OK. So today’s milestone isn’t nearly as personally impressive as yesterday’s milestone. In fact, it’s not really a milestone, according to the technical definition of the word. But, it’s my blog and I’ll say what I want on it.

But, the milestone is still cool, none the less. For the first time in a long time, I ran outside today! Today was a light day. Only 4 miles. My alarm went off at 6, and I kept hitting snooze until about 6:25. Then, I got up, checked the weather, and it was 45 degrees outside. Warm enough, I thought. So, I moved around a bit. Started drinking a bunch of water. Put on the UnderArmour and a synthetic T. Got the GPS ready to go. Made it outside at 6:47.

The run was really nice. I felt good throughout the entire 4.11 miles. My leg still hurt, but it wasn’t anything unbearable, and I feel like I made pretty good time. I have a standard loop that should be about 4 miles (a square around the major streets of my neighborhood. But, I got to where I should have been at about 3.5 miles, and the GPS was telling me 2.83. So, I ended up going farther and winding back around to my house, which is how I ended up at 4.11.

Being outside was a very nice change of pace. It was actually too warm for me to be wearing the UnderArmour. I think I would have been fine with just the T shirt and shorts. Obviously, this doesn’t bode well for the next 7 months or so, but I’m assuming that my body will start adjusting to the warmer weather and I’ll be OK. Sunrise was at 7:08 this morning, but I think I could have left the house at 6:30 or so and would still have had plenty of light. This could be useful information for tomorrow morning, since I have to go (err… get to go) 7 miles, and I definitely want to do it outside if it isn’t raining.

Spring is coming!
I know it’s true.
It helps my running,
and helps keep me from becoming blue.

It’s still cool outside.
In the morning the sky takes a beautiful orange hue.
It’s much more fun to run than ride,
and you should get outside, too!

This morning yielded another milestone in my path towards May 26. For the first time ever, I’ve run more than half a marathon. This morning’s run was 14 miles.

My training schedule is currently online (and continuously updated!) at:


Normally, weekends are the long runs. Saturday was a 7 mile day (at marathon pace) and Sunday was supposed to be a 14 mile run. I ran Saturday’s run, but I decided to not run on Sunday.

Since I last wrote (after doing my first 10+ miler) the past few weeks have been mostly uneventful with respect to running, up until this past week.

For the past week or so (5/6 days maybe) I’ve been experiencing a little bit of pain in my right calf muscle when I walk. I suspect that I just pulled a muscle a little bit, and these things just take some time to heal. Last Tuesday was a 4 mile, Wed 7, and Thursday 4. Somewhere in that time frame I started noticing this minor pain. On my 7 mile Wednesday run, I took a water break (where I slow down from 8 miles per hour to about 3-4 miles per hour so that I can drink water with spilling it all over myself) at about 1.5 miles and again at 3 miles. Each time that I restarted running my leg hurt and I kinda felt like I was just carrying my right leg with my left. Once I got up to speed, the problem went away and I could run as much as I wished with no pain at all. After going through this at 3 miles (on my 7 mile run) I decided to just run the rest of the way. So, I went the last 4 miles without a break. No big deal, really. Thursday’s run was similar. I just reduced the number of breaks.

Friday is normally a day of rest. Up until recently I’ve been playing volleyball on Friday night, though. This past Friday I decided to skip the volleyball and give my leg as much chance as possible to heal. Saturday morning rolled around and I did my 7 mile run. The pain wasn’t quite as visible during the restarts. But, off and on for the remainder of Saturday, when I would walk, I would “feel it” every time I had my left foot on the ground and was swinging my right food forward.

Sunday morning arrived. I got up, and every single step I took when leaving the bedroom hurt like this. I decided to be kind to my leg and not attempt to damage it anymore than I needed to. So, I went back to bed. Other than a couple mile walk on Sunday afternoon, I didn’t do any real exercise yesterday.

The primary rule of the training program that I am using says: Don’t skip the long runs.

So, I knew that I needed to make up my 14 mile run in the next few days. But, I didn’t know if my leg would cooperate. My long runs usually wipe me out for a while. Monday night I have league volleyball games. So, I thought very seriously about not even attempting the long run until Tuesday morning.

But, I woke up this morning and my leg was doing pretty good. As I was preparing to run, my leg didn’t hurt at all while I was walking around. So, I decided to do the 14 miler this morning before work.

While I did feel my leg during running restarts, it wasn’t too bad. I had plans to take water breaks every 3-4 miles, but ended up taking an extra break in the 10-14 mile range. I had to refill my glass at about 10 miles, and getting restarted running was difficult. I refilled again at about 13, and restarting was tricky, not because of my leg, but just because of the distance, I think. The mere couple of minutes that I had stopped to refill my glass was enough for my legs to decide that I was done running, and they were ready for a break. So, I had to coax them back into a running mood.

This is one of the bits of wisdom that I’m going to take with me into the marathon. Don’t stop running. Especially near the end of the race. I think that will be key. If I stop running, it is going to be very difficult to restart once my legs are tired. So, hopefully I can keep going.

Anyway, the fun continues. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Marathon Confirmation

Bayshore has now decided that I’m registered for the marathon, too. They are fast. I’ll give them that much. I sent the envelope off on Wednesday or Thursday of last week, and I’ve already got email confirmation that I’m registered.

This past week of running went pretty well. Yesterday was a new record for me of 12 miles, and I felt really good during the run. For the last mile or so I even increased my speed by a little bit. The remainder of the day wasn’t as bad as last week, either. Neither day was particularly difficult, but I felt my legs more last week than this. All things considered, a good week! This week is a step-back week. My long run will only be 9 miles on Sunday, but next week I jump back up to 14. Gotta love it!

I just wrote a $55 check for entry into the Bayshore Marathon and put it in the envelope. I could have registered online, but I discovered that they had a $4 service charge for online entry, so I decided to just go old fashioned. I printed out the entry form, filled it out, wrote the check, and dropped it into an envelope.

Bayshore is cheaper than most of the marathons. They seem to commonly cost somewhere around $80. So, I’m hopefully getting a good deal. This particular marathon includes a synthetic t-shirt (not cheap cotton) that should be nice to have. But, I’m now committed, since I’ve put money on the line. No turning back.

This week has been interesting. My legs have been a little bit tired all week long. After Sunday’s 11 mile run I did a little bit of biking on Monday and some volleyball. Tuesday was 3 miles; Wednesday 6; and 3 today. Tomorrow is supposed to be a day off. I’m not planning to do much (leg exercise-wise) before playing some volleyball tomorrow night. Hopefully my legs will recover tomorrow. I have 6 miles to do on Saturday and 12 on Sunday.

Today I hit something of a milestone in my training for the marathon, and I thought I would update the blogging community on how things have been going. It’s hard to believe, but according to the calendar, I just finished my 4th week of official training (it’s an 18 week training program).

Having said that, I haven’t done as much running during the first four weeks as I should have. From my first post about the marathon, you can follow a link that will describe the marathon training days in more detail with the number of miles that I should be running each day. But, to summarize, each week follows a pattern: Monday, crosstrain; Tuesday, low miles; Wednesday, medium miles; Thursday, low miles; Friday, off, Saturday, medium-ish miles; Sunday, long miles. My problem, however, is that I took off a week (the second week) and went to Breckenridge and skied. While some might think that skiing is good exercise, it apparently can’t compete with running, as far as keeping those muscles in good shape. When I got back from Breckenridge, it took me a few days to get back into the swing of things. I didn’t get in the long run that I had planned to do on the day I got back, and it took me a few more days to actually get back on track with the number of miles that I’m supposed to be doing.

Luckily, I think that I had enough of a running mindset before starting the official training that I’ll be ok. Anyway, fast forward to the present (or closer to it). Last weekend I ran 5 miles on Saturday at Marathon race pace, and 6 miles on sunday (at a slower pace, as is normal for the long run. Every 3 weeks during training you have a light long run. As we go through the weeks, the Sunday runs are (in miles): 8, 9, 6, 11, 12, 9, 14, 15, 11, 17, 18, 13…. You get the idea. So, last weekend was the 6. Today, though, I broke 10 miles. I went eleven, in fact. I didn’t run 11 miles straight. I took about 3 breaks, each 30 seconds long. The rest of the time I was running at 7 miles per hour. So, it took me a little over an hour and a half. Next week I do 12.

The run really wasn’t bad. I think I’ve definitely reached a point where my heart isn’t going to be much of an issue on the long runs. I feel like, heart-wise, I can run all day long at 7mph or so and not get winded. I could pretty easily hold a conversation at that speed. (the problem being, of course, that I’m hoping to run the marathon at 8mph, so we’ll see how that goes).

At about mile 10.1, I think I was starting to notice the lactic acid building up in my legs. This is the beauty of training. I’m assuming that, as I do more miles, that buildup will start showing up later and later. If it continues to start around 10 miles, I think I’ll be in trouble. But, I’m sure that the longer runs will take care of that for me. I finished running this morning about 8:20, and since then, my legs have felt kinda strange. I can tell that I’ve done some running on them. After eating lunch today I went to the department store and did some shopping, and I could feel my legs. They aren’t hurting.. they are just definitely there.

Anyway, that’s how the training is going. Fun times. I calculated that I burned about 1,300 calories this morning as I was plodding along. Kinda freaky. Last night I ate a big plate of spaghetti. I made a lot more than a single plate, though. I froze a reasonable sized portion that I might eat next saturday night or something. We’ll see how it goes.

Friday in Breck wasn’t a lot of fun. We knew it was going to be cold. Highs of around zero.. (it was about 3 below at 9am). Wind chills in the -20s. Cold stuff. I got up about 5:30 this morning and watched the wind whip around the snow behind the condo. The top of Peak 8 has not been visible at any point (due to the blowing snow). I had planned to be in the lift line at 8:30 so that I could make my way over to Peak 10, but seeing the temps and the wind chills convinced me to delay. The weather forecasts were showing that the wind was going to pick up after noon, so I decided to go skiing. I got ready and left the condo a little before 9am. Brian and Bill were planning to go out around 10 and ski until 2. I wanted to go do Peak 10, and I figured I’d go from there. I got to the bottom of Peak 9 and learned that the lift for Peak 10 was closed due to extreme wind. So, that wasn’t going to happen. Since it was unlikely that the wind would just completely die all of the sudden, even if they opened the lift, the wind was still going to be pretty bad.

I got on the Beaver Run chair with a couple of ski instructors and we headed up the hill. The wind was whipping the snow all over the place, and there were very, very few skiers on the slopes. My fingers quickly got cold, even though I had started some hand warmers (for the first time this week). I asked the ski instructors about their gloves. One of them had a pair of Rome gloves, and the other had Gordini Outlast gloves. Both seemed to like their gloves. As we went higher on the mountain the wind got worse. I got off the lift and started down the hill. The wind was whipping, my goggles had ice freezing on the outside of them. There was absolutely no contrast to the snow. I wasn’t having fun, I was doing runs that I had done before, and it was cold. I decided that I wouldn’t get a wole lot out of being there.

So, I made my way over to the Peak 8 Superconnect. I figured I could take that to Peak 8, which would let me take the 4 o’clock run back to the condo. The top of Peak 8 wasn’t any better than Peak 9. You couldn’t tell that any of the runs had been groomed at all. The wind was blowing snow across them and had completely hidden all of the corduroy. In fact, as I was skiing down, the wind was blowing the snow across about six inches above the surface and it just looked like dry ice on a dance floor. I couldn’t see the surface, and I just counted on the fact that I had done that run multiple times and knew that I was unlikely to see any rocks, etc.

Groomers were out all over the place. I can only guess that they were regrooming the runs, since all previous indications of grooming had been blown away.

I got to the end of the ski run back at the condo around 9:50. When I got here, Brian and Bill hadn’t left yet, and I had to recommend to them that they not go out. There just isn’t much point. It just isn’t fun out there right now. If the skiing conditions were great, the temps could be handled, or if the temps were good….. But with the combination of everything, and knowing that I wouldn’t be doing any new runs any time soon….

So, we’ve just watched some TV since then. Boring times in Breck. A family showed up at our door this afternoon. Their rental company (not the same one we use) had told them that Sawmill 115 was their condo. It wasn’t. They left sad, but wiser.

For supper we went to Tokyo Taipei. They bring out this pre-meal thing (kinda like mexican restaurants will give you chips and salsa). It’s soybeans that have been steamed or something. They are still in their soybean shell, so you bite on the shell with your teeth and the soy beans pop out. Quite tasty.

For the main course, I had chicken Teriyaki. It’s the same thing that I had last year when we went there. For food presentation, I think that this place is about the best that I’ve ever seen. The chicken comes out on a pan that is still sizzling. The quantities are very good, and the taste is excellent. Bill had the Vegetable Tempura, and it comes on a big square plate with breaded veggies arranged in all kinds of neat ways. Another table had bought a bunch of sushi, and they brought it out in a miniature ship. Another table had something delivered that was in a little flower-type basket. All things considered, a very tasty meal. It might just be the best of the week so far.

Planning to leave the condo at 5am tomorrow. Going to be getting up really early. Cinzetti’s for dinner tomorrow night. I can’t wait!

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Good day on the slopes! Read on for details.

Last night, some new people moved into the condo above us, and they apparently stayed up all night long walking around. And, I think they might have been doing some sort of construction in the room above my bedroom.

For some reason, it took me forever to fall asleep last night. I read for a little while first, but then tried to fall asleep, and it just wasn’t working for me. I’ve had pretty good luck for the rest of the trip, but not last night. I’ve generally been waking up a few times during the night, but I’ve been able to fall asleep pretty quickly, until last night. Anyway, I got up around 6:15 this morning. I’m trying to push myself earlier and earlier in preparation for Saturday. We want to leave here by 5am. So, I’m going to try and get up around 5:15 in the morning, and that should put me in reasonable shape for the next day.

I could see the mountain peaks when I got up, and that was a great sign. It wasn’t snowing! From the weather report it looked like the snow was supposed to start around 11am. The ski instructor we had talked to last night had emphasized getting on the slopes early to avoid the crowds and get the good snow, so I ate my typical breakfast of oatmeal, got ready and caught a bus around 8:15 (the lifts open at 8:30). We made it to the base of Peak 9 and took the Beaver Run lift. Our plan was to do Volunteer (a blue) and then Gold King (another blue) which had given us a lot of trouble last year. Depending on how we felt after that, we’d decide if we wanted to go more difficult.

We went down Volunteer and got to where Shock (a black) led off to the side. Brian said that if he was going to do a black, now was the time. He felt better than he ever had. So, we slowly slid over to the edge and looked down. I suspect it is named Shock because that’s the state that it puts people in who aren’t expecting the steepness. We talked about it for a while and decided to wait. So, we edged our way back up to Volunteer and I told them that we could try a blue-black instead. So, we slid to the bottom of the hill, took the same lift back up, and decided to try American, which is a blue-black.

One of these times on the way up we went up with a girl who was helping out with the Honda Ski Tour ski-cross race that was going on today (time trials). She had just finished her degree (elementary ed) and had moved to Breckenridge about 6 weeks ago. She had been ski racing since she was 4 years old, and was excited because Darren Rawles (US Ski Team member) was going to in the ski-cross. As we passed the ski-cross track, she pointed out Darren to us. Pretty cool.

We sailed down that run as though were a greenish shade of blue. There were moguls on the side of the run, and Bill said that he didn’t consider it a blue-black since it was so easy. Fooey on that. We did a blue-black, and that’s that!

Next, we decided to do Gold King. Gold King was Brian’s nemesis. We sailed down it and Brian decided that they must have recut the hill, because it was a lot easier than he remembered it being.

Next, we wandered over to Peak 8 via the Superconnect. We took Crescendo (a blue) down to the bottom of the Peak and rode the Rocky Mountain chair back up. Next, we took Northstar (a blue) down. Northstar is steaper than any of the other runs that we had done. It was tougher than Gold King by a fair margin, in my opinion. Brian and Bill decided to stay at the bottom of Peak 9, and I decided to do Duke’s Run (a blue-black). I took the Rocky Mountain back to the top and headed down Duke’s Run. Duke’s Run (unlike American) would probably be truly called a blue-black. It was steaper than the other runs that I had done, but I made it down without any trouble. I caught up with Bill and Brian and we headed back to the top of the Peak 8 on the Colorado lift. I decided to do Spruce, the blue-black right next to lift.

Bill took another run down, and Brian decided to do Spruce as well. (He later said that he hadn’t realized that American was a blue-black, and that the only reason he took Spruce was so that he could say he had done a blue-black) Spruce was a set of three or four steep sections followed by a much more level area. It was a blue-black. The final steep area was steeper than anything I’d done up to that point.

At that point, I decided I was going to do Rounders, which is a BLACK. An expert-rated run. Bill and Brian took another path down, and I headed down toward Rounders. Rounders was interesting. It had some relatively steep sections, but the final steep was longer and steeper than the last part of Spruce. But, I made it down it in pretty good time. I made it about halfway down, where a bunch of the trails meet up (and the difficult part ends), around the same time that Brian and Bill got there. I had conquered a black! The rest of the day was downhill from there. (ha ha)

I had done my black. I had done an expert run. In and of itself, this isn’t a big deal. The nice thing about it, though, is that it shows me that I can handle at least some of the blacks at Breck. This opens up a lot of possibilities for me. I’m sure that there are several blacks that will make me freak out, but I can handle SOME of them.

Breckenridge is made up of 4 peaks (7 through 10). I’ve been on every peak except for 10. Peak 10 only has blue-blacks, blacks, and double blacks. It’s always scared us to death. Tomorrow I plan to be on Peak 10. For a couple of reasons… One, I’ve shown that I can handle the blue-blacks and the easier blacks, and two, we rode up one of the lifts today with a ski patrol dude. He told us about a run on Peak 10 that isn’t on the maps. It’s the “peak road” and is rated a blue. Breck decided to open it this year after they had printed the maps. SO, I can go to the top of Peak 10 and see the scenery and get down alive!

After the black, we poked around on a few more runs and headed back to the condo for lunch. I had another excellent lunch and we headed back out. The afternoon was a pretty low-key affair. It had started snowing about 11am (as predicted) and it was getting colder. I went down Spruce one more time in the afternoon, but we mostly played around on Peaks 8 and 9. We didn’t even stay out until 4pm. We actually came in around 3:30 because we were really getting cold.

We went to the Horseshoe restaurant for supper (actually the Horseshoe 2, to be technical). I had the Country Fried Steak with chili cheese whipped potatoes as a side. The potatoes were interesting. It was a dollop of mashed potatoes with a layer of cheddar cheese melted in and a hot chili type sauce. I was expecting texas-style chili, but that wasn’t at all what it was. The Country Fried steak was really good, and it came with a slice of Texas Toast and a couple of orange slices. The meal was really quite good. I should have gone with regular mashed potatoes, but it was still interesting.

After that, we walked up and down the street for a while and looked in a few stores. I had been thinking about getting a pair of “over mitts”. It’s a large mitten that’s designed to fit over a regular pair of gloves. But, I decided to save the money and just use hand warmers tomorrow instead.

Why is this important? Well, it’s going to be insanely cold tomorrow. The high is supposed to be between -5 and zero F, and a fair amount of wind. Wind chills will be in the -20s (or colder). We aren’t really planning to spend the majority of the day on the slopes. I think that Brian and Bill are going to wait to go out, but I think I’m going to go out at 8:30 like normal hit Peak 10. I want to hit the runs freshly groomed, and then I will either come back in or do some of the runs on the other peaks.

All in all, a great day at Breck!

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Today was a good day on the slopes. We covered 63.02 miles over the course of the day. Quite a few more than yesterday. Today we spent most of our time on blue runs. I can totally see myself on a blue-black before the end of the week. Particularly if we get some fresh snow (they are saying we might end up with anywhere from 5-12 inches over the next day or so).

For breakfast this morning I had the remainder of the pizza that I had bought last night for supper.

This morning we made our way over the Peak 7 and did all of the runs on Peak 7. Then, we came back to Peak 8 and took 4 o’clock back to the condo for lunch. I had another excellent lunch, and then we hit the slopes for the afternoon. We went to Peak 9 and did several of the blue runs there. Then, we jumped back to Peak 8 and did the loop from near the top (as high as I’ve ever been, anyway) to the midway load on the Peak 8 Superconnect lift. This is a great loop. There is only about 4-5 minutes on the lift, but you get a lot of vertical out of it. Very nice loop. Blues at the top, and greens at the bottom.

Brian’s boot wasn’t fitting quite right and he had a sore spot on his ankle, so he came back to the condo a bit after 3. Bill and myself kept going and ended up coming down Northstar on Peak 8, which is probably the longest steep section that we’ve done this year so far. Then, another loop on the midload and it was time to head to the condo.

Once back at the condo, I enjoyed a steam shower, and now we are just killing time before going to Bubba Gump’s for supper. I might have shrimp. We’ll see.

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