Friday, April 30, 2010



It felt like I was running with scuba flippers on my feet. I wanted to give up and go home. A simple 3 mile run and it was torture. The weather was perfect, I got a full nights sleep for once, and I ate before I left. I guess some days just suck.


Maybe it was the cold that I had for a week and a half that gave me preemie lungs. With the cold completely out of my system, though, I ran Baxter Preserve again, 3 miles, and my heart rate stayed in the aerobic range and I wasn't gasping for air like a someone with emphysema. It was a great run. Legs sore but strong, lungs working as they should, and a few things to keep it interesting. The first was a little swampy section where I had to choose between shoe sucking mud and pricker bushes. I went with the pricker bushes. The second interesting event was getting to watch a young girl jump a stone wall with her horse, get dumped off, and then have the horse take a 3/4 mile run before the instructor caught it. Don't worry, no head trauma, no broken bones, and she eventually saddled up and got back to it. Priceless. Oh, and I did not fall down. Yet. I'm sure the hammer of karma will visit down upon me for laughing at her (see 4/19/2010 for details).


This mornings run didn't start out all that spectacularly. I decided to try doing a 4 mile run at Hemlock Hills so I headed up at about 8 am in the cold and drizzling rain. I grabbed my map at the trailhead and headed off on a trail that seemed like a pretty good loop. About 1/4 mile in the trail got unbelievably rocky, wet and steep and I couldn't get a rhythm going. I was afraid I was gonna bust my fucking head open so I eventually gave up and turned around. It's too early in my training for me to try to run on such technical terrain and I have to keep in mind that right now I'm training for a marathon and not a trail race. I figured I'd head back over to Baxter Preserve and do my "long" run there. Unlike yesterday, where there were 22 cars and some sort of dog meet going on, there was only one other wacko on the trail. I did my usual warm up and got rolling. Within a few hundred yards my feet were pretty wet from the tall grass so I knew I was in for a day of running with soaked feet. Rather than looking at that as something negative I just looked at it as training for long trail runs under somewhat lousy conditions. I've been keeping a pretty steady pace at Baxter, just a bit above 10:00/mile and I'm happy with that considering that there really are no flat sections on the entire run. There were a couple of sections that I'd never run before, sections that made this feel more like a legit trail run. There was a pretty steep rain runoff hill that lead to a dead end, a stream crossing that completely immersed my feet, a nice blood drawing whack on the achilles from a sprung branch, and some shoe sucking deep mud. I looked like a 10 year old that went out in a storm and played in the mud. AWESOME.


Todays run SUCKETH. I see a trend here. Almost every Monday I have shin/achilles pain that's fucking miserable. My watch shut off (or I shut it off) so I have no idea if I ran more or less than 3 miles. I had to walk once and stop completely twice to make the tight feeling go away. Also had the issue with my feet going numb. FUUUUUUCCCCCKKKKKKK. FUCK.


See Above. Ran 1.5 of a 3 mile run and packed it in.


Karma. Right ankle sprain and shin splints. Skipped my run again today. Been icing and using Tylenol. Will probably run tomorrow, at least for a little while. I'm not sure what the root cause of this is but I'm guessing it was too many trail runs too quickly? I don't even know because some of this was going on before I started running at Baxter. I guess a few days off won't kill me but I feel like a total dickhead sitting at home in bed reading Ultrarunning magazine and Beyond The Wall (a compilation of stories by ultra runners).


I took the week off. I hated it but I guess it's best for me. Tomorrow I'll go for a short run and see how things feel. Today is the 9 year anniversary of me not getting fucked up anymore. It means much more than my birthday. I hope I have something positive to write about tomorrow...

Saturday, April 10, 2010


OH. MY. FUCKING. GOD. How the fuck do people run 50, 100 miles on a trail??? This is going to be problematic. I went on a 3 mile run at Baxter Preserve and I'm crippled and sunburned. I learned a few interesting things today. The first is that one should prepare properly when the temperature climbs into the mid 80's. That preparation would include things such as way more fluids and a healthy handful of sun block. The second thing that I learned is that maybe it's a little bit premature to consider myself someone that excels at bombing the downhills. While it's true that I'm reckless enough to not give a fuck about falling down hills, maybe I should not try to accommodate for my very slow climbs with speedy descents just yet. I must look like a piano falling down a flight of stairs. Lastly, I learned that from a respiratory point of view, I have the lungs of a premature newborn. I might as well have been dragging an oxygen tank behind me. Really.

The Preserve is mainly open fields. stone walls, at least one stream, and a small lake. Not a lot of tree cover and no sizable stretches of flat trail but not one big climb. It's more a war of attrition than any one thing that hurt me. It was a lot of fun and pretty hysterical when I uploaded the route onto my computer. It looked like a drunk in a maze. I never found one large loop so I apparently spun around in a million smaller circles until the watch said 3 miles.

It took me almost a half hour to get the above display of technical wizardry onto the page. Great runner and tech savvy? Wow, how can one guy have so much while others have so little?

I iced the shit out of my legs last night and I was surprised that I wasn't sore when I got out of bed this morning. The above photo of my route is proof positive that I'm turning into a fucking nerd. What the fuck happened to me??? I also went to Wal Mart and Marshalls and bought more crap that I probably don't need (shorts/shirts/socks).


I'm thinking more and more about Fucker. Reminder: Fucker is the 1/2 mile long VERY steep hill that's part of Vail Lane. I'm not sure what the grade is but it is fucking huge. I'm starting to think more about structuring my training for the marathon and beyond. Saturday will always be my long run. There's no way I'm putting in long miles on a Sunday morning after being up driving almost all night the night before. Monday will be my recovery run day, Wednesday my midweek 'longer' run, and Friday my hill training or fast run day. I have to figure out when I'll add in cross training at some point. I hate the idea but I know it will be beneficial. I'd also like to take a yoga class but I don't have the $$$ right now. I'm one of the most inflexible motherfuckers on 2 legs.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


The band played Saturday in Albany. 840 miles of driving. 26 hours without sleep. One rehearsal/One show. I convinced myself on the drive home that staying focused and positive while I was exhausted and horribly undernourished was perfect training for my long runs. The New York State Thruway is 120 miles of shitty. There are areas that look like they'd be great to run (Harriman and points North) but driving it is more mind numbing than driving in the fucking desert.

For me the whole process of playing shows is a miserable endurance test . It's a test without a payoff. I get no satisfaction from meeting most people. I still, after 20 years, have horrible stage fright that turns me into a difficult person to be around. I don't gain any pleasure onstage. The whole set feels like the last miles of a long run, and the toll on my body is absurd. We've never come close to breaking even financially in 20 years. I guess I should also mention that in the area where we were selling our merchandise on this particular night the club played the cd of the band whose singer my ex-wife married for 5 fucking hours and 19 minutes. I'm fucking serious. The SAME cd. Talk about karma. It was like an episode from The Twilight Zone. I have no fucking idea where some of the bruises on my body came from. Let's catalog some of them because they're kind of funny. Bruised right ankle: dropped a 32" TV on it last weekend. Right achilles/calf scraping: falling off stage (again). Bruised left ankle: keeping the heavy fucking cymbal case from hitting the ground when it fell out of the back of the van. Bruised right and left thighs: Maybe banging my guitar against them onstage??? Bruised right forearm: Could be anyone's guess. Here's the million dollar question that I got asked a number of times last night... If you hate it so much, why do you do it? I promote the band just enough that we can keep going into the recording studio (my happy place) and put out records. It's a necessary evil. The one saving grace is that I get to spend a bunch of hours with the guys in the band, which is always pretty fucking frightening/hysterical. I told them once that it would be more fun to just rent a van and drive around for 24 hours. Fuck playing shows, lets just drive around, make fun of each other, eat junk food, and drive recklessly. That would be awesome.


I cannot believe how fucking sore I am from the show this weekend. I feel like I got thrown from a moving car. I didn't run in the monsoon yesterday and opted for a nice 2 hour nap. I felt guilty but fuck it, I really needed the rest. I got my Garmin watch on Friday, fucked with it for about 20 minutes in the rain on Sunday and will be breaking it out for real tomorrow when I finally hit the road again. I have it set to show time/distance/heart rate/average pace. I'm going to stress test myself next week to find out what my true max heart rate is and then set up some zones to run in. Geek.


I'm in full tailspin mode right now. Slept 4 1/2 hours after work today rather than running. Haven't run in a full week. Feel like shit. Feel fucking old. Will hit the road Friday/Saturday. It's supposed to be about 70 degrees and sunny for the next few days. If I can't drag my lazy, shitty self outside in that kind of weather then something is horribly wrong. (Apparently something was wrong...).


Alright, so I couldn't really breathe. And I was coughing up some alien looking shit. And I hadn't run in 8 days. I finally put on some fucking shorts, and some fucking shoes, and the expensive fucking Garmin watch that I've owned for 8 fucking days without using it and I went for a fucking run. It was only 3 miles and I ran slower than lava but it was AWESOME. And yes, I do realize that I used the word 'fuck' 5 times in one sentence. I'm quite proud of it actually.


Since I was still hacking up what appeared to be pieces of lung this morning, I figured I'd go out for a walk and maybe find another place to run. I headed over to a place called Baxter Preserve. It's a space that's open to the public in the middle of some very fancy horse country. It's rained so much in the past week that even with the 2 or 3 days of sun and warmth we've had it was stilly very fucking soggy. It was foggy and a little bit cold but there was not a person in sight. Jackpot!!! The whole preserve is made up of rolling hills, single track, and stone walls. Trails head off in different directions and I tried to create a nice loop to run tomorrow or Friday. There was plenty of horse crap to dodge as well as some pretty marshy sections. My feet were soaked in the first few minutes and it made me realize, after wearing cheap old socks this morning, that the SmartWool socks I wore last time my feet got wet do an amazing job of keeping my feet warm and fairly dry. I'm still having a hard time finding my footing on very thin trails and I feel like I'm constantly rolling my ankles but I'm sure I'll turn into a jedi warrior as time goes on.

I'm pretty sure that after I run the Green Mountain Marathon that I'll never run on the road again. I've been pretty bummed out and irritated by some of the things I've read in Runners World and especially Running Times recently. I know that Running Times is geared toward people that compete but still, how about some compassion for those of us too fucking slow to race that still want to learn how to be faster? Every once in a while there's a comment about how "joggers" and walkers cheapen the sport, especially when it comes to the marathon. Here's a quote that appeared in the Jan/Feb issue of Running Times by Adrienne Wald, a cross country coach at The College Of New Rochelle : "It's a joke to run a marathon by walking every other mile or by finishing in six, seven, eight hours. It used to be that running a marathon was worth something-there used to be a pride in saying that you ran a marathon, but not anymore. Now it's 'How low is the bar?'." To the elite shitbags that make comments like these I have one thing to say to you... MY LIFE WOULD PROBABLY HAVE FUCKING KILLED YOU. I don't give a fuck how fast you can run, how many miles you put in per week, how you don't like runners that run for charities, or don't like people that have to walk during there marathons. Fuck you. No matter how fast you're able to run you cannot outrun mental illness, substance abuse, hunger, and the loss of almost everything you ever loved. Fuck you.

"When I was born, you waited
behind a pile of linen in the nursery,
and when we were alone, you lay down
on top of me, pressing
the bile of desolation into every pore,

And from that day on
everything under the sun and moon
made me sad."

Jane Kenyon

Some of us run to quell our demons. Some of us only find peace in the few minutes/hours that we are alone on our runs. Some of us find that time meditative and an escape from the chaos and pain of the things we cannot outrun. I'm sorry if we get in your way. What has been drawing me to trail running, beside the nifty scenery, is what appears, at least from my outsiders perspective, to be a certain acceptance of anyone that laces up and runs their asses off. If that's the case then I've found my tribe. Up to this point I've kept this site shockingly positive but I found those comments so fucking irritating that I had to go on a little rant. I'm done. It's all puppies and daffodils from here on out. Really.


I'm running out of things to say. One of the reasons that I've always run back to the chaos and distress that has made up most of my life is that without it, I lose my creativity. Antonin Artaud once sad that "No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell". That's the path that I've followed. I always felt that it was better to incinerate myself yet be able to write and play music than to achieve some sort of balance and lose those two things. Quite a predicament... It almost feels like there's an inauthenticity to my existence when I'm not hanging on for dear life. Or is it that I don't think I deserve a life free from the wreckage of my past? Blah Blah Blah. There's no possibility that I'm gonna end up in a minivan wearing Dockers anytime soon but even this last 8 or 9 months of relative calm has me feeling kind of uncomfortable and ready to pull the chair out from under me.

I need contact lenses. I can't see my guitar strings without them, look like a tard with glasses on, and can't see roots/rocks and other scary stuff when I run unless I have something in my either near or in my eyeballs. Running trails with glasses on is a fucking disaster and will probably land me in the emergency room. I can either see too far ahead of me through the glasses, which is useless, or look at the roots and rocks that will eventually land me in the ER out of the bottom of my glasses, which is blurry and equally as useless.


There has definitely been less thinking/reading and more running recently. I finally ran hard enough to make my legs sore on my Sunday and Monday runs. I've been switching back and forth between the Montrails and my Brooks Cascadias and while I like them both quite a bit, I have to say that I prefer the Masochists. The Cascadias feel like trail slippers and don't have the protection for running on loose stones that the Montrails do. I still like them a lot. I feel like they each work different muscles. Speaking of muscles...

I read an article at a blog called called "Apathy, Your Body, And Trail Running" and it spoke about the little things that we can do to prevent injury and make us stronger and how we (I) tend to forget about those things until the damage is done. I've been lifting weights twice a week before work but have stopped doing my hip exercises and stability ball crunches. Why? Because I'm a lazy fucking sloth. It takes about 25 minutes to do the hips/crunches and the hip exercises can be done 2-3 times per week but even that seems overwhelming. Maybe there are too many distractions at home? It would seem that getting out of a warm car into the wind and pouring rain would be more difficult than laying on the floor and exercising for 20 minutes.

My parents are moving in a few weeks and I had to dig through some of my storage boxes. In the past it has been the equivalent of walking through a minefield and has spun me far too close to the edge. I found photos, letters, and anniversary gifts (including an 8th anniversary gift of the shirt she was wearing the night we might) and somehow didn't run off the rails. I'm not sure what the difference was this time. Is it that I'm so focused on running and playing with the band that helped? Was it the punishing run I went on Sunday morning? God knows how much money I've spent on shrinks in the last decade and I still have no fucking idea what goes on inside my own head. Run, Forrest, Run!

I did another recon mission looking for new trails to run. I found Hemlock Hills/Pine Mountain last week and this week I found some horse trails that will be a little bit more smooth than Hemlock. I also ordered my Garmin 305 on Saturday so I've broken two rules that I set for myself. The first was that I would not turn into Imelda Marcos and buy a shitload of shoes and the second was that I would not buy a Garmin or any other goofy and distracting electronic device. So I'm done with the shoes for a while and the Garmin will help me to map out the distance of my trail runs and make sure that I keep my heart rate in check. It would be nice to think that I'm done spending money I don't have but let's be honest...


1. She throws her arms out to her sides like a running back when she runs.
2. She curses quite a bit in her blog.
3. She's not above peeing on herself when she's racing.
4. She talks to her legs when they're going too slow.
5. She has a lucky thong that she wears when she races.


I decided that rather than sit around reading my 8,000th ultra runner blog I'd stop being a fucking pussy and actually put some shoes on and run. Novel concept. It was 55 degrees and about an hour before sunset and a perfect end to the day. It was only a 2 mile run but before I started I kept thinking about how shitty yesterdays run felt. I spent more time warming up before I got started and I instantly felt better. My shitty/uncomfortable runs still freak me out. Alcoholics have something they call sober reference. What sober reference means is that every day that you have sober is a day that you can reflect back on and draw strength from when the wheels are falling off. I just need to develop some running reference. At some point soreness will just be soreness, a bad run will be a bad run and not some sign that I may not be a runner, and that the good runs can be just as fleeting and finite as the bad runs. I'll get there.