Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Yes, I'm still here

Yes, yes, I'm still here. You can't get rid of me that easily.

Work has just been kicking my azzz this week. And, on the off chance that anyone at work might read my blog, I'm going to end my work talk there before I get into trouble.

First up, RunningLaur put together some virtual swag for the Hooray Spring 6 Miler. Here's mine:

I think it's great! Love it!

So, the weekend... I did go see Jon Stewart. They were really anal about people sneaking cameras and such, so this is the best pic I have, with my better-as-a-phone-than-camera:

Yeah, not so good.

But, the show itself.. funny funny stuff. He didn't do as much "current event" type material as I was expecting. That being said, I was laughing the whole time.. and, after all, isn't that why you go watch a comedian?

I did get a 4 miler in on Saturday, which pretty much wrecked my ITB for Sunday and Monday. I think I'm going to have to self-impose a cap for my runs at 3 miles for now.

The other exciting news is this:

Charlie Brown's Christmas tree is safely tucked away in it's box for the year. It's finally down. I was hoping to beat a certain blogger, but she beat me by a couple of weeks. :)

Alright.. I need to get back to it. I'll be back.. I have a bunch of beer reviews to do, too.

Tonight, I'm shooting for a 3 miler.. Looks like it's decent outside.

Keep on rockin'!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Friday Miscellany

  • A few people seem to have adopted the 'write in bullets' style, so I'm going to give that a shot for a day.
  • I'm not coordinated to do a dozen footnotes like some people.
  • I'm going to see Jon Stewart this weekend.
  • I'm stoked! If you haven't watched the series of clips with him and Jim Cramer, wow.. Put aside a half hour and check them out. Funny stuff!
  • OK, here's some of the clips for you. here, here, and here.
  • If you like NIN, Jane's Addiction,or Street Sweeper, there's a free EP sampler for their upcoming tour at http://www.ninja2009.com/
  • I got 2 of the 4 games wrong last night in my picks. Ugh.
  • Favorite quote from the basketball coverage last night: "Just because you're open doesn't mean you should shoot it" (after someone air-balled it)
  • Best of luck to all of the racers this weekend. I know I'll forget some peeps.. (my bad if I forget you!). tfh, Melanie, Chad, RunToFinish, Lacey, Sassy Molassy, and anyone I forgot.
  • Speaking of tfh, props to her for running her first marathon this weekend.. best of luck!
  • That's all.. Keep on rockin', everyone!

TIaRT: Tips For Getting Faster

It's Thursday, time for a free topic to write about, courtesy of the Runner's Lounge. That's good, because I'm low on material today.

Today's topic is all about how to become "faster". Well, that's easy folks, buy her a few stiff drinks, and see what happens.

Oh... not that kind of being faster?

I see.

Well, thankfully, I have some advice for running faster too. A couple of days ago I measured my speed on a mile, and have noticed great progress from when I started. (First off, I can run a mile now, compared to when I started).

Some people will say "do track workouts" or "do intervals" or the like.

I'm going to go a different route..

What has worked for me is this:

Run more.

Plain and simple. If you don't do the time, you can't do the crime. Erm.. Got that wrong too.

If you aren't logging the miles, you can't built up speed. I haven't done a lot of speed workouts. I do a moderate amount of hill workouts, and I think those help too. What has mostly helped is an increase in overall mileage and quantity of runs per week.

Running 2 or 3 days a week is great, don't get me wrong. It's far better than doing nothing. If you can bump that to 3 to 4 days a week or 4 to 5, you're going to notice more results. Your legs will be more used to the action, your muscles will be stronger, you'll be able to withstand more.

Keep that up, you'll be getting faster.

That's my tip. Keep on rockin' everyone.


Last night's run log: 3 miles, 30 minutes.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Six Twenty One

Well, last night I went out for a run. I really couldn't decide what to do. I didn't want to do hill work, none of my normal routes appealed.. I figured I would just get out the door and see what happens.

Started at a fairly normal pace, waited for a car in the intersection, the usual. After a brief uphill and a brief downhill, I said to myself, "You're moving pretty good. Why not? Go for it."

I decided to go all out and see how fast I could bang out a mile. The last time I did this, I wound up at 6:50. This route was similar, but it had the little uphill and a little downhill.

I tried to work on pacing, on not going out too fast, leaving some for the end.. Not sure how well that worked, but......

6:21, baby! Woot! Fastest mile for me ev-ah!

I'm going to have to drag my ass to the track one day and try it there, to get a real feel for it.

So ya, after that, my lungs were not feeling too good. I was coughing up all sorts of crap the rest of the night.. Oh well.

I did a "recovery" run of .8 after I walked it off a bit, and called it a night, running-wise.

I got home, cleaned myself up, and then did the dishes, cleaned the toilets, cleaned the sinks, did a few loads of laundry. All that good stuff. (Yes, I make a good little beeotch)

Maybe I should put an ad out? "Dude with mad skillzz, energy, and endurance. Available to do whatever is needed around the house"

I'm sure that would get some responses..

Lesse, what else? Oh yeah, I scored this little bike repair kit as a free gift:

It even came with a little knock-off CamelBak. It's tiny though. Not for any serious exercise hydration. It might handle a bottle of wine, OK, though... hrms..

Alright everyone.. keep on rockin'!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hooray Spring 6 Miler

On Saturday, I did my entry for the Hooray Spring 6 Miler. RunningLaur was kind enough to organize this race, and I'm glad. Without it, I probably wouldn't have tried.

So, my goal was to do 6 miles at an 8:40 pace.

I threw on the Garmin, and out I went..

Since I don't really run any races, you'll get a full race report here. It makes me feel like a real runner.

Mile 1: Thinking to myself, keep it nice and slow.. plenty of time.. Long race..

End result of mile 1- 7:09.

I think to myself... "Aw, shit." Yeah, there's no way I was maintaining that pace. So, I did the ol' classic race antics and went out too fast.

Mile 2: Thinking to myself.. slow down, mofo. Lot of race to go.

End result of mile 2- 7:58.

Ugh. Yeah, I really need to work on pacing. I have no idea what I'm doing.

Mile 3, I wound up with an 8:29. Pretty close to where I wanted to be. Around this time, I started thinking "Good Lord, people race 10Ks for fun? What the hell is wrong with them?"

I passed the 5K mark at 24:23, which put to rest my question of could I run a sub-25 5K. I wasn't at the puke threshold either, which indicates I can do better...

Mile 4 punched in at 8:26.. At a steady pace now.. My knee/ITB started tweaking a bit at this point.

I ran a little farther and had to stop at an intersection. (Stupid cars)

Yeah, that was it. I stopped, my ITB said "I'm not going again". End of race.

So, I get a big fat DNF on the 6 miler.

Final results: 4.08 in 32:44.

Thanks to RunningLaur for putting this together!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

TIaRT: Spring Training Tips

It's TIaRT time, once again. Today's topic is tips for spring training.

I guess I'll be upfront and say, I have no street cred with regards to this subject. This is my second spring of running. Last spring, I was sporadic, at best.

But, as many people do, I will pontificate regardless.

Tip #1 - Don't do too much too fast. It's not like I listen to this tip, though. Exhibit A: cardinal sins post. So do as I say, not as I do (another good quality of someone spouting off).

But, it is important to heed this. You may have been cooped up inside all winter and are ready to bust out, remembering where you were at the end of the fall. If you haven't been working out in the winter, you're probably not where you were months ago.

Tip #2 - Run with someone. It's a lot easier when you have someone out there with you. That person doesn't want to let you down (ideally), and you don't want to let that person down (again, ideally). Plus, you can chat and all that good stuff while grinding out the miles.

Alas, my running buddy is moving away this weekend. Not that she and I have been running a lot together lately for various reasons, but it still stinks. I did like running with her, and I like running with others. Blah. So, there's the second tip I'm going to be disregarding.

Tip #3 - Have fun.

(I can do that one at least.)

So, aside from TIaRT.. last night, I went out without my Garmin. I went and chugged up a monster hill. It was sprinkling. The fresh smell of rain. A breeze in the air.
And, that's as poetic as I can get.

It was awesome, though. 4 miles down, I felt great. I almost wished it was raining more. And to think, I used to not run in the rain.

Oh, and I have no idea about the 'Friend Connect' thing. I saw a bunch of people post that, so I figured I'd be a follower. I thought it was supposed to include the 'following' crew, but it obviously doesn't. No idea how it works, how it's different or anything like that.

Keep on rockin' everyone!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Running, pushups, all that fun stuff

I went out Monday, did about 3.6 miles at a little over a 9 minute pace. The run went well, except I had some terrible experiences with snot rockets. I mean, I totally whiffed them. Disappointing, on so many levels.

Tuesday, ol' St. Patty's Day.. I wound up having to work pretty late, and it just didn't happen. No runs. There was much sadness.

However, the day wasn't a complete waste! Julianne mentioned she was starting the 100 pushups challenge. I tweeted that I should really try that again too, and she twisted my arm to join her in doing it. So, W1D1, all complete!

I'm so liking the spring weather. Apparently, we're cooling off over the next few days, dropping back down into the 30s and 40s. Sigh.

There's a chance (a strong chance, too), that I'll be absent the next few days. College basketball, a nearby watering hole, a lack of desire to be at work. It adds up to the 'perfect storm', if you will. Here's hoping the picks of your choosing do well....

In case I don't talk to you, keep on rockin', everyone!

Monday, March 16, 2009

A run, a walk

Saturday, I busted out of Funky Town, and went for a run. It was not stellar, by any means. I didn't even make 3.5 miles before pulling up lame. But, I went out, at least.

The dishes in the sink were emptied (but the thing filled up again by this morning.. what's up with that?). Some of the Christmas decor was taken down (rest assured, the tree is still up..)

Let's see.. what else? Oh yes, I watched some basketball. The local college made it to the big dance. I'm a total bandwagon fan with them. I admit it.

Sunday.. I did some painting. Yours truly didn't buy enough paint, so I get to do it again in the near future. Whee

Also, since my ITB/knee was acting wonky, I didn't run on Sunday. I did go for a walk/hike, though. No idea how long of a walk it was, but it was nice. For visual blog interest, here's some pics:

There's some nice paths to walk nearby. Before the local area went in the toilet years ago, a golf course had some paved paths for golf carts to drive through the woods and the like. The golf course was sold off, went out of business, etc. Now, a nature group owns at least part of the preserve. Either way, it's still nice to walk through it. This is some of what it looks like.

A good 15 minutes into the walk, you can come across this bench. I do like sitting down here. It's very peaceful. There's a small stream that you can watch and listen to. These woods generally have very few people visiting them, as well. On Sunday I parked my can here for quite a while just to reflect and such. Since I can't run long right now, this has to serve as a substitute. :)

Looking around, I saw this "sign":

It basically says.. "The vine growing around this tree is poison ivy." (along with a description of what poison ivy looks like). Cracked me up, for some reason. Interesting tidbit.. when I was younger, I was immune to poison ivy. I always tried to be careful, but that fact got me out of a few scrapes. :) I don't know if I still have that, but I'm not about to go find out.

That's about all I've got for the weekend.. It's supposed to be around 60 today, so I'm going to try to get out and do a couple of miles.

Keep on rockin'...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Won't you take me to Funky Town?

I'm in a funk. Big funk. And, you're like, big funkin' deal. Not a good George Clinton style funk, either.

Blah. Yeah, I haven't run since Saturday, and I see I haven't blogged since Monday. I could say I've been good about stretching, but well, no. I haven't been. I have been resting the ITB, at least. I can say that with great confidence, even.

The homestead is a mess. Dishes piled in the sink. The Christmas tree is still up. (At least I'm not the only one).

The weather is supposed to warm back up, so my goal is to go out this weekend, hopefully for 3 or 4 miles each day. We'll see..

Keep on rockin'. I'm going to do my best to run my way out of here.

I'll leave you with an alternate version of the tune.. Another groovy video for your enjoyment..

Monday, March 9, 2009

Saturday's run

Beautiful day on Saturday. It was cloudy, and slightly above 50 degrees. I strapped on my iPod and my phone, and headed on out the door.

I opted to take a countryside route. The interesting part about where I live is that about 5 miles from each other, you have two opposite ends of the spectrum. On one hand, you have lots of farms, hills, woods, all that. On the other end, you have the abandoned factories, warehouses, and the like. You'll get a few pics from the former today.

So, my goal was to do 8-10, depending on how my leg felt. I brought the iPod so that I'd have some distraction from myself, and not have to worry about every little thing ("Oh, did it just act up on that step?" and all that). I tried out my first taste of the 'Dump Runners Club' podcast, as well as being entertained by the crew of the Runner's Lounge podcast.

My pace was mighty slow, as I was playing it safe from the monster that is ITBS..

I ran part of a normal route, but decided to take a different side road, just to see what was out there.. It was the usual for that neck of the woods, but it was nice to see something slightly different.

Around mile 4, I started seeing these in the sandy shoulder of the road:

My phone doesn't take terribly good pictures, but it's a horseshoe print..

I saw those for the next mile, until I turned around.

Here's a couple of pics from nearby the turnaround point (hey, why not stop and stretch?)

So, I felt good at the halfway mark (I was not so subconsciously looking to go 10).

I turned around and headed back...

Around 6.5 miles, I was starting to get worried.. I had a little nagging feeling in the knee, but I was on some slight uphills. I stopped and stretched, and continued onward.

Around mile 7, I got chased by a few dogs while the owner stood by and scolded them (not moving, of course). So, I got a little speedwork in.

At mile 7.6 I knew I was pretty much done. It started to sprinkle, so I called my wife to come get me.

I managed to log about 7.8 miles. When I got out of the car, she did make some comment about it being a mercy pickup, and it wasn't all about the rain, was it?


So, to answer Friday's question to myself, Pocono is out. Not going to happen this year.

I sat on the couch pondering that and wondering if it could magically happen still. Sunday morning came, and my knee was all tender.. so, that finished answering that question. Yeah, it's not happening.

Today, it's not terrible.. not perfect, but I may be able to do some shorter runs later on this week. I'll cap myself out at 3 or 4 miles.

Soo.... now comes the evaluation.. first order of business is to heal up. Second order is to figure out what the hell I'm going to do this year. Possibly a fall marathon (Wineglass (10/4) and Steamtown (10/11) are pretty nearby.. ). Philly (11/22) and Harrisburg (11/8) aren't that much further.

So, if I can get healthy (and stay healthy), maybe I'll shoot for one of those.. In the meantime, I need to find some shorter races to keep my attention from wandering and give me something to work toward.

Welcome to Monday everyone. Keep on rockin' it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Another week, coming to a close

I don't know what's been going on lately, but I've been really busy at work. I guess that's really a good thing, though.

Last night I got out to do a run outside. The temperature was around 40 degrees, so it really wasn't too bad. I started out a bit cold, but as the run went on, I was just right (which is idea, I suppose). I wound up doing about 4.25 miles at a 9:30 pace. The knees/ITB felt reasonably OK, so I was pleased there. Probably sitting about 85% good. My calves felt like they lacked some power that they had a month ago, unfortunately. My two weeks of really light running must have made me lose a bit.

My foam rolling has been going well.. My left ITB can be rolled with no issues.. I still have a few tender spots on my right ITB, but it's a lot better than it was.

This weekend, I'm hoping to do an 8 or a 10. I was checking the calendar and thinking about the Pocono marathon this morning. The marathon is on 5/17, and I think there's still an outside shot that I can get there and do reasonably well (for me. I'm not going win the thing, after all). So, I'm going to do my 8 to 10 this weekend and see how it goes. Provided it's OK, and I keep my ITBs all limber, maybe I can make it. If not, I guess the plan goes up in the air..

I was really bummed when my knee started bothering me, because I was right on track to do Pocono, and be adequately prepared.

I guess, worst case, I just run for fitness for a while and see if I can do a fall marathon. We've got some stuff going on in the summer which will take a chunk right out of my training, I suspect, so I really wanted to do a spring one. Oh well. It was really nice having a goal and something to work toward.

So, let's see.. what else do I have? Oh yeah.. My wife was looking at my ShoeWallet the other day. She says to me (with that look) "Why do you have a piece of paper in here with your name and phone number and such on it?" I guess that really freaked her out. I tried to tell her that she'd much rather have me identified immediately after getting hit by a car, rather than waiting for hours or days with me being "John Doe", but that explanation didn't fly very well.

You guys carry ID, don't you? My running buddy got me a Road ID which I should wear more often, come to think of it.

Ah well. Mildly amusing, at least (to me). Keep on rockin', and have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

TIaRT: Common Mistakes and Cardinal Sins of Running

Today's TIaRT is about the common mistakes we make while running.

My most common mistake, which I still consistently make, is to do too much, too fast. Cranking up the miles without being adequately prepared. I did that a year and a half ago and wound up with a scorching case of ITBS. So, I recommend, don't do that. You may have the mental stamina to grind it out, but if your body isn't ready, you'll regret it.

Another mistake, which I've learned from, is not listening to the aches and pains of running. There are some pains which you get that you just know are bad. For a new runner, the pains all seem to blend together. As you become more experienced, you can start to detect what is just muscle fatigue versus something more serious. Of course, there are days where shit just hurts. All over. Who knows what's hiding in that mess of aches and pains.

So, one mistake I still make, one I have tried to learn from. Eh, not terrible.

As far as running and I have been doing.. Tuesday I did 4 at the gym. 2 miles, a short walk & drink, 2 more miles. ITB seemed OK. Yesterday, I just didn't want to go to the gym. I thought about hitting the elliptical, and well, it just didn't happen.
Today, I'm dog tired, but I'm going to try to get outside after work. At least do a few miles. The weather looks like it's starting to break and is going to warm up over the next few days, so I'm psyched. My gym membership is up, and I don't really want to renew it at this point, since I should be outside consistently very shortly.

Keep on rockin' everyone.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Reasonably Successful

I managed to get 2 runs in this weekend. Since my training plan has been shot due to sickness 2 weeks ago, and ITB issues last week, I played it relatively safe.

Saturday I went out and did 3.5 miles on the indoor track. Pretty uneventful. I felt good, but decided to call it a day, just so I didn't aggravate my IT band. No problems, so that was good. So yeah, it wasn't the 18 that was on my old schedule. Not by a long shot.

Sunday, I decided to run outside. In driving around, I said "Wow.. it seems pretty nice out. I'll run outside".

Yeah, well, I neglected to account for the fact that the car shields you from the wind.

I made it about .1 miles from the homestead and realized, it was going to be a damn cold run. As a result of my poor preparedness for the cold, I ran 8:30 miles, just so I could be done faster. I ran about 4 miles, with a couple of walk breaks to stretch the ol IT band out. It didn't feel stellar, but it wasn't painful, either.

Today, I feel a bit creaky, so I'm taking the day off.. I was going to bike, but I think it's best just to rest and do some leg exercises & stretching.

My game plan this week is to do moderate runs of around 4 miles this week 3 or 4 times, and see how I feel for the weekend, and hopefully do something longer. We'll see...

By the way, thanks for all who commented on my previous post. Your ideas weren't totally unexpected, but they were encouraging.

On Friday, I had some of Brooklyn Brewery's Monster Ale, which is a barley wine style beer. Holy crap. Talk about packing a punch. It's listed as being 10.3% alcohol, and you sure know it when you taste it. I'm not too familiar with barley wine beers, so I can't really compare it well. Gives me something to "research".

So, another question for the runners who listen to some sort of audio while running.. what podcasts do you listen to (if any)? I listen to Phedippidations, Podruner, and the Runner's Loungecast. Of course, I'll listen to various albums and such as well.. typically something like Breaking Benjamin or Linkin Park.. How about you? Just curious..

Keep on rockin', everyone!