Thursday, October 6, 2011

55 - 10/5/2011 - In My Footsteps Trip

Initial Impressions
Christopher Setterlund

55 – In My Footsteps Trip
October 5, 2011

     Finally made a trip to York and Kittery, Maine.  I had wanted to do it for months.  A total of 330 miles driven today, most miles on a day trip yet.  Actually found gas for $3.26 in NH, haven’t seen it that cheap in forever, and also, it’s not really that cheap, jerks.
     It was sort of a sun sandwich on the way up to Maine.  Cloudy on the Cape until I got over the bridge, sunny all the way up but then cloudy right when I got into Maine.  Luckily that all burned off, temporarily at least.
     The first spot I visited was the Stolen Menu CafĂ© in York.  Needless to say I asked for menus rather than steal them, but I did end up with way too many pastries for my own good which is why I needed to share them with others.
     What do you call a redneck from Maine?  Whatever it is there was a jackass flannel-wearing douche who nearly killed me at a rotary so I yelled and called him a redneck, whatever, hope he flipped his truck and his shirt burned up.
     My main target on this day was Cape Neddick Lighthouse, aka Nubble Lighthouse.  It sits on a little rocky island just offshore, it looks further away in photos than it is.  I packed my own lunch thanks to Maui’s brilliant idea at work yesterday and was able to sit and stare at the lighthouse, eat, and listen to WEEI, almost perfect.
     I saw the first of a million monarch butterflies at Nubble Light, I saw tons at Fort Foster in Kittery right after in rained, spent some time chasing them trying to get photos, bet I looked ‘special’ doing that.
I was able to easily maneuver around the rock outcroppings on the edge of the shore at Nubble, the same can’t be said for a man and his girlfriend.  He climbed down a rock and then basically arm dragged her off the rock.  Needless to say she went down and yelled at him, she wasn’t hurt so I laughed once I got far enough away.
     Long Sands Beach is classic Maine.  The rocky shore acts as a sort of funnel for the waves and at low tide the beach goes out a ways making it literally ‘long sands’ like the name, how ironic. 
I love going to take photos of historic homes that are occupied.  I visited one and there’s a guy getting groceries out of his car.  I pull up jump out and snap a few photos and speed off, yeah not too suspicious looking!  Or even better is standing in the middle of the road to get the whole building in the shot, sorry, beeping your horn only makes me have to shoot the photo again fools.
     Of course then it began to rain off and on.  The skies stayed blue though which made it really cool looking.  It also set up a great shot later on in the trip.
     I had to visit the Kittery Premium Outlets for fun.  Unbelievable how many stores they have, went into the UnderArmour outlet.  A cop then pulls up leaves his lights flashing and goes in to check out shirts.  Yeah, left his K-9 unit, lights flashing, for a shirt?  He probably got it free too.
     There are two incredible forts in Kittery.  The first is Fort McClary which was crazy because it was open.  I mean the buildings were open and you could go inside, I was all over that going way up inside the white Block House to get shots of the harbor, and Portsmouth and Whaleback Lighthouses. 
     The second one is Fort Foster which became my second favorite spot of the day.  The fort itself was nothing out of the ordinary but my time there was unreal.  First off it started raining, hard.  Plus the gates were closed so driving to the fort was a no go.  I had to get on my hooded jacket and walk in the pouring rain while others fled.  The thing was the sky was blue so I knew that a rainbow was coming and that the rain wouldn’t last.  I was right on both.
     Once near the shore I could see Whaleback Light closeup as well as a house out on the rocks.  I walked all the way out on a long pier getting soaked but then the rain stopped and as I turned around there was the rainbow.  For a short time there was a second rainbow as well.  It was well worth being soaked to get to see something rare like that.  It was after this rain that the butterflies came out and were everywhere.
It was also this time where I noticed a high school cross country team jogging all around the fort.  I just happened to mention I just ran a half marathon, I quickly became part of the gang once I whacked a random stranger, hey initiation rules need to be followed.
     Being super intelligent like I am I decided not to listen to my evil gps and ended up adding an hour to my trip home.  First I decided to be an idiot and check my phone while driving and ended up heading north on I-95 rather than south.  The gps flipped out and was ordering me to make U-Turns all over the highway.  I had to pay a toll to get off which sucked.  Then I thought that the gps was wrong about the exit to take off of I-95 heading toward Boston so I made my own choice and added more time to my trip.  I swear it wouldn’t be normal for that gps not to try to kill me at least once during a trip.

 Photos of the Day:

Long Sands Beach

Cape Neddick 'Nubble' Lighthouse

Block House at Fort McClary

Whaleback Lighthouse(left) at Fort Foster

Monday, October 3, 2011

Impossible Is Nothing - Zero to Half Marathon

Impossible Is Nothing Part 4 - Zero to Half Marathon in 6 Months
Christopher Setterlund
October 3, 2011      

     I would like to say that my journey from zero to half marathon in six months was easy but that would be a lie.  It has been one of the most difficult challenges I have ever undertaken but it has also been one of the most rewarding.  The fact that I have lost thirty-two pounds is more of a side note rather than the main headline.  My run in the Harwich Cranberry Harvest Half Marathon October 2nd was a testament to my own drive and determination.  Hopefully I have inspired others to run since I was positive back in March that not only would I not run, but that I was not physically able to.  If I can do it anybody can.
            My training for this half marathon began shortly after my last race in mid-August, Old Home Week in Centerville.  I upped my mileage from 78 miles in August to a shade over 150 in September.  The most surprising thing to me was that it was not the actual running part of the training that ended up being a problem, but as with nearly all of my races there ended up being drama to go along with everything.
            My drama came in the form of a drunk man on a bicycle only 6 days before the race.  Attempting my final long run before the half marathon, a 15 mile trek from my home in South Yarmouth along Rt. 28 to Wychmere Harbor in Harwich, I ran into trouble.  Well, actually, I hurdled into trouble.  When coming up on a bar less than three miles into my run around 4:30pm a man came out from behind a pair of pickup trucks wobbling and pushing his bicycle.  I yelled but had little other alternative but to attempt to leap over the back of the bicycle as the man swayed forward and back and I had no idea where to go.
            My leap got me over the bike but I landed awkwardly on my left leg, oh it hurt.  Angry I quickly turned and shouted at the drunk.  My adrenaline rush got me moving again along Rt. 28 and carried me a ways until I began to think about my upcoming race and the potential for injury in my left knee.  I began to overcompensate for my left leg by running a big lopsided, focusing on my ‘good’ right leg.  This helped my left leg but ended up straining my hip flexor which any runner knows is quite painful.  I completed my 15 miles, struggling mightily toward the end covered in swarms of black gnats which made it look like I had been doused with pepper. 
            I was in pain and a lot of it, I worried about the race on that Sunday and took two days off from running to let my hip recover.  I ran that Thursday with minimal pain and thought I was fine; then I went to the well once too often.  Running the next day my hip gave out and left me with a searing pain after only four miles.  I had to walk back to the gym nearly three miles, pretty embarrassing when you look like a runner but have to hobble like an old man.  Stretching, ice and heat, and ibuprofen were all I had at my disposal with only 36 hours until the race.  I did it all, over and over, Friday night and Saturday and hoped for the best.  I kept quiet just how badly I was hurt because obviously people would tell me I should just not run.  That was not an option in my mind.  In my mind this was a culmination of a journey, it was a hugely important day in my life.  I was going to run the half marathon for me, to show my family and friends that anybody could become a runner, and I was going to honor my grandmother and my late aunt by wearing the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon on my shirt. 

      “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.” – Lance Armstrong


            That quote was what I kept in my mind when I arrived at Harwich High School on race day.  I knew my hip was bad, I knew it was going to end up hurting me, I just didn’t know how long it would take.  Sadly for me it would not be too long.

            The sun came out just in time for the race to begin and I was looking forward to running alongside my Uncle Steve in my first half marathon much like I had done in my first 5K race in May.  This dream would last for just under two miles when the inevitable pain in my right hip returned with a vengeance.  I turned to my uncle and told him my hip was on fire, he told me to shout down the pain.  I knew I would have to deal with this increasing pain for the next 11 miles but also looked at the pink ribbon on my shirt and remembered why I was not going to quit.

            Slowly my uncle faded from sight and it became me against the pain.  My goal had been 1hr. 50mins. finish time but that goal was replaced by simply crossing the finish line.  I thought that this was doable for the next few miles as I began to get my second wind around 7 miles deep.  This second wind usually amounts to getting into a smooth groove in my running motion naturally increasing my pace, but this time there was no increase in pace.  There was only a slowly increasing burn in my hip that started getting into my head.  That coupled with the sun beating down on my shaved head made me doubt whether I would ever see the finish line.

            It came to a head as I passed the 8-mile marker.  I began to feel like I was simply going to fall over from the pain in my hip coupled with terrible stomach pains.  I needed a distraction if that was possible when running 13.1 miles.  It came down to concentrating on my breathing and waving to as many small children as I could to keep me from passing out from pain.  The final five miles were a mix of horror and inspiration, the pain would get to me but I would think of my grandmother and my aunt and remember that they were the ones I was dedicating my run to.

            I crossed the finish line in 1hr. 55 minutes, heard my name announced over the speakers, and quickly found a spot to collapse.  My hip hurt so badly that it brought tears to my eyes, I sat against the fence looking down at my right leg and then at the medal that I was given by a young girl as I crossed the finish line.  My walk back to my car which should have taken no more than three minutes took twenty, I gritted my teeth and carried on.  I remembered the quote from Lance Armstrong and knew the pain would only be temporary but the fact that I completed my first half marathon would last forever. 

            So here I am the day after, my hip in pain but a smile on my face knowing that I accomplished my goal.  I went from not running at all to running and finishing a half marathon in 6 months.  It makes me believe that my goal of running the Boston Marathon is not impossible.  It makes me believe that my next half marathon in February will produce a better time.  It makes me believe that anybody who has a dream or a desire can accomplish what they set out to with hard work.  I am proof that impossible is nothing. 



6 months, 5 races so far