Thursday, January 22, 2015

3 Things Thurs: Getting Older, Palpitations, and Shrinkage

Cold weather makes me old
Getting older
I ain’t afraid of no ghost.  At 33 years old, I don’t mind aging. In fact, one of the best reasons for being a guy is that gray hair and laugh lines make you look MORE attractive.  God bless America.

Although, I have noticed that my friends in their mid to late 40s seem essentially “my age”, my metabolism has certainly slowed down, and I’m sore in all sorts of fun places each morning. But, that said, I’m not sure what to think about a new radio station that I found that plays music from my youth being called “classic rock”. Of course, to add insult to injury, it is WAY down on the dial as if it to say “look old guy, we know that you don’t want your music too far away from the NPR station on 88.1. So, here you go”. I swear to god if they start running Depends adult diaper commercials….

Heart Palpitations….again
For me, social media is a hierarchy of how much I share. Twitter: Most bodily functions and inner workings of my brain. Blog: Normal musings and life antidotes. Facebook: Internet cat memes, 24 mac and cheese recipes before you die, and pics of my son for my mom. So, while this already cleared the twitter test (Bodily functions), I hadn’t decided if I was going to post it on my blog for fear of freaking out my mom. So anyway, Tuesday morning I had another round of heart palpitations.

For everyone that can’t run the google machine, heart palpitations are when electrical signals in your heart fire incorrectly and your heart flutters. Mine will normally jump to around 230ish beats/min, I’ll get a bit dizzy, have chest pains, and generally just feel like I’m going to pass out. They’re lovely. I battled with these in 2011-2012 during which I had a full EKG workup, wore a monitor for a month, and essentially came out of it with the diagnosis of being healthier than god damn Secretariat.

This last time was ‘minor’ in that they went away after a few minutes, but I never did feel quite ‘right’ for the rest of the run (which I did finish, because I’m an idiot). Caffeine and dehydration triggers them and I guess I’ll just monitor those and go back in if they happen again.

So, you’re telling me we’re all supposed to be surprised when a football gets cold and wet it loses a little volume?I mean, who hasn’t dealt with a little ‘deflation’ now and again?  Isn’t there an entire “sitting in bathtub on the side of a cliff” industry dedicated to fix this?  Look Patriots, believe me, I know. Maybe you were just really tired and weren’t feeling it. Maybe you even had too much to drink and couldn’t focus.  Just do what we’ve all done and pump a little air into it and power through. You can do it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2014 Mesa Turkey Trot 10K Race Report!

Note that this is a (very) late race report that I'll probably double post in its correct "timeslot" as well. Hopefully I'm better about getting these out in the future!

Nothing makes me feel better about eating 4,000 calories later in the day than burning off 500 in the morning. It is called balance, people.

Time: 39:05
Pace: 6:18
Place: 37/1979 (top 1.8%!  Whaaaa!?!?)
AG: Place: 4/105 (Top 4%! Not bad….but lots of ‘trotters’ I’m sure)

I’ve done the Mesa Turkey Trot 10k race 6 of the last 7 years. I LOVE this race. It really exemplifies my running: You want to go all out with some of the fastest people on this side of town? Sounds good.  You want to walk with a stroller and a puppy while wearing a turkey hat? Sounds good. You want to plan on running fast only to be pushed 5-6 rows back because a bunch of kids want to sprint off of the starting line? Eeehhhhh, yeah okay we got that too.

The course is usually a bit boring, but it is always flat, well supported, and super fast. If those three traits don’t describe me, I don’t know what do.

I run either squares or out and backs, so this race is basically my wet dream

This year, in spite of my lack of speedwork, I was going to go all out and see where I was at.  I haven’t gone all out in a 10k for 2 years so pacing was somewhat of a stab in the dark. Granted, not totally as I had ran a few fast 4 mile tempo runs within the past month.  In spite of that, little did I know, my stab in the dark at pacing was a lot like peeing at 2am in the dark – I realized about half way through that I had made some serious miscalculations.

The race started just like many others. I went there with my running partner/buddy Ryan who was hoping to run it all out as well.  We went on a half mile warm up jog with some bursts at what I hoped would be my race pace – 6:10ish. I peed in a bush and lined up at the starting line. I told Ryan that I was going to stay with him for a while but we were obviously going to run our own race. Each of us had headphones on with Abba and Queen loud music cranking.

The course was a bit different this year, instead of looping through a neighborhood, we were doing two circles on somewhat main roads finishing in a local park. Not sure the reason for the change, as you will find out later, hopefully they change it back.

First Half:
My strategy with 5K and 10K races is usually to run even splits. I want to settle into a pace and try to hold it.  So, when we jumped out at around 6:15ish, I wasn’t too worried. Unfortunately any worries about paces were fleeting as around the 0.3 mile mark my shoe came untied. ROOKIE MOVE. I was a bit ‘frustrated’ when I realized it and threw my handheld water bottle 20 yds in front of me to clear my hands to retie it. Trust me, this kind of logic makes sense in my three year old head. Once I was able to do that, I joined the pack noticeably frustrated. I instinctively tried to catch up to Ryan, but that had me running 5:40s for half a mile or so.  Once I realized that I was already starting to pant hard and was being an idiot by trying to catch up, I backed off and settled back into 6:20ish to try to settle down.  Mile 1 and 2 were 6:17 and 6:22 respectively – including the shoe tie.

Unfortunately, the damage was already done.  By mile 3 I was already working really hard. It was hotter than I had expected at around 55ish. Certainly not hot, but hot enough for me such that my shirt was already soaked all the way through.  That said, I was able to hold pace for the most part, but I knew that it wouldn’t be for much longer.  Mile 3 was another 6:17.

Second Half:
Races are hard. Even in the shortest of races, I have to battle the “maybe we could just take a walk for a little bit” daemons. “Come on man, just for a little bit…to see how it feels?” I battled these hard right after the half. I slowed down for a quarter mile to 7:00ish pace to catch my breath and hopefully push towards the finish. It worked, kind of, and I was able to squeeze the throttle back down and get back into the mid to upper 6s.  Unfortunately, in the middle 2-3 miles, I had settled into a pocket void of other runners directly around me. It made the ‘we should walk’ daemons even harder to battle, not having anyone around to help push.  Having settled squarely into the pain zone, mile 4 was 6:38. Ouch.

(This is when 99% of the runners hate me.)  I was also a bit frustrated as there was an ever so slight uphill somewhere between miles 3-4-5 that really seemed to take the life out of me.  By ‘slight uphill’ I mean about 10-20 feet of gain.  Not exactly Mt Everest.  Maybe it was more like Pikes Peak or Mt Whitney – certainly in the Rocky Mountain range and not the Appalachians.

For the last 2 miles or so, I finally found someone to run with.  A younger female was also struggling so I mentally tried to place my exhaustion onto her tried to motion to her that we should run together / finish together. She seemed to get the hint as we ran together for a while…until she outkicked me at the finish….because I’m chivalrous and that is what I do. Certainly had NOTHING to do with the fact that I was completely spent.  Mile 5 and 6 were 6:46 and 6:26.

Before I knew it, I hit the 6.05 mile mark (9.7km) and was finished!!  WAIT, WHAT?!  Yes indeed, the course seemed to be significantly short. I confirmed with a few other runners that it was not just me and that everyone was showing short. While I understand the physics of GPS watches, I have to think something was awry as I should almost never be short in a race.  There were no underpasses or large trees, no opportunity for wrong turns to cut the course, it was just flat out too short.  That said, since it was a certified course, it must have been okay?  Who knows…

Final thoughts:
Overall, this really wasn’t a good race. Like, it was actually a pretty terrible race.  I went out too fast, didn't run enough speedwork, etc.  I’ve ran 5mi tempo runs, while labored, at about the pace that I ran this race. (Well, and I ran a half marathon pretty easily only 20 sec/mile slower a few months later.) But, I really think the mix of no speedwork and going out way too fast caused the crash and burn.  So, I guess I got a little bit of what I deserved. Either way, it was a good excuse to load on 4000 calories later in the day!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

For Running's Sake, kind of

I like to set goals.  Whether it is how many Oreos I can eat at once (only 2. Ugh.), if I can sit on the toilet for 10 minutes without my legs going numb (50% of the time), or whether I can hold out after the 37th time my son asks for another piece of candy (usually, no)......goals are important.

The same goes for my running. My running has always been a way to achieve some other type of goal.  A means to an end. First it was lose 50 pounds. Then it was run a marathon. Run faster, quality for Boston, a marathon in every state...finally coalescing with breaking 3 hours. Even if only to be able to have a fifth second beer and still stay healthy, running was there to help me along.  To be clear, I enjoy it a LOT, but there have always been goals to be met where by running was the vehicle. A very painful, sweaty, code brown threatening vehicle. Like when I lost my virginity! 

In a recent post, always my philosophical compass, Jamoosh at Das Mixture opined about the old days of running just for fun. As I was reading a story about him jumping over a curb (which only he could squeeze a blog post out of ) I wondered aloud if I should take off my Garmin and rip off my bra and throw it in the air, literally throwing data to the wind.  Would I enjoy running as much if it was no longer a means to an end?  Would the end somehow justify the means by taking up some other sport enabling me to stay healthy?

Honestly? I don't think so. I think if I were to stop setting goals and just "run" I would instead "eat myself into a stooper" and become one of those guys that yells at the TV news. I need the goals. I need the nagging in the back of my head, "Adam, what are you doing today to run a PR?" That isn't to say that every one of my runs or other activities has to be a non stopped action packed interval session, but overtime my personality is such that I need to crescendo to a few key points throughout the year. 

To that end, my crescendos this year will hopefully be to: break 3 hours in the marathon, 17:30 in the 5K, and run 2250 miles.  Probably in decreasing difficulty, I'm not sure that I can do the first one without the 2nd two, and I probably can't do any of those without the last one. Either way, I'm going to enjoy the journey not only as a means to an end, but also as a way to run for running sake a little bit more. Who knows, maybe I'll find a big curb to write a blog post about! 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Family Christmas Card

I sent a handful of these out via paper copy, but since I'm always one to save mother earth, he is the electronic copy as well!

After a few years’ hiatus, [My Son] and I are back sending out Christmas cards!  This holiday season it seems that [My Son] and I are settling into a nice routine. Either that..... or we both finally have something to brag to friends & family about! What better method to spread holiday cheer than the often-boastful holiday letter!?

[My Son] just turned 4 and loves racecars, trucks, trains, motorcycles and anything that makes noise, goes fast, or burns fossil fuels.  He is certainly a boy’s boy with a kind and tender side that shines through when he is at school. He is quick to hug the other kids and loves telling everyone "bye" when it is time to go.  [My Son]'s hobbies include coloring, waking up at 5:20am, and buying iPad games while I am in the shower. His dislikes are any food that is not in lollipop or French fry form.

This fall, [My Son] started Preschool.  He loves the teachers and his classmates and always has wonderful stories to tell about what he did at school such as "I don't know" and "I can't remember". I am also settling into some nice parenting guilt as I have no idea what to do with the seemingly daily 30 paintings / projects he brings home. I'm thinking about starting an abstract art Etsy store to help offset the preschool cost.

When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, his response is usually either a police man or garbage man. Of the reasons why he wants to be a policeman, "driving really fast" and "going through red lights" top the list and a garbage man to drive the big truck with the robot arm.  Of course, after answering for himself, [My Son] asks me what I want to be when I grow up.  Unfortunately, "working with computers" isn't the right answer and is greeted with a "No daddy, when you GROW UP".  Wiser than his years, even my 4 year old knows that I refuse to grow up. If anyone is interested I am going to be a doctor when I grow up.

Things in my world are chugging along. After 11 years and seemingly thousands of hotel stays, I left [my old work] in February, started working for [my NEW work!], and bought a new house. [my NEW work!] is a cable company [details removed here because of reasons]. To answer the obvious questions: 1) No I can’t get you free cable 2) I have no idea why there are so many dancing / singing shows on TV 3) Usually the reason your internet goes down is because someone cut a cord in the ground somewhere. The change was for the better as I no longer have to worry about traveling or working 70 hours a week.

I'm still running like a fool and completed marathons in New Jersey and Detroit this year. With the addition of those two, I've ran marathons in 21 states which nearly puts me half way towards my goal of one in each state. I'm slower than I once was, but still putting foot to pavement.  The highlight of the running year wasn't either of those but instead was a 1 mile Komen race with [My Son]. He ran the entire thing and was VERY proud of himself when he finished.

This year, I think that I can speak for [My Son] and agree that we are both very fortunate and thankful:  Fortunate for many blessings throughout the last year and thankful for continued health. We had a lot of fun in 2014, here is to hoping that 2015 will be just as exciting!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from [My Son] and Adam!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 Fiesta Bowl Half Race Report!

Editors note: I'm about 4 race reports behind. I'm going to try really hard to get these all completed and posted by the end of the year. These are almost literally the only posts that I go back and read so in spite of my blog inactivity I want to record them down!

I love this race. I love that it is flat. I love that it has only a handful of turns. I love that it is in swanky Scottsdale where all the UGG boots and yoga pants live.

Time: 1:27:32
Pace: 6:40
Place: 41/1,117 (top 4% whaaaaaat!?)
AG Pace: 7/39 (Top 18% - BLARG. How can 20% of the people in front of me be in my age group!?)

My 2014 running year is best described like my Saturday nights: a lot of work all year long but the real fireworks were in the first 2 minutes. I set a massive half marathon PR in January but got out of a groove for the rest of the year. Fortunately, I rallied and finished strong with a solid "pace" effort in December.

The Fiesta Bowl half marathon is one of the larger half marathons in the phoenix area put on by one of the oldest running stores in town.  It is simple in design (basically a big square) and flawless in execution (sort of).  As I know you remember, last year I paced the 1:40 pace group in a leopard print pimp hat.  Haterz gotta hate. I always know a handful of people running it and usually try to keep it on my radar if the timing is right.

As of Tuesday race week I didn't even know that I was going to race.  I had my son and unfortunately he is way too big to sit still in the running stroller for a full 13 miles.  Not that I wouldn't love to try, but reminding him that "it is daddy's turn to run" and "no, you can not get out" every 30 seconds for 90 minutes does not seem like fun. Long story short, my schedule changed a bit and I was fancy free for the day!

So, I threw already maxed out Christmas inspired credit cards to the wind and signed up to race on race day.  Over the last 2 years or so, I've found that waiting until the very last minute to race is much better. That is mostly because not being able to race because of scheduling issues quickly eats up saving $10 on doing it early.

Heel strike for the win! 
(Actually, GOOD GOD, what am I doing?! Digging in for tug of war!?)

I am a pretty realistic runner.  I won't run a pace that I don't think I can hold. So, in spite of tapering (read: not running) during race week, I knew that I would not be running all out.  I haven't been training for a half marathon and really didn't want the soul crushing death march from miles 10-13.  Let's be honest, my ego needed a bit of a boost. So, I settled on running somewhere between 6:40 and 6:50 pace.  This is a bit slower than half marathon pace at 6:25 but slightly faster than marathon pace which is likely around 7:00.

 Rockfist?  Maybe. More heel strike? YES!!

I had actually planned to run a few slower miles to warm up and then ease into the faster pace, but my Garmin has been a bit wonky showing paces all over the place until it settles in. So, even though I thought that I was running slower, I was actually running pretty fast. So, I started out running 6:40s.

My ONLY complaint with this race is the mile markers.  They are off. I don't mean "uncle Frank likes to have conversations with the dog during Christmas dinner" off, I am talking more "uncle Frank has tearful conversations with the dog about how he wishes all women were loving and caring like she is" followed with admissions about how he wishes it were legal to marry dogs.  So the 2 mile marker was at least a tenth of a mile off and the 3 mile marker was a quarter mile off. Not a HUGE deal, but obviously not Garmin errors either. It was that way last year too, so I think that it might have been because the markers were supposed to be in the middle of open intersections..... lest the Scottsdale people can't get to Yoga.

Why why why do they put camera people on (tiny) uphills at mile 11?!

Overall, I continued to click off (what my watch said were) 6:40 min miles - with surprising accuracy.  I'd waiver a few seconds here or there, but was pretty spot on w/out looking at my watch much at all.

I hit the 10k mark running 6:39ish pace and felt good.  I slightly considered seeing if I could hold 6:20s, but frankly the miles were making my legs tired and I was quite comfortable running where I was. So, basically I was lazy. That is, until I hit a few of the 'uphills'. Around mile 11, the race goes on a bike path which dips under roads. the resulting 10 ft drop / rise were just enough to be annoying. Yes, you heard me right, I'm complaining about a 10 foot "hill".

Never the less, I did drop a few seconds with a few 180 degree turns and just plain old slowing down, but still managed to hold on at the finish for almost exactly a 6:40 pace finish. Hooray!

I honest to god NEVER throw up peace signs or rockfists while not racing....

Race tested, Santa approved.

Post Race Thoughts:
I really like this race. It was the ego boost that I needed after a string of sub par races to let me know that I still can throw down a somewhat speedy time with minimal race effort. How minimal the race effort was I"m still trying to process.  I think that I could have likely held 6:30s for the second half and gotten right around 1:26.  Fast, yes. But still 2 minutes slower than my PR from 12 months ago.  So, I have some work to do over the next few months to get back to my younger (obviously handsomer) glory!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

One month, one post

Oopsies, I’m seeming to find that blog time is becoming harder and harder to find.  Not that I don’t have any content, but actually putting fingers to keyboard is tough. Never the less, if women can find the time to have their period once a month, I figure I can find the time to type up some blog nonsense. That is how a period works, right? It comes around when women have some free time to deal with it?  Anyway, bear with me – my blog writing skillz are a bit rusty…..


Seriously, Charles Manson has a wife? What kind of messed up world do we live in that he can find a wife!? Also, what kind of women says “I know you convinced a bunch of people to kill a bunch of other people….gimme some of that!”.  More importantly, do you think she has a sister? I think I could stack up against Charles Manson pretty well and be the “good” son in law of the family.


Hmmm, I remember this race going much worse than this....

Oh yes, that is MUCH more how I remember....

Running is coming along, Detroit sucked.  I’ll post a report later this week, but by “sucked” I mean I ran a 3:26. So, I suppose I should put it into perspective.  (Sort of like saying, “I won the lottery, but I didn’t match the powerball, so I only won $5 million instead of $200 million. Boo hoo.  Now I can only buy one helicopter :(  ”.) But, I ran a 20 miler at 3:15 pace a few weeks before and felt amazing, so something went awry for sure.


Christmas Pics!

I’m still rocking the single dad thing while juggling everything else. (Seriously, does Charles Manson’s fiancĂ© have a sister?) My son is about to turn 4 which is fun, but so are EVERY SINGLE ONE of his friends, which is a little overwhelming.  I can’t even lie that the worst thing about going to a birthday party every weekend is that they never serve beer. But, I brought some beer of my own to the last one which actually turned out to be really fun! I’m sure that is a coincidence that having beer made it fun.


This past weekend I volunteered / cheered at Ironman Arizona. Lots of fun times that I'll dedicate an entire post to.  Until then, here is a glimpse of my "literal ironman" costume.



Finally, in spite of my lack of blogging, I'm still doing the twitter thing.  Here are a few of my musings over the past week or so....

Last week I ran 10ish miles at night and then ran the next morning. I used to do that a lot, but now it essentially hit me like a truck for 2-3 days. I'm sure that my AARP acceptance letters are just around the corner.
 Since I'm getting as old as Sting, I'm trying to eat a bit healthier. So, not only did I learn that Quinoa has LOADS of fiber (don't ask) I also found out that it is super easy for it to get stuck in your sinuses!

Finally, just like the rest of the country, it is cold in Arizona.  Of course, by that I mean it is only supposed to get to 75 degrees today.  Buuuurrrrrrrr.