Sunday, April 24, 2016

I'm Running Again!

A lot of runners get really worked up about the wording of running. I learned long ago that the term "jogging" is a big no-no and that I should never call one of my races "slow". I could totally see where people are coming from but never shared the same passion for the nuances of verbiage.  So, it is with a slight wince at the risk of backlash that I say.... Well, I guess I'm SORT OF running again.

I've been pretty down in the dumps the last few months and as a result let one too many workouts slip away and one (five.... okay maybe ten) too many pounds pack on. The excuses aren't as important as to what snapped me out of the funk: a podcast.

Two Gomers Run for Their Lives is a running podcast about two normal mid pack guys who battle with the 20 pounds we all need to lose, watching a bit too much TV, and are generally as clueless as the next guy about how to go about running. (THESE ARE MY PEOPLE!)  Lately, the podcasts had been less about running and more about life stuff and TV.  Ultimately a listener called one of them out that he had totally stopped even caring about running and how he had a laundry list of excuses on why he wasn't active. Needless to say, the message was received and he immediately went out an ran 6 miles. Later the day I listened to it, I ran 5mi in the already miserable AZ heat - the first time I had ran (had run? did I mention the thing about the nuance of verbiage?) in over 6-8 weeks.

Oh god I was sore afterwards.  You would have thought I had just ran a marathon with a sumo wrestler on my back. Turns out it was just a food baby in my muffin top.  I honestly have been less sore after marathons.  It was humbling.  But, the speed was essentially still there (~7:30 pace), just not the endurance. I've since made sure to run 3x a week, 4-5 miles at a shot. So, not anything like I was before, but still running.

Completely unrelated kid pic from the baseball game on Saturday
Turns out I haven't been taking a lot of running pics

My knee still hurts like always, both during and after running.  If I push too hard it hurts more and I'll wince as I stand up from the toilet my desk chair.  If I go it easy with friends, it barely hurts at all. I'm slowly coming to grips with the fact that marathons are likely something that I used to do vs something that I am training for.

The plan now is to slowly build up my mileage to see if my knee explodes or if it will tolerate a few more miles.....and then explode.

Looking back, I'm not sure if it was the podcast that got me back into running again or if it was the gut-check that I was so terribly out of shape.  The bigger question now is if I am "a marathoner" or if I am simply "someone who used to run marathons"?  I guess maybe all of us get caught up in our own nuances of verbiage after all!

Another unrelated kid pic - he can ride is bike without help!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Checking in

Long ago, in a land far far away, this blog wasn't a running blog.  Oh, it might have had running in the title and it might have mentioned that I went running in the past few days, but very little of it was about running. For one reason or another I haven't been running a ton lately.  BUT, that doesn't mean that I haven't been busy!

I took the breakup from Laura pretty hard.  And, while it has been nearly three months, I'm still employing the "keep very busy" strategy to keep my mind occupied. A man with a cold stone heart, I am not. I think staying busy has saved the internet from way too many emo posts. Think of it as a public service!  You're welcome, world.

To that end, here is a peek into what I've been up to:

The thing that I've replaced running with the most has been hiking. It is somewhat easier on my knee as long as I am taking it slow - which I rarely do, obviously. Before catching a terrible respiratory virus, I was going on a long hike about once a week and was trying to hike after work at least once as well.  I've been trying to get around the valley (the Phoenix metro area) to see what is to be seen, but I'll admit there are a few areas that I have been going back to more and more.  Camelback mountain being one of them:

Almost down from Camelback mountain looking over fancy Scottsdale

I have a few work friends who are into hiking which is really fun.  Normally, I'll go hiking on my own and listen to podcasts, but it is super fun to get together with someone and talk about anything and everything (and rarely work). PLUS, I've heard that hiking promotes a good butt.  Win/Win. Again, you're welcome world.

Looking out over the javelina jundred course (I think)

Selfie in the WINDY pass!

Burning things!!!
I've posted about this before, but as of late, my son and I have taken to having lots of bonfires.  Essentially, any weekend night that we're together we light something on fire in the driveway,  I have a beer and he eats Smores.  I've found that it is a great way to unwind after a long day and is a great way to hang out with the neighbors.  (I'm sure having 5 homebrew beers on tap in my garage doesn't hurt either.)

Coloring in front of the fire - possibly my most favorite pic in months

Unfortunately though, the bonfire days are likely coming to an end pretty soon.  The summer heat is on its way and no one wants to sit in front of a fire when it is 95 degrees at 9pm.  Of course, that likely won't stop me from trying it at least one or two times before I give in.

Fire and wine. As if I needed anything else (I don't)

Another gorgeous sunset in Arizona

Ostrich Festival
I feel like every town has their little 'quirk'.  Chandler Arizona's?  The Ostrich festival.  This is an entire weekend dedicated to massive birds with the brains the size of walnuts.  Are there ostriches in Arizona?  WHO KNOWS!  But we're for damn sure going to celebrate them. There are equal parts: carnie rides, people showing too much skin with too many tattoos, carnies showing too much skin and having too many tattoos, and fried food.  Basically people watching heaven.  I've been meaning to go for years and a few weeks ago my son and I finally got there. Believe me.  It did not disappoint.  Of course, there were rides:

Going though the obstacle course type thing

Basically terrified of the roller coaster.  
Chip off the old block...the boring fam doesn't "do" roller coasters

BUT, the main attraction were the ostrich races.  That is when 3 less than 140 pound guys (they pointed that out...strange) grab a massive bird by the neck and hold on for dear life. Believe me, it was just as entertaining as you would have expected it to be..... and my son LOVED IT.

"Oh yay, riding an ostrich seems like a GREAT idea"

"I regret everything"

"Maybe if I get up SUPER fast no one will know I fell"

LOL, but then he was about ran over...which was great

Meep meep

San Diego
Finally, San Diego.  A few weeks ago, for an entire week, I was in San Diego for work.  Only a 5.5 hour drive from my house, San Diego is probably one of my favorite places in the US.  It is beachy, but not super laid back and annoying, there are still lots of fun non-beach things to do, and it is still cheap enough to be able to have fun without feeling like I need to sell a kidney to afford it (looking at you, Hawaii...).

The training was fun, dare I say life changing, but the real fun was the weekend after.  I sipped on local coffee, had a few nice dinners, and went to more than a few breweries.

Sunset in La Jolla

While the training had a bunch of executives (which I guess I am one of now?), lest I get too full of myself....well, I'll let the picture speak for itself:

#1 gangsta.  Do people still say gangsta?

One thing that I completely forgot about was is at the beach.  If you ever need motivation to get into shape, go to the beach. Nothing like a few thousand 22 year olds to make you question that second scone at the coffee place (I had the second scone, obviously).

Since I was alone, I went off of my normal beaten path on this trip.  I hiked in Torrey Pines park, I went to neighborhoods that I had never been to, I ran along new beaches, I stumbled upon nude beaches..... Yes, you heard me right... a nude beach.

So, as it turns out, if you're hiking Torrey Pines, get down to the ocean, and start running south along the beach, you'll run into the nation's largest nude beach - Black's Beach. When I mentioned this to a runner buddy, Chris, that I met up with while there he straight faced said "oh yeah, Black Beach.  Lots of naked dudes on that one".   Indeed he was right. As I was running along, I felt less and less like I was running along the beach and more and more like I was in a men's locker room.  The kind of men's locker room where the old guys let it hang fancy free. For the record, naked women count: 1 (she was like 65 years old) naked man count: 3945848394857.




Torrey Pines hiking

Of course, those are just the highlights of the last month or so.  If you follow my daily instagram posts, you'll find that I'm up to all SORTS of boring stuff!  Hopefully my next blog post isn't a month from now. But, if it is, reset assured that I'll be keeping myself busy (mostly by burning stuff in the firepit)!