Monday, January 30, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Weight, What?

Today was a nice and brutal run with Kris D. We set up a run "date" and planned on anything greater than 13. Turns out she's never done anything longer than a half marathon. So I was happy to oblige and we ended up cracking out 16+ miles. We started at the usual meeting spot at mile marker 4, ran down to mile marker 8, came back for a quick pit stop, then headed down to mile marker 0 and back. All in all, 16 miles and a good half mile or so on the bypass made for a solid run.

We chatted here and there, mostly early on in the run, but has sporadic conversations as we moved along. You never know when you run with people if they like to talk or not. I know with Biddi W. you can make her slow down by getting her to talk. And I know Catherine loves to talk. With Kris, it was a bit of both. Talking slowed her down a bit but at the end I think it kept her going a bit too. I could sense we were both slowing down but talking seemed to ease some of the pain and distracted us (well, me at least) enough to finish strong.

The trail was it's usual self with plenty of rocks, pine needles, and everything in between. We saw a couple out walking their dog and three deer. Aside from that, it was pretty quiet out there!

Temps started out around 35F but warmed up quickly into the 40s and topped out around 47F by the end. The sun was out in full. Had a slight breeze that wasn't too bad.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was coffee, eggs, toast, and yogurt. I took an e-Gel before starting the run and a second one at mile 4. The first 8 miles I took my hydration pack and had a bottle of Hammer Fizz. I finished the bottle but still had a ton of water left in my pack. At mile 8 I ate a Honey Stinger Waffle and half a bottle of water to wash it down. For the next 8 miles I had a bottle of Hammer Fizz and another bottle of Hammer Perpeteum mixed with coffee instead of water.

I wore my cycling jersey over my Under Armour shirt. Turns out I could have done without the thermal layer but I'm still glad I had it. I wore my gloves for the first 4 miles and put them back on for the last 8 miles. I also ditched my hat at mile 4 and stuck with my headband. I wore my Nathan Hydration pack for the first 8 miles then ditched it to run with just my handhelds for the last 8 miles. Aside from that, didn't really have any other special gear on me.

Aches and Pains:
My right calf started to cramp up a bit around mile 8. My left hip started to hurt around mile 10. The ball on my left foot started to hurt around mile 10 as well.

Codename - Weight, What?
So I rarely disclose everything I talk about with others during a run. It's like Vegas and Des Moines, what's said on the run, stays on the run. And while Kris and I didn't exactly share our deepest, darkest secrets with each other, there were a few conversations that should stay on the run. But I have to say, when we started talking about weight (hers, mine, and that of others), I damn near tripped. She told me how much she weighed and I swear she had to be lying. I could have sworn she was 20 pounds lighter. And even if I was a poor judge of weight, she had to be at least 10 pounds lighter. So keep that in mind Batman. If you ever need to whisk her to safety with your Batpulley, she claims to be heavier than she looks.

Mile 1 - 10:38
Mile 2 - 11:10
Mile 3 - 13:42 (includes gun range bypass)
Mile 4 - 11:25
Mile 5 - 12:36 (includes my pee break)
Mile 6 - 13:38 (includes gun range bypass)
Mile 7 - 11:28
Mile 8 - 11:29
Aid Station - 3:25
Mile 9 - 10:38
Mile 10 - 11:37
Mile 11 - 11:43
Mile 12 - 11:45
Mile 13 - 11:51
Mile 14 - 12:07
Mile 15 - 12:26
Mile 16 - 11:52
Finish - 3:13:37

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Podcast - Mile 19

Feel free to waste a few minutes listening to me talk in my latest podcast installment. Yadda yadda yadda.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Today's Run - Cautiously Optimistic

The bad news is that I had another SOUR run. The good news is that I had another sour RUN. See the change in emphasis? Yeah. That's about where I am today. Work killed me last week and isn't going to do me any favors until mid-April. But it puts food on the table and affords me a flexible schedule. So I'll try not to complain too much. As expected, I didn't want to run this morning but I forced myself out the door. Thankfully I didn't roll my fat ass back into bed. Thankfully I fit my fat ass into some Large tights. I mean, these things say Large but I think they're for guys built like a Large fucking twig and the label should really read Smallish-Medium. But I smuggled my grapes in there and even managed to keep all the seam intact during my run. Probably because I didn't have to bend over or anything.

So I cruised down the road in the pre-dawn light wondering if I'd ever want to run again. Still don't have that answer. Well, that's not true, I do want to run. I just can't motivate myself to put down the bag of chips and get outside. And seeing as I've been fighting this feeling for a good week or more, I feel even worse because of all the weight (real or imaginary) that I've put on.

Anyway, enough of the pity party. The run. I ditched a bottle about a half mile from home and would pick it up on the way back. I over dressed for the slightly warmer weather. I was literally chased by a dog. Sort of. Dog 1 and Dog 2 barked at me from a porch that was a good 6 feet off the ground. Thinking I was safe, I ignored them. Until I here clinking behind me and Dog 1 was at my heels. Not nipping but certainly showing some interest. Guess I stunk too bad since he didn't chase me more than a few steps. Dogs 3, 4, and 5 gave a solid go at barking but no chasing. Was passed by many people going to and from work. Even got a "look out" as I was making my return trip up the massive hill. Coming out of the gully, there's a few blind turns and a blind hill and a single lane wooden bridge that all add up to a scary drive if you go too fast. And what comes up behind me? A bus. The kid at the stop just ahead of me gave me fair warning though that a car was coming the other way so I safely jumped the ditch onto the berm. I got a few more strides up the hill until two more cars came down. This time there was no berm but I had a rock that was perfectly placed. Phew! Aside from not getting creamed, I was happy to be able to run up both hills without stopping. Whee!

After that, I snagged my bottle and went home for a shower and some breakfast.

Temps were about 45F. No sun. Heavy clouds. Heavy humidity. No fog but it was murky enough to make you think there was some.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was a yogurt and water. During the run I had two bottles of GU Brew. I finished a little more than one by the end. Recovery was oatmeal, eggs, toast, and coffee with a hint of Ensure.

Wore my Petzl MYO RXPheadlamp this morning with a RoadID Firefly light on the back. The headlamp straps rub the tops of my ears a bit so it may be annoying if I had to wear it for a long period of time. I also wore my super-small Large tights which thankfully stayed intact. I wore my Brooks vest, which continues to prove itself as a viable layer in the cold. No iPod this morning as I wanted to go a bit naked.

Aches and Pains:
Not really any to speak of. Had a few small rocks in my shoes but nothing I couldn't ignore. My back is a bit stiff after the run but I think that's just from sitting too damn long at work and not using my log roller.

Codename - Cautiously Optimistic
Rarely am I optimistic. In fact, many consider me pessimistic. In reality, I'm realistically pessimistic about my optimism. As in I plan for the worst while I hope for the best. So as I showered today I felt just the fringes of hope. Just a glimmer of a shadow that there may be happy times ahead. Maybe. Hopefully. Who knows. Maybe I just stood in the hot water too long and cooked my brain.

Outbound - 20:51
Inbound - 20:28
Finish - 41:19

Friday, January 20, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Hubba Hubba

After my session with Stephanie, I headed over to the Y. I knew I'd have plenty of time before work started so I headed out for a run. It was the first since my disaster of a run last Sunday. I hate to taper before a race but I think after Sunday's run I needed a break. My mind was so far from the game I needed to go watch something else. Anyway, I headed out into the frigid air with plans of running a few laps on the 5k loop. Turns out I did better than I expected.

My first lap was a regular loop. I had to stop about a half mile into the run to put my balaclava on since I was insanely cold. I then headed out for a regular run on my old stomping grounds. After the first lap, I made a quick pitstop for the bathroom and a water refill. I headed back out for an altered lap and ran four miles instead of the standard three. I also needed another bathroom break halfway through. I then made another stop to refill my bottle again and headed back out for yet another lap, this time just a regular 5k. I had a bit of a head start on the group run class, which turned out for the best since Chatty Kathy dude was there. Never before have I been so glad that somebody runs faster than me. After this lap, I was done.

Almost. I headed into the gym and stretched out before doing my push-ups from yesterday. I've been trying to stick to the 100 push-up plan again but keep forgetting despite the reminders I set for myself. Oh, and I realize why I prefer to run outside. Yes, the treadmill is insanely boring. But I think the real reason is all the eye candy in there. What the hell ladies?! Put some slobby clothes on, please! It's too easy to undress you with my eyes.

Temps started at about 27F then got to a whopping 35F by the end. Except the last lap had some stronger winds, which I'm sure kicked in the windchill to drop the temps. Sun was out along with a few clouds.

Fluids and Fuel:
No recovery drink after my workout with Stephanie. Started my run with a bottle of Hammer Perpeteum and another bottle of Hammer Fizz (grape). The grape flavor was great in the Fizz. The Perpeteum was beyond the ideal shelf life (it was about 4 days old but was kept in the fridge). Both appeared to work great through the entire run. After the first lap, I had half a bottle of each left so I topped them off with water (thus diluting them more). After the second lap, I had finished my Fizz and topped off my Perpeteum bottle (diluting it even more). I finished that by the end of the third lap. Recovery was an iced latte, fish sub, and jalapeno poppers.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing really hurt but my quads were tired. One minor update. After my run, I hit the showers since it was absolutely necessary to clean the funk of 3 hours off me. It wasn't until then that I discovered a new level of pain. I've suffered from Monkey Butt before and have learned to treat it with Body Glide or other methods. Today, I suffered from Monkey Nutt. Ow ow ow.

Wore my Brooks vest and took my iPod along. Listened to music the entire time. Vest worked great. Also had to switch to my balaclava for the first lap. After that I was able to get by with a regular winter hat.

Codename - Hubba Hubba
Seriously ladies, please look as ugly as you can when you're in the gym. Or at least when you're in my gym. Or at least warn me your smokin' hot ass is going to be squeezed into some tight tights while your top is going to show enough cleavage to make me want to ski the Twin Peaks.

Mile 1 - 12:11 (includes equipment adjustment)
Mile 2 - 10:54
Mile 3 - 10:47
Aid Station - 6:16 (includes pee/poo break and water refills)
Mile 4 - 10:13
Mile 5 - 10:57
Mile 6 - 11:28 (includes another pee break)
Mile 7 - 10:44
Mile 7.1 - 1:11
Aid Station - 4:05 (includes water refill)
Mile 8 - 10:20
Mile 9 - 10:51
Mile 10 - 9:56
Mile 10.1 - 1:01
Finish - 2:00:59

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wind Blows

Or should I say "wind sucks?" Guess it depends on which end you're standing.

Anyway, thought I'd share this nugget of fun. A gumball got embedded into one of our pumpkins. I know what you're thinking, and yes, we did leave our pumpkins outside. But we're recycling, right? Beats tossing it in the trash. And yes, the gumball really is stuck into the side of the pumpkin. And that folks, is why I don't like running in the wind. Makes spitting too dangerous.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Podcast - Mile 18

Mom's Trip, the latest podcast episode, is now live. Go over and give it a listen. And if you have any ideas, tips, or cash you'd like to share, we'd appreciate it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sunday's Run

Sunrise at the end of the trail (which was actually my halfway point):

Sunday's run sucked shit. It's as simple as that. And before you start patting me on the back and telling me it'll be okay, stop. Just stop. This run sucked because I let it suck. It's all my fault. And no, I'm not just saying that to look for more sympathy. I don't want your sympathy. Seriously. Everything that went wrong during this run was something I caused. Don't believe me? Then keep reading.

First, I didn't get much sleep. Now, in our house, that's pretty much the norm. I'm used to getting up at least once during the night for some reason. My son needs the bathroom. My daughter had a bad dream. My dog needs to go outside. I need to pee. My wife is snoring (sorry sweety, but you do snore sometimes). So while many of those factors are out of my control, it's really up to me to go to bed on time. And I didn't. So I shorted myself on sleep. But I don't think this was really that big of a deal when it came to Sunday's run. In fact, it probably didn't contribute too much of anything to the overall suckiness.

Next, was my shoes. And this was a serious issue. Thankfully, it wasn't the shoe itself. At least I'm pretty sure it wasn't since I've had no issues with my Altra Lone Peaks in the past. No, the issue was after my last run in them, I didn't clean them. So all that mud I ran through the last time came with me this time. Which turned out to be a bad idea. The mud was inside my shoe. And it started rubbing me after 4 or 5 miles. Craptastic. Thankfully I was able to manage the pain and avoid blisters. What a story that would have been; blisters from dry mud.

Then there was my fuel. Another serious issue. I underfueled. Again. Like a dumbass. I had plenty with me and instead of doing what I normally do, I had to get the last little bit. Gah. You see, I bought large bottles of Hammer gel figuring it would save me time and money to just fill my little flasks as needed instead of taking packs of it with me. Turns out the packs are so much easier to use. Squeezing the gel out of the bottles is like squeezing crystallized honey out of that damn bear bottle. So what did I do when I got the last dregs out of the bottle? Added some water to get even more out. Damn penny pincher that I am ended up screwing myself. How so? all my fuel for a good 10 of those miles was seriously diluted. Diluted well beyond what I'm used to and I didn't realize it until it was too late.

There were other minor factors as well. The cold being one. I think I was slightly under-dressed but managed to do okay. It didn't really hit me until I stopped to take some of mud and rocks out of my shoes. That's when I got really cold. Speaking of rocks in my shoes, I didn't take my gaiters. What was I thinking. And I forgot to grab my iPod when I left. And, well, enough of that laundry list.

All of these issues, both big and small, added up. But they didn't stop me from running13+ miles. No, what stopped me was myself. My own negative thinking is really what did it. Could I have kept going another 8 miles? Absolutely. I even had a dropbag in place to help with fueling and fluids. But no, I quit. I literally quit. And that, that is what really pisses me off. Yes, I knew I was going for a long run. I had planned for nearly everything. Everything except the bad thoughts. Those just kept hitting me like a sledgehammer. So I quite. I gave up. I gave in. I caved. I wimped out. I got back to my car, threw my water bottle in disgust and anger, and left.

What have I learned from all of this? The continuing theme that not every run can be a great one. Or even a good one. I learned that not only do we have bad runs but we need bad runs. Yes, that's right, we need them. We need them to help us remember that it isn't always going to be sunny and happy and fun. Sometimes running is work. Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes we need that smack in the face to remember to respect the distance. To remember that planning can only do so much. To remember to just suck it up and deal with it.

So there you have it. My crappy run form Sunday. I hate them. But it's done. There's a lot of positives I can take away from this run and I'm doing my best to grab at them when I think about them. And I'm slowly getting over myself. I'm just another cog in the wheel of life and I need to remember that I'm doing pretty damn good compared to a lot of others. So excuse me while I go rub some dirt on my ego and find Stella so I can get my groove back.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Medical Update

So I went for my annual physical last week and had positive results from my tests. Not positive like I had a disease, but positive like things were good. I will tell you that I'm not disclosing everything but I will share some of the more important stuff. If it will help inspire people to live a healthier life, then I'm okay sharing. I'll also tell you that my doctor's visits were physical, not mental. I already know I have issue upstairs, I just don't feel ready to ask for help with that. Yet. One thing at a time.

Anyway, my results. First up, my weight, blood pressure, and heart rate. In late December 2009 I went for my regular physical. My weight was 239 pounds. Last week I was down to 231 pounds. I'm not too concerned about that since I was wearing clothes and I don't really consider it my "true" weight. At least that's what I tell myself. My blood pressure back in 2009 was 130/82 and my heart rate was 68 bpm. Last week was 112/74 and my heart rate was 56 bpm. To give you a better view, here's the break down between 2010, 2011, and 2012.

- Weight = 239
- Blood Pressure = 130/82
- Heart Rate = 68

- Weight = 234
- Blood Pressure = 134/80
- Heart Rate = 60

- Weight = 231
- Blood Pressure = 112/74
- Heart Rate = 56

As you can see, slow but steady progress. And it's progress that I'm very happy with. Moving on to the lab results, you'll see the same thing. Progress.

- Bilirubin = 1.6 MG/DL
- Cholesterol = 217 MG/DL
- Triglycerides = 199 MG/DL
- HDL Cholesterol = 33 MG/DL
- LDL Cholesterol = 144 MG/DL

- Bilirubin = 1.2 MG/DL
- Cholesterol = 191 MG/DL
- Triglycerides = 114 MG/DL
- HDL Cholesterol = 41 MG/DL
- LDL Cholesterol = 127 MG/DL

- Bilirubin = 1.2 MG/DL
- Cholesterol = 164 MG/DL
- Triglycerides = 95 MG/DL
- HDL Cholesterol = 41 MG/DL
- LDL Cholesterol = 104 MG/DL

Wow. Look at that Cholesterol. From 217 to 164. The normal range is 125 to 200. Nice. My Triglycerides went from 199 to 95 (normal is under 150). Again, very nice. HDL Cholesterol (that's the healthy one, just remember the "H" is for "H"ealthy) went from 33 to 41. Not a big job but still moving in the right direction (the normal range is 40 or higher). My LDL Cholesterol (normal is under 130) went from 144 to 104. Sweet. Oh, and that Bilirubin number went from 1.6 to 1.2 (normal is 0.2 to 1.2).
Now. None of this was easy. And as you can see, it took me two solid years to get here. I'm sure my numbers were worse prior to late 2009/early 2010 but I don't have those results handy. Now, there are three main factors in how I made such great progress. Diet, exercise, and Mega Red. The diet and exercise are so simple yet so hard. You have to work every day at the exercise and three times a day (often more) at the great diet. It sucks. It's hard. You constantly want to quit and go back to the easy life you had of eating a bag of chips on the couch. But once you see progress, you want to see more. You love seeing the weight drop. You love it more than that bag of chips.

Oh, and the Mega Red? I firmly believe it's responsible for at least half of my improved cholesterol numbers. I didn't start taking it until late 2010/early 2011. And I feel that it works. It's easy to take, it's a small pill, and it doesn't taste or smell like fish. You can read more about it here. Oh, and you can get it at Costco.

So there you have it. Progress made. If at least one of you reads this and is inspired to make progress of your own, I'll be happy. Beyond happy.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Yesterday's Run - Drawing a Blank

Lunch time run. I was going to take it easy today and catch up on some miscellaneous crap but it turns out the weather was just too nice to ignore. With temps nearing what I'd expect for spring or summer, I opted to go out in shorts, t-shirt, and gloves. The shirt lasted half a mile before it came off. Oh yeah! You missed it ladies, I ran topless. Be thankful. I look like about as pale as Conan O'Brien and as hairy as Zach Galifianakis. Careful there, don't choke on your lunch as you puke it up.

Anyway, it felt awesome to get out there and feel the wind in my hair. Especially when I lifted my arms.

Okay, okay, I'll try not to gross you out too much. The run went well. Nothing terribly exciting other than a few angry dogs and a few people giving me the "what the hell is his problem" stare. Like I said before, I didn't plan on going out but I'm glad I did. Tomorrow's schedule will be a bit hectic so I need to focus on work and other things to make sure I'm squared away before the weekend. Nothing like cramming on Fridays.

Temps were about 60F with a slight wind. Sun was out in full with only a few wispy clouds in the sky.

Fluids and Fuel:
I already posted my breakfast in my other workout. I had nothing after that meal except for some water. Right before my run I took an e-Gel. Durin gmy run I had a bottle of NUUN and a bottle of water. I finished both by the end. Recovery was some chocolate ZICO, cheese, and potato chips (healthy, I know).

Had to clip my iPod to my shorts as I wasn't wearing a shirt. Seemed to work just fine. Also wore my XL North Face shorts. Seemed to work just as well as my Larges.

Aches and Pains:
Nothing in particular that I can think of.

Codename - Drawing a Blank
I had one, actually two, while I was running but couldn't remember them by the time I got back. Guess I flushed out too many toxins on the run.

Outbound - 33:01
Inbound - 33:09
Finish - 1:06:11

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lumberjacks vs. Ultrarunners

Today's assignment class is to compare and contrast lumberjacks and ultrarunners.

As I was chainsawing my way through the woods in my back yard, I began to think about how similar, and dissimilar, these two groups of people are. You see, my nickname is The Lumberjack. That's not actually what I do for a living. If I did, I think I'd last about a month or two before I cut a limb off my own body instead of the tree. I know enough to get myself in trouble. While I'm much better with an axe, I still have a lack of appreciation for just how sharp that axe can be. At least I will until I take a toe off.

I wish I smelled like a man when I ran. Instead I smell like a bear that forgot to wipe.

So as I thought about these two groups of people, I began to realize how much alike they are. They both go out into the woods for hours on end. They both sweat as they toil. They may even drink and eat whatever they feel like to fuel their massive energy needs. Both groups are lean and stringy with muscles and can work for hours upon hours before taking a break. They like to work hard but also like to party hard. They live life to the fullest and don't have time for crap. Both use trees as their bathroom when nature calls.

I really dig these hats. Might need one for my birthday.

Yet these two groups are also entirely different. While ultrarunners tend to be vegetarian or even vegan, lumberjacks tend to eat meat like it's going out of style. While lumberjacks cut down trees and are poorly stereotyped for not caring about the environment, ultrarunners lean the other way and try to preserve the environment they run through and have a bad stereotype of being hippies. Ultrarunners dress in technical fabrics that fit to their form while lumberjacks wear denim and canvas and flannel. Lumberjacks wear big boots with steel toes and ultrarunners were trail shoes with ultra-thin soles. Ultrarunners worry about bears, running out of water, and getting lost. Lumberjacks worry about tree hugging hippies, running out of gas, and spiked trees.

So as you can see, both lumberjacks and ultrarunners share a lot of similarities. And while they may work hard at what they love and bring home small paychecks for their efforts, they are two distinct groups that may not get along well in the local bar.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Today's Run - Morano Mountain

Today's run is brought to you by my sheer desire to run a new route. And to make use of some free time between doctor's appointments. Now, I could go on and on about how I got two hernia checks in one day but I'll reserve those gory details for my blog.

Meanwhile, after my first appointment this morning, I headed to the local YMCA to ditch my street clothes and head out for a run. It's not my normal Y so I wasn't exactly sure where things happen. Turns out as I was getting ready to head outside, I saw a group of runners (all ladies) getting ready to go on a group run. I asked how far they were going and they said they were doing speed work. Yuck. So I excused myself like a pretentious bitch and left to run by myself. I headed down a very scary road (Smith Station Road for you locals, specifically between the Ron Rosner YMCA and the large neighborhood with the waterfall). A short bit later, I was in a nice subdivision with sidewalks and slow traffic. Whee! I cruised around a bit here and there, tried not to stare in peoples back windows, and generally felt good. I felt slow but it felt good to get outside, even if it was raining and chilly. Once I started to run low on water, I headed back to the Y on the same scary road. Yikes. Rarely to I have to jump into a ditch but I ran a good 40% of this route (in both directions) either in the ditch of well off the road and onto the shoulder.

Anyway, the run was decent and it felt refreshing to do something positive between two doctor's visits. Not that the appointments were bad, they were good actually. But like I said, you'll have to run over to my blog in the near future to get the details.

Temps were about 34F. Sky was cloudy with no sun. Winds were light to none. Rain was light, enough to know it was there but not enough to soak you through.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was water and a yogurt. During the run I had one bottle of water. Nothing for recovery immediately after my run but I did have to souffles and an iced mocha from Panera after I showered.

I wore my North Face jacket and it did a good job keeping me warm and dry. Maybe a bit too warm but it was chilly out. I also used an old Drymax sock to keep my phone dry just in case the weather turned sour. Sadly, the sock worked better on my phone than on my foot.

Aches and Pains:
Not really any to speak of.

Codename - Moreno Mountain
As I ran outbound from the YMCA, I saw a CD on the ground. I snapped it up. Turns out it was cracked and scratched beyond use but it was Karina Moreno. Yeah. Never heard of her either. So I deposited the disc on the highest point of my run. Feel free to go find it!

Splits are from RunKeeper so are subject to some minor errors.
Mile 1 - 10:17
Mile 2 - 10:22
Mile 3 - 12:49 (includes a short walking break)
Mile 4 - 10:42
Finish - 46:24

Video Hilarity

I know it's already made it's way around a few other blogs and websites but it's just too funny to leave it alone. So I'm sharing with you. And yes, I have/do/will think these thoughts.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Today's Run - Trail Head

Mixed results with today's run. I really, really, really didn't want to run. But I managed to not only get out of bed but also managed to get my running clothes on. So that felt like an accomplishment by itself. As I made it out to the trail, I was sluggish heading out and didn't feel like running much when I was chugging through the first few miles. In fact, it wasn't until I got to the gun range bypass that I started to feel a little excited and a bit more peppy. Maybe it was the single-track. Anyway, as I headed back to my car, I felt better. A little chilly here and there but overall, feeling much better. The last mile felt awesome and I flew back to my car. As I finished, I suddenly had the thought of heading back out for a little more. I had 6.5 in the bag and had 10 planned but knew I wouldn't get the full 10. So I pulled myself back out onto the trail and got 2 more miles in. Score!

Aside from that, the only other excitement during the run was finding a used condom at the trail head (heh heh) and seeing a ton of ATV activity (which isn't allowed). Oh well. Can't do much about it beyond report it to the trail owner.

Temps were 35F and barely warmed to 40F by the time I finished. Heavy fog was present even though the sun was out (just not visible). Slight breeze.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was water and a yogurt. Right before the run I took an e-Gel. During the run I had a bottle of Nuun (orange ginger) and a bottle of Gatorade. After the first 6.5 miles I refilled my bottle with plain water and attempted to eat another e-Gel but could only choke down a little bit.

Wore my Saucony windbreaker jacket and have learned that I love the chest pocket but hate the zippers. The zipper lockers are insanely deep which leaves you fishing around for the zipper. On top of that the jacket doesn't breathe well, so I was left a sweaty mess when I was done. I also took some hand warmers and used them for a few miles.

Aches and Pains:
None really. Although I did step on a rock that twisted my ankle. It wasn't a bad twist, but was awkward enough to make me take two strides with my left foot.

Codename - Trail Head
It's disgusting when people litter. Even more so when it's on a nice trail. Infinitely more so when it's a damn used condom. I mean, really. You can't take that shit home with you? You can't do that at home? Gah. The worst part of it all? Trying not to laugh uncontrollably when I think about trail head now. Thank you Russ, Gary, and Carl.

Mile 1 - 12:20
Mile 2 - 12:49
Mile 3 - 15:54 (includes pee break and gun range bypass)
Mile 4 - 14:11 (includes gun range bypass)
Mile 5 - 12:19
Mile 6 - 11:00
Aid Station - didn't time it but was likely 3 minutes or so
Mile 7 - 10:46
Mile 8 - 10:40
Finish - 1:40:03

Podcast - Mile 17

As my podcast moves forward with little to no listeners, I'll continue to cross-post links to the latest episodes. I generally try to put a new one out on Mondays since the "normal" day in the industry appears to be Fridays. Nothing like bucking the trend to get listeners, right? Right.

And I continue to go against the grain by recording my podcast without any fancy theme music, editing, or guests. It's a solo show for now and the only music you'll hear is what I hear as I record. All that ambient noise has got to drive people crazy. Oh, yeah, and since I don't edit my episodes, any flubs or errors will stay there. And my recording studio is the outside world so you get to hear a lot of that annoying ambient noise. Cars. Other people. Dogs. Heavy breathing. Water sloshing. Fabric rustling. Everything.

With that said, here's the link to my latest episode, Mile 17. I review two books by Patrick Lee. The Breach (full review here) and his latest, Ghost Country, are both solid books that are easy to read and certainly entertaining. Give them a try if you haven't already.

Monday, January 09, 2012

My Stalker

First, this is a post that may upset some people. Or more specifically, one person. For that, I'm sorry. But I just have to talk about the situation. You're a nice guy and I love to talk about running. But sometimes you just cross the line into the zone of freakishly abnormal social behavior.

Second, while this specific person may not like what I'm going to say, I'm going to be polite enough to not say his name. Some of you may know who I'm talking about and I would appreciate it if you respect his privacy the same way in the comments.

Third, in this post I will call him my stalker because that what it feels like to me. I no way do I think he's really a stalker. If I felt that way, I would have filed a report with the police and his employer and made it abundantly clear to him that I will protect myself and my family by any means necessary. That being said, he has freaked me out a few times with his plethora of knowledge. But always in a benign way.

Okay. With all the warnings, apologies, and whatnot out of the way, let's get into this.

Strange things started to happen about a year and a half to two years ago. I am a frequent shopper at our local running store, let's call it Sweet Feet, and I've come to know many of the employees there. Not personally mind you, I'm very much a socially awkward penguin so I only know their faces, not their names. There was Curly Hair, The Black Guy, Pierced Girl, and a few others that I'd see on my many visits there. I would frequent Sweet Feet for shoes, socks, clothes, and to just feel at home among other runners and the gear we wear.

I had recently finished my first 50k ultramarathon when I went in for some item or another and ran into a new employee, Chunk. I made the mistake many people do when they see a hefty person in a running store and assume they're there to restart their life by getting into shape. Well, after a bit of small talk with Chunk, it turns out he used to train for ultramarathons. I was instantly interested in learning more from somebody that was not only a big guy like me but also had the same interest in running insanely long distances.

I don't remember how many visits it took before I actually started talking to Chunk but I knew his face well enough to recognize him when we first exchanged words. By the time our first conversation was over, I already felt bad for stereotyping him into the "fat guy" category. Yes, sure, I'm positive he'd qualify for the arbitrarily discriminating running category of Clydesdale, but I can qualify too. I hate that label and refuse to use it. I'm big. He's big. Who cares if we can both run?

Anyway, we talked a few times before he made his first creepy comment. And oddly enough, it didn't feel creepy at all. In fact, it made me feel like a hero. Like a freaking super hero. He knew my time from my first 50k. He even knew there were photos and knew that I was in a lot of them. How awesome is that? I mean, this guy knew more and cared more about my first big race than my wife. I was on cloud nine!

Over the next few months, we'd talk shop whenever I went into Sweet Feet. He would be working most days I was there and I didn't really have many issues with him. He was just another cool runner that liked to talk about running. Perfect. Then things got a bit weird. My wife started to take up running so we went to Sweet Feet to try on some shoes for her. We knew they would take the time to get you fitted into the right shoe and we had rarely experienced bad customer service.

Until Chunk came to help. Now, there are always three sides to every story. Your side, their side, and what really happened. In this case, there were four sides. My side, my wife's, Chunk's, and what really happened. From my side of things, Chunk was a bit rude to my wife by ignoring her needs as a customer. I work in the customer service field so I know what you should and should not do. Chunk did some stuff he shouldn't have. Namely, ignore my wife. Granted, he doesn't have the experience I do with my wife, but trust me, don't ignore a woman when she's shopping for shoes. It's like putting a pillow over her face when you're having sex with her.

So Chunk ignored my wife. Not good. But, to make matters worse for my wife, he talked to me. That was fine with me, I love talking about running. I love when people pay attention to me. It's just that every time I tried to steer the conversation back to my wife who was sitting in the chair trying on shoes, Chunk would steer things back to me. Awkward, a bit rude, and not quite the super-hero worship feeling I had from previous encounters.

Fast forward a few months and we start to get close to my second ultramarathon, the next running of the same 50k from the previous year. I had planned for the race much better this time around and knew more about the race course and what to expect. Again, I'd see Chunk in the store and we'd talk running. But now we started talking about this race. I told him I was doing and it was no secret with my friends and family. At some point he decided he was running it too so our conversations began to go into more strategy and planning. Again, I love to talk about running so everything was cool.

Over the course of these months leading up to the race, I had made more friends through a certain social networking site. Through these friendships, I had come to discover that a particular friend, Honey Bunny, also had encounters with Chunk. Those encounters were a bit creepy for her so we did the only thing we could think of, we talked about him behind his back. I never claimed to be a good person so I'm not proud of that but when somebody knows a bit more about you than is socially acceptable, you get a bit weirded out.

As race-day approached, I had no thoughts of Chunk's inappropriate behavior. I was focused solely on the race and finishing. And I did. I shaved a solid hour off my time and felt awesome for doing it. Chunk, well, he didn't fair so well. He pulled a DNF. My wife was at a few of the aid stations to help out and to cheer for me and she said he didn't look so good. I really hated to feel happy that he DNFed but a little part of me was glad to see him taken down a notch. You see, over time, his tone had taken on a bit of a tone that made you feel inferior to him. I'm sure it wasn't intentional but I have self-worth issues without help and he just made it feel like he dug my hole a little deeper. So knowing that I was able to crawl out of my hole and he wasn't able to crawl out of his gave me a little satisfaction. Add to that the fact that he didn't talk to me much at Sweet Feet after the race helped ease the sense of unease that I had about how much he knew about me.

Until a few weeks ago. When he said something about my running the ICY 8 hour race. Now, granted, I had not made it a secret or anything. I had posted it here and mentioned it elsewhere but I didn't make a big deal about it and don't think I mentioned it to anyone at Sweet Feet. But he knew I was running the race. Yeah. Awkward. I began to wonder not only how he knew but also why he knew. Seriously. I'm not that important of a runner. In fact, I'm kind of a shitty runner in the grand scheme of things. But yet he knew. I went from thinking things had chilled to thinking things were back to 11 on the Huh?! meter.

Why have I waited so long to talk about Chunk? Well, because I couldn't quite process everything. I mean, sure, I know that certain runners ran a certain time or certain place in a specific race, but those are elite runners. Even those runners that aren't elite by most people's standards, they're still pretty damn good. For example, I know a runner who is sponsored by a few companies but isn't considered an elite runner. But he has won marathons and ultramarathons. That may not be elite by a textbook definition but that's pretty damn elite to me. Do I go around spouting off his times or places or make him feel awkward? No. Or at least I hope I don't. I know I'm more introverted than Chunk and that's probably why. But it's taken me this long to process all of my encounters and to think of a nice way to talk about him without making things too awkward between us. Plus he's no longer working at Sweet Feet. Well, he may work there occasionally but he's picked up work elsewhere.

I'm glad he's found a better job and I wish him the best of luck. I even feel comfortable enough to say that I hope to see him at a race in the future. He doesn't scare me. He just annoys me sometimes and makes me feel special while doing it. That's why I called him Chunk in this post. He's like Chunk in The Goonies. He's a little annoying, he's a little bigger than normal, and yet he makes me feel special.

So there you have it. I have/had a stalker. I loved it and hated it, all at the same time.

PS - If you're out there Chunk, I hope you don't have hard feelings over this. And while I have your number, please don't expect a call. Not because of everything I've said here but because I hate talking on the phone. It's not a lame excuse, I just seriously hate it.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Today's Run - Teach Me How To Dogue


You might just want to skip the crap I typed between the breaks. Might be easier on your brain.


Not sure if this was a nice long run or if it was just a long run. Parts of it were wonderful, parts of it horrible, but overall, it was pretty nice. I got lost and found again. I ventured into the unknown only to find the known. It was deep and shallow. Cloudy and clear.

Yeah. Gibberish. I know. My mind is a bit blurry at the moment but I feel good. Not quite as hazy as some of my longer runs so I guess I'm more numb than dumb. Anyway, enough blather. Today's run started from my wife's school. She brought home a jungle's worth of plants over the holidays so today we took them back to her room since the weather was nice. And boy was it nice. I guess I should back up even more.

Okay, clean start. Today started with an early alarm and not enough sleep. I had to get lab work done this morning and I am terrified of needles. Absolutely terrified. Terrified. So I was nervous all night. So not enough sleep. And the labs required fasting so I didn't have coffee or breakfast before I left so I was even crabbier. Once at the lab site I was lucky enough to have a great phlebotomist that listened to what I had to say and did a great job making it as painless as possible. You see, I'm nervous enough about needles that I know I need to chug water before the test, that I have small veins and need the black needle (the pediatric one), and that my right arm does the best at giving up blood. Yeah.

After that, we got breakfast, a haircut, groceries, lunch, then back home. I was amazed that we made it home, had the groceries unloaded, and were damn near close to leaving again by 1300 (that's 1 pm). We dropped off the plants at school and my wife and kids rode their bikes while I headed out for my run.

From the school I headed towards the old elementary school and down Millbank Road. I've never run on this road and found it to be a bit hairy in the early sections but later it straightened out later. I took a side road, Powhatan, down to Port Conway. For those in the know, this is Dogue. For those not in the know, it's pronounced DOE-g. As in the word "doe" and the sound "g" makes. This was where I got lost. I knew where Millbank went but had no idea where Powhatan went. Until I saw the stop sign that I turned around at. Then I knew where I was and knew I needed to high-tail it back home before it got dark. Yep. I forgot about sunset being so early.

So I doubled back on Powhatan, ran down Millbank to Gera. I knew Gera would take me to the mid-way point on my usual YMCA route and that would spit me out at the Sheetz. And the Sheetz would be a great place to pick up fluids and it was only 4 miles from home. Once there, I was in the home stretch.

As I got close to home, I took a side road to tack on some more miles because I was feeling so good. Might pay for it later but screw it. I was high on life and going for it. I knew I'd be over 13.1 if I just went home but I ended up with nearly 16 miles in the end so I think I made out pretty good.

Temps were 65F to 70F when I started but chilled a bit at the very end to maybe 60F. Clouds were out in force but there were some openings for the sun every now and then. There was a light breeze here and there.
Aches and Pains:
My knees started to hurt after about 10 miles which makes me think my shoes are about ready to retire. My right quad cramped a bit around mile 5 which told me I needed to ramp up my fluids and electrolytes. Once I did that it settled down until the very end. My right calf (that outside portion that's like the ITB) locked up a few times at the very end. And my left calf (the regular part) hurts now.

No fancy gear. Took my Nathan HPL 020 and one Amphipod bottle. It worked out fine to haul water in the Natahn and my Hammer Fizz in my bottle. It would have been nice to have more electrolyte drink along the way but it was doable.

Fluids and Fuel:
I pounded a good quart of water before my lab work. Breakfast was a power sandwich and souffle at Panera along with iced coffee. Lunch was half a roast beef and asiago sandwich and half a cinnamon crunch bagel from Panera along with iced tea. Right before my run I had half a bottle of Gatorade. During my run I had half a plain bagel during the first few miles. I took two small bottles of Hammer gel and finished them both. I'd say there was about 4 to 6 servings total. I also finished two bottles of Hammer Fizz. And I had about a liter and a half of plain water. I had to pee three times so I think I did a decent job hydrating. I need to increase my electrolyte intake a bit though, especially towards the later parts. I also had a small can of Starbucks double espresso at mile 10. That shit was like rocket fuel and was directly responsible for me feeling so damn good at the end. With the gels, I learned two things. First, I need them about every half hour for the first hour to hour and a half then about every 20 minutes after that. I also learned that I can suck some water into my mouth and backwash it into my gel flask to rinse out the last little bits of gel in there. Sounds gross but if you really want some more fuel, it's an easy way to get the dregs.

Codename - Teach me how to dougie
Lame play on words, I know but I was very surprised to see where I was in my run today. That was part of the joy though, not knowing where I was or where I'd end up. I had a preset time limit that I needed to follow and I was edging close to it when I saw the stop sign way ahead of me. So when I saw it, I knew I'd make it there and turn around. I just didn't expect to be there.

Throwing the Lumberjack gang sign in Dogue:

Splits are from RunKeeper and may not be entirely accurate.
Mile 1 - 10:32
Mile 2 - 10:40
Mile 3 - 12:36 (includes pee break)
Mile 4 - 10:55
Mile 5 - 12:18
Mile 6 - 11:10
Mile 7 - 12:17 (includes pee break)
Mile 8 - 11:58
Mile 9 - 11:41
Mile 10 - 14:39 (includes pee break and stopping at Sheetz)
Mile 11 - 10:29
Mile 12 - 11:26
Mile 13 - 10:49
Mile 14 - 10:05
Mile 15 - 10:52
Finish - 3:00:29

Friday, January 06, 2012

Today's Run - Gambling Man

If you listen to @3nonjoggers, then you're familiar with the term "gambling." This means you'll get the gist of where this is going. If you don't listen to Russ, Carl, and Gary, then you need to.

I headed out for my run after working out with Stephanie. I try not to double-up on things like this but since I had a busy day ahead of me and knew I had some free time before my dentist appointment, I opted for a run. I was pooped from the start after working out for an hour but dealt with it. The weather was cold this morning but it was warming rapidly so I opted to wear a short-sleeve under a long sleeve with shorts. I misjudged the light wind and the chill it brought and damn near turned around to finish with just a wimpy mile. I had 6 miles on my plan but knew that wouldn't be possible due to my dentist appointment. I mean, it's bad enough they stick their fingers in my mouth, I'm sure they don't want to gag on my body odor after running 6 miles and skipping a shower. So I knew I'd only get in 3 miles but at least I'd have time to shower and shave.

So after convincing myself I could make it 3 miles instead of just 1, I headed across the road to run my usual route that I've neglected for some time. It felt like putting on an old pair of shoes that were slightly musty. They fit great but I didn't much like the smell. Turns out, I probably should have cut it to a 1 mile run. As I neared the furthest point, my gut decided to say HEY! WHAT'S UP FUCK FACE!!!! Just. My. Luck. I'm as far from the bathroom as I can get and I need one. Badly.

So I gambled. I didn't win. But I didn't lose. It was more like a draw. Somewhere around mile 2 or so I realized I really, REALLY should have gone to the bathroom before I left. But I focused on mind over splatter and dealt with the pain.

"Gamble gamble gamble. Win win win. These are nice socks. Don't use your glove. Just keep running." These are the thoughts running through my head faster than I could shuffle along in pain. Turns out I learned that you really can push your body beyond what you think is possible. It just hurts like hell.

In the end, I finished my 3 miles without losing. After I cooled down a bit, I did my push-ups and took a nice, long shower before going to the dentist.

One side note. As I took my shower, these signs were posted everywhere. Scumbag gym rat appears to be confusing "shower" with "shitter."

Temps were about 40F to 45F with a light breeze. Sun was out in full.

Fluids and Fuel:
One bottle of water and one bottle of Gatorade. I also took an e-Gel right before I started my run. Recovery was a bottle of chocolate Zico followed by a giant lunch of a salad, jalapeno poppers, and two mini-burgers. And an iced latte.

Nothing fancy today. Just my iPod shuffle (which I think I'll be naming Babe, but I'm still brewing on that one).

Aches and Pains:
My right calf hurt a bit as I ran. Felt like the outside portion, kind of like the ITB on your quad but on my calf instead.

Codename - Gambling Man
Like I said, if you don't listen to 3NJ, you need to. They're funny. Of the 10 or so podcasts I listen to, they have the best chemistry out there. Plus you'd understand the joke and it's deeper meanings.

Mile 1 - 10:42
Mile 2 - 11:08
Mile 3 - 11:19
Finish - 34:14

Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi...

Earlier this week, I asked for help in naming my iPod Shuffle. Today, I'm asking for help in what to do with some Christmas money. I've pretty much decided I'll be buying a third pair of Altra shoes (review here). I love the shoes, they fit my feet, and frankly, my toes have never been happier. So I want more in my closet to help build up my rotation before my Saucony shoes get retired. I have a few already nearing the end of their running career.

So what do I need help with if I've already decided I want another pair? I need help in decided which ones to get. I've ruled out the Adams just because I'm not quite ready to run in shoes that are that minimalist. That leaves the Instincts and the Lone Peaks. I have a pair of each already. The Instincts are a great road shoe and I can always use more. The Lone Peaks are a great trail shoe and after seeing how dirty my pair are right now, a second pair in the wings would be nice to have while the first pair dry out.

My dilemma is that the Instincts come in grey or black. I already have a pair in grey and I don't like black shoes. The Lone Peaks come in one color, which I already have. So I don't know if I should go with a different color in the Instincts to make it easy to tell them apart of if I should just get another pair in grey. Same problem with the Lone Peaks except I could get them in a half size smaller since my current pair is a size 11 and I wear a 10.5. So they'd be the same color but different sizes.

Argh. I don't know where this post is going. I guess I'm trying to talk myself into facing my own obsessive compulsive need to have shoes in different colors just so I can tell them apart to make tracking my miles easier. Feel free to chime in with any ideas or suggestions on how to handle things. Besides looking for a therapist. I already know I need one of those. Thankfully running is cheaper.

There is a small glimmer of hope on the horizon though. Altra is now asking their fans what colors they'd like in 2012. A glimmer. I'll take it and run. Meanwhile, I'll be awaiting your suggestions.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

This little piggy went wee wee wee

It hasn't been a good day for me on the food and motivation front. Hope tomorrow goes better. And as much as I hate to complain, it feels good to whine sometimes. When I try to fight the funk and the darkness, it gets so hard that sometimes I just need to sit there in it. Just to wallow around a bit. Kind of like a pig in the mud, getting a solid coating all over to protect yourself from the bright and cheery people that surround you. People so damn happy they burn brighter than the sun.

Now don't get the wrong idea, I'm not depressed or blue or whatever else you want to call it. I just had a bad day. I ate the wrong food, I didn't run, and I feel like I slept too much. It's all my fault. But I can deal with it and try to have a better day tomorrow. It's okay and I'll survive.

Meanwhile, here's a bit of annoying humor to keep things cheery.

Podcast - Mile 16

My podcast welcomes you to 2012. Trust me when I say you'll be thankful this is a short episode.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Follow up on my 2011 Goals

As you can see from my original posting here, I had some pretty damn ambitious goals coming into 2011. I will make no such goals for this year. In fact, I have no goals for this year. At all. Yes, I do have races on my schedule and some waiting in the wings. If I run them, great. If not, I'll survive.

Why no goals for 2012? I don't know. I think I'm tired of them right now. I need to focus on running, family, reading, what I eat, and a few other things that are also important like work, family time, and not stressing out. I was stressed and pressured by my goals in 2011. Some of that pressure was good. Some wasn't. So no goal list for this year. I already know it'll be busy enough without trying to get everything checked off before December rolls around again.

So how did I do with my goals last year?

  • run 1 marathon - COMPLETE - Richmond Marathon in November.
  • run 2 half marathons - COMPLETE++ - DRHT Trail (Feb.), MCHH and Run for the Dream Half (both in May), and VA Runner Half (Dec.).
  • run 1 sprint triathlon - INCOMPLETE - I opted out of triathlons altogether.
  • run 1 50k ultra marathon - COMPLETE - DRHT 50k in August.
  • run 35 miles by my 35th birthday - INCOMPLETE - Totally bailed on the project and the idea.
  • raise money for the Friends of the DRHT (Dahlgren Railroad Heritage Trail) - INCOMPLETE - Again, totally bailed.
  • run on the DRHT (or any trail) once a week - PARTIAL - I'd say I kept to this about 80% of the time.
  • set a half marathon PR (2:35:06 set on 12/12/2010) - COMPLETE - VA Runner Half in December with a time of 2:19:03.
  • set a 50k PR (8:42:52 set on 8/8/2010) - COMPLETE - DRHT 50k in August with a time of 7:47:32.
  • lose 5 pounds (231 pounds on 12/22/2010) - ONGOING - I'm steady at 222 pounds but I peaked at 220 before Thanksgiving.

As for my other goals, I achieved all of them except for buying a road bike since I'm not doing triathlons and sticking with my cross-training plan. I did okay but it was just too easy to focus on running instead. And those 2012 goals I mentioned in the post? Scratch them all. I'm just going to do what the hell I want to do and not stress out about it.

Ruez Underwear

Ruez. I can't even get the little funny dots over the U. I wonder if that's because your grapes aren't supposed to do that? Honest, I'll try to keep this review as clean as possible but there's only so much I can do.

That being said, I actually like these underwear. Well, the boy-short model I like. The bikini brief model doesn't quite fit my needs. What makes these underwear special? Aside from the pouch, I don't think anything makes them special. A pouch you say? Yes. For your junk. Your banana and prunes go in there. Or grapes if you're like me. While their site doesn't have a great picture of how things are designed to fit into the pouch, it's pretty easy to figure out. Imagine putting on a pair of regular boxers. You know that slit in the front where stuff can come out? Make the hole larger, then attach a piece of fabric in front of that to keep things from flopping around like bunny ears. Oh, and make the whole thing out of a nice, performance-type fabric that will wick away moisture.

My clean drawers in my drawer's drawer:

I know, I know, I'm not describing it very well. But be at peace because I'm sure as hell not posting a photo of me modeling how they work. Not even how they look on me. If you want to know what they look like or want to get an idea of how they work, check out their site. I'm sure a little imagination is all it will take to fill in the blanks. And their pouch.

As for their fit, I'm about a 36 or 38 waist and average sized everywhere else as far as I can tell. I ordered the larges and they fit just fine. I got one of each model and like I said before, the bikini briefs felt odd. I think it's because I haven't worn that style of underwear in ages. Plus they leave things open to chafing. The boy short model fit great and I had no chafing issues.

After a run:

Oh, and for the more delicate things stored in the pouch? It feels bizarre, but after a few runs in them it'll feel normal. The hardest thing to adjust to after the funny feeling is how to access your equipment when you need to go to the bathroom. I still struggle with it sometimes. But they keep things warm and while things shrink in the winter, things didn't shrink nearly as much as they do when I wore the Ruez. In other words, they kept my grapes from freezing. And there was no chafing in that area.

Overall, I'd say they're overpriced but they work. So maybe put them on your wish list or save up and buy a pair for races. I doubt I'll buy anymore unless the price goes down. In the meantime, I'll survive by using hand warmers and socks if I need to stay extra-warm.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Today's Run - Donkey Spit

Cold. As. Fucking. Shit.

Those four words describe my run today. I'd like to add a few more colorful adjectives but I think that pretty much sums it up. As I loaded up the family into the car this morning, I took note of the low temperatures but didn't think too much of it. I figured it would warm up a bit after the sun came up but it turns out it got a bit colder since the wind picked up dramatically. Who knew that something so gentle as a puff of air can feel as solid as a brick wall.

Temps were 35F to 40F but wind chill took things to between 20F and 30F. Winds were easily 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. Sky was clear with a handful of clouds and a lot of sun.

Fluids and Fuel:
Breakfast was eggs, two English muffins, yogurt, and coffee. Pre-run fuel was half a Twix bar. I had the second half at about mile 2. During the run I had a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade. Recovery was a bottle and a half of Ensure followed by a lunch of Ramen noodles with left over steak.

The only special piece of equipment I took today was my North Face jacket. I rarely wear a windbreaker but I'm thankful I did today. I would have frozen without it and likely would have called it quits after a mile. I never unzipped my jacket more than an inch or two. Yeah. Cold.

Aches and Pains:
My right hip hurt a bit for the first mile or two. My right knee hurt a bit for the last mile or two (I sat down last night and gave it a funny twist - nothing major but I can feel it). My cheeks and nose hurt on and off for the whole run due to the cold.

Codename - Donkey Spit
As I was headed outbound on the route, I suddenly heard a loud, awkward noise behind me. I could tell it was an animal but I had no idea what kind of animal would make a noise like that. I whipped my head around to make sure it wasn't a rabid bear or wiener dog and saw nothing. A few strides later and I heard it again, this time a bit clearer thanks to a break in the wind. The sound repeated a few times giving me a chance to realize it was a donkey. And apparently he was upset.

On the inbound leg of the route, I was chugging along doing my best to avoid the wind. It would range from a strong cross wind to a strong head wind but I had my music on and did my best to block it out. Then I spit. Now, keep in mind, I'm a regular spitter when I run. It's bad enough that sometimes I wonder if it's my OCD creeping into my running habits. Anyway, I've learned to never spit into the wind. So with today's wind, I took special care to note the wind direction before spitting. As I was coming back home, I spit with the wind in a generally downward direction. The wind had other plans though and my spit instead went above my head in a nice little parabolic arc. Scary to see gravity lose to wind.

Outbound - 33:05
Inbound - 33:16
Finish - 1:06:22

Name My iPod Shuffle

It's silver. It's small. Name it please. Obviously I'd love to hear something along the sci-fi or lumberjack or running genre but right now, I'll be happy with anything. No idea if I'll have a prize or not for the winning submission. Just throw some names at me. Come on. I know you have some.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Today's Run - Unicorns?

Nothing terribly exciting about today's run other than the weather was super-nice out. Nicer than I expected. I swear I looked out the window this morning and saw frost but when I went to get the newspaper shortly after sunup, I was toasty warm, almost hot, in my winter coat and hat. It was then that I decided to go for a run today. Since I'm still on vacation and in recovery mode, I'm not pressuring myself into doing heavy miles. Don't get me wrong, I was looking forward to some double runs and some nice long trail runs over my vacation. But that was before I got sick.

So today's run was easy going, no rush, no pressure. I've done the route before and didn't really have much else going on so it didn't take a lot of thinking to make the run happen. I took my voice recorder to try to get a podcast in and we'll see how it sounds when I get more time.

Outside of that, the only thing that really stuck out on today's run was the serious plethora of beer cans at the end of the road. Within feet of a sign that says littering will bring a fine or a year in jail. How nice some people can be. Oh. And I swear I saw a unicorn. Seriously. Good thing Debbie B. wasn't there or she may have tried stealing the statue.

Temps were about 50F to 55F. Skies were clear. Winds were light going out but cooled things off a bit coming back.

Fluids and Fuel:
This was a lunch time run. Breakfast was yogurt and coffee. I took an e-Gel before I started the run and took a bottle of Hammer Fizz and soda flavored water. Recovery was a small bottle of Ensure, some iced coffee with a little Ensure in it, then some left over pork roast and Wheat Thins.

Nothing special or new along the way.

Aches and Pains:
It took a few minutes to get my stride into the swing of things, but I'm noticing that's pretty normal when I wear my Altras. I think it's the lack of cushion that alters things a bit (but not in a negative way).

Codename - Unicorns?
Yes, I swear I saw a unicorn. Maybe Michele S. can confirm my sighting? And to make things crazier, I swear there was some sort of floral altar around it. Maybe I shouldn't have had that second drink last night.

Outbound - 34:27
Inbound - 34:22
Finish - 1:08:49