Thursday, September 26, 2013

Beep Beep Motherfucker

This was an annoying run this morning. I tried to do it like I was told but with 15 minutes left I realized I made a mistake. Instead of setting my interval timer to 17 minutes in Zone 2 and 3 minutes in Zone 3, I set it to 17 hours in Zone 2 and who knows how long in Zone 3. Which means I pretty much ran in Zone 2 the entire time. Or at least I tried to. The damn watch kept beeping at me and pissing me off. Too high, too low, gah!

Anyway, I know I got my heart rate up a few times. Once I moved a railroad tie, once I desperately swatted at a horsefly, and once I desperately tried to run away from a horsefly. Guess it was better than nothing.

I'm sure there was other stuff that I should mention but that was the core of the run.

Temps were about 60F to 65F. Sun was out. Barely any wind in the trees. No humidity.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was yogurt and coffee. During the run I had a bottle of plain water, a bottle of Hammer Fizz, and a small packet of applesauce. Recovery was a burger wrap, cheese, and iced latte.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt, thankfully. Although the beeping watch was a pain in the ass.

No special gear. I did carry a stick for half of the run to knock down the spider webs.

Took my small pepper spray and it was fine.

Section 1 Outbound - 9:26 (AVG HR 140)
Section 1 Inbound - 10:53 (AVG HR 143)
Section 2 Outbound - 33:36 (AVG HR 147)
Section 2 Inbound - 31:10 (AVG HR 143)
Finish - 1:25:06
AVG HR - 144
MAX HR - 176
MIN HR - 85

Monday, September 23, 2013

Podcast - Mile 69 - Changes Abound

After an up and down couple of weeks, I finally started seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. As I headed out on a nicely brisk and dusty run, I started to feel better about my training and about myself. Which translates into a more positive and upbeat episode. And before you ask, yes, that's me being positive and upbeat. Sorry, I'm not the cheerleader type.

The big change lately though has been the weather. Winter is coming and fall is here. The sun is changing times on me and the weather is getting nice and cool. Best of all though, the smell of old, musty leaves is wafting through the air.

And that's pretty much it. Aside from the bizarre things I see along the way. Like an Elvis playing card. Or a crushed smoke detector. You get the idea.

You can change the channel to listen on Podbean, or even download it directly here. You can also change to SoundCloud which is where most of my focus will be.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Review - Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald

It's been ages since I've done a book review so I'm a bit rusty. I've talked about books I've read in my podcast but that's always been a bit of a glance at a book and not a review. So, let's break out the WD-40 and see if my gears still work.

First off, the cover is fairly appealing with both front and back covers showing thin and muscular athletes. Kind of like that ideal Greek Adonis look that everyone strives to achieve. But so few of us actually do. The content itself is broken down into lots of mumbo-jumbo science followed by some recipes and some exercises. The recipes and exercises are all things that can easily be found online and don't really add too much to the value of the book. And the section on what professional athletes eat is a bit daunting as it just reminds you that you're not an elite athlete no matter how much granola you eat.

The real heart of the book, for me at least, is a reminder of what really works when it comes to dieting. And using the word "diet" is part of the problem. It's not so much a diet like Garfield thinks, it's diet as in what you eat. Let me explain it another way. To be healthy, you need to exercise and eat right. To eat right, you need to eat the right foods in the right amounts. Take salt for example. Too much salt is just as dangerous as not enough. So cutting out salt isn't the answer, the answer is moderating how much salt you consume so it's the right amount.

But that doesn't mean you need to eat like a devout foodie and be a snob. Like Alan Alda said, "in all things moderation, including moderation." So eating that brownie isn't the best thing to eat but hey, you need to let loose every now and then. If you don't splurge too much, you'll be fine.

Anyway, back to the book. This is pretty much the meat of what Fitzgerald talks about. Eat healthy foods, eat healthy portions, and exercise. But it's the "race weight" formulas he gives that make things a little interesting. I really did enjoy how it made me sit down and figure out what my "ideal racing weight" should be. It was a tangible goal. It wasn't like I sat down on New Year's Eve and said "I want to lose weight." No, instead it was more like "okay, your current weight and lean body mass is this, your ideal weight and lean body mass is this, then you need to lose this amount to reach the ideal race weight."

That was awesome. It gave me a concrete goal to aim for, something I put in a spreadsheet and measure, and it felt reasonable. The formula didn't tell me to lose the 50 pounds I wanted to lose, it told me to lose just 16 pounds. Much more reasonable and it felt more within my reach.

And there were other parts of the book like that. Things Fitzgerald said that made sense. Scientific studies that were done on various runners, swimmers, cyclists, and more that proved his various points. When to eat, what to eat, even what macro-nutrients to pay attention to. Things were all good in this arena and he makes valid points throughout.

But. Yes, everyone, I had a big but just waiting there. This book isn't really designed for beginners. For average people looking to better themselves. For normal people like me that are bigger than they should be. This book is designed more for the athlete that can place in their age group or can perform better than half of the others out there. Thankfully there wasn't a condescending tone in the book, it was just implied. Buried deep down, it was there. Or maybe I just read too much between the lines and don't feel comfortable with myself. Either way, I still think this book is for those looking for that extra edge to put them on the podium or at the top of their game. Especially those that have plateaued and can't seem to squeeze another minute off their time.

My bottom line is the book is good. But not for me. I like the goal it gave me and that kept me motivated for awhile. But once the book delved into the nuances of food, appetite, and scientific data, I got bored. I know I eat like crap and I know this book won't help me. Unless I eat it to curb my appetite.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Was going on my run and as I headed down what is my usual 8-mile route, I decided to take a small detour and head down a different road. I ended up in a fairly unknown section of road, saw a few deer, and saw a rear boundary marker for one of the county's mysteries, Pear Mount Farm. I never expected to see the deer or the sign for Pear Mount.

Aside from the new views and the odd signs, the run was okay. The road was super dry and dusty so I had sock  lines when I finished but over all, the conditions were just about perfect. Maybe just a hair chilly but pretty darn good.


The sun was just coming over the tree tops as I started.

The unexpected sign.

The unexpected sneaker.

Some cow porn for my mother.

Temps were about 50F in the shade and 55F in the sun. Towards the end I could feel the road warming up. Sun was out in full but the start was a big hazy with fog. Humidity was low. Very light breeze.

Fluids and Fuel:
Pre-run was a little iced coffee and yogurt. During the run I had a bottle of Hammer Fizz and half a bottle of plain water. Way less fluids than I'm used to but it felt fine. Recovery was a breakfast burrito, two eggs, and the rest of my coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt until about Mile 2 when my shins started to ache a bit. After a half mile things cleared up.

Wore arm sleeves, gloves, winter hat, and an extra pair of shorts. Took the gloves off around the halfway point. Hands got chilly but eventually warmed up. Also took along my recorder for a podcast show and that was it.

Took my phone and the large pepper spray. Both fit nicely in my pocket.

Outbound - 40:14 (AVG HR 140)
Inbound - 40:27 (AVG HR 146)
Finish - 1:20:41
AVG HR - 143
MAX HR - 172
MIN HR - 77

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rock Plate

Super duper run today. Not quite super awesome but pretty damn fine. I think some naked ladies and money on the trees would have made it better but aside from that, it was about as perfect as I could ask for. The weather was a huge factor as it's finally creeping into fall, my favorite season. Mostly because my birthday is in October but also because it means cooler weather, the kids are back in school, and the holidays are coming. Which means presents. And more presents.

The run was fairly uneventful, big surprise, but I did take advantage of the easy pace to move branches off the trail, swap out SD cards in my trail cameras, and gander about. Well, I looked around a little bit. Most of the time I was distracted by listening to podcasts (The Park Run Show and Mission Log) and trying to NOT think about my pace and instead DO think about my form and stride. Once I warmed up after a couple of miles, I felt like I was really in the groove. The last two miles felt really nice and I almost, almost felt like I was floating along down the trail. With half a mile left, I picked up the pace for my "three minute push" and brought my pace down to a 10 minute average pace (instead of a 12 minute average I expect on the trail). And that 10 minute pace was probably faster than that because I pushed hard for three minutes then backed off the gas for the last two minutes until I stopped the clock. I didn't back off a lot but it felt more like a normal pace.

Anyway, along the way I saw a heron, plenty of squirrels and small birds, and a large hawk. I'm pretty sure I heard some deer but I never saw any. And seeing as I avoided Snake Alley this morning, I'm glad I didn't see any snakes.

This used to be a swamp. It also used to be home to the White Tower of Isengard. It fell over a year or two ago so now it just looks empty.

Temps were about 55F to 60F. Partly cloudy sky. Light to moderate breeze. It was pretty breezy in the open so in the forest is was dialed down a bit. No humidity.

Fluids and Fuel:
Pre-run was yogurt, breakfast burrito, and half an iced coffee. During the run I had a bottle of Hammer Fizz and half a bottle of plain water. Recovery was an iced latte.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt during the run. My back felt stiff when I was stretching after I finished. I did step on some sharp rocks here and there but that's expected on the gravel trail. Everything else felt fine.

Wore a winter beanie for a mile or so. Wore my gloves the entire time. Wore two shorts, partly to stay warm and partly for the extra pockets. Forgot STRETCH so my phone ended up in my pocket. It worked out just fine. I also tested out the rock plates in my shoes. They seemed to work okay but I'm not sure if I'll use them or not. They felt funny when I walked in them, especially in the heel. Almost like I had rocks in my shoe. But running they felt fine.

Carried my large pepper spray. Didn't have any issues.

Mile 1 - 13:23 (AVG HR 137) (a little long in distance and time since I started it early then stopped to grab my gloves and bottles)
Mile 2 - 16:22 (AVG HR 138) (spent the extra time swapping out the SD card)
Mile 3 - 20:08 (AVG HR 142) (this was really closer to 2 miles due to my turn around point)
Mile 4 - 11:55 (AVG HR 153)
Mile 5 - 11:23 (AVG HR 159)
Finish - 1:13:12
AVG HR - 145
PEAK HR - 177
MIN HR - 109

Monday, September 16, 2013

Podcast - Mile 68 - Spider Man

In this episode I babble while I have a free run. Thanks to my new coach I got the chance to enjoy a run. Not that I don't enjoy running but sometimes it feels like work. So this run was all about reconnecting myself with the joy of running. And I did my best. Aside from spider webs and bugs, I did fairly well. Try not to laugh as I eat a bug or spider web during the show.

I start at the beach and head uphill as I go inland. There were some tough climbs but I survived. I knew what was coming and knew where the trail leveled out and where I'd be walking. I just wish I had the stamina to go faster.

Along the way I swear about spider webs, talk about Downton Abbey and the spoiler I read in the paper, swear some more about spider webs, and talk about The Big Bang Theory. And, you guessed it, swear some more about spider webs.

So if you want to get stuck in my web of babbling, you can find Peter Parker on Podbean, download the web directly from here, or listen on your phone as you run from spiders on SoundCloud.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Oops, forgot to publish one!

Coach gave me a free run today. I say "gave" because it felt like a gift. A reminder to go out and enjoy myself. The spider webs and horse flies did their best to keep things angry but I managed to avoid a huge spider and even killed three horse flies. So I guess I had it coming.

Anyway, things went okay. I wanted to go faster but I knew I needed to do just what Coach told me and dial things back a bit and have fun. So no HRM and even though I wore a watch, I didn't use it as a time keeper. Instead I started RunKeeper on my phone then tucked it away to ignore it. I checked it halfway through and then again near the end. I wanted to keep things close to the 1:05 in the plan but didn't want to pay attention to how far I went. And I'm glad I didn't. I was a bit depressed when I saw I barely went three miles. Way slower than I wanted but I feel like I accomplished what was in the plan. I recorded a podcast, took some pictures, and posted a Vine. And took plenty of walking breaks. And a few stopping breaks to kill horse flies. And a few stopping breaks to wipe the spiderwebs off my face. So all in all, not too bad of a workout.

The shape of the beach always changes.

This was the massive spider I avoided (thankfully). I'm sure I'll have nightmares about it tonight. Hard to tell, but it was easily the size of a quarter.

Temps were about 80F to 85F. Humidity was high. Sun was out but the sky was mostly cloudy. There was a breeze but I only felt it on the river bank.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was yogurt with granola and some iced coffee. During the run I had just water. Recovery was a breakfast sandwich and an iced latte.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt but my back is a bit tight. I think I've been sitting too much at work. Some foam rolling should held that.

Took my hydration pack today to give the hands a rest. This means I also took along some toilet paper, Body Glide, and chap stick. Also took my voice recorder. Aside from that, nothing else special.

Took my knife and cell phone. Both rode easily in the hydration pack without any issues.

Finish - 55:27

Snakes in the Road

I kind of enjoyed fartleks today. Am I sick or something? I set up my intervals last night (since my fancy new watch DATA can do that stuff) at 10 minutes and 1 minute. My plan was to run 10 minutes easy and 1 minute fast. As I got into the groove, I aimed for 10 minutes at around 130 to 150 on the HRM and 1 minute above 150. After my minute was up, I walked to bring things back under 130. The plan worked pretty well so I stuck to it through about 5 or 6 intervals. Didn't really have much trouble and my Star Trek podcast kept me distracted so I just listened for the watch to beep at me. I still took regular walking breaks but they were just as needed and not on any set time or with any set plan.

Outside of the fartlek portion, the workout wasn't exactly what I had hoped for with the scenery. I passed a bunch of dead bugs and critters that I'd just as soon never see again. Saw a giant wasp that was dead. Saw a squished praying mantis. And I saw three dead snakes. Two were fairly small but one was about 5 or 6 feet long and clearly a copperhead. Even though I knew it was dead, I kept my eyes on it and went as far around it as I could. And it still scared me. I'm such a ninny sometimes.

Beyond that, had plenty of nice folks out waving to me and giving me plenty of space as a pedestrian. I have a longer blog post brewing about that.

Temps were about 75F to 80F. Humidity was moderate to high. Slight breeze. Sun was out but it was a bit hazy.

Fluids and Fuel:
Pre-run was half an iced coffee. During the run I had a bottle of plain water. I finished it with a good 15 minutes to go and just ran the last part dry. No real recovery as I went straight into a bike ride.

Aches and Pains:
My right foot kept falling asleep. I stretched it out a few times and after a few walking breaks it went back to normal. My calves felt tight during the fast minutes but I just attributed that to me flying over the pavement like The Flash.

No special gear but I did wear my cycle jersey because I was going for a ride later.

Wore my phone in STRETCH and carried my small pepper spray. Both rode just fine.

Outbound - 25:05 (AVG HR 142)
Inbound - 35:48 (AVG HR 151) (slightly longer return section)
Finish - 1:00:54

You guessed it, a ride to Sheetz for an iced latte. And an iced tea for later. I made a quick change after my fartlek workout to jump on my bike and head to my local gas station/coffee shop. The ride was fairly slow and steady, I wasn't in any mood to push my pace or anything. It was an easy way to cool off and chill out.

Even though I had passed the big dead snake twice on foot and once on my bike, my last time going by I couldn't NOT look at it. I tried to ignore the dead thing but I couldn't resist the urge to make sure it was actually dead and didn't chase me as I rode by the last time. Can you tell I hate snakes?

I was chased by a small dog for a few feet. I rode past a driveway and heard two dogs barking at me, one large and one small. The big ones don't really bother me that much unless they're in a pack. The small ones scare me because I know they tend to bite and they're too damn small to easily kick. Well, he chased me into the road and from the looks of things realized the cars were bigger than him so he quickly left me alone and went home.

Outside of that, I had some nice drivers and some asshole drivers. I was pleasantly surprised by the nice ones that waited to pass me until it was safe and ever gave me a little honk that was clearly a "have a nice day" honk not a "go fuck yourself" honk. Just like my run, I've got a blog post brewing about this.

Temps were about 75F to 80F. Humidity was moderate to high. Slight breeze. Sun was out but it was a bit hazy.

Fluids and Fuel:
Had a bottle of Hammer Fizz for the first half. Second half was just a sip or two of my iced latte. Recovery was Hammer Perpeteum, two eggs, and yogurt.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt.

No special gear.

Carried my phone in my cycle jersey and added my knife to hold my cards. Still had my small pepper spray. Everything rode just fine.

Outbound - 19:03 (AVG HR 149)
Inbound - 15:01 (AVG HR 140)
Finish - 34:04

Monday, September 09, 2013

Podcast - Mile 67 - Labor Pains

My in-laws came to visit over the holidays and I promptly ran out the door. Not because I was trying to be rude but because I needed to get my workout in. At least I was able to start my weekend off right with a good run. I just wish I could continue the tradition on a more regular basis.

Anyway, the majority of the show is about a few updates in life, one of them being everyone going back to school. My wife (a teacher) and my kids are now back in school and that means I get the house to myself during the day which means that I get some peace and quite. Not that they were terribly loud this past summer but it's still nice to be able to keep the door open and not hear screaming voices.

Another update is my new coach, Coach Jeff, who will be beating my fat ass into submission for at least the next six months. It's still too soon to tell how well it will work but so far I'm satisfied. The big thing is that I just need somebody to get me moving and so far he's done that.

In other news, I may or may not be doing a guest spot on Ashland Dave's Running In the Center of the Universe podcast. We haven't finalized any details yet but the seed has been planted. However it works out, I'd like to get him on my show at least once. Maybe if I get him talking enough he'll slow down so I can keep up.

And that's about it. Lots of news being birthed in this show so you can go directly to Podbean for the delivery or do it at home on your own. No doula needed. And if you're feeling adventurous, you can even do it on the side of the road through SoundCloud.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Forced Death March

I think Coachprs worked some sort of voodoo magic on me while I slept last night. I woke up feeling fairly well rested but pissed off. Seems my lovely wife decided to tickle my foot instead of giving me a kiss. Clearly I have done something to offend the goddess. Anyway, once out of bed, I felt pretty good and not nearly as tired as I normally am for a school day. I hustled everyone off to school and then ran to pick up my car.

Last night was an anomaly of sorts in that we went to town on a weeknight. The kids had check-up appointments with the doctor so it was a bit of a rush to get to town, see the doctor, chow down some dinner, and rush home by bedtime. We made it but in the rush we forgot my car was at the school where I left it before our trip started.

So this morning I was forced, sort of, to run to get it. I was offered a ride from my wife but I knew my car would be a good source of motivation and it fit right in with my planned 1:15 run. Now if I could only stay in that damn Zone 2, I'd be all set. I'm pretty sure I was running in Zone 3 and Zone 4 for most of the run. After a good 3 miles though I felt nice and cozy with my pace and I could breathe easily so I just kept plugging away despite not making it into the elusive Zone 2.

So going to get my car made it a bit of a forced march. The death portion came early as I saw a dead bird in the ditch. A small one. Which made it kind of odd that I even noticed it. I also saw a dead skunk, dead fox, and a dead raccoon. Thankfully the people I saw were all alive. Nearly on my front doorstep was another runner who quickly outpaced me to their stopping point. I also saw a walker and a cyclist. Plus a couple of kids waiting for the bus.

Temps were about 65F. Sun was out but a lot of the route was shaded. Light breeze. No humidity.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was an iced coffee. During the run I had two bottles of plain water. I didn't drink as much as I normally do due to the lower temps but I went through a lot of the water because I'd spit it out. Not sure why. Recovery was a couple of egg sandwiches, an iced latte, and a yogurt.

Aches and Pains:
My right foot fell asleep after a couple of miles. Once I took an extended walk break it woke up. The ball of my left foot started to develop a hot spot but it seems fine now. The small of my back on the left side feels a little tight but nothing too bad.

Had to drag along my car keys and license, which I almost forgot, and that was about it.

Since I was headed to school, I left the weaponry at home and just took my phone. It traveled well in STRETCH.

AVG HR - 155
Peak HR - 188
Min HR - 95
Finish - 1:11:01

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

A Spoon

Did my 40 minutes of chest work, got my crap together, then headed out on the bike. I wasn't in a super big rush and only tried to push the pace when I got onto the busier road. I ran over two VDOT measuring devices, saw two dead snakes, nearly had two heart attacks because of the dead snakes, saw a screwdriver, and saw a metal spoon. Oh, and the 1 Leg veteran that I see on occasion at the local Sheetz.

Beyond that, the ride was fairly sedate. I did manage to work up enough of a sweat that I could feel it trickling down my ass crack. But then again, that could have been the chest workout from earlier in the morning.

I figure only the Star Wars fans will get why I took this picture.

Temps were a cool 65F to 70F. No humidity. Light breeze. Sun was out in full.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was iced coffee and yogurt. During the ride I had a bottle of plain water and a little bit of an iced latte. Didn't really drink too much on the ride since I was cooler than normal.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt.

Nothing terribly special with gear. Did wear DATA and had to tighten it a bit since it kept slipping a bit.

Took my knife to hold my cards and that was it. Rode just fine in my jersey pocket.

Outbound - 17:37 (AVG HR 143)
Aid Station - 6:07 (AVG HR 119)
Inbound - 16:00 (AVG HR 137)
Finish - 33:37 (39:44 total time)

Tuesday, September 03, 2013


Ooomph. I had none. At least not this morning. I had everything all planned out and ready to go and then totally bailed before I even got halfway through. No idea why but I just needed to call it quits. So instead of the full 1:15 on the plan, I barely reached 30 minutes. Not how I wanted to start my week but at least I got out of bed this morning. It was a real struggle to break the gravitational hold it had on my fat rear end but my wife helped. A half-naked woman giving you a kiss and a smack on the head will certainly get you moving in the morning. Especially when you know that more smacks will be coming if you don't move smartly.

The run itself was fairly uneventful. Had plenty of cars on the road now that school is back in session. Got plenty of friendly waves. Outside of that, it was boring.

Temps were about 75F. Humidity was moderate. Sun was out. Light breeze.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was half an iced coffee and yogurt. During the run I had a bottle of plain water. Recovery was an iced latte and oatmeal.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt. Legs felt a little tight, but nothing major.

Wore my new heart rate monitor and watch. I don't have a name for it yet. One didn't come to me while I ran so I guess I'll just have to think of one while I write this. I think DATA will work just fine. It has lots of bells and whistles, I'm watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, and it gives me extra data that I didn't have before. Seems fitting.

Carried my cell phone in STRETCH and my small pepper spray. Both were just fine.

Outbound - 13:36
Inbound - 12:15
Finish - 25:52
AVG HR - 141
Peak HR - 161
Min HR - 106