Friday, October 17, 2014

Detroit Marathon Preview

As I type this I'm on a plane headed to Detroit for the Detroit Marathon!!  Hooray!  The only issue right now is that I have to pee really bad and the guy next to me is snoring so loud I think he just swallowed his face.  I guess that  means I am drinking enough water! Anyway, I'm super excited to not only be traveling again but also putting it all out there and racing. Since qualifying for Boston I have taken the same approach to racing as I have with personal hygiene - less is more.  So, instead of the 3-4 marathons a year I've been doing 1-2.  The goal there is instead of having a bunch of so/so races, I have a few complete disasters.  Eggs in one basket!

The good of this training cycle: My training for the race didn't go TOO bad, but it wasn't completely perfect. I essentially had a 16 week cycle where by I maxed out at 60 miles and ran three 20 mile runs. During the last half of the training plan I ran one "quality" day and tried to get at least one "pace" day in - although I can admit that I wasn't as successful with that as I would have liked. I probably got both in about half the time.

My buddy Jeff emailed me asking about this  last week's lack of online run entries
Yeah, that wasn't an omission. BLAH
The bad: I didn't run nearly enough speed and I was about 20% short on miles.  In a perfect world, I would have ran another speed day a week and would have pushed the miles into the 70s - mostly extending my mid week long run upwards of 14 or 15 miles. Not only would that have allowed me to eat a lot more food it would have helped my running.....okay, this one was mostly about eating the food part.

Update: seriously, if I don't pee soon this is all going to get....interesting....

The ugly: Well, I tweaked my knee about a week and a half ago and haven't really had a good run since. In fact, I haven't ran at all this week to try to get it completely back in action. [Insert completely irrational marathon freakout here.]  Thus far it hasn't worked and it is still very achy.  But, I'm still hopeful that resting and icing was the right call and I'll perform some sort of miraculous recovery.  To be doubly sure, I'm picking up as many pennies as I can and have been double checking all horses I see for unicorn horn nubs. (Everyone knows that true knee healing comes from unicorns.)

Pants off. Ice on. 

In all seriousness, I don't think my knee is THAT bad, but it certainly isn't 100% which is a bit frustrating. Oh well. I knew that I wasn't going to run a PR race so I just plan to take it easy and go with the flow.  I think that on a perfect day I could run a 3:08ish, so I plan to go out a bit slower than that and see what happens.  So, that would make my A goal sub 3:10, my B goal sub 3:15 and my C goal don't get hurt, dummy.

The race weather looks to be perfect at around 45 degrees and the race is mostly flat with the only 'real' hills being a bridge into Canada (eh?) at the start and an overpass after the tunnel coming back from Canada.  So, other than my knee, I really don't a GOOD reason to not run at least moderately well this weekend.  Dang.

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Also, since I know it is Friday and I haven't done it in ages, here is a Funny Foto Friday Pic.

Halloween is great. Snickers are better.



Finally, I did a Breast Cancer walk with my son last weekend, more on that soon!  Happy Friday!




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Taper time, world records, and concentrated beer

The hay is in the barn so I need to not sweat the small stuff but we all know that it takes a village to raise a child but it also takes a town to raise a barn.  Doctor Phil would be proud with my use of colloquialism.  With a 59 mile week last week, my official training for the Detroit Marathon is done!!  Now I’m on the painful reduction in volume called taper. Some people enjoy the taper period.  I am not one of those people.  I get anxious and antsy about miles not ran and too many calories ate. BUT, my last long run of 20 miles was one of my best averaging in the 7:20s/mile, so after a series of sucky runs I’m finally feeling good about my chances in Detroit.

HOWEVER…..  My knee hurts. Not an ache but instead sharp pains when I flex it backwards. Solution? I’m not flexing it backwards! Easy peasy.  While it doesn’t actually hurt while I’m running, since I’m in taper I might actually take a day or two off and get some extra sleep. Getting more sleep during taper is a lot like having only 1 drink at happy hour.  I always say I’m going to do it, but usually I end up dancing on the bar pretending to ride my (by this point taken off) shirt like a pony.

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Since I’m blogging a bit less, I miss posting a few things that I see around the interwebs.  Anyway, a month or two ago a lady ran a block with the leaders of the USA 20K championship. It was AMAZING and very awesome. These guys had to be running around a 4:50-5:00 pace (sprinting for the rest of us).  Suffice to say, I think a picture is worth a thousand words on this one:

So. Awesome.


Speaking of seemly super human running, the world record in the marathon was broken a few weeks ago in Berlin. For the first time on a world record eligible course, Dennis Kimetto ran faster than 2:03 which is also the first time that a marathon was ran at a pace faster than 70 seconds / 400m. In fact, the top TWO runners beat the world record. Of course, most people will start to talk about going faster than 2 hours, but I can’t help but feel sorry for the second place guy (whose name is barely mentioned because….well…second place). In literally every single other marathon in the history of the world he would have won and set a world record.  Not today, buddy. 2nd place is first loser.  Ouch.
Not pictured, second place


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Finally, beer. Specifically, beer concentrate. (I had actually seen this one nearly a year ago.) As a single guy looking to maximize my time, this is something that aligns with my interests! A company put concentrated (and alcoholic) beer into energy gel sized containers for easy transport.  Thrillist recently did a review where they did exactly what you would think to do: drink the gel.  The thought here is that you carry them while hiking, rehydrate, and “fuel” your hike. (read: get drunk and hug trees, I presume) I’m super interested to try it and actually just put it on my todo list to buy a pack.  Hopefully I don’t mix them up with regular GU in my 4am pre-run stooper.  Then again, maybe a bit of liquid courage is exactly what I need on a hard run. Ehh, actually maybe not.

"Beer gel works great!  I'm going so....ooops...nope."


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!