Tuesday, June 30, 2015

OC100 Training Run

So my training run was a bit crappy. And wet. And muddy. And wet. But I did it. It left me exhausted, feeling run-down, and wondering if I should be running these stupid-long distances. Guess we'll find out. I'm not really sure where to start with the report so I'll just review my initial thoughts and go from there.

My secrete plans for a 50k were dashed pretty quickly. I started before everyone else but within a mile or two I realized I wouldn't be getting a full 50k loop in. So I decided to cut things short with half a loop. Still, 11 or 12 miles is nothing to sneeze at on this course, especially in this weather. And speaking of weather, the trail was a stream in several parts. Some parts were nice and dry but for the most part it was muddy and full of puddles.

Took this on the course, through the ziploc bag, at my "thinking I'm gonna quit" rock.

This is after several stream crossings that cleaned me off. I needed two showers when I was done.

Course Notes:
Section 1 (Drake Well to Wolfkiel)
- Started at the parking lot across the river from Drake Well and across the street from where the paved path goes under the railroad tracks.
- Hiker sign-in is about a mile up the trail. That first mile is mostly uphill.
- Second mile is mostly level or downhill.
- Third mile starts after the sharp right turn and is uphill.
- Cross the road at Mile 4.
- After the road and before Wolfkiel is mostly flat or downhill.
- Halfway point is about five and a half miles from Drake Well.

Section 4 (Miller Farm to Drake Well)
- Cemetery Hill goes up, crosses the scary bridge, then goes up more.
- Toy Run stream is halfway.
- Hiker sign-in is about a mile away from Drake Well.

By the Numbers:
11.8 miles
4.5 hours
2,628 feet in elevation gain
Two wrong turns (one was about 10 steps, one was a quarter mile or so)
A few chipmunks
16 salamanders
Countless slips
3 oh-shit-I'm-gonna-fall moments
No falls
One giant headache
Swallowed one bug and barfed once

The temps were cool and in the 60s. Humidity was 100% because it was raining. No sun. Wind only picked up once.

Fluids and Fuel:
GenUCAN before the run. Plain water and Hammer Fizz during the run. Plus two applesauces. Recovery was a BLT wrap, tea, and coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Felt okay. Had some minor cramping in my right calf. Big toes on both feet hurt a bit. No blisters. Major headache kicked in around mile 8. Had dark urine around the same time. Spent 7 hours the day after driving home and pretty much cramped up like a rust bolt.

Two shirts for the first mile or so then just one. Shorts and gloves. Wore my hydration pack.

Today's Motivation:
I needed this. My secret plan to bust out a 50k was a bust. But I wrapped my head around making the decision to just do half a loop. It took some time but I got there. Still wish I had the energy to do more miles but I think I'll be okay.

Naughty Neil:
I had fries with my wrap. And a piece of cake last night. And I'm sure I'll have more cake tonight. But I don't feel much guilt about it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Dead Frog City

Today's run was along my Jackpot route. That's the new name I gave it today. Something with Eden just didn't jive. But Jackpot seemed to fit since I've found boobs and a nice knife on the same road. Today's jackpot was dead frogs. Lots of dead frogs. Like so many that I gave up counting after two dozen. I did see a living salamander and two turtles but I left them alone.

Aside from that, the run was pretty nice. I had 6 miles on the plan and physically I could have made it another mile but mentally I really, REALLY needed to end things on a high note. Besides, I'm sure I'll be riding my bike or even swimming later today.

The weather was really what made it a nice run. Temps yesterday were blazing hot in the upper 90s and the heat index was nearly 110F. Today was much cooler and even had a slight breeze to help cool things off. The storms that rolled through last night really seemed to help, despite leaving some humidity behind.

The rest of the morning will be busy with work and organizing my books on my new bookshelf. Seems like my wife got tired of the totes in my office. Or she was looking out for me. Or both. Anyway, It' a big shelf but it's already overflowing with books. Guess it's time to cull the herd.

Almost forgot to mention my nightmare. I rarely have nightmares before races but this morning was the first time I had one before a big training run. What the hell? The race director was a cross between Tom Jennings and David Horton. He was nice but you knew the course would be very long and not well marked. So when my wife and I showed up late for this 10k training run.

Proof that I got my ass up as early as the sun.

Temps were about 65F to 70F. Sun was out but it was still early enough to have plenty of shade. Winds were light on the return trip. Humidity was moderate but bearable.

Fluids and Fuel:
Nothing before the run. During the run was plain water. Recovery was two egg whites, three pieces of sausage, two slices of toast, yogurt, and coffee.

Aches and Pains:
Left ankle felt tight last night before bed. Just came on all of a sudden. As expected, it felt better after starting my run and never gave me an issue after that. Outside and back of the right knee registered about a 1 on the pain scale during the run but nothing after. Lower left back is also about a 1 or 2 but it's still there.

Wore t-shirt and shorts. Nothing fancy. Did listen to some music along the way though.

Today's Motivation:
A post by somebody online was my motivation to get my ass out of bed this morning. They said they were having trouble getting started and I agreed to get up if they would. Haven't heard from them but it got my butt rolling.

Naughty Neil:
Damn deviled eggs are the devil. I swear they're like candy to me. And sure enough I'm eating more of them than I should. Same goes for the Oreo truffles.

Outbound - 34:54
Inbound - 32:07
Finish - 1:07:02

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Will Run For ..... Knives?

I don't think I posted it earlier but I recently ran a local road and found boobs. It was a rough run but the ancient (circa early 1980s) photos of boobs helped me through it. Well, today I ran the same route but found a knife. A nice one. And while it says "Special Forces" I doubt it's actually from Special Forces. But it's still a nice knife. Certainly made the run worth it.

The story of the day today was the heat and humidity. It was so bad I could see the air moving. Not that shimmer you see over the hot roadway in the middle of summer. I'm talking about the humidity in the air being so thick you can see it move through the trees.

I took things slow and didn't expect to break any records. I headed out and did my best to not overheat right off the bat. And even though I considered bailing out soon after I started, I knew I needed to get my miles in. So I stuck with it and finished.

Amber waves of grain anyone?

I'm always skittish of twigs because they look like snakes. This was the alligator I saw on my run.

There are three turkeys in this picture. But only one of them is wearing a yellow hat.

Temps were 80F to 85F. Humidity was high. Sun was out in full. Wind was light.

Fluids and Fuel:
Had a full breakfast of two eggs (only one yolk though), two slices of toast, and a quarter of an avocado. Forgot about my yogurt but remembered my coffee. How could I forget?! During the run I had a bottle GenUCAN Hydrate that ran out with about half a mile to go.

Aches and Pains:
Have some lingering back/hip/thigh pain from my mini-tri. I think I swim funny. Or maybe I leaned over too much on the bike. Either way, I must have done something to cause it. But it wasn't a major deal and wasn't very noticeable during the run.

Wore shorts and t-shirt. Ditched the shirt with a mile or so to go.

Today's Motivation:
Can't say I really had any other than I needed to get my miles in. I didn't feel much pressure to go fast so maybe that helped too.

Naughty Neil:
I've found a new favorite snack. Yogurt covered raisins. They're like candy. And after my run I had my favorite iced latte which is really just chocolate milk with some coffee in it but it was delicious.

Outbound - 35:44
Inbound - 36:08
Finish - 1:11:52

Friday, June 05, 2015

National Running Donut Day

Since I didn't run on #RunningDay yesterday and today is #DonutDay, I combined them and made a #SheetzRun for my free donut.

Best of all, I survived. As any local would know, 206 is a bit hairy as a cyclist or pedestrian. So I broke out my bright colors and hit the road. Along the way, I had a few encounters:
- 1 driver got the one-finger salute for drifting a bit too close to the white line
- 80% of bus drivers waved (the other 20% had both hands on the wheel and were safely navigating around me so I'm okay with them not waving)
- 50% of Sheriff's Deputies waved (one was working a call, so again, I'm okay with that)
- 100% of runners waved at me (thanks Karyl-Lynne T. !)
- 100% of Blender bottle users waved at me
- 2 dead and very squished snakes
- 1 dead racoon
- one half of a pair of channel-lock pliers

I'm sure I caught a few WTF looks but it was hard to see them and frankly didn't care. All I cared about is if the drivers saw me.

Time to make eat the donuts!

Temps were about 55F to 60F. Winds were light making things a bit chilly at times. Sky was overcast. Humidity was high but wasn't really an issue due to lower temps.

Fluids and Fuel:
Half a cup of coffee before my run. One bottle of plain water on the outbound leg. One plain glazed donut from Sheetz at the half-way point. One bottle of plain water on the inbound leg. Recovery was coffee, iced tea, two eggs (with yolk), leftover meatloaf, and asparagus.

Aches and Pains:
Lower, right glute felt a little tweaky on the way back. Stepped on a sharp rock on with about a mile left in the run but I don't think I re-aggravated my injury. Calves and shins hurt on the way out but I think it was my gait. First two miles or so I felt all sorts of wonky and unbalanced.

Wore shorts and cycling jersey. Carried my .380 with no issues. Wore my belt to carry my phone.

Today's Motivation:
I'll be honest, I was tempted to climb back into bed this morning but I somehow tricked my brain into getting dressed and getting out the door.

Naughty Neil:
Well I'm sure as hell not counting the donut. It was damn tasty and I needed the fuel to make it back home. Last night I limited my snack to just a bowl of chips. Not too shabby after a more normal sized dinner.

Splits are from RunKeeper.
Mile 1 - 12:07
Mile 2 - 11:39
Mile 3 - 13:12
Mile 4 - 12:35
Mile 5 - 17:01 (includes me getting my donut)
Mile 6 - 11:35
Mile 7 - 11:51
Mile 8 - 12:10

These are my splits.
Outbound - 49:54
Inbound - 53:25 (includes donut time)
Finish - 1:43:19

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Story Time

Sit back for a long back story. It'll be worth it. If you have coffee.

So way back when I was a kid, I went for a ride to White Castle I think. My cousin drove. He was a very cool, older cousin that I trusted. I didn't know it at the time I got in the car but he was intoxicated. The trip was a little scary. Not the scariest I've ever been on but it easily ranks in my top 5 scary rides (top 10 if you count accidents). Anyway, his decision to drive after drinking forever changed my life. While we arrived safe and sound (I think there was another cousin or two along with us), I have always refused to drink and drive. I have a zero-tolerance policy for myself. Even one drink and I'll have somebody else drive. Yes, I may be a light-weight when it comes to drinking (two beers and I'm tipsy). Yes, I may deprive myself of that tasty, cold beer at the restaurant. But it's something that's important to me.

And before I continue, I hold no ill-will towards my cousin. He made a mistake. We all make mistakes. Especially when we're young and stupid. But I've long ago forgiven him and hold no grudges. I've also broken my zero-tolerance policy but only a handful of times over the past 20 or so years. I've never put myself or others in danger and have always been sober enough to drive. It's just my own self-guiding rules that were broken.

So what does all of this have to do with my run? Bear with me. I'm getting there.

This past weekend the family and I went to a wedding. We missed our annual trip to Williamsburg for the Run for the Dream 8k and half marathon (they even added a 5k this year) but it was family so we went. As expected, it was stressful for everyone. A long drive up Friday afternoon, a hectic second wedding for my sister-in-law, and of course, all the family drama that comes with it. Thankfully we had a bit of free time and managed to visit the Crayola factory in Easton. But at the wedding reception, I was thirsty. Sure, there was water on hand and tons of booze. Like Costco-sized bottles of booze. Literally. They said Kirkland on them. Anyway, I needed something to cut through the blazing heat and I had a Coke.

And that's where the weekend went to shit. Coke is one of my major triggers for depression. And even though I can manage a small glass bottle of Coke, I apparently can't manage a small glass of Coke from a can. Shit hit the fan yesterday and it was all sorts of downhill from there. Nothing went right and I was tempted to just stay in bed all day.

There's still some residual depression today and I know from past experience that it'll sit with me for at least two to four days. Worst of all though is I blame myself. I knew it was a bad idea even as I drank it. I knew there would be a price to pay but I still did it.

This brings us to today's run. Which was okay but a bit of a sufferfest. Humidity is through the roof and it felt like I was swimming yet again. Horse flies were out in the lowlands near the swamp but I managed to steer clear of any major encounters thanks to the heavy traffic on the road. Aside from that it was just my best chance to purge the depression and any remaining Coke from my system.

Temps were about 70F. Humidity was 100% (I could literally see the water in the air). Wind was light. Sky was overcast.

Fluids and Fuel:
Two pieces of bacon and half a coffee before the run. Water and applesauce during the run. Recovery was coffee, two eggs, two slices of toast, and left over taco meat.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt but I'm wondering if the laces in this pair of shoes are causing me some foot pain. I'll need to watch it to see. Aside from that, everything felt meh.

Wore shorts and t-shirt. Nothing fancy.

Today's Motivation:
Really just wanted to get something going because I knew yesterday was a shit day. Didn't want to get stuck in that rut of depression.

Naughty Neil:
Managed to eat fairly well over the wedding weekend. Didn't over-indulge on too many things and tried to keep it clean. Yesterday though was, well, shit. But even then I managed to keep it mostly in check.

Outbound - 32:45
Inbound - 33:51
Finish - 1:06:36