I've been a bad boy. No running for nearly a week. We went to visit family for Christmas, and though we brought running clothes, they were never used. We did, however, get in a leisurely 4 mile hike on the famous Dipsea Trail in the Muir Woods. So beautiful! I'm trying to convince myself that the rest did me some good, and in reality, I'm sure it did, I'm just not sure I needed nearly a week of it... oh well.
So, today's run was an easy 1 hour (58 minutes to be precise) and I ran almost 7 miles in that time. I averaged a 8:30/mile. It felt good to get out and run. It does my soul good.
Saturday's 14 miler was tough. From the first mile on, my quads were heavy, and I just didn't have a lot of gas in the tank. I rolled my ankle around mile 4. The left one. Again. It didn't hurt long, but it was pretty tight the next morning coming down the stairs. I took sunday off, and was supposed to run a progressive run today, but my quads were still sore so I did an easy 4 miles on the treadmill.
Yesterday's run, intervals, went pretty well. All total I ran for about 1/2 an hour, and averaged a 7:32/mi. I'm pleased. I'm not gonna go into all the splits here. Why? Today's easy 45 minutes went well. My GPS watch didn't help me out at all, due to a dead battery.
My coach has been on me to get some racing in. I always figured it was because it forces you to run harder than you're probably used to. Gets those competitive juices flowing. I'm a pretty competitive person, so it was good to run it. I awoke at 5:30 to overcast skies and 53 degrees... perfect running weather. Sure, it's nice when the sun is shining and it's 70 degrees, but as soon as you start running, it gets much hotter. I had a few bowls of cereal with rice dream, (trying to cut back on dairy wherever possible, my acupuncturist thinks its wise), a cappuccino, and finished up with two pieces of toast with just a drizzle of honey. It's nature's energy gel! I arrived at the race with about 15 minutes to spare, parked about 1/2 mile from the start/finish line to avoid the parking mess and get my warmup in.
I got stuck about halfway back in the pack, so my first mile was probably around an 8:15. In retrospect it was probably a good thing to prevent me from going out too fast. Around mile 2 I was stuck near some heavy breather. He kept exhaling real loud- "WHEW! WHEW! WHEW!!!" I looked down to see I was running in the 7:20/mi range and worried I was going too fast, but hell, I felt good. It was around mile 3 I decided to just not worry about my pace, and just start to race. I tried to focus on keeping relaxed, and staying steady. Mile 4 brought a focus on other runners ahead of me, and a need to pick them off. It usually involved fixating on someone wearing a peculiar hat. First there was the woman in the santa hat, then it was a guy in a Dr. Seuss Cat in the Hat hat. Finally, around mile 5 I saw some dude wearing a hat, backwards, emblazoned with a pot leaf. I had to pick that guy off... and I did, about 30 yards from the finish line. Does that make me a dick? Maybe. One bad thing though- I got picked off by some dude near the finish I had passed 1/2 mile earlier on a short uphill. That sucked, but hey, it was my fault, I kicked too early. I didn't leave enough gas in the tank. I felt like I was gonna revisit my breakfast, but was able to keep things where they belonged. Two runners I saw weren't so lucky. One guy threw his groceries in the timing chip removal area.
I don't run many 10Ks, this was probably my 3rd or 4th, with my best time being 42:00 or around there that I ran many years ago. Today, I ran a 43:38, and was pretty pleased. I went into it just hoping to break 45 minutes.
I went on my run wednesday, a "Pain is Your Friend" run. (I thought it was my buddy, hmmm, I guess it's a different kind of friendship) It was an interval workout, 30 seconds hard, 1:30 walk, 1 minute hard, 1:30 walk, 1:30 hard, 1:30 walk... you get the idea. Well, I ran it at night, and for some stupid reason felt the need to be all anal retentive about logging splits... what a dumb ass I am sometimes. Anyway, it got to be too much, and really what's the point? Later that night I had some sinus problems. Big shocker, I know. It felt like I was catching a cold. Due to that, I 86'd my 7 miler scheduled the next day. I had class and was looking ahead to a 10K on saturday, which brings me to...
Yesterday's 11 miler was tough. Within the first mile, I knew it wasn't going to be a fun one. I had a rare, (though not unheard of) saturday audition in Santa Monica. Coincidentally, I had to play the role of a marathon runner, so I was dressed in my running clothes. I ran in Santa Monica right afterwards. I ended up running the very same route where I met my wife. I remember it like it was yesterday...
(cue the harp and squiggly lines onscreen)
We were training to run a marathon in Dublin, Ireland for the Arthritis Foundation. Every saturday morning, I'd make the long drive from Eagle Rock to Brentwood to train with the group. The coaches would separate us into different groups based on our fitness level and experience. I was running in the group with two other guys, or "the advanced group" and my wife was told to join us. I wanted her to feel welcome, so I told her to set the pace. I thought I was being nice. If you ask my wife, she'll tell you that she thought I was being a wise ass. I wasn't trying to be. Honest! I really just wanted her to feel like she was being accepted. She demurred, but I persisted. Finally, she accepted the offer, put her headset on and ran ahead of us. I remember thinking that was kind of a dick move. Well, the advanced group was somewhat accustomed to finishing each run with a bit of a kick. That run was no different. We did the kick, and passed her within the last mile (after she apparently killed herself to stay ahead of us). That's how we met.
And to think she actually married me.
Anyway, I ran that same route yesterday, and enjoyed the trip down memory lane.
It was the only thing I enjoyed on that run. Sometimes, you feel like crap, but push through that feeling. You stay with it, and down the road, you're rewarded by feeling a lot better, and kickin' ass. Yesterday there was no ass kickin'. After 2 miles, I knew I just had to gut out the next 9. The first 5 1/2 miles were all uphill, and when I turned around to run downhill, the wind buffeted me.
And from the "More-Information-Than-You-Needed- File", my left nipple got pretty chafed. Ouch.
Yeah, no surprise there. I've gone through puberty. But I have a theory. If my legs are hairy, I will fall on the trails, if they're relatively hairless, I'm good. No falls. You see, I have shaved my legs in the past. For running. Actually, if I'm honest, I waxed them a long time ago. Myself. Oh yes I did. I did it while I watched football one afternoon. (had to counteract the girlie-ness of it I guess) and yes, it did hurt about as much as you would expect. Now you're probably asking yourself, "Jeff, why in the hell would you do that?" Good question. I have done it for the same reason that cyclists do it. I used to think that they did it for speed, aerodynamics, crap like that. Not so. Cyclists do it in the event of a crash. You see, when you hit the pavement at a high rate of speed and you've got hairy legs, it doesn't scrape your skin off, it pulls it out in nasty clumps because of the hair. When you've got smooth legs, you get the nasty road rash, the scrape, but it's relatively clean, and when you're treating the wounds, it's much easier to do so when there isn't hair. All the scabbing... and trying to shave the area after you've had a bad scrape? Yeah, that sucks pretty hard too.
Great, great, Jeff. Can we get to it already?
Of course. In the past, when I've gone on long runs on the trails, I fall down occasionally. Could be a turned ankle, could be tired legs letting me down, just your basic stumble bum scenario, but whatever the reason, I have fallen on the trail too many times to mention and have the scars to prove it. That's when I started to get rid of most of the hair on my legs. I don't shave them. Sometimes I'd knock it back a bit, get the majority of it off, and it was like an insurance policy. If the legs were relatively hairless, then the trail gods would smile down upon me and let me pass unimpeded. But, when I have hair on them, and I start running longer distances on the trails, you can bet your butt that I'll find myself with blood running down a knee, or two...
My trail runs are getting to be in the 12-14 mile range, and my legs? Hairy.
You do the math.
Today's run: 4 mile negative split looked something like this:
Man, if I had a dollar for every time I had to scream that at the top of my lungs during a road run... well, let's just say I could bail out the big 3 automakers and still have enough for a new pair of Mizuno's. I had to scream it 3 times yesterday, along with a few other choice expletives. Always, it's the same thing. Someone, usually on their phone, with a dumb "Who, me?" look on their face as they nearly run me over. It usually happens when people are trying to beat oncoming traffic to make a left turn. Sometimes they're rolling through a stop sign to make a right turn. How do you miss a guy wearing a highlighter colored running jacket, reflective patches on the shoes, the jacket, the shorts... the flashing red light on my arm. No, really, I have it. I look like I f*&$#ing belong on the Las Vegas Strip.
Last night's run, 5, 3/4 mile repeats with a 1/4 recovery between each... I gotta tell ya, I was flyin'! At least it felt that way. It wasn't until the 4th repeat that I was starting to feel it, but still, I just felt strong. I felt fast. Could I be, (have a seat, this could be big) getting stronger?!
(cue the 2001 Space Odyssey theme)
Last night, I took my life into my own hands and ran on the road, in the fog, and ran 5 miles in 37:24. It averages out to 7:29/mile with an average heart rate of 156/bpm.
Now for those of you who run, and run like the wind, those numbers will be, less than impressive. But for me? The Red Kenyan? The guy with cheeto legs? Those numbers represent not the next great thing in marathoning but something smaller, less perceptible. It's there if you look closely... little closer still. There it is: Progress. BOOYA! Yup, it's not big, it doesn't have Haile Gebrselassie (world record holder in the marathon) shaking in his skips or anything, but it does prove to me that hard work and patience will be rewarded.
I just returned from my easy One Hour Run this morning, and damn if I didn't feel good, again. I'm probably jinxing myself on this, but I did feel good. I ran 7.30 miles with an average of 8:28/mile, and 148/bpm heart rate.
There's a strange bump on the instep of my left foot.
How's that for a teaser at the beginning of a post?
I don't know if it's a bone spur, or just a natural bump on the bone of my foot, but when I press on it, it hurts. Solution: Don't press on it. Nice. I only bring this up because it seems as though my trail runs bother it more often than my road runs. Coincidence? Perhaps. In any event, it doesn't seem to really bother my running much. It aches usually only after a run, not during. Well, not yet anyway. I should probably have Dr. Schwartz, my podiatrist check it out in the new year.
The 12 miler on saturday felt pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. The 2 mile downhill on pavement to finish the run, however, did not feel so damn good. It beat the shit out of my little chicken quads. Bawk bawk bawk!
Well, as expected, my Turkey Trot never happened. I just couldn't swing it. Not with 12 people coming over for Thanksgiving dinner last thursday. And really, let's be honest, the idea of getting up at the crack of ass just to drive all the way to Long Beach to run a 6 miler with a couple thousand of my closest friends, and then race home to help set up, cook and clean for Thanksgiving? Um, no. Or rather, no thank you. My wife and I ran a nice 3 miler together, so that was good.
On another note, the football on Thanksgiving? Terrible. Really. What a joke.
Are you sitting down? You may want to. This is big.
There's water falling from the sky in Los Angeles. What's the name for that again? Umm, oh, crap, it's on the tip of my tongue...
Rain. Ah yes, that's what it is.
That's pretty epic. Of course, any time there is a mild change in atmospheric pressure, or the planets are not properly aligned, it affects me and my oh-so-sensitive sinuses. Today is no exception.
I did an easy 50 minute run last night, which actually ended up being a 48 minute negative split run. I think last night I subconsciously realized, (or decided), that tomorrow's Turkey Trot just wasn't going to happen. We're hosting Thanksgiving this year so it probably isn't a great idea. I'll just do a 10K by myself tomorrow, maybe do it on a trail somewhere, (it is a bit of tradition, after all) or I'll just run it from our front door. In any case, I will go for a run and come home and do the dutiful husband routine of cleaning the house, helping with cooking and watching football. That sounds like I'm feeling put upon. I'm not. It will be great to see everyone. There will be 11 of us. I just think that due to the hosting duties, I should make that the priority, and not a silly 10K that I'll have to pay for anyway.
Last night's run, even though run too fast, or not easy enough, felt pretty good, but it may have contributed to the hammer vs. anvil party I've got raging inside my skull right now. I hope I can shake this thing before tomorrow. For a guy who likes to eat, Thanksgiving is like Christmas.
My online coach has clever names for my speed workouts. Things like, "Killer 400's" or "Negative Split" are pretty self-explanatory. Killer 400's are just that, difficult 1/4 mile repeats, and Negative Split just means the second half of the distance is run faster than the first. But then, there are the other workouts; "The Beast", "Gut Check" or "Pain is Your Buddy", all with varying degrees of discomfort and unhappiness attached to them. Last night I ran a little something coach likes to call "Slow Death". We'll come up with a more accurate name for it, because, as far as I'm concerned, there was nothing too slow about it. That's not to say my pace was fast, no, far from it. It's just that I descended into running hell at a pretty fast rate. Slow Death involves a 1/2 mile warm up, then running very hard for 1 minute, then a one minute recovery, and so on... 10 times. I had to run in the dark last night which was a pain in the ass, (and the legs and lungs if I'm honest). I had to keep tripping the light on my running watch every minute or so to time the repeats. It's much easier when you've got a coach, or just a friend watching you run around a track and they shout out to you your split times, or some arbitrary phrase like "Move your ass!" Well, I got through about 4 or 5 repeats, and felt like I was gonna barf. I didn't, so I guess that was a small victory, but it was not my favorite run. I must say, however, that I'm kinda diggin' on the speed work in my workouts. It's nice to know that if I'm not into training on a specific day, I just have to bust my ass for a shorter amount of time, as opposed to, say, having a 15 miler where I know I'm gonna be out there for a while, I have to gear up for the trail, get to trail, etc. etc.
So last night's run looked something like this:
I covered less than 3 1/2 miles, 3.33 to be exact, in 25:47. I averaged 7:44/mile and a heart rate of 146/bpm. I don't have the info for each individual split, again, punching the buttons on my watch and trying to read it in the dark was getting to me. Every minute, on the minute, and watching the rush hour traffic got to be a bit much. Oh yeah, and I burned 351 calories.
Today's run: an easy 50 minutes. I'm guessing I'll cover about 6 miles in that time. I was set to run a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, but I didn't register in time, and so the price will now go up. I will go for a run on Turkey Day, that's for sure, it's just looking more and more like it'll be in a race situation.
So, it's sunday. The day of rest. Well, for me, anyway. I do my long run on saturdays during the football season. Gotta watch the Packers when I can. Yesterday's 10 miler was strange. It was run on the streets. I'm beginning to alternate my long runs between trails and the roads. When I started, my legs felt rubbery, and my lungs felt a bit heavy. I looked at my watch to discover I was running nearly an 8 minute mile, which is a bit brisk for my long run. I kept on it, and gradually, around mile 6 or 7 I finally felt warmed up and like I was hitting my stride. So much so in fact, that I ran the last mile or so around 7:15/mile. Picture it: chugging along I've got 8 miles under my belt, I'm suckin' wind and I run through a neighborhood where they've put manure on their lawns. I was able to avoid a curtain call by my breakfast, but it was pretty gross. I could kind of taste it. A sweet smell. Eeesh.
My back is tight again. It's my hips. I think the road running is harder on my hips than the trails are.
I came across this photo today and decided to post it. It sits on the inside of the my closet door, along with bib numbers from past marathons, photos of running greats, and quotes. It helps to inspire me on those days that I'm not feelin' it.
This photo is 8 years old. It was taken moments after I finished the Dublin Marathon. The same marathon I was training for when I met my wife. In the picture I'm clutching my finisher's plaque. They gave them out in lieu of a medal.
Notice the cobblestones? Oh yeah. BAD idea. Whoever designed this course was a sadistic mofo. What's the one surface you don't want to run on after having run 23 miles? Cobblestone. There's no give! Unsteady surface. The race began by the River Liffey in Dublin, on cobblestone. While we waited for the beginning of the race, it rained sideways, so those cobblestones get pretty slick. You could see your breath. I'm pretty sure it was close to 40 degrees. Eventually the sun came out, warmed up a bit... I remember running by swans in a canal, and spectators under umbrellas, smoking, and offering up the occasional "Good job. Well done."
Then there was the post-race shower. Normally this is something so incredible, it borders on the orgasmic. You think about it during the race, along with what you're going to eat. Well, I had forgotten to pack band aids for my nipples. Most men wear them to prevent chaffing. Well, of all the races to forget them, that was the worst one possible. With the hours of rain, and cold weather, by the time I hit the hot shower back in my hotel room, my nipples felt like they had been hit by a belt sander.
Well, after a long-winded post yesterday, I received a last minute audition and had to squeeze my workout in. I went to the gym, ran an easy 3 miles on the treadmill, averaging about a 8:30/mile and then did my upper body weight training. Although it's still early in process, I'm seeing a bit of progress.
Today is a rest day. Tomorrow, 10 miler on the roads.
I've been meaning to sit down and put a post on this blog for f*&king EVER, and yet, it's been over a month.
"Wow, you haven't been running for a month? You haven't been working out?"
No, far from it in fact. I have been working out, I just haven't been writing about it.
Fascinating, Jeff. No, really. Do tell us all about it.
Perhaps the problem is, this blog isn't really defined yet. The painting blog is, well, just a place where I paint stuff, take a photo, write about how much I dislike the finished product, and then proceed to ask someone to buy it. A perfect business model. But here? Yeah, I don't know. I guess I try to run a lot, or quickly, or both, and then I, um, write about it? Yeah, not really hashed out very well.
I've been running pretty steadily the past month, and finally seeing some progress. It's been slow and steady progress, the kind you want when running. Too much too fast, and you're asking for injury. The problem is, it's not very rewarding. There are no lightbulb-going-on moments. I would compare it to slowly slogging up a long hill. While you're doing it, head down, breathing heavy, concentrating on the 24 inches directly in front of you, you have no idea of how you're doing. Get to the top, however, and look back, you get that moment of accomplishment just in time for you to look up, and see the next hill in front of you.
Today's run is a short, easy 3 miler. I'll follow it up with a few hours hitting the weights. It's something I'm finally getting back to; weight training.
When I was younger, say, 10-15 years ago, I was able to bench more than twice my body weight. I'm a little guy, so it's not like I was pushing 300 lbs. or anything, and it was only one time. I won't lie to you, it wasn't pretty, lots of grunting, veins-a-poppin' arms-a-jigglin', but I did it. Then I ran my first marathon, fell in love and started pursuing that with the passion of the newly converted.
My point? I had a lot more strength back then. I want that back. No, not all of it, just a bit. Just want my shirts to fit a bit snugger, and not resemble a pre-pubescent Harry Potter fan. That's not wrong of me, is it? I've noticed that during the last couple of months, the added mileage and strength has given me more size south of the border, (unfortunately, no, not there) but my pants are fitting more snug in the waist. Hell, it could be from the tightness of my IT bands. Can you swell in your hip joints? I wonder.
Today's run, like the runs of the past week, will be done indoors, on the treadmill. We've had fires that have devastated entire communities. They are miles away, and the ash and smoke are carried on Santa Anna winds. For someone with sinuses such as mine, or with, say, asthma (M.E. I'm talking to you now) it's horrible. Dangerous even. But I'm not comparing my woes to those who have lost everything. For them, my heart breaks.
I had to do a little switching around of workouts due to my travel schedule, and i'll have to do it again this coming weekend. I'll lose Saturday's Long Run. I'll probably just try and get in a few 5-7 milers, throw some surges or fartleks (love that word) depending on how I feel.
This past weekend's long run went well. Due to scheduling conflicts, I had to run it on sunday, not saturday like I normally do. My legs are tired today, and the ankle I've rolled in the past, has been stiff, sore, and a bit swollen. It's not too bad, I can walk on it no problem, but it hurt a bit at the beginning of yesterday's 12 miler. After it warmed up, it was fine. I wore an ankle brace because of the rocky trail, I was lucky enough not to roll it again. I ran into a snake. Luckily, it wasn't a rattler. I was trudging up a very steep hill, with my head down and looking only 2 feet in front of me, and there he was, just a little 1-2 foot green snake. (grass snake?) He wasn't really freaked out by me at all, couldn't have cared less. He sniffed the air with his tongue, I said hello, and moved along past him.
Because of my tired legs today, and nagging ankle issues, I'm going to forgo today's speed work. I think the rest will be better for me in the long run, (pun intended), than trying to gut out a speed workout on tired legs. I don't want to get injured. I will probably run the speed work tomorrow, and lose the easy 45 minutes I had scheduled.
Today's run was a 7 mile negative split. I ran it in :58:18 with my average pace being 8:19/mile, and, dare I write it... I felt strong. I ran the last 1/4 mile uphill section pretty well, and got my heart rate up to 182... all in all, I was pleased with the run. It's not often I feel that way, so I'm choosing to enjoy the fleeting feeling.
Well, there's a reason Coach calls it that. Just got back from running it. It involves a 1/2 mile warmup, followed by 1/4 mile @ 7:28/mi, then 1/4 mile recovery, 1/2 mile @ 7:28/mi, 1/4 recovery, 3/4 mile @ 7:28/mi, 1/4 mile recovery and finally, you guessed it, 1 mile @ 7:28/mi ending with a 1/2 mile cool down.
It was tough for me to find the "magic 7:28" but I'll keep at it. Here's what I ran, I won't bore you further with my split times for the recovery periods in between:
warmup: .51 miles 4:42, 9:17/mi HR 141 bpm
.24 miles 1:45 7:16/mi HR 159 bpm
.49 miles 3:42 7:33/mi HR 157 bpm
.75 miles 5:32 7:22/mi HR 161 bpm
1.00 mile 7:22 7:21/mi HR 163 bpm
cool down .53 miles 5:04 9:39/mi HR153 bpm
Tomorrow's a rest day, saturday, a long run of 1:45.
Why is it so damn hard for me to get on here and post something? ANYthing!
I've been running. Actually, I've been running my ass off lately, at least, in comparison to my previous training. Coach T's got me running 5 days a week, one day of rest and the other a day of "active rest". Huh? Yeah, it's like, play frisbee, swim at the beach, go for a walk, etc.
Today was a short 45 min run. Easy, breezy Cover Girl. Finished it off with 50 lunges. Tomorrow's workout? Let's just say, Coach T calls it "The Beast".
I guess, I'm thinking no one's reading this anyway, so, who cares?
A good point, but it's not like I began this because I thought that people would be reading it. I began it, kind of like an online running log so I could look back and see some progress. Well, at least that was what I was hoping for anyway.
Yesterday, I ran the treadmill. Started at 5.8 speed, (works out to around 10:20/mi pace or something like it) and kept increasing the incline, .5% every 2 minutes, per Coach's orders. I did it "until exhaustion". Actually, I did it until I felt like I was gonna lose my breakfast, but that seemed like the definition of "exhaustion" to me. I ended up with 36:30 time, and ended on 9.0 incline.
Just got out of my ice bath after a trail run of 8.65 miles. It took me 1:36 to run it. I averaged 11:12/mile and 155 heart rate. I used about 900 calories.
I had a bit of some stomach distress, not too bad, but my legs were kind of tired, and I had some pain in my hips. I rolled my ankle a few times, but only actually fell once. Not a full fledged face plant, but I did get up close n' personal with the ground somewhat.
This is a post that should've been made back on thursday, but because of one reason or another, I'm doing it today.
I ran thursday, 5 miles, supposed to have run a negative split, with the second half of the the run 2:30 faster than the first half. I missed it by about a minute. Ooops. I guess I went out too fast and wasn't able to bring it in as fast as I should have. O well. With some work, we'll change that.
Well, today, mark it down. It's the beginning of a brand new deal. I've hired an online running coach. That's right, the Red Kenyan can't do it alone. Today I began Coach T's new deal. I ran 6 easy miles and then did 40 lunges. Normally, I do the lunges at the gym with 2, 10 lb. weights held over my head. (It helps to strengthen my core when I do it that way). Well after my easy 6 miler today, I was grateful to have not done the lunges with the weights.
You smell that? It's the unmistakable scent of change. I'm kind of fed up with my sinus problems and the inconsistent training that comes with them. I'm conferring with an online running coach to help me finish that 50 miler next fall, and better divide my time between running, and cross training.
I went on a brief 4 miler yesterday after about a week off. I went home on a short vacation, and my sinuses were giving me grief. I didn't want to push it and suffer through my time home, so I didn't run while I was there.
My back is tight today, but I've really got to get back on the running schedule.
I REALLY need to pick out a race for the fall. Maybe a trail half marathon would be a good thing to shoot for.
Cross training yesterday. I did back, triceps, shoulders and stomach. Rest day today in anticipation of the weekend's run(s). I really need to sit down and set up a plan soon. Picking a new race for the future, and coming up with a game plan is the way a priority. I will shoot for doing that this weekend.
Here's a view from the beginning of my 7 miler today. You can see the Griffith Observatory in the distance, high on the hill. On the run, I pass the observatory, so this run begins in a very vertical fashion. It took me 1:08 to run it, I averaged 9:50/mile. Average heart rate (HR) was 157, with a max of 179. It was in the 80's, and I felt good after the few days rest I gave my legs. All in all they got 3 days rest, though I did upper body cross training yesterday.
Cross training today. I did chest, biceps and some core. I rested an extra day. My legs needed it after Saturday's 9 miler. Man, I'm out of shape... and it's a bit depressing. It's coming along, but slowly. Tomorrow another trail run, 5-7 miles.
Sometimes I do things with regards to running, that, at the time, seem like a good idea, only to find out later, that I was wrong. Today's run, is a prime example. Yesterday, I did some cross training, not a lot, some shoulders, a little back, stomach, and legs. Not a LOT of leg work, mind you, but enough to regret it today, while running Sullivan Canyon. I really shouldn't complain, I mean, I was expecting highs near 90-100 degrees, but I was pleasantly surprised by 80 degree temps. It was breezy, which felt great, but my sinuses were none too pleased. About 3 miles into the run, I saw 6 fighter planes, circa WWII I think, flying in formation overhead. I didn't see much in the way of animals, but that's to be expected. I did run at the hottest part of the day, and being a weekend, there were a lot of people out there. My legs felt like lead- heavy, dead, clumsy. Yuck. And that was the way UP. Running hills and trails is such a good workout because on the way up, you're working your hamstrings, calves, back, on the way down, your quads take a beating, and you may find yourself running faster than you were planning on. When I run trails, I always wake up the next day with the general soreness that you'd expect, but also the little muscles and tendons in my lower legs ache. I'm glad I finished 9 miles today, and I passed two runners on the way up, which is always a good feeling, but the way back was no fun. I'm tired.
I don't stretch enough. Never have. Probably never will. I try. I really do, but still, I don't stretch enough, and it's why I walk around like an old man some days. I have problems with my hip flexors, and lower back. Oh yes, and the sinuses. Let's not forget about those. So, I'm guessing that running outdoors, on trails, is probably not the best thing I could be doing, but I love it. I rarely listen to my iPod when I'm running trails. For starters, it's not terribly safe. You can't hear mountain bikers or other runners coming up behind you, but also, there's something almost meditative about the crunch-crunch-crunch of my shoes as they hit the dirt. My run today went all right, I guess, I got 7 miles in, but I certainly didn't threaten any records out there. My legs were leaden in the beginning, but felt better as I went along. I felt a bit winded too. The weather fully cooperated with highs in the low 80's, and a gentle breeze. It was gorgeous out there. Not like the 4th of July. Before an evening barbeque on the 4th I did a quick 5 miles on the roads, and it was in the low to mid 90's. The most memorable thing about that run was the sideways look I got from a Hasidic Jew while I waited at a light and stretched. He just could not figure me out, and understandably so. I made for quite a sight. Red hair sprouting from a visor, no shirt, (yes, I wore sunscreen) and a heart rate monitor strap around my chest. Maybe he thought I was sporting some sort of running brassiere or something, "and for you full-figured runners, there's the new 18 hour jog bra!"
I finished the week with 23 miles which is the most, I think, since I was training for Big Sur before my sinus surgery. About half this week's miles were run on the trails, so I'm happy about that.
See, I was training to run the Big Sur Marathon in April to celebrate my birthday. Unfortunately, my sinuses wouldn't cooperate. I inherited my messed-up sniffer from my Dad. I've got allergies, and I'm prone to sinus infections. So when my doctor said that the sinus infection I had wasn't be affected by the antibiotics he prescribed (2 different kinds), we opted for the roto-rooter plan. "You'll have the surgery on friday, and most people are back to work on monday", is what I was assured. "When can I start to run again?" I asked. "Monday" was the reply. Yeah, well, it didn't quite work out that way. The only running that was being done on monday, (and in the following weeks) was by my nose. (rimshot)
And so here we are. I'm trying to get back to a place where I can run and run, put it on autopilot and just think about everything, and nothing at once. Running is pretty therapeutic for me. Sure, it's great for me physically, but the mental aspect, the way it helps me keep in perspective my problems, well THAT is the real reason I'm addicted to running. That, and my search to see what my limits are. I've got a pretty good idea of what those limits are, but I want to challenge them. My goal is to run another 50 miler within the year, and the following year, barring any injuries (or more sinus snafus) I hope to complete my first 100 miler.