a 4 bpm raise in heart rate doesn't account for the full minute per mile pace in body has increased its aerobic capacity as I have bumped up my mileage.

Since the trail is marked I decided to capture my splits where I could:
11:10 - I lost my GU packet...see below
11:07 - There was a monster hill up Gude Drive over the Metro tracks
12:06 - Included a brief stop in the woods to "relieve myself"...TMI???
4:59 half mile when I got to the beginning/end of the trail markers

During today's run I tried Clif Blocks instead of GU.  The thing I like about these is that you can ration them out throughout the workout - 3 Clif Blocks are equal to 1 pack of GU and there were 6 blocks in the bag.  However, I did not like having to chew these up while running and the gummy-bear like texture of them ended up getting stuck in my teeth.  I'll stick with GU in the future.

I actually brought a packet of GU with me - just in case I did not like the Clif Blocks.  However, it got lost on the way.  When I first took the bag of Clif Blocks out of my Amphipod pack, the GU must have dropped out because when I went to put the blocks back the GU was gone!  I turned back to look for it and could not find it (thus the 30 seconds lost in mile 4 above).


Again, last last time I ran the trail, there were very few other pedestrians out that early.  This morning I saw zero bikers and two runners (they were two of the same runners that I saw on the trail four weeks ago!)

Luckily, I had my iPod with me to keep me company!  I listened to a bunch of Bens.  Ben Folds, Ben Kweller and Ben Harper and an EP of "The Bens" a project by Folds, Bweller and Ben Lee.