It's over, man. Let her go.

Dirt Monster 5mi Trail

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Member Since:

Jan 04, 2010



Goal Type:

Recover From Injury

Running Accomplishments:

In late 2008 I decided I needed to get in better shape and started running again.  I ran my first formal road race ever, a half marathon, in late 2009.

(unofficial) Track 1 Mile - 7:32 (4/24/2010)  6:56 (9/27/2010)

5k - 27:31 - Riverview Run on 06/11/2010
22:39 - Gatorade Steelers 5k on 09/04/2010

10k - 50:43 - Riverside Run on 04/10/2010

Half - 2:02:58 - Just a Short Run on 03/27/2010
1:51:47 - IKEA Montour Trail Half on 09/11/2010

Short-Term Running Goals:

2011 Races:

Sept 25 - The Great Race 10k (59:15)
Nov 5 - Dirt Monster 5mi (52:59)

2012 Races:

June 8 - Riverside 5k  (27:49)
Sept 2 - Gatorade Steelers 5k (route) with Steve!  (27:39)
Sept 30 - The Great Race 10k (route)  (53:48)
Nov 3 - The Dirt Monster 5mi (52:55)

2013 Races:

May - Pittsburgh Marathon (started, but DNF about the half way point)
June - Riverview 5k  - Bummed I missed signing up for this one. It's one of my favorites!
Sept - Gatorade/Steelers 5k. (Signed up!)
Sept - IKEA Montour Trail Half  (prob not, but leaving it on here)
Sept - The Great Race 10k (My Running 101 goal race)
Nov - Dirt Monster 5mi (Gotta do it again no matter what!)

Long-Term Running Goals:

Finish recovering from my injuries and build mileage.  That is all.


My name is Wes, I'm married with two wonderful children. The nickname BaldNSpicy came from the fact that I have been balding for a (long) while now and spicy for my love of very spicy foods (Thai and extremely hot wings are my favorites).  If eating doesn't bring me near tears and leave me sweating, it's not worth eating.  :-)

Oh, and I'm also known for my doorags.

Favorite Quotes:

"Running without hills is like motorcycling without corners." - rAtTLeTrAp

"Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit.  You are what you do repeatedly." - Shaquille O'Neal

"A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else."  - John Burroughs

Favorite Blogs:

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Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 0.00
NB 758s #2 Lifetime Miles: 596.90
Brooks Cascadia 7 Lifetime Miles: 165.17
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NB 758s #1 Miles: 6.50NB 758s #2 Miles: 4.50
Weight: 161.13
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Biked in to work today.  It was cold.  Car is still in the shop and I knew the wife would need the van so I took the trusty bike.  It was a good workout and the foot didn't hurt too much.  Probably because it was frozen.

Biked to the Orthopedist's office for my appointment.  They took xrays...but she didn't even look at them - I checked them out after the assistant left and before the doc came in.  I could see the neuromas so I'm not making this up. :-)  The doc was great - she's a runner and so she completely sympathized with me.  Apparently, the cortisone loses its effectiveness over time and so since I had had so many treatments over the year or so, she was surprised my podiatrist was still shooting me up.  She recommended physical therapy with ultrasound and stuff, and said I really had no alternative but to do the alcohol-based injections to kill the nerves.  They have to order the solution since they don't keep it on hand and so it will be a week or two before I get it, but she said I should have relief 1-2 days after that.  It may take up to 3 treatments, but she said most people only require one.  I'm sure I'll need 4 based on my history since I'm never normal. lol

I'll get in to the physical therapist later this week, I think.  I'm glad she'll do the shots since my podiatrist didn't want to do anything that would be destructive until everything else was exhausted.  So, I HOPE to be back on road in a couple weeks.  I'm going to try and bike as much as I can to keep the cardio going.  She suggested I do deep pool running, but I don't have access to a pool to do that in.  I'm sure she has an indoor pool at her house but she didn't offer it.  Bummer.

Anyways, I feel a little better about my running and I'm finally catching up on work so that helps with the discouragement too.  I apologize to all my friends on FRB that I've neglected.  :-(

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Oh snap!  I've got to gain 8+ lbs before tomorrow at noon!  Help!

Edit - Rode the bike again today.  Felt good, but was still cold.  Tomorrow is my "day off" since I'll be working from home and have a doctor's appt in the middle of the day.  The doc freaks out about any weight loss because "I can't afford to lose any more."  I was at 156 when I got home from the ride from work, but I had to remind myself I hadn't hydrated well today and I just rode home.  A few hours works wonders for putting weight back on.  I'm up to 159 and climbing!  lol

Weight: 159.00
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Oh Snap!  It hit me today that the Dirt Monster is this Saturday!  For some reason I was thinking it was next weekend.

Well....hmmm....Since I can't really do any more "damage" to the neuroma by running on it and it's just painful, I'm going to "run" the Dirt Monster even if it means I limp/walk most of it.  I've waited a year to run it and I'm not letting a couple of angry nerves stop me.

The good thing about this situation is that I don't have to worry about how I'd handle running with a couple of people from the ward I invited (before I had my setback) to run it with me.  I talked to one of them last night and he thought I was sandbagging when I told him I hadn't run in 3 weeks.  He kept pushing so I had to give in and tell him I've put in 2-3 miles on the week...the last couple of weeks.  I think he smells blood.  :-)  I'm not sure if the other guy is planning on it or not.

Before my setback, I had anxiety not knowing how to handle running with these guys.  I am fairly certain I'm faster than the other two, but we've never run together before and neither are racers, per se.  I didn't want to just shoot off the line and say see ya at the finish, but I also wanted to be sure to challenge myself and see how well I could do on the course with it being my first trail race - and a race I knew I'd be planning to do every year.  I thought maybe I'd hang with them for a mile or so and assess how they were doing in relation to how I was feeling.  Maybe I'd be OK with the pace and we'd stick together.  But what if it wasn't?  Then what? 

I know for races where there have been other runners from work there, we'd chat for a bit before the race then we'd take our relative places in the sea of runners (them up front, me somewhere behind :-) waiting for the start.  I had no problem with them not running it with me because I knew they were a ton faster and had a chance at placing, winning, or whatever.  But in this case, this is a small, intimate race - probably 50-75 runners so we'll all be starting as a group.

Not that I have to worry about it now since the tables may have turned (lol), but how is this "properly" handled?  When it's more of a charity/fun run and you've invited people to "run it with you," is it still every man/woman for themselves?  I have no problem letting both of them nip me at the finish since, heck, even with 100 runners and the 10 year age groups, there's a good chance one of us will place in our AG and it would make me happy to see either of them get the honor.  lol 

Without having done any real trail running, I'm not sure how my road race pace would equate to a trail pace anyways.  Just curious how others handle this.  Both guys are totally cool and I know would have no problem if I were to take off and meet them at the finish.

(Many words means I've obviously thought a lot about this and care way too much about what these other two guys will think)

Weight: 159.90
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Oh Snap!  I knew the Dirt Monster would be a bit muddy this year since it's been drizzling/raining yesterday and was forecast through tomorrow with a chance of snow late tomorrow, but on the way to seminary this morning they're now saying 1-2" tonight and possible snow until late morning tomorrow.

Since all I have are road shoes, I was hoping for decent weather so I wasn't sliding around too much, but I may have to opt for the snow boots.  Now I regret not keeping a pair of moon boots from the 80s.  Maybe I can borrow Napoleon's.

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Race: Dirt Monster 5mi Trail (5 Miles) 00:50:58, Place overall: 40, Place in age division: 7
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Oh Snap!  No real "Oh Snap!" moment today, but I promised to begin my report this way, so here ya go, Joe!

True to weather men & women, they have no idea what they're talking about.  What happened to the 1-2" of snow overnight and snow to rain today?  It didn't rain or snow at all last night or today.  I thought for sure it would be a wet & muddy mess, but there was only one big mud I went straight through it.  I think I was the only one.  Anyways, the weather was high 30s and overcast, so great running weather!

Splits:  11:19, 10:10, 10:15, 11:23, 8:18

This run benefits the OCD Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and this was the 4th year for the run.  The weather was the same last year, but the first two years it was a nasty, cold & snowy mess.  Last year, I was recovering from an achilles sprain from my first Half, so I didn't run it.  The whole family volunteered and it was a great experience.  I told myself I was going to be ready for this race this year.  Although it wasn't going to be my "key" race, I've been looking forward to it all year.

My wife wanted to do the 1 mile walk/run with her friend so my two kids were going to volunteer this year.  A couple months ago I realized they scheduled the youth temple trip to DC today so my daughter wasn't able to help, but my son was still psyched to help.  Last night he started complaining about how cold and snowy it was going to be and how he had to get up early.  We reminded him that he committed to helping and he wasn't going to back out.  Since he was going to be directing runners on the course again this year, I showed him some youtubes of how to properly do it:  that dancing traffic cop, the robot, poppin' and lockin', etc.  He still complained a little, but I did see him practicing his stopping on a dime.

I woke up early and took the dog out, ate a bagel and banana, and took some Naproxen.  The foot was angry so I was trying to think of the best way to get through this.  Had it snowed, I think I may have opted for hiking boots since I forgot to bring home my less-worn running shoes from work.  I stuck with the running shoes since I wasn't sure the boots would help the foot any better.  I went back to bed for an hour until I had to get up to take my daughter to the church.  Came back, got dressed and we headed out.

We got there about 45 min before the start and the director was out on the course, so my son ended up not being able to volunteer since the ladies handing out numbers and shirts didn't know where to have him help.  He decided to be a bandit and do the 1 mile walk with mom. :-)  Ken, from the ward was there and so we all stood around and talked.  I wasn't too concerned about getting warmed up well since I knew I wouldn't be flying out of the gate.  I was going to just take it nice and easy and aim to finish.  Ken had somewhat the same plan since it was his first real race.

They gave us some info on the course - a change from last year due to construction on the section that my son had directed runners last year, so he would have had to be at a different spot anyways, which he would have been bummed about.  The horn went off and we hit the course.  I stayed with Ken and we chatted as we went.  The first mile was a half mile of gradual incline to the 1 mile walk/run turn around, then another half mile up a big hill.  The pace was comfortable but I was feeling the 3+ weeks of little cardio training.  Oh well, keeping it slow was OK with me since the foot was in pain from all the uphill.  There were 78 runners and so things got fairly well spaced out pretty quickly which is good since a lot of the course was on single-track or narrow trails.  At this mile, we really didn't pass a lot and didn't get passed a lot.  I honestly didn't notice how many were in front of us or in back of us since I was just going to run the best I could all things considered.

I had overdressed some and knew I had, but in the event I ended up walking a good portion of it, I didn't want to be cold.  So, I stripped off the ear warmer headband and gloves at this point, but I really wanted to take the long sleeved T off but didn't.  In the second mile, we had
a guy come up from behind us.  I was wearing my signature skull & crossbones dorag and as he came up, he asked me if I think our dorags make us faster (of course they do!).  He had a confederate flag one on.  We called him the Good 'ol Boy.  He was very nice and after a couple minutes of chatting, he dropped us.  There was some downhill in this mile and the next and we eventually caught the Good 'ol Boy - he had slowed behind Pink Chick and wasn't going around her.

At the 3 mile marker they had an aid station - just some water, but was just enough.  We walked through it then headed up the hill.  Pink Chick and the Good 'ol Boy had left us in the dust.  About the 3.25 marker, we got to the switchbacks.  Those were brutal.  This is where I actually saw runners other than GoB and PC since we could see them working their way up the hill.  When we got to the top, I was anxious to finish strong knowing that much of the last mile was downhill.  Ken was struggling and told me not to hold back due to him. He didn't have to tell me twice.  :-)  I told him I'd see him at the finish and headed off with about 1.5mi left.

I could see PC with GoB ahead of her.  He was gaining on Ninja Chick (she was dressed in all black spandex & had long black hair).  I went as fast as my foot would allow (8:00 or so) on the flat section before the mile downhill.  I caught PC and saw I was gaining on GoB and NC, but I wasn't sure I was going to catch them, but at this point, this race became a race since GoB had to have been in my 40-49 AG.  With about 1/2 mile to go, I caught GoB and NC had gained some distance on us.  I had learned over the course of the race that the downhill was quite tolerable for the foot, so that gave me some encouragement, but not being an experienced trail runner and my low traction shoes, I worried about falling.  I kept pushing the pace over the very heavy leaf cover, knowing I risked a twisted ankle or a slip and fall.

I decided that an injury or a fall was worth the risk if I could avoid getting chicked by the Ninja.  So, I started to turn it on.  At about the 4.6mi mark, the trail becomes less risky so I let loose, but so did the Ninja.  I caught her with about .2mi left and she tried to hang on when she realized I was going to pass her, but I was flailing my arms so much as my legs spun with every (what seemed like) 20 foot stride, I don't think she could have gotten around anyways.  I was totally out of control.  One wrong step and I was going to be down for the count!  I came around the last corner and saw the time - 50:31.  Still out of control and flailing like I was going to take off, I kept pushing wanting to get under 51:00.  I saw my wife and son waiting before the finish line and my son started doing his version of the robot and held out his hand to give me a high-5.  Haha  He was hilarious.

I came through the finish line into the chute and I must have still been flailing because the lady taking the tags at the end of the chute took a step back and told me to take it easy...she just needed to take my tag.  Oh well, I was happy I was done and I had beat GoB and PC, and I avoided getting chicked by the Ninja!  I walked over to the fam and we hung out chatting and cheering the racers on until the last runner. GoB came up and we chatted for a couple of minutes. He was a really nice guy.

Ken did great - he came in just about two minutes after me.  He was looking good and I was proud he did so well.  We committed to run it again next year.

Overall, I really enjoyed this race.  The course was tough and would have seemed even tougher if we hadn't walked some of the hills and if I was really racing this for a good time.  The volunteers were great and the course was well marked.  It was a ton of fun and I have found I love trail running.  Having to worry about each foot placement, making sure you lift your foot high enough over the rocks & stumps to avoid falling, etc. made it more "engaging" than some of my other races.  The danger level was cool too.  I won't give up on road races, but I will definitely find more trails to run.

I don't feel too bad about my time, either.  I had a 50:00 goal before my foot issues, not knowing what my pace would be on a trail course, so I did pretty well.  The winner won by just a handful of seconds at 37:xx.  He was 20 and the second place was in the 50-59 AG.  Apparently, after that, it was a while before the next runners came in. I didn't take a real close look at the finish results except to note that I would have had to run a sub-44:00 to get 3rd place in my AG.  I think that should be doable next year.

According to my Garmin, I hit a 4:52 pace in that last stretch with a sub-6:00 for the last 0.2mi.  Man, if that's what it feels like (the speed, not the uncontrolled flailing) to run that fast, you fast guys are lucky!  That was so awesome and sooo fun!  No wonder you all love running so much!

NB 758s #1 Miles: 5.00
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30 min on the stationary bike.

I almost had a picture to post here.  I had a WebEx I had to be on tonight, so I got home and threw on some shorts and a t-shirt, grabbed a La Croix (sparkling water) and hopped on the bike while I watched the WebEx.  My son came in as I was getting to the end of my 30 min workout and busted up laughing.  I guess I looked funny on the bike (spinning at 90+ rpm), blue shorts, black shirt, black socks and my running shoes with the La Croix in one hand and the laptop in the other (had to hold it close to my ears since the audio was horrible).

He ran, yelling for my daughter to grab her camera to capture the sight.  My program ended before she could get back.  What made it even more funny were all the boxes that we had moved out of the kitchen during the remodel work (I'm still not finished) that I had to dig through to get to the bike.

It was quite the sight!

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Got my new orthotics today.  They feel good so far.

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I got my laptop taken away from me today (for some maintenance) for a couple hours, so I took advantage and hit the gym.  Work has been unbelievably busy and just getting up to pee has been an effort.  Without the physical therapy appointments and a healthy bladder, I wouldn't leave my desk for 8+ hours.

Anyways, I did a little stretching then hit the treadmill.  Walked for about 5 min and felt OK so I turned on the 5k program.  I was just going to try and do an easy 9:30-10:00 pace, but after about 1k of that, I started to crank it up some.  I still had pain in the left foot, which I expected, but it wasn't as bad as last time.  I finished in 27:13 (8:50 AP) which isn't too bad.  Stretched real well and got back just as the tech was bringing my laptop back!

I can tell the fitness needs some help, but that will come once I get back consistenly.  It felt GREAT to get back down to the gym and I realize how much I miss it!  Now I just need to schedule some gym time on the calendar so there's less chance of it getting booked with meetings.

NB 758s #2 Miles: 3.50
Weight: 159.00
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My son and I have a Scout campout tonight, so I needed to leave work early to get home and do all the preparation stuff I haven't had time to do this week.  I had my physical therapy appt today but wanted to hit the treadmill...actually, NEEDED to hit the treadmill since I downed a quart of Egg Nog this morning...1280 calories!  Boy was it good!

I had 40 mins before my PT so I ran down to the gym and hopped on the treadmill, progressing from an 8:30 pace to a 7:20 pace.  Spent time stretching then off to my PT, another 2 hrs of work, now racing home to get ready!

I really need to go back and put in my notes from all my PT appointments so I can remember everything.  I've got it on paper, but that will be lost in my perpetual paper storm within weeks...

A friend pointed out a marathon he just found out about:  The Gettysburg North-South Marathon.  It looks pretty cool, but I don't know that I'll be able to run it since I think it conflicts with the River Towns that Steve and I are planning to do...  Looks cool tho!

NB 758s #1 Miles: 1.50
Weight: 161.00
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I had my PT appt today, ultrasound, stretching, then worked on the Bosu.  First time I've ever done that, but it seems to help with the foot strength and balance.  Good session.

I could have sworn I had my gym clothes in my bag at work when I left this morning, but it turns out I didn't.  So, I didn't get down to the gym as I had planned.  I could have really used a good workout after the call from my orthopedic's office telling me they had to reschedule my shot appt from tomorrow to next week.  :-(  I was really bummed.

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At the encouragement of my high school friend who is a spin instructor and my PT doc, I stayed late and took a AFL (all fitness levels) spinning class.  My HS friend has been telling me for years to try spinning, that it was a great workout, etc.  I've just always preferred running and I'm not a big gym class kinda guy.  I feel awkward when doing weights or other workout/stretching in the gym.  Running on the treadmill, I don't mind, anything else I'm generally uncomfortable.  But, I figured I needed to give it a shot since my foot just wasn't letting me run like I want to.

I got to the gym and was surprised to see a half circle of the spin bikes out in the main gym area.  I changed and went and chatted with the instructor, Lauren, one of the gym employees. She's cool and she knew me since I (used to) come in there all the time and she knew I had done the running class.  She explained that we had to do the class out in the main area since they were short of staff and "if someone went down she would be there."  She explained the bike functions and a little about the class.  She told me that the first class or two is usually a new experience for people and to just do my best.  Sounded like a good time.  I adjusted the bike and warmed up a little while a few others joined us.

The class started and I thought it was just a sit on the saddle and spin fast, slow, increase resistance, yadda yadda.  What's up with all this "up to jog for 8, then down for 8" stuff??  When we got down to "up for 2 then down for 2", I was shot...and it was only 10 mins into the class!  Crap!  I kept working it though, trying to keep up.  By about 25 mins, the quads were burning, the calves were cramping, and the foot was killing.  The cramping was the worst.  At this point, I looked over at the lady on my left and asked how long the class was.  She said 40 mins with a 5 min cool down and stretching. This was a serious Oh Snap moment!  I thought about hopping off at 30 mins and hitting the treadmill but I wasn't going to wimp out.

The last 10 mins dragged on and were the toughest of all.  I think Lauren was a little concerned I might be the one to go down since I did close my eyes a few times working through the pain and I saw her keeping an eye on me.  I wasn't worried though...I had my RoadID on.  I had plans to run a few miles before class but my meeting ran late.  I got off the bike and started walking over to the treadmills.  My legs were like Jello!  I don't think my legs have been this dead or cramped even after my Halfs.  Maybe that means I didn't work hard enough on my races...  I started walking and between the foot pain and my Jello legs, I wasn't going to be running, so I just walked a mile.  AP: 20:45

I'll definitely have to do the class again.  It was a great workout and showed me I have little to no leg strength.  I was humbled because I actually thought my strength was OK.  Not awesome, mind you, but OK.

I didn't really appreciate being made fun of:

NB 758s #2 Miles: 1.00
Weight: 161.00
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Doctors office called and said they got the meds in for my foot, so they can do the injection next week.  That made my day.

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20 mins on the bike today.  Felt pretty good despite some residual soreness from the spinning class.  :-)

Weight: 164.00
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I'm big and round after Thanksgiving!  Curse my wife for picking up Barqs!  I think I've gone through a 12 pack in the last 24 hours.  Oh well, I've got a few weeks before I do it all over again!

So I was checking out runs and Facebook and in the "ads" section of FB I see the Warrior Dash.  My cousin did it this last year and said it was the most fun race she's ever done.  Looks like they're doing one in PA and one in Ohio.  I may have to try and get to one.  Here's a pic of her jumping over the fire (posted without her permission...shhhh!  I'm told it's better to ask forgiveness than permission).  Looks awesome, eh?

Weight: 164.00
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Finally got shot up today!  These shots hurt so much less than the cortisone ones!  Must be the lidocaine in it. :-)  I did a little test jog across the street on the way home and where I'd normally be limping, now I'm pain free!  I don't know how long the lidocaine takes to wear off, but it doesn't feel numb anymore and it's been about 10 hours.

I'm working on my formal marathon plan tonight.  It could take a few days before I know whether it was 100% successful or only partially, but I'm hopeful this is permanent bliss!  I love alcohol!  It's killer!

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NB 758s #1 Miles: 6.50NB 758s #2 Miles: 4.50
Weight: 161.13
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