Monday, December 31, 2007

Backpacking Stony Valley

Went backpacking in Stony Valley from Sunday to Monday. We got on the trail around 2:00 and were at the Rausch Creek Shelter off the Appalachian Trail by 3:30. After making camp, Brian and I took a hike to an old cemetery east of Rausch Creek and paid our respects to John Proud and his two plot mates. Around the time we began our hike back to the shelter it began to sleet. It then began to rain. We had supper and spent some time spinning yarns, but we all hit the rack by 7:00. When we got up 12 hours later there was 3 inches of snow on the ground and blue skies. It was a beautiful morning to hike out. As usual, we had a big breakfast at the Farmer's Wife. Additional images can be viewed by clicking on the slide show below.

Prep For Boston V/The Holidays

We had a great holiday and Christmas was a lot of fun with the boys. We also increased our family size by one very loveable cat that we adopted from PAWS.

Despite the break in routine, I was able to maintain a decent training schedule. On Monday, Christmas Eve, I went for an 18.5 mile bike ride. I managed a 16 mph pace. Tuesday was Christmas, so I didn't get out, but played a lot of Playstation with Kyler. Wednesday, I was back out on the bike and did 25 miles at 17.2 mph. On Thursday, I did a 5 mile trail run on the Lancaster Junction Trail. For this run, I did a 1 mile warm-up, 3 miles at 6:44 pace and then a 1 mile cool-down. Later, I went through my weight routine. I took off Friday. Saturday was 10 miles at 7:22 pace. I ran this harder than I should have, but I didn't feel too bad. Sunday to Monday I went backpacking.

It is now 16 weeks until Boston, so I guess I will start my official "16 week" program. I wasn't going to start it this early, but looking at the calendar and taking into account bad weather, which will surely arrive, I better begin now.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Prep For Boston IV

This was the week before the holidays, so I wanted to try and stick to my schedule as best as I could. I know the week coming up is going to be tough. Monday was a rest day. Tuesday was back to the track. I did 2x800 @ 3:05 pace. This included a 1 mile warm-up and cool-down. My neck was bothering me on Wednesday, so I opted for the bike trainer instead of the pool. I did another FIRST recommended workout: 10 minute warmup; 6X(1 minute hard, 4 minutes easy) then a 5 minute cool-down. On Thursday I ran my second "Fishmagic 5K." I set a new course record, 20:10. I'd like to go under 20:00 before I resume marathon training. I took off Friday. Saturday there was a church men's breakfast in Bainbridge, so I ran to it. It was 10.17 miles and I ran at a 7:49 pace. I had someone give me a lift home. I didn't workout Sunday, because we went to my in-laws for Christmas. In addition to the above workouts, I lifted for 30 minutes Tuesday and Thursday afternoon.

I've been happy with the maintenance schedule I worked out for the interim between marathons and marathon training. It's helped me maintain my routine, and I'm staying in good shape. I should have no problem once I start increasing the mileage for Boston.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Fishmagic 5K Results 12/20/07

Woohoo!!! a 20:10 this morning. A new course record.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Prep for Boston III

The weather was warmer this week, and I was able to maintain my routine without any problems. On Tuesday, I was back at the track after a about a 4-5 week hiatus. I ran 4x400s @ sub 6:00 pace with a 400 rest interval between each one. I also lifted and took Tina's Pilates class later in the day. Wednesday was pool day. I did a 600 yard warm-up followed by 6x100s then 6x50s and a 200 yard cool down. I felt a little tinge in my neck, and sure enough, I have had a stiff neck ever since. Hopefully it is better by Wednesday. Thursday was to be a tempo day, but in an earlier post, I explained how the "Fishmagic 5k" was born. I plan to run some hard 5ks until mid-January. Saturday I went for an 8 miler at 7:35 pace and on Sunday I did 45 minutes on the bike trainer. I was following one of the recommended FIRST cross-training workouts and did an 8 minute warm-up, then 30 minutes slightly harderfollowed by a 7 minute cool down all the while maintaining over a 100 rpm pace.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fishmagic 5K

I was going to run a tempo workout this morning (1 mile warm-up, 2miles at tempo pace, 1 mile cool-down), but I gambled on the "two-hour-delay" phone call, which never came, and I laid in bed too long to go 4 miles.

I finally got up, and got out the door, but with little time to run, so I decided to go for a 3 miler. A half mile into the run, I decided to run a fast mile, so I opened it up to 6:20 pace. At the end of that mile, I slowed down, but then decided to run a fast 5K. Thus the innaugral "Fishmagic 5K" was born. The race is going to be held Thursday's in December and at least the first half of January, before I have to up my mileage. There is no entry fee, no medals, no cheering crowds, no tee shirt and no race amenities. Starting time for each race is 5:00 a.m. if anyone is interested.

Course Map

Current Course Record: 20:10

Monday, December 10, 2007

Prep for Boston II

I got a good taste of winter marathon training this past week. In an earlier post, I wrote about running in the cold and snow. All of my runs this week were in the cold and I had to contend with wind also.

Started out with a 3 mile fartlek run on Tuesday. The wind was out of the west, and I began my run going east, so things were nice. But, when you go out, you must come back, so my fartlek workout was intesified on my return home. Wednesday I swam 1500 yards - 500 warmup, 5x100 @ 1:48, 5x50 @ :48, 250 yard cool down. I don't know where those time stack up against other swimmers, but I was huffing and puffing. It was a great workout. Thursday, I was going to go for a 4 mile run with 2-3 miles at tempo pace, but the snow and ice prohibited me from doing that, so I just ran a steady 4 miles. Saturday I went for a 10 mile run at 7:30 pace. It was the best I have felt since the Harrisburg Marathon. Sunday I was on the bike trainer. I did a 10 minute warmup followed by eight 45 second sprints with a 10 minute cooldown. I then got off the bike and did 3 sets of wall sits in preparation for ski season. I have also been lifting, and went through my full body routine Tuesday and Thursday after school.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Running in a Winter Wonderland

One of my concerns about training for Boston, running throughout the winter, was alleviated this morning. I wasn't sure what it was going to be like getting up at 4:45 in January and February, but this morning December gave me a preview and it wasn't bad at all.

It was 14 degrees and there was two inches of snow on the ground. The sky was clear; Orion up in the west shone brightly. I enjoyed hearing the snow crunch as I ran. I was going to try to run at least two miles of my scheduled 4 mile run at tempo pace, but it was difficult to maintain a steady pace because of the uneven surfaces and icy conditions. I ran 4 miles around an 8:00 minute pace, which was fine with me given the conditions.

Bring on winter!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Prep for Boston

Fall marathons are behind me, and I'm feeling back to normal. Guess that means it's time to start getting ready for Boston.

I'm going to follow the Furman's FIRST program again, but with a few modifications. Instead of biking twice a week, I'll probably swim one day and ride the bike trainer one day. If the weather permits, I'll ride outdoors. If it doesn't, then it's the trainer or an extra day in the pool. An extra day in the pool will do me good. I'm planning on running the "Got the Nerve" triathlon again, and I'd like to improve my swim time.

Last week I got back on my schedule: Tuesday - run, Wednesday - cross-train, Thursday - run, Saturday- long run and Sunday - Cross train. I have also thrown in weightlifting Tuesday and Thursday evenings for the winter. Throughout December and January, I'll maintain the schedule, but I'll reduce both intensity and volume. I'll start going over 13-15 miles come February. I'm sure I'll miss some days because of weather and other events, but I have a good base, and I'll be ready come April. My Boston goal is not necessarily to PR, but to finish between 3:20-3:30.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

"Dangerous Book for Boys"

I have never read this book, but I probably could have been a contributing writer. Both my boys have had the advantage of traipsing around in Chiques Park off the beaten path, which led them to sliding down hills, climbing over rocks and extricating themselves from concertina-like briars. They do so with a smile, because after all, that is what "super hero" training is all about.

Yesterday we sought a cache that was located up the side of a hill, and the aforementioned actions were needed to locate it: rock climbing, hill sliding and extracation. We were successful. This made our 4th cache of the holiday.

It was beautiful day to be out: cold, bright and the under brush had died back.

The feature that Kyler is pointing to is a trace fossil of scolithus linearis

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Geocaching

Growing up, Thanksgiving morning was always set aside for pheasant hunting. Now, with the absence of pheasants, new tradtions are being created. The boys and I spent our morning "hunting" for geocaches. We found two in Mount Joy, including a microcache. We then went to my in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner, and before we ate, we took a drive to Struble Lake, located near Honeybrook, and found our third cache of the day.

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving, and remember: "Cache in; trash out."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Harrisburg Marathon 2007


I spent the last two weeks recovering from the Marine Corps Marathon and training for this one. I had some good training runs prior to Sunday and felt fully recovered from the MCM. I changed my diet around three days prior to Sunday; I really loaded up on carbs. During my last two marathons I was plagued with cramps around mile 20. I figured it didn't have as much to do with lack of training as lack of fuel. So, after doing some reading, I loaded up the muscles with glycogen.

On race day, I got up at 5:30 and went for a 1 mile run to get the system warmed-up. I ate a bagel and drank a glass of Accelerade. We got the kids ready and "Team Enck" was on the road by 7:00. I ate a Powerbar on the way to continue the fueling process.

We got to City island around 7:40 in the morning and check in was simple. The weather was brisk, but the sun was out and you could feel it's warmth as long as you weren't in the shade. Went for a half mile run and was back at the starting line by 8:20.

While at the starting line, I met John, who took Pilates from Tina. He had two friends, Howard and Andy, who were, like John, trying to Qualify for Boston. John and Howard needed 3:30s, but Andy needed a 3:20. I too wanted to try for a 3:20, so Andy and I decided to run together.

The race went off promply at 8:30

Miles 0-5

The race was a little bunched at the start, but not as bad as the MCM, despite a little more room to maneuver, we only managed an 8:20 pace for the first mile. After that, we picked up the pace, and made up the deficit by mile 3. In hind sight, this might have been a little too much too early. Perhaps we should have made it up over a longer period of time as we were running at sub 6 minute pace for short periods of time. This section included a short run on the Greenbelt which was nice and easy on the legs.

Miles 6-10

Settled into a nice pace averaging about 7:30 per mile. The weather was perfect and the views along the river on front street were phenomenal. Both Andy and I were running smooth and were able to maintain a conversation, which was an indication that we were running within our means. At one point during this stretch, we had almost 1 minute of time in the bank. We decided to slow up a little and conserve some energy.

Miles 11-15

No problems here. Pace was good, around 7:35 a mile. We did encounter our first hill, but it wasn't that bad and we pushed over the top and made our way towards the HACC campus. This section was flat and it was the first time that I was able to rendezvous with "Team Enck, " which now included Linda K. I enjoyed the cheers and Kyler's pronouncement that Tristan "peed on his leg." This gave me something to ponder and chuckle about. Also had to take care of an equipment issue around mile 15.5. My timing chip, which I laced onto my shoe, was digging into the top of my foot and cutting off circulation to my calf. I loosened my shoe, and things were back to normal.

Miles 16-20

Boston may have "Heartbreak Hill, " which I intend to experience, but Harrisburg has Wildwood Park. We were running with 30 seconds in the bank when we entered the park, but I knew after the first hill we were probably going to expend that quickly. This part of the run, while scenic, was brutal and consisted of 4 steep rolling hills along the eastern edge. They took their toll and as we came out of the park, we not only burned our surplus, we were in a 40 second deficit. The question became, how fast do we make it up? By mile 19, we had gotten back about 10 seconds. "Team Enck" was waiting at Mile 19. I gave Kyler a high five and pushed on. We made it up a short hill at mile 20 and only a 10K downriver remained, but that was going to be a long 10K with a 30 second deficit.

Mile 21-Finish

There were a few runners in front of me, and I decided to try and overtake them to provide myself with a goal that would help me pick up the pace while taking my mind off my flagging energy levels. I was maintaining about a 7:40 pace, and knew I had to hold that to crack 3:20.
At mile 23 I was running on empty and glanced down at my watch only to realize that I had fallen to about a 7:55 pace. I did the math, but it wasn't going to work in my favor: I couldn't muster a 7:30 pace over the next 3 miles. I came close, but a 3:20 will have to wait for another day.

All in all, I was happy with my performance: I ran a 3:21:57, which is a new PR, came in 87th overall and 7th in my age group. It was a great day to run and I enjoyed running with Andy. It was certainly nice to have someone to help with the pacing and keep my mind off the run. And, I solved another piece of the marathoning puzzle: Fueling properly before a long race can stave off cramps.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Tristan "Chuck Norris" Enck

Tristan "Chuck Norris " Enck doesn't sleep, he waits.

Police label anyone attacking Tristan "Chuck Norris" Enck as a code 45-11 - sucicide

Tristan "Chuck Norris" Enck grinds his coffee with his teeth and boils water with his rage.

There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Tristan "Chuck Norris" Enck lives in Pennsylvania.

Some people wear Superman pajamas; Superman wears Tristan "Chuck Norris" Enck pajamas.

Marathon Season XIV

I thought I had written my last post for this season, but I have decided to run the Harrisburg Marathon on 11/11, so I'm technically still training.

I didn't do anything for two days after the MCM. My quads were hurting; steps were not my friend. By Wednesday, however, I felt like I was recovering, so I rode the bike trainer for 30 minutes. On Thursday, I went through my weight routine, and I was back to running on Friday. My first day back I ran 3 miles at 8:00-9:00 minute per mile pace. Saturday I went out for six miles and ran under 8:00 MPM pace. On Sunday I went on a 15 mile ride with the cycling club, which is highlighted below.

Not sure how hard I'm going to run this Sunday. I'll be happy with anything under 3:30, which is Boston qualifying time for me. If I feel good, and conditions are right, I may try for a new PR.

Manheim Township Cycling Club Ride

(Josh, Joe, Me, Brad and Matt)

Went for a ride with members of the Manheim Township Cycling Club yesterday. It was my first ride as the new faculty advisor to the club. We met at the school at 1:00 then proceeded to the northeast. I was amazed at the amount of open farmland and low traffic volume in this area. It reminded me of rides outside of Mount Joy.

We maintained about a 14-15 mph pace, which was fine with me, because of being in recovery mode from last week's Marine Corps Marathon. Shortly after leaving the school, we encountered our first hill, which I believe would have been Kissel Hill. After a short climb we were treated to a really nice downhill, which ended in the Millport Conservancy region. This was the most beautiful part of the ride. The stream - Lititz Run - looked really nice with a decent flow. I began dreaming of where I would cast if I were fly-fishing, but my dream was shattered by "BustyourBallstown" Road. While not a long hill, it definetely was steep, and got the heart pumping. I was reminded yet again of something my earth science prof at LVC told the class: "the world is flat when you're driving in a car. If you want to experience topography and the results of tectonic forces, ride a bicycle."

After the climb, we were rewarded with another nice downhill, and then a general leveling off back to the school. Got back around around 2:00. Really nice ride with a great bunch of young riders.

Monday, October 29, 2007

MCM 2007 Race Report


We got on the road at 11:30 and had an easy drive to Washington but for the fact that Mapquest gave us some screwy directions. Checked into the Courtyard Hilton in Arlington by 3:00, then made our way up the street to the Ragtime Pub for a little refreshment. Little did we know it was a WVU hang-out. Mountaineer fans were there in force watching Rutgers get trounced.

Afterwards, we headed to the Armory on the Metro. We got there later this year and didn't experience any wait to get in. Packet pick-up went smoothly and we enjoyed the fitness expo. I was able to pick up some new tights and "snack-ass" shorts for the next day. We headed back to the hotel then out for some Thai food. I had pad thai for my pre-race supper. Went back to the hotel and watched PSU get whooped.

Got up at 5:30 and went for a 10:00 minute run to help get rid of some Thai food. Had a little breakfast and coffee along with some sports drinks. We boarded the metro around 7:00 and arrived at Arlington 25 minutes prior to the start. Things were set up a little differently. It was easier to get to the corrals. Tina walked up with me to the starting line and snapped my picture with Miles the mascot and his girlfriend. I don't know what her name is. I wanted my picture taken with the Redskin's cheerleaders, but Tina wouldn't take it. I don't understand why not. I was only trying to do them a favor.

Snuck in the bushes for a last voiding of the bilges then listened to a great rendition of the National Anthem, which included a flyover of two Ospreys - the aircraft, not the birds. Al Grey the former Commandant of the Marine Corps gave a great speech: "Ladies and Gentlemen I'm honored to be here, good luck." A man of few words.

Then it was 8:00, the band struck up the Marine Corps hymn, and we were off.

Miles 0-5
As usual there was a lot of bunching at the start, and it was hard to get into a rhythm. Spent a lot of energy passing and dodging slower runners. I felt good and managed a 7:40 pace. The highlight was crossing the Key Bridge into Georgetown, however, the wind coming across the bridge was gusting hard and made it difficult to maintain pace.

Miles 6-10
Once in Georgetown, the course took a different turn from last year and there were more hills. We went along the Potomac, up to a reservoir, then made a sharp turn and headed back down bypassing Georgetown and proceeding into Washington. My average pace was 7:36. I had one slower lap due to bladder issues which required a pit stop along the course.

Miles 10-15

This section, in my opinion, is the heart and soul of the Marine Corps Marathon and why it's named the marathon of monuments. You pass them all: Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, the White House and the Capitol. On a beautiful day like Sunday, you couldn't help feeling national pride. This section is filled with numerous spectators and the time goes quickly; there seems to be a bit more spring in the step when passing through. Around the Smithsonian is the half-way point; at 13.1 I clocked 1:41:03, and my GPS pace was 7:27. I should mention here that my GPS pace, or the pace I was recording on my device, is different than the actual course pace and distance. The course is measured to the inside, and unless you always run tucked into the inside, you are going to run farther than 26.2 miles. At the half marathon point, I was actually 2/10th of a mile farther ahead according to my device.

Miles 16-20

This section is the lonliest on the course. You have to run around Haines Point. Last year this is where things fell apart for me. I thought this year was going to be different, but because of an early fast pace and strong winds, I again felt the beginnings of cramps in the thighs. I had no choice but to shorten my stride, consequently, my pace fell off. I began to consume gels and sport beans in an effort to stave off full blown cramps. Unlike last year, I held them at bay and around mile marker 19, I began to pick up my pace again. Also around mile marker 19 I began to hear cheers for Miss Utah. She was right behind me, and closing. At a water point, she passed me and I followed her to mile 20. I had a strong tail wind going over the bridge into VA, and I used it to pull ahead. I figured she would beat me hands-down in a beauty contest, but this race was mine. My pace, however, fell to 7:42.

Miles 21 -26.2

I made it over the bridge with a 10k to go. I held off the cramps, but the race wasn't over. There was a large crowd in Crystal City, and Tina had caught up with me. As I passed her the first time, I asked if she had water, and she did. I hit the turn- around, and headed back. I stopped and downed another gel, drank some water, gave Tina a kiss and I was on my way again, but not alone: my old friend the cramps returned to keep me company. I was hurting, but I was detrmined to press on. I tried to pick up my pace a couple of times, but I wasn't strong enough to fight the wind and had to slow constantly. I was determined in the last two miles to not let anyone pass me. In fact, I began to reel a few in including a guy in a cow suit. A woman, however, who appeared to be older than me passed me at mile 25. No problem, a quick burst of speed and she would be broken. Not so, she passed me again. Another burst of speed and I was ahead, but she passed me again. Okay, the finish was only 200 yards away, I decided I was going to sprint home and off I went, but wait, What the hell!!!! They altered the finish, you had to run past it then turn around. I slowed, defeated, I couldn't muster another rally and sure enough, "slow and steady" defeated me. I did, however, have enough left for the grand stand and finished with my head and hands held high.

Final stats: 3:22:55; 835th overall; 737th male; 72nd in my division. And, I qualified for Boston. Sing it Kenny:

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Race for Education

Kyler had his "Race for Education" today at school. I was able to get off work in the afternoon, and join him. I was so proud, he ran his first mile, and at a pretty good pace. After that, we ran 100 yards then walked 100 yards for the remainder of the time. Despite the heat, he completed 19 laps - 4 and 3/4 miles - in an hour. He finished tied for first in his class and I believe tied for second in the first grade.

"Marathon Man"

Camping at Twin Grove

We went on a family camping trip with friends this past weekend. Tristan and I arrived at the KOA Friday night after a miserable drive through what seemed like a hurricane. We couldn't find our cabin, and once we did, we didn't have any power due to the storm. Luckily, I threw in a flashlight and we got unloaded then went to bed.

Tina and Kyler joined us the next day after Kyler's soccer game. We had a great time. The boys enjoyed the rides and arcade and being able to run free. Later in the afternoon, the boys and Makenzie went trick-or-treating. They were both impressed with their haul.

We had a great camping supper and hung out by the fire for awhile then we headed back to our cabin. I wasn't tired, so I went out on the porch after the boys were down. Struck up a conversation with our neighbors in the next cabin and was invited to join them around their fire. We had great conversations and a lot of laughs.

Got up Sunday and played with the kids at the campground after brerakfast then packed up and headed to the "Chinese Wall," or "Box Car Rocks" depending on what you want to call them. We had a nice time hiking on such a beautiful day.

Here's a few pictures from the weekend:

Marathon Season XIII

One week to go, 6 days actually. Last week was a good week of training until I did my long run. Tuesday was 5x1000 on the track at about a 6:15 pace. Wednesday I swam 1500 yards and Thursday was a 6 miler: 1 mile easy, 3 miles at 6:45, then 2 miles easy. We went camping this weekend and I got off my normal weekend routine. Got home Sunday, and decided to go out for a run in the middle of the day. My training plan called for 10 miles at marathon pace, which is 7:40 pace. Started out at 6:58 pace and was feeling good until I came to a long uphill. Once again, I was stupid and went out too fast in conditions that were too hot. I quickly began to fade. I was going to throw the towell in at 8.5 miles, but my buddy Scott saw me and pulled along side. "Do you need something to drink," he said. Ahh, relief, he gave me a whole bottle of Propel, which got me through the rest of my run. I managed to hang on for a 7:44 pace, but I was hurting. Thank you, Scott!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Marathon Season XII

Two weeks to go until the MCM. I had a good week of training. Tuesday was 10x400s along with Pilates in the evening; Wednesday I swam and set a PR for 1500 yards; Thursday I ran 7 miles at 7:20; Saturday I ran 13.1 in 1:38, which is well below BQ pace; and Sunday I went for a 25 mile bike ride. Despite the wind, I was able to crank out an 18 mph ride. In light of how I've been running, and more importantly how I've been feeling, I'm revising my MCM goal to 3:20. This is down 10 minutes from my original goal of 3:30, which is my BQ time. I have also given serious consideration to running the Harrisburg Marathon on 11/11. Might as well run while I'm in shape and before winter sets in.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Chiquesalunga and the AT Too

It was a nice weekend to get out, but it was a little on the warm side. My buddy Andy came up Friday afternoon and we hit the Chiques late in the day. We did well and each caught five different species of warm-water fish: Smallmouths, Green Sunfish, Red Breasted Sunfish, Rock Bass and Creek Chubs (venerable creek chubs as Walton would say). The smallies were quite nice and feisty. Andy took the prize for the largest one at just over 13". Great fun on 4wt rods. Andy also showed me how to ID rusty crayfish, and Asiatic Clams which, unfortunately, are now in the Chiques watershed. Capped of the day at Bube's.

Saturday we hiked into the Shikellamy Power Dam located between Rt. 183 and Rt. 501 on the AT. There was a kid fly fishing at the dam, so we set up camp then headed downstream. Perhaps I should say "downtrickle." The drought has really taken it's toll on small brookie streams, however, we each managed to hook a few. We then went back up to the pond and each caught another fish. The pond was loaded with brookies, but it was hard to fish, because the edges dropped off fast and it was hard to generate a back cast. After supper we explored the boulder field near our camp. Then at dark, we went on a "herp" hunt. We identified two species of salamanders in the stream near our camp. Oh, and an American Toad.

Sunday, after a leisurely breakfast and coffee, we headed out. We drove to the Northkill Creek and fished for an hour or so, but again, low water made it difficult. Decided to call it quits, and headed to the Union Barrel Works in Reamstown for lunch. This turned out to be a great find, and I would recommend it to anyone, especially the trout chowder and their pale ale.

Here's a slideshow of the weekend:

Marathon Season XI

It's so nice to be tapering. Last week I ran 6x800m @ 6:15 on Tuesday and a 6 mile tempo run @ 7:30 on Thursday. Wednesday I rode the bike trainer for an hour. It was a mistake to go that long on the trainer. Unlike road riding, the trainer keeps you in a more static position for a longer period of time, and I paid for it with a bout of sciatica.

I didn't run this weekend, because I was backpacking, which provided two nice aerobic workouts on Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Marathon Season X

Let the taper begin, Woohoo!! Last week was a good week of training despite not being able to get in a speed workout. On Thursday, I resumed my training and went for an 8 mile tempo run @ 7:30 pace. I lifted on Friday. I felt a need to add this back into my routine, because on a long run two weeks ago, I felt my upper back tighten up from the fatigue of holding up my arms. Saturday was my last long run. I was scheduled to do a 20 miler - my fifth one - but I stretched it out to 21. I maintained a 7:48 pace, well below where I need to be for the MCM. Sunday, was a beautiful day and I was able to get out for a 20 mile ride. I was averaging 20 mph over the first 2 miles, and was going to see if I could maintain that over the next 18 when my GPS bonked out. Forgot to recharge it. Not knowing my pace, I decided to ride hard, but not too hard. From here on out it is taper time.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Marathon Season IX

This post is late, but last week was a good week of training. On Tuesday, I ran 3x1600 @ 6:30 pace. Swam on Wednesday, 1500 Yards. 7 miles on Thursday at 7:20 and a 15 miler Saturday at 7:35. I was going to ride on Sunday, but was summoned to Long Level to go boating.

I'm off to a slow start this week, because Tina is out of town, but hope to resume training this evening, or maybe tomorrow. The break has been nice, but I'm getting antsy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Son of a Son of a Sailor

Well, maybe not the son of a sailor, but the sea was in my veins this past Sunday. We were invited by friends at church to spend the afternoon on Long Level. It was a gorgeous day and the boys and I had a great time. Tina, unfortunately, wasn't able to go, because of a business trip to New York.

The skipper gave us tour of Lake Clarke and then we anchored just above Safe Harbor dam for awhile. We swam and took in the day. Afterwards, we went wake tubing and Kyler had the distinction of being the youngest person to ever be pulled behind the boat.

We were certainly glad we had the opportunity to be on the water on an Indian Summer day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Marathon Season VIII

After the Harrisburg Half Marathon, I was shot. My quads were hurtin'. I went out for my run last Tuesday and according to my GPS I made it 78 feet. I then went into the basement and jumped on the eliptical trainer for a half an hour. I did pilates later that night. Wednesday I swam for 1500 yards, which did my legs a lot of good. I was feeling better by Thursday and went for a 10 mile trail run out at mount Gretna. It was nice to just run for fun and not worry about pace. Did a long run on Saturday of 20 miles and would have been under 8:00 pace, but for having to stop and fertilize to cornfields. It's never good to do a long run after an evening at the Leiderkrantz. On Sunday, I went biking and again averaged over 19 mph on a 20 mile ride.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Had the day off school for the observance of Rosh Hashana. Acting upon a tip that I received from someone earlier in the week, I got out the rod and hit some new water. I have been pretty "speciescentric" lately, and I decided I needed to pursue some warm-water fish, so I headed down to Little Chiques Park to fish below the dam breast.

The last time I acted on a tip involving a dam breast I ended up driving over an hour, buying an out-of-state license and catching a 4 inch green sunfish. I was hoping this tip was going to pan out better than the last one. But, to be honest, I'd make the same trip again. Hey, I wasn't skunked.

Walked up the dam, made a cast, and then another and BAM!, Fish on!! turned out to be a holdover brown. Made two more casts and I had a smallmouth. A little after that, I got into rock bass. I was having fun, so I decided to head down to the Big Chiques. I didn't catch any trout there but I did catch a mess of rock bass, sunfish and a smallmouth.

It was a great day to be out, and I have decided that I need to find more spots like the ones today. I miss fishing for smallmouths. Trout and their environs are still my favorite angling experience, but you can't beat a smallmouth for spunk. If I can find a few more productive areas, I'll pretty much have a fishery and an experience (light, fly rod smallmouth fishing) to my self. And, I like fishing when you're never sure what you might catch. Also, with everyone in the household adding to the calendar, it's nice to have some spots to fish other than the Donegal Creek that are within five minutes of home.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Harrisburg Half Marathon


This post will serve as my latest marathon update as well as a race report. This week prior to the race it was business as usual preparing for the MCM. I ran on the track Tuesday, and did 4x1200m at 6:20 pace. My training plan called for six 1200s, but since it was the first day back to school with students I cut the workout a little short. Fortunately, my wife is teaching a Pilates class at our church, so I was able to get in an hour of stretching and core work to make up for the shorter track workout. I wish I could fit more of that type of exercise into my plan. I was going to swim on Wednesday, but didn't, and pretty much took the day off. On Thursday, I did a split workout: 6 miles in the morning at 7:20 and 3 miles in the evening at 6:50. Went for a bike ride on Saturday and used my heart-rate monitor to stay aerobic.

Race Day

Got up at 5:30 a.m. and left the house by 6:15. I used the 45 minutes to get something to eat and to begin the hydration process. Arrived at City Island by 6:45, checked in, then went for a 1 mile run. I couldn't believe it, but for the first time, I had a nagging pain on the outside of my left ankle. I felt relaxed and ready to run, but was a little worried about the pain. Continued to hydrate and stepped to the line five minutes before 8:00.

My plan was to run the first half of the race at 7:30 pace and the second around 7:10. My goal was 1:36, and the Kenyan "outback" strategy seemed to be the way to go. The course, however, was very flat and after I started, I began to readjust and lowered my pace to 7:20. I was feeling good, but cautious because of the ankle and heat, and held that pace for 4 miles. I then decided to step it up a little to around 7:15. By this time, the pack was starting to stabilize. I began to focus on runners in front of me and began the methodical process of picking them off. There were only two small hills on the course, but I was able to pass clusters of runners on each of them.

At mile 8, I decided to speed up again, but I probably should have waited to mile 9 or 10. I went below a 7:00 pace, but the heat and humidity didn't allow me to maintain that and I began to fall off a little. I was worried about runners that I previously passed coming back to pass me, but they didn't. I held onto a 7:20 pace until mile 10, then a saw a group of runners who passed me early in the race. I decided to gut it out and go for them. I caught them around mile 11, and passed a female runner who was with the pack, but the two male runners were hard to pass. It wasn't long until a friend arrived: the last hill on the course. I was able to sprint up it and leave them behind. With 1 mile to go, I dropped my pace again to a sub 7:00 mile, and was able to kick it home and pass about five more runners in the process. There was one runner ahead of me with 100 yards to go, and at first, I thought I would not be able to catch him. With 50 yards to go, I decided to open it up. He heard me coming and took off. Both of us sprinted to the finish line and the winner, by 2 seconds. My legs still possess a little of the fast twitch fibers from my track and field days when I ran the 100, 200 and 400.

I ran a 1:33.40, which was well below my goal of 1:36. I was 61st out 697 runners, and 9th out of 60 in my age group. Overall, I was pleased with my performance and pleased with the Furman FIRST training program to this point.

On a final note, this was the second race that I ran this summer that was sponsored by the Harrisburg "Y" and in both cases they were run very efficiently and were a pleasure to compete in.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Marathon Season VII

After my long run last week, I wasn't sure how I'd do this week. My quads were in bad shape as a result of taking on the 3 "H's". As I mentioned in post VI, I did have a good ride last Sunday which sent me into the week with confidence.

Tuesday's track workout cocnsisted of a 1600m @ 6:31, a 3200m @ 6:47, then two 800m @ 6:26. After a warm-up run I began the 1600 and I actually felt good. I ended up running those four laps at about 6:26. After that, I was fine, but still didn't want to push too hard, because of the brutal long run. I ran the other intervals at around target pace. I swam on Wednesday morning, and put in 1500 yards. I am happy with my ability to swim longer, but I still need to work on getting faster, which comes down to taking some lessons. After the marathon, I may make that a priority. I just hope I can find someone willing to train me at 5:30 in the morning.

Thursday was tempo work: 1 mile easy, 4 miles @ 7:30 and then 1 mile easy. I felt good and pushed a little and averaged about 7:08 per mile.

Saturday was a 20 miler and what a difference a week makes. Well, a week and a 25 degree drop in temperature as well as a drop in humidity. Decided to run a little differently. Instead of strapping on a Camelback and going on a 20 miler through the countryside, I ran seven 3 mile loops. By doing this, I eliminated the weight on my back and was able to turn my house into an aid station. Every time I ran by, I drank and/or ate something. Everything worked well and I was able to average a 7:48 pace. With over a month to go until the marathon, I beleive I'm going to change my goal pace from an 8:00 minute mile to a 7:50. This should have me crossing the line around 3:25.00. The nice thing is, I'll have five minutes to play with to meet the Boston Qualifying time of 3:30.

Today I went out on my bike and set a new average speed PR over 20 miles: 19.1 mph. I have been trying to crack into the 19 mph range for a half of a year and today everything worked out.

I'm going to train moderately this week, because of the Harrisburg Half Maraton next Sunday. Goal: 1:36.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Marathon Season VI

I wasn't sure how this week would turn out, because of riding the Covered Bridge Metric Century last Sunday. Tuesday was speed work, and I did two sets of 6x400m. I thought I may have problems maintaining a 95 second pace, but I was actually able to do all of them around 85 seconds. My quads didn't seem to be affected by the ride. Wednesday was a cross-training day, and since I don't have any big rides coming up, I decided to put in a little pool work instead of biking. I swam 1000 yards, and then did some drills for a total of about 1500 yards. I made an equipment improvement that I was putting off due to modesty; I invested in a pair of lycra Speedos: the long kind, not short kind. I was amazed at the difference it made in swim performance, specifically the reduction in drag that is produced by wearing a "swimming suit." Thursday was tempo work, and again I had no problems. I ran 2 miles easy then 3 miles at 6:54 followed by 1 mile easy. Saturday was long-run day, and I was set to go 18 miles around an 8:00 min. pace. Started out well enough, and was under 8:00, but the 3 "H's" - hills, heat and humidity - put a hurting on me by mile 11. I managed to hang on to an 8:37 pace, but it was a struggle. The run left my quads in bad shape. I was planning on taking Sunday off, but late in the day I was able to get out for a bike ride. I was going to take it easy, but as I rode, I began to feel good, and ended up going over 18 miles and averaging 18.3 mph. It was a great way to salvage the weekend and make up for the sub par performance on Saturday.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Marathon Season V

I had one of my best weeks of training so far, and am more confident than ever that I can run a 3:30 come the end of October. Tuesday's speed work was 6 x 800 at 3:13. I was able to run all of them under 3:13. I swam on Wednesday instead of riding to give my butt a break for the upcoming Covered Bridge Metric Century (See next Post). On Thursday I ran an 8 mile run with 6 miles of tempo in the middle. The pace was to be 7:44, but again I went well under pace and ran 7:16. Saturday's long run was only 13 miles. It was a beautiful morning and I felt good so I decided to run a little faster than planned. The more I ran, the better I felt, so I pushed to see if I could run a 1:40 half marathon. In fact, I ended up running 1:36. I'm now hoping to go 1:35 at the Harrisburg Half Marathon in three weeks. Finished off the week with the Covered Bridge Metric Century.

Covered Bridge Metric Century

I rode my first century ride this morning - the Covered Bridge Metric Century sponsered by the Lancaster Bicycle Club.

I arrived at the starting point around 7:00 a.m. and was amazed at how many people were already there and riding. I checked in and tried to find a friend and his wife who I was to ride with, but I didn't have any luck. After a few sweeps of the area on my bike, I took off.

I was going to ride at around 14-15 mph pace, because of running a hard 13 miles on Saturday, but I felt good and took off at 18 mph. Around 15 miles into the ride, I was joined by another single rider who's name was Terry and we finished the ride together. Our pace was 18.5 mph, which I felt was good for my first century.

The course was nice and well marked and there were plenty of snack and water stops. We decided to skip the lunch stop, because we filled up at a stop manned by a family who seemingly just enjoyed setting up the stand for the riders. This stop turned out be a mile from the lunch stop, but as this was our first CBMC, we didn't know.

I think I could have done another 37 miles for a full century, but I would have definetely needed a break in there before the final push. Power Gels help, but they can only take you so far.

Now that I have run a marathon and ridden a metric century, I can say there is no comparison between the two. The marathon is far more taxing on the body.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Marathon Season IV

After my poor long run last Saturday, I redeemed myself. I thought Tuesday's speed work was going to be a bust, because of the weather and the fact that I got out of bed Tuesday morning stiff. Even the run to the track seemed a bit laborious, but I actually warmed up and did my speed work, which consisted of 2 x 1200s and 4 x 800s, under pace. Wednesday, I went for a 28 mile ride and averaged over 17 miles per hour despite temperartures close to 90 degrees. Thursday was tempo day, and I ran my five mile run 15 seconds under pace. Later, the boys and I went to Universal and I swam 1000 yards. Took it easy on Friday with some light lifting. Saturday was a 20 miler. I traded in my cloth sweat band for a sweat gutter and went back to Power Gels. I was supposed to run at 8:45 pace, but I ran at 8:16. I'm not sure if it was the sweat gutter, or if it was the Power Gels, but I'm sure temperatures in the 60s had a lot to do with the improved time. Wrapped things up on Sunday with a 40 mile ride. My last long ride before the Covered Bridge Metric Century. I had to purchase a new pair of riding shorts today, because my butt is sore. I'm hoping the new shorts, with better padding, alleviate some discomfort when doing long rides.

Up this week: speed work on Tuesday, swimming on Wednesday, tempo work Thursday, a 13 miler on Saturday (I never thought I'd look forward to having to run only 13 miles) and the Covered Bridge Ride on Sunday.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Marathon Season III

Another injury free week of training. I did 1600m repeats (3 @6:40 w/ a 1 minute rest interval), a tempo run and a long run of 18 miles. The long run this week was my hardest one yet. I'm not sure why. I have run longer and I have run faster, but for some reason my body just wasn't ready for 18 miles @ 8:45 pace. A couple of factors may contributed to this: I wore a headband which seemed to trap heat coming off my gourd; I used GU packets instead of Power Gels, which I normally use; and I was carrying extra water, because of the heat and humidity. Then again, maybe it was the heat and humidity. According to the weatherman, this coming week is going to be more of the same, so I guess I better get ready and hydrate properly. Also, in preparation for my metric century ride I increased my mid-weeek biking mileage to 25 miles and rode 30 miles on my weekend ride.

Up this week: speed work on Tuesday; 25 mile ride on Wednesday; tempo run on Thursday; 20 miler on Saturday and a 40 mile ride on Sunday.

Friday, August 3, 2007


The boys and I spent another fun couple of days in Liverpool. We hit the Liverpool pool on Thursday and then went to Millerstown later in the day for ice cream at Hall's. On Friday morning, I got up early and went kayaking. I took off from the Liverpool access and paddled out to some really neat little islands. Explored the islands for awhile then picked my way through a rocky channel and headed over to the Dauphin County side of the river. Saw a juvenile bald eagle, an osprey and numerous blue herons and kingfishers. Paddled back throught the islands and went downstream a ways and explored what seemed to be the remnants of an old canal. Afterwards, I headed back up to the launch site. The boys and I then went to Little Buffalo State Park and swam and played in the "sprayground."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Bangles - Going Down To Liverpool

Going *up* to Liverpool tomorrow actually, but the Bangles sing it better than I can.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Marathon Season II

Training continues for the Marine Corps Marathon. I ran my first 20-miler this past weekend and recovered quickly. The tempo runs and speed work are paying off as is the biking. I'm finding that on the day after a long run active recovery is important. Yesterday, after Saturday's long run, I went mountain biking on the Schuylkill River Trail from Port Clinton to Auburn. I rode with my friend Brian who knows the area well, and we took a diversion up over a mountain, which provided us a little more riding time and a better work out. All in all we pedaled 13.2 miles.

Up this week: 1600m repeats, a tempo run on Thursday and an 18 miler on Saturday. I also have to increase bike mileage a little to prepare for the Covered Bridge Metric Century on August 19th.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Marathon Season

Training is well underway for the Marine Corps Marathon which will be run the last weekend of October. I have decided to go with the Furman FIRST program which has me running three "key workouts" and two cross-training workouts a week (for more information, click on the Furman link under fitness). My primary cross-training workout is biking.

I'm on my third week of training in a sixteen week program. I'm feeling much faster, stronger and have more endurance than I did last year at this time training for my first marathon. Bike riding and preparing for and running in two spring triathlons have given me a leg up. I feel I'm on pace to qualify for Boston and have been meeting all my pace goals under the FIRST Boston qualifying program.

Will I run Boston if I qualify? I'm not sure, but I've been told that I'd be foolish not to. If I don't qualify for Boston, then I may run my first ultra-marathon, the HAT Run, in March 2008. It's a 50K (31.1 miles) trail run in Susquehanna State Park in Maryland.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Boy of Summer

"Mr. July"

Slate Run

Spent two nights along the banks of Slate Run in Lycoming County this past weekend. Slate Run is one of my favorite trout streams. If I could only fish two streams in the East, it would be the Hughes River in Virginia and Slate Run. Both streams have numerous wild trout, but they are opposites in a lot of respects. The Hughes plunges down a granite boulder-strewn gorge in the Shenandoah National Park while Slate Run drops gradually over slate rocks with an occasional waterfall.

I left for Slate Run on Friday and drove up the back way through the Bald Eagle State Forest, then Route 44 into Jersey Shore and the Pine Creek Valley. The weather was clearing and it was getting cooler. Got into Slate Run about 3:30 and drove up to Morris Run. Along the way I saw a big rattlesnake crossing the road. A true indication of being in the wild.

Parked at Morris Run and finished loading my pack and then hiked into Red Run to meet my friend Scot and his brother Steve. They were just finishing setting up camp and decided to head downstream to fish. I set up my tent, and then headed upstream. The fishing was tough; the water was low and gin clear and the sun was bright. I fished about 200 yards above camp then headed back down. I made some supper then headed out on Red Run.

I never fished the bottom of Red Run and was impressed with the small glen just upstream from the confluence of Slate Run. I was also impressed with the size of some of the wild brook trout. I fished for about an hour and picked up about a half dozen brookies. I then headed back down to fish the last hour of the evening on Slate Run. I didn't have any luck, but I did miss a nice brown.

The next day, Steve decided to head up Red Run, so Scot and I headed up Slate Run. We had a lot of succes moving fish, but not a lot of success landing them. We both caught one trout in about 12-13 strikes. The low water made them skittish, and they struck very fast and then were gone.

After lunch, we headed back up the same section and then fished up Morris Run. We were fairly successful and each caught a couple of brookies and I even picked up a brown. We then headed back down and fished through the Glen on Red Run. Again, we both caught fish, but not a lot as we were fishing behind someone.

Finished up the day on Slate with the sole purpose of trying to catch some of the big browns we saw earlier. I had managed to move a big one on Friday evening, but couldn't hook up. I went back to where he was hiding, but couldn't get him to come out. Scot managed to land a nice brown that was about 12-14. " I had one more chance at one, but struck to soon and sent him packing.

All and all a great trip on a great trout stream. We didn't fish on Sunday because of family commitments and headed down early. I again drove through the Bald Eagle State Forest and enjoyed the gorgeous day.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Going Down to Liverpool

"I'm going down to Liverpool to do nothing
all the days of my life."

Spent the last part of last week at my Dad's and Kim's place in Liverpool, PA. Had a great time; it's always relaxing up there. I don't have any photos, but Kyler created a journal of his experiences and I'm including his art work.

On Thursday we boarded the Roaring Bull No. 5 and headed across the Susquehanna to Millersburg. It was the third time in my life that I crossed the river on a ferry boat. I remember as a kid going across with my grandparents but then didn't cross again until two years ago.

In Millersburg, we visited the Ned Smith Center. What a great place. The grounds are beautiful.There is currently an Audobon exhibit in the gallery, which is definetely worth seeing. We had to move quickly, because what is fascinating to me is not always fascinating to a 3 year old. The kids were more interested in getting outside and running around, which we did.

Thursday night was the Liverpool carnival. The kids rode all the rides and played games to the strains of Shamma Lamma. A slice of Americana on the banks of the Susquehanna.

Friday, we headed over to Lake Tobias Wildlife park. I wasn't sure what to expect. Everyone I spoke to said it was really nice, but I still had reservations. I am now disabused. The park was beautiful and very clean. The animals were well tended and had a lot of room. They also appeared very healthy. We took a "safari" through the grounds and saw numerous, hoofed animals and large flightless birds. During one stop, I looked up the hillside and five Emus came trotting down the through the grass which reminded me of a scene in Jurassic Park.

Monday, June 11, 2007

'Gills for Thrills

The Enck boys were rippin' lips tonight.

Donegal Report 6/11/07

Hit the Donegal early this morning. The water was up and off color. Started fishing around 5:30 a.m. using a bead head nymph, but switched to a bead head green weenie, because of visibility. Worked through a couple of holes at the lower end of the fly fishing section and didn't move a fish. Moved up a little and picked up a rock bass. Moved to the next hole and picked up a nice brown which appeared to be wild. It put up a nice fight and saved the "skunk." Tried to get a picture, but while I was fumbling with my camera bag he was able to liberate himself. Final score: fish bites 2, mosquito bites 10.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


It's getting harder to find time for extended fishing trips, but occasionally the stars allign themselves in such a way that I'm able to get away. I had been trying to get out on a saltwater trip with Andy for two years, but just couldn't arrange it until yesterday. Andy had some time and so did I, so he suggested that we meet Tony and Jaime at Cape Henlopen for some flounder fishing using fly rods. He billed it as "Flounderpalooza," and I was eager to give it a try.

Headed down to Andy's Friday evening and after a great meal at Sean Bolen's Irish Pub we headed back to Andy's place. I didn't have any saltwater flies with me, but I was able to tie up a few Clouser minnows at Andy's tying bench after returning from supper.

Got up early on Saturday and headed to Cape Henlopen. We arrived around 9:00 a.m. and Tony, Jaime and another guy, Sawyer, arrived five minutes after us. I borrowed a stripping basket from Tony and an Abel reel from Jaime and heeded their suggestion to wear chest waders. While we were rigging up, we had the opportunity to meet the "original-go-to-the-right-guy." He was, as the name suggests, a guy who always fishes to the right of the fishing pier. Despite his name, a name which he gave himself, by the way, he felt we were wasting our time going to the right for flounder. Time would vindicate us.

We headed down to the beach, and I couldn't believe what I saw. There were 50-60 anglers on the fishing pier, but not a single person on the flats to the right of the pier. We timed our arrival to coincide with the incoming tide. The tide was just beginning to shift when we waded onto the flats. The only drawback was that there was a strong north wind and the bottom was churned up. Not the best conditions for flounder fishing, but then the best time for any type of fishing is whenever you can get away.

The water was about waste deep 100 yards or so off the beach. I'm not a great caster when it comes to chucking large flies, but I got into a rhythm and was able to get the fly to land where I wanted it. We cast and moved, cast and moved for about an hour, but no one picked up a fish. The wind and the cloudy water seemed to be working against us, but we kept at it.

Another hour went buy, and still no one had a fish. Andy and I took a little break on the beach then headed back out. I began to work a sand bar about 50 yards off the beach. I made a cast and as I was bringing the fly back in I noticed something dark near it. It seemd like the shadow of a bird, but then my fly disappeared and I was finally into a flounder. I shouted to Andy and Tony who were on the beach and they came out to help me. Tony had a net and we landed the the fish. A quick measurement proved him to be a keeper. I was going to throw him back, but Jaime wanted him, and since he lent me the reel, the least I could do was provide a meal for him.

I'd like to say from that point the fishing picked up, but it didn't. We headed into the beach around 2:00. As we approached the parking area, I attained celebrity staus with my flounder. People were gawking, and I got my picture taken and placed on the counter of the bait store. Andy began to call me the "Flounder Pope." I'll take my fame any 15 minutes that I can.

We said good bye to Tony, Jaime and Sawyer and headed into Rehoboth for lunch at Dogfish Head. No trip to the Delaware beaches is ever complete without a stop at DFH and a cold 60 minute IPA draft.

On the way home, we decided to go smallmouth fishing on the Little Gunpodwer just outside of Bel Air. Andy and I are having a competition to see who can actually invite the other on a smallmouth trip where we actually catch a smallmouth. Andy has come up to my place twice for smallies and has caught nothing but channel cats. I have gone down to Maryland only to catch a green sunfish. We got back to Andy's and he grabbed two rods and two reels and off we went for some more fishing. On the way, we discovered that even though he grabbed two reels, only one actually had a fly line on it. No problem, it's a small stream, we'd fish together and share one rod.

Arrived at the Little Gunpowder around 7:00. I asked Andy what we should use and that's when we discovered that he forgot the flies. No worries, he still had a bunch of saltwater flies in the car, so we tied on a bonefish fly. Fished for about an hour, but no smallies came to hand. At the last hole we fished, Andy spotted a trout that came out from under the rock we were standing on. He cast to it a few times then handed the rod to me. Two casts later, I landed a rainbow on a bonefish fly. You can do those kind of things when you are the "Flounder Pope."

All in all a great day of fishing with friends. I look forward to doing it again. And, the smallie challenge is still on.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Guns of Navarone

All apologies to Alistair Maclean

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Living and Riding in 3/4 Time

Man, I love my job. You can't beat having the summer off. To kick it in, I went for a 30 mile ride this morning. It was nice, because I didn't have to start riding until 7:00 a.m. Usually, I'm up at 4:45, but today "as a door turns on its hinges so did this sluggard in his bed."

I'm fortunate to live where I do when it comes to bike riding. Within a mile or two, I'm riding entirely on country roads. The only distractions today, besides a few passing cars, were cows. And, they were only a distraction, because for some reason, they have to run with you as you bike by.

Today's route took me to the northeast and into my old stomping grounds as a kid. It was nice breathing the fresh air and smelling the vegetation that I remember as a boy. I also enjoyed hearing the birds, especially the red-wing blackboards.

I passed a church along the way who's sign always has a "chestnut" for passing motorists and bikers. My favorite from a couple of years ago was "A hangover is the wrath of grapes." Today's was fitting for someone exercising, "The body is the only machine that wears down when not used."

The machine felt good today and could have gone farther, but I decided to ease off and turned home when I had the chance. Actually, the last half hour of riding was getting tough, because the wind picked up significantly. Wrapped up by lifting a little, showered, then headed to Qdoba's for lunch. If you get the chance, eat at a Qdoba's sometime. Their burritos are awesome.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Race Report

Yesterday I ran the Pinchot Park Triathlon. Before I get to the report for that race, I'd like to mention that last weekend I ran in the "Got The Nerve" (GTN) triathlon held in Mount Gretna, PA. Since I'm only now beginning a blog, rather than write up a report for that race, I'll begin with yesterday's race. I will say that the GTN was my first triathlon with an open-water swim. I made a lot of mistakes, but gave the race my best effort. I finished, and only missed my goal by 30 seconds...and those 30 seconds were the impetus behind me arising at 4:30 a.m. yesterday.


Last week, I tried to do everything right: taper, hydrate, rest, diet. This week, I rode when I felt like it, ran hard or easy depending on my mood and only swam for 15 minutes in our community pool - and those 15 minutes were broken up with "daddy, can I get a snack; daddy, when are you going to be done; etc." I ate what I was hungry for, and the night before the race, my wife and I hosted a red wine tasting party. As the co-host, I had to set the example and do my part in selecting a winner (Congratulations to Scott and Cindy). I was in bed by 11:00. Unlike the night before GTN, I slept like a baby. I arose without the alarm clock at 4:30 a.m.

Race Day

So, who gets up at 4:30 to race? Someone who was not happy with missing their goal by 30 seconds the week before. I was determined to learn from my mistakes and I was determined to swim/bike/run more relaxed. I arrived at Pinchot by 5:45 and already people were there setting up in the transition area. I made my way to the registration table, paid my money and got my number.

This race was not as big as GTN, which was nice. I got a good spot in the transition area, right on the edge, and had plenty of room to spread out my gear. I got everything set-up, and then was able to mingle and talk with the other racers. A former student of mine and his father who were also at GTN arrived shortly after I did. we had a good laugh about how these races are a sickness and wished each other well. Unlike at GTN, I didn't warm-up, but I wasn't nervous either. At 7:15 , I donned my wetsuit, and along with everyone else, made my way to the shores of Lake Conewago.


The swim was a half-mile inverted triangle. This was 300 yards farther than GTN. Announcements were made, and then the first wave entered the water. Now that I'm an old-head, I was assigned to the second wave. The command was given, and the first wave was off. Three minutes later, so was I with the second wave. I decided that this time I was going to enjoy the swim for what it was: a leisurely dip in Lake Conewago on a Sunday morning. I started at the back and was able to get into a rhythm almost immediately. I wasn't swimming fast, but I was smooth and relaxed and I was able to maintain a good breathing pattern. I rounded the first buoy, looked up and made my way for the next one. I couldn't believe how good I felt, no one was around me and I was enjoying the swim. Then, I heard a voice. The sound of that voice, brought me out of my daydream, and I thought that I should probably look up and mark the buoy. Good thing I did, in front of my was a kayak, and the voice was directing me to "swim in, swim in." I was swimming at least 45 degrees off course, heading to the far side of the lake. But, with my newly acquired philosophy of relax and enjoy, I merely laughed and got back on course. I came in behind most, ahead of a few, but most importantly, I wasn't winded.


I'm new to road biking. I bought my first road bike, a Giant OCR 3, last year to help me cross-train for the Marine Corps Marathon. Since then, I upgraded to a Felt F75. Although I'm a newbie, I feel I can hold my own on two wheels. My transition was good, but once again, in my haste, I had trouble getting clipped into my pedals. It was a temporary set-back and soon I was off and spinning. The course was 18 miles and much harder than GTN. I quickly got my legs into the race and started picking off people. I am especially fond of attacking on hills, and every hill gave up a new victim. I passed many and was only passed by one that stayed in front of me. I even got into a dual with a pack riders. We exchanged the lead two or three times, but near the end on the second lap we came to my favorite incline and I was able to spin up, while they had to stand. I gained a lot of ground. I had a fast transition to the run and away I went.


My legs returned quick and I was able to pick up my pace sooner than at GTN. The run was on trails and it was very scenic. I was relaxed and once again, I was able to pick people off. Then I heard the sound of feet gaining on me. In a flash, one of the dualists from the bike leg was by me. Turns out he was an All-American runner for Millersville U. back in the 80s'. Oh well, I had my moment of glory, now he was returning the favor. Happily, he was the only one to pass me and I moved up in the standings as I caught and passed runners ahead of me. I had a strong finish and was able to raise my arms in triumph. My efforts were awarded with a third place finish in my age group: My first medal, WOOHOO!

Post Race

I'm taking it easy this week, and next weekend, instead of swimming/biking/running, I'm going fly-fishing for flounder in what has been billed as "Flounderpalooza." Of course, the guy who assigned the title is also the guy who invited me to Smallmouthpalooza" two years ago which resulted in me catching a 3" green sunfish (and since all anglers stretch the truth, you can surmise how big that green sunfish really was).



Welcome to my blog. The title is derived from a painting by Paul Klee also call "Fishmagic." I came by this title a few years ago when I was prompted to create an email address. I didn't want to be to prosaic, but I didn't want to be cute either. As I was thinking of a name, I looked around the room and my eyes fell upon our framed print, "Fishmagic." I have been fishmagic ever since.