Category: Training

Head Games

I finally got outside for a run this morning.  It was cold, I think 8°F.  I was looking forward to it all week, but when I got out there, it didn’t go as planned.   I had no energy.  I was running like my feet had bricks tied to my running shoes.   My stomach was bothering me for most of the run too.  It was a bad run.  I kind of wanted to stop.

Most of the time I was concerned that today’s run was nothing but junk miles.    That is when you are running with no purpose than just say you ran.  These miles do not add to your training and can even hurt it if they start to add up.   I tried to add smaller goals to give this run some substance.   Improve my form, attack the hill, charge down the hill* or pick up the pace.  Anything, but run with my feet dragging on the wintry street.  Nothing seemed to help.

Today’s training was not going to be the normal physical exercise, but would be just as valuable.  It was mental training.    When things start to go wrong during a long run, your mind can start to take you out of the game very quickly.  You start to dwell on maybe an injury, the distance ahead of you, or any other self-defeating thoughts.   You feel like you cannot finish and your only option is to quit.  This is why you need bad training days.  Luckily, I have been doing marathons and triathlons for a few years now, which means I had a lot of opportunities for some mental training.   

Here is my “mental” checklist:

  • Figure out if I still have all my body parts and they seem to be
    working (for the most part)
  • Check if I am having another one of those dreams where someone dressed
    in an Elmo costume keeps tripping me before I can get to the finish line
  • Slow things down and reassure myself that I’m fine
  • Ask if I’ve been drinking and properly fueling during the run
  • Make small goals (next mile, next water stop)
  • Remind myself I can do this
  • Most importantly, I have to beat Elmo!

Although I did not run well today, I can say today’s miles were definitely not junk.    Tomorrow I get to rest and more importantly go to the DFMC party.  Seeing you and the rest of the runners and partners will definitely be my spur.

I hope you are feeling better and see you tomorrow!


* note – sprinting up and down the hills was not the smartest thing to do on an icy road. 

RM: 7.25 (King Phillip’s Hill Run)
WM: 32.35
TM:  91.95


Winter Runner’s Quatrain

Storms of artic air, ice and snow,
makes a runner’s mojo start to low.
Trying to hasten on slippery ground,
cuts and sprains will soon abound.

This has been some stretch of winter weather.   I wanted to start interval training last week but the ice and snow prevented me because the roads are too slippery to get enough traction.  Today would have been more of the same, so I moved indoors.  I went to BSC and ran on the treadmill.   One virtual lap slow, then one virtual lap fast.   I would repeat this increasing the speed each time.    I had hoped to run for a full hour but when my right hamstring started yelling at me, I backed off.

It looks like we have another storm on the radar just in time for Thursday’s run.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that one yet.   I might have to get creative.  When I mentioned back in the beginning of this blog we would be talking about the weather, I really didn’t think we would this much!

I’m glad you enjoyed The Green Hornet.  I finally saw the trailer.   It looks good, but I’ll have to wait until it gets on DVD.   

A big change in plans heading to Skipjack’s instead of the usual destination.   I’m sure they were looking for you.  I’ve been to the Skipjack’s at Patriot’s Place a couple of years ago.   I remember liking it.

Pay extra attention in school today and tomorrow because it looks like you will be getting yet another snow day.  Boy, to be a kid again J!

– Patrick

RM: 5.6 (Treadmill)
WM: 20.6
TM:  80.2

Adams Street Run

Hi Brendan,

Yesterday your mom told me about the Kiku Yama trip to celebrate 1 year of being cancer free.  I’m in!  It sounds like a lot of fun.  I’ll be counting the days.

Today is Sunday so it’s another long run with L St.  I got in the car this morning and the thermometer read -4 F.  By the time I got to Carson beach I was pretty excited to see that it warmed up to 12 F.  I guess that would be the only way someone could get excited about a number like that?!?

I was all set for the cold today.  Preparing for the worst, I took a trip to Dick’s yesterday to get thicker running pants and my first balaclava.   I had the Vampire Weekend song, Horchata in my head all morning. (   As I started to warm up during the run, I was starting to second guess my wardrobe.    The mask was starting to itch my neck and I was beginning to overheat.  By the first water, I had to remove my new balaclava purchase along with my hat and gloves.  With my half unzipped jacket a ran the next 5 minutes trying to cool off.  I forgot just how quickly you warm up.

I can’t picture training without this group.   This morning the brave water stop volunteers were out in the cold with smiles on their faces, freezing their tails off just so we don’t dehydrate ourselves.  They also have some fun treats to help fuel us in the later miles like candy and fig newtons. 

Training for a marathon seems like an individual sport, but it isn’t.  You need the support of a lot of people.  Your family, friends, other runners and volunteers are very much a part of it.  Sure, I guess you can do it on own but that sounds like a lot of work.

I know you have been running your own marathon for over a year now, one that nobody chooses to run.   As hard as it is for you, I’m sure having your family, friends, doctors and other patients support you, gets you through the tough hills. 

As we say out on the course, “Keep it up, you look strong!”


RM: 15.0 (Adams Street Run)
WM: 15.0
TM:  74.6

My Morning Run

I wake up and look at my clock on my nightstand, 3:39 a.m.  I think to myself, “Good another 1 ½ hours of sleep”.
… 4:05 a.m. …
… 4:51 a.m. …
… 5:04 a.m. …
… Beep, beep, beep, slap!
… 5:15 a.m.

I skipped getting my running clothes together the night before which makes for chaotic morning.  I search through draws and baskets hoping to find at least one pair of socks.   Upstairs and downstairs I run looking for hats, gloves and running shoes.   I remember today is a longer run and I should bring a drink with me.  Thank goodness my wife is very organized or finding my water bottle would have taken another 5 minutes.  It’s starting to feel like yesterday’s stressful day is sliding into today.

Finally, I out the door.  I take off running and realize its dark out.  It dark every morning I run, but this time it’s different.  It’s dark and fuzzy!  Oh yes, I didn’t grab either my glasses or put in my contact lens.   I figure I’ll be fine without them today.  It’s not the first time I ran without seeing well.  Plus, it took me so long to get out the door today.   I didn’t want to turn around.  But a few yards later, I checked pockets of my jacket and it is empty.  My water bottle is sitting on the counter.  So I am now heading back to the house to get my glasses, drink and a quick check to see if my head is attached. 

It’s been almost 30 minutes since I started this process and I’m still on my street.  I am grumpy, tired and a little bit cold.  There is a conversation going on in my brain on why I like running and hear the words “sane people are still in bed warm and sleeping”.

I finally lift my head up after the last ½ mile of looking at the ground and see a beautiful picturesque scene.   Just above the horizon, I saw it; a large, luminous full moon.  It was casting shadows of the trees and houses in the glistening snow below.   It was like someone was lighting the way for just me, as all my angst from moments ago disappear.

The morning was especially still.   There was no breeze and very few cars even for that time in the morning.  All I could hear was my gait as the arms of my jacket swished back and forth.  It was peaceful.  I found myself looking at places I’ve run by and ignored countless times before.

When I got to North Main St,   the moon had returned.  It was just above the old farm houses as it hid their age.  In the southern sky was one lonely bright star.  Too bright to be a star; a planet I thought.  Later I found out that it was Saturn. 

At mile 5, I stopped for a moment for a drink of Powerade.  I was glad I turned around earlier to get it.  It also gave me the opportunity to be mindful of the moment.    I took a quick 180’ view and started back home.

When I got to King Philip’s Hill, it was kind of a symbolic moment.  When I reached the top, the sky was somewhere lost between the night and the day.  As a ran down the hill, the moon headed for the horizon on my left as the sun’s light peaked out on my right.

By the time I got on to Rt 138, the world was awake.  Cars buzzed by, as their drivers headed to work with coffee in hand.   I felt bad for them as I picked up my pace to match theirs.   For they have no idea that they missed a beautiful morning.

I finished at sunrise and sat on my front porch.  Something I don’t normally do.  Well, not in the wintertime anyway.  I reflected on my run thinking it was gift.  At that moment, I looked down at the clear walkway that has been covered in snow for weeks, and I noticed a shiny gold giraffe which looked like it was some type of confetti.  I smiled.  Giraffes are the symbol for vision; to see things in a different light.

  Yup, that’s why I run.


RM: 9.25 (White St “Moonlit” Run)
WM: 29.35
TM:  59.6

TJ Hooker

Hi Brendan,

I’m glad you had a great time.  Football with Wally and Darnell, that’s great. I guess I can picture Wally being a good football player, seeing he is a big green monster.  I remember Darnell’s first game with the Sox, hitting a home run in his first at-bat.  That’s great that you got to meet him and the rest.

I am very happy your headache went away before you had to head to the hospital.  I don’t blame you for hating the emergency room.  I’m not a big fan of going to them too.

That’s cool that you go every Sunday night.  I didn’t know that.  Let me guess, you had teriyaki and rice 🙂 ?  I read your post before lunch today and it was making me very hungry.  Unfortunately,   I couldn’t to go a Japanese restaurant for lunch , so I had to settle for Whole Food take out.

Today I was supposed to do Interval training.  That consists of alternating from fast running over a distance to rest periods of a slow jog.  I can either do it at a track or along a short course. When I got out this morning there was already I coating of snow on the ground.  Without good traction, running fast wasn’t an option. So, I opted for a slow run.  It was pretty slippery out.  I took a “TJ Hooker” somersault when I turned on King Phillips St.   You’re too young to know that that means so here is a link to show you. (

Have fun at school tomorrow and stay dry!


RM: 6.5 (Gardner St Run)
WM: 20.1
TM:  50.35

Packard’s Corner Run

Hi Brendan,

I had a good run today.  It was the Packard’s Corner Run.  We didn’t start from our normal location, the Curley Community Center in South Boston but at the Boston Athletic Club.   It was a little confusing for us because in the past the BAC would be open early but this year it didn’t open until 8 a.m., which is when the run starts.  We were scrambling around last minute.    It was kind of funny.

The run is listed at 13.2 miles but my watch said 13.6.  I have a Garmin 405 watch that tracks me by GPS.  It lets me know real-time my pace, distance and time.  It can give me my heart rate if I wear the monitor.  I only use the monitor when I want to control my zones, like interval training or a controlled pace.   You can see a map and the stats from my run here,

RM: 13.6 (Packard’s Corner Run)
WM: 13.6
TM:  43.85

Slow and Proceed with Caution

Hey Brendan,

The rule of this morning’s run was “Slow and proceed with caution”.  Most roads were plowed well enough for traffic, but traffic plus a runner, not so much.   Each time a car was coming down the road I had to judge:  Did the car coming see me? Did the care moved over enough for both of us? Or do I have to jump into the snow bank?  Running with conditions of packed snow and ice gave my ankles a work out too.  Needless to say it was an adventure. 

Looks like the technical glitches are all out of the way and you should be able to start writing your own entries soon.  I look forward to it.

Did you have another snow day today?  I bet you did. 


RM: 8.0 (King Phillips Hill Run)
WM: 26.0
TM:  26.0