Tuesday, January 30

Three in a row

I have an appointment with a foot specialist in a couple of weeks. I feel like every post about my running should include that for a while.

But I'm back running I suppose. Three days in a row since the marathon. Which proves that the foot isn't all bad.

I sometimes get pain in my foot when going downstairs, but never when going upstairs. Combine this with a fascination with an old Runner's World article I recently read on Irish Hill Running and I've been slowing down the treadmill and amping up the incline. Yesterday I did a mile at a 10 percent incline. Today I ramped it up to a 15 percent incline but I didn't slow down enough to maintain that very long.

Still it was a great workout and I had fun. And fun is always at the top of the agenda.

Monday, January 29


Here's a link to a story I saw while in Arizona. I'd e-mailed it to myself, but only read the story today.

It's a column by a runner injured so badly she couldn't run the Rock'n'roll marathon she'd dreamed of training for.

It's well written and makes me thankful that I've never had an injury that bad. At least not yet. And I can still run OK at this point with my nagging foot problem.

Here's the lead to Jill Redhage's good column on missing the marathon:

In Ray Bradbury's short story "All Summer in a Day," a little girl moves with her family from Earth to Venus, where the sun only shines one hour every seven years. She's the only one in her class who remembers it. But when the sun comes out, her classmates play a cruel prank, locking her in a closet until after sunset. She's devastated by the loss of such a rare and brilliant opportunity, one for which she'd waited so long.

I miss running like Margot misses the sun.

It also reminds me of why I have less interest in playing basketball and other sports now. No sport compares to running really and I'd hate to get injured doing something that wasn't as fun and satisfying as running.

So I'm thankful that I can still run and hopefully this minor injury will go away with the help of the foot specialist I'm going to see. Or maybe even before I get there to him.

Foot news and more

I went to the doctor today. I got a referral to a foot specialist. That's about all the news from here.

Well, I guess there's more. I went running yesterday. First time since the marathon. My foot felt OK, more or less. The problem's not gone, but I can still run. I guess my plan is to keep running and I just won't run further than 10 miles unless I get lost.

And I've just about decided where I want to go for my third marathon. Virgina Beach, Virginia. The town where I was born. And I want to train real hard so that I can put in a great run. My current goal, which I believe is very attainable is 3:45. However, if my training goes well, and I hope it will, I may even lower that goal.

So, in hoping to create a streak of a marathon every year, my plan is to run the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach in March 2008.

Anyhow, back to more pressing news. My appointment with the foot specialist is Feb. 12.

Saturday, January 27

I had a dream

I had a strange dream Thursday night. No, not strange. Memorable.

As memorable as any dream I suppose. Details being relatively fuzzy. But here are the basics.

I was in a town where they were about to have a marathon. But a relatively small marathon where the winning times would be closer to three hours than two hours.

I was talking to a woman who said she planned to run the race in about three hours.

So I asked if she planned to win.

If I didn't plan to win, she said, I would have as much joy.

Anyhow, that's what I remember of the dream. It was interesting to me. I've been thinking a lot about winning lately. Or placing in my age group.

I guess in some sense, you're always competing against yourself. But that's an empty feeling. Yet, maybe you win a small race, you're stuck with the knowledge that you couldn't have won a bigger race against better competition.

I guess part of it is just the knowledge that you gave your all. I feel like I haven't done that yet in training or running a race. I've come close in a 5K or two. And completing a marathon is no small feat. But giving less than my best bothers me a bit.

Anyhow, my foot continues to bother me. All this typing makes me want to work out. I'm going to go hop on the rowing machine at the Y.

Thursday, January 25

Get on the good foot

If you're a dedicated reader of this blog, then nothing could be more interesting to you than the status of my foot. I'm referring of course to the left foot that has had some sort of weird phantom pain ever since the middle of August.

Well, my goal was to run the Rock'n'Roll Arizona Marathon. Actually my goal was to run my second marathon an hour faster than my first marathon. The result was that I ran my second marathon ten minutes faster than my first. Hey, a pr is a pr. Now, I want to run my third marathon an hour faster than my second. It's all in the training.

But I digress. Nothing is more interesting to you than my foot. Well, my foot (and the rest of my) will be going to the doctor again on Monday at 9:45 in the morning, central time. Hopefully all will work out well — for my foot and my pocket book.

We'll see.

Tuesday, January 23

Quote of the Day

I was checking my e-mail and half-thinking about future races and so on and so forth.

I came across this "Run Toto Run" race at this fascinating website that I'm linking to.

Here's the quote of the day: "I never met a carbohydrate I didn't like."

Maybe I'm just hungry. I had five doughnuts for brunch today. They're weren't particularly good but they were OK. Glazed doughnuts are never bad.

Still, I haven't run or worked out yet since the marathon.

My schedule and my foot, etcetera, etcetera.

I'm going to make plans to find a new doctor or a sports medicine doctor or something. I think the blister on my right foot is going away but the nagging pain in my left foot/ankle lingers.

Sunday, January 21

Recovery continues

It's been a week since the marathon. I haven't run at all. A blister persists on my right foot. My left ankle feels sore. It's been sore on and off for months though.

The weather has cooperated greatly in convincing me to rest and not run. My internet service has been spotty too. At home, at least. At work I've been too busy to think about blogging here. Usually I wouldn't blog from work anyhow.

The next week promises to be quite busy at work also. So it may be more time to recuperate.

I'm going to train now with a specific goal in mind though. Speed.

I haven't picked my next race yet as I mainly just want to run a few miles before I focus on any particular race. But I do have goals.

A sub-50 minute 10K.
A sub 1:45 half marathon.

Those are my main goals. A distant third is a sub 21 minute 5K.

We'll see how it goes. First, though, is the hard work of training. And having fun doing it.

Saturday, January 20

Don't stop

A friend just recently sent me this intriguing article about exercising when injured. The medical consensus is don't stop.

Here's an excerpt:

The New York Times
Published: January 11, 2007

JUST before the end of last year, a prominent orthopedic surgeon was stretching to lift a heavy box and twisted his back. The pain was agonizing. He could not sit, and when he lay down he could barely get up.

So the surgeon, Dr. James Weinstein of Dartmouth College, decided to go out for a run.

“I took an anti-inflammatory, iced up, and off I went,” Dr. Weinstein recalled. When he returned, he said, he felt “pretty good.”

It sounds almost like heresy. The usual advice in treating injuries is to rest until the pain goes away. But Dr. Weinstein and a number of leading sports medicine specialists say that is outdated and counterproductive. In fact, Dr. Weinstein says, when active people consult him, he usually tells them to keep exercising.

The idea, these orthopedists and exercise specialists say, is to use common sense. If you’ve got tendinitis or sprained a muscle or tendon by doing too much, don’t go right back to exercising at the same level.

The specific advice can differ from specialist to specialist. Some, like Dr. Weinstein, say most people can continue with the sport they love although they may need to cut back a bit, running shorter distances or going more slowly. Others say to cross-train at least some of the time and others say the safest thing to do is to cross-train all the time until the pain is gone. You might end up cycling instead of running, or swimming instead of playing tennis. But unless it’s something as serious as a broken bone or a ripped ligament or muscle, stopping altogether may be the worst thing to do.

“We want to keep you moving,” said Dr. William Roberts, a sports medicine specialist at the University of Minnesota and a past president of the American College of Sports Medicine. “Injured tissue heals better if it’s under some sort of stress.”

Listening to my body

It's strange how running can be the furthest (furthererest?) thing from your mind when there's a blister on your foot. This blister I've currently got on my right foot seems like the first one I've ever had. Although that's probably not true. It's just the most painful. Heck, I've got a blister on my other foot that I barely even think about.

But, my plan for now is to take it easy. Listen to the body. The below freezing temperatures and trees covered in ice help with that. Then there's my job and doing the jobs of two people and working with software I wasn't trained on. I don't even have evergy left to go running after work at this point and my co-worker won't be back until the end of next week. Of course, all that stress at work can't be good for recovery.

I don't know how many times on Friday that I said if and when I run another marathon, I'm taking a week off just like I did the first time. Live and learn.

Wednesday, January 17

Quote of the day

"The audacity of hope is God's greatest gift to us ... a belief that there are better days ahead." - Barack Obama

Tuesday, January 16

Feeling good

Well, it's Tuesday morning. All things considered, I'm feeling pretty good.

My legs are sore, but not too much. I've got a blister on one foot and the other foot has some heel pain.

A two and a half hour flight looms later today. But I'm flying Southwest so it should be a big plane with a fair amount of legroom. So my body shouldn't get too tight in the air.

There's a Frank Shorter quote about how to run a marathon, you have to forget what the last one was like. Your brain can't know what's coming, he said.

I'm definitely forgetting although the struggle of the last three miles. I feel good to have done it and I enjoyed the experience.

Here's the quote that fits more what I'm thinking abour right now.

""Why should I practice running slow? I already know how to run slow. I want to learn to run fast." - Emil Zatopek

I'm definitely going to try to relax and not run too far until the end of February and then I'll evaluate how I'm feeling and what I want to do next.

Now, hopefully, I'll look forward simply to a safe day of travel in the air and on the highways.

Monday, January 15

Overheard on the course

So we're running down the course, not quite three miles into it all, and a marquee by the side of the road says "pole dancing contest."

Not far from me, a woman jokingly says, "Pole dancing contest! I'm there!"

Beautiful course, beautiful women

Well, I've finished my second marathon. In chilly Arizona. I have to smile everytime I hear the Arizonans bemoan their cold weather. I seem to have somehow escaped the ice in Springfield.

The best thing about marathons - everyone is beautiful, especially the women.

Funny story. I hear a woman during the race say we did it just for you. I look over and notice that this woman along with the woman running next to her are wearing t-shirts that say, "my running partner has great boobs."

I couldn't quite pass these woman to look back and see if the shirts were accurate. Well, I could have but that would have been a waste of energy. I also heard them say they were carrying around a couple of extra pounds. Shortly after they pulled away, I started talking briefly with a woman who commented on how it wasn't fair that my legs are so long. I mentioned that her short legs had better turnover and she conceded that it probably evened out.

Interesting to run a race and continually be passed by people of all shapes and sizes. Lots with grey hair.

But the best thing - the absolute best thing about marathons - is finishing and getting the finisher's medal.

Although now I'm going to work a bit harder on getting faster. That elusive 2 hour mark in the half-marathon will be mine before the end of the year.

Second marathons

Recently, I bought a book called First Marathons: Personal Encouners with the 26.2 mile monster.

It's good and inspiring. But there really needs to be a book called "Second Marathons: You think this gets easier?"

Sunday, January 14

Rock'n'Roll Arizona Marathon

The quick recap on the Rock'n'Roll Arizona Marathon.

Again, I didn't hit the wall. However, unlike in my first marathon, I did maybe hit a fence.

I got a half-marathon pr - unofficially about 2:07.

I got a marathon pr - unofficially about 4:46.

Not huge improvements, but better times none the less.

Much more to come.

Saturday, January 13

Cactus and palm trees and mountains, oh my!

I've been driving around a bit today and this place is just amazing. The cactuses. The palm trees. The mountains. The desert. The views. Hopefully those views will be inspiring tomorrow.

Amazing. I've haven't said, "Wow" so much since, well, Camp Marafiki in New Mexico. Clearly similarities about between Santa Fe and Phoenix.

Anyhow, this is most likely the last post before the race.

I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm ready to go.

Ice and snow

I can't remember the last time I was as excited about flying as I was yesterday morning. Grinning from ear to ear at times.

And then, the plane almost didn't take off. After everyone was on the plane, the pilot made some reference to the Toby Keith song "As Good As I Once Was" and said he wasn't going to take risks. "We might not go," he said.

Long story short, four hours and three trips down the runway, we took off. A short while later as we were in the air and experiencing some turbulence, he came on and said, "Normally I would apologize, but I'm happy to be up here bumping along. This air should smooth out soon."

So anyhow, we got to Phoenix safely. The finish line for the marathon could be seen from the sky as we came down on the plane.

The temperature for the race will start in the 30s and rise to the 50s. So my plan for today is to buy a race number belt so that I can easily take off and discard clothing. Primarily a long-sleeve tshirt that I have two of.

My plan for tomorrow is to start out slow, maybe just a wee bit faster than I did in the first marathon back in June. However, I want to pick it up some and get more focused from mile 13 on. Then, hopefully, concentrate on the last six miles and push hard.

Training has been tough but I've made it this far. I'm confident I can get a pr. I'm confident I can have a fun time, a good time. I'm confident I'm not going to see any ice and snow tomorrow.

Back home in Springfield, ice knocked out power to over 5,000 people. Flights out of Springfield were cancelled. I was on the last flight out of Tulsa. Just amazing. I'm so glad to be here and excited about the race.

Friday, January 12

New Mexican not new Mexican

I was just re-reading an e-mail from my friend who I'll be staying with in Phoenix.

He writes of a "pretty good New Mexican restaurant." Hmmm. The first time I read that I thought it said "new Mexican." But now that I look again I see it's a capital N. Seeing as how he's a New Mexico native, and a journalist, that's probably an intentional keystroke.

Even in Santa Fe, I'm not sure I went to any New Mexican restaurants. This should be good. I'm definitely getting more and more excited by the second.

I'll have to write more about the restaurant and the food.


Experts say the sleep you get the night before the night before the marathon is most important. The night before, you'll be too excited and nervous to sleep well. Here it is the night before (or early in the morning by this point) before I drive to the airport to fly to the marathon.

Tonight will be the night before the night before. And so I'm having trouble sleeping. I hate to oversleep and somehow miss my flight. It's kind of like hating to oversleep and miss the start of the race.

But probably I'll be able to sleep on the plane. And rest and relax well once I get to Phoenix. And get to the starting line on Sunday well-relaxed and refreshed and ready to have a great time in every sense of the word.

A long trip and so much stuff to pack. Hopefully I haven't forgotten anything.

Thursday, January 11

Three days

This time tomorrow, I'll be getting ready to board the plane to Phoenix. It feels like the end of 2006. I want to write, "My, what a year it's been."

Getting to the starting line is always an adventure in itself. And my mind is in a million different places, it seems. Which is pointless, because there's nothing I can do except wait for the race to start and run well.

I've got a tentative race plan that determines on how I feel Sunday morning. I do want to break four hours and put in a good effort. But I also want to run smart and enjoy myself every step of the way.

The big thing I keep reminding myself of is that I get the privilege and the joy of running a marathon. I've done the work and now cheerleaders and rock bands await. I know the elite runners barely even notice the course and the distractions and are just focused on running their fastest times. I learned a lot in Santa Fe.

But for me, this weekend will be about reveling in the joy of being surrounded by so many other people. And hopefully passing quite a few of them in the last six miles also.

Wednesday, January 10

Four days

Four days until Sunday, four days until the marathon.


I was wondering if I should have bought new shoes a couple of months ago. Oh well. Too late for that now. Now what I need to do is relax and focus and get ready to have a good race.

Four days until the race, two more days at work. Hopefully all will go well.

Tuesday, January 9


I was talking with my friend Van today after work. Van's run several marathons and as we were talking about strategy, I was getting pumped.

After I got off the phone, the long day at work was a distant memory. I laced up my shoes and went for a good four mile run. Nothing extravagant.

After all, the marathon is Sunday.

Zero week

It's hard to believe the marathon is five days away, almost four. It's so cold. It will likely be cold on Sunday at the start.

And lately I've been running at night, mostly on treadmills. This means my schedule is off from what I'd like it to be. This means I'm hitting snooze on the alarm clock far more than I would like.

I wish I had more confidence right now. The forecast for Sunday (race day) is a low of 36 and a high of 56. How will I dress for that? Wear a throw away shirt?

I looked at my training log. I had a decent amount of mileage before this race, practically the same as before the marathon in June.

But right now I just feel restless. A two and a half hour drive to the airport. A two and a half hour flight. Hopefully a four-hour race. Then rest, then sightsee. The fly and drive back.

I've done this once before. No need to be nervous, right?

Monday, January 8

Six days

Hard to believe the race is less than a week away. I'm definitely feeling nervous and excited now. We'll see how it all goes.

Rock'n'Roll Arizona, here I come.

Sunday, January 7

Bloggin' changes

You may or may not be aware that I've been a contributor to another blog for a while now. That's Pervious.

Pervious is my friend Jody, mandolin player extraordinaire. When he started blogging, Jody chose the handle Pervious, like a character from the Matrix. However, he dropped the handle to combat anonymity on the internet. Valiant cause, fighting anonymity.

Anyhow, it was great to be invited in as a contributor. Now I've invited in one contributor myself.

Quick history lesson. Originally this blog was called "Running to Infinity." Some links still call it that. However, one friend, a friend more clever than all the rest perhaps, chose to link to my blog and call it "Poetic Feet." At some point, I can't even remember when, I had a thought of how perhaps I wouldn't want to run all the way to infinity. How would I get back, after all?

So I changed the name of my blog to Poetic Feet. Great eh? So my friend veintiuno is introduced as my first contributor. Remains to be seen how much she'll contribute.

Back at Pervious, another friend Elmer Scheid also came on board as a contributor a while back. He hasn't posted yet.

Anyhow, the focus of this blog, I suppose, will remain running, poetry and other random thoughts. We may invite new contributors as well.

We'll see how it all goes.

Feast of the Epiphany - Seven days

I set my alarm clock for 7 this morning. I got up at 8. Sigh.

I did get in a tough six or seven miles at the nature center. Why I'm running tough miles a week before the marathon, I don't know. Maybe I just went out too hard on those monster hills.

I was mindful, however, not to push too hard. Seems like I read somewhere not to expect any major gains during the taper so I didn't want to be too sore.

And I finished this run in plenty of time to get to church. Little did I know someone would ask me if I could fill in for a missing lector. I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Why not?" And I didn't just do the second reading, but I also read the prayers. No stuttering and no misspoken words.

And the point of the sermon on the feast of the Epiphany? Have faith. Look up. Be confident.

That's a message I can take with me to Arizona.

Saturday, January 6

Eight Days

Eight days! As the sports announcers say, if you're not excited you need to check your pulse.

What a year it's been. A little over a year but a lot of running adventures:
Dec. 05 - St. Jude Half-Marathon. The first one. The patron saint of hopeless causes. A beautiful day, a beautiful race.

March 06 - Little Rock Half-Marathon. My job had been a nightmare for a little over a month. Just making it out the door seemed like a victory. And to return to one of my favorite cities where I lived growing up was nice also. I remember a sign above a bar door: If dreams were fire and lightning was desire, this old house would have burned down a long time ago. I didn't run quite as fast as I thought I could but I got a half-marathon that still stands today.

June 06 - Sunburst Marathon. My first marathon. What a glorious day. I know the elite runners don't pay attention to much except the race. But I saw a lot that day as the mist rose off the St. Joseph River in northern Indiana. And then there was the end when I was about to enter the football stadium. A man standing there giving course directions said to savor every moment. And I did. Typically I like to have a strong kick at the end of races but I almost deliberately chose to run in slow motion for those last few moments toward the 50-yard line of Notre Dame stadium.

July-August 06 - Camp Marafiki. The Kenyan running camp in the desert mountains of Santa Fe New Mexico. That was great fun, great food, great experience. I learned so much and had a wonderful time.

Look back over this timeline though and you see there's not really a break. Over the next several months I kept running with no real breaks but I've had some strange foot pain. It's almost gone, thankfully. I'd say my foot is at 90 percent after most of the fall being closer to 75 or 90 percent.

However, this year's St. Jude Marathon couldn't get me to drive through the icy mountains of Arkansas after a winter storm. All in all, it worked out for the best, but I've been flirting close to getting burned out. Now, it's the taper so that shouldn't matter.

I wonder though how my running will go after this race. I've got time goals I think are achievable, but how do I approach that. I just met two guys who ran 52 marathons in 2006. I don't ever want to do that. Wouldn't it reach a point where it stops being fun? But that's what I'm thinking about now close to the start of my second one. I think I'd really like to train for a marathon with a friend who was going to do the same race. Besides that though I need to rest from these marathon goals. Or at least give my body a bit of a rest before attempting the next one.

Maybe I'll resolve that I won't even think about running another marathon this year. Except possibly in December. Depending on how things go.

Seriously these are my resolutions:

Get more organized.
Run faster although not necessarily farther. Take more days off to cross train.
Drink more beer.
Drink more red wine.
Drink more liquor also. Tequila, vodka, rum. In moderation, of course.
Cook more.
Travel more.

That's 7 resolutions. It's a good number, eh? We'll see how it all goes.


Friday, January 5


Today I looked at my pictures from Jerusalem for the first time in a while. Strange how my memory fades of that semester abroad yet I also felt incredibly sad while looking at them. It's hard to explain the bad memories of so long ago. It's hard to explain how something can stick with you for so long and still hurt.

And then there were the 15 other people who I explored the Middle East with. Where are they now? I'm really all but out of touch with everybody except two. Strange, strange.

It's amazing too how I've got a few pictures from my marathon adventures of the past year. How it's been a fun adventure.

I've been thinking about how it's almost become routine or drudgery, getting around to the marathon that's now less than 10 days away.

Jan. 14, here I come!

Thursday, January 4

Taper thoughts

Here I am. Ten days or so from the race. Thinking about this taper process.

I'm asking myself the question, what am I doing? Am I really ready? Oh what a year it's been. What a year?

And the last three months? Amazing to think about, tough to live through. Tough to train through.

Where am I in my career right now? I don't know the answer to that. Ten days away from 26.2 miles of truth.

And then, after that, I'm going to try to get my head on straight. More specifically, I'm going to try to figure out where I want to be at this time in 2008. I'm a bit scared right now for a million reasons, but hopefully everything will work out well.

Ten Days

Ten days until the marathon in Arizona. Although the 10-day forecast at weather.com includes today so I can't see what race day weather will be like. Showers are predicted for the day before the race. Showers and a high in the 60s. Should be good.
Everything should be great unless Phoenix freezes over.
That's not going to happen, right?

More thoughts on the Sugar Bowl

Perhaps it's good that Notre Dame didn't get beaten by Boise State.

Then again, could it be much worse? I woke up to the sounds of a lady on NPR talking about how Notre Dame had set a record for the most consecutive bowl losses.

Thought Charlie Weiss was going to change all that.


Wednesday, January 3

Notre Dame - LSU

Well, Notre Dame lost in their bowl game to LSU.

Lost is probably too nice of a word.

Embarassed is more like it. Although embarassed is probably too nice of a word.

Sigh. I keep feeling that Charlie Weiss is a bit overrated, but we'll see. Next year he no longer has a quarterback who started for two years and was groomed by another head coach. We'll see.


Tuesday, January 2

MP3 Sunglasses

In an article from the Orange County Register I learn that Oakley has MP3 Sunglasses.

And, for only $350.

No thanks. I think I'll just go running and listen to the voices and the songs already in my head.

Monday, January 1

National Champions Boise State University

Wow! Boise State again proves the need for a playoff in college football.

Undefeated. If they don't get at least a share of the national championship, something is wrong.

Congratulations to the whole freaking state of Idaho!

Somebody ought to eat a potato for that one. Absolutely a great game!

New year's day - quote of the day

"You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough." - Joe Louis

Run for the Ranch half-marathon

Well, I didn't have any champagne last night. Didn't go to any big parties, although I did seem to have one invitation. (But that's another story.)

At 3 p.m. I started out on the Run for the Ranch half-marathon. It was supposed to be part of one last 20-mile run.

A race in December that starts at 3 means one thing - it's going to get colder as the race goes on. Typically this shouldn't be a big thing. However, a little mishap happened during the race. My shoes kept coming untied. (This blog definitely isn't intended to make me look good.) So I stopped and tied them. Then they came untied about six steps later. So I took my gloves off and retied them. This happened so much during the race I can't even remember how many times I stopped to tie my shoes. However, once I took my gloves off, I couldn't get them back on. And this meant that my hands started to freeze. With about two miles left in the race my shoes came untied and I decided I'd just keep running. A couple of people told me that my shoes were untied. I thanked them for their concern and just kept going.

So, I was about five minutes off getting a pr. All in all, it wasn't that bad. It was cold and rainy and windy, but not really that miserable. I had fun and it's always nice to run when there's lots of other people. I saw some cool t-shirts that I can't really remember right now.

OH, one said "In my mind I'm Kenyan." Another said, "Go" on the front and on the back it said three things: "... before the Lord, ... the distance ... to your limits" or something like that.

Yeah, I had a good time. I didn't however go the full 20 miles. But hey, the taper starts now. If I'm not trained enough, I'm not trained enough.

One resolution for 2007 is to work more on speed and intense focused training, than working on distance. But the new year really starts the day after the marathon. The marathon caps off the year, but it also gets a marathon for 2007 too, which is kind of cool if I want a streak. A marathon a year. So, we'll see how it goes.

Another resolution though is probably learning how to double know my shoes.