Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A runner's Thanksgiving Prayer

[b]A Runner's Thanksgiving Prayer [/b]

It is Thanksgiving, and runners have a lot to be thankful for. First and foremost, we are thankful for healthy bodies that permit us to run; for little aches and pains that prompt us to slow down; for boundless energy that carries us through each day; and for medical staff who mend us fast when injuries get in the way.

We are thankful for the bounty that feeds our body and soul; for pasta that gives us energy for the long run; for bagels that refuel us when we are done; for the bananas that protect us from muscle cramps; and for coffee that picks us up when we feel down.

We are thankful for energy drinks that give an extra boost; for flavored granola bars that we carry along; for sticky gel in little pouches half-way into a race; for glucose tablets and chewy sticks for a quick sugar fix; and for clean water before, during and after every run.

We are thankful for garbage bags that cover us in the rain; for reflective vests and flashing lights when we run in the dark; for headbands that keep the sweat out of our eyes; for padded socks so soft and smooth to cuddle our toes; and for mittens that keep our fingers warm when it is cold outside.

We are thankful for lightweight shoes that carry our weight; for ankle supports and stability bars that protect our feet; for multi-layered EVA that cushions from the roads; for carbon soles that wear so slow and give us lots of miles; and for pointed spikes that move us forth in the cross country mud.

We are thankful for orthotics when our arches fall; for glasses that absorb UV light when we run in the sun; for mesh singlets that wick the seat and keep us cool; and for colorful jog bras that keep things in their place.

We are thankful for high-tech gear that makes us look cool; for monitors that keep our hearts in their target zones; for nasal strips that hold our noses open in the wind; and for water tanks that wrap around.

We are thankful for vaseline that keeps our thighs sliding along; for band-aid strips over our nipples that save them from rubbing raw; for bags of frozen peas to heal the swollen heels; and for loads of ibuprofen.

We are thankful for directors who enter us on race day; for volunteers that we abuse in the chute; for loving spouses who claim we look good when we feel awful and sick; and for children who endure hours of standing in the cold and pouring rain.

We are thankful for running partners who wait when we are late; for roads so flat we run each day in our wake and our sleep; for workers who fill cracks and potholes, and save our ankles and feet; for truck drivers who plow the roads, yet see us through the snow; and for sleepy motorists in the morning who wave.

We are thankful for trails so soft that give our knees a break; for trees that shade us from the sun and cool us in the heat; for streams and fountains cold and clear that refresh us when we tire; for birds that sing, squirrels that climb and deer that bound around; and for all those who work so hard to keep these trails well groomed.

Finally, we are thankful for the joy of running; for that patient first coach who got us out of the door; for the runner's high that shapes our moods; and for the healthy way of life that shapes us every day.

By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer

Monday, August 25, 2008

2008 Livestrong Challenge

Yesterday was great! Brian did his first cycling event in years and years and had a great time on the 45 mile bike ride. I did the 5K and hung out and was a Lance Armstrong groupie all day. I did slightly better this year getting his picture, but I didn't get a great one since Brian finished his ride before Lance came back from his. (LA did 100 miles yesterday).

The day was beautiful and they raised 3 million dollars in Philadelphia. Pretty neat. I had a great time watching the people come in from their ride. The best part was watching the little kids finish up their 10 mile bike rides. They were all so excited it was really great to watch it all unfold.

Next year I think I'll skip the 5K since it's pretty lame. I think I'll either try to ride my bike or volunteer.

Monday, July 21, 2008

20in24 - general idea

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Originally uploaded by hdunn1012
This is what the transition area looked like. Sorry it's so blurry - I'm not good at night photography.

20in24 - running in the dark

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Originally uploaded by hdunn1012
Here's Kristine finishing up her second lap. She looks awesome! by now it's about midnight.

20in24 - we're transformed!

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Originally uploaded by hdunn1012
Here are our alter-egos posing with their Midnight Madness race numbers. We decided not to run and amazingly we found these three random people who decided at 10 that they wanted to run the loop at Midnight. Luckily we had enough bibs to help them to do it! The bibs also had our names on them so it was especially nice that our genders matched up properly. I can't wait to see how fast they were -- I'm sure the pretend me is a lot faster than the real me!

20in24 - it's getting late

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Originally uploaded by hdunn1012
This is me after my 2nd lap and Brian, all fresh, clean and showered after his two laps were finished. Despite the sweat and stuff, we both look OK for having run 17 miles in 90+ heat, huh? By now, it's about 10PM

20in24 - Fred resting

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Originally uploaded by hdunn1012
He was smart -- he brough a bed with him and an awesome striped lounge chair.

20in24 - ready for my 2nd lap

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Originally uploaded by hdunn1012
Here's me, the super-nerd, ready for my 2nd leg. I am wearing reflective gear and glowing stuff since it will get dark while I'm out there.

20in24 -Fred after leg #2

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Originally uploaded by hdunn1012
Sorry these are out of order! This is Fred finishing his first lap of 8.2 He was the second leg of the relay.

20in24 - me after leg #4

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Originally uploaded by hdunn1012
I don't look so miserable considering it was at least 93 degrees for my run!

20in24 Kristine - finishing leg 3

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Originally uploaded by hdunn1012
Here's Kristine finishing up leg #3. That's Fred on the left on his bike.

20in24 - Base Camp

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Originally uploaded by hdunn1012
This is a snapshot of "base camp" inside Lloyd Hall for the 20in24 relay. We had a lot of junk with us.

20in24 - River Drive Five

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Originally uploaded by hdunn1012
Here's the team before the relay got started on Saturday. From Left to right: Brian, MAT2006, me (hmonkeyruns), Kristine (NJRunnergirl) and Fred (NJRunnerFred).

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Nike+ Mini

I have a lot to report, but for now I will just share with you my hideous Nike+ mini.

Check it out

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The world is just awesome

Check out this cool ad for the Discovery Channel.

It makes me smile just thinking about it:

I love the whole world

(It helps if you like Discovery Channel!)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

34.4 miles is a Looooong way

Yesterday, Brian & I completed the Brandywine Trail End-To-End Hike, a once a year opportunity to traverse the entire trail system. Normally the trail runs 36 miles but this year due to some re-routing it was a mere 34.4


I have never been so blistered and miserable in all my life! My trail shoes have done right by me on many a hike, including the crazy Megatransect (see blog post from September 2007) but yesterday, by mile 12 I had a blister. By CP2 at mile 21.8 I had too many blisters to count. By CP3 at mile 27.7 the blister pain had been replaced with worry over the sorry state of my big toes and I began wondering how many nails this little adventure was going to cost me.

I can't figure it out! The terrain wasn't dreadful like the steep hills of the Mega and the sock/shoe combo should have been fine. General consensus of the folks on the trail with us (who also were covered in blisters) was that the mud and occasional foot soaking during trips across soggy meadows were what doomed us. Perhaps. Either way, our feet were trashed by the end of the day.

It was the longest distance and the longest time I've spent on any trail. I'm not anxious to do it again.

The worst part? No medals and the t-shirt isn't all that fabulous.

No wait! That's not the worst part! The worst part is that my road-racing nemisis (a truly awesome 70+ year old guy who always beats me) was there and this time he didn't just beat me -- he CRUSHED me. I was pleased to learn though, that he is the race nemesis of several other people, and they are even younger than me!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Latest Crazy Plans

I've recently done two crazy things:

1) Agreed to organize the local Philly Fit chapter -- which means being in charge of the whole local USA Fit marathon training program. Live in the Philadelphia area and want to run a marathon? Check it out: www.phillyfit.net

2) Signed up for a 36 mile day hike of the Brandywine Trail. This is taking place about a month from now. I hope we enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bizarre race mementos

After Caesar Rodney half marathon instead of presenting finshers with small medals (as they had the last two years) they presented us with this lovely cup.

It's plastic, about 4 or 5 inches high, with a false bottom. In the false bottom are three ugly plastic trinkets: a golden trophy, a giant blue basketball sneaker, and a big white waterbottle.

It says 2008 finisher on one side and has the race logo on the other side.

I have it on my desk at work filled with paperclips, which makes it far more useful than any other race medal/memento I've ever recieved, but I still kind of hate it.

Today, I got an email from the director of the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon. (This is a great race at the end of April. Their race director sends TONS of e-mail about the race.) This note was to announce the special bonus gift we'll be getting at packet pick-up this year. It's bizarre and yet totally awesome...I think every runner needs one of these: a FREE Tortoise and Hare Reversible Hand Puppet!

While I admire the bushy white beard on the hare, I think the tortoise is so ugly he's cute. Plus, I'm a tortise at heart.

Monday, March 10, 2008

In the last month...

Since I posted, I ran a super fun 5 mile race in Ambler (The Frostbite 5-mile) which was truly cold. My feet felt frozen until mile 2.5. I did OK at that race considerig it was the first time I'd run 5 miles since the marathon and the flu and I did OK even though I was surprised by all the uphills in the race.

I finished in 52:03 which is fine by me. I was hoping just to finish under 55 minutes and I did that.

The race itself was pretty awesome with excellent goodie bags (chips, pens, and massage rollers) and a cute t-shirt. Post race food was awesome (hotdogs, fruit, chips, cereal bars, OJ and gatorade) and they had tons and tons of door prizes. Including an awesome yellow knit hat that I really, really wanted to win even though I hate wearing knit hats.

After the Frostbite race I didn't do much running until I spent some time in Washington, DC where Brian and I "ran" along the trail in Rock Creek Park. Really, we just walked a lot, and tried to run at times. It was extremely poor training for the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon that I did for the third time yesterday.

Caesar Rodney is HILLY. Very, very hilly. I was very, very unprepared. That, coupled with the freezing temperature and the blustery wind (20mph with 40mph gusts) it was a crazy day for a race. Not totally awful, but pretty tough.

Check this out from the webpage of the race results:

"Race Day Conditions: "Not user friendly." But hey -- it's March. Cold & windy.
But sunny and no rain. Go for it. And that is what so many awesome finishers did.
Not a day for a personal P.R. A day to be aware how strong & dedicated all the finishers were. Looks like a good 2008 to you all -- to us. "

Anyway, I knew at the halfway point that that was about all the distance I was properly trained for so I just resolved to get through the rest of the race and that led to me walking up just about every inch of the hills and then trying to run every bit of the flats and downhills. It was a slightly different course than in prior years but I'm not sure where all the changes were made. The bottom line though, is that I finished in 2:24:20 which is only 7 seconds slower than last year when I felt pretty good about the results. So, I'm not thrilled, but I'm not disappointed either and I was never miserable out there on the road, and that's always one of my goals.

One funny note -- I backtracked a couple of feet to hand off a gel to Brian. That probably cost me a PR for the course. That's the last time I'll be nice! (Only kidding!)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Counting Crows - Free at Noon

I spent my lunch hour at the Free at Noon concert at the World Cafe (click the link to listen to the show) in Philadelphia. Today, Counting Crows were playing. Awesome! We were right in the front, closer than I've ever been for a concert. I mean so close we could see the spit flying out of Adam Duritz's mouth as he was singing. Gross, but also cool.

These pictures stink but I only had my camera phone and it's better than nothing.

I think their new album (release date March 25) is going to be good.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Too cute to ignore

I had to sign up for this race because the picture was so cute. He better be on the t-shirt.

I don't need a bike lock...but now I want one

I have a bike that doesn't need a lock because if it's not in my house, I'm sitting on it.

But this is so awesome I want to buy it even though I have no use for it.

You can buy one at wishingfish

Monday, January 28, 2008

Goofy Challenge – Day Two. The Marathon.

MikeSullyMe Marathon day dawned even more humid than the half-marathon and this time there was no relief. The sun even came out to make things hotter and more uncomfortable, but luckily that didn’t happen until mile 20 or even later.

Waking up early for this race (3AM) is the worst part of the whole thing. I have a really hard time eating that early in the morning and it was all I could do to choke down some oatmeal before heading out to the race. It was a mistake that could have proved disastrous if not for Brian. I was carrying my fuel belt, loaded with Gatorade Endurance and 4 gels. I typically carry more gel for a full marathon but this time I knew Disney was going to give us two on the course and they usually supply other food too. Since I was carrying the camera again AND a pouch holding the Donald medal (had to have it for post-race photos) I decided not to carry extra gels to save some space and weight in the belt. This was a poor decision and next time I’d force them into the belt or leave the Donald at home (but if you can, carry the Donald.)

My game plan today was the same as for the half. Take it easy, stop for photos, walk on the uphills and during the water stop. Brian & I were together in the starting area and he came to my rescue when I started to get REALLY hungry with about an hour to go before the race. This was bad. I knew I was too hungry for a gel to solve the problem and that eating more gels would cause trouble in the race. Luckily, he was carrying a spare Powerbar so I was able to eat ¾ of a chocolate power bar pre-race. This saved my whole day. Even with it, my nutrition plan was out of whack, but things turned out fine. It added a level of stress to the day that would have been a real problem if I had been trying to run for time. We had a plan to try to stay together because taking photos together would be fun, but we agreed that it was more important to run our own races. As a result – I lost Brian about a half a minute after the starting gun sounded and I didn’t see him again for miles. Amazingly, I stopped at a porta-potty, posed for a few pictures, and then suddenly, there he was! I’d guess it was mile 5 or so? I know we were together at mile 7 because we filmed a short video with the camera at that point. Anyway, the day was hot and humid and I was glad to see Brian. I was able to do a slow run with him at his awesome fast-walking pace and we covered the next few miles without incident.

The Magic Kingdom was really fun we stopped a bunch of times, had official photos taken at the Castle, we met the Toy Story crew and generally just really had fun in there. It was like a training walk with lots of other people around. Leaving the MK things got a little less fun for awhile and I started to fret about my nutrition because I started to think we were missing out on food where it had been in the past. I know for sure that at one of the gel stops before the Animal Kingdom they had nothing for us when it was clear that they’d been providing supplies for those ahead of us.

We stuck together through most of this stretch, posing for more pictures, sharing Gatorade, and stopping to stretch for quite a long time. I still felt good physically although my mind was getting a little weary. I remembered reading on a message board in the week leading to the marathon that the mind gives up before the body does – and this was certainly true for me at this point. When I got my legs to move, I could run with ease, but getting them to run after a walking break was a real challenge. As we approached the Animal Kingdom, Brian was tired of posing and he stayed in his fast-groove while I stopped a lot to take shots with Donald and Daisy, Minnie and a few others. I ran really well inside the Animal Kingdom and along the paths outside too. I fell into place with a TNT coach pacing a runner and stuck with them for awhile. I’m sad I didn’t hang with them for longer. Unfortunately, some of my prior posing had me approaching the Mickey Mouse photo shoot just seconds after he retired to his trailer for some rest. He’s the only big character I didn’t get this weekend. Bummer!

The stretch between Animal Kingdom and the Studios was a bleak as I remembered. It’s long, it’s boring and the sun had come out. Highlights: bananas (thank god! I needed food) and Captain Hook (at the top of a hill, of course). I also met a funny lady with an exhausted Goofy sign that I posed with. I didn’t really feel terrible here – I’ve certainly felt worse in races even of shorter duration – but I was tired and anxious to finish this thing up. One other small highlight: high school marching band playing Rocky theme as I was forcing myself to run on a sunny stretch. I would have certainly been walking without those tunes.

Entering the Studios was fun as I got to meet Mr. Incredible and my total fave: Frozone! If only he could have frozen the air a little to make the final stretch more pleasant. A funny volunteer reminded us all that our friends who were not racing were “big losers” and that we were “awesome”. Yes, we are awesome! I got a fabulous photo of me, Minnie and Goofy just before leaving the Studios. That was particularly fun since I got to but in front of about 30 regular people and go to the front of the line. Anything for a Goofy photo today!
The miles between the Studios and Epcot are mostly just a blur. Pushing, walking, trying to force myself to run. Legs are really tired by now and the tide has turned. At this point, my mind is willing but my body is weak. Running through World Showcase I’m listening (and singing) Remember the name: “10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will, 5% pleasure, 50% pain, 100% reason to remember the name.” Yeah, it was like 99% pain at this point.

Around China I finally spotted the Top Secret Medal. It’s awesome. Really awesome.


Around Mexico I see Brian’s head up in the distance. I can probably catch him but it’ll be hard. I’m tired but I want to catch him. Try to run harder. Want to throw up. Walk. Run hard. Walk. Getting closer. Finally near the fountain and Mouse Works, I catch up to him. I can barely say anything to him to let him know I’m there. I must look better than I feel since he says he’s at maximum speed and he tells me to run ahead of him. As if!

We’re together until the finish. How fun! He got to high-five Stitch. I just ran along side of him. Yay! We’re done!

39.3 is a long way. But the medals are totally worth it.

I got the worst cold/flu whatever a few days after the race. I'm still trying to shake it off 12 days later. But the medals are still worth it!

Goofy Challenge – Day One. The Half Marathon.

The Goofy challenge was a really interesting experience for me because it’s been a long time since I’ve headed into a race when I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure how to structure my race plan, I wasn’t sure what kind of time I could run, and I wasn’t really sure how prepared I was for what lay ahead of me. I felt really goodheading into the weekend, and I was solidly prepared to run either of the races, but I wasn’t sure how I’d do running both of them.

The weather was not unexpected for Florida, warm and humid, but I was anticipating a cooler weekend for the races. Saturday was extremely humid at the start – close to 100% -- but luckily that seemed to break about halfway into the race and conditions improved considerably.

Humidity and I are not friends. I really, really suffer when I try to run in humid weather. So oddly, the conditions on Saturday really turned out to be ideal for me. The humidity forced me into the “lazy but fun” race plan that I adopted for the weekend. I wore my fully loaded fuel belt, so hydration was not an issue, and the belt allowed me to carry an extra amphipod case to hold my digital camera. I decided to embrace the whole Disney scene and take photos with every character along the way and pictures of anything else that struck my fancy along the course. This day was to be about taking in the scene and having a good time while saving up my legs for Sunday. To this end, I decided not to even try to run on the uphill, to walk through water stops even when not drinking, and to generally take it easy.

Amazingly, even while following this plan, stopping mid-race at a porta-potty (I never do this!) and posing for tons of pictures even when there were big lines (I’m talking to you, Captain Jack Sparrow) I still managed to run a 2:29 – and 2:30 was my game plan for the day. At the end of the half, I felt like I hadn’t done a thing except for the tiny hot spot I had on the ball of my right foot. I think this was because I was wearing almost new sneakers (they only had about 15 miles on them prior to the race) and they were not laced tightly enough at the start. I had to stop around mile 11 to tighten them because I was starting to be aware of the hot spot and I wasn’t willing to risk any problems with the marathon on Sunday. As it turns out, nothing came of the hot spot. Whew!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Goofy Challenge 2008

Here's the proof! I finished the races! It was hot and humid and SLOW but a whole lot of fun.

My legs felt great, although the vehicle would not reach top speed during the last few miles of the marathon. No long term repercussions from the event.

I have a great flickr slideshow with all the pictures from both races here:

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy New Year! Let's go to Disney!

OK, so I wasn't really back when I posted that the last time. But now I have a couple of races on the horizon, so this time, I'm really back.

New Year's Day dawned slightly rainy so I was a big wimp and skipped the group run at the park but made up for it later in the day by logging a solid 7 miles on the trail with Brian. It really feels great to run on January 1st. I think all of you should try it next year!

I hit the gym on Thursday and was super lucky to score a treadmill at 5:03. All the new years resolution people were there in force. Hopefully they will all have given up by post-marathon when I'm going back to the gym.

Saturday I ran with the group in the first official winter run. It was colder than expected, but I was able to log a nice 8 mile run and I feel GREAT heading into Goofy weekend.

We leave for FLorida on Thursday afternoon for 8 days at Disney World. We're staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which seems awesome, and I just can not wait to get there.

The weather for race weekend is looking a bit warm for my liking but at least we won't be freezing to death pre-race. I'm packing some Endurance and my fuel belt and I think that will be good for me. I don't know for sure what I'm going to do as far as goals but my decisions could have an effect on carrying the belt and camera or not.

I guess for once it's true that my primary goal is just having a good time. I want to collect the Goofy medal and the TOP SECRET medal more than just about anything and I want to be able to finish the marathon without feeling terrible the way I did in the middle of NYC. I'm not sure what the proper strategy for that is. I think I am in a really good place leading into the race though, where heading into NYC I was full of trepidation since I knew my training was sub-par.

Who knows -- maybe I'll get really lucky and I'll really crank out that sub 5 hour race!