AVR – Week In Review – 1/15/12

Actually the week was pretty good! Dad got out of the hospital after a pretty significant heart attack and having 3 stents put in – he is a tough old bastard and he will tell you the same thing. Nothing else can top off his being home and doing things that he wants to do. 🙂

Running This Week
I had three pretty cool things directly related to running this week:
  • Ran 8.0 miles for the first time since 2006.
  • Ran in the 2012 edition of the January Thaw over in Belgrade, Maine.
  • Ran over 25.0 miles this week!

All of these accomplishments mean a lot to me. Being able to run 8.0 miles without stopping is a sign that my endurance is starting to get better. Yes I still have a long ways to go, but it is definitely progress. I have wanted to run a race, but just never seemed find time or overcome inertia to go actually run one – I think that I was intimidated too much over how I used to run versus how I run now and that kept me out of races more than anything else.

Now that I have finally run one, I am looking to see what/when my next one will be.

Going over 25 miles for the week without hurting myself and still having a day off is huge. It is a confidence thing and getting me closer to my 30 mile per week by the end of March. I just have to be smart about it.

I also figured out this week that my long-term goal is to run the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon. I finished the 1983 Marathon and to run Marine Corps again 30 years later would be very cool. So this is one of the major goals that I have in mind for my running and it would be even more fantastic, if I could qualify for Boston that same day.

This week in a word: Progress


I have been 170 or under all week and hit a low of 166.  I know that I will go up and down with my weight over the course of the week, but it would be nice to see it go away faster.  I do know that I am going in the right direction.


Everything is feeling pretty good. The knee is not bothering and my lower back is much better. I have got to start doing more self-massage and preventative maintenance.


I am over 200 miles on my Saucony Peregrines and they continue to really impress me. I am not on a rotation schedule and run in them for all my running right now. They have done everything that I have asked of them and I am very, very impressed. I received Goat Head Sole Spikes yesterday and put them on my Saucony Pro Grid Propel Plus, so I will be running in those during some of the nasty weather that will be coming up, to do some wear testing.

Blog Posts

Below are the posts from last week:

  1. Are You a Creature of Habit?
  2. Stress Reliever Run – Much Needed – 1/9/12
  3. Good Recovery Run & Day 10 Janathon 1/10/11
  4. Epic Internet Fail at Home 1/11/12
  5. Dusty Ice Run/More Stress Relief – 1/11/12
  6. Running – My Stress Management Medication
  7. Are You Crazy? Yes I Ran Today – 1/12/12
  8. Saucony Peregrines – After 200 Miles Review
  9. 1st Blogiversary 3.5 Mile Virtual Run – 1/13/11
  10. The 33rd Annual January Thaw 4.5 Mile Road Race
  11. Runners Have You Really Looked At Your Blog Lately…
  12. Goat Head Sole Spikes Review
  13. My Running Form at 2012 January Thaw
Top Ten
Here are my top ten posts for the past week based on pageviews:

1. Runners Have You Really Looked At Your Blog Lately…
2. Running – My Stress Management Medication
3. The 33rd Annual January Thaw 4.5 Mile Road Race
4. Saucony Peregrines – After 200 Miles Review
5. Are You Crazy? Yes I Ran Today – 1/12/12
6. Are You a Creature of Habit?
7. Epic Internet Fail at Home 1/11/12
8. Goat Head Sole Spikes Review

9. How Did I Start Organized Running
10. Is Barefoot Running Right for Me?

My Favorite post from last week was:

The 33rd Annual January Thaw 4.5 Mile Road Race it documents my first road race in a long time.

This week I am going to sit down with TheWife and figure out a racing schedule for the year that won’t break the bank (races are so darned expensive) and fit into our calendar.

Are there any businesses or companies interested in sponsoring an old retired Coastie in his quest for this dream of running the Marine Corps Marathon 30 years after his last finish there, while I document my adventures and how your product helps me towards this goal.  Have to try 🙂

Thank You again for reading posts from “A Veteran Runnah”

Cross Country Skiing – North Country Style

Looking out over the lake in summer

1995 was a year of change for me.  My marriage of nine years ended suddenly during the fall of 1994.  My two daughters, age seven and nine, began to spend every other weekend with their dad.

After years of their company, I found myself alone.  I spent a few weekends sitting at home before I realized that I needed to get out and do things.

Errol, New Hampshire

My brother owned a camp overlooking a small lake outside Errol, New Hampshire.  The camp had been in the family since 1960.  The camp sat well-positioned at the shallow end of the lake, next to the beach.  Mountains surrounded the lake.

1994-95 was a year of change at the lake as well.  A paper company owned miles of the wilderness area surrounding the lake.  For the first time in nearly three decades, the paper company focused on the lake and started a major tree harvesting operation.  Logging trucks went in and out during the weekdays, and areas of wilderness were opened up.  The paper company maintained the three mile road leading in to the lake that winter.  For the first time ever, campers could use their lakeside camps for winter activities.

Ride to Camp

My brother invited me up to camp to snowmobile and ski.  There was a good snow pack and a three day weekend coming up.

Camp was a three hour ride from home.  I left after work on Friday afternoon.  The weather was clear.  It had been dark for hours when my brother met me at the start of the three mile road in to the lake.  He followed me to camp.

I had a little Ford Tempo painted Sandalwood (an exotic name for gold).  The Tempo was all wheel drive.  Ford only made them for a year or two.  It had a button by the rear view mirror that you pushed to engage the all wheel drive.  It was a great little feature when it worked, and it did help to get me up to camp that weekend!


We were a quarter mile from camp when I turned down the camp road.  My brother flashed his lights at me and honked his truck horn.  I stopped about thirty-five yards down the camp road.  I got out of the car and sank in snow.

My brother came running up to me and told me I was on a trail and not the road.  The camp road was just a little further away.  This trail had been added by the logging company since I had last been to camp.

He couldn’t believe that my car still sat on top of the snow.  I got back in the car, pushed the magic button by the rear view mirror, and backed the car until I was on plowed road again.  We finished the ride to camp without further incident.

Get out the Cross Country Skis

The next day dawned sunny and warm for a January day in the north country.   My brother went outside to work on his snow machine.  About ten o’clock, I strapped on my cross country skis.  With all the new logging roads and trails circling the lake, I had lots of ski choices.  My brother suggested I ski around the right side of the lake, cross the outlet, and come back across the middle of the lake.

The lake in winter

He had a snowmobile trail across the lake that I could follow coming back.  I had never been on the back side of the lake past the outlet because the area had been heavily forested with no access road.

The thought of exploring was exciting!

It was only a couple miles.  I would be back for lunch.  One mile into the ski, I crossed the outlet, and started up the backside of the lake into new territory.  I reached an intersection.

The day was warming up nicely into the fifties.  I thought I would ski a little further.  Instead of taking the trail to the left around the lake, I decided to go up the hill.  I figured the trail would loop to the left above the lower trail.  It should give me a great view of the lake.

I sure was wrong!

Looking up where I got lost and found lots of snow


The trail I chose kept taking me further away from the lake.  I thought about turning around, but I kept thinking the trail would circle back.

It got to noon time and I couldn’t even see the lake.  I had not brought anything to eat or drink since it was supposed to be a short ski.  Two hours of skiing had made me thirsty.  Eating snow did not help much.

Pay my Dollar

I suddenly came up on a logging yard and the trail widened into a large road.  Several pieces of heavy equipment were parked for the weekend.  I had to take my skis off and carry them over my shoulder because of the ruts and shredded wood in the road.  As I was walking by one logging rig, I spotted a bottle of iced tea on the dash.  I wanted that drink!

The vehicle was not locked.  I looked around.  I kept waiting for someone to yell at me, but all the equipment was abandoned for the weekend.  I couldn’t just take the drink!  I dug into my pants pocket and came up with a dollar bill.  I reached in to the rig and took the unopened drink, leaving a dollar on the dash.  Oh I would love to be here on Tuesday when the guy got to his rig and found a dollar, but no drink.

That tea was nectar!

Miles to Go

Now, I was still miles from camp.  The road finally seemed to be circling back the way I wanted, but I still could not see the lake.  When I could put my skis back on, I skied down the road, thinking about my options.  I had an idea.  At the next clear cut on my left, I would ski down the mountainside.  If I went down the mountain, surely I would meet up with the lower road?

I shortly found just such a clear cut.  As far as I could see, the snow was untouched.  Instead of packed snow, it meant skiing through a top layer of loose snow almost a foot deep.  I figured that I couldn’t use the edges of my skis because of the deep snow.   I would have to go straight down.  Off I went.  This was great.

Snow Everywhere

I picked up speed and the air rushing past my face felt so good.  What was that?  Oh no, a moose had crossed the mountain below.  Too late, I hit the moose tracks.  One ski stopped dead while the other ski kept going.  When I stopped tumbling, I sat up.  Good news, nothing broken.

I had snow in my coat pockets, snow packed down my pants, snow inside my gloves, my hat was gone – and I even had snow in my bra!  How did I manage that?  I laughed.

What a day!

My idea had worked out.  After cutting across several more trails, ten miles later, I made it back to camp.  My brother was still working on his machine.  He hadn’t even noticed I was still gone.

That was plenty of adventure for one day.


The next morning, much as I prefer skiing, I tamely sat on the back of my brother’s snowmobile as we toured the surrounding area from the convenience of a motorized machine.  We went miles from the camp – but a lot quicker!

Very Lucky

I realized how fortunate I had been the day before.  I had an adventure and I did not get lost or hurt.

My Running Form at 2012 January Thaw

This post is an all about me post.

It is not one that is intended to be publicized, Tweeted, posted anywhere but here on my blog.

I am putting it up here because I have been working hard on improving my running form and at the race yesterday David Colby Young took both photos and video of us running and I want to have these images to refer back to as I continue to work on my form.

I am at 2:50 to 3:05

2012 Jan Thaw Cut 1

All the images were taken by David Colby Young and can be found at Maine Running Photos and on YouTube.

I am at 5:25-5:41

2012 Jan Thaw cut 2

Here are the still photos that David Colby Young (I want to ensure that David gets all of the credit for these pictures) took of me running at the 2012 January Thaw Road Race in Belgrade, Maine on 1/14/12.

The best part of these pictures was that I didn’t know I was being videotaped or that he was taking this many photos. The information that is in here is invaluable to helping me to improve as a runner.

Thank you David for taking these pictures and I can see several things from the videos and photos that I have to work on to improve my form.

Goat Head Sole Spikes Review

Last week I was on Twitter “bragging” or was that complaining about having just run in snow/ice and how slippery it was. Matthew from Goat Head Gear asked me if I was interested in reviewing a set of their SoleSpikes on my blog.

Since doing product reviews is one of the things that I really enjoy doing, I said sure, as long as he didn’t mind an honest review of his product.  The product was sent with the understanding my review would be my honest opinions of how their product worked for me.

When I got home from the The 33rd Annual January Thaw 4.5 Mile Road Race yesterday, there was a package on the table for me. The package was from Goat Head Gear and inside was this:

It was a package of the Goat Head Sole Spikes and driver to install the spikes on my shoes, this kit costs:

After I got them and looked the SoleSpikes over, I got very interested, because during the race yesterday, a couple of the guys had sheet metal screws in the bottom of their shoes and hadn’t had the problems slipping and sliding around, like I and many of the other runners did.  Here is a picture of the road conditions yesterday.

The first thing TheWife said when she saw them was “you aren’t walking around the house with those things in your shoes”, I didn’t argue a bit, these spikes would really screw up (okay lame) the laminate floors we have.

Close-up view of the Solespike // from Goat Head Media gallery

This morning before our walk, I decided to put the Sole Spikes in my old Saucony Pro Grid Propel Plus shoes.

Instead of using my cordless drill, which would have made the job really quick and easy, I used the provided driver.  It only took about 10 minutes to do it by hand.

Pretty quick and easy. With a drill it might take 2-3 minutes.  While I was doing that TheWife brought her shoes over and said “if there are any left over put them in my shoes”.

She had been watching and looking at what I was doing pretty closely and got pretty interested. There were not enough left over for her shoes and I have some plans for hers and these shoes too, which I will talk about later.

Nope didn’t walk on the floor – I know better than to do something stupid like that, especially with TheWife watching me like a hawk ;-).

Initially walking around outside with the SoleSpikes in the bottom of my shoes felt weird, but once I got on the driveway, I immediately noticed that I was walking on it instead of slipping and sliding around – so far so good.

TheWife put on her YakTrax and we decided to go down back and really check them out and see how they worked, here is the testing area:

This is the road down back – lots of ice.

As people have driven on it, the road has several sections of ice and snowy ice. When it gets this way, we often choose to walk someplace else, not a good place to fall and hurt yourself in when it is -2 with the wind chill.

In this picture I had just tried to spin around, it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

This picture is where I tried to see how quickly I could scuff up the ice, while keeping my other foot still.

Here I was dragging my foot backwards a few times about 4 feet to see if any of the spikes came out – they didn’t.

I was very impressed with how the SoleSpikes worked!

The only problem I had with them was on the clear/hard ice sections, they slid around a little then (crampons would work good on that ice), but as long as I stayed in the white ice/snow ice, I had no trouble or issues with slipping or sliding around. I did like – when I walked on the tar, it didn’t feel unnatural and I was able to walk normally, although a little louder than usual – the SoleSpikes didn’t change my gait.

Goat Head Sole Spikes worked as advertised.

This quick test also answered a bunch of questions that I had about putting the SoleSpikes into my shoes:

Would I feel the spikes through the sole? – Not a bit with these shoes. However, they might bother on a thinner soled shoe, so that is something to consider when you are putting SoleSpikes into the sole of your shoe.

How would they do on tar? No issues, but I would think that they would wear a lot more quickly with wearing them on tar/concrete.

Can I take them out? Yes without a problem, but it does compromise the sole of your shoe (puts a hole in it) so probably will affect how long you could use those shoes.  I chose an old pair of road shoes, so that I would have a good platform for the screws, but almost any shoe would work if you are careful with spike placement.

The biggest question I have and my wife asked while we were walking, was why pay for the Solespikes when you can just go down to the hardware store and buy sheet metal screws for a lot less?  According to the Goat Head Gear site the reason is:

Sole Spikes made from cold-forged, heat-hardened, corrosion resistant stainless steel for maximum durability

This is the other part of the test. Tomorrow I plan to go down to the hardware store and get some sheet metal screws. Then take the Solespikes out of one of my shoes and put them in one of the wife’s shoes and then put the sheet metal screws in the other shoes. This way we will have an unscientific way of comparing how Sole Spikes wear versus sheet metal screws after a few weeks of wearing them outside.

Looking outside with all the snow, ice and the nastiest weather of winter still to come, I know that these shoes will get a lot of use and time to see how this simple test works out.

So far I have been very impressed with how well the SoleSpikes worked. I would not have dared to go walk down that road this morning in running shoes without having something else on them. I will be interested to see how the wear test goes.

I do know that if I had these before my race yesterday that my time would have been a few minutes faster, than it was.

This is an initial product review post, where I give my first impressions of a product and then within a month, I plan to do a follow-up review of the same product to tell my thoughts about it after actually using it for while.

FTC Disclaimer – I was provided this product free of charge to review it on my blog and received no other forms of compensation to do this review. My opinions about this product will be my honest observations, based upon my experience while I am using this product.