Marathons List Update

March 6, 2013

I finally got around to updating my Marathons List through early March 2013. At current standing, I have logged 84 marathons.

The list includes Ultras, marathons, and Ironman marathons. Also included are unofficial marathons where my goal was to run marathon distance.

At first I had not included unofficial marathons in the total count, but just recently — mainly because I had a change of heart after dreaming about the day I get to run my 100th — I fell back on my cardinal rule, which was:

“If the purpose of the run was to log marathon distance, and if it was timed [by me or other], I would count it.”

And so my count jumped by a few. So in some circles (Marathon Maniacs), some of these would not count, the truth is that, well, it’s my list — so I get to make the rules!

 

As always, an updated version of this always lives here!

The plan is to continue my marathon-a-month streak, hopefully through two years — currently at 17 months; will make the second streak of two years — which will take me to roughly 90 marathons by the end of the year.

Once I get within spitting distance and can smell number 100, I will formalize where I will run the prized Century number. Current thought is to either wing my own so that I can run it with friends and have family there, or I will return to the Cape Cod Marathon, site of my very first marathon back in October 1990.

Hopefully I will get there within two years, three tops.


Winter Break: officially over!

March 5, 2013

Winter Break and my hiatus from this space is officially over!

New year with new goals. I am committed and motivated.

Since my last post, an October entry last year in Training Week, I have been busy racing and running with a rambling of focus, which is how I always treat the off season.

Notable runs/races (not all races included):

During this time I have been able to keep my marathon-a-month streak alive (as of this writing, streak at 17 months) despite a recurrence of a chronic Soleus (lower calf) injury. I am now on top of the injury, with my streak in tact, and looking ahead to 2013.

Speaking of 2013, although it’s hard to lay out a race schedule now with a newborn at home, this is what I’m thinking:

  • Mar. 30: Bad Ass Fat Ass 50K
  • Apr. 15: Boston Double (Boston Marathon x 2 w/5 am start downtown)
  • Apr. 27: TARC Spring Classic 50K
  • May: Epic Training Runs!
  • June 14: TARC 100

List does not include small races, such as VERT, random 5K’s, etc.

 


I Am Published!

January 19, 2010

As mentioned in an earlier post, one of my short stories, “Fear’s Last Grasp,” has been included in a Mindset Triathlon anthology titled “Tri’s Toughest Sport.”

Tri’s Toughest Sport is now available free to download. Check out my story on page 17-18!

“Fear’s Last Grasp” is a true story about how I overcame an innate fear of the water — a near drowning when I was a kid — to go on to conquer the swim and, to do it with such conviction, that I even went on to complete an Ironman.


Streak Runner: 6 Year Anniversary

December 7, 2009

Today, Monday, December 7, 2009 marks year number 6 in which I have run at least a mile every day. Though some might call me certified, as in a certified idiot, I am known as a Streak Runner or, more simply, as a Streaker (minus the nudity).

My running streak got started many years ago during a time when I was not able to run even if I had wanted. It was a promise to myself years before the streak actually started; the promise was that once I got back to running, if that ever happened, I would celebrate life and the ability to run, if even for just a mile, each and every day by lacing up the running shoes and going out for a run. Luck beheld me, back I was to running, and up started the streak. The rest is history. I have been Streaking ever since.


Earth Footwear @ The Running Event (TRE)

November 2, 2009

As an Athletic Spokesperson for Earth Footwear, I will be in Austin, TX at The Running Event (TRE) on Tues., Nov. 11 and Wed., Nov. 12.

TRE is a conference and expo for Running Specialty Stores. I will be promoting Earth Athletic Recovery, a collection of footwear specifically designed for better athlete recovery pre- and post-workout.

Please drop in to say hello!

The Running Event (TRE)
Austin, TX
Nov. 11-12, 2009
Earth Footwear – Earth Athletic Recovery Collection
Expo: Booth 426


Team LIT does Montreal!

September 22, 2009

Team LIT does Montreal

In mid-September 2009, Heather and Thor traveled to the Canadian city of Montreal to participate in the Marathon de Montreal 2009 events. Heather stomped the half marathon while Thor celebrated the running of his 50th marathon in fine fashion.

Bonnie, their friend from Team LIT, one of Thor’s triathlon clubs, broke from her day to hook up for hours of swapping stories, dreaming of what is to come, and laughing at good jokes.

The fun started with running events…

Heather and Thor after crossing the finish line. Heather finished the half marathon in a speedy 2:08; Thor held on to finish as first American in 3:07.

After Heather and Thor finished their races, Bonnie joined to make the party three; the three meandered around the finish line area by catching up, spying early results, and grabbing a small bite.

Bonnie (in pink) and Heather spying results of the half marathon. They didn’t need to look; Thor could have told them that Heather stomped the 21.1K distance!

The plan then was to move onward — food and beer — but before that could happen, Heather and Thor washed up and changed into dry, clean clothes.

While getting changed in the locker room at the Olympic Stadium, site of the finish line, Thor nabbed this very fitting picture of his medal and his bib number depicting his 50th go at the marathon distance!

Next up was food and beer, or maybe beer and food, or maybe if Thor had his way beer and beer. Bonnie kindly offered to drive. They immediately hit traffic, which although wasn’t ideal for the growling stomaches, turned out more than perfect since the three chatted the time away, all non-stop!

Two hours later (no exaggeration), they found food. And Thor found his well-earned beer.

Bonnie and Heather enjoying the sun on the patio of an upper Montreal cafe specializing in hamburgers.

Bonnie, Heather, and Thor enjoying the sun, each other, and the day. The three spent hours, many hours, talking and talking for an all-around very fun time.

Since Bonnie had to get going, she dropped Heather and Thor off at their hotel. From there Heather and Thor showered and then, properly launching into Honeymoon Part II mode, continued the party.

Hey Heather: Got beer?

Don’t feel badly for Thor… he wasn’t far behind.

Thor got beer!


Journey to Triathlon

March 27, 2009

Triathlon was always something other people did. Not me. I could not swim. In fact, I did not swim. I wouldn’t even try. A near-drowning when I was a kid made sure of it.

 

The experience was still, 30 years later, so vivid and acute. I could still see my body being pushed into the deep end of the pool. I could still see myself plummet into the depths of the water, screams coming out of my mouth apparent only by the chaotic bubbles rushing upwards, me in sudden panache, knowing I would die, trying to hold my breath. Then something grabbing me, yanking me to surface, pulling me from water to deck. A hand pounding my back. Then suddenly a cough, then another, with water shooting from my mouth, I cried. And cried.

 

And I never forgot. Nor did I forgive. Water was evil. It was for other people. Not me. I didn’t swim. I did not want to swim.

 

Which was a shame. All of it. Because of the goals I formed as a wide-eyed sports-active kid. Watching the annual running of the NYC Marathon on TV year after year helped me form the goal of running a marathon. That I could do. Another was, after watching airing of the Race Across America, I wanted to ride my bike across the United States. I even knew the route I would one day take. And the last was, after being moved by it on TV, was to do an Ironman, only this was one goal that, quite sadly, I would never achieve. Because it involved swimming, something I had no interest in.

 

Over the following years, I went on to run many marathons and even go on crazy cycling adventures, never across the US, but certainly enough to satisfy both childhood dreams. But the other, Ironman, would never happen. In fact, it wasn’t even an option. So I ignored it by thinking up other goals in its place.

 

Until one day my wife (girlfriend at the time) announced that she wanted to do a triathlon. And she wanted me to do it with her. I laughed the idea off. The notion of me swimming was too far reaching to the point it was silly. I didn’t swim. Swimming was for other people.

 

Months went by. During this time my wife made only trace mention of her intentions with me all but ignoring her plea that I do a triathlon with her.

 

And then 4th of July came when we found ourselves at a family reunion in which we, along with family, were putting a huge dent in a full keg of Heineken.

 

My wife brought it up again. Only this time she didn’t wait for me to brush off the notion as silly. Instead, she talked right over me.

 

“Do it with me,” she said, “you will do awesome.”

 

But I don’t swim.

 

“And then you will want to do another.”

 

I don’t swim. Water is for other people.

 

“We could go down to Miami for our birthdays. There’s a half Iron on your birthday. You could do the half; I could do the shorter one.”

 

Miami?

 

“And after that we can go to Germany for World Cup. You can do Ironman Germany; it’s around the same time.”

 

In a drunken-dare dream, even before I agreed to do a triathlon with her, I confessed my childhood dream of one day doing an Ironman.

 

Less than two months later we, together, did a sprint triathlon in Rhode Island called Try the Tri. That day I stared perhaps my greatest and deepest rooted fear in the eyes, one I’ve carried for nearly 30 years, and I kicked that son of a bitch right in the teeth. I went into the water that day with the idea that I might not come out. That is no exaggeration. I struggled in the water, it sucked, and at times I thought I might not make it, but I did. That day I crawled out of the ocean dead last of 200 others. I went on to finish in the top 30.

 

The rest, as they say, is history, one carved, almost to the path, by my future wife.


Injury Update

March 8, 2009

This sucker got me good… I’m still injured.

At this point the injury has gotten better, but it’s still limiting and even draining. It is limiting in that my run mileage is down, considerably, and I’m not able to hit pace. It is draining in that I have to put out a great amount of effort to hit an even basic, slow pace. Not sure how that works, but I’m guessing that even though the injury sometimes feels better (but still there) it is, well, still there with my body having to compensate, and the only way that happens is with me putting out more energy.

I’ve been laying low for the most part, trying to heal this, but so far the doctors progrnosis for a full heal has been spot on: it’s a pesky injury that will be frustratingly and perhaps even excruciatingly slow to heal. And there’s not much I can do to speed it along. Not even full rest would do it.

At this point I’m also preparing myself mentally for all sorts of outcomes. If I cannot get the injury to go completely away by May time frame, give or take a bunch of weeks, I may toss in the towel on my June Ironman. Even if I could slug through the marathon, if I can’t get to my previous level, I will likely bail. The idea is to compete, not just complete. And if I can’t compete for a Kona slot, then it is not worth it for me to continue through the rigors of Ironman training, or even half Iron training.

And so I am preparing for the worst but hopeful for the best.

Either way things turn out, it has been a very good run for me. I have achieved far more than I ever dreamed in this sport, so if I have to toss in the towel on a race or two or even the entire season, I will still hold my head high and plan to come back even better.

If the injury doesn’t get considerably better soon, the hard task moving forward will be when to make that call. I don’t want to wait too long where I’ve already commit time and money in a trip to Coeur d’Alene, but I also have to be smart and honest with myself.

Stay well!


Officially Injured!

February 5, 2009

And in the 5th year just shy of month number 3, after a string of running, for the most part, injury-free for at least a mile every day… I got injured!

In hindsight, I actually I felt this sucker coming about a month ago, only at that point it felt no different than any other ping or pang you push aside and run through.

This time that ping was more than a pang or even a niggle. It was an injury that just recently flared to something more severe.

It happens. It’s par for the course of long distance running. I have been relatively injury-free through nearly 30 marathons, three Ironmans, and even two world championships. My time has come.

Either way, please don’t feel bad for me. These things happen. It’s a great opportunity for me to focus more on cycling and swimming and resting my running legs and body from the pounding so that I can come back, whenever that might be, even stronger, even faster, and with even more lofty goals.

To the doctor I went.

Summary: Doctor thinks that I have most likely strained deeply the soleus muscle in the calf or a muslce or something behind it but deep within the lower leg just above the ankle. The other issues he seemed much less interested in. I’m not sure I buy it just yet. But I have some “tests” to try to perhaps yield a bit more information.

More…

With this doctor’s visit, I don’t think I learned so much about what the problem is as I did what it isn’t. He does not think I have any sort of stress-fracture, which is usually the culprit when so much pain is involved and usually the end-all type of injury that forces a runner to the sideline. This is usually the case. But he said that he think my issue is the, or related to the, soleus muscle, which often can take a very long time to fully heal. He said it can be “maddening,” but there’s not all that much you can do since it’s a muscle that gets so much activity all day long.

This is sort of why I’m not so sure his prognosis is accurate, as I can walk fine. I only start feeling the deep pain with the pounding introduced with running. It could be related, which he said, but I don’t think it is the muscle.

He mentioned a few other things but at this point there is no special treatment. He said that to heal it, best bet is to stay easy on it. I don’t have to stay completely off it, but he said quite honestly, “It’s a good time to work on your swimming and biking… Only easy runs. Over time you should see that the pain will eventually subside and you’ll slowly start testing it more and more. Just be careful on those tests, and ramp up as it will allow.”

Another fascinating point for me, which is something I had once known but quickly forgot…

Back in the year 2000 I had a very nasty accident where I severed the Peroneal nerve in my left leg just below the knee. I instantly lost most of the feeling and movement from that point down in the leg. After nearly 6 hours of surgery to graft a healthy nerve in place of the severed one, which when cut snapped back like a rubber band, and after a full year, I finally started getting some movement back. I had what you call drop foot. I could push my foot down, but I could not pull it up, nor could I twist it to the left side, as if pushing it out duck style. Over the next two years I slowly — and I mean slowly! — gained back 85% of the movement I had lost and, maybe, 10% of the feeling I had lost. Since then it has been slow and steady, gaining so little. Today I have gained back, maybe, 30% of the feeling lost and nearly 95% of the movement. It is among the reasons I kick the ground when I’m deeply fatigued, like on mile 20 of the Ironman marathon, or on the last 3 miles of a 50K.

What I learned again is how lucky I was to even be able to run at a high level (for me) again, that I was even able to toe the line of an Ironman, that I lived in Boston with one of the worlds best nerve surgeons who was intriged enough to take my case (the surgeon has worked on my professional athletes — Celtics, Bruins, Patriots, Red Sox and a host of other teams from other cities.

After I told this doctor what had happened, he tested me in all sorts of range of motion ways and other things. He was beside himself at how functional I had gotten my leg and foot back to. I knew this. I knew that my “chances” were good to get some feeling and most of the movement back, but I also knew that it was a complete crapshoot on if I could ever perform at a high level. I still struggle playing soccer, with the cutting back and forth toppling me over, for I don’t have the ability to stop a fall in mid tilt to turn it into a cut back, but I was able to strap my foot into a bike and ride. And that coupled with me being so active in soccer and running when the injury happened, coupled with my willingness to get moving again after surgery to test my limits, coupled with having the top nerve doctor around is why I type this words today.

I was lucky.

And so in his quest to learn more of the handiwork done by the surgeon, he tested me in may ways. He explained that their are three primary muscles in the foot. One helps move the foot, one the four digits, and the last the big toe. Interesting is that I have gained back most of the function in the first two but very little in the last. In fact, I cannot move my big toe up, as in pulling it up. That, for me, is the last part. He has hooked me up with a PT to help me get back as much as possible, because I still have a muscle disparity. One very close look at my left leg while reveal that it is indeed smaller in muscular stature and strength than my right.


Happy Birthday Indeed!

November 14, 2008

Today, Friday, November 14, 2008, is my 39th birthday. And so this morning, my good running buddy John asked if I wanted to go for a run or, because it was my special day, sleep in with the Ironmate. Since I sleep with the Ironmate every night and wake up beside her each morning, I decided a run would be in order. I mean, what day isn’t complete without a morning run!

And so at 5:15 am this morning my three bestest running buddies (Andy, Lori, and John) and I went for a run. It wasn’t all that different than usual because, after all, we typically run together on Friday mornings anyway. But on this morning, the morning of the day of my birthday 39 years earlier, we met for an 8-mile run over to and up and down my most favorite hill of all, Sagamore Hill.

Thor (me) and Andy in front of John’s house at the start:

After touching off at 5:15 AM from in front of John’s house, we picked up Lori a short while later before heading over to the steeper side of the infamous Sagamore Hill.

Approaching the hill, I gave warning, “I’m going twice,” and promptly picked up pace and charged up the hill. Once I reached the top, I turned and went back down in the direction in which I came. Down to the bottom, I turned and repeated. But this time, as I crested the top, knowing the time was probably near 6:05 AM, the precise time 39 years earlier my bare ass smacked the ground with a global kiss, I raised my hands in the misty air.

“I LOVE Birthdays!”

Back with my running buddies, we laughed all the way home.

Thor (me), Andy and John after we dropped off Lori:

A Happy Birthday Indeed!