Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Shopping list / Blogger Meetup!

A few weeks ago I got one of those "cleaning" bugs that blows in once every 12 years or so. One of the things I cleaned was the toliet - KIDDING! I never clean that - it was the pantry.  Anyway, I found that I had no fewer than 7 packets of taco seasoning (no taco shells), 3 cans of spaghetti sauce (1 box of spaghetti) 3 boxes of brownies (0 regrets) and 4 cans of cream of mushroom soup (I don't even like mushrooms).

Since then, I've tried really really hard to make lists as I need things.  Here is my current list.  This way you can:

I've been on a bit of a roll w/ the online meetups as of late.  Yesterday I was able to add to my collection! Hmm, that sounds creepy... especially since I am asking people to meet up with me after only tweeting/commenting....  Anywhoo, I was able to meet up with Hannah Violin and her sister Leslie yesterday for Thai food lunch

Be warned, if you meet up with me, all pictures are fair game for posting
The noise I was making at this point was something like "Blahhhhhhhhh"

Leslie Violin, Hannah Violin, Adam NoMusicalTalent

As the name would suggest, later that night Leslie had to go violin or something so Hannah Violin and I grabbed a few beers at my fav trendy beer bar.

10% ABV, fancy glass, pinkies out, headache

 The highlight of the night had to be the Poutine. ( Fries, gravy, cheese curds, canadian, eh?)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Oops, how did that happen?

Oops, I ran!! Like, a LOT!
In addition to the blog that you're reading, I also tweet my twerk (I think I'm using twerk right there), and I log all of my runs on DailyMile.  DailyMile is a social media website similar to Facebook.  The only difference is that if you post about running non-stopped on DailyMile aunt Betty doesn't block you and your 23 updates on various ways to properly tie your running shoes. Like her posts on fake corn harvesting were any better....

Anyway, in the weekly summary email sent out by the website, I was surprised to find out that I ran 36 miles last week.  36!!! I wasn't keeping track per say, I was just Forrest Gumping it. (Forrest Gump is a verb now.)  When I got tired, I slept. When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go, you know, I went.  Basically I ran what felt good and leaned heavily on my runner-coach certification to know that I'm not doing any significant harm.

The week was capped off with a really solid (if not a bit too fast) half marathon in 1:33 (7:05ish pace). The run started out effortless and got easier from there.  I'm not one to subscribe to the out of body zen runner's high stuff, but this run was a thing of beauty.

Oops, these can't be helping MY six pack
Whenever I make a promise to my son, I try my hardest to keep it. Unfortunately, I live about half a mile from a Dunken Donuts.  That means that there are lots of "maybe we'll stop there some other time" and even a few "I think their donut machine is broken today" said as we drive by.  (Related: can you believe that ALL of the arcade games at Red Robin were broken this weekend!? What are the odds!?)

This weekend however I finally gave in and bought a six pack of donuts.  Unlike most of the six packs I buy, this one didn't come with courage, fabulous jokes, or maybe a little bit of Adam.Youre.Too.Close. Please.Stay.Out.Of.My.Comfort.Zone... this one came with a sugar crash and regret. So much delicious sugary fried regret. Mmmmmm

Oops, wine tried to kill me
Finally, I am never one to shy away from the fact that nothing tastes better than a great beer or a solid glass of wine after a run. Why would I run if I were to live a 100% healthy lifestyle? I run so that I don't have to!  Having a beer or two has never caused me any harm UNTIL NOW.  While I was washing a wine glass I must have been drying it off a BIT too vigorously because the thing snapped in half and promptly proceeded to jab me in the palm.

My first reaction: take a picture. But after that I was really sad because now I only have ONE good glass to drink wine out of!  Looks like I'm going to have to do as many twitter followers suggested and take out the middle starting to drink right from the bottle.  I'm going to have more courage and fabulous jokes than TWO six packs!

Friday, November 22, 2013

How a donkey gave me my groove back

It should come as no surprise that I’ve been in a bit of a funk. Or, rather, multiple funks - a creative one with the blog and a running one with my obvious lack of running.

Probably 80% of the time while I run I’m thinking about nothing. I’m content with clenching my loins trying not to poop feeling my feet hit the ground and focusing on the next step forward. But, that other 20% of the time....I’m a hot mess.  As I was suffering through the NYC marathon, I got to thinking about the story of the donkey in the well. For illustrative purposes, we’ll call him (obviously, all jackasses are male) Wilbur.

Farmer Jon was doing what farmers do (OBVIOUSLY growing corn to be made into high fructose corn syrup and injecting cattle with hormones) and heard an awful noise. Turns out, his dumbass jackass Wilbur had fallen into an open well. After some thought, Jon decided that Wilbur was old and the well needed to be filled up anyway, so would bury the donkey alive to put it out of its misery while at the same time filling the hole! Two birds, one stone. [Editor’s note, what kind of sadistic person decides something like that!?!?] Farmer Jon grabbed a shovel and started to throw dirt down the hole. More and more dirt was thrown down, but with each shovelful that landed on Wilbur, he simply shook it off and stood up on the ever increasing pile of dirt.  Of course, after some time and lots of scooping, the well was filled with dirt and the (probably now very pissed) donkey walked right out.

My running, and more holistically my life, has involved a lot of dirt being thrown on my head.  Seemingly everyone that I knew had a shovel in their hand.  I’m not one to sweat the small stuff, but I found the dirt had started to pile up and I hadn’t stepped on top of the pile to get out of the well.

As I was walking down 1st Ave in NYC around mile 17 hearing the people scream my name (along with a few idiots telling me I was ‘almost there’), I was planning my comeback. I would focus on the important things at work, delegate to my team as needed, not sweat the small stuff, get back to running 5x a week, and find a few spring marathons to nail.  That is, every time someone would throw more dirt, I would step on top of it, not let it bury me.

As such, this week has been amazing for running. I had a (somewhat disjointed w/ stoplights) 6mi tempo on Tues @ 6:40, a solid 8 mi recovery on Weds, and another “real” 5mi tempo on Thursday which averaged 6:35 overall.  My body isn’t rejecting the miles and I have a renewed vigor for the sport.  But, more importantly..... I have a renewed vigor for everything.

Hmmmm, reading through that, it was rather a downer post.  
So, here is a funny picture to make everything better!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mostly Wordless Wednesday

I rarely do these, but who is to argue with alliteration?

Not only is this the best time of year in Phoenix for running, but also motorcycle riding. I've been taking advantage of that at every opportunity.

Happiness is only a short ride away

The other day I was running and the bugs were REALLY bad. I got one in my eye and I could not get it out. I eventually had to stop and take a picture to see where the hell it was. The worst part was that I could feel it crawling on my eye

Bug was totally rolling in a turd before in my eye

I really don't have any words for this one. A crate found in the Ironman Arizona expo area.

Turds obviously stands for.... turds

Finally, I used the gym at my (new) office today for the first time. Turns out, it is freaking awesome! There are showers, lockers, and plenty of workout equipment. Which means, I basically have no excuse now....shit.

Conversely, I guess I could drink some Listerine if the work day gets a bit long?

Of course, long hours plus post work workout equals as very long day.

I haz sadz

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weekends make me sleepy

Have you ever had one of those weekends that you almost want over so that you can get back to the "relaxing" work week? This weekend was one of those weekends.  If you only knew how busy I was at work right now, you'd know how big of a deal this is....

After the disaster that was the NYC Marathon (not to be confused with the weekend surrounding the NYC marathon), I vowed to get back on the horse (bareback, because that is how I roll....always) and get back into running full bore.  As such, I've ran 5,7,8 miles on Fri,Sat,Sun - all pushing the stroller. They have been hard. And slow. And they made me sore. But I've loved every minute of it. (That's what she said.) The first two were too fast in the 7:20s and the last one was around 7:45.  All felt like I was sprinting.

The weekend started on the north of town with my son and I volunteering at a (very) small 5K/10K with a very good friend. We were at the 10K turn around and were to expect around 30 runners. Fortunately, that meant two things.  My son could help pass out water and I was afforded lots of time to screw off and take pictures. Here is the sunrise.

(No Filter.) I hate that our instagram culture requires me to tell you that.
Also, you should follow me on Instagram. (No link-filter.)

Phoenix has miles and miles of water canals (like, 100s of miles).  Since I've been running so much with the stroller lately, one of the ways that I get my son to do it is promising to feed the duckies.  Luckily, the duckies like bread just as well as they do breakfast cereal or whatever we happen to be carrying. These ducks just so happen to be LOVING Apple Jacks.

I'm sure the Red #5 in the Apple Jacks did the duck's body good

Playing with dirt.  Because, boy.

We had a blast volunteering with both successes and disappointments along the way.  You see, my son had to learn the hard lesson that "not all runners are thirsty".  And, well, see for yourself. (if you're reading on your phone, direct links here and here.)

I know, I filmed it the wrong way. Hopefully cuteness makes up for it?

Not to worry, his short term disappointment was soon forgotten!

Later that day (I think? Good lord my mind is turning to mush) we headed to a car show.  Not because I love cars, which I really do, but because they had REAL LIFE Pixar Cars for the kids to see. I seriously don't know why all events don't have full size replica of something cartoon related. Basically I'm saying that the doctor should always be dressed up as a clown or something.

Fortunately, my son didn't notice the fact that this wasn't a real racecar

"Daddy, I want to drive him!!"

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

2013 NYC Marathon Race Report!

There is something to learn after every marathon. With as spectacular of a disaster that the 2013 NYC Marathon was for me, I am SURE there is something to learn. If I am honest with myself the biggest thing is probably that I have lost much more fitness than I thought during my time off which lead to cramping which lead to 2 hours in the pain cave. 

Time: 3:53:11 (My 3rd slowest race ever and the slowest since Oct 2008... ouch)
Pace: 8:54
Place: 12378 / 50,740
AG Place: 1615 / ??

While my running, blogging, and pooping has been a bit off lately (no running = less fiber = less pooping), there was no way that I was going to run the NYC Marathon and not post about it.  Besides, as a running blogger, if I don’t blog about a race, it doesn’t really happen. Nevermind the fact that complete disaster races are great to read about!!!

The weekend itself was going to be super quick / low key. No screaming in times square, flashing my nipples at Carson Daily or trips to the Statue of Liberty to see if she is wearing any underwear.  For this weekend I had four goals:

Not necessarily in that order. (Ok, actually maybe exactly in that order).

The great thing about big marathons in large cities is that there is always SO much to do – and lots to see at the expo.  But first things first, I needed to “carb up” with some authentic NYC pizza.....

Hmm, I guess this picture is pre-pizza, or post pizza?

And authentic NYC wine.... Ok, or just normal wine

And authentic NYC margaritas..... OKAY LOOK, so I didn’t exactly follow the best pre-race nutrition plan. Anyway, turns out the first night I was able to check off quite a few things off of my list by meeting Laura, her best friend, and having some delicious wine.....and margaritas....and chips and salsa....  Oyy, my poor colon.


The day before the race we headed to the expo to eat free stuff pick up our packets.   The NYC expo was really fun, in spite of not being quite as big as Boston.  Which, speaking of Boston, the security at the expo was certainly more strict than any other expo I had been to.  Bags were searched, lines were long to get in, and humor was not only frowned upon - but it resulted in various body cavity searches. Thus, many jokes were told by me which were quickly followed by cravings for sandwiches and snuggling.

But, once you did get in, it seemed like it was business as usual. The usual booths were there along with some interesting additions (Cheese? Who eats cheese the day before a marathon??  Me, apparently ) However, one thing that I noticed that was missing was beer and/or wine. I was honestly heartbroken shocked.  Either way, there were enough things to keep me busy for a bit too long and enough photo ops to bring me out of blog retirement for good.

Pooping? Straining from jumping over the bridge?  Orgasm?  One can never be sure

Unfortunately, a lot of the elite US Marathoners pulled out the NYC marathon (a few exceptions), so it seemed like there weren't a ton of good speakers at the expo.  That is, at least around the time that I was there.  Never the less, Laura and I did get to meet up with the ever present Bart Yasso. He is always good for a fun anecdote about a race that he had done in the past or a tip about the NYC Marathon.  This time, Bart quipped that he was likely going to run the race this weekend 2 hrs slower than he did his first time. (In fact, it was nearly 4 hours longer...)

Me, Bart, Laura.. Like some sort of messed up Charlie's Angels

One of the things about NYC is that, unless you are a billionaire and can afford taxis everywhere, walking is a must. Of course, that isn't horribly conducive to a good race time for a suburban no-walk guy like me. FORTUNATELY, there are rental bikes everywhere.  Also fortunately, I not only kick ass at regular selfies, I also kick ass at selfies while riding a bike.

Mid ride selfie of Laura
Wait...that means it isn't a selfie but just a picture.....hmmm

Self selfie with a look of awe on my face at my amazing selfie ability

Dual selfie while riding the bike (with some picture filter). 
I'm surprised I didn't plow over a homeless person or someone selling fake watches

Once I had my fill of tablespoon sized yogurt samples and had listened to enough sales pitches about how Chia Seeds would make my junk bigger (or something), we headed to get some lunch/brunch. Laura had given up coffee for the month of October, so I decided to take the opportunity to get the man sized latte and dull the caffeine headache that had been throbbing all morning.

Mmmm, bowl of coffee......

The rest of the day was spent hanging around the city which was in full fall color.  Coming from Phoenix, I bitched a lot about the cold, but I really do miss fall colors and would put up with a few brisk days if I could get them back. Fall colors are one of those good examples of "you can't have flowers without rain". Indeed you can't have beautiful fall colors without crushing winter.

Overlooking mile 26 of the race.  Sadly, I BARELY remember this part of the race


Early to bed, early to rise, and before I knew it, it was race morning!  Laura had scored some VIP tickets that afforded us a bus ride to the start (vs a ferry) and a nice warm tent.  In spite of that, I still had went to Goodwill before and bought some throw away clothes.  Since it is near Halloween, there was also an amazing pimp hat for sale for way too cheap that I KNEW had to be mine.

Once we got to the start, there was more security. It was strict, but not overly intrusive (hand metal detectors included). They only let you bring things in that were inside of your clear plastic goodie bag and seemed to confiscate things at random (old mylar blankets, for one).  But, I guess it worked because everything seemed to go off without a hitch.

That said, one thing that somewhat surprised me was that the race organization seemed to be a bit disheveled on race morning.  I'm not sure if it was because of the increased security or someone gave up coffee for the month of November, but there were tiny missteps that made me raise an eyebrow.  But, I'll let it pass as they were wrangling 50,000 runners and had their hands full.

Miles 1-6: Bottom of Verrazano bridge DOESNT mean you get peed on
After a 40 minute wait in the coral (they closed so you HAD to be in there that early), we were ushered over to the starting line....only to wait 30 more minutes. Cue patriotic songs, a cannon, and blamo - we're running.

The first 2 miles are on the Verrazano double decker bridge. I was on the bottom and, in spite of rumors, I did NOT get peed on!!  The first few miles went off without a hitch and I barely noticed the largest elevation change of the day @ 300 feet.  Average pace for this section was around 7:35, right where I wanted to be at that point.

Miles 6-13.1: Feeling good! I love my hat!!
2,000,000 people. Reports were that the race had more than 2 MILLION people cheering.  I'd believe it.  Some of the best crowds were along this stretch of road.  I had SO many great comments about my hat. Nothing made me smile more than someone with a super thick Jersey accent yelling "Hway Adam!! Luve the hat man!!!"  It was an infectious feeling and a bit stupid grin never left my face.

My only complaint about this stretch was that there was a super gradual uphill that really took a lot out of my legs.  It couldn't have been a large incline - maybe 200 feet, tops.  But something about it really seemed to naw at me. But, I hit the half at 1:41:XX which was right where I wanted to be. Little did I know....

Haters gotta hate

Miles 13.1 - 20: CRAMMMMMMPP. Owie
Oh my... How did things go so wrong? Sometimes, when things are going to go wrong in a race, there is at least some warning. There is a slight tweak or a twinge or something to hint at the impending doom. Not this time.  I went from running a fairly comfortable 7:40ish pace to a 0:00 pace. My quads essentially said "nope, we're quite done thank-you-very-much". 

Before I locked up I did have some fatigue setting in, so I knew that there was going to be some tough miles ahead. But I had no idea that they would be as hard as they were.  I'd run for 5 minutes or so and then walk for 60 seconds.  I was able to run at a somewhat manageable pace around 8:15/mile, but the walk breaks to calm my quads were killing my time.  After the half I put up some 9:30 miles, a few 10:30 miles, and I think that there was even an 11:00 mile.  I can't remember the last time that I ran a 9:00 mile let alone anything slower than that.

So not to be a complete downer, some of the best parts of the race were during this section.  You run up 1st Ave for 3-4 miles which is lined 3 people deep with spectators. There is no better feeling than having thousands of people cheering your name, telling you that they like your hat, and that you should keep going.  That is, unless you are walking... then you want them to shut their face.

Miles 20-26: Stupid race is stupid and I want to take off this stupid hat and I stupid hate running and my stupid legs hurt
When a race is going good miles 20-26 are really tough. When a race is going bad, these miles are insufferable. I had heard reports that the race was certainly a roller with small hills here and there.  And, while it wasn't "hilly", there were certainly a few hills that I could have done without.  More than anything, it seemed like there were a bunch of long gradual uphills that destroyed my legs.

The last half mile has you finishing in central park, in full color, with thousands of people cheering. In spite of my poor race, in spite of my sore legs, these last few meters were some of the most fun that I have ever had.

Ugh, finished. Finally. UGH.

After a painfully long walk through the finisher chute, I gimped home, showered, and headed to Laura's 100th marathon celebration party.  You see, while NYC was my 20th marathon, it was Laura's ONE HUNDREDTH.  Not 100 as in 5Ks and 10Ks, and everything else.  As in 2,620 miles ran.  Amazing.  I drowned my (now recovering) legs in a few beers and maybe some cake and toasted to another memory for the scrapbook.

100 marathon finisher and 20 marathon finisher. I suck.

Does beer make my legs feel better? No. Does beer help me forget about my legs? Maybe.


In closing, I did have fun with the NYC Marathon even though it was one of my worst races ever. Like I said in the opening, I feel like there is a lot to be learned with a race like yesterday. I really don't think that my (very) poor performance was nutrition related. But instead, I'll own the fact that it was likely lack of training. Even though I ran a 3:19 just 3 months ago, my month off of running likely did much more harm than I thought.

Solutions are easy.... Either increase my level of fitness or start slower. It is really as simple as that. Since I really don't want to let myself slip to 3:20 or slower, I'm going to have to increase my training level and find some sort of work/life balance to accommodate that. 

My approach to running and fitness has always been that it has to be simple to understand and has to work within my life without being all encompassing. I've struggled with that balance in the past and especially struggled with it the last 2 months. I've let work get in the way of life and the things that are most dear to me. Starting now I'm going to find the time to find the balance, focus on what is important, and hopefully get a little bit faster along the way.

But, I guess if I am not able to do that, I'll keep signing up for races and at least you'll get to read spectacular race reports!