Monthly Archives: February 2009

It’s official.

This came in the mail this week. The BAA actually already e-mailed this information, so it’s no surprise that I’m an official entrant, but I like the snail mail version because you can proudly display it on a bulletin board.

2009 Boston Marathon Official Notification Postcard

2009 Boston Marathon Official Notification Postcard

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Bikes, bikes, bikes.

So, one very big reason I’m running the 2009 CycleKids Boston Marathon is because I am an absolute bike freak, and it would be great if some young person might catch the bug like I did at such a young age.

It was a busy 2008 and 2009 so far as cycles go. I picked up a mint condition 1992 Yo Eddy,

1992 Fat Chance Yo Eddy

1992 Fat Chance Yo Eddy

did a major overhaul on my 1994 Rhygin Ra,

1994 Rhygin Ra

1994 Rhygin Ra

finished my 2009 Independent Fabrication Titanium Crown Jewel,

2008/09 Independent Fabrication Titanium Crown Jewel

2008/09 Independent Fabrication Titanium Crown Jewel

and did an amazing super-duper custom build on the Ted Wojcik.

2007/08/09 Ted Wojcik "Yo Teddy"

2007/08/09 Ted Wojcik “Yo Teddy”

I had an epiphany over the weekend and decided what I really wanted, and what I’ve wanted for a couple of years, was an exact replica of my Rhygin. This was my intention when I ordered the Ted Wojcik, but I got sidetracked.

Anyway, I met with Roy at Grace Cycles down in Holliston on Monday to chat about a “Rhygin Redux” of sorts. We actually touched base over the weekend, so he was able to contact Joe at Independent Fabrication about some of his concerns. This is the second time I’ve worked with Roy, and it was a real pleasure when we built up my Independent Fabrication Titanium Crown Jewel. It’s a perfect fit. Which is pretty much what my Rhygin is. I’ve always been a staunch steel guy, but I’m going with titanium this time. I really like it on my road bike, so I’m sure it’ll be nice off road too.

I checked some of the old catalogs and web pages on Rhygin to get more information on my bike’s geometry. Apparently, my frame was a custom build as it doesn’t match anything on the standard geometry that was listed. Makes it all the more special, I suppose, because I really love the Rhygin. I will never sell the frame, and will store it for the time being.

When Roy and I discussed my preferences, he asked about fit, to which I replied “I want the frame to have the exact specifications as the Rhygin!!!!” Anyway, after about 45 minutes, I left, and left the Rhygin there, just in case its needed for measurements. Feels weird not to have it in my stable. I anxiously await the CAD drawing.

I am blessed with having a profession that affords me the possibility to play with such nice toys. But you know, I’d be just as happy with my 1977 Huffy Thunder Road.  I actually removed the numbers and banana seat and put on a saddle from a road bike because it looked cooler).  I think I cried when I finally broke the frame (sometime around 1981) after countless hours of fun and thousands of miles of memories:

Huffy Thunder Road

Huffy Thunder Road

It’s never been about the “stuff” to me, and those who think otherwise, well they really don’t know me.  To me it’s all about freedom.  I think that’s why I don’t race, because you have to stay on a specific path.  Not my style.  Although maybe it should be considering I’ve been mistaken for an Olympic athlete as of recent.

A little rant:  I firmly believe in supporting the local frame builders, so it’s going to cost a little more.  All my frames are locally made, and a great number of the components are from small fabricators (e.g. Black Sheep).  I see cyclists riding bikes that cost several thousand dollars, and that money could have been spent supporting the local economy (aside from the bike shop).  I’ll get off my soap box now….

On a side note, my fiancee is super cool with me being such a nerdy bike geek/freak.  I spend a fair amount of time in my shop and she doesn’t mind.  This all makes me very happy.

So, no running times to report. Was recovering from my calf injury and I got sick yesterday with a wicked sore throat coupled with allergies from a 13 pound chihuahua that resides with me up here in the Heights. This is the offending party:

Durga Crumbles Guzman

Durga Crumbles Guzman

Tomorrow is the Banff Film Festival, so no running until the Crossroads run….

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My dirty little secret.

Okay, I have a vice:

Just for the taste of it....

Just for the taste of it....

I don’t like it from the can or from a bottle. I like the fountain drink version. This means I have to feed my addiction at places like McDonald’s. I got hooked back during the 2000 Boston Marathon. It’s a great dietary supplement before a long run. Keeps me going. And going. And going.

Before this, I would just have an occasional Tab. Yes, Tab. Love it. Was elated when they took saccharin off the list of carcinogens. Yeah yeah, I know it’s all bad, but I like it. I’m a vegetarian and eat mostly organic, so I think I lead a pretty good lifestyle. I would like to cut the umbilical cord to my diet Coke addiction once my marathon training is over. I swear. Really.

Anyway, after having a great week of running like I was floating on air, I seemed to hit a wall on Thursday. During the day, I experienced a cramp in my left calf. I tried to stretch it out to no avail. I went to Crossroads hoping it would subside, but it didn’t. It wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t run, but bothersome enough to be a pain. I hooked up with an old running buddy Tom. He actually was there when I blew my knee out during a training long run for the 2007 Boston Marathon (along with Steve). Tom’s a better and faster runner than I, but he wanted to do an 8:40 pace, so I was down with that.

It was a bit labored, but possibly because the pace was just too fast given the circumstances.  Possibly I was overdressed for the 5o degree night.  Possibly I was dehydrated because I didn’t drink any water prior to leaving Crossroads.  Something I always do.  I’m going to buy a fuel belt this week so I can have some water or other energy drink for my long runs.  At a minimum, I should have stopped at a store on the way to the subway and hydrated on the trip out to Woodland. I didn’t want to take any of Tom’s, but I broke down just before the mile 7 mark and asked for some. You can see the difference it made as our pace increased right after that point.

So, here’s what we did:

Mile 1: 8:47
Mile 2: 8:01
Mile 3: 8:27
Mile 4: 8:19
Mile 5: 8:37
Mile 6: 8:36
Mile 7: 8:29
Mile 8: 8:17
Mile 8.8: 7:54

This is an 8:23 pace. It felt fine, though my calf is still feeling a tad tight, so I’m resting over the weekend. I’m going to ramp up my mileage and try and find a bunch of road races to keep me busy until the marathon.

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Picking up the pace.

Okay, so my runs on Thursday (9 miles) and Saturday (13 miles) were at a much faster pace than planned. Initially, because I am only in my second week of training, I was going to keep my pace at somewhere around 9:30 because I really don’t want to get injured at this stage.

Thursday was a balmy evening, quite warm for this time of the year. I believe it was 51 degrees. Unlike last week, I ended up making the journey out to Woodland with most of the runners at Crossroads. I started a pleasant conversation with a runner named Meg, who is not only running for Dana-Farber, but also works there as a research scientist. I asked what her pace was, thinking I might tag along with her, but she mentioned 8:30, and I said that was too fast for me and that I’d see her back at the bar. While I was waiting for my Garmin 405 GPS watch to pick up the satellites, the group left, leaving me alone. Ugh. A minute later I was ready to roll and tried to catch up with the last of the runners. My pace felt good so I thought I might try and see if I could sustain this for the evening. I generally do speed workouts on the hills, so my pace generally gets kicked up a notch.

Well, I ended up catching up with Meg, and decided to try and keep up with her. I think I generally tend to do this: find someone and then try and latch onto their pace as long as I can. Kind of pushing myself. Meg and I chatted for most of the run, and had a pleasant conversation, talking about running, cycling and our significant others. Meg ended up stopping to use the facilities at the Starbucks in Coolidge Corner so I caught up with another group of folks just ahead of me. A runner named Rebecca was my next running buddy for the remainder of the course. She was quite strong, very consistent like Meg, and we got to briefly know each other for the last couple of miles. I felt great afterward, though kept thinking I should back off a bit.

My watch was running low on batteries, and I hit some weird button when I had to respond to the low battery warning, but I think the pace is correct at 8:47. Here’s the breakdown:

Mile 1: 8:24
Mile 2: 8:50
Mile 3: 9:15
Mile 4: 9:00
Mile 5: 9:03
Mile 6: 8:54
Mile 7: 8:40
Mile 8: 8:15
Mile 8.8: 8:37

Here was my reward for such a great run (I always crave salty carbs after running):

Mmmm, french fries....

Mmmm, french fries....

Well, my first long run of the season was on Saturday. 13 miles, from Natick to Brookline. I signed up for the Children’s Hospital charity long run, as it was fully supported. It was $20, and they were doing 16 miles, but my 13 worked out perfectly as it put me right at the Reservoir Green Line T Stop, which I needed to catch to retrieve my car back at Riverside.

Like Thursday, I had planned to keep my pace down to 9:30. It was about 35 degrees and sunny when we started in Natick. There were roughly 300 runners, so it was easy to just fall into a group and pace them. I quickly started running with a woman who was running a bit faster then I had wanted, but thought I’d see how I felt after a mile or so. When I looked down at my watch (in mile 3), we were running an sub 8:00 pace, and I couldn’t believe it felt okay!!!! We caught up with another runner (a woman) in Wellesley Center that we had been tailing since Natick Center, and the three of us would remain together through the Newton hills.

The woman I started with pulled away after Heartbreak Hill, and the other fell behind, but not by much. For the last mile I befriended a runner from Run for Research (Team Liver), who actually has hepatitis C, so was running for a group that was very close to his heart. Chatting with him was a great way to end the run. The woman I had paced since Wellesley passed by as I stopped at mile 13 and we exchanged a brief goodbye. Anyway, it was a very fast pace: 8:18. Yes, that’s right, 8:18. If I could keep up that pace, I’d be running a 3:37 marathon. Doubtful, but you never know. Today, I feel great so maybe that’s a sign I can up my pace to sub-9:00 runs. Here’s the breakdown from Saturday (keep in mind my last miles was a cool down):

Mile 1: 9:06
Mile 2: 8:34
Mile 3: 7:51
Mile 4: 7:55
Mile 5: 7:56
Mile 6: 8:06
Mile 7: 7:41
Mile 8: 8:13
Mile 9: 8:08
Mile 10: 8:05
Mile 11: 8:38
Mile 12: 8:41
Mile 13: 9:01

Here’s the map:

Natick to Brookline 13 miler

Natick to Brookline 13 miler

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A little history

So, I ran to the runners meeting last night (5.3 miles; 9:43 pace) and when we were all chatting about injuries and such, I brought up my catastrophic failure of my knee back in the 2007 Boston Marathon. It happened within 1 mile of a long run I was doing with my DFMC running buddy Steve. We chose the Minuteman National Park as our long run, and it was a beautiful day, although a tad chilly at 9 degrees. The course is gravel, which is nice, and it’s an out-and-back-and-out-and-back course. At mile 3, I started to feel something strange in my left knee, and let Steve know I would be dropping back. At mile 4, I was down for the count. In the stretch of 1 mile, a stress fracture form clear through my tibia (not my femur as I have recently incorrectly recalled), which snaked a little more than half way across the bone. I would not be able to run for 2 months, but recovered well, though had a horrible race that year due to a stomach issue. Anyway, here’s the MRI of my knee:

Ouch!

Ouch!

This is why I’m taking is REALLY slowly this year….

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Runners’ Meeting Run

I figured what better way to get to the CycleKids Runners’ Meeting than running.  This is our second meeting and Matt has been very generous in letting us use his restaurant (Cambridge 1; one of 4 he owns).  It’s a pleasant evening, so I’m looking for to a nice jog down.  I ran in my racing shoes on Thursday, and really liked them.  They’re Nike and it’s a brand I’ve been loyal to since 1978.  They fit my narrow foot perfectly.  I also have a pair of Adidas Boston Marathon shoes that I first tried in 2007.  I really like them, but was a bit superstitious as I blew my knee out (severe stress fracture in the femur) during my second run using them. Thought I’d give them another shot, so I donated the old pair considering 2 years have passed. They also fit really well. So far, so good.

Anyway, here’s my course:

Home to Harvard Run

Home to Harvard Run

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A weekend of cross training.

I took this weekend to stay local considering I was up in New Hampshire (Bartlett & Hanover) enjoying the abundance of snow for the past two weekends. It felt great not to drive anywhere. Well, long distances anyway.

I thought some back-country and cross-country skiing would be a nice respite from the running. On Saturday, my friend Daniel & I went to Estabrook Woods out in Concord. I had never been there, and he was a great guide. It’s a wonderful place, let me tell you. Amazing it’s so close to Boston because you really feel like you’re in the north country. I enjoyed it far more than the Middlesex Fells, for skiing anyway. I’d like to go back sometime with my mountain bike.

There were lots of trails, and most had been tracked out already. I brought my touring/back-country skis. Waxless, and a bit narrower than my hard-core telemark/back-country skis. We were out for a few hours and I think we put 7 miles under our belts. Conditions were quite good. Daniel had a GPS unit recording the outing, but for some reason, it didn’t work. I don’t see him as much as I used to since he and his wife had a baby, but I treasure whatever time I can get with any of my friends. He’s also one of my road biking partners (he also has an Independent Fabrication and referred me to Grace Bicycles when I got my IF Titanium Crown Jewel).

On Sunday, my fiancee and I went to Weston. Warm day, like 44 degrees. She had a skate ski lesson and I skate skied during her lesson. I spied in on her lesson every now and then. She did remarkably well. After the lesson, we practiced what she just learned and I tried to give her some pointers. I had a solid 2 hour workout. Conditions were okay, though some pools of water had formed on the trails and the snow had the consistency of mash potatoes.

After Weston, we headed to Framingham to hit REI and the Container Store in Natick. Damn errands. We had a yummy lunch at Big Fresh Cafe in Framingham beforehand, though. Haven’t been there in ages. If you haven’t been, well go! Sitting here watching the Soprano’s and did a little wedding planning earlier.

It’s been a fantastic weekend altogether.

Just some skate skis.

Just some skate skis.

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