Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Are runners too particular about numbers?

Coaches preach, present company included, about the specificity of runs.  “Make your easy runs easy and your hard runs hard.”  “Make every run count!” “If you run so hard you puke and you stop your garmin, you’re cheating!!!!” So, it should come as no surprise that runners are a bit specific on their measurements. For example, I can tell you that I ran 8 miles at 7:07 pace on Monday. Furthermore, I ran back and forth in front of my house to make it an even 8.00 miles… lest I run some insane amount like 7.92mi. Blasphemy. Over the weekend I got to thinking on how particular runners are – and if it matters in the long run.

You see, this weekend I had a surprising number of friends racing Ironman Chattanooga.  (Let me be clear, for as much running as I do, I think doing an ironman is completely crazy – in an amazing / awe-inspiring way.) It seems like it was a good day to slog through 140.6 miles as a number of them had great races. But wait…. the course actually WASN”T 140.6 miles.  It was 142.6 – a full 2 bike miles longer than it was expected to be. (There were actually rumors that it was going to be FOUR miles longer than normal.)  For the average ironman, this would increase their time by over 6 minutes or more.  In a sport where carbon fiber jock straps and helmets that look like sperm are the norm, I’m really surprised I didn’t see spandex clad triathletes with carbon fiber pitchforks trying to skewer anyone with a clipboard who looked like they had authority.

If a marathon were any longer than 26 miles 385yds runners would certainly flood to facebook to vent their frustrations, clear plastic homeland security approved gear check bags raised above their heads in silent protest. But, to be fair, some aspects of running are indeed “flexible” with the distance where needed – 100 mile runs are usually around 102-4 miles.  But, by far the vast majority are accurate down to the last meter. If they are not, runners are the first to complain about it.  As evidence of this, stand by the finish line of any major half or full marathon and listen to exhausted runners piss and moan about how their GPS shows 13.3 or 26.7 miles.

So, the question that I had to ask self is “are runners just too particular about stuff”? Should we all take a big spoonful of “simmer down” and stop sweating the small things? I can’t seem to find if there was any sort of “adjustment” for the longer course. I doubt it.  When I ran the Denver marathon and the course was long, our official (and therefore Boston Qualifying) times were reduced by ~30 seconds.  So, the precedent is certainly there.

All told, I’m shocked that 1) this was allowed to happen and 2) it was (seemingly) not a huge deal. In the grand scheme of things, it was a very small percentage of overall distance and time, but in sports where seconds count I would think that people would do terrible things to save that kind of time.  Maybe runners could use a bit of perspective and not worry about the seconds and instead focus on the big picture? For my money, I’m going to keep running exactly 8.00 mile runs… but maybe I’ll go crazy and run without a garmin now and again (on a course where I know the exact distance…. I’m not a barbarian).

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Butt hurt, Cutting down trees, and Lolo is a nono

First, let me start off by saying that I hate all of you with your 48 degree morning run posts. The high here today is “only” supposed to be 93 – but only because the humidity is 84%. Look forward to those shirtless January run posts from me when it is 65 degrees.

Last weekend I was hanging with my son all weekend and just couldn’t drag myself on the treadmill for 20 miles…. Or 10 miles…. Or any miles. (Treadmill because it was 105 degrees.) I tried to make up for it the best I could with a 13.1 mile run the day after. Not ideal, but at least it is something.  This week is going better for sure. After that 13.1, I had a great (albeit short) marathon paced run where I ran 1 warm up and 5 all around 6:55. I’m not in PR shape, and certainly not in sub 3:00 marathon shape, but I’m in “respectable” shape which is good enough for me.

I heard the term “butt hurt” the other day and found it hilarious. As in: “oh jeeze, runners get so butt hurt about being called joggers”. I want to start using it more, but I can’t tell if it is derogatory or sexual or something else. I just like it because, you know, butts. Sigh, words are hard.

Lolo Jones was on Dancing With the Stars this season.  Note that I said WAS. She got the boot on the first vote off. I don’t watch the show (busy doing my nails, obviously) but I suppose now without her celebrity dancing career to fall back on she is just going to have to go back to one of the many olympic sports she races in.  Life is hard.

Finally, this past weekend my son was CONVINCED that we were cutting down the 35’ tree in the front of my house. You can sort of see the scale of it in this pic to the left:

I think that he got the idea because I cut down a dying / struggling tree that was half the size of it. Either way, starting at 4:50am on Saturday here is how the conversation with my little lumberjack went:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Finding the Balance

Balance is hard. One minute you're looking at youtube home videos of people getting hit in the crotch and before you know it the entire weekend is gone. (To be clear, that is a great use of time.) With a million different things going on, it is easy to get caught up in the hustle bustle and forget to stop and watch some more youtube smell the roses. Spending time with family, running, staring blindly at the TV for 4 hours being social, and even working a little bit all tug at available free time.  Each is important and ignoring one is a sure fire way to go insane. Over the last few months I haven't been doing an awesome job of this - which needs to change.

So, one thing that I haven't mentioned online before that makes the "life" balancing act a struggle is that just last week I crossed the two year mark of being a single dad. As you can plainly see by my yearly blog post count (2011 - 185 posts. 2012 - 154 posts. 2013 - 83 posts. 2014 - 37 posts) the old bloggero got put on the back burner as I was buried in diapers and force feeding vegetables. I have 50% custody, so when I'm not bartering with chips or fruit snacks to get him to eat vegetables, I'm cleaning or running, or doing laundry.

Or doing quick "are there eggs in this pancake batter" freak out (there weren't)

And even sometimes doing the "wow, your teeth SURE ARE BIG!"
(It was a lollipop, not a pacifier...)

My current situation, while not special, does present a bit more of a running balancing act (this is a loosely defined running blog after all) challenge than some.  On days that I don't have my son, I run in the morning. This usually requires a 3:45am wake up so that I can be ready to drive my 1 hour one way commute. On days that I do have him, I run at noon on the treadmill at work - as long as I can find the time. Which, I do about half of the days I need to.

The balance with running and "life" that I resigned myself to about a month ago is that I'm not going to reach my total mileage goals. Honestly I might never be able to run like I did in the past. But, at the end of the day, that is just fine by me because it means spending more time with the little guy and less time grunting and grimacing trying to push out one last mile.

The other tough running balancing act that I'm still trying to work through is having a social life. This one has arguably made the lowest priority on the balancing list: being a good dad, working, running, youtube, brewing beer, blogging, etc. I'm going to work even harder to combine as many of those as possible (hellooo runner blogger daddy group!?!?) to maximize my time. Either that, or I could just get some cats? Everyone loves cats!?

Happy New Year indeed!

Over the past few months, I had been internally beating myself up with my 1) lack of running and 2) lack of blogging. I think that sometimes we all could do for a bit of balance to not only justify the changes in what we're doing, but also to laser focus our time on what is actually important. For me that isn't miles logged or blog posts submitted, but instead it is time and experiences. Time spent with those around me and experiences (that I will hopefully blog about!)  Until then, I'll be the one at the restaurant promising one more french fry if he finishes his "seasonal vegetable medley".

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Rambles: Fiber, Running, and 99 beers in the box

One of my new year’s resolutions was to try new foods. Let’s all just ignore the fact that I made about 12 others and eating food is the only one that I am NAILING.  Anyway, quinoa comes in a box and is ready in 15 min so I’ve been eating some of that lately.  This week I ate it 3 days in a row.  Let me tell you, it has a LOT OF FIBER. I can’t even mention the disastrous ways I found this out.

My running has been clicking along really well. (Probably the fiber.) I am deep in the pace / tempo cycle with 2 ‘quality’ workouts a week of faster than “normal” pace. As an example, yesterday I did a 10k at 6:21 pace (40:00min 10k) as part of a 8 mi run and felt great. But, it hasn’t been all unicorns and cotton candy. About two weeks ago I resigned to the fact that 60 miles per week is all that I am going to be able to get in. (Note that miles, just like speed is relative. What is just okay for me is omgamazorbs for some.)  Between work, my son, and commute time, I almost literally don’t have any more time to log them while giving myself enough rest (read: no doubles or back to backs). It will get better when it is a bit cooler and I can put out a big bowl of food and a big bowl of water for my son and leave him for 2 hours can run at night.  Until then, I’m making the miles I run count as much as possible.

Speaking of my son, he is at the age where he really does say the most amazing things.  As an example, he was beside himself this morning because I wouldn’t let him eat grapes while brushing his teeth. “But daddy, I want to eat grapes now!”  Try again, buddy.

While running has been going great, I’m having the normal aches and pains that seem to accompany running around 60 miles. I not only wake up with the temperament of an 80 year old man (GET OFF MY LAWN) I also wake up with the joint mobility of one.  Much like the Louis CK stand up bit, I don’t really expect the stiffness and aches and pains to go away, they’re just something that are….there.  Like the herpies. Louis CK went to the doctor to see if there was anything that could be done about some pretty bad ankle pain he was having: Now, if you're 20 and you have a bad shoulder, the doctor will reconstruct your shoulder through miracles of modern science.  He'll take your ear and make a shoulder out of it.  It's weird. But when you're 40, they just give you no options.   They don't care.  He's like, "Yeah, your ankle is just worn out." I was like, "What do you mean?  I injured my ankle?" He's like, "No, it's just shitty now."  I was like, "Well, so just goodbye?  Nothing?  Is there nothing?  You just ... nothing?  There's no option?  It's like, incurable shitty ankle?  That's it?" And he goes, "Well, there's things you can do.  You can stretch.  Uh, for half hour a day, you should stretch your ankle." And I was like, "How long will that take to fix it?" He's like, "No.  You just do that now.  That's just a new thing you do until you and your shitty ankle both die."

I do think that I found something that will help a LOT with the aches and pains. A 99 pack of beer!  That is right, Austin Beerworks is doing a limited release of a 99 pack of beer.  It is 7 feet long, weighs 80+ pounds, and is guaranteed to make me look attractive after you drink it and folds out so you can put ice all over it. I can almost guarantee I would feel no pain after that!

Finally, celebrate, rejoice! For it is Friday. And today might be the day. The great thing? What today is the day for is entirely up to you.  Happy Friday!

Monday, August 25, 2014

ALS Bucket Challenge – Directors cut

I really thought that I had avoided it. The buzz was finally starting to die down and my facebook feed was starting to return to its healthy balance of baby pics (swoon) and sweaty men in side-split shorty shorts (also, swoon).  But, alas, I was indeed tagged to do the bucket challenge where you dump a bucket of ice cold water on your head.  As the lack of blogging would imply, I’m a very busy guy now a days and thus didn’t have a lot of time to put something together. Soooo, I had to do a bit of multi tasking. Here is what I came up with:

I’ve had a few questions, so I thought that I would provide some behind the scenes explanations:

As you can tell by the terrible look on my face, the toothbrush water was by FAR the coldest. Since I was actually standing in my bathroom, I only filled the bucket 1/4 of the way full which made the water COLD since I was able to put more ice relative to water.

Yes, I did get water ALL over my bathroom floor. Oops.

Surprisingly, the shower scene got my bathroom floor wetter than the teeth one.

Bonus points if you saw the Boston Marathon coffee mug.

I was home alone at the time, so I had to McGyver a holder for my iPhone.  It involved my son’s playdoh and a kitchen table chair.

I never got used to the cold water. EVER. In fact, I had a headache after I got done.

The video was pretty fun to make, I can see why I have 10,000,000,000 of them in my feed.  I should note that mine was done completely on my iPhone. Free apps for the win!

Finally, at first I wasn’t a big fan of these videos. But now that I am doing it, I love them!!  I kept thinking that as part of the challenge, people making the videos were choosing to NOT donate and instead were choosing to bring attention to themselves. You know, kind of like having a blog….or twitter…or Instagram…Oops.  But, as it turns out, they raised a bunch of money and now I know that ALS isn’t something to do with baseball but instead a debilitating disease. So, kudos to whomever created the challenge (baseball people, ironically) and humbug to those who complain that it is either 1) taking away from other fundraising or 2) you’re sick of them. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday in Pictures

I’m still doing the pic a day, every day. Instagram is the best way to find them.  The more I think about it the more I really love that I decided to do it. With the pics of my legs laying on the couch as the exceptions, looking back on various days is a fun way to put the everyday events into context. Think about…. What do you remember from 2013?  What about Feb of this year? If you are like me or on heavy sedatives probably not much.  In fact, I’m looking to have them put into a big shutterfly style book at the end of the year. Because I mean, who wouldn’t want to come over to my house and flip through 365 pictures of me!?

Here are a few comings and goings over the past month or so:

Chuck E Cheese is just as creepy as you remember.  Scratch that, WAY more creepy

Because it has been balls hot out, I haven’t rode the motorcycle much in the last 2-3 weeks.  Frankly, the swamp ass sweat is just too much to bear. (Double checked bear vs bare on that one.) I hope that changes really soon.

I might do a full post on this, but a few weeks back I picked 2.5 gallons of olives at a public park…..

which then two weeks later turned into 5 quarts and 11 pints of canned olives….

which then a day later turned into 5 quarts and 10 pints of canned olives when my son broke one. Either way I have a ton of olives.

Like I said in my last post, in spite of it being balls hot, I have still been running.  I totally randomly met a twitter friend on the road during the last few miles of death march. Why is it whenever I see friends on the run I feel so terrible that I can’t even do the “fake chipper smile” that guys always do when girls run by?  :*(

Finally, it was my son’s first day of school three weeks ago. The start has been rocky at best as the transition between “YAY SUMMER FUN TIME” and the structure of school has been a bit of a shock. Hopefully that all settles out as everyone gets a bit more comfortable.  I’m not sure if I can handle many more teary “why can’t I just stay home and play with you all day, daddy?” questions.