Saturday, March 20, 2010


"You were my witness, my eyes, my evidence..."*

"I will lie here with the memory of every phrase that ever filled me
tortured and tongue tied
outside where packs of dogs are running loose just like we used to
I still remember your eyes."**


FEBRUARY 14, 2010

Yesterday was the longest run I've done since Philadelphia. Four miles in some pretty awful weather. It was 35 degrees, raining pretty hard, and the wind was gusting 20-30 miles per hour. None of that mattered. As I was running I kept thinking that the days run would be 1/3 of my half marathon and how I'm very slowly (wisely?) increasing my miles. This route is far different than where I did my training in the past with the majority of it being rolling hills and one slow 1/4 mile incline. The hills feel pretty good and the last 1/4 mile uphill had me gassed. I've been getting delusions of grandeur recently, thinking about running ultra's and then I remember that I'd have to tack on another 46 miles to the days run to finish. It's still a goal for 2011.

I don't know if it's the addict in me or some other force that wants me to push myself to the breaking point. It's always been that way, usually with terrible results, but it's also pushed me to write 30 minute long complex and technical songs, gotten me through 16 months of enormous sleep deprivation when I was in school, and allowed me to survive a life that would have killed most. When it comes to the monotony and minutiae of daily life I don't do all that well but when things start to collapse around me I've had the ability to focus and keep going. This, I hope, will be a useful trait in Vermont this year and who knows where in 2011.

"They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.
In their grey visions they obtain glimpses of eternity...They penetrate, however rudderless or compassless,
into the vast ocean of the 'light ineffable'." Edgar Allan Poe

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I had my first really shitty run today. It was only 3 miles but every step felt like the last mile in Philadelphia. My achilles were burning so much that my feet started to go numb in the last mile. What the FUCK. The only high point of the whole morning was that I finished in spite of feeling awful and suffering from a sever case of hypochondria. I'm also waiting on the delivery of my Montrail Mountain Masochist trail shoes. Today or tomorrow. I'm probably looking for a magic bullet when the only true magic bullet is between my ears. Speaking of bullets, a patient shot a nurse at the hospital I work at today. I guess the nurse is okay and the retard with the gun shot himself in the leg. All's well that, uh, never mind.

Shoes came in yesterday. They fit great but are much more stiff and supportive than I thought they'd be, which is a good thing. The insides are so fucking bright orange that if I'm ever lost in the woods I can take them off, hold them to the sky and be seen by a plane... or space shuttle. Maybe I'll get them a little bit dirty tomorrow after work. After having tried out the Brooks Adrenaline, the Saucony Xodus, and now the Montrails, I've notice that the distal part of the arch of my left foot always falls uncomfortably on the arch of the shoe. Strange. We've already established that I'm a horrible hypochondriac but this isn't crazy man paranoia. I swear. Maybe it's time to torture my buddy, Jack, at work. Jack has been my running coach, podiatrist, therapist, IT guy, and a swell Nuclear Tech in my department at the hospital. Jack and I have spoken about orthotics so maybe that's the way to go. There's so much conversation out there about minimalist running shoes/barefoot running that I sometimes think I'm moving in the wrong direction. Oh well, with a nice hookup on the orthotics it could be a worthwhile experiment.

It feels like the sky is falling at work. The patients keep getting sicker, the management is razing the forest and the trees, and my desire to continue caring the way I should is fading. I've found excuses to not run for the last 3 days. Exhausted, worried about losing my job, my body falling apart, and my mental health definitely starting to spiral; I needed to force myself to get out there. And I did....

MARCH 6, 2010

I finally ran out of excuses to not run. No more aching legs, no more "too tired", no more being a fucking pussy sitting home reading books and magazines about running while I'm laying in bed. Fuck that. I ran 3 miles on my normal route at 9 this morning. I had the same burning in my achilles and numbness in my feet in the last 1/4 mile but it still felt pretty good. My mind is in full nightmare mode, churning out negative thoughts; doubt, anxiety, phantom pain. I finally had to convince myself that it wasn't the hilly roads, not the shoes, not the cold, but the fucking freak show in my head. It's amazing how quickly I forgot the psychology of training for my half, how the hard drive was wiped clean and how I forgot that the first mile or so of every run always felt awful. I forgot that sometimes the rhythm comes slowly, and that some days it never comes and just feels fucking awful. I should have kept a journal to remind myself of all this crap.

It did get better. It got better after I set my car alarm off with the spare key and couldn't get the fucking thing to shut off for a long 3 minutes (in a very posh North Salem, NY neighborhood). I decided to do a quick little run with the Mountain Masochists to make sure that they weren't going to blow up on me the way the Brooks did. I wore them to work this week to break them in a bit and to see if there were any immediate problems. There weren't. They felt much stiffer and slightly lighter than my Saucony's and provided much better protection from the gravel and uneven surfaces of Vail Lane. Maybe I wanted them to work better than the other shoes or maybe they just fit much better, I don't fucking know. I do know that they fit my feet well and made me feel a little bit more sure footed on the road. It's only a quarter mile or so but I like them quite a bit so far.

MARCH 8, 2010

Took my first official run in the Montrails and they felt fucking awesome. No achilles pain and no foot numbness. I felt like a little kid running toward rather than away from the mud and puddles. I wanna jump into streams, run in the rain and just get fucking FILTHY!!! Not much more to say other than that it was 52 degrees, sunny, and I ran in shorts and a long sleeve for the first time since last September/October. As much of a grinch as I am, it was a fucking blast running in the beautiful weather. I'll head out for a 3 mile dirt road run on Wednesday and then my first real trail run on Friday. I cannot fucking wait.

MARCH 9, 2010

I ran Vail Lane to the Red House after work today. Three Miles. 52 degrees and sunny. Short sleeves and shorts. I may not be the most pale guy in North America this year! Everything felt very light and fluid. Not easy but I finally feel like I'm getting back to baseline and worrying less about injury and failure. Finding the right shoes has made a big difference. It's one less element I have to worry about and now I just need to focus on heart, mind, lungs, and legs. I have to confess that I've turned into a bit of a shoe whore. I'm no Imelda Marcos but after returning the Brooks Adrenalines and the Saucony Xodus I used up my store credit on a pair of Brooks Cascadia trail shoes. They seem a little bit less stiff and more road friendly than the Montrails and they felt swell as soon as I strapped them on. I may take them for a spin before dark tonight. It's time to put a moratorium on running goodies. Heart/mind/lungs/legs/shoes... and pants. Pants are definitely a good idea as well. Especially in the fancy land where I run. I'm starting to like the rolling hills and uneven surfaces of my new routes. The road that I trained on for Philly was pretty uneven and switched between hard packed dirt and pavement. As I was running the half I kept thinking that running on more challenging surfaces made it much easier to run on the road. All I had to worry about was putting one foot in front of the other rather than worry about where each step landed. I know I'll have to hit the roads for the Green Mountain Marathon but I'm hoping I can do most of my miles in the dirt. I have plenty of time (October 17) to figure it all out. The better my runs are, the less I worry or care about the rest of my life. It seems to return everything to its proper proportion.