Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Whatever Wednesday: Swimming, Camping, Caliente

Quick running update is that there is no running update. Since my last post, my PT has added 5 minutes of bike to my warmup routine which made me happier than a witch in a broom factory. I am hopeful that I’ll be able to start to increase that amount ever so slowly to the point of being able to ride for 3-4 hours. I don’t ask for much, people!

Life on the surface of the sun has been chugging along recently.  Here is what I have been up to over the past week or so:

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

With seemingly no injury end in sight, I’m finally researching non-knee bearing fitness alternatives. The reality is that anything that bends my knee is a no-no, so running and biking are out (hiking is questionable at best). I’m looking into weight lifting, penis enlargement, and swimming.  To answer the question that I ALWAYS get asked when I mention swimming: yes my ass looks amazing in a speedo no, I’m not thinking about doing an Ironman – yet.

Of course, the process for me to start doing new activities such as swimming isn’t straightforward and generally goes something like this:

  • Think about what it would be like to maybe start swimming
  • Make excuses about how the logistics of swimming would be a pain in the butt and that I actually shouldn't start swimming after all
  • Remind myself of how good my ass would look doing the exercise (in this case, swimming, so obvs amazing)
  • Ask 12 or so other people if they swim and tell them that I am thinking about swimming
  • Rent any applicable movies to get me in the mood for the new activity (in this case, JAWS)
  • Post my intentions on social media, thereby committing me to start….sometime in 2017

Weeee doggies. Should be interesting.


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

Weekend before last, for the first time in 15 years, I went camping. More specifically, Laura, my son, Ryan my running buddy, and all of his neighbors went camping outside of Flagstaff, AZ.  A LOT of people went camping (30ish people?).  It was really fun to unplug for a while and get in touch with nature. Of course, my solar powered phone charger never further than an arm’s length away -- just like the pilgrims.  Thankfully, no one died of dysentery.

For the most part, I was able to beg borrow and steal to get (most) of the gear needed, so I only ended up spending a few hundred bucks. Camping is shockingly expensive.  Between special food, booze, sleeping bags, more booze, chocolate milk for my son, and little odds and ends, the equipment needed really seemed to add up. Fortunately, I’m a Tetris pro, so I loaded it all into the car and headed north….in the pouring rain.

So, it poured rain for the first 12 hours of camping. Not exactly the type of high desert camping I was looking forward to, but we all seemed to make the best of the situation by bundling up, huddling around the fire, and drinking some of the carefully packed booze.

Fire makes everything better

The first night was super stormy. Thankfully, my buddy Ryan let all of us stay in his camper (which meant that his entire family was in a single bed!) as it poured, thundered, and lightninged. It wasn't too bad in a pop up camper but I imagine it would have been pretty miserable in a tent.

All in all we slogged through the night and were greeted with mostly dry skies that next morning. One of the most fun things that I remember about camping growing up was cooking over the open fire.  For some reason the most basic foods are made amazing by the simple addition of flame.  20,000 years of caveman genetics can't be wrong.

Cooking fireside. 1 part eggs, 1 part bacon, 1 part hashbrowns, 3 parts OMG-AMAZING


Most of Saturday morning was spent puttering around the fire and trying to warm up / dry off. Which, to be honest, I wouldn't have had it any other way.  I think that some of the best things about camping (or hiking, running, etc) is that you really get a chance to unplug from real life.  Of course, by unplug I often mean music blaring in your ears and a 10MP cell phone camera to take tons of selfies. I'm not a barbarian.

TRYING to warm up by the fire

My son has mad bingo skillz.  Laura didn't stand a chance.


Other than the general ability to unplug, some of my favorite parts of camping were the freedom that my son was able to have. He was able to roam around the campsite with very minimal supervision by me which he LOVED.  He was able to dig in the dirt, find sticks for the fire and.....honestly come to think about it I have no idea what the heck he was doing for a lot of the time.  That is a very very good thing.

Waiting patiently to throw more sticks on the fire

Eating peanuts that were supposed to be for the squirrels on Sunday
Yes, that is the same outfit as the day before

While there were lots of activities for the little kids, thoughts of going on a hike or doing anything else all that productive were quickly dashed in favor of just hanging out. And, with a quick break for Laura and I to have some fun setting up the tent and my son to take a quick nap, that is essentially what we did the entire weekend.

Playing a very large game of Cards Against Humanity
The conclusion? Laura and I are terrible terrible people (thus, very good at C.A.H.)


Overall, camping was outstanding. It was really fun to hang with Laura, my running buddy Ryan, and essentially skirt almost all responsibilities for the weekend. To that end, I'm looking forward to doing it again very soon.


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

I was in Colorado last weekend, but seeming how this post is turning into a Lifetime miniseries, I’m going to hold that update for another time…. But, a little teaser:

Doesn't my pink nail polish look AMAZING?


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

Finally, the surface of the sun quip at the beginning of this post was no lie.  The temps this week are supposed to be between 112-115 with lows in the mid 80s.  If there was ever an upside to being hurt and not being able to run, I THINK I FOUND IT!


Nope nope nope nope nope


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

15 weeks

As I sit here on my couch, drinking a beer and presumably only getting fatter, I haven't ran in 15 weeks. This is the longest I have gone without running in nearly 10 years. No running in 15 weeks.... 105 days..... 151,200 minutes....  All I need is a overly harmonized gritty Broadway musical to remind me of how long that is..... WAIT A MINUTE!!!

No, those are NOT tears. My eyes are sweating. IT IS HOT IN ARIZONA, OKAY



There are a lot of emotions that have been running through my head as the weeks have become months. I've watched most of my 2015 running goals slip though my fingers like sand through an hourglass. Frustration and sadness are the most common emotions. Frustration that whatever is wrong with my knee seemingly isn't healing and sadness that I'm not able to do what I love with those that I care the most about.

But, where there is frustration there is hope.  I had my 6 week PT checkup today during which I received mixed news. We've settled on a diagnosis of severe patellar tendinitis where my tendon hooks into my kneecap.  This is why I often see white spots of pain in my eyes when I try to kneel down and put pressure on the tendon and also why it is taking so long to heal. While I can see ever so slight improvements week over week, the road to recovery is long,  hard, and fraught with potholes and false summits. I'll continue to go to PT through the end of the month and then we will reassess.  And so, I wait.

Most surprising with not being able to run is how bummed out it has made me and how much I have  missed the running social scene.  I have made no secret that I am fairly addicted to running, but I had no idea how it had weaved itself into the fiber of my being. With the exception of this blog, I rarely talk about running in real life, yet most of my friends in real life are running friends. Running was a reason to get together to talk about everything BUT running. Without that common bond, I feel forced to interject myself into their running lives to hang out and share a beer or a cup of coffee. 

Throughout the tough times of the last few years, running and my son have been the two constants. What I initially thought was a blip on the radar has developed into a full fledged armada.  So, it should probably be no surprise how much not running has frustrated me.....but it is a surprise. Both in duration of downtime and intensity of feelings.

That said, overall I'm actually doing quite amazing.  I would be remiss if I didn't post something about how frustrated and sad I am about my running, but nearly every other aspect of my life has been outstanding. Laura and I are making the long distance work and finding a love we never knew could exist, my son is doing amazing and every day surprises me at how smart he is becoming, and in spite of the stupid stuff I do I still have all of my fingers and toes - something that shocks me each and every day. So, all in all, not a bad start to 2015.

Rule #1 of s'mores: don't burn any of your hair.
There is no rule #2




Monday, June 1, 2015

Bolder Boulder 10K Race Report!!

While probably not wise with my knee, this past Memorial Day I strapped on more spandex than a Richard Simmons convention, put on my best padded helmet, and walked 6.2 miles with 45,000 of my closest friends. Just another weekend living the Boring Adam life………

Distance: 10K
Time: 1:50:41
Pace: 17:49
Place: 39,566 / 45,000ish (Top 88%)
AG (M30-34) place: 365 / 388 (Top 94%!!!!)

As with a lot of my race reports, I feel like this one will focus on the points leading up to the race but not the actual race itself. While a lot of people love reading the blow by blow of each and every mile, I’d rather go on and on about the uniqueness of the places I’m visiting – not how I had to poop at mile 6.

To that end, this past Memorial day I took an especially long weekend and visited Laura outside of Boulder. Lately, my trips have been a bit short, but this trip was Thursday through Tuesday which offered lots of time for debauchery (which, mostly manifested itself as trips to Home Depot and Furniture stores). When I landed on Thursday, we headed straight for a trendy area of Denver and met up with friends and none other than RunnerMatt himself.  Matt is a podcaster and a consistent marathon age group placer who in his mid 40s is targeting a sub 3 hour marathon in Chicago this fall.

RunnerMatt!! (Behind my massive head...which is completely obscuring Laura)


Since I haven’t been able to run, bike, or essentially do anything much that raises my HR outside of the bedroom, I have been trying to stay consistent with my PT exercises. So, the next day involved me doing an hour’s worth of leg extensions and butt lifts while Laura did a much harder (and arguably manlier) workout. I fear I am quickly becoming the Kevin James of this relationship. Bring on the bean dip.

Took everything I had not to tip her over. Everything. I. had.


I’d mentioned before that Laura bought a new house a short while ago, so part of the weekend was spent looking at various pieces of furniture and making runs to Home Depot for various household items. If anyone knows me in person, they know that I 1) haven’t made a Home Depot trip that I haven’t enjoyed and 2) haven’t gone on a furniture shopping trip without making a fool out of myself.  So, to say that I had fun while running these errands would be like saying Kim Kardashian doesn't like selfies (which, for the record, I love selfies too).

Relaxing in $4,000 massage chairs for...15 minutes. Oops.
If I could teach this chair how to laugh at my jokes, I wouldn't need Laura!

Confirming no boogiemen were hiding under the bed
Quote a friend on facebook: "Don't buy a bed with a built in dog-house"


The next day (or the day after? Let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter) we went on a quick hike. We had tried to go the day before but it started to thunder and lightning pretty bad, ultimately POURING down rain, right when we started and neither of us wanted to be a human lightning rod.  That said, I was quick to remind Laura that if she DID get struck by lightning that I got to keep her running medals.

The hike was amazing (as it seems like they all have been lately). It climbed a few thousand feet or so over the course of a few miles give or take and it took an hour or two (yeah, I forgot my Garmin). It provided for amazing views on the way up as well as when we reached the top – looking over most of Boulder.

AMAZING views while hiking with Laura


Again, seriously amazing views..... :)


Of course, there were lots of post hiking beers that day as well as the day after. Honestly, the post hiking beers sort of blended from post hiking beers to carb loading beers to celebrating race beers. The fun thing about going to Colorado is that there are lots of fun little microbreweries that are more than happy to raise a glass to whatever you’re celebrating.

In this picture, I feel like we were celebrating.. lunch? Who knows.


Again, celebrating...the hike?  Celebrating the rain?  Do you really need a reason to have a great beer? (or bloody mary, as it were)

Once we were done hiking and drinking and eating and drinking and then eating some more, it was time for the task at hand - RACING!  Or, walking. Whichever. As we all know, fueling your body for peak performance is vital. So, I think that it should go as no surprise that the night before the race I, along with a handful of friends, proceeded to do this with equal amounts of wine and cheese. Also known as: Carbs and Protein.  I'm not sure if I got the ratio right like in chocolate milk, though. I wonder how many bottles of wine I should have drank to offset the 2 pounds of cheese I ate?  Math is hard.

Prerace girls night in - squeeee!!!!


As I woke up race morning it was very obvious that this was not going to be a PR attempt for me.  First, I still had wine and cheese from the night before sloshing around in my colon stomach. (By “slosh” I obviously mean “hunkered down like a lead balloon”.) Second, I wasn’t really worried about getting to the starting line when my wave went off. There are dozens and dozens of waves starting from 7:00 to 9:30 spreading the field out to provide minimal congestion. And third, I put on about 3 layers of spandex.

Since Laura and I are both injured, we decided to capitalize on the opportunity and dress up like the 80s gameshow American Gladiators – complete with padded jousting sticks.  This was quite possibly the best decision we have ever made. It allowed us to make a spectacle out of ourselves which is honestly my #1 priority if I am not running for speed.

Of course, our costumes weren’t without downsides. Everyone kept telling me how nice my ass looked in spandex. :( As it turns out, having big jousting sticks doesn’t exactly promote on course safety, which is why a very official looking person told us that we couldn’t run with them. Never one to give up, we promptly ignored this advice, snuck into one of the corrals, and at 8:20 we were off!!!!!

Walking….

Thank god this wasn't a death-match. God made me a runner, not a gladiator / jouster.

Walking a race is interesting in that everyone passes you. Like, everyone.  I felt a little bit like the tortoise and the hair except we didn’t really win the race at the end. That said, we did NOT go slow.  We averaged a healthy 17:49 min / mile including all of our stops to bash each other in the head for Laura to bash me in the head. I would imagine this meant that we were walking 16:00ish pace? Also known as “angry ex-NYC get out of my way, annoying tourist” pace.

The race part was fun, but honestly not quite as wild as people made it out to be.  There was no on-course beer, jello shots, keg stands, bacon, or anything similar. There were 2 slip and slides, but they were so muddy by the point that we were there that neither of us wanted to go down them. All in all, it was just a normal race. That is, except for the people screaming “HEY, NICE COSTUME!!!” To which Laura and I would respond “GLADIATORS READDDYYYYY…. GOOOO!!!” and start jousting.

Note the people were giving us a WIDE girth, mostly due to Laura helicopter spinning her jousting stick while trying to smack me in the face

At about the 4 mile mark, my knee started to get really cranky.  All of the jumping around getting the crowd cheering was starting to take its toll.  So, for the last mile and a half or so, we saved our jousting energy for the big finish in the Univ of Colorado football stadium.  During which both of us were on the jumbotron running, jousting, and laughing more than any man wearing spandex ever should. It was amazing.

TO THE ELIMINATOR!!!


Overall, the Bolder Boulder seemed like a really nice race. It reminded me a LOT of the 4.2 mile Pat Tillman race in Phoenix each year. Honestly, if Pat Tillman wasn't such a strange distance (42 was his jersey number), I think that it could give this race a run for its money in both size and notoriety.  It was a great race to check off of my bucket list and one that I would love to do when fully healed, jousting sticks optional, spandex required.