Hi! My name is Ken. I'm going to periodically write about running, writing, and a number of other topics. Please feel free to read my posts and provide your comments. If you have a question about any topic, leave a message and I'll try to help you get the information you're looking for. Thanks for stopping by. I hope to see you again soon.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

2012 Annual Christmas Run

Every year our small group of runners get together for a "special" run just prior to the holidays. Last year, some of our usual members were unable to participate for various reasons so our numbers were down. But we made a nice comeback this year, with eleven people showing up.

Our annual Christmas run involved two elements, a short run and a stop at our local watering hole, the Arch Street Tavern, to toast the year and remember those runners not with us anymore. Our short run this year was on a course we refer to as "The Zimmerman (aka "Z" man's) trail. We lost Doug Zimmerman several years ago. This course was one of his favorite routes and is entirely on the west side of the Connecticut River. 

In past years, we've run on a course that goes over the Connecticut River called "The Cherico Trail" in memory of Dave Cherico, who we lost back in 2001.  This route is a little bit longer and crosses the Charter Oak Bridge.

So in memory of Doug and Dave, we wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sorrow in Newtown

As many of you know, I live in Connecticut. During my work Christmas party yesterday afternoon, I learned of the tragic events of the morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. I was busy working all morning and hurried off for a lunchtime run before my Christmas party. It's not that uncommon for me to wait to read the newspaper later at night and to not watch television until returning home. I typically play CDs in my car and therefore missed any reports on the radio too. So I was totally shocked and saddened to hear that a lone gunman had killed so many people, including 20 children under the age of 8.

Many people experience loss in their lives, but to lose a child is the hardest thing to deal with. You're not suppose to outlive your children. As I thought about the parents of these children, I couldn't help think about how my wife and I lost our son, Brian, who was born three months premature and died shortly after birth. No matter what the cause of death, the pain is excruciating, with very little relief, despite the efforts of family and friends to comfort. This is a fraternity that no one wishes to be part of, but so many are.

My advice, being a member of this fraternity, is to seek professional counseling, join a bereavement group, and try to honor your loved one is a special way. Twenty-four years have passed since my son's birth/death and events like this hit you in the gut. It took a long time for us to learn how to cope with things. However, we found comfort in being around others who had experienced the loss of a child at birth or shortly thereafter. Only they truly know what you're going through. That's why we went to bereavement meetings for a long time.

Let me finish this post by sending my love and condolences to all the families that lost loved ones in this terrible incident.  


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Manchester Thanksgiving Day Road Race-2012

WARNING: This post gets a little graphic and gross so read on at your own risk!

Well, this year's turkey day race turned into a bit of a bust for me. My training and conditioning was messed up by my fire crew assignment and Wiffle ball leg injury in September. Then at about 2:00 am on Tuesday morning, November 20th, I woke up with Montezuma's revenge from both ends. I'd venture to say that this experience was close to my colonoscopy  preparation purge and possibly broke my regurgitation record from back in college. I won't say the cause of the purging back in college. You can fill in the blanks yourself.

I almost bagged the race, but early Wednesday afternoon, I started to feel like a human again rather than a  spurting volcano. That evening I actually ate something. Can you believe it? Granted, I was still drinking stirred, not shaken ginger ale. So at 7:30 am on Thursday, November 24, I got up, put on my running clothes, ate a piece of bread, grabbed a bottle of water, and headed over to Main Street, Manchester at 8:50 am, to park and stretch before the 10:00 am race start.  If you leave early enough and you know where to go, you can usually find a real cherry spot to park near the start of the race. Keep in mind people, that this race gets about 15,000 runners and maybe twice that many spectators so this is big.

I parked in one of my favorite spots right behind a local bank right off of Main Street. Then I was treated to this drunk guy taking a pee just outside my front window. He didn't even notice me sitting in my car. Yes, I looked the other way. Several minutes later, I headed to the starting line to make sure I could get into the under 40 minutes carded area. If you show up a little late, it's almost impossible to get into the reserved starting areas with the mass of humanity trying to get to the regular starting area.

I reached the under 40 minutes area and handed my access pass to one of the security people at the gate at 9:40 am. They even had some policemen near the gates to try and keep the peace. After some stretching, I slowly moved up to the area closest to the temporary barrier. Before I knew it, the gun went off signaling the official start of the race. I felt okay, but nervous that my body might actually rebel against me for daring to run the race. It was too late to turn back now so off I went along with the other 14,999 runners and probably 3,000 unregistered runners. The number of unregistered people running was undoubtedly higher this year given that the race committee shut down registrations on Monday because the 15,000 mark had been reached.

I started conservatively at a pace that felt just under 8 minutes per mile. At the 1 mile mark, I confirmed that indeed I was running around a 7:50 pace, about 35 seconds per mile slower than last year. That was okay though because I didn't want to repeat my spurting volcano routine on the course. I passed the 2 mile mark at around 16:40. Not too bad considering that mile is almost all up hill. Miles 3 and 4 were similar in pace, as I settled into a semi-death march behind several Spandex-wearing ladies. Okay, I used these sights to help motivate me. Shoot me.  As I turned the corner onto Main Street, I tried to pick the pace up, given that the last half mile was mostly down hill. I finished at 37:29 minutes, approximately two minutes slower than last year. Well, at least I made it to the finish in one piece. Here's hoping that next year turns out better.

Did anyone else run a Turkey day race?


Monday, October 29, 2012

I'm back!

It's been a while since I've posted here. Sorry about that. I've been very busy with my writing and running. Unfortunately, someone hacked into my email account and caused AT &T to lock me out of my email and other things. I then had some problems getting back into my blogs.

This summer has been busy. I went to fight wildfires in Montana for 16 days in August. I have been running about 20 miles per week. I couldn't run during my fire assignment, but the 12 to 14 hour days helped to keep me in shape. I'm hoping to get back into race ready condition before the Thanksgiving Day race in Manchester.

Now here's some advice for all you runners out there. Upon my return from Montana, I foolishly played Wiffleball for three and a half hours straight on Labor Day and screwed my left leg up for three weeks. I couldn't believe it. Here I go for 16 days without any problems other than tired legs and I get taken down by Wiffleball. Arghhh! Hey, everyone-stick with your running stuff and stay away from those other periodic activities that can mess up your running. It's just not worth it!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The HEAT is on!

Every summer I write at least one post focused on hot weather running. I consider myself to be fairly experienced on the topic and capable of running well in the heat. This last week on the East Coast was scorching! For most of the week, the temperatures were in the mid-90's and the humidity was up there too.

I'm not an early riser so getting up at 5:00 am to run wasn't going to work for me. And if I run later at night, I tend to have problems falling asleep. Hence, I adjusted my running plans accordingly. My M,W, F noon runs with a speed workout on Wednesday were modified to two easier runs on Monday and Friday along the Connecticut River and I bagged the speed workout. I still ran the same Wednesday course only 1.75 minutes slower per mile. There are water fountains on this course so we can hydrate in route. With the shade, slight breeze, and water, it made for an okay week of training in spite of the conditions. I don't have a gym membership and hate treadmills so things worked out well. 
Sometimes on days like these I'll carry water with me. I'm used to doing it, but I know others don't like to do so. That's why finding a course with water fountains along the way is so beneficial. Also, I often wear a light colored cap and slap on some suntan lotion for good measure. After running, I'll cool down with a short walk in the park across from my office. There are plenty of large trees, which shade the area. I also make a point to drink plenty of water throughout the morning before my noon runs. This really helps because it's so easy to get dehydrated on hot days. After a cool shower in the basement of my building, I head upstairs to finish the day's work, refreshed, but still moist from my lunch excursion.

Don't underestimate the conditions in the summer and be smart about training through these hotter periods. It's okay to take things down a notch. You won't lose any conditioning and perhaps with the rest, you'll run even better the following week.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

2012 Chaplin 5K Road Race Report



The Chaplin 5K Road Race on Saturday, June 2, 2012 was the tenth annual edition. I really didn't know anything specific about the course other than it was in Chaplin, covered 3.1 miles, and the start/finish location was at the Chaplin Elementary School. I had decided to do the race so that I could get together with a former work intern for a run, in spite of the fact I had just done a speed workout on May 31, 2012. He actually lives very close to Chaplin and the elementary school.
I woke up at 7:00 am on Saturday morning to the sound of rain outside. It was going to be a wet run for sure. At least the temperature was in the 65 degree F range. Anyway, it took me about forty minutes to get to this small school in the middle of nowhere. I had to be careful not to miss any turns because there were many. When I reached the school it was still raining, albeit lightly. I met up with Jared, an intern we had hired in my department a year or so and his fiancee. Jared had become a regular lunch runner during his time at the CTDEEP.

Shortly after the race started, the rain began to come down hard. It didn't take long for my running shoes to get waterlogged. Nothing like running with ankle weights/wet shoes. The first mile had a long, steep hill in it, which surprised and tired me out quickly. But I tried to keep Jared in sight. I was surprised by the number of older guys in the race too. Here I was doing this obscure little 5k, with almost as much competition in my age group as I'd find in much larger races. Unfortunately, I couldn't see any mile markers and that didn't help my pacing.  

I usually like to scope out some part of the course before any race, but that didn't happen. So I kept trying to catch people ahead and that helped to motivate me. I wasn't making too much progress though. I tried to keep up with another guy I knew, but he slowly pulled away from me. By the time I realized where the finish was, I finished the race in 23:45, a 7:39 pace. 
I guess I shouldn't be too surprised by my time given the circumstances, but I was somewhat. As it turned out, I finished in15th place out of 90, in fifth place in the 50-59 age group. I told you it was a bit competitive. Let's chalk this one up to experience. BTW, Jared ended up about a minute ahead of me and took 1st place in the 20-29 age group. Great job, Jared! (See our picture above after the race in front of the school.) 

Friday, June 1, 2012

Chaplin 5K Country Road Race

I finally located a race not too far from my house to run. Tomorrow is the 10th Annual Chaplin 5K Road Race.  I had been checking out various races on Hitek Racing Series website, but things got in the way or the races started too late in the morning for me. I try to run the race and give myself enough time to come home and take Calvin, my Lab, for a quick run.

I'm not familiar with the course. I do intend to check out the terrain on-line since I have the names of the streets the course follows. My goal is to improve on my 23:23 5K time from a month or so ago. Based on my recent tempo run times, I think a 22:20 or better in possible as long as the course isn't hilly.  I also plan to meet and run with one of the interns that worked for me a year or so ago. I'm sure he'll be ahead of me, which should motivate me to run faster. We'll see though.

I plan on reporting on the race sometime tomorrow evening so check back in later this weekend for the race summary. I also plan to bring my digital camera to record some of the sights and sounds of the race.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Recent Training Revelations

I've been running off and on for over 25 years and have learned a lot about the subject through reading and actual trial and error. But I sometimes feel like I've only scratched the surface on this topic. To complicate matters, my aging mind and body has had to adapt to less running. This is one issue that I struggle with because four years ago, I had decided to try and increase my mileage to an all time high, 70 to 100 miles a week. I set this goal in part because of my prostate cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery. 
I'm presently running 3 to 4 days per week, between 16 and 25 miles, with one speed session and one longer run of 7-8 miles. This is a far cry from where I wanted to be, but I have to be careful not to overdo things and re-injure myself.  But let me get to the real reason for this post.

I have recently noticed that if I don't rest by running easier on my non-speed and long run days, my times suffer significantly. I have noticed a drop in speed on my two hard days of 15 to 20 %, which really prevents me from improving. But if I take it easy, say run 1 to 2 minutes slower than my 2 hard workouts, I have steadily gotten faster. I recently improved my times on a course by over 45 seconds. I'm confident that the reason is directly related to feeling rested and running occasionally with faster runners. I have also started to do push-ups and sit-ups every other day, which makes me feel like my core is getting stronger.

My present goal is to get back down under a 7 minute pace for 3 to 5 milers. My speed session this week was composed of two 2.25 mile tempo runs with a half mile rest jog in between. I finally broke 16 minutes for the first 2.25 after two months on trying.  I'm confident that I will crack that 7 minute barrier ( 15:45) and beyond over the next month or so as long as the temperatures stays moderate. I've also had a significant improvement in 7 mile time three weeks ago. Tomorrow I intend on trying to push the pace a little to see if I can come close to that time on a nearby dirt rail trail. My best time for the 7 miles has been 53:26, which translates to a 7:38 pace. This out and back course is mostly up hill for the first 3.5 miles too.

I plan on trying to find a race to run a week from this coming Sunday. Hopefully, there are some close local races to do. Happy running.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hebron 5k- 2012

After not being able to do that Tolland race several weeks ago, I started to scope out some other nearby races to do. I like the 5 mile distance, but there wasn't one around so I decided to run a 5k. The issue was that there were two 5ks on Saturday, April 14th, one in Hebron and one in Salem. I settled on the Hebron race for three reasons, it was 20 minutes closer, I've run it before, and it started a hour earlier than Salem. I also wanted to get back fairly early so that I could take Calvin for a short run. He looked a little disappointed when I headed off to the race without him.

The weather was nice. The temperature was around 56 degrees, the sun was shining, and it wasn't hot at all. I left my house around 8:10 am so that I would have enough time to register and warm up. I got to Rham High School at 8:30 am, parked the car and walked up a series of steps to the school lobby to register. I was pleasantly surprised when the guy who was registering me asked what size shirt do I want. I thought only preregistered runners were getting them so that was nice. I walked back to my car and put my stuff away and locked things up.

At the end of the parking lot, I could see the finish line, which was about twenty strides into the school entrance. There were the usual runners walking and stretching all over the place. A tall, young guy ran by me who looked particularly fast, as I walked down to where I thought the starting line was located. By this time, it was about 8:45 am. I did some stretching myself against a tree. I overheard a father tell his son to be careful to not stretch against the trees with the poison ivy vines. I was okay because the tree I was using didn't have any such vines on it. I then did about 6 -20 second strides of quick running to get my legs warmed up. My legs felt okay. While doing these strides, I started talking to this one guy, who was running in a nearby parking lot. He said that he was going to try and do 5:50's or so. I told him if he does that he would have a very good chance of winning the race. I also ran into an old high school friend who was doing the race too. Before we knew it, the national anthem was being played and the race was just about to start. I wished them well, shook their hands and we lined up for the start.

The Hebron 5k course, as I said in a previous post, is not a PR one. The beginning is flat and a little downhill, but the last 2 miles are hilly. As I ran along, I didn't feel that good. The pace was perhaps a little fast, but some people were still passing me so I pressed on. At the 1 mile mark, I was at 6:56, which was good in my book. Just after that point the rolling hills started. Don't get me wrong. There were a few downhill sections, but it was mostly up.  I hit the 2 mile mark in 14:36. The hills had started to take their toll. But I dismissed
any negative thoughts by thinking to myself, "This is my first race of the year. Lighten up".

At around the 2.5 mile mark, a really young kid passed me. He was about 4'4". I was impressed. This was after I tried to catch an older guy down to no avail. As I neared the finish line, I could see both the older guy and and young kid going stride for stride towards the line. I picked the pace up and did my best to get home, but ended up ten or so seconds behind the two of them. As it turned out, the older guy was 60 and the kid was 9. Wow! They did great for sure.

The fast guy I talked to earlier was right at the finish and cheered for me and others. After finishing, I caught up to him and we talked for a while. He had actually won the race in a great time (17:50 or so). The funny thing was there wasn't an ounce of conceit in him either. You'd think he finished in the middle of the pack. As we were talking, they started the awards so we headed over. As it turned out, I finished in 37th place out of 133. But the cool part was that I ended up in 3rd place for my division, which meant I got a medal. Wow, a shirt, a banana, water and then a metal-not too bad, I thought. It was around 10:00 am, so I congratulated my new friend on his victory and headed home. Oh, I almost forgot-I finished in 23:23, a 7:32 pace.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

False Alarm

I mentioned in my previous post that I intended to run a 5 mile race a week or so ago. As it turned out, the race was incorrectly posted on a running website. The race was actually last Saturday and the race had been switched to a different location and converted into a 5k. I decided not do this race because it didn't fall on a running day for me. I presently run every other day. But I found another race that I plan on doing this coming Saturday. It's a 5k in a nearby town, about a twenty minute drive from my house so that's convenient. I did this race a number of years ago and it's somewhat hilly. I intend on posting about the race so stay tuned.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

More About Coach Calvin And My Running Log

As promised, I have attached part of my running log for two months, February and March of 1999. This was a particularly satisfying time in my running life. I was running fast times despite being over forty years old. 
Regarding Calvin, check out the picture of us running on a nearby trail. I asked this older lady walking on the trail to snap a picture of us with my cellphone and she accidentally got part of her hand in the photo.  Oh well. I have been taking Calvin running with me at least once each weekend for about two months now. He loves to go too! I should record a short video of him expressing his excitement just prior to us hitting the trails. It's really funny. I think he likes running even more than I do.

I have been looking for a nearby race to run sometime in the next three or so weeks on the Hi-tek Racing website. They usually have most of the upcoming races in their running calendar. The Spirit of Spring race in Tolland just happens to be this Saturday and I think I'm going to give it a shot. It's ironic that back in 1999 I did the same race and it's recorded in the attached log. It's a bit hilly in places so it's not a PR type of course. Plus, it's actually 5.1, which is a bit odd for races.  Anyway, happy running.


RTE-Cherico Trail- Easy-COND-cloudy

RTE-RR to Arch-Med-EasyCONDclearw/jg,tb,cr



RTE-GC to Case Mtn.-Easy-Trail-w/bb,dc



RTE-“ “ “ “-COND-clear-pkups1/3/5/3/1 w/cr,jg



RTE-VER-trail-yel/blu-hard-COND-clear w/dc

RTE-Port-Mtn biking w/jg rest day from running

RTE-Cherico Trail +by IRS bldg.w/ml

RTE-Reverse-2bridges-COND-clear w/tb

RTE-“ “ “ “ “ “ “

RTE-2Bridges-Hard-COND-cloudy w/jg,cr





RTE-Cherico Trail-Med-COND-light snow w/dc

RTE-Reverse-2bridges via boat launch w/jg

RTE- GC to Case Mtn.-Easy-Trail-w/dc,jg

RTE-Cherico Trail-Med/hard-alone-cloudy-45F

RTE-RR to CTBlvd.-w/cv







RTE-Cherico Trail-alone-cold/windy-hard

RTE-VER to ELL-w/Jay-med.

RTE-GC-Case Mtn. & back-easyw/dc,jg

RTE-Dikes totrail-Chart/oak/bridgew/jg,cr,ml

RTE-2Bridges alone—v.windy-hard

RTE-RR to Bushnell –short-alone

RACE-SpirtoSprng-hilly-Tolland-10th pl-4thmsters





RTE-Cherico Trail-easy