boston marathon,

boundless sky

monday

3 weeks til Boston, we’re tapering

Feeling good about the race and the weekend in Syracuse.  A relaxed 13 mile shakeout in the park to recover from yesterday’s half marathon (16 miles total on Sunday, the Half plus 2 mile warm up/1 mile cool down).  Went into the store last night after the race to receive some deliveries, the left bicep is sore from the lifting; and the hamstrings cramped up briefly while sleeping.  Still in one piece, though.

I love these recovery runs, or any easy ones, they’re my sanctuary, a brief but blissful respite from the world.  I often look up at the sky while running, sometimes straight up and up ahead at other times.  That was the case this afternoon when the day’s fog had cleared and the clouds were a little behind opening up the pale blue sky underneath.  One of the earliest images I can recall is of the sky and clouds, I must have been a toddler, before I knew what is good and what is bad, and I remember feeling good looking up at the boundless sky.  I still get that feeling looking at the sky, especially while running.  

NAACP, minority officers’ group criticize ‘Patriots Day’ for erasing slain black officer

  • The Boston NAACP, the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers and the family of slain Boston Police Department officer Dennis Simmonds have all joined to criticize the newly released historic thriller Patriots Day.
  • They say the movie whitewashed the role of minority officers responding to the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Read more.

One of the ways Wahlberg and Berg wanted to show proper care and sensitivity to the story of the Boston Marathon bombing was to film in the places the events had actually taken place. That’s great for historical accuracy and everything, but the events we are talking about are people being exploded and shot. Those are not things the people in that area want to relive, even through a film set. So it should come as no surprise that when the neighbors in the exact neighborhood where a deadly shootout had occurred were informed a movie crew was going to fire blanks for several nights straight, they weren’t thrilled. The town manager finally had to shut it down, saying the recreation “wasn’t in the best interest” of the neighborhood.

The 9/11 films United 93 and World Trade Center have been even more controversial. United 93 came out less than five years after the event, meaning emotions were still raw for people who had lost loved ones on that day. The original trailer was so violent and got so many complaints that the AMC theater chain pulled it completely. Family members who saw the film admitted to being emotionally drained. Meanwhile, Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center paid two survivors $200,000 each to be advisors. Understandably, the widows of the men who died rescuing those two guys then accused them of cashing in on the tragedy. Other family members said they approached the production to help and were turned away, meaning the filmmakers weren’t interested in getting additional information that might have helped more accurately flesh out the story if that meant extra people in the line for the craft services table.

There are also times when filmmakers will blatantly make shit up to better suit their narrative. Not all family members of United 93 victims were “lucky” enough to have their loved ones merely exploited for box office money. One German widow had to watch Paul Greengrass cast an actor known for playing Nazis to portray her dead husband as a coward, because hey, every good story needs a villain.

5 Big Problems With Hollywood’s Addiction To ‘Tragedy Porn’

2

care package

friday

4 weeks til Boston, we’re tapering

Received this care package that I’ve been waiting for in the mail today, and just what I asked for inside!

15 miles in the park and around Buffalo this evening ahead of the Syracuse Half on Sunday.  Not sure how much time I’ll have to run tomorrow and it’s supposed to be wet, so glad to get in the miles today.  Was a little concerned about no speed work this week and not being rested, but then remembered that the half marathon will be the speed/tempo run of the week, and must remind self that this isn’t the goal race…so run it well, smart, and not be too concerned about time and placing…instead thinking of it as more of a romantic getaway…

How to Qualify for Boston

So you want to run the Boston Marathon. Here’s a nice long post on how to get yourself there and start/finish strong.

1. Do the research. Make sure you know exactly what time you need for your gender and age. Also, know that running a BQ time does NOT guarantee you a spot in the marathon. It gives you a chance to register. Every year, hundreds to thousands get turned away due to capacity limits. Many people try to aim for a BQ - 5 mins to be safe. This years Boston had the largest cut off time. You had to run 2 minutes and 28 seconds faster than a BQ to be accepted into the race. (For 18-34 men, this means 3:02:32, and 18-34 women, this means 3:32:32). If you’re close to Boston, I highly recommend watching the race before trying to qualify. It’s absolutely incredible and it’s definitely worth the trip.

2. Pick a race. The nice thing about qualifying for Boston is that there’s races all over the country (and world!). You get to pick! Check on the Boston Athletic Association’s website to make sure it’s a USATF certified course before you make your final decision. I recommend choosing a flat course. There’s also multiple websites out there that have BQ and PR rates for lots of popular marathons. Plan a race far enough out that you can map out your training (with a bit of room for adjustment) and increase your mileage safely. Fall is a popular racing time, but since registration opens in early September, running a fall marathon will likely qualify you for Boston 2 years out (for example, running a marathon in October 2016 would get you a BQ for 2018). Races mid summer and winter also have the possibility of being cancelled due to blizzard or extreme heat, so you may want to pick a back up race if weather is questionable.

3. Be realistic. Most people aren’t gonna qualify during their first marathon, while racing injured, undertrained, over trained, or during extreme weather conditions. Be flexible with yourself and be willing to adapt your plan/goals to what’s happening. I found that making ABC goals help a lot. A is best case scenario, perfect weather conditions, etc; B is maybe not gonna quite hit a BQ but here’s another goal; C being it’s not my day but I’m confident I could finish in X. The C goal should be something you know you can do, so you’re not completely devastated if things go wrong.

4. Do the training. Build mileage SLOWLY. You don’t become a marathoner overnight. Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to your body. 10% is a good rule of thumb for how quickly some people can increase weekly mileage, but as a frequently injured runner, I would recommend 5-7% to be safe. You don’t want to train for a marathon injured, trust me. (Seriously, TRUST ME.) My body tolerates workouts and speed work VERY poorly. I know this. I know I can’t do Yasso 800s or mile repeats or hard farther runs. All of these are recommended in nearly every training plan I’ve seen. So I don’t use one. You can be successful doing one “tempo” run a week. This pace is up to you. My “tempo” runs when I BQ'ed were 20-30 seconds slower per mile than my BQ pace. Most of your running will be much slower than your actual goal pace. Run hills too. They’re good for you.

5. Do the other training. Yeah. Cross training. And strength training. You should do both. Chances are, you’re not going to run every day. My body maxes at about 4 days a week of running, which is totally fine. Some days you’ll wake up and just not want to run, which is also fine. As mentioned above, I don’t tolerate speed workouts well. Every running workout I have ever done has resulted in a serious injury. But I can do bike sprints all day no problem. Bike sprints are great! Slow biking is great. Elliptical is great. I have found that long distance biking is really good for building mental strength (in an “I don’t want to do this but I’m gonna sit here and do it anyway” sense). Some gyms have different machines like zero runners or stair steppers or others so see what your resources are. Strength training doesn’t necessarily involve lifting weights, but it can if you want it to. Running Strong (by Jordan Metzel) is a great injury prevention book which involves lots of different exercises (some body weight and some weighted). Runners World also regularly posts articles like “6 core exercises you’re not doing!” or “arm workout for runners”. The Nike+ Training Club app also has good, short strength training workouts. Most are 15-30 minutes and require little to no equipment. If you’re going to lift weights, don’t do leg day immediately before or after a hard/long run, you WILL regret it. Also, core. Really important. It’s not just “doing abs” either. Core also involves your butt, your back, your chest, etc. Everything that’s not your arms or legs is “core”. Having a strong core reduces impact elsewhere on your body and helps prevent injury. Do core workouts!

6. Do the long runs. Pace yourself appropriately. Your long runs don’t need to be at marathon pace and this certainly shouldn’t be your fastest run of the week. You’re gonna need to run 20 miles, at least once, but twice would also be good. You don’t need to do it every week for 3 months. That’s completely unnecessary. Some people do long runs up to 24 miles but I also think that’s unnecessary. I have done one 22 miler in training for each of my marathons (which fit within my weekly mileage goals) but I wouldn’t recommend it to a beginner runner. I’ve read before that your long run shouldn’t take up more that half your weekly mileage, meaning in your peak weeks which you’re doing 20, your total for the week should be near 40. It’s not an exact science, and life does get in the way sometimes, but don’t go out and try to do 20 if you’ve barely run all week. ALL training plans are adaptable. Nothing is set in stone.

7. Nutrition. This is important. I’m not just talking about mid run nutrition either. Your body is working 24/7 to repair broken down muscle, decrease inflammation, get stronger, function normally, etc. You need to eat. You need to eat appropriately. This probably means eating more than you eat right now. There are countless books and resources out there with recipes, recommendations, info, etc. You don’t need to count everything or measure or weight all your food. You need to eat carbs. You need to eat protein. You need to eat fat. You need sugar. You need salt. You need everything!! For shorter distances runs, I personally don’t find that I need to take in much fuel. Water usually works just fine. The standard recommendation for gels is one every 45 minutes, taken with water (DONT FORGET THE WATER). Take gels with water, NOT Gatorade! Some people cannot tolerate gels. There’s tons of different gels, blocks, chews, waffles, jelly beans, etc. You can also eat real food. Clif bars, Swedish fish, dried fruit, etc. Any carb based snack that’s easy to carry will work just fine. You can also just drink Gatorade or something similar. Or do a combination of both (this is what I usually do). You need try different things to find out what works best. Every runner has a favorite, so feel free to ask around! If you plan on not carrying you own nutrition on race day, find out what’s on the course. Typically, all races half marathon and above will have water, Gatorade, and some type of gel. Post run I usually like some kind of electrolyte drink, plenty of water, and a meal that involves a significant amount of carbs but protein also. 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein is what runners world and other resources usually say, but you don’t have to overthink it. It isn’t rocket science, just listen to your body!

Side note on nutrition: If your weight needs to be adjusted (like actually though. Not I need to lose X pounds so I can have X% body fat and be lean and fast!! I’m serious, like a real medical professional suggested you need to lose or gain weight) then I HIGHLY recommend speaking to a real medical professional about that. Losing weight and gaining weight (I’m talking more than a few pounds fluctuations, which are normal and will happen as you adjust your training) are both EXTREMELY difficult to do when you’re putting your body through so much stress. Marathon training is incredibly demanding, and to demand more from your body that you’re already pushing so hard can have devastating outcomes.

WHAT A MORNING.

I didn’t post anything about yesterday’s ultramarathon for a few reasons: 

1) I was having so much fun (fun for me = phone is out of sight) 

2) My phone’s power level was pretty much toast after 4+ hours of music

3) I was busy either finishing the race, cheering on the folks in my running group who were doing a relay version of it, cooking and eating lunch, hanging out with my girls, or resting my head and legs.

And now, I’m awake with a sore, but unbelievably happy body. 

My alarm went off around 5:30 a.m., relatively late for a race, Saturday morning. We drove to the course, which would be a four-loop compact-trail type of run. 

This trail 50K took me roughly 4:25 to finish — which I’m thrilled about. The course was beautiful, and one I was very familiar with. It was four loops, which means I got to see my group three times! (Also means I had to run under the finish line three times before I could actually finish, had to pass the sign reading, “26.2” before I had actually gotten there, etc.). I made many friends along the way, and pushed myself harder than I thought I could. And when I crossed that line, with “FINISH” written proudly across it, I realized I had gotten first in my age group, so I got a second medal on top of the finisher one!

It was an awesome first go at ultrarunning and a memory I won’t forget. It was certainly difficult, and my legs were tired afterward, but I was so happy it didn’t really matter. I was surrounded by people I love, doing what I love. And then the ladies got together for a girls night! 

What more could I ask for?!

⚡️⚡️⚡️ Now, for real this time, it’s time to focus on BOSTON. ⚡️⚡️⚡️

Organizing My Life...Continued

Wednesday
I was very busy today and yet I don’t feel like I got a lot done. Like I said yesterday, my professional life has felt a little disorganized lately. One of the reasons is because I’ve been feeling a lot of pressure being a leader of several sailors. While it’s been a lot as of late, I have been recognized for my efforts.
I was named the Defense Intelligence Agency Sailor of the Year. This means I’m now up for the Navy District Washington Sailor of the Year where I will be competing against several other Sailors for that honor. The pressure to do well has been a little overwhelming. Anyway, this morning was the first step in getting ready for that professional test by getting my official picture taken.

The next part is getting my personal life in order. One part of that is getting out of debt. To do so, I’ve decided to take on a second job. Sure, I’ll have little to no personal life, but it’s only until the stress of my financial burdens are less stressful. The only place I applied to was Nike to become one of the Pacers. Today they called me in for an interview and less than an hour later I had the job. I have to do some paperwork and training and whatnot, but now after a year of being led by Pacers at Nike, I’ll be one of them. I think it’s kind of cool. 

When I finally got home I relaxed for a little bit before heading out for today’s run. While I was relaxing it rained so I was happy to have avoided that. It did cool things down a bit but it made for a pretty nice evening run. 

My legs felt a little tired so I didn’t push as hard as I normally do until the end. At that point I started feeling a little more like myself. Now, after all the stretching and foam rolling my legs feel tired. I’m ready for a good night’s sleep. 

success!

sunday

4 weeks til Boston, we’re tapering

A great weekend at the Syracuse Half Marathon, very happy with the race performance, was just right - not too slow and not too fast for this point in the prep for Boston.  Did not rest up for it, using it as a fast tempo run with a steady pace, simulating the middle to latter half of a marathon, and it went as I had hoped.  The results: 1:17:56, 5:57 mile pace, 17th overall, 1st Master finisher, 5k @ 18:50, 10k @ 36:54, 15k @ 54:46.  The pace was pretty even the entire way, around 6 minute/mile pace, passed a dozen runners along the way.  Didn’t feel sharp, some lack of leg turnover due to fatigue from past week, but made up for it with strength.  Finished strong and felt in control through the finish line.

The training’s progressing according to plan, and with additional taper and some more speed work, should put myself in good position at the start in Hopkington.

Must make a plug for my girlfriend, Kim, who, after a 5 year break from racing, killed it with a 1:57 at this her comeback debut!  I think was more nervous and excited about it than she was…

2

Last long run in the books!!!

I had planned for 20 but cut it short to 17 & change….poor planning on my part, had a 30th anniversary dinner to get to that night, all the very valid reason.  But I’m still happy with it.  It was a training run on the Newton Hills and honestly I felt strong and comfortable and even at the end felt like I had three more miles left in my legs! 

Time to taper - BRING ON BOSTON!!!

4

Defense attorneys introduced this exhibit photo showing Dzhokhar’s Adidas sweatshirt after it was cut off his body at the hospital on Friday, April 19, 2013.

The jury has seen this sweatshirt frequently throughout the trial in surveillance photos and video. He wore it withdrawing cash from an ATM, buying junk food & Red Bull at the Shell station, and emerging bloody & injured from the drydocked boat in Watertown.

A State Police DNA analyst testified that the bloodstains on it belong to Dzhokhar.