Saturday, January 31, 2009

Blog maintenance reviewed

My previously mentioned moved went successfully.. You shouldn't need to unsubscribe/resubscribe (but you can if you want).


Friday, January 30, 2009

Blog maintenance

Earlier this week I was discussing FeedBurner. Turns out, they're moving to Google. So, I went and did that whole moving thing.

Previously subscribed folks shouldn't see a change, but you know how that is. The new feed is at

Once I get this through my old subscription, I'll go and update this saying that it worked.. :)

Update: It worked.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

TIART: The Marathon - Explained

Today over at the Runners' Lounge is TIART, all based on marathon running.

I'll preface this post by saying: I have not run a marathon. I haven't even run a half marathon (but I have run that distance before).

What's the draw of the marathon? It's sort of the ultimate racing distance. Sure, there's ultras and whatnot. Truthfully, though, until I started following blogland, I had no idea about such things. I had heard of marathons though. And I knew they were far. Very long.

So, to me, the draw is.. it's kind of the king of racing. Not that I'm going ever to race a marathon and be anywhere competitive. It's more of an endurance test. Can I do it? Can I go all the way? I'm the kind of guy who likes to go to 100% in stuff. If I don't, it nags at me.

The long run draws me as it is. (If you said that to me a couple of years ago, I would have said you had been smoking something.) To go out on a nice day and run for miles and miles... There's just no feeling quite like it. The thoughts in your head clear, you feel great afterward (cardio-wise at least). There's just something about it.

I think it's just the fact that it's such an accomplishment that draws me. I won't be happy if I wind up walking part of it (minus the aid stations). I want to run the whole damn thing. To go from being un-active to a marathoner is something worth noting. I'm not there yet, but I want to get there.

My wife told me this morning that she doesn't know what to make of me being an exercise nut. I don't know what to make of that comment, either. Is it good, is it bad? I guess it's who I am now. I think that since it's completely orthogonal to everything I do in a "normal" day, whether it's working or chilling out, it draws me. Something different. I love things that are different. (Of course, if I run every day, at some point it's no longer different.. hrms..)

I see next week's TIART is about how to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I've got nothing there. Short of using a scooter or something.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I ran outside

I've been a wuss this winter. Feel free to use a stronger word if you want. I just haven't run outside. I have been dutifully going to the gym, running around and around the track, in it's 1/15th of a mile goodnees.

Monday's workout was a hill workout, and I saw no way to get past it. I had to go outside. I thought about going on the treadmill and cranking the incline, but that would only get me the uphills, not to mention the odd momentum differences.

So, thanks to this blog and yesterday's post, I knew I would have to put up some pictures, and I didn't want to disappoint.

First off, the temperature:

It's cold. Not that bad, though. I have run in worse. (Last year).

So, I better put on some cold weather gear:

Oh, and don't forget a hat and gloves:

That's my hoof right there. I was in a rush and didn't properly frame the picture. :)

Off I went....

I ran a little over a mile to a hill nearby:

And I ran up this hill. 4 times.

One of the times, I took a break and took a picture from the top:

That being done, I ran back home, dodging all of the ice patches.

This is what the elevation chart looked like:

So, how did it go? Well, the run was 3.76 miles long. The hill interval portion was .15 miless.
My splits on the hill were like this:
#1 - 7:20/mile
#2 - 7:50/mile
#3 - 8:09/mile
#4 - 8:43/mile

That, my friends, is a terrific example of positive splits. Oh? We're not aiming for that? Sigh.

Yeah, as you can see, as the time went on, my speed went down. (But I was really motoring on the first one). Not so coincidentally, as the time went on, the worse I felt too. :)

All in all, a successful run. However, I do need to learn how to pace myself better.

Keep on rockin'!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Blog notes and long run notes

Right now, my blog comes up as #1 in a Google search for 'what is an experimental fusion vehicle'. Really. I can't make this stuff up.

So, I'm subscribed to my 'FeedBurner' feed to myself, just to make sure everything comes through OK and whatnot. I see that it's been a bit sluggish lately.. Sluggish, as in, I got 4 days of postings all at once..

I originally signed up for FeedBurner just to see how many people subscribe (narcissist?), but the Google Webmaster Tools seem to give you that data. How many of you use FeedBurner? Should I just ditch it? What are your thoughts?

Anyway. Friday was to be a 3 miler. I did one on the track, and was like this.. "ow ow ow ow ow". Repeat. Ad nauseum. I switched to the treadmill and was slightly better. So, there was mile #2. I then went on the bike and did 15 minutes there and called it a day. Disappointing, 2 crappy ass runs in a row. I was worried about my long run.

Saturday morning came. I had to get up bright and early to do my 10. On a chance, I switched back to my already broken in shoes, and went to the gym. (It was really cold and windy. And I'm a wuss.) I was a bit worried, but after about 3 miles, I really settled in and felt great. The last mile I 'ramped it up' (for me) and ran faster, too. Felt great, had plenty to give.

So, I'm hoping the pain is just from the shoes not being broken in yet. Here's hoping... I'd hate to have bought shoes I can't run in at all.

Today is supposed to be a hill run... The forecast is for 21 degrees, so I might be able to do it. If I get out of work at a reasonable time, I'm off to run to a hill. Plus, tomorrow doesn't look much better for a temperature increase, so I think this is it. Sigh. I'm going to try to remember to strap my phone on to my arm so I can take some hill pictures, just for something to put here in the blog for visual interest. You know you want it.

Keep on rockin'... Depending how today goes, maybe I'll finish up the big post..

Friday, January 23, 2009

Beer collection, plus scotch

I've been lax on posting up the new (to me) beers that I've tried recently.

I had a Roxy Rolles from Magic Hat. There was a picture of it, but it magically (har har) disappeared from my phone. I may have taken it from my wife's phone, but she deleted it, not knowing the significance of having research photos. I've got to say, this was fabulous. It was a wintery style of beer in the base, but it was far hoppier than you would expect in a winter beer. Almost an IPA amount of hops. This was my favorite beer from Magic Hat (even better than #9 on draft). A splendid beer.

I also had Winter Warmer from Harpoon. This was a very spicy winter ale. The first one I had, I was so-so on it, but it really grows on you. Certainly, not hoppy, but a good mix of spices. They claim it has a pumpkin pie flavor, but I'll beg to differ on that. You can certainly sense the cinnamon, though. I bet it would be good on draft.

I also went to Outback the other night (first time in a couple of years!) and had two beers from Coopers Brewery. First up was the Premium Lager. Not a bad beer. A little malty compared to what I was expecting, but tolerable. I think I prefer Foster's, though. Well, no. I know I prefer it.

The second Coopers beer I had was the Sparkling Ale. This had a lot of sediment in the beer (which I do like). The taste.. well.. not so good. This was a definite "glad I had it once, but that's about it for me" beer. Can't put my finger on it, why I didn't care for it too much.

Lastly, for the scotch lovers among you, I finally got around to trying Laphroaig scotch. (Pronounced: "La-froyg"). I had the basic 10 year old single malt, and it was amazing. I think I liked it better than the Lagavulin I previously tried. (The problem with trying these things 6 months apart is it's so damn hard to really compare). The Laphroaig was very smokey, and gentle going down. Not as smooth as the Oban I had tried, but it certainly didn't burn or feel rough at all. This is a great scotch if you like the smokey Islay style.

That's all for now.. Saturday is the winter beer tasting festival up in Syracuse, so I'll be hitting that, weather permitting. So, hopefully more tasting notes to come..

Getting ready for the weekend

Welp, I found out that my brother in law does indeed read my blog, at least on a semi-regularly basis.. So, the family readership creep has started. :) (Just kidding!).. So, "Hi!"

Wednesday was a God-awful day of running. I knew it would be before I even took a first stride.. Stuff was just achy. It wasn't even like TFH's 16 miles that didn't go smoothly. I was running a measly 4. Oh well. It was just a bad day, and we're all bound to have those now and again.

I got through it by just imagining it was the tail 25.2 miles of a marathon, and told myself to enjoy the experience. Hah

Tonight is a short 3 miles, and tomorrow is my first double digit run of the new year. Supposed to put in 10. We're going on a short road trip up to Syracuse tomorrow in the early afternoon, so I'll have to haul my ass out of bed in the morning to make sure I can get it in.

W4D1 of the sit-up challenge was good. Harder than week 3, but do-able. Similar with W3D1 of the push up challenge. So far, I'm rockin' them.

Tonight is week one of the new season of dice baseball, so I get to see how my draft picks do. Should be good..

I've got a summary post coming up of some new (to me) beers that I tried and some scotch as well. (Hey, when I said I was cutting back on the alcohol, I didn't say I was giving it up..) Look for that in a few hours.

I think I'll be un-disclosing my currently disclosed item next week.... (That's my lame attempt at keeping the current readership interested :) )

And, as always.. keep on rockin'!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lunchtime thoughts

I had to go out at lunchtime today. So, on the way back, I got stopped at a railroad crossing. Gates were down, no train in sight or within earshot.

A couple of minutes go by, and then this truck toodles on by on the track:

30 seconds later, another one goes by. (I snapped a picture of that one too, but my phone rebooted during the saving of it, for some reason.. that sometimes happens. So, you only get one pic for your enjoyment. Sorry.)

The truck did have special wheels to latch on to the track, in addition to its tires. I'm sure that was a cool automotive engineering project. (had to have been)

A couple of more minutes go by, and then the gates finally go up. No big deal, I'm certainly not in a big rush to get back.

During all of this though, the traffic has backed up. People are getting out of line, turning around, zooming off.

Do they really think they're going to get anywhere faster than just sitting there and waiting for the gates? Is going miles out of the way really going to do something for you? I doubt the train is 5 miles long or anything.

I think it would be an interesting psychology study. If some psych student is looking for a dissertation topic, I suggest it. I think it would be interesting and amusing. Let me know what you find out along the way.

Ah well. Back to it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another fartlek

Monday night I did another fartlek.. 4 miles. I basically tried to run hard on laps 6&7, and 14&15 each mile. To make it more interesting, I busted out a new pair of shoes, a set of New Balance 859s. Not that there's anything wrong with my current shoes, they only have 120 miles on them or so.

Those shoes are by far the lightest I've run in ever. I was like a gazelle! Err.. well, no. But, I felt fast, at least.

Next week starts some hill workouts instead of a fartlek. I really really hope it warms up, and in a hurry. I really wussed out this winter, and I haven't run outside in the cold. I think I found a 3 mile route which gives me 5 hills to run. Not really sure how long a hill workout should be, apart from the requisite number of hills. Oh well.

Last night was a 3 miler, and I'm glad, because that's about all I could have done. Hah. Tonight is a 4, and I'm already thinking of switching it to 2 or 3, along with some biking.

Had a decent day yesterday.. Someone at work found a TV and an antenna and we watched the inauguration that way. (Glad the DTV transition hasn't occurred yet). That was my one real goal that day.. watching the speech and all. All of the web feeds I could think to go to were bogged down.

I threw my initial measurement into the sexy six pack ring. 80 sit-ups in a row. I start week 4 of the 200 sit-up challenge tonight.

I took a new pushup test and did 50 in a row. I start week 3 of the 100 pushup challenge tomorrow. I'm up 10 from a couple of weeks ago, so I must be making progress.

That's about it.. nothing too exciting, but that's how I usually roll. Keep on rockin'!

Monday, January 19, 2009


Welp, this is my 200th post. Unbelievable.

I thought about what to do to make it snazzy and exciting, and came up with... nothing.

It's not my style to do that anyway.. I'm more of a "wait until 217, and then do something out of the blue" kind of guy.

The weekend went well. Friday I had a hard time settling into a groove at the gym. I did a mile on the treadmill, a mile on the track, and 15 minutes of biking. I was supposed to do 3 miles of running, but it seemed like a good compromise.

Saturday was my long run.. I put in 8 miles on the indoor track. I thought doing 120 laps would suck, but it really didn't. I stopped and grabbed a drink every 2 miles, and just banged out the miles. I kept loose track of the time on the wall clock, and I think I was putting out 10 minute miles, which is what I was aiming for.

Afterward, I felt great. There's nothing that feels quite like the feeling after a long run. I just love it.

I was using my foam roller this weekend, and my wife says to me something along the lines of "every time you use that, you really grimace". Furthermore "if you weren't better, you would have to go to PT". Sigh. I think it really does help, and the grimace is part of it. At physical therapy, they're just going to hurt you anyway. Hehe. I think I convinced her (for now).

So, anything else going on? Not much. I did watch my first episode of Oprah this weekend.

My wife indicated that Denis Leary was going to be on, should she record it..? I'm a big fan of Denis, so I agreed.

After watching it, let me say this. If Denis was on all the time, I'd be watching it all the time. He's great. He got along well with the people on it. It was a very interesting show.

(That being said, I'm not going to become a regular viewer at this point.)

Ah well, keep on rockin' everyone..

Friday, January 16, 2009

Some snazzy title goes here

Well, my last post seemed to be a hit (as much of a hit as my posts could be). The fact that it had pictures and homemade drawings in it seemed to be well-received. (My name is Raul, I like to do drawrings..)
I'll have to do that more often.

Oh, and two questions which were asked a lot..
1) I never did find out who blocked us in. I had to wait about 10 minutes for a hole to open that I could squeeze through. A couple of ladies with SUVs wanted me to go back in and just start giving license plates of cars near them so they could get out. Uhm, no. They're parked legitimately.
2) The truck being there isn't that odd, believe it or not. There's a hotel right near by, as well as a restaurant. The parking lot is a logistical mess, so it's not too uncommon to see something like that. I'm letting the truck slide.

So, moving on, unfortunately, I don't have much to offer up today. Sigh. Nor the last few days. Hah

I was running Tuesday, scheduled for 5. I overheard a guy I see at the gym which runs laps like I do talking about a marathon with another guy. In an un-raul-like move, I started talking with him once the other guy left. Turns out he's training for his first marathon, but in about a year. He wants to run Las Vegas or Disney. He wants to do it when he turns 60, as well. Not before he's 60, which kind of surprised me, but hey, why not?

So, that was kind of cool. Of course, I settled into a groove running around the track with him, and I wound up putting in 6.3 miles instead of the 5. I know you're not supposed to do that kind of thing on a training plan, but it was only 1.3 miles..

The next day I did my required 3, and was glad that Thursday was a rest day.

Week 3, Day 3 of the 200 sit-up challenge was a success. Week 2, Day 2 of the 100 pushup challege also was a success.

Tonight is a 3 miler, along with the return of dice baseball. Tonight is draft night, which means I get to pick my team that will handle the rolls of the dice with grace, dignity, and hopefully success.

Tomorrow... well, I hope to pick out my free kicks, and I have an 8 miler on schedule. I'd love to run outside, but right now it's a balmy 3 degrees, and it doesn't look good for warming up by 30 degrees for tomorrow. I'm a wuss, so I'll be doing 120 laps.

Anything else going on? Hrms. I need to paint a room, so I may finish cleaning it out and starting the prep work tomorrow. We'll see. Not exactly a lot of fun, so I'll be dragging this one out, I suspect.

Oh, yes.. I did severely cut back on the alcohol intake, starting in December. It pains me. Especially being back at work. But, I have legitimately lost 5 or 6 pounds since then. The increase in exercise, along in the decrease in calories seems to have done the trick. Not that I'm trying to lose weight, it's just an interesting tidbit.

I think I'm actually signed up as part of the Sexy Six Pack challenge. Should be a challenge, given that:
1) I'm not sexy
2) I don't have a six pack

But, I'm doing the 200 sit-up plan, so we'll see where I'm at. I guess my offer of measuring the number of situps I can do in a row was deemed 'OK'.

OK. You all have things to do, I'll wrap this up. Enjoy the weekend, and keep on rockin'.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fartleks and parking

So, yesterday on the schedule was a 4 mile fartlek. Cool! Something a little different. Speaking of different, I'll make this post different. Prepare yourself for childish pictures!

So, I pulled up at the gym, and parked.

This is roughly what the parking lot looks like. The 'truck' in the picture was parked there when I got there, as it sometimes happens. It's not permanently there.
The black car marking will be mine. (I don't have a black car, but I wanted to differentiate myself for purposes of this exercise).

OK. So an astute driver can see where this is going..

Anyways, back to the workout.

I did the fartlek. Unfortunately for me, my throttle speeds tend to vary between one of the three:

1. Sloth

2. Snail

3. Turtle

But, I went and really tore up the track, as much as one of those three can. Plus, it was pretty congested on the track, with people ignoring the 'single file' rule and all.

It was a successful workout though, got all sweaty and stinky and ran hard.

So, done with the workout, I went back outside to find this parking lot arrangement:

The new cars are denoted by the green & red marks. When I parked I said to myself.. "Self, you could get trapped in here." I also replied (isn't that bad?) "Nah.. no one would be that stupid"

So, the car with the red mark, someone in a green Hyundai, proceeded to block us all in. People always park next to the building, getting rid of those passageways.. I don't like it, but it happens.

I went in to the desk and tried to explain the situation. The girl looked at me like I was nuts. How could one car block two rows of cars? Furthermore, she didn't know what a Hyundai was, apparently, and seemed less than enthused about announcing the person's license plate. Oh well.

So, a long story short, a small hole opened, enough to get my car through (one benefit of a small car), I shot out, and I never got to see who owned the Hyundai.

I also decided to do a brief workout before work yesterday, and did W3D2 of the sit-ups program. It wasn't as bad as W3D1.. can't explain that one, as it was definitely more sit-ups. Must be that I'm getting ripped. hah

Alright all.. take care, keep on rockin'.

Edit/Update: BTW, a few people asked.. no I didn't seek out New Balance of Harrisburg, they found me. How awesome is that?

Monday, January 12, 2009


Well, this is the first time I was tagged.. Woot!

Cindy was kind enough to tag me, so here goes!

4 favorite memories from 2008:
1. Running my first 5k
2. Making new friends from my blog
3. Running with my running buddy constantly over the spring/summer
4. Having a month off.. aw yea!

4 favorite movies in 2008:
1. Iron Man
2. Incredible Hulk
3. The Dark Knight
4. Indiana Jones (yeah right!). Seriously, I'll go with 'The Ladies Man'.. not 2008, but I first saw it in 2008

4 favorite foods in 2008:
1. Nachos
2. Burgers
3. Salad (a late entry in the year, but it came on strong.. I found I could always go for them)
4. Hot dogs. Previously, I didn't like hot dogs. Got into them this year.

4 places I loved in 2008:
(disclaimer: I really didn't go anywhere. really)
1. Home
2. Baseball stadium
3. Dinosaur BBQ
4. Local concert hall

4 events I loved in 2008:
1. Seeing my new nephew a couple of hours after he was born.
2. July Brewfest
3. Taking a day off and going golfing with my brother in law.
4. The election. Couldn't get enough of it. Weird for me.

4 things I liked in 2008:
1. Trying new foods. I try to order something new from menus a lot of the time. Even if I don't end up liking it, at least I tried it. (But who am I kidding? I usually like it)
2. Scotch
3. Dice baseball
4. Starting a blog!

4 things I am looking forward to in 2009:
1. One thing that hasn't been disclosed yet
2. Running a marathon (my first!)
3. Getting into the best shape of my life (so cliche)
4. An extra week of vacay time.. now if only we'd go somewhere.

4 people I tag:
1. All Mixed-Up Media
2. Andrew
3. X-Country2
4. Denise

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Well, Friday I was supposed to do 3 miles. One thing led to another, and I got 0 in. Sigh. First time I've deviated from my plan. Sigh.

The good news was, when I went to the gym Saturday to do my 7 miles, I rocked it. Felt great the whole way through. I put on The Downward Spiral and plugged along. All 105 laps.

I really had wanted to do it outside, but the windchill made it about 5 degrees out. With snow and the bad drivers, I opted not to risk it. Glad it worked out well.
I also did W2D1 of the 100 pushup challenge, and it seems like it was the right place to start in the plan.

Today I feel great, and it's just cool.

Speaking of cool, I now have added a 'Sponsors' section on the blog. New Balance of Harrisburg has offered me a free pair of shoes, provided I give them some link space and a review of the shoes I choose. Since I always roll in New Balance, I jumped at the chance for this.

Any other companies that are looking for free ad space? I'm your guy. I love trying out stuff. :)

Keep on rockin.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

TIART: Training Plans Do's and Don'ts

Last night I went to the gym and did 3 miles on the track, followed by week 3, day 1 of the 200 sit-ups plan. My abs feel like they were worked this morning. Wow!

So, today's Take It And Run Thursday post is about training plans. Do's and don'ts, tips and tricks.

Well, being that I just started following a training plan, I really don't have much sage advice to offer. I will offer up the reasoning I started using a training plan, though.

My first half year of running was great. I'd just run as I liked. I'd go on a long run on the weekends, and loved it. Slowly my shorter runs during the week disappeared, and I was just doing a couple of long runs a week. As most could predict, my body broke down due to the sudden increase in mileage, and I was done.

Last year, I was recovering from the injury, and was running ad-hoc for quite a bit. Afterward, I would run, but run aimlessly. No real plan, no real goal.

I'm hoping that a training plan will get me past both issues. That a reasonable plan put together by someone knowledgeable will be more likely to get me through uninjured (by slowly raising the mileage and intensity). Also, that having a plan will help me achieve my goals.

That's why I adopted the 20 week marathon program over at Cool Running. I'm not endorsing it yet, as I'm only on week 2, but I figure having a plan is better than not.

I'm looking forward to reading about other people's experience with training plans.. I have a lot to learn here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I went to the gym last night and did a variety of things. I was fortunate that I had left work early for an appointment, so I got to the gym before all of the folks with their New Year resolutions made it. I suspect it will thin out in a few weeks, but right now it's really really congested there.

I warmed up with 2 miles on the treadmill, followed by 3 on the track. (I was worried that my legs were hurting, that's why I started with the treadmill.) At the end of the 5 total, I actually felt really strong (and I had excess energy to burn), so I went and did some elliptical (only 10 minutes, nothing Herculean). I also retested my initial test for the 100 pushup challenge and am sitting at 40. Sigh.

All in all, a successful workout.

Afterward, I met up with a guy from work online, and we played some 'Grand Theft Auto' together. Pretty fun. Yeah, it's a time waster, but whatever.

Keep on rockin!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Back at it..

Well, the first day back from being a man of leisure wasn't terrible. Not saying it was the greatest thing, but I'm back into the swing of things, more or less.

I started out by playing the 'Office Space' soundtrack. Always a good way to get to work. The rendition of 'Take this job and shove it' (Shove This Jay-Oh-Bee by G. Williams) is hilarious.

I was pleased to see that what was originally going to be a pace of about 800 emails to come back to slowed down to just a few hundred. I skimmed them while on vacay, just to keep my finger on the pulse of what was happening (not much, apparently. Slackers!)

Made it through the e-mails, answered some questions, and got caught up with people. After that, there was no sense in getting too bogged down the first day, so I bagged it after about 8 hours and headed on out. Not too shabby.

I put in 3 miles on the indoor track at the gym after work. Pretty uneventful, but my legs didn't like it. I wonder what the floor surface is underneath the track. Part of me thinks it's concrete. I'm thinking of maybe doing my 5 tonight on the treadmill.. or at least half on the treadmill.

After my run, I tried the initial test of the 200 sit-up program, and wound up with 50. That puts me in the I-get-to-skip-2-weeks program and jump to week 3. Woot!

I also realized that I'm really on week 2 of my marathon training plan, not week 1 like I previously said. The first week was like the prep weeks I did, so it just blended right in.

Alright.. I should get to it. Take care, and keep on rockin'!