Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bang Bang Bang

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.  

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


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.  

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Sweet Smell of Success

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.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Marathon, in Days of Yore

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.  

Ah, memories.  

Not Bad

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.  

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No Excuses!

I'm a lazy shit.  Let's just say it.  

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.   

Moving on.

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.