The Super Secret Storage Room

When Melissa & I were looking for a house we were intrigued by the “bonus storage room” listed for the house we eventually bought. This is an unfinished room above the garage that happens to be quite large (24′ x 8′). The terminology for this room has evolved from bonus storage room to extra bonus storage room to extra secret storage room to super secret storage room and all other permutations of these words. In fact, I’m not sure we’ve ever used the same name twice.


Anyway, it’s a great room, in that we can store lots of stuff in there. Conversely, it’s a horrible room that allows us to accumulate lots of stuff and cram it in there with no organization whatsoever. Hoping to allow for better organization I started building shelves in this room about nine months ago.

Storage room shelves

This morning I finished.

What, it’s not like I haven’t been busy.

Storage room shelves

Anyway, the shelves are 24′ long and stretch all the way down one side of the room, and they include an 8′ work bench.

The Thorn

If you don’t have answers to your problems after a four-hour run, you ain’t getting them.

-Born to Run

The Tecumseh Trail Marathon is coming up on December 5. Rather than the typical 16-week training program I would follow for a big road marathon, I adopted the less conventional 5-week crash course training program for this race.

I ran this race last year and it was incredibly difficult. The course is very hilly, with thousands of feet of ascents and even more of descents (it’s a point to point course with a net loss in elevation).

I’m not terribly worried, for a few reasons.

I feel no pressure. This isn’t like the 2001 Chicago Marathon or 2009 Illinois Marathon, where I worried about the race for months and choked on race day. This is more like the 2008 Tecumseh Marathon or 2009 Rockford Marathon where I didn’t concern myself with place or time and just went for a run. Those were two of the best races of my life.

I feel better on the long runs than I ever have before. This is fairly surprising given that I took the summer off from running and ran only short distances in the early fall. By mid-October I decided to push myself and run 11 miles (the farthest I had run in 5 months) on the Allerton trails and I was sore for a week. Somehow things just magically came together.

Since the Allerton Trail Race I’ve alternated long runs at Lake Mingo and Forest Glen, running 14.2 at Mingo, then 16 at F.G., then 21.3 at Mingo, then 16 at F.G. These are 2-3.5 hour long runs on fairly challenging trails, yet the miles have passed so easily for me… easier than they ever have before.

Forest Glen Trail

Forest Glen 11 mile loop and 5 mile loop

Lake Mingo Trail

Lake Mingo 7.1 mile loop

The past month or so I’ve been paying a lot more attention to my diet, eating a lot more higher quality, natural, unprocessed food–lots and lots of vegetables and fruits. My blood pressure has dropped noticeably, I’ve shed a couple of excess pounds, and I don’t feel like crap after meals.

I’ve drawn a tremendous amount of inspiration from reading the book Born to Run. It’s incredibly well written and covers everything from history and science to tips on form/training/nutrition/life, all while building up to the story of the “greatest race the world has never seen.” I couldn’t put the book down and when I finished I read it again. I haven’t felt this hungry to be out on the trails since I was in high school.

The only thorn in my plans so far has been, literally, a thorn in my foot. 9 miles into my 21 mile run last weekend I stepped on a thorn, which isn’t all that rare. This thorn, however, went all the way through my shoe and into my left foot. I felt the pain and immediately hopped on my right foot until I could slow down and stop. At first I thought it was just poking me so I gave it a tug and the thorn broke off flush with the bottom of my shoe. Then I tried to take my shoe off, but that required sliding my foot out, which I couldn’t do because the thorn was still stick in both my foot and my shoe.

After about five minutes of trying to get a grip on the fraction of a millimeter of the thorn still sticking out I eventually just shoved a stick in my shoe (like a shoe horn) and pried my foot away from the shoe enough to get the thorn out and slide my shoe off. It was fairly unpleasant. With the shoe off though I was able to pull the thorn out of it and continue on down the trail. I didn’t know whether I’d be able to walk, let alone run. It was tender for a couple hundred meters then I forgot all about it. I ended up running 12 more miles before calling it a day.

I thought my problems were all over, but after the 45 minute drive home I couldn’t even walk on it my foot hurt so bad. I limped all day Monday and even stayed home from work on Tuesday. By Wednesday I could walk short distances, and by Thursday it felt just barely not-horrible-enough to walk to work. By Friday the pain was virtually gone.

Now that this scare is over I’m headed full steam ahead. It’s still early to tell what’s going to happen at Tecumseh, but I feel pretty good about it.

“Don’t fight the trail,” Caballo called back over his shoulder. “Take what it gives you.”

-Born to Run

The Gift of Brownies

Simpsons episode CABF14, Trilogy of Error:
Homer: Oooo! Can I have a brownie?
Marge: They’re for after dinner.
Homer: Oooo! Can I have dinner?

I am a brownie fiend. You all know it. I was fortunate to receive a very unique gift for my birthday a couple weeks ago, a gift certificate to an online gourmet brownie store (Vermont Brownie Company). I ordered a box of their Signature Brownies and a box of Peanut Butter Brownies.

Internet brownies

Oh. My. Goodness. Are they ever delicious.


The first couple I ate cold, directly from the fridge, and they were good. But then I started to microwave them for 25-30 seconds, which is so much better.

Anyway, I love the brownies. Thanks so much to Michelle, Mark, & Logan!

The End of October

Photo of the Day

October 2009 Photo of the Day


Fig's new hat

My running finally appears to be getting back on track. I had a decent race at Allerton. It’s only three days into November and I’ve already run half of my total October mileage. I might as well run another marathon, right? Don’t worry, it’s a trail marathon (Tecumseh, December 5th) so it won’t beat me up as badly. At least, that’s the theory under which I am presently working.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 109.34 Mile 10 10.934 Mile
February 55.83 Mile 7 7.97571 Mile
March 108.792 Mile 10 10.8792 Mile
April 74.85 Mile 8 9.35625 Mile
May 64.5669 Mile 9 7.1741 Mile
June 7. Mile 1 7. Mile
July 0 0 0
August 16.3 Mile 5 3.26 Mile
September 39.78 Mile 7 5.68286 Mile
October 42.52 Mile 7 6.07429 Mile
Total 540.568 Mile 66 8.19043 Mile


Rob headed to C4[3]

Yikes! 10 months into 2009 and I still have less than half the mileage on the bike as I did in 2008. I need to get on the ball here.

On the bright side, I bought a new bike frame for racing in triathlons and time trials. It’s titanium and it weighs three pounds. Now all I have to do is buy the remaining components, assemble the bike, sell my old Litespeed (which you’ll notice does not even appear in the table below, meaning I haven’t ridden it a single time this year). Oh, and train so I don’t totally embarrass myself.

October 2009

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 61.2 Mile 16 3.825 Mile
El Fuego 20.78 Mile 1 20.78 Mile
Pocket Rocket 45.25 Mile 4 11.3125 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 91.97 Mile 2 45.985 Mile
Total 219.2 Mile 23 9.53043 Mile

January – October 2009

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 566.35 Mile 129 4.39031 Mile
Big Red 12.07 Mile 4 3.0175 Mile
El Fuego 75.2 Mile 8 9.4 Mile
Pocket Rocket 326.18 Mile 43 7.58558 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 1730.17 Mile 41 42.1993 Mile
Total 2709.97 Mile 225 12.0443 Mile


Yeah, I need a nap too

Unfortunately, the cold weather has kept me from walking as much with Will as I did during the summer. I have started walking to work a couple times per week in order to get a few extra non-running miles into my legs before this trail marathon.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 0 0 0
February 3.75 Mile 2 1.875 Mile
March 0 0 0
April 8.51 Mile 4 2.1275 Mile
May 6.7 Mile 4 1.675 Mile
June 11. Mile 3 3.66667 Mile
July 29.52 Mile 10 2.952 Mile
August 35.02 Mile 14 2.50143 Mile
September 29.82 Mile 12 2.485 Mile
October 19.42 Mile 9 2.15778 Mile
Total 147.74 Mile 59 2.50407 Mile