Thursday, December 31, 2009

Headed to Chicago - Psych!

Wasn't it little Michelle Tanner who followed every comment with "PSYCH"? Actually, the more that I think about it, Michelle may have been a fan of the term "NOT". As in: "I'm going to be in Chicago for the next 6 months......NOT!"

Just when I thought that I had everything planned out, the come-and-go nature of consulting throws me a curve ball. You see, two weeks ago I was set and ready to go to Chicago for approximately six months. I was even stocking up on winter gear to protect the boys during what would certainly be some very cold runs.

But, when I received a call from my boss on Monday, he said that there was an urgent need at a client in San Francisco (Silicon Valley really). The need was so urgent, if the client wanted to bring me on, they would have first priority. Well, you can see where this is going... Last night I booked a crap-ton of flights to San Francisco.

San Fran is certainly a much closer flight for me, but the project is, on the surface, a little less desirable and I have two good friends in Chicago that I could have hung out with. So, I guess I will have to balance the closer commute and nicer weather with the better project and nearby friends. On the bright side, I'm a bit of a wineo, so eventually I will fly my wife up and we'll have to check out Napa/Sonoma.

I honestly can't remember if any of my followers are from the Bay area. If you are and want to get together for a short mid week run - let me know!!

While I try to as much as possible, the last minute changes are still a little hard to get used to. In fact, to add insult to injury, I even got a nasty-gram from our company's travel agency about booking a flight only 3 days out. As if I could have prevented that!

You know, it may have been Kimmy Gibbler who would say Psych...or was it Urkel? Time to watch some TBS in the morning to find out for sure!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Running Year in Review

Ah yes – 2009. Over the past few days, I’ve seen all sorts of year in review and even some century in review posts. I have always liked looking back – mostly at the numbers. I have a hard time remembering specific events (mostly because of heavy, heavy drinking) but I can always remember the numbers. I never even thought about doing a century in review post, but when I did think about it my head hurt and I smelled burning hair.

So, to avoid any more brain damage, here is only the last year at a glance of course, by the numbers:
  • Miles ran: 1285
  • Races: Two marathons, one 10K, four 5Ks
  • Miles biked: 130 (this is a very raw number as I didn’t track any of my trainer mileage)
  • Nipples chaffed: 0
  • Allergic reactions to band aids on nipples: 300,000 (my wife won’t let me post pictures :(
  • Stress Fractures: 1
  • Pounds gained while not running because of stress fractures: 9
  • Nights spent in hotel rooms: 129

In 2009, so many things happened. MJ is gone, but fortunately the Jonas brothers stepped up to take his place. John Gosslin continued to astound me with his stupidity and Michael Phelps got caught taking a hit off of a bong. For me, 2009 was a year of great highs (not the bong kind) with some deafening lows.

  • While I set my marathon PR of 3:29:29 in May, I suffered a stress fracture in September that put me on the couch for 8 weeks.
  • In June, I bought a house in Phoenix and sweated my balls face off running in the Arizona heat
  • In August, I set my weekly mileage PR at 57 miles
  • And in October I bought a bike to get myself moving while I couldn’t run

Of course, like I said before, I’m sure that there were LOTS of other things that I can’t remember but none enough to stand out. While I had all sorts of fun in 2009, I can only assume that 2010 will be just as fun if not MORE fun. Like I always say, “If it isn’t fun, we’ll grit our teeth and force it to be fun!”

Monday, December 28, 2009

Oh, I got a white Christmas all right

First, I know that I am about 140 blog posts behind. I haven't had internet access for the last week or so. I've been missing getting caught up on everyone's goings' on so much that I've started to get the shakes. In fact, as I type this, I am sitting (wearing my underwear) in a hotel room in Kansas City trying to download all of the updates offline. I'll get caught up tomorrow with everyone - promise.

I have said for the last month that I would love to have a white Christmas. Oh, how mother nature is ironic. Turns out, while in Iowa I was "treated" with snow every day that I was there - starting off with a solid 18" on Christmas eve. *Insert crude length related joke here*


Even though there was snow on the ground, life goes on....and I gotta get in my run.

16 miles, 9:12 pace

On Saturday, I went on my longest run since my stress fracture - 16 miles. The roads were pretty icy, so they slowed me down about 30 seconds a mile. But, honestly that was probably a good thing as I am not sore at all two days later. Ice: 1. Adam: 0.

I feel like I bundled up fine for the ~10 degree weather but I didn't really anticipate the wind! Turns out, northwest Iowa is the newest hotbed for wind energy - now I know why. To try to get a little more traction (and stay away from horrible HORRIBLE drivers) I decided to run on country roads outside of town. Unfortunately, this meant that I was no longer guarded from the wind.

The result? It was cold enough that, around my ears, my hat froze into a solid sweat-cube and rubbed against my ears for the second half of the run. I think that I got just a touch of frostbite on my ears - either that or some serious rug burn from my hat. Two days later my left ear is still a little sore. Ice: 2. Adam 0.

My wife took this picture immediately after my run. I can feel the cold radiating off of the computer monitor.


My eyelashes kept on freezing shut (and apparently my nose was wet like a dog's).



T-3 weeks until Rock and Roll Arizona! I think that I just may be ready.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Tile Backsplash, Frozen Nose hairs

Hey all! I am still here. By “here” I mean flying from Arizona to Kansas City. Sidebar – I wonder how many of my blog posts are authored at least in part on airplanes…probably close to 25%. Luckily for you, my readers, I rarely put to text the crying babies, huge people crowding the arm rest, or smelly toilets that spew that blue watery stuff all over the place. Since everyone is plenty busy over the next few days (or is avoiding family time), I thought that I’d throw out a bullet point update:

  • I’m on my way to Northwest Iowa to see my side of the family and enjoy a white Christmas. One way that you know that you are in Phoenix: When we told our waitress last night that we would be going to the Midwest for the holidays, she asked if it would be my first white Christmas. Oh no, I’ve had many a Christmas where it has been so cold my nose hairs have frozen.
  • Speaking of freezing off various parts of my body, I’ve officially been assigned my next work project – in Chicago. I’ve got a full post about that on the agenda soon.
  • In the past, my wife has made fun of men wearing running tights. I’m sure the comments centered around “The Bro” or a “Man Purse”. However, upon hearing that I was going to be in the bitter cold of Chicago Monday through Thursday, even she commented. “You know, maybe you should look into those running tights.” She is either coming around or is looking to set me up for some quality mocking.
  • My running has been coming along. I took a few days off after my 5K as I was feeling a bit sore in my legs. Even the area around my stress fracture was a bit sore. A sure sign to take a breather. However, I did get in a solid 6 miler on Tuesday and a 3 miler on Wednesday. Next up: 6 miles on Thursday and 16 miles on Saturday.
  • Finally, the reason I’ve been MIA over the last five days is because my wife and I have been putting up a tile backsplash in our kitchen. Check out the before and after pictures. I’m pretty damn proud of the results. I don’t think that I even said ONE swear word - even after I bonked my head on the cabinets again…and again..and again. I won’t mention how we cut the tile without a wet saw. It certainly wasn’t the OSHA approved method.



Yes, each of those 4” x 4” tiles were laid individually.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I Won!

For those of you who are not aware of Runner Dude’s blog, it is a very informative blog that provides information on all things running. Whether he is talking about training tips, interviewing celebrities, or providing many many opportunities to win free things, his blog is a daily stop of mine to get my runner’s fix. Go for the information, stay for the giveaways.

About three weeks ago, I entered a contest on Runner Dude’s blog and I won! Hooray! I scored a $25 gift card to RoadRunner Sports. I answered the question of what keeps me running during the cold. To not rub salt in the wounds of everyone who doesn’t live in Arizona, I picked a story of running near my dad’s house in Iowa:

My motivation.......Mostly, my motivation is driven by the saying "this will not kill me". No matter how cold it is, how deep the snow is (or WAS since I am now in Arizona!), it won't kill me. In fact, the faster I run the warmer I would become! If that isn't motivation I don't know what was. Side story... I remember visiting my dad in northern Iowa and going for a 15 mile run. Not only did my sport beans freeze rock solid IN MY POCKET, the water in my water belt froze completely solid without me knowing about it. The next day when I went for my recovery run, I made sure to tuck the water belt under my shirt.—Adam R

This week, I’ll be in Northwest Iowa running in weather that is supposed to be around 10 degrees. It won’t kill me – but I do think that I will need some sort of banana hammock to further protect my giblets. No one likes to freeze off the boys.

So, what to buy.... what to buy... I've always wanted to try some Roctane, so I'm going to pick up a 6 pack of that. It is a bit more expensive, but it has stuff in it that is supposed to make it better (horse steroids I think).



Plus, since I am going to be doing a bit more cold weather running (more on that later) I believe that I am going to pick up a pair of running gloves. I have sort of little girl hands and they get cold easily. I have eye on these Nike Lightweight Running Gloves. I'm still going back and forth between a lightweight and a heavier weight version. Look for a review on what I end up with shortly!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lifetime Fitness Reindeer Run 5K Race Report

Overall Time: 20:14
Overall Pace: 6:31 (Garmin listed 3.15 miles, so Garmin pace was 6:26)
Average HR: 205 beats per min
Overall Place: 12th / ~900


Summary: Sort of hard course but a solid run. Probably gave a little more than I should have gave (95%) but all in all a pretty nice effort.


Long version: This morning I ran the Lifetime Fitness Reindeer Run 5K in Tempe AZ. It was billed as mostly a ‘fun run’ that drew a lot of families who either jogged or walked the race. In fact, they announced that they were treating it as a fun run and therefore it would not be timed and there would only be prizes for the top 5 men’s and women’s finishers. Bummer. I actually could have swore that I saw that this year’s race was going to be timed. (And super bummer that I would have certainly placed in my age group)



I got to the race rather early and was able to walk right up, sign up, and get my bib/long sleeve T-Shirt. I went for a very quick warm up mile and made my way to the start. I did a quick sizing up of the “competition” (no crazing running flats, not many people with those slit side running shorts, etc) and realized that I should start way up towards the front. No need to do more zigging than necessary.


The race started and I quickly passed most of the people who had lined up in front of me. While running on the Mill Ave bridge, I found my pace touching the 5:50s – wee doggies, time to slow down. With a race this short, I am always questioning myself on my quick start out of the gate. I eventually found a pretty comfortable pace around 6:25.

Like I said in the summary, the course was a bit challenging because of a pretty significant hill at the 3/4 mile mark. Looking back, I’m glad I started a little fast because that meant that my average pace was still on track. I crossed mile 1 in 6:32 and mile 2 in 6:26. But, by mile 3 I was starting to feel the lactic acid in my legs build up. (Really feeling that burn) I was actually passed by a guy who had left a little more in the tank than I had. Either that or he rode a moped for miles 1-2. As I look at my results, I guess I didn’t slow down a ton during mile 3 because I crossed the 3 mile mark in 6:24. I cranked out the last 0.1 and crossed the finish line.

One funny thing that I noticed was that the winner was one of “those guys” who wears the race t-shirt. Maybe I’ll start to do that to help me speed up:

Overall, I think that I probably left 15 or so seconds on this course and probably could have actually ran a 19:45 on a less challenging course. Of course, that is very easy for me to say sitting on my couch at home. That said, I’m going to have a pretty aggressive 5K goal for 2010. Stay tuned for my yearly “goals” post!

Finishing it out:


Friday, December 18, 2009

FFF: Guys vs Gals

This one is an oldie but a goodie:



Editors Note: Sorry if you have tried to leave a comment lately. I had to batton down the hatches because some spammer decided to leave comments on EIGHTY THREE of my posts. I'll be spending most of the morning trying to clean that crap up.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Running fail and Twitter

  • This morning I totally failed at running. I just couldn’t get out of bed. *sigh* I think the excuse that I will use is that I ran the night before (3 miles, 8:20 pace) and therefore would have only given myself about 9 hours rest in between the two running sessions. That works, right? Either way, I’ll do a short run on Friday with some bursts of speed to get myself in the right place for the 5K. This being a stepback week, I’ll have approximately 22 miles. Next week, I’ll work towards 30 or so. I’m getting back! I should have nearly 40 by the time I run the marathon.
  • This is my last day in Atlanta. I’m feeling the range of emotions: All the way from sadness to happiness to Fergalicious. I’ve met some pretty fun people and have racked up KILLER frequent flier miles.
  • After RazZDoodle posted about how he loves all things Twitter, I decided to give it another shot. Since Razz is a crotchety old man and even HE liked it, I figured that Twitter must have some redeeming attributes that I didn’t see on the first go around. Add me if you want – adamrisu. I can’t promise anything more interesting than in this blog.
  • The other day while in the car, I realized that I cannot (without assistance) hold up my middle finger and my ring finger without holding the others down with my thumb (picture below). Is this just me or do I have some sort of strange webbing in my hands? To the ladies reading this….yes, this is what guys do in their spare time. Next up, trying to lick my elbow.

  • Finally, since it is winter and I have the humor of a 12 year old, I leave you with a good rumination: My favorite part about winter is all the sexual innuendo during weather forecasts. "We're going to get pounded hard tonight by eight inches. Expect it to last all night and be prepared for a whiteout in the morning." Giggity...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lifetime Fitness Reindeer Run 5K

I posted a while back (but I am too lazy to go find the post to link it here) that I refuse to believe that the end of the year is coming. Denial? Check. Delusion? Check. You’d think that I had bought into all of the 2012 nonsense. I refuse to fall into another Y2K style paranoia – I’m still trying to get rid of all of the canned SPAM I bought.

You see, I had to sit out the prime running season with a stupid crack in my shin. A crack! That is like not eating some cheese because of a little mold. Scrape it off! Good as new.

Denial:
In the spirit of refusing to bend over for father time, I searched for a race – any race, to run when I thought that I was healthy enough. Enter the Life Time Fitness Reindeer Run 5K. December 19 - perfect. It looks to be a pretty fun race that goes on part of the IM AZ course around the man-made Tempe Town Lake in Tempe Arizona. It’ll be a harder route with a pretty good sized uphill section but that will just add to the challenge.

(One funny thing that I noticed about this race is that MBT shoes is a sponsor. Interesting. Not Brooks, Nike, or Adidas. MBT. Note to self: I’ll need to be sure to line up towards the front and not get slowed down by a barrage of blue haired mall walkers.)

Delusional:
I have no PR goals for this race. Quite simply, I am not in sub 19:30 shape. If I have a super race I may be able to GUT OUT a sub 20:00 but even that may be a stretch. Humbling. When I say “gut out” I mean teeth-clenched, forehead-vein-popping, all-out running. That seems like a LOT of work. I’ll probably take some advice from The Sean (recent 3:01 Boston qualifier) and just run a comfortably hard relaxed race. Anything under 21:00 will be considered a good race.

I can’t remember the last time I ran a race by myself (not pacing) where I wasn’t in top running form. It will be an interesting experience. Normally, for such a random 5K, I would check out the previous race results to see if I had any chance at an age group award. Unfortunately, this is the first year this race is timed. I would normally think more of a Lifetime Fitness sponsored event, but I suppose that it is more about the Reindeer than anything. I’ll tell you one thing though, if the race field is looking small, I’m totally lining up towards the front. No blue hairs will slow me down!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Arizona does Winter

This past weekend, two of my closest work friends came to visit Phoenix for the first time. Funny, as I type that I got to thinking about how I put the “work” designator on my relationship with them. I haven’t worked with either for over a year, I work in Atlanta, they work in Chicago and St Louis. I think that it is safe to call them some of my closest friends. But I digress...

Since the Midwest has received a firm kick in the nuts from mother nature over the past two weeks, they were both looking forward to enjoying some sunny R&R. The result? Rain. Granted, it was in the 60s most of the time, but it rained off and on the entire weekend. FML.

Never the less, since Phoenix is a giant suburb and they were only in town for two days we decided to make the most of the relatively “nice” weather and head up to Sedona, AZ. Like I said in my last post, short of the Grand Canyon, Sedona is one of the prettiest and most touristy areas in Arizona. I couldn’t decide what was more amazing: How pretty the rock formations were or how ridiculous some of the little shops were (fortune telling, about 6 stores for jeep tours of the rocks, about 30 jewelry stores focusing on turquoise).

Here are some pictures that I snapped:

All of us in front of some of the rocks. The picture doesn’t do the rocks justice and doesn't do my rippling muscles justice

We stopped to eat on the way there. However, for some reason they decided to put up a HUGE sign advertising where the entrance was…..only to then put it on the other side of the building.

An artsy picture that I took inside of The Chapel of the Holy Cross overlooking the rocks.

My favorite picture of the trip. I tried to make the colors a little more vibrant (as I remember them)

All in all it was a fun day trip. I had hoped to see a bit more snow than we did but, until I get to Iowa for Christmas, this picture from 5 miles or so away will have to work. This is how Arizona does Winter:


Monday, December 14, 2009

Half Marathon Long Run

On Sunday, I trekked out for my weekly long run. After my injury, I’m up to some decent mileage at 13 miles on the weekend. Next week will be a well deserved stepback week. That week, depending on how the Lifetime Fitness Reindeer Run 5K goes, I’ll probably crank out 7 or so. (More on that race later this week)

The run was pretty benign, which to be honest at this point is the way I like my runs. “DON’T GET HURT”. A mantra that I was mostly successful in following. I kept a very constant pace throughout the run while trying to hold my form as best as possible. While I was mostly successful, today I am a bit sore on the outside of my ankle. Tuesday’s run will likely need to be a very easy effort.

13.1 miles, 8:24 pace, 1:50:05 total time, 178 average heart rate

It is interesting, I’ve started to wear my Heart Rate Monitor again on my long runs. I wear it for two reasons. Not because I plan on basing my pace on it, more so that I can look back and be surprised at how it doesn’t explode out of my chest. That and now that I am wearing shirts again, I won’t have some strange chest strap tan line. (Not even my thirst for data will trump vanity.) I know that I said before that I am surprised that I don’t have an “Aliens” style explosion in my chest at how fast my heart goes. I’ve ran a marathon averaging 180+ beats per minute and have run a 5K averaging 200+ beats per minute. Based on that, my max HR is somewhere around 210 or 215.

When I got from my run, I was greeted with a house that had not yet woken up. Success. Another long run down an no disruption to “normal” activities. Isn’t that what it is about anyway? Hiding your obsessions from those around you. By that measuring stick, it was a very successful indeed!

T-5 weeks to Rock and Roll AZ. Tick….tock…

Friday, December 11, 2009

FFF, cold runs, showing my age, and bike troubles

Funny Foto Friday:

I went for a solid 5 mile run on Thursday morning. I wanted to go for a quick recovery run on Wednesday night, but daddy (Adam) needed his medicine (wine). I had a little bit of a goodbye happy hour with a buddy I have worked with for 4 years. I had hoped to just have a few drinks, get back to the hotel, and crank out a few miles. Yeahhhh, no dice. Although, the half drunk map-my-run would have been NEAT to check out! Like a squirrel who also was full of wine. So, instead I bagged it and ran Thursday morning. Solid run, although I got a bit chilly because I forgot to pack long sleeves. Fail.

So, I may be aging myself here in my ignorance, but luckily it is the good kind of aging - the kind that makes me look younger. Score! I need something to balance out totally crashing at 9:00pm on a Friday night.....
While staring at the walls in the hotel, I tend to daydream. I got to thinking about what it was like before computers. What did traveling consultants do before they all had laptops? Nearly 100% of my work is done on a computer now and for some reason I can't get the mental picture out of my head of a bunch of people around a slide rule. Can anyone who works in an office setting help me out here?

I’m planning on leaving work a bit early today to HOPEFULLY fix my bike tire once and for all. I’m going to take the tire completely off of the rim (instead of just one side of it) and completely inspect it. If I can find the thorn or whatever is in there I will take pictures.

I have some friends in town and we’re going to go to Sedona, Arizona tomorrow. Should be a GREAT time:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tempo run in a new gym

I have only ever been a member of one gym in my life. Lifetime Fitness in Kansas City. I always figured “animals live outside and don’t die – I won’t die either if I run outside” and that is mostly what I did. However, based on all of my friend’s Facebook status, the entire United States is having the storm of the millennia. Atlanta not wanting to miss out on all the fun decided to rain 2”. As hard core as I am, running in the pouring rain while it is 40 degrees out in a T-shirt and shorts didn’t seem like a good idea. Mom’s lessons: 1. Mother Nature: 0.

As it turns out, my hotel has a deal with a local Bally Fitness (good thing I found this out during December when I’ve been staying there since February). So, I went over there and cranked out my miles on their MUCH better treadmill. I found that treadmills suck MUCH more than I remember, staying hydrated is MUCH harder when all of the drinking fountains are broken, and a little old lady can walk 1 lap on the indoor 0.1 mile track right in front of my treadmill in 1:45 – rock on!

Yeah, I’m serious about the hydration. I woke up this morning almost feeling like I had a hangover. I even drank a TON when I got done!

6 miles – 5 at 7:15 tempo pace

I’m not sure that I can count the FULL 5 miles on this tempo run. After 2 miles in or about 15 minutes of actual running, I got a side stitch from HELL. I don’t think that I am exaggerating when I say that it felt like 37 little lawn gnomes were poking me with their little pointy hats. I am not sure if it was because of my lack of fluids – but I doubt that it was since I was so early into the run. So, I had to full on stop the treadmill and stretch / massage them out. Unfortunately, during that time, my breathing and HR got back to normal (both recover pretty quick).

Can I count all 5 miles at tempo? Maybe. But I have to think that most of the benefit of a tempo run is the compounding effect. So, maybe I’ll log this one as a tempo of 1.5 miles and another tempo of 3.5 miles. Details details.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Transition


It is that time of year. It is that end of year push that is filled with extreme highs and lows:
  • Everyone is in the holiday spirit. It is truly the season of giving. But at the same time, I can’t go to the mall food court without having to hurdle moms with 6 kids in tow pushing a triple wide stroller. You should see the looks that I get when I push little Suzy to the side to cut in line at Sbarro.
  • While I love to read all of my runner friend’s year end blog summaries, I can’t help but be in a bit of denial. Since my injury cut off the PRIME running season, I am trying to jam as much into the end of the year as I can. 5K race on the 19th? Check. Long runs with no stepback week? Check.
  • While the first snow is very magical (I love how everything is so silent) the weather is exceptionally gloomy this week. Not just in Atlanta – EVERYWHERE. I cannot, no matter how hard I try, make a snow angel in a muddy puddle of rain.
  • The end of my current project/assignment is near. So I am working to look as busy as possible – so people will remember me as a contributor instead of a drain on society. At the same time, I’m looking for a NEW project to keep myself gainfully employed.

Being a traveling consultant is interesting. While I always give 110% (go team!), towards the end of my contract I can’t help but let my focus drift to the weeks ahead. Reaching out to people for the next project increasingly becomes more and more important. Fortunately, because I work for a big company, I still get paid when I don’t have an actual project that I am working on. However, that doesn’t mean that there are not expectations that I’ll “attempt” to stay busy.

One more week in Atlanta, then I’m home for the foreseeable future. Then….who knows. It will likely mean that I am off to another glamorous location! If it is another place like Thibodaux, Louisiana lord help us all.

While my forethoughts are probably a good thing for my career, especially during the holidays it is probably worth my time to savor the now. Before we all know it we’ll be back into the ho-hum of January. So, take my advice and take a breath when planning the 3rd course of the holiday meal. Oh, and I swear to god – if you take the last piece of cheese pizza at Sbarro, there is going to be a throwdown in the foodcourt.

------------------------------------------------

5 or 6 miles tonight with some tempo work. Giggity, giggity.

Monday, December 7, 2009

11 Mile Run - Good, Bad, Ugly

I decided to give my shin an extra days rest and run on Sunday instead of Saturday. I knew that there would be some sacrifices to the extra day as I was taking a short weekend trip to Flagstaff, AZ. The same 7,000 ft of elevation, uber cold Flagstaff that you may have heard of. Turns out, not all of Phoenix is the desert. Who knew?!

I traded 50 and sunny to 20 and windy. Score. My run in Flagstaff can be classified into three categories: The good, the bad, and the very very ugly.

The good:
  • No.shin.splints. I am now almost certain that it was the busted up hotel treadmill that did me in before. I felt only a slight twinge when I started and no pain after that.
  • While out on the run, I ran by a hospital (more on that later). It was a short single story hospital, and before I knew it I heard the whine of a helicopter taking off. I stopped running and got to see life-flight take off! It was so close to me that I felt the wind off of its rotors. Hopefully it was just going for a tax payer funding test run and that no one was actually hurt.
  • I got to see snow!! Unfortunately, below is the best example - the shady side of a fence. Fail. Here are two of my cousins playing in it:


The bad:
  • 7,000 feet!? Who thought that it would be a good idea to put a city up that high? Since the oxygen level in the air goes from 21% at sea level to ~16%, I was immediately puffing from the start. I tried to slow down but that didn't seem to help. Ultimately, I was forced to shuffle along running two miles and walking a bit to catch my breath.
  • The run was COLD. Around 20 degrees. But, I'll admit, it did make me feel like a bit of a bad ass all bundled up on my top but still wearing shorts.
  • To add insult to injury, when I had only two miles left I had to wait a full 4 minutes for what seemed like the longest train in history! I am nearly positive I even saw some of the boxcar children go by.

The ugly:
  • I paid a quick visit to the same emergency room where I watched the helicopter.
  • I didn't visit the hospital because I was injured. Oh no. It was because I thought that I was going to lay a golden egg! I had felt a slight rumble in my stomach about half way through my run, and I knew that I was going to have to take it VERY easy with even more frequent walk breaks or else I would need to 'make my mark' in the bushes somewhere. Unfortunately, I had to walk a lot, fortunately, I didn't shat myself. So, I have that going for me....which is nice.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bike Flat

Well, it was bound to happen. On Friday, during a nice 13 mile bike ride, I ran over something that was strong enough to pop a hole in my bike tire. Murphy's Law says that as soon as I ask how common they are I get one.

So, on Saturday morning, I decided to man up and change the little bugger. Earn a few extra man cards - the winter Olympics (read: figure skating) are coming up after all. My setup consisted of my bike upside down old towel because I am FAR too cheap to actually pay for a fancy bike rack.


Next, yank the old crappy tube out. I pumped it up when it was out for fun and it definitely had a leak.


The guy who sold me the bike made sure I had EVERY tool that I would ever need for the bike. As a result, I am now fully stocked up on bike blinker fluid and reflector polish. He upsold the shit out of me. One of the things that seems to be useful is little yellow tool below. It seems to be the ticket to a swear free tube change.


Success!! Spins like a drunk gypsy.


Update: Weeeeellll, success for a little bit at least. (Stupid gypsies.) I don't know if I have a thorn or a piece of glass or what in there. But, either way, the new tube won't hold air either. So, when I get back on Thursday or Friday, I'm going to have to inspect the inside of the tire. Hopefully I'll be able to figure out what the issue is!

Friday, December 4, 2009

For leprechaun, triathlon, sight to be hold, go for the gold

Garmin's holiday commercials always crack me up. This year's is no different. Unfortunately though, I couldn't find the full lyrics ANYWHERE.

Believe me, if I ever get into triathlon, I would totally take down the leprechaun - and steal his pot of gold.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shin Splints

Ahh yes, we have all been there. The burning pain on the inside of your leg that increases while you run. Bringing even the strongest man (e.g. me) to his knees. Shin Splints.

Even a simple google search will yield thousands of results that point to your calves actually being the culprit. The problem is that my calves have always been tight. Not tight in a good way, like: “Tiger Woods’ wife is TIGHT, why would he cheat on her?!”, more like “my calves are so tight they feel like I’m storing baseballs for winter like a chipmunk”.

During a very quick 2 mile run on a treadmill last night, I was bit by the shin splint bug. I know that I am being hyper sensitive, but I can’t help but be a little concerned that I am pushing a little bit too far too fast. It was the first time that I’ve tried to run two days in a row, so I guess my body just isn’t ready for that yet. Either that, or the busted up treadmill in my hotel was harder on my legs than a mobster with a baseball bat.

So, my action plan is as follows:
  • Stretch 3x a day. I’m going to stretch after I work out (duh), going to stretch in the morning after I am up and moving, and I will stretch just after lunch (after I have been up and moving to the feed bag).
  • I am going to sacrifice no less than 4 chickens a day to the running injury gods.
  • Take a step back week on my long run next week. I’m probably due.
  • Only run 4x a week.
  • Work hard to run on soft surfaces. Phoenix has an excellent canal system that offers miles of gravel on which I can plod along.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'd forget my head too

First, I got a few of the 'about me' tabs updated. Somehow blogger must have figured out that posts in the 80's aren't actually REAL posts - because they didn't show up in my reader. Score one for Google (who owns blogger). Next step, figuring out reminders for "#2" breaks that email my gmail account.

Next, a quick update on the stress fracture. I am feeling nearly no pain, before, during or after my runs. By nearly no pain I mean that I think I am 99% better. The one issue is that my calves and/or Achilles have been really sore after about every run. I'm not sure what this is, but I am been stretching them out like crazy. My calves have always been really tight so it is something that I am always trying to work on. Hopefully it doesn't develop into anything more serious.

Finally, (my English teacher would be proud of the structure of this post) I went for a quick 4 mile run last night. It was my first attempt at anything speedy for any duration since my stress fracture.

4 miles, 7:15 average pace

The run started out rather frustrating. I wear jumpers knee platellar straps because my quads are weak like a wee little girl's quads. I've wore them for the last two years and don't have the guts to NOT wear them. Well, I forgot to pack them in my suitcase this week. FAIL. What is a guy to do? Just like every time I get a little low on my medicine (whiskey) - Walgreens to the rescue. I remember hearing that cross country girls would sometimes use athletic tape as a substitute. The result?



Try not to swoon too hard at my chicken legs. The interesting thing is that I KNOW that those cross country girls probably shave their legs. Let me tell you, taking the tape off was none too fun. I'm seriously considering shaving the back of my knees cyclist style because I'm going to have to do this Thursday morning. Owwza.

The run itself went okay. I started out with a half mile warmup and then worked to hit a tempo pace at around 7:10 or 7:15. I was able to hit the pace, but it seemed to require a lot more effort than it did before my injury. Not all that unexpected, but still a bit frustrating. The first half wasn't too bad, but mile 3 was a real doozy. I still worked to keep a relaxed effort, but doing that took almost more effort than the actual running. I'm going to keep adding a mile a week onto this day until I peak out at around 7 miles. If that doesn't help me regain some speed, I don't know what will!