Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reader Questions

I've had a number of GREAT comments over the past few posts (thanks!) and I wanted to address a few of them.  Jamoosh does it, why can't I?  (Although, I smile in my pictures - except for this one)

On my ever so poetic post announcing that I was going to run a mile time trial, Deanna - The Unnatural Mother said...
I say you do the mile in five flat.

I've honestly thought about it.  But, that would require way to much speedwork and way too little marathons. Besides, just like I've had to give up freebasing pixi-stix (you know, because I'm just not as young as I used to be), my body would really take a beating going after a goal that aggressive.

On my post about running morning vs night, Chris K said...
Don't eat before you run? Really? I hate running on an empty stomach. I eat some oatmeal with peanut butter which completely staves off hunger. 

Nope, I normally drink a half glass of water and am out the door. (Depending on the night before, maybe a full glass to stave off any brown bag headache)  I've only recently got in the habit of drinking some coffee and checking some blogs if my run is longer than 10 miles.  The McDonalds toilet along my running route thanks me.

On my post about my mile run, GeorgiaSnail said:
FWIW, Mandy Moore is married to alt-rocker Ryan Adams...I don't think there is a need for the chastity belt now....

That may be true Thomas, but I'd like to think someone as pure as Mandy Moore still waves her V-Card even post nuptials.  Right?  RIGHT??  Is nothing sacred!? (For the record, Thomas, is WAYYYY cooler than me because I have no clue what FWIW means.  Crazy kids....)

Also on my post about the mile run, Jeri said...
I really enjoy the airplane arms after the race. Do they help with recovery? :p We always had our first track meet of the year on a dirt track, and our times were CONSIDERABLY slower. I'd say my mile time was almost a solid 10 slower than the next meet would be (and I doubt I was improving that much in ~one week's time.)

I actually read on the Internet that you can speed recovery by getting your arms in alignment with your heart.  It has to beat just a little less because it doesn't have to fight gravity.  Also, having them up opens up your chest for more air.  And, because I read it on the Internet, it HAS to be true.  Also, I read on the Internet that Oprah is actually retiring her show after 25 years because she is a terminator and her battery is running out of juice.  It is on the Internet so it has to be true.

Also - very cool about the time pick-up on a rubberized track.  Gives me hope!

Finally, about a million people commented about how my wife was a SAINT for going with me and taping me.  As a few examples:
Laurie said...
You have the nicest wife ever. And the cutest mummy baby of all time.
giraffy said...
I would have LAUGHED out loud if my husband thought I'd go out in 45* to record him running a mile.

Sooooo, my wife DOES read the comments...and she thanks you all.  I'd agree with you all most of the time.  The times that she is nagging me to take out the trash or pick up my socks.....not so much.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Running Year in Review

As I hunker down with my tux on sipping champagne with beautiful people waiting for the balloon drop....... Well, probably at least sitting on my couch with close friends watching Ryan Seacrest and the seemingly immortal Dick Clark..... Actually - as I get up after being asleep for 4 hours and feed my 4 week old baby in the dark while wearing only my underwear, I'm likely going to think not only about the year ahead, but also about the year that has passed us by.

2010 saw me pass 1500 miles, I won my very first race, and I even pooped myself two three times. It happens.  A little bit by the numbers:

  • Miles ran: 1506 (29 miles per week average)
  • Marathons: 6
  • Half Marathons: 1
  • 10K: 1
  • 5K: 3
  • Pairs of shoes purchased: 6 (4 long run, 1 tempo, 1 speed)

A year ago, I set a number of goals that were not only measurable, but also very achievable.  I wanted to stretch myself not only with setting aggressive time goals, but also get myself out there and finally run a few distances that I never had before.  Here they were (and where I ended up):

Yeah, big fat FAIL on this one.  I hurt my foot while running Rock and Roll Mardi Gras.  Hurt it bad.  I didn't run for nearly 6 weeks while it healed.  It turned out to be some sort of tendon issue that fortunately didn't require any witch doctors surgery. What I think that I learned was that I can't run through everything. Some things just take some time to heal - kind of like hangovers!

Sub 3:20 marathon (I believe they call these "big fat hairy audacious" goals)
Ugg, another FAIL on this one.  I tried, heaven help me I tried.  I gave it a go in New Orleans, Seattle, and in Denver.  I got close, 3 minutes away.... hell, I can't remember the last time I pooped and it didn't take that long.  But at the end of the day, I didn't have it in me.  FAIL - this one bugs me.  A lot.

Race any half marathon
WIN!  Finally!  One that I can say that I did!  I ran the Rock and Roll Los Angeles half marathon but didn't really "race" it.  I probably ran a pretty solid 8 minutes longer than what I could have as I was recovering from Seattle.  But, I ran the race.  So, as long as "The Hills" can call it self "reality TV", I can call this one "racing".

Sub 19:00 5K (Another bigger fatter goal - probably harder than the 3:20)
Success!! Sub 19 5K WIN!! Not only did I do this with 10 seconds to spare, but I won the damn race.  Granted, there were only 200 people who participated - but I still crossed the finish line first.

Run a timed and accurately measured mile (Sanctioned race preferably)
I'm sure that you all have the censored naked picture of me burned into your head, so I won't digress into that again. Mile time trial WIN! Let it suffice that I did run a mile flat out.  Unfortunately, it wasn't a race - mostly because all of the races that I was able to find were kiddie "fun run" races.  Don't get me wrong, I have no problems with laying the smack down on some kids - but I was afraid of their dads.  Most of them are bigger than me....and I have little T-Rex runner arms.

Complete a sprint triathlon!!!
Yeah, big fat FAIL there.  Not sure what happened here.  I had thought about a few races here and there, but I really don't like to use the pool for swimming for distance....Instead, I like to use it for cannonballing, drinking beer, and splashing my wife. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Adam's Open Mile Race Report!!

Distance: 1 mile (Garmin distance 1.01 mile)
Time: 5:22.11
Place: 1 out of 1 Overall, 1 out of 1 AG

One of my 2010 goals was to run an accurately measured mile...and then stop.  I'd never ran a mile race or a mile time trial purely for speed.  My mantra has always been that I'm built for distance, not for speed (that's what she said).  I don't have massive quads to be fast at the track and don't focus on distances even half that long.  But, I was tired of the hole in my running history and decided to go for it.

So, with 2010 drawing to a close, on Christmas Eve morning I packed up the family and headed out to the local high school track to run. It was around 45 degrees when we got up and got going, but to my Arizona acclimated wife, that means: Arctic tundra.  Somewhere under 2 shirts, mittens, a hat, and 2 blankets is my son...maybe.

Unfortunately though, because my quaint docile suburb is apparently crawling with 15 year olds with too much time and not enough chores nor supervision....all of the rubberized tracks within 5 miles of my house were locked up tight for Christmas break.  While I was thinking about tossing my son over the 6' fence (don't worry, he'd be strapped in) I was trying to decide what you could actually DO to a track / football field that would require locking it up......  Make out on the 50 yard line?  Dye your hair red and listen to rock and roll really loud?  What the crap do kids DO nowadays that is so bad to require huge padlocks!?  Annoying.

After 45 minutes of driving around (2 high schools and 1 community college), we succumbed to my "normal" gravel track at a middle school that is only 1.5 miles from my house.  As you can imagine, my wife was super excited to be spending her Christmas Eve morn visiting the local educational facilities - just like she is excited for the next season of American Idol without Simon.

Excited to watch American Idol, but pissed that it will never be the same

Eventually we FINALLY pulled into the middle school track that wasn't locked up tighter than Mandy Moore's chastity belt.  I guess middle schoolers don't cause any trouble?  (Must be all of the raging hormones that keep them busy.)  Unfortunately, right as we were pulling up the pre-race coffee and 2x caffeine PowerBar gel were finally taking their toll on my insides.  I think you can see why I love running at this middle school track.  Easy access.

Once I got to the track and got my little mummy baby unpacked, I realized that they had JUST re-groomed the track surface to be as close to level as possible.  Score.  The reason I was so looking forward to running on a rubberized "track surface" track because running on gravel will be just a touch slower. When you are pushing off as much as you need to when running a mile you need all the traction you can get. That is why the 'real' runners wear track spikes.

The other reason why I wanted to find a non dirt track was that a mile is actually just a bit longer than 4 laps around.  Most tracks are 400m long and a mile is actually 1609m.  On a rubber track, the start/finish minus 9m mark is very clear.  On the dirt track it was quite a bit more difficult to find, but I eventually did track it down.  (Track, get it - I was on a track?? har har - Feel free to reuse that joke.)

Not a footprint in sight

Here is the 1 mile start - with my foot drag marking the start line

Since I was going to be running a mile I decided that I would pull ALL of the stops out. I unloaded my colon. I was going to be wearing my Brooks Green Silence racing flats and was going to ditch my supportive "Runner's Knee" straps (was wearing them in the port-o-pot picture above).  I've been wearing them for 3 years and I thought that I could manage running without them for a mile.  Unfortunately, I have to admit that without them I felt a bit...naked.  But I think that without them I could kick back further without worrying about the straps falling down or getting in the way.  Worth it!

No straps = feeling naked.  (I may have had shorts on during this picture.  Probably not though)

Oh right, the running..........
0-0.25 mi (402m) - 1:13 (4:52 pace)
"Awwww crap, WAYYYY too fast" As you can see in the video that I posted below, I went out WAY too fast on the first lap.  In fact, when I was about 150m in, I saw my Garmin flash a 4:20 pace. Ouch. This is a direct result of too many beer cans to the forehead not knowing what a 5:20 pace feels like.

0.25-0.50 mi (804m) - 1:22 (5:29 pace)
"Ok, this is starting to suck, am I about done yet? I wonder if Steven Tyler can actually be as good as Simon on American Idol?"  Honestly, I don't remember much about this lap.  I slowed down substantially - both on purpose as well as not on purpose.  I was already starting to feel tired....two minutes in.

0.50-0.75 mi (1206m) - 1:24 (5:38 pace)
"Ugggghhhhhhhhhhhhh"  Prior to running the mile I tweeted Steve @ Steve in a Speedo, who had just ran his own mile race (in 4:53!!!), and he said that the 3rd lap would be the hardest.  He.was.right.  This lap sucked and the goal was to just hold on.

0.75-1.0 mi (1609m) - 1:21 (5:23 pace)
"Just hold on....Just hold on...."  This lap sucked basically as bad as you would expect.  I felt like I was sprinting the entire lap.  My legs were burning and my LUNGS were burning.  But, I kept thinking to myself that it would be over VERY shortly.  And, fortunately it was!

So, what did I learn with this little 5 minute torture test?
  • I need to practice my mile run pacing.  I left a lot of seconds on the table because I went out too fast
  • Additionally, this test is probably worth doing again on a rubber track. I'll bet I could easily be 3 or 4 seconds faster with better footing
  • Not wearing my knee straps makes my underwear fall off
  • When I run flat-out like I did, I get a bit of exercise induced asthma.  I was hacking and coughing like the Marlboro man for the rest of the day
  • Even while running fast, I heel strike a LOT more than I thought I did

Here is a video of me running the mile.  It is literally the most boring 5:22 of your life.  Things to note are how I went out WAY too fast (watch the first few seconds and then skip to min #2 to see how much slower my leg turnover is), how my wife made fun of me at 5:30 into the video, and how I sounded like I was going to DIE at the end.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Digital Story of the Nativity

We live in a very different age than we did even 20 years ago.  Gone are the World Book Encyclopedias, the Polaroid pictures, and MySpace.

But, with all the change, it is good to know that at least one thing hasn't changed: Making fun of old things.  Merry Christmas, everyone.  For those of you that don't celebrate Christmas, Happy Saturday!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Funny Foto Friday: Calvin and Hobbes

When I think of my childhood, I think of sitting on my grandpa's lap and reading the funny paper together.  One of the highlights was always the Calvin and Hobbes comic.  Calvin always seemed to embody exactly what I was thinking as a kid.

Merry Christmas to those of us that celebrate.  To those of us that don't, happy Friday!

Oh, and if you got all the way down to the bottom, I figured that you should be rewarded with something.  Hubbida hubbida.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Are you a morning/afternoon/evening runner?

Below is a conversation with my wife after my 3:00pm, 7 mile marathon pace run at 7:25 pace:

Wife: Wow, you look TOUGH.  How was your run?
Me: *gasp* *gasp* I hate running in the afternoon.
Wife: Huh. You smell, you should to take a shower.

No matter what anyone says, having a good shoulder to cry on is the best thing in the world.

Just like any other guy, I'm a man of routine.  I've once said "if you can't predict a man, you're thinking too hard".  And, for the most part,  I believe that.  I run in the morning, I poop around 9am, I watch like 4 versions of the news, and then I go to bed at 10.  Throw in a little wine and some business time and you've got yourself a solid Tuesday.

I haven't always ran in the morning.  I travel full time for work, and for all of 2009, I was staffed in Atlanta, GA.  That means that I flew from Phoenix, AZ to Atlanta, GA every week.  To try to stay at all regular sane I would try to stay on Pacific time zone. That means that I would run around 10pm Atlanta time and stay up until 1am (10pm Arizona time).  It was fine, but I never seemed to hit my running groove.

When I run in the morning I feel refreshed with seemingly limitless energy.  While sleepy, as long as I poop, I rarely have any issues (as long as I am not suffering from the brown bag blues).  I almost never eat anything before I run so I never have any stomach issues.

However, in the afternoon things change.  Basically, I've had all day to treat my body like an amusement park fuel poorly and not properly hydrate.  Mix that with the fact that I'm almost always rushed to "get it over with" it is never a fun experience.  Either I try to drink a bunch of water to make up for the day and I end up sloshy or I eat too much food just before and I end up barfy.

So, while I always get my run in no matter what the time of day - I am most certainly a morning runner.

So, when do YOU like to run?  Or - when do you HAVE to run?  Leave a comment and let me know.  I tried to find a online survey but I gave up after hunting for too long.


Don't forget to enter my  1st annual Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K Virtual Race!  January 8th 2011!  Prizes so far for just finishing are (all self funded): 1 box of PowerGels, sticks of BodyGlide, and a Sony Walkman.  More to come!  Sign up here!

To answer some of the questions: Yes, this race can be ran as part of a longer run, yes I will continue to remind you, yes you can run it naked, and YES you must sign up or risk being called names.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Twas the Run Before Christmas

Twas the run before Christmas, and what did I feel?
My legs were sort of twitching, what the crap is the deal?

I've decided to do something not yet done before
I'd run a mile flat out, leave my guts on the floor

Grown tired of the question mark in my running PRs
I'd set a 2010 goal that was still ever so far

Running a mile no big deal, I had done it before
But this one would be different, certainly wouldn't be a bore

With a belly full of beer, Jamoosh would be proud
I sit on my couch trying to figure out how much time to allow (ehhhhh, pushing the rhyming there)

Not sure of the goal, I've taken a swag
5:20 be damned, but to be clear I'm not one to brag

So stay tuned to my blog, Friday will be the day
For the run before Christmas will be when I set my way (and my wife will video tape it!)

Until then I leave you with two things you likely crave
A picture of me entering a Brooks contest being dumb, and my little boy looking quite rave.

Yay rhyming!!  When I read this to my wife she said "cute".  Which usually means "That's dumb, but do whatever you want."

Here was my entry in a Brooks contest that I Tweeted about.  
I didn't win, but appreciate all of the votes!

Sometimes being a baby is just plain old tiring

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekend 15 miles and 5 questions

Somehow, I "off-season base mileaged" my way to a 35 mile week last week.  Opps!!  Sort of like how I can open a bag of caramel pop corn, slip, and the entire thing falls in my mouth.

My weekend long run was a 2 hour-ish 15 mile long run at a 7:43 pace overall.  I was RIGHT on pace but I got really tired towards the end.  My hamstrings and butt muscles were really getting tight and sore after 12 or 13 miles - something that normally doesn't happen until mile 22 or so of a marathon.  Just like an itch "down there", it is probably not anything to get horribly worried about but something to address sooner rather than later.


A few days back, Jamoosh over at the Last Mile Lounge tagged me to answer 5 questions about myself and my running. Since I LOVE these lists I of course had to oblige.  So, sit back, relax.  Grab a beverage of choice, spike that beverage of choice with booze, and bask in my own weirdness.

1. What are you most proud of accomplishing in 2010?
While I wish that I could say that my proudest moment came on some random 5 mile run where I simultaneously helped an old lady across the street, pushed a baby out of the way of oncoming traffic and solved the budget shortfall....but I'm going to be a bit egotistical and say that my proudest moment was when I won my first ever race and got a massive sub 19min 5K PR at the same time.  If there was one thing that I made sure to text my parents about afterwards it was this - so I suppose that qualifies.  Nothing says proud like bragging to your parents.

The 9/11 memorial 5K race director and myself, post win

2. What are your running goals for 2011?
At some point in 2011, I will try for a Boston Qualifying, 3:10 marathon. I may not get it, but I will go out at a 7:15 pace and probably poop myself blow up trying.  Simple.

3. What is your favorite race?
This is a tricky question.  It is sort of like asking "What is your favorite movie?" or "Which is your favorite kid?" or "Which Power Ranger to do you most  identify with?".  You can't choose!! I love all my races for different reasons.  (And, for the record, I'm totally a Green Power Ranger - duh)

If I had to choose, I'd pick two.  First, I'd pick the Fargo Marathon.  When I ran it in 2009, the Red River was out of it's banks, so the race was changed to be a double loop figure 8.  Horrible for racing (boring) super fun for suspecting.  My family got to see me 4 times and never had to move.  That and the race finished in the Fargo-Dome which was just sweet.
I have no idea what the look on my face is for

The most fun race to run is my hometown Rock and Roll Arizona marathon.  The Rock and Roll group puts on such a good race, I get to poop in my own toilet before the race, and it was my first marathon after my stress fracture.  I wish I were running it this year, but I will be either hanging out at the expo or volunteering at the expo!  Stay tuned.
Can't you see the fear in Ryan Hall's eyes?  Thankfully for him he was only running the half

4. What is your favorite holiday guilty pleasure?
I'd like to think that I have just enough self control to bend to each and every one of my guilty pleasures year-round.  So, for me the holidays are no different.  But, I think I do drink a bit more of the vino during the holidays.
Don't worry, this has since been filled - and is in the process of being emptied

5. What was your most embarrassing running moment?
Well, as much as I would love to have a story similar to this guy I really don't have too many embarrassing running stories.  I've had my share of "change your pants" runs (pun intended) but nothing that I've ever had to share with others.  So, I suppose I'd have to nominate my Rock and Roll Seattle Marathon race - where I started walking at the TWELVE mile mark.  Ugg.

This picture says it all

As I've said in EVERY one of these that I've ever filled out, I get very stressed when I have to choose who to tag. Since I was always the last one to be picked for every sport imaginable ("Oh, right...Adam...You can be right field / water boy / safety / 2nd goalie") I never want to leave anyone out.  But, in order to whore out my virtual race a little bit more be fair, I decided to actually pick a few of the more recent sign-ups to my virtual race!  Therefore, I tag:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Funny Foto Friday: Too Many Video Games

First, a running update......  after my Tommy Lee Jones Two Face Run on Tuesday, I had solid runs on Wednesday and Thursday:
Wednesday: 8 miles at marathon pace - 7:27/mi
Thursday: 10x400 at my new 5K pace.  Goal was 5:45/mi pace, averaged 5:40/mi pace.  Score.

While the Wednesday run was pretty normal (except I had to take a pee break where like 2 drops of pee came out...annoying), the Thursday track run was interesting.  I haven't done track work in SIX weeks, so I figured that these would be a struggle.  I was right - Even though my times were good, the track laps were TOUGH.....and the Middle Schoolers who were walking by were not helping matters any....thinking they were so big with their backpack on one shoulder.  Don't they know that is bad for their posture!?

While running the 400 repeats, I tried to maintain form and stay loose but it was a constant battle within my head.  I continuously said to myself "loose jaw, fast turn over, I wonder what will happen with the tax cuts, light feet." Overall, it worked - and my legs were tired the rest of the day.  Success!


If you've never shopped or been on (I'm sure you love wearing your pants up to your armpits, love morning coffee at Dennys, and smelling like Viks Vapo Rub), they have a feature that 'suggests' items that you may like based on the item that you're viewing.  I have a feeling that Amazon's suggest technology is getting a little TOO good.

I've never been a big video game guy, but I have a feeling that there are way too many people out there who play just a BIT too much.  But, I'd be lying if I said that I never thought about this during football games....

If your kids have Call of Duty on their Christmas list, make sure you also add Adult Diapers