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mickdog Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "mickdog" journal:

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December 3rd, 2011
05:04 pm

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EMBARGO 2012 Registration is now open!
{x-posted to BARGE, twitter, and probably a few other places}

EMBARGO 2012 registration is finally open.  The event page including
a description of events and a link to the registration page is
available here:

http://www.barge.org/embargo2012info.html

Note: At the request of our host casino, during the registration process
we're collecting only the portion of each event fee that will go toward
the house fee and the toke pool. The portion of the event fee that
will go to the prize pool will be collected on site at the time of
the event. So, make sure you bring an extra $60/$60/$100 as appropriate
to each event!

Also, we're doing basically the same thing for the Dealer's Choice
event as we did last year. We've seeded the list of available games
with the same ones we started with last year, and each entrant is
permitted to submit the rules to one game to add to that list. The,
uh, non-standard games we had so much fun playing last year will *not*
be added to the list of allowed games unless someone resubmits them.
Of course, our host casino reserves a veto power over any game that
they think they won't be able to deal or might cause them some
administrative or regulatory grief.

If you have any questions, let us know, or bring them up on the BARGE
list.

--
Nick, Michael, Bree

(Leave a comment)

October 9th, 2011
07:34 pm

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The Race
Pre-race routine: Carbo load according to the latest research on the subject starting Friday. I was supposed to gain 4 lbs (1 lb carbs, 3 lbs water, based on my weight, resting heart rate, etc.) - I only made it to 3 lbs, it was hard eating so much. Laid out all my stuff the night before, took it easy, went to bed at 9pm. Really didn't fall asleep until 10 but slept well until 5am.  Ate about 400 calories between 5-5:30. Had a cup of coffee and then started pre-hydrating from 5:30-6:30. Got about 24 oz in. 

Left at 5:55am with wife who drove me and dropped me off about 8 blocks from the start line. There are 12000 total runners across the Marathon, Half, and 10K race, so it was quite chaotic. Got to my start area at 6:30, took 10 minutes to check my bag, so I took out what I needed while I waited in line. That consisted of a hydration belt with 32oz of Powerade (with some extra sugar and salt mixed in), my wristwatch GPS (for pacing), and my mp3 player. After dropping everything else off, I immediately got in line to go to the bathroom. It took 15 minutes, and I climbed in the porta-poty as the national anthem was being played. Got out just in time for the first wave of elite runners to be released. I got in my group, and 9 minutes later I crossed the Start Line!

Race: I was making fun of NFL players who talk about breaking the season down into 4 games at a time, but I'm going to do the same thing and break the race down into four 6+mile segments.

0-6.5: The Fun. The cheering, excitement, and the novelty of my first marathon made this a good start. I felt good, the knee seemed fine, and I was running in the 9:30 range which was fast. I actually was trying to slow down because the runners all seemed to go out at a blistering pace. There was some light rain for a few minutes but it felt nice in the 54 degrees overcast day. My wife got to see me three different times in this first quarter as it was an out and back. I also saw a neighbor who was there for his wife running the half. I think he was surprised to see me waving at him.

6.6-13.2: The Pain. Around mile 6 my leg started hurting, not the injured knee but the thigh. It probably was directly due to the knee (via overcompensation, the bursa pushing on the quad causing pulling above, less training, etc.) but it wasn't pleasant. Also it started to rain again, this time a light shower. It lasted for most of this part of the race. I could feel my feet getting wet and I was hoping I wouldn't get blisters. The pain slowed me down to 10-10:15 min/miles. I hoped it wouldn't last.

13.3-19.9: Rebound. Right around the beginning of this time I heard Terrence's interview on 2+2 pokercast about his MMA fight. This was good because I needed some encouragement then, and listening to the things he endured while training but still triumphing at the end did the trick. So thanks Terrence you unwittingly helped me through my marathon. We were coming to the long slow climb (about 4 miles) to the St. John's Bridge, the highest point of the race (140ft above the start). It was hard and I was going slow 11-12:30 min/miles but surprisingly, the pain subsided. I think my endorphins kicked in because I really couldn't feel my legs any longer. My feet were achy but everything else was good. I reached the top of the bridge and was pretty emotional. The rain had stopped, and you could see downtown Portland in the distance. I had just run 18 miles to this spot! I headed down the other side and slowly made my way through neighbor streets.

19.9-26.2: Going down, fighting. At mile 20 I had some emotional support. My wife, my son, and a few friends and there kids were waiting to cheer me on. I low-fived them as I went past, and they helped me get through the next few miles. During that time I caught up to my friend Joesph, who runs Ultramarathons for fun, but had only trained for this for a few weeks. He was having some troubles but we ran together for a mile or so which also was good. At mile 22 it is downhill for two miles. This was murder on my knee and at a time I should be gaining time, I was l losing it as I had to shorten my steps to minimize the pain. So many people passed me. I was getting depressed. I switched to my Go List - a mix of upbeat, high energy songs to keep my feet moving.

It helped and I pressed on. I knew if I stopped running, I might not start again so I plodded along, my legs tightening in response to the swelling and pain. I saw injured people on the side of the road; so close to the finish; I didn't want to be them. I kept plodding at a 11-12 min/mile pace. The last bridge to cross was at mile 25 and I picked up the pace a bit, but my form was so bad by now. I was hunched over with shortened steps, but it was only 4 times around the track now, I told myself.

During into the downtown blocks the crowds thickened again and their encouragement was helpful. My son and wife were there at the end, but I didn't see them, I was only focused on the last two turns to the finish. I knew I was over 4:30 but not exactly sure where. 4:34:09 (or 12, it is listed differently in two places on the website and is not official yet) is what I was able to manage. Without the knee problems I'm not sure I'd've beaten 4 hrs but it would have been close. I'm proud of what I could do, considering.

Post-Race: I was shaky and nauseous for the first 10 minutes as I wound through the food and drink. I managed to sip some water, eat a half of a banana, and grab some M&M's for my son. I got my medal as well as a cool finisher's coin which will be a very nice card protector. I found my family (or should I say, they found me, I was still a little loopy), and we grabbed my stuff and started the verrry sloooow walk back to the car. Then off to lunch at a favorite burger joint in town, which was a perfect way to conclude to my Marathon experience.

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04:47 pm

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Pre-race report (only read if you like my training reports)
Training went pretty well in July, until the end. Then I got sick for a few days and had to curtail my daily runs. Then it was off to BARGE and I did run everyday but my mileage was reduced as the heat was pretty draining.

Things got better once I returned, but I was having up and down long runs. My 15-mile run was on one of the hottest days of the year here in Portland, and I ran out of water on mile 11. Luckily I luckboxed into finding a park that actually had a working public water fountain and refilled. My 18-mile run two weeks later was in beautiful Bandon, OR on a vacation with the family. The foggy morning was perfect for running and I had a great session. I was feeling ready for the marathon. However my 20-mile (the last long run of training) was a case of me not fueling enough before I ran. By mile 7 I was hungry(!) and by mile 14 I knew I was in trouble. I bonked around mile 18 and had to walk a mile before I jogged, exhausted, to the end.

I few days later I had back to back 10 mile runs. I don't know if something specific happened, more than likely this had been building for a long time, but that night, I noticed my knee was swelling up like a grapefruit. It didn't hurt much but was impeding my flexing of my knee by a 25-30% reduction. At first I thought it was water on the knee and just rested it for a day and half, but running on Sunday told me it was something more. After some online investigation and home diagnosis, I figured out that is was suprapatellar bursitis. That just means that the bursa sac that is between the quad tendons just above the patella had become inflamed due to over use. I knew I needed to back off and do the R.I.C.E. techniques (rest, ice, compression, elevation) combined with some over the counter anti-inflammatories. Things did improve but I was missing so many running days (it can take two weeks for it to heal completely). I finally started to feel more normal and I began testing it out.

This past Tuesday I could run five miles pain free, so that was encouraging, since for a while I thought I might be walking this marathon. I decided that even though my legs and cardiovascular system weren't getting the proper workout, I'd run just a light 3 miles on Thursday and that was going to be it until Sunday am. Those last two weeks, even though they were a taper, I was supposed to run 83 miles total (I was running 55-60 per week prior). I only ran a total of 30 miles total in 14 days.

This injury lowered my expectations significantly. Originally hoping for a 4:00 marathon, I figured anything under 5:00 would be acceptable. This sets up my next post: The Race.

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01:15 pm

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Marathon Quick Report
Unofficial Result is just over 4:34  (10:28 min/miles). I survived but it was hard, definitely the hardest physical thing I've ever done. I'll post a full report later - actually I'll post three: A pre-race catch-up that goes into more details over my past  few months of running, a race report which will probably be more interesting to the wider audience, and a post-race report in a few days to see how I'm recovering.

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October 4th, 2011
08:27 pm

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I'm still alive and still running
I know I've not posted in forever, but I've still been training for this Sunday's Marathon. It has had its ups and downs, I'm currently swinging back up from a bad week with some bursitis in my right knee. I did run pain free today for the first time in 9 days so that was good. I've had to take many days off these past two weeks.

I know I'll finish the race but I don't think I'll hit my original 4hr mark. Anything under 5hrs will be considered a win at this point. I promise I'll post a post-race report which is much more detailed than this lame update.

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July 23rd, 2011
12:05 pm

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Marathon Training Log: Week 7 - sidelined by cold
I spent 3 hours at the home with an 8 month old and of course I caught a cold. grrr.  However I'd rather get it now than at BARGE, so for that I'm thankful.

It hit me Monday, sidelined my running for Tuesday and luckily I had Wednesday off, so I wasn't a huge deal. Really only a 48 hour thing.

Training Schedule: Monday 6mi, Tuesday 3x1mi (fast), Wed off, Thurs 7mi (fast), Fri 7mi, Sat 8mi, Sun 14mi (slow)  - total 45mi

What I did: Everything but the Tuesday workout, I did some cross training on the elliptical Wednesday. -total 42mi

Weight: dropped another .5lb down to 187.5 - I thought that meant I was slowing down but I'm lighter this week also, it'll be interesting to see where my weight stabilizes.

The best part of the week was that I ran the farthest I've ever gone: 14miles. That was a nice accomplishment.

I'll post this week's stuff before I go to BARGE, and then I'm going to move my schedule around during BARGE a bit so things won't be so crazy. But I'll still get the same amount of miles in.

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11:38 am

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Marathon Training Log: Week 6 - late report
With the last week being a busy one on the BARGE front, I've kept forgetting to do last week's update. So here's what I remember:

Training schedule: M 6mi, T 3x1mi (fast), W rest, Th 7mi (fast) , F 6mi, Sat 10mi, Sun 8mi (slow) : 40mi total

What I did: exactly that but accidentally switched Th and Fri. So I ran 6mi fast Th AND 7mi fast Fri. 40mi total!

Weight dropped another pound to 188.  Overall a good week, nothing spectacular, just solid.

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July 9th, 2011
10:57 am

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Marathon Training Log: Week 5 - I'm spastic
The "Minor Injury of the Week Club" wanted to send me something new and exciting so I got back muscle spasms! It doesn't feel as if I've actually hurt my back but instead it feels more like my back is getting fatigued. I got a particularly bad one Saturday night but it didn't prevent my long run on Sunday.  I think I need to start on some core strengthening exercises to keep my back up to par with my legs.

Training Schedule: Mon 6mi, Tuesday 3x1mile sprints, Wed off, Thursday 6mi fast, Fri 7mi, Sat 6 mi, Sun 12mi slow

What I did: everything except my Sun run was 11.25 -- my back started to tweak a bit and I didn't want to push it. Total: 39.25mi run

Weight is down to 189.0 which is good. I still have to watch my hydration, I think I got a little dehydrated on Wednesday (my off day) because I just didn't consume enough water while I was doing some cleaning and other chores. My body is processing so much water these days I need to be conscious of it all the time.

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July 2nd, 2011
06:43 pm

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Marathon Training Log: Week 4 - Improvements
It has been a good week of training. Nothing bad happened, I was able to hit most of my time goals, and I'm seeing improvements in my fitness. I probably need a little more sleep to optimize my recovery, so I'll work on that.

Training Schedule: Mon 6mi, Tue 3x1mi (fast), Wed off, Thurs 6mi (fast), Fri 6mi, Sat 8mi, Sun 8mi (slow) - Total 37mi

What I did: Exactly that! - Total 37 miles.

It was a lower mileage week but I added a faster long run on Thursday. Next Sunday I have a 12mi run (!) which I hope to either complete 11 or 12 miles of.

My weight is still going down, but slowing: 190.5. I probably ate a little more than I needed, it is hard to figure out how much I need on the long run days. During an 8 mile run I burn about 1200-calories.

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June 20th, 2011
09:50 am

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Marathon Training Log: Week 3 - Rebound
This was a MUCH better week. Blisters have mostly healed, and although a few new ones started, none with the the pain associated with the early ones. Before every run I'm putting Vaseline over my entire foot, then using Nylon-based socks, and am tying my shoes differently. That combined with my feet toughening up seems to be keeping things good.

Training Schedule: M 7mi, T 3x1mi fast, W off Th 6mi fast, F 7mi, Sat 7mi, Sun 10mi slow       Total: 40mi

What I did: M 7mi, T 3x1mi, W off, Th 6mi, F 7mi, Sat 7.1m, Sun 9mi slow (1mi walk)                Total: 39.1mi (1mi walk)

So overall. I kept to the program except for the long run. Not having done the 8mi run last week, I didn't want to push it this week.

My weight is slowly dropping, I'm now 191. My body is using up a huge amount of water on these runs, and I am drinking large amounts of water or sports drinks throughout the day.  Had a physical last week and my blood work was done showing that all my electrolytes are in the upper normal range so that is good. Blood pressure was 124/68 and my resting heart rate was 64.  I'm feeling healthy right now.

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