Sunday, January 26, 2014

Photo A Day Week 3 and 4

Whew! Where does the time go!? I had a bit of a busy / stressful week at the 'mill (see also: diet coke pic, suit pic, gym pic) so wasn't able to put my thoughts to text - but they are starting to pile up.  Part of the reason I have my blog is as an outlet for my stupid observations.  If I don't get them out with regular frequency they sort of bubble over in the form of snarky comments to the sandwich maker in Subway.  But come on, I can't be the only guy to make a joke about cucumbers and pickles...right?

I'm finding a good groove with the picture of the day. I haven't had to use a random picture of me laying on the couch yet which is nice. But, I'm sure those days are coming fast.  My favorite pic of this bunch is my son hugging his buddy at a birthday party.  At 3 he is just starting to learn that hugs are a great way to show affection/appreciation - something that I think never stops being true.

Nobody would eat the other half anyway...
so I might as well eat the good part of the muffin and not the stump


15 min to spare? Quick selfie and some upper body at the gym... In work clothes.

Running along the Phoenix canals at night with a nightlight leading the way.

I imagine this is similar to how I feel at the apple store or in a running store.

My work friend Natalie and I at the rock and roll AZ expo! Haterz gotta hate.

Birthday party friends.

This is @DoctorDribble and I prerace. I need to find uglier people to take pictures with



111,111 miles. Um, ignore that part over to the right in orange....


7am out the window in my office. No clouds, no problems.

The last 24hrs and the next 24hrs  (Weds/Thurs) are giving me gray hairs.

I got a new watch yesterday! It is a Bulova Precisionist from WatchCo!

Good wine and no pants and tacos because Friday.

Took the motorcycle to the olive mill. They have a LOT of samples... 



Monday, January 20, 2014

Rock and Roll Arizona Half Marathon Race Report!

So, I somewhat kept the fact that I was not only running a race but possibly going for a PR under wraps. Either real or manufactured, I didn’t want the perceived expectations throwing me off my game. Whether that is what did it or not...I had an AMAZING personal best race this weekend in Arizona.

Time: 1:24:19 (PR by 3 seconds shy of 4 minutes)
Place: 83 / 13407 (Top 0.6%)
AG Place: 14 / 783 (Top 1.8%)
Pace: 6:26/mile (9.3mph)

In spite of Jamoosh not liking verbose race reports, strap in your giblets kiddos, because this one is a bit of a long one. (Not really, but who am I to miss an opportunity to associate Jamoosh with giblets?)

I knew from the onset that race weekend was going to be BUSY.  Work is a bit bonkers, I had a work friend visiting, and I was in full on dad mode.  In spite of that I was going to try to make the most of my (freaking ridiculous) $135 entry fee and enjoy the sights and sounds of Arizona’s largest race.

First things first: Expo.  I headed out of work a bit early on Friday, ran to the airport to pick up my work friend Natalie, and went directly to the expo.  I really like rock and roll expos because they always have SO MUCH stuff.  This year was quite a bit smaller than in years past, but it still provided enough sugar to kill a small horse.

I knew the duckface made me look fast

One of the things that was new to me was Brooks' booth and all of their contests.  Previously they had a circus theme.  Now, it is some sort of jungle theme complete with a bull riding style shoe (seems like a good way to sprain an ankle pre-race to me) and a WII-fit mat that you race on.  I wasn't about to tempt fate by pinwheeling off of a mechanical shoe...but I was game for handing Natalie a resounding loss in the WII-fit mountain climb game.  Yeah, that didn't happen and I came in last.

Pushing Natalie off of the mat in a failed effort to win

Of course, PF Changs didn't disappoint with the obligatory booze at the expo. Because I guess nothing says prerace like martinis out of a plastic cup at 3pm!

It isn't a rock and roll expo unless you're drinking!

Finally, probably the best part of any Rock and Roll expo is the dress up booth. I'm sure I'm on some mailer for life after having had this picture emailed to me....but what can I say? TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Just another day at the office. Notably, only the hat wasn't mine. Look, I like to look pretty.

The race actually started a bit later than I remembered at 7:50, but for some reason my later than normal 5:30 alarm was a bit jarring. Normally I'm up at 4:00am, but have been burning the candle at both ends.

I think my face says it all. Blarg


My training has honestly been a bit up and down.  I have just started to add speedwork in over the past 3-4 weeks but have been doing tempo and marathon pace for the last 6 or so.  The point of all of this was that I really was okay with easy running it in, which lead to very little pre-race stress. This meant that I was my normal annoying self while everyone else freaked out around me.  Everyone except Dr Dribble who dribbles two basketballs in almost every race you've ever ran.

Dr Dribble, Dr Dribble's balls, Dr Dribble's pecks, me

 Seriously, you can't take me anywhere


Miles 1-3.1: (20:33 5K, 6:37 pace, 6:37 overall pace thus far) Clop clop clop clop
When people asked me beforehand how fast I was going to run, I said somewhere between 1:26 and 1:30. The honest to goodness plan was to start out around 6:50 pace and at mile two, see how I was feeling. If I was feeling good, gently squeeze the speed down to 6:30s and if I was feeling like I had giblets strapped to my legs, pull the ripcord and easy run in to a 1:30.  If I am honest, for the first two miles I sort of felt like a horse that was trotting along - lots of up and down movement and not the fluid strides of a thoroughbred horse. No comment on other similarities between myself and a prized race horse. But, around that two mile mark I smoothed out a bit and dropped the hammer.

They certainly don't mean ME with that huge disclaimer, do they? This was approaching mile 12, running 6:05ish/mile


Miles 3.1 – 6.2: (20:16 5K, 6:31 pace, 6:34 overall pace thus far) You’re not fooling me, Arizona. This is ever so slowly uphill. Bastards
With the Pandora station “summer hits of the 2000s” ringing tunes of years gone by in my head, I started knocking out the miles.  The goal was to stay right around 6:35, but I found myself clocking in miles between 6:25 and 6:35. I had found a pretty good groove and my legs were finally starting to warm up.  I found that one of the most challenging things about racing a half marathon is that I get in my head a bit with cold “heavy” legs at the starte when all I need to do is hold the course and let them warm up.  Eminem reminded me of that on many occasions via summer hits of the 2000s – that I should “lose myself in the moment”.  Which, I guess I did for the most part.

Miles 6.2-10: (24:31 3.78mi, 6:28 pace, 6:32 overall pace thus far) Stupid race putting a stupid hill at stupid mile 9 and I swear if I hear Eminem one more time I’m going to kick him in the Slim Shadies
In a normal race, these miles would be some of the hardest.  In the rock and roll Arizona half, they are most CERTAINLY the hardest. They’re all uphill with a crescendo of a hill around mile 9.5. To be clear, I’m talking a hill by Arizona standards – like 200 feet. :)  They weren’t fun, but I still managed to continue my upwards climb of pace with most miles clocking in around 6:20-6:25. I hooked up with a runner around the half who actually told me “let’s run together, it’ll make it easier”.  I feel like I always want to say that to people in races, but rarely do.  Either way, the company was nice because stupid Pandora was on some ballad kick mixed with even MORE Eminem songs. Look dude, we get it. You’re angry at your mom. LET IT GO.

Miles 10-finish: (19:04 5K, 6:08 pace, 6:26 overall pace thus far) [Inaudible grunts] Downhilllllll
Thankfully, just like Eminem’s career, what goes up must come down. The last 3 miles were ALL downhill. It was a thing of beauty. Often times when this is the case in races, I’m so fried that I could be rolling down Mt Everest and not gain any speed. (See also: St George Marathon)  This time, however, I did have a bit of hitch in my giddy up and was able to glide down the hills all the way to the finish. There was grunting, posing for the on course cameras, and lots of grimacing.  The pictures should be epic. All miles here were less than 6:10 pace with the last 0.14 at 5:20 pace. Eek.

After I finished and staggered around a bit, the funniest thing happened.  The guy I was running with asked for my number!  (Read: I think I was picked up!?!!)  Not really, he was just looking for someone of similar pace to go out and run with. Obviously, because I am lonely I gave it to him.  We'll see if he actually calls!  SWOON!!

Finally, to cap off a great weekend, I hooked up with a few old runner friends I don't see nearly often enough (RunningLaur and EMZ) and a blogger super star who was in town for the marathon (PavementRunner).

Myself, RunningLaur, EMZ, and Pavement Runner.... oh, and my son doing an AWESOME photobomb in the corner. Chip off the old block - love him so much.


All, in all this was an amazing race.  I ran a full 2 min faster than the very best I thought that I could. Which makes me wonder, how fast would I be if I were in peak training mode?  Time will tell I suppose as I’m scheduled to do the NJ Marathon in late April!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Running and Mermaids

A quick update on my running as I'm starting to hit a good stride

The good: Last week I ran 50(!!!) mostly pain free miles
The bad: The collarbone chaffing that I posted about on Sunday is STILL lingering around – except now it is all scabby, and itchy, and obviously sexy.
The ugly: During my run on Sunday, I held up my runner buddy Ryan for a few while I made a quick pit stop in a port o potty.... but seemingly 3 pounds lighter we picked up the pace around 20 sec/mile after that!

I can’t tell you how excited it makes me that I’m back to running basically pain free. I still have aches in my knees, and I wake up tight like a rubber band out of the freezer, but all in all I’m firing on all cylinders. I’m going to post (tomorrow? Maybe?) about what my training looks like now. But suffice to say that I’m focusing a bit more on speed/quality than I am volume...the results of which should be interesting.  Afterall, you know what guys say, any more than 3 minutes is wasted effort....

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Over the last 5 years, the mixture of running 20 marathons and being lazy by not unsubscribing results in getting a LOT of junk email. Worse yet, it seems like the races that I either did horribly at or ones that I didn’t even run, are the worst offenders.  However, in a recent development that can only be described as a mixture of “adorbs” and “squeeeeeeee”, I’ve been put on a mailing list advertising the all female “mermaid” run.  Of course, I immediately took to the twitter machine to voice my disapproval.

Of course, since I decided that an all-female race provided a great guy / girl ratio, I did a bit of research into what the race was all about.  Although, when I started to read more about it, I’m not sure that some of the race “features” are something that I would necessarily enjoy.

Ultimately I decided that the race wasn’t for me.... no matter HOW well prepared I was.

Additionally, in what can only be described as “the best thing to happen to me all year”, one of my twitter buddies (who is a cartoonist) created the below representing what I assume is me splashing triumphantly as I cross the finish line of the mermaid race.  As you can see his artistic ability is matched only by his ability to accurately depict what a half man half mermaid would look like.


Never one to be outdone, I took a stab at my own artistic rendition.  I think that you’ll see that the world is missing out with the lack of unicorns and the lack of whatever the hell this thing is.  May it bless your dreams or haunt your nightmares.






Sunday, January 12, 2014

Photo A Day - Week 2

WHOA.  Work got a bit out of control and I wasn't able to blog at ALL this week.  BUT, I ran 50 miles, biked 18 and took more than one picture a day.

Grandpa playing with my son on his last day here.  Shortly after this pic was taking, my son slipped and dunked his whole arm in the fountain

A Phoenix sunset on an evening run (which averaged 6:50 pace over 8 miles)
NO stupid Instagram filter on this one, but it was looking over a Walmart parking lot....Like all good pictures are

Double showerhead....for.the.win.  Double the fun.


Through work I was able to see Madeleine Albright speak....front row!  

Onsite gym at work. I sweat....No, I sweat.... a LOT

Yesterday I went on a motorcycle ride to Tortilla Flats. The road was rough, but the scenery made up for it....Similar to dating a model I suppose

And finally, while I always have issues chaffing on my pointy bits, recently I've started on my collar bones as well.  Groan.



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Photo A Day - Project365

As I am sure is pretty obvious with my blog, I love to poop I love taking pictures. If a picture is worth 1000 words, reading my blog is like a novel. To be clear, it is a trashy novel. Maybe one of those with the shirtless Fabio on the front riding a horse throwing a sword filled hand into the air....that is being struck by lightning.  Oh no, I'm not Fabio, I'm the heroine at the horses knees with a very loose fitting dress.

Whoa, this blog post jumped the rails....

Anyway, one of my new years resolutions is to take a picture every single day.  The rules are somewhat relaxed... I don't have to POST the pic every day, I can do that retroactively.  Plus, screenshots of my phone count, I can change the rules as I go, etc.  Anywhoo, I'm totally spamming my twitter, instagram and facebook feeds with these, but I'll probably post once a week or so here.  Or maybe less frequent, who knows.

As it turns out, doing this is a "thing" and is called Project 365. Let me know if anyone else is doing this - I'd love to see what everyone else comes with!

Day 1: My son as his "breakfast cupcake" after a run with Jeff. (It was a flat top muffin)


Day 2: Jan 2nd and 78 degrees. Run time! (I ran 10 miles in 68 min. Solid)


Day 3: My dad and his GF are visiting for the weekend!


Day 5: Fishing with grandpa


Friday, January 3, 2014

Funny Foto Friday: Bike Seat Color

First, I posted a 2013 year in review yesterday!!  There might have been some tears, a little bit of sobbing, and maybe some texting to find someone to hold me.  Also known as: Saturday night! Check it out below or click here if you are lazy like me.

Really quick before we get to the hilarity, my running is clicking along, so I'm going to do a full post on that soon.  Also, I have some resolutions, so I'm going to post those eventually.  Finally, I went on a bender trip to California / Napa and I want to post about that. Sooooooo, basically what I am saying is strap on your depends because its going to be a wild ride!

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Sometimes a picture doesn't need any intro. Just.... Wow... So.amazing.

Bike seat color MATTERS.  Honestly, I think you're best off with white.

This one is somewhat random, and about 2 weeks too late, but I forgot to post it and you know what how about I just post the picture?

I have NO idea how people with pets do it


Finally, since I'm still in a bit of denial N'Sync are TOTALLY getting back together!! about the holidays being over, I thought this last one was appropriate. It essentially combines my three favorite things: working out, drinking, and did I mention drinking? Happy Friday!
Now this is a new years resolution I can get behind




Thursday, January 2, 2014

F-2013!!

Humans are arbitrary creatures. We tend to take every opportunity to seize hold of a seemingly arbitrary change, pontificate about its implied meaning, and turn it into more than it actually is.  The passing of another year is the perfect example of this. No sooner am I throwing away my all used up  "365 days of cats" calendar than I am thinking wistfully at the year that was and making plans for the year that is yet to come.

As I reflect back over the past year, I'm reminded that it isn't without the lows that we learn to appreciate the highs.  Indeed even drug addicts become physically accustomed to highs and must take an ever increasing amount of drugs to maintain their euphoria. Fortunately, it seemed that I had a bit of the opposite during 2013 - plenty of punishing lows that had me reflecting fondly of days gone by and pain-free miles ran.  But, never one to get me down, this can only mean that I am due for LOADS of ups in 2014....lest I get used to it and start turning sexual tricks to pay for my increasingly more expensive highs. Wonderful, amazing, profitable, sexual tricks.....

So, take a spin with me as I work to place blame on my failures and take personal credit for my successes apply the big letter F to each facet of my life.  Not THE F-word (because truth be told I don't say that word) but essentially every other F word out there:

Family
The older I get the more I accept / participate in gratuitous old man nudity in the gym more I find that family plays a larger role in my life. I'm sure that this has everything to do with me doing my part to the overpopulation problem, but also likely it is because I've been working on simplifying and focusing on what matters. As much as I would like, my tombstone is likely not going to say: "Boston Qualifier".  It'll probably have some sort of pun followed by "Quick to laugh, Loving father".

This year my son's personality has blossomed. Each day he is not only learning more, but also teaching me more about myself. How I can be incredibly patient (yes, for the 40th time, that light IS green!) but also impatient as well (WHY won't he just take two bites of peas.  JUST TWO BITES!!?!?!). He is a constant reminder to enjoy every moment to the fullest.

Early 2013: Sippin' on gin and juice


Late 2013 - still cute, but does pretty much whatever he wants when a camera is flashed
(chip off the old block, obvs)


Ahhh, family time. It warms my heart the quality time spent together 
Also note I was on my phone snapping this picture...


Fitness
Fitness.... fitness... fitness....  Probably the cause for most of my frustrations this year, I'm really looking forward to getting back into my regular routine.  I logged approximately 1360 miles this year.  This was nearly 1000 fewer than in past years.  Although, I took nearly 4 months off, so that number somewhat makes sense.  I will be the first to admit, though, that knowing that I'm not in my peak physical condition stings a bit.

4 miles!? Amateur. 
Low:
The year started with a stress fracture diagnosis in late January. That resulted in nearly 10 weeks off leading up to the Boston marathon in April.  There were a few test runs here and there and I was able to run 10ish miles before the race, but other than that I was mostly in the pool Aqua Jogging or on the bike doing the spin thing.

The good thing about aqua jogging is all of the spandex and the fact that you stay pretty cool while doing it.  The bad thing about aqua jogging is "shrinkage" and "compression".  (Look. I need all the help I can get.)

What the hell? Am I trying to shoot spider webs out of my arms here?

While I didn't do it as much as I should have (I was restricted for the first half of my injury) I did get on the bike with regular frequency.  The nice thing about the bike is that you can cover LOTS of miles with minimal effort.  While it is a bit frustrating that all of my run fitness didn't directly correspond to fast times, it was still good to slap on the seemingly 15 different things needed to bike and hit the pavement.  The downside of biking is all of the damn gear that you need. It seemed like I needed everything that I needed for running PLUS 4-5 other things. I asked around a bit if the rectal wattage meter was 100% required, but everyone did so I just went with it.

Kissy kissy!!  Ladies, just TRY to hold yourself back

My sweet bike setup (before I crashed...while on the trainer)


High:
The Missoula marathon mid year was probably the highlight performance-wise.  I clocked in a 3:19 which felt rather easy at the time and had so much fun with everyone surrounding the race. If you like small sized marathons, add this one to your list. Seriously.

Tastes like Montana

Low:
The fall brought a crushing workload that found me not running for nearly 6 weeks. I wish I had a profound thing to say about this one, but when given the option between sleeping less than 5.5 hrs (what I averaged), playing with my son, working so I can afford to pay for housing, and a running hobby.... Running is at the bottom of the list.  Bummer.

High:
The Boston Marathon and The NYC Marathon were two bucket list races that I was able to cross off. While neither were a "good" running performance, something tells me that when I'm 80 years old trying to have the "Boston Marathon 4 LIFE" tattoo lasered off of my ass I won't recall my sub-par time.  I honestly have few "bucket list" races left, so to cross these two off was a HUGE accomplishment.

They get $100 bucks for THIS?!?!?
(Just kidding, they take your soul first - THEN the $100)


NYC - Haterz gotta hate
Also, haterz gotta pay for race pics



Finishing (Thats what she said)

The last 18 months or so in medal form

This year I've ran a number of races. Most of them for fun. Based on my records, 3 marathons, 3 half marathons, 1 10k, 2 5ks, and 1 other distance.  I set a total of zero PRs.  Hmm. However, I did set my current half PR on 12/31/2012, so that has to be worth something.

I also paced a half marathon which was a BLAST (hmm, race report forthcoming on that I guess) and ran a number of other races with friends.  In fact, I guess the reason that I didn't PR in any distances was because I never TRIED to PR without the stroller.  Sort of a chicken or egg thing there.

YES I was pacing people, they had ran ahead.....I hope




Friends
One of the most interesting developments of 2013 is how my interpersonal relationships ebbed and flowed.  I've made so many new friends, running and non running, but also lost more than a few for one reason or another. The road less traveled as it were. Like sands through an hourglass, these are the days of our lives....


Future
To not be all doom and gloom, I DID want to add one last F-word to 2013.  Future. There are lots of bright spots right now that I am really looking forward to.  In fact, each one of the previous areas mentioned is one that I am hopeful and optimistic for.  But, not being one to sit on my rectal wattage meter, I'm actively taking steps to make 2014 the best 2014 that I've ever lived! (Probably because it is the only one I've ever lived.) So, basically what I'm saying is that I'm not letting my son leave the table until he eats at least ONE bite of peas.  Happy New Year!