Friday, June 29, 2012

Funny Foto Friday: My bonked run & Bad Race Photos

He hit the wall
And then he bought this lovely man dinner
Blogging is interesting. What I want to write about isn't necessarily what other people want to read.  Blogging about running is a prime example of this.  I'll ramble on about how I killed a run and people reading will likely be saying to themselves... seriously, cut to the part where you poop your pants. People don't like to read about good runs, they want the shit show.  Well boys and girls hang on to your britches....

This morning I wanted to run 10 miles with 8x800 at 5:40 pace.  When I've had a pretty relaxed mid week I like to throw speed in front of a long run as sort of a back to back test of my legs.  You're not "supposed" to do it but I do.  Sort of like how you're not supposed to switch from wine to beer mid happy hour. Please, I do this all the time and I haven't barfed in days!  

Anyway, like everywhere else in the country, it is soul crushingly hot here.  The temp when I stepped out the door was 87 (at 5:25am).  I ran my first 2 intervals fine  but all of a sudden my legs got TIRED.  I went from easy running my recoveries....... to walking 10 seconds after the fast parts..... to turning my watch off and panting for 2 minutes afterwards.   Like I posted on Daily mile, the run sucked so hard I think I have a hickey.

Hitting the wall (or bonking - pick your fav term) is never fun.  What was once a hard but doable run 3 weeks ago this time makes me question the last 2 weeks of training and if I am pushing too hard / pushing not hard enough / pooping too much.  The thing I've found is to forgive and forget.  If you let a sucky run bother your next run it too will be sucky.  Before you know it a sucky run turns into a sucky month.  And that,

The really sucky thing? When you bonk in a race and those damn picture people catch pictures of you.  Oh, it's happened to me - more than once.

Jen @ RedHeadRuns recently posted about a HILARIOUS website called Ugly Race Pics.  It's well.....a website full of pictures of people running looking like they were just slapped on the ass by one of those fraternity paddles.  I pulled a few as examples.  Seriously, go check this website out and feel better about yourself for the rest of the weekend. Happy Friday!

Zombie Apocalypse? Yes.

She got the paddle!

Yeahhh, I've made this face

This guy just looks mad about his haircut.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Trip to the ER

Nobody ever says “Wow, that trip to the ER was a blast!  I’d totally do that again

On Tuesday, I had to work late.  One of my responsibilities at work is financials and end of month is a busy time.  I was driving home after a pretty solid 12 hour day and I got a call from my wife.  These calls usually mean one of two things: “Can you just pick something up to eat? I forgot to get out chicken” or “OH MY GOSH SOMETHING HAPPENED”.  Welp, this one was the SECOND one.  She was taking my son to the ER.  Super.

I should probably back up a bit.  My son is currently 18 months old and is BUSY. The kid literally doesn’t stop.  He’ll run (not walk) from playing with his toys to “reading” books, to banging on the trash can (Why does he play with the trash??).  Then he’ll do it all over again.  The only time he stops is if he is pooping, is sleeping, or if Mickey Mouse is on.  An example of what I mean:

I actually made light of this in a facebook/twitter post a handful of days prior:

My wife was especially vague on her phone call telling me what happened while I was driving home.  She likes to think that this is “protecting” me from worrying (because I’m a worrier) but little does she know whenever she does that I just worry more. The full story that the doctor got was that he was playing (running), slip and fell, cried to the point of passing out, and then was woozy afterwards stumbling around a bit.  Yikes.  So, the urgent care referred us to the ER and a CT scan was ordered up.

Not really sure if I was allowed to take this picture....

Fortunately, everything was fine.  He got a sticker, I got what I am sure are going to be mounds of medical bills, and we got piece of mind and we were sent on our way.  It was scary for sure, but I’m glad that we went.  I am not sure that I could live with myself he had some sort of brain fungus and died in his sleep.  Who would help me roll my legs after I ran!?

A few solid runs over the last few days.  On Wednesday I ran a half marathon in 1:35.  It was 10 seconds or so a mile faster than I probably should have ran but it felt really good to stretch out my legs for a longer distance mid week run.  Today was a light recovery 6.  I really forgot how much energy I have when I pull back the miles slightly and slow down the pace.  When I finished I felt like I could have ran 6 more!  Which, I suppose is good....because I have 800s at 5:40 pace tomorrow.  Joy.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Race Bibs: Bigger isn't better?

I like to think that Monday gets a pretty bad reputation.  Monday doesn’t WANT to be bad, it just forces you to get out of bed extra early....go to work..... be productive.....Hmmmmmm.  Ok, actually Monday does suck – pretty hard.  Stupid Monday.  For me, Monday generally means speed of some sort.  I’ve had Sunday off from pooping running and I have as fresh of legs as I’ll have all week long.  Today?  Tempo.  I ran 9 miles with 5 at 6:30 pace.  It was 88 degrees when I finished.  I can’t be sure, but I’m pretty sure I saw my life flash before my eyes 2/3 of the way through.  It was a tough run, but I got it done.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to push that much harder TWSS when it cools down.  That is the theory at least!


Over my 6 or so years of running and a pretty solid 30 years of walking, I’ve seen a few trends and fads come and go.  Depending on your perspective they have either been really good for running or have sent such mixed messages that even Einstein himself couldn’t figure out if he should be running or riding around on a Segway.  A few examples:

Sketcher Shape Ups Shoes
I'm not even sure when these things came out, but the concept was pretty straight forward.  They basically glued a piece of curved foam on the bottom of an ugly shoe and ran infomercials saying that it worked your ass off - literally.  People would put them on, their legs would get sore, and they would assume that this meant that they were going to get an ass that wouldn't quit after a few laps around the neighborhood.  Little did they know, not only were they not working their ass...but they were also repelling anyone from the opposite sex more than saying "So, have you been tested for diseases yet?"

What the shoes promised: Kim K's firm, toned, bubble butt
Thankfully, no promises you'd end up as dumb as she was

What the shoes delivered: hordes of mall walkers who looked 2" taller than they actually were

Vibram Five Fingers
Oh ohhhhh, I'm crossing over into the most controversial topic in running right now! BAREFOOT!! **Gasp**  Truth is, Five Finger shoes are a fad. In my mind, they will always be a fad until more than 2 or 3 shoe companies manufacture them or elite marathoners start to run in shoes with toes.  The thought process here is that the foot becomes weak like a school girl being protected in normal shoes and needs to be toughened up by running barefoot.  Five Fingers provide a little rubber protection so that you don't step on a nail and get foot herpies.  The logic is sound (feet do need to be strengthened) but these things take it a step too far.  They try REALLY hard to be just a little bit more different than a regular minimalist shoe to set everyone who wears them apart.

What they promised: Perfect form, feet that are as tough as the calluses on a teenagers hands, and just enough knowledge for you to KNOW that you're better than everyone else
Interactive version of this picture: (probably NOT safe for work.....speaking of bubble buts..)

What they delivered: If you like them, you like them. But man...they look STRANGE

Race Bibs
One of the more recent trends (not necessarily a fad) is amongst the trail running and ultra running crew. Making their race bibs as small as possible by folding it so only the numbers show.  Whether you are a trail runner or not, I’d imagine that most have seen this at road races.  Often you’ll see it on little 19 year old girls who are only running in a sports bra, but other times you’ll see it pined to grizzly looking dude’s shorts wearing a "Big Bear 100k" tshirt with holes in the armpits.

Honestly, I’m not sure of the reasoning.  I always assumed it was an attempt to try to look cool and elitist (not in a good way).  I suppose that one could make the argument that large bibs catch a lot of wind and get annoying after 50 miles of running.  Another explanation could be that ultra runners often carry backpacks filled with water and a large bib would get in the way of the straps to strap it to their back?  Either way, it is a trend or a fad that is certainly starting to get more and more popular.

She looks so surprised because she actually won with such a large bib.  
I'd be surprised too those Pre Classic bibs this year WERE huge

Geoff Roes, Anton Krupicka and Kilian Jornet 
Three of the best ultra runners out there (over the past 5 years)
Obvs Kilian didn't get the memo on how to look cool. Look at him with his large bib!? Nerd.

So, what do you think?  Do you fold your bib? If so.....WHY?  I've honestly never done it, but I guess if I'm going to run any ultra marathons I'll have to. When in Rome....

Friday, June 22, 2012

Funny Foto Friday: Should you be running?

Did you hear?  It's summer.  No really, the longest sunlight day of the year (for us northies) was on the 20th. Hippies everywhere lit incense and prayed to the Solstice gods to provide a bountiful harvest of pot....and college kids everywhere used it as yet another reason to party.  Also?  Now that it is summer it means that it is freaking hot.

Each year starting around mid June, the humidity in Phoenix goes from a eyeball drying 10% or so to a seemingly unbearable 30% or so.  Not bad when it is 80 degrees but a significant jump when it is 110.  I'm pretty sure the feels like temperature was "swamp ass".

So, my 9 mile run was rough this morning.  The increased humidity means that the low temps hover around 80-85 and suck my will to live.  Fortunately, it'll only be like this for a few more weeks and I can go back to my normal parched running.  Until then, here are a few running related funny fotos that I found on Facebook (while twitter was down yesterday).  Happy Friday!

Thank goodness there isn't a "Are you blogging? --> Go Running!" option

Oh yeah, I've made this mistake more than once
Don't worry though, totally had rum to make up for it

Ok, a few bonus pictures that I found lurking around the internet.  Each no more random than the last.

I have NO idea what are in Asian Doritos, but uhhh, I think I want some

Father of the year??  Perhaps.
The dude who took this picture? Freaking Man of the Century? Yes. Yes, indeed.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A so/so running week and a few sub 5:00 follow ups

Well, Twitter seems to be down today and I’m eating a tube (stick?) of gogurt for lunch so I figured I might as well respond to a few comments and questions about the mile that I ran this weekend as well as a few other tidbits of information and goings on.

Running this week has been sort of so/so. I’ve had late meetings followed by early meetings which has meant that up until today, runs have been an hour or less.  One of my “solutions” was to cut out my warm up and cool down and blast through 4 miles of tempo at 6:11 pace. It essentially went against everything that I coach, but it was a good way to get in a good speed session in half an hour.  This week, I’ll take it!
Coach Adam’s disclaimer.... Don’t be a dummy. WARM UP before speed.

A friend busted by balls about my sub 5:00 mile video saying... “Soooo, don’t take this the wrong way, but it doesn’t look like you’re going all that fast”.  To which I of course responded with “ok, fine. Want to race?” Honestly, it is totally a valid comment.  The reason that I look like I’m running slow is because of chronic corn cob butt stride cadence.  I’m likely running at approximately 170 strides/steps per min (I didn’t / don’t ever count) but my stride LENGTH is likely close to 6’ long. TWSS.  (In fact, just used math to confirm that it is that long – details at the bottom of this post!) So, while my foot hits the ground at the same rate as most other runners, while running fast I gobble up a lot of ground.
Coach Adam’s disclaimer..... trying to consciously lengthen your stride is the fastest way to say “stress fracture”, “sore knees”, or “shin splints”. Your feet should land UNDER you when you run not out in front. As you get faster it’ll lengthen it automatically. Just like breathing....your body just sort of figures that shit out.

Cool video of Ryan Hall's 7' stride length

Emily H wondered what the band things were on my knees.  Simply put: chicken legs.  Or, maybe better stated they are to correct my weak little quad muscles.  I have chronic runners knee because my quads aren’t strong enough to make my kneecaps track correctly.  So, I could either strengthen my quads or wear the straps around my knees.  And...well...I guess you can see my choice.  Let’s be honest, if my legs can make me run a sub 5 mile, you’d think they’d be able to make my kneecaps work correctly?!

Laura is Undeterable and Nelly asked if I would ever run a real mile road race.  I would LOVE to.  In fact, I honestly was going to about a year back.  Fortunately, I stalked the prior year results and found out that it was TOTALLY a kiddie fun run!  While blasting a mile with 40 eight year olds in my wake sounds fun, and would make for an AWESOME blog post, I’m still on the hunt for an actual mile race as they seem to be pretty rare.

Finally, I’m going to be honest.  We all do it, but we never admit it.  For that matter, we rarely say what we’re all thinking: “If you have time to take a picture while running, shouldn’t you be running faster?”  What do you think? Do you take pictures while running?

Picture this spring from my "normal" short mileage running route
I can tell this was at the 3 mile mile point. Sad.

Jamoosh wanted me to post the details behind my stride length math. So, math nerds behold! Orrrr, maybe just like 5th grade story problems.  If two trains left stations in Chicago and St Louis, one traveling 60 mph, the other traveling 80 mph, how many bananas will the train engineers eat?
  • 5280 feet in a mile.  Horray english measurements.
  • I ran for exactly 5 minutes, so I ran 1,056 feet in a minute (5280/5 = 1,056)
  • If I assume 170 strides per minute, that means that my stride length is 6.2’ (1056/170  = 6.2) Assuming anywhere from 160 to 180 strides per min still means it was somewhere between 5.9 and 6.6 feet.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Adam's Open Mile - Sub 5:00!

1609m later, I'm done!
Distance: 1 mile
Time: 4:59.77
Place: 1 of 1
Age Group1 of 1

There are a few running milestones that will always stick out in my head.  The first time I ran a sub 4:00 marathon was an amazing experience. Same as when I ran a sub 20:00 5K (and sub 40:00 10K).  Within the same vein, running a sub 5:00 mile is certainly one that will very quickly rise to the top of the charts.

Running a mile all out serves a few really good purposes.  It is a great dipstick to tell you where you are from a fitness standpoint.  If you can run a 8:45 mile one month and can run a 8:30 mile the next month, you are more fit than you previously were.  Simple!  Additionally, it is a great speed work session that doesn’t (or I guess, shouldn’t) totally destroy your legs for the remainder of the week.  Finally, and this is the most important, it is fun to tell your friends that you ran a mile, all out, elementary school track meet style.  (Hopefully this time you didn’t end up with the pink participation ribbon like I always did.)

As I was thinking about where to pace my mile try, the law of diminishing returns really became apparent.  The faster the pace, the more effort that you have to put forth to become faster.  For example, going from 5.0 mph to 5.2 mph increases your pace from 12:00/mile to 11:30/mile.  30 seconds!  However, going from 11.8 mph to 12.0 mph increases your pace from 5:05/mile to 5:00/mile. Only 5 seconds!  Yikes.  I used a bunch of different formats (wigi board, magic 8 ball, the usual), but ultimately decided that I’d target somewhere between a 4:50 and a 5:00 mile.

So, on Sunday morning, I packed the family into the car and went to the high school track - only to find it locked up. AWESOME.  So, it was off to my trusty dirt middle school track to run all 4 laps!

Step 1: Take off your shirt and try to accidentally twist your ankle

Step 2: Run 1.5 miles in normal shoes and then run 0.25 in your race flats

Step 3: Give your son VERY specific instructions to stay off of the track
"whaaaaaat daddy? You're crazy"

Lap 1: 1:12....  Oh crap oh crap oh crap....wayyyy too fast
When you start to push at 97% or 98% of overall max it is very hard to not poop judge exact pace. This was certainly the case for me.  I went out WAY too fast.  Yes, going 3 seconds faster than pace is WAY too fast.  When I saw the time flash up I knew that I was in for some HURT in 2 minutes or so.  It is kind of like when you take a massive bite of Froot Loops - you know that you can't chew them all, so they're going to scratch on the way down.

Lap 2: 1:15....  Yay!!  You're running!
On the second lap I had found a decent pace and rhythm.  My feet were reaching out to grab the track and my breathing was well under control.  So far so good!

Lap 3: 1:17.... So this is what death feels like
When running a mile, the 3rd lap is always the worst.  You're half way done but not so far that you can start to click down the meters left.  No one ever says "Finally, only 780 meters left!"

Lap 4: 1:15.... All.out.sprint.gahhhhh
Lungs were burning, throat was dry (also burning), legs were tired. Seriously... This SUCKED.  When I rounded the corner with 150m left, I looked at my watch and it said something like 4:40.  In my oxygen depleted state, I thought that I had beat my 5:00 goal by a long shot!!  Unfortunately, turns out that I don't run a 10 second 100m so I was VERY close.

This is what death looks like

Yes, this smile was 100% fake

When I told people what I ran (4:59.77), more than one asked if I was just going to round up to 5:00.  Honestly? The thought never even crossed my mind.  My argument is that road racers use minutes and seconds....(My Marathon PR is 3:04:00).....Ultra marathoners only really use hours and minutes...(I want my first 50K to be less than 3:59)....Track runners however, use every bit of the clock that is available.  (Usain Bolt has the world record in the 100m at 9.58 seconds.)  Seems sound to me?

While I know that this bulleted list will solicit a number of responses that say something to the effect of "Really, jackass? You're not happy with a 4:59!?!?" but I honestly think that I could have ran a bit faster on the right day.  So, here come the laundry list of excuses:
  • It was a gravel track. Each time I tried to push off I could feel my foot slip ever so slightly. Turns out, track runners wear spikes to avoid this VERY specific issue! I likely lost 1 second per 400 because of that
  • It was 80 degrees. Dry heat or not, that is hot
  • Running a time trial is always harder than running in a race situation.  I tell all of the people that I coach that it is the cowbell effect.  Everyone always runs harder when they have someone cheering for them. No exception.
  • I MIGHT have ran a bit too far and most certainly ran too fast the day before (14 miles, 7:04 pace).  I could feel that I didn't have fresh legs during my warm up.

Just like last time, I had my wife capture the entire thing on film.  Let me tell you, it is the most boring 5 minutes of your LIFE.  Unfortunately, she was trying to chase my son off of the track while I was running so the video gets a little (a lot) shaky.  Either that or there were like 10 earth quakes during my run.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Week in Review! Bullet Style

Whew, what a week!  I’ve been out of town, which recently seems to keep me busier than I’ve ever been, my family is out of town, and I’m taking a bit of a “recovery” week with running.  The result? No free time and no blogging (or twittering!!) **gasp!!**  What follows is what I had planned to be the week’s worth of blog posts condensed into one glorious bullet point post.  Half the words, half the pictures, the same amount of snarky comments. It’s like your birthday, Christmas, and New Years all wrapped into one.  Hopefully it isn’t like all three hangovers wrapped into one......

What seems like eons ago, I posted about how my cardiologist equated being a triathlete as on par with being an Olympic level athlete.  Or, at the very least, he insinuated that triathletes required a similar battery of tests as Olympians and skinny little runners likely didn’t require them.  More than one person questioned if I was either being a bit too sensitive, if I took the words out of context, or possibly misinterpreted what the doctor said.  All totally fair points and likely what I would have thought when I read it on someone else’s blog as well. why I didn’t post it the FIRST time he said it.  Turns out, he said the very similar thing during my initial consultation as well as during the readout on my echo two months later.  So, just like George W Bush says: "There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." So, while I’m sure that I could have misunderstood what he meant the first item I doubt that I would two times in a row.  Either way, I’m just glad he said that I’d basically live.

Earlier this week I wrote a guest post for Runs For Cookies about the darker side of running that seems to pop up on my blog every single day on occasion.  Why does running make us poop?  What is up with all of the snot? Why does running make me itch on my naughty bits? Check it out here, leave a comment about how weird I am, tell your friends!  One thing that Katie did that I never have was put together a side by side picture of my heaviest and likely what is my lightest. Crazy to see the difference.

Regardless of what the calendar says, week’s start on Monday.  The bible says so!  “On the 7th day, he rested. And it was good”.  The 7th day is Sunday! Not Monday.  As such, almost everyone I coach has their week start on Monday.  However, last week for a period of 7 days I ran 88 miles.  The unfortunate part was that this was a Sunday (long run) to a Saturday (second long run).  Monday through Sunday that same week I “only” ran 68 miles.  So, should I count the “week” as a mileage PR or keep my 71 miles as the current PR?  I’m likely going to keep it at 71 even though my body ached like I had ran 88.

About a week ago, my wife asked me what I wanted to do on Father’s Day.  I’m a pretty no frills guy, so I had two simple requests.  First, I wanted to go to the aquarium with my son.  He loves that place.  Second, I want to run another timed mile and have her there to tape me running.  Her response? “While that sounds very weird to me, if that is what you want to do then that is what we’ll do”  So, on Sunday I’ll be attempting to run at 4:59 mile. That is, faster than 12 miles per hour or 75 seconds per 400m. (For the record, a mile is 1609 meters and I will be running the extra 9)  It makes me pee in my pants just a little bit thinking about it.  I’ve done this once before (report here, video here) so of course you can expect to read all about it on Monday!

Like I mentioned before, my wife and son are out of town this week to tend to some family matters where we both grew up in sleepy northwest Iowa.  That means that I’m a bachelor on a Friday night!  Of course, I’m a lame 30 year old bachelor who plans on running 14 or so miles tomorrow.  So, that likely means some Chipotle, a redbox movie, hookers and blow and maybe just six a couple barley pops.  Well, and maybe going for a swim in my underwear.  I mean, I’m not TOTALLY lame.

Funny Foto Friday: Bike vs Car

Yikes!  Two funny foto Friday posts in a row.  That is NOT good.  Guess it's been rather busy in Boring land.  Fortunately, after I press submit on THIS post, I'm going to start on a "week in review" post.  Get excited!  Happy Friday!

I've never heard of a GammaX bike, nor do I know what kind of car this is, but since it looks like the car driver ran directly into the back of the bike, I'm glad it totally toasted his front.

Bonus!!  This is sooooo true

Friday, June 8, 2012

Funny Foto Friday: Not funny, but still photos

One of the things that I like best about running is that it is MY time.  I never run with other runners, in fact I rarely ever see other runners on the road.  If I want to run a scenic route, I can. If I want to go fast, I go fast. I am in charge of my own destiny.  It's amazing.

Of course, the tug of life is never too far away.  In addition to a runner, I'm also a dad.  While I am honestly pretty selfish with my running time, every so often I'll bag a workout and take my son out with me and let my wife sleep in.

So, what follows is a run in pictures with my son. Not the intervals that I had planned, but probably one of the more fun runs that I've had in quite some time.  Yes, I did stop a handful of times to take pictures so the run probably wasn't a "quality" run. But if I didn't stop, what would I have posted about today? Ehh, probably poop. Happy Friday!

Starting out on the run. Fortunately I have my Maui Jim sunglasses on. It was BRIGHT!

Probably one of my most favorite pictures....ever.

My plan was to run to the track, let my son run free while I did some 800s at a 5:30 pace.  Well, when I let him go out and play and started around the track he started screaming and running after me :(  I'm too much of a softie to let that go on for too horribly long so I just decided to strap him back into the jogging stoller and run some quick tempo miles and call it a day.  Not ideal, but I think I'll live without ONE speed day.

Thoughtful silence contemplating his next 400.....
Orrrr, maybe looking in the direction of the chickens that were clucking.  Either way

Riding in hot air balloons is pretty popular in Phoenix.  The mix of painfully clear skies, no wind, and nothing but sand to look at is too much to pass up.  As a result, probably 4 out of the 6 days I run I see a hot air balloon floating by in the distance.  Usually, I like to think that it is someone joining the mile high club. If this balloon is a rockin, don't come a knockin.  As I was finishing my last stroller laps, we saw a few of them fly within a few hundred yards of us. My son REALLY liked the wooosh of the fire.

Ok, these were LOTS closer than they look.  Also, I kick ass at taking pictures, obviously.

The part of town that we live in (and really, the Phoenix area in general) has a lot of horses. LOTS of horses.  So, whenever I run with my son I'll generally stop and let him look at them and make horsie sounds. I imagine that to an 18 month old, anything that moves and is THIS big looks like something that you'd want to play with a lot.  Sort of like a fire engine without all of the red screaming lights but twice as many teeth.

My son says, horsies say THHHHPPPPPP (Proceed to spit all over)

As we were running back, I saw a sign that suggested that a different course might be appropriate. Psh, what do THEY know!?  Yeah, there was a massive dump truck on the sidewalk about half a mile up.  I had to jaywalk across the street.  Well played, city of Gilbert. Well Played.

Ok, fine. I can't go a Friday without a funny picture either.  Here you go.  Happy Friday!

Friend to me that this reminded her of my son
Players gotta play.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Looking Back to Get Ahead

Yeah, it is last year's pic
But this year's weren't funny!

Today is national running day.  Since this is neither a “real” holiday nor a holiday that I get off of work, I’m going to henceforth decree “national running day” to mean “worldwide running day” to be a bit more all-inclusive.  I will celebrate my worldwide decree Canadian style (ehh?) by shotgunning a Molson and then shotgunning a bottle of real Maple Syrup in rapid succession. Uppers and downers, it’d be like a carb filled upper / downer combo.  (In case you aren’t as hip as me, shotgunning definition here reread it. Hilarious right?)

To celebrate worldwide running day, I ran 15 miles.  Which, of course means that I had planned to run 15 miles all along and called that my “celebration”. Just like when I randomly send my mom flowers one weekend and it just so happens to be mothers day.  What a totally random coincidence! The 15 miles went pretty well, not good, not great.  I ran the first half easy and the second half every other mile I ran at 15K pace, a total of 4 miles, at 6:15/mile.  Overall I ended up at 7:08 pace which I’ll take all day long.

As I was bounding like a female gazelle slogging along at 6:15 pace during my tempo miles I had a bit of a flashback. It wasn’t but 2 years ago that 6:10 was my 5K and mile interval pace!  I distinctly remember running along the same path and being SPENT after running a 6:10 mile as part of a speed workout.  I was spent to the point that I was gasping for air, hands on head, making a noise that was likely very similar to a mating buffalo. HHHHAAAWWWW....... HHHAAAWWW......  Today however, I ran 8 miles warm up and then threw in some of the same paced miles with only moderately hard effort as part of a nearly 2 hour run.  Not too shabby.

Of course, I don’t dedicate an entire paragraph about how fast I am to brag yes I do, I do it all the time, that is the only reason people blog  but instead to show how far I’ve come in a relatively short period of time.  \

This national worldwide running day, take the time to look back in your running log or prior race history and see how far you’ve come over the last year or two years. Odds are, if you are TRYING to get faster (because, some people aren’t and that is just fine), you have made HUGE gains.  If not, it might be time to take a look at what you are doing...or maybe not doing...and make your 5K pace your new tempo pace.

Hey, it could happen, right?  Afterall, that 7:08 pace that I ran this morning? 2 years ago my tempo pace was 7:15.

How far have YOU come in your running over the last few years?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Pearl Izumi Giveaway Winner!

As you might remember, I'm giving away a pair of sweet trail shoes.  We had 244 entries - a lot considering that these are somewhat of a specialty shoe.  Welp, early this  morning, I shook the magic 8 ball (read: went to a random number generator, got a number, counted PAINFULLY down through the comments) and the winner was Trinity at Running Mother! Quite appropriate that she has a picture of herself trail running as her blog header. Go check out her blog and give her some advice on mother/kid combo workouts. Trinity, shoot me an email theboringrunner @ gmail and I'll get you hooked up with some Sweet shoes!

Trinity's ouchy hand from trail running

Finally, since I don't just want to have a post just about Trinity winning shoes (although, I'm sure she didn't mind) here is my run this weekend, by the numbers.  This is what my mind does when I run 20 miles in the heat.  It counts stuff.

Me thinks it's going to be 106.....

  • Miles Ran: 20
  • Time Spent 2:25:17
  • Pace 7:14/mile
  • Number of Cop cars seen: 7 (what the hell??)
  • Number of Hover-round old people scooters chased down and passed: 2
  • Number of other runners: 1 (for ALL 20 miles, sad)
  • Degrees at the finish: 88
  • Oz of water: 40
  • Oz that I should have had: 60
  • Number of old ladies with those sun umbrellas: 2
  • Podcasts listened to: 5
  • Times I pooped on Sunday: 3

Monday, June 4, 2012

Triathlete = Olympic Level Athlete? Runner = not?

M-Dot Tatoo replaced with Rings....

When I was at my first cardiologist appointment, the doctor asked me all of the normal questions that you’d expect him to ask.  Things like: do you smoke (no), do you drink (well, it’s only 11am so not today!), and why didn’t you take off your pants for the exam??..... basically all the normal stuff.  I was going through my history of WHY I came in when the following conversation occurred:

Me: So, my heart would go bonkers while I run, blah blah, symptoms, blah blah, heart explode.
Doc: So, you’re a runner then?
Me: Yeah, I run a lot more than any normal person ever should.
Doc: So are you at an Olympic level?  (He is one of the more well-known docs and sees a lot of the pro athletes around town – to be clear I do NOT put off the pro vibe.)
Me: Oh no, I’m not THAT fast, I just do it for fun. But, I am relatively competitive at the amateur level.
Doc: Ok, because if you were an Olympic athlete or a triathlete we’d want to do a complete workup to make sure that you’re cleared to perform with sponsors, etc.

Wait, what?  Since when did being a Triathlete equate Olympic level athletic ability? (I’m paraphrasing above, but that was most certainly his intent with his comment)

Now, I realize the Triathlete vs runner vs cyclist vs swimmer “who is best?” debate is one that has certainly been made before and will go on during group runs and rides for many years to come.  Frankly, I don’t have an opinion one way or the other – but I certainly don’t think being PRETTY good at 3 sports is better than being VERY good at 1 sport. When you combine 3 sports, you create an entirely NEW sport that has a different skill set than each does individually.  The way I look at it, it would sort of like arguing that someone with a massive meth problem would just be “having a lot of fun” where as someone who does some meth, cocaine on the weekends, and smokes pot when watching American Idol needs an intervention. Just one? Aww, you’re fine. But three!? Oh wow, that is serious.

I think that the thing that frustrated me most is that as a runner (primarily), in this doc’s mind I was less of an athlete than a triathlete.  Sure, I don’t log 20 hours of workouts a week, but I do log 9 on a pretty regular basis – and I run 8 miles an hour.  In this example, triathletes are fortunate enough that bike rides take time.  Someone who is logging 20 hours a week in peak IronMan training is going to be logging 10 of those on the bike, likely all or most in Heart Rate Zone 2 – nice and easy.  It all adds up.

Furthermore, I’m not even sure duration is a good measuring stick for what is better. Olympic runners don’t log the 20 hours that moderately serious amateur triathletes do.  Yes, part of that is speed, but a lot of it is the inherent time training for 112 miles on the bike takes.

That said, many people have argued that some of the best athletes in the world are decathlons. These guys/gals are sorta good at ALL sports.  Could they outrun Usain Bolt? No. But they can sure out pole-vault him and can probably get to within 0.4 seconds of his 100m time.  So, are THEY better than everyone else?  Or, just like triathlon, is that a different sport all together?

What do YOU think? I know that I have a lot of triathletes who read this blog. Disagree with me! Tell me you’re better! Tell me you’re worse!  I’d love to hear it.

I will say one thing though.... Triathletes are certainly hotter.  Damn it anyway.