Saturday, March 28, 2009

If I were 50 feet tall

The wife's work had a movie Saturday. They paid for the whole company to see Monsters vs Aliens. I really enjoyed the movie. One of the main characters is a super tall woman. In the movie she's leaping around and running from rooftop to rooftop (it's more like 1 rooftop, skip 3...).

I got thinking as I was running my 10 miles today what it would be like to be that tall and run. How fast would 1 mile be. I decided there would definitely be pros and cons to it. Here are my pros..feel free to add to this list.

• The pro being my one step would be like 20 other people steps..definitely a pro.
• I could easily squash that 19-20 year old kid that kicks everyones butts at the 5 and 10k races...definitely a pro.
• I wouldn't have to train near as hard as I am to run the lengths I do now...major pro.
• Completing the races way fast and getting the cool prizes...another cool pro.
• When I wasn't racing, I could fight aliens.
• Sponsors!! Hello, running billboard, i'd be better than NASCAR

There are some cons too.
• Avoiding electrical wires would be a pain. I would have to make sure my races were in non-electrical wire areas.
• The cost of having sufficient GU on hand to make it through a race. I'd have to get them specially made. If I got someone to sponsor me, then it would be maybe not really a con either.
• The amount of pasta I would have to consume before races...but maybe not as much since I can run faster than everyone...even you, you snotting little 19 year old...yeah, you know who you are...
• They'd probably disqualify me after a few races or make me run twice as far. If they did that though, I could file a lawsuit claiming discrimination to tall people so that isn't really a con.
• If I got in trouble for squashing the 19 year old kid. If the judge is a runner though, then I would have a chance. Maybe I could get an all running they'd ever convict me. They'd probably give me the key to the city.

So there are a lot of cons, but I think the pros would take over and i would win. Since I am not 50 feet tall and can't squash that 19 year old, I guess i'll have to revert to the old fashion way...tripping.

On another note, I got out and ran 11 miles today. I was scheduled to only run 10, but I ran past my turn and didn't realize it until I was in a new subdivision. Of course I couldn't make it appear that I was a runner lost, I casually ran through the area and did a classic "I meant to do this" turn around maneuver. It worked like a charm. If I were 50 feet tall I wouldn't have this problem because two steps and I'd be back. Imagine the really cool footprints i'd leave in the snow or dirt too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


Did someone forget to tell mother nature that Spring is here? How many weather men must we throw in the volcano to appease the weather gods? The die hard runners that I always cheer on in bad weather aren't even out today. Maybe they all are frozen mid-stride. That would be kind of an interesting site to see...snow runners.

I watched the weather forcast while on the treadmill, ok, well it was more like 4 different channels of weather forecasts repeated every 30 minutes. They all said that it was to start warming up today and then Friday and Saturday would be good. I've got 2 inches of snow and howling winds outside..I do see a patch of blue off in the distance surrounded by gray menacing clouds. The blue sky is being overrun by the evil gray cloud's like something out of the Narnia movie.

I woke up at 4:30 this morning for some mysterious reason and couldn't go back to sleep. My wife and I decided to go to the gym at her work. I did some obligatory core building and then did an easy mile and a half. I knew the treadmill was laughing at me (this is the same one that threw me off during the winter) telling me that it knew I would be back. Treadmills suck.

The kids have a PTO day today because i'd rather have them miss one day of school where the most exciting thing that will happen is lunch (no outdoor recess because of the weather so that makes it even less exciting) than drive in this kind of weather. I'm all for staying off the roads when all the crazy's are out. Here are a few people on the road today.

The news truck went off the road and became a highlight of this morning.

This guy probably put it in 4 wheel drive and was going 80 mph.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Party cloudy...Periods of bright Sunshine

My Facebook page yesterday stated that I was a little black rain cloud. I was a bit pissed and down. Today, I am doing much better. I told my wife that I am just partly cloudy with periods of sunshine. That's better than our return to winter. Another storm is coming in tonight and we are expecting 3 inches of snow. I'm waiting for the global warming to start. I'm ready for the sun.

Since the weather was nasty I took my run indoors. A 7 mile tempo run was on the docket for today. As much as I hate running on the treadmill, I have to admit that I can keep my tempo runs consistent when the machine is set for my speed. I did some good stretching before starting and my ankle pain or soreness. I have been icing and advil 'ing it pretty well so maybe that assisted in keeping in feeling good.

After doing 7 miles, my mood definitely improved.

Oh, one other funny thing happened. I got an e-mail from a teacher at my children's school telling me she had water bottles and I could have them for the school upcoming 5k in May. I was thinking "water in bottles" like is typical after many races. I went to the school and she opened her office with these big boxes and was moving them around with no problem. She said those were it and opened one of the boxes. Inside were Blender shaker bottles. She was given them from a company that went out of business and the faculty didn't want any more. I now have 210 of these bottles in my living room. I put one to use after my run and it does a nice job of mixing a recovery shake.

Tomorrow the temperature is supposed to be a high of 37 degrees. Saturday is slated for 57 then it drops again next week. It's wacky weather time.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Winter Part 2 Sucks

I am very much ready for the Spring to finally be here and to be done with snow and cold weather. Yesterday it was nasty all day with the wind and blowing snow off and just didn't make for a motivating run day. Saturday and Sunday my ankle felt great and I was beginning to think I had turned a corner and would be able to continue without the nagging ache. It had other ideas though. I took the kids running and did a mile running and walking with them then decided i'd do another 2 or 3. My body had other plans though and after one I was complete. Both my ankles were hurting (the other one I think was just feeling bad about not getting any attention) and my knees were aching (I believe for the same reason...they are all so jealous).

Then I am coming home from a frustrating run to get a phone call from the Publisher of the company I do design for (used to be my boss, now is my client). He called to inform me that he had chosen a different candidate for the new GM position that recently opened. What a way to end the run.

I am grateful that the Publisher called me and gave me a heads up before he announced it in a meeting, but it made for a shitty day.

By the end of the week, the highs will be back in the 50s...I can't wait.

I'm so ready for Spring.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Welcome I mean I mean Spring...

It's the first Monday after Spring started. Saturday was a spectacular day. My 7.5 mile run was a great run. My ankle felt really good. The neighbors were out raking their lawn, the yearly salespeople wanting to aerate my lawn were out in force and the home centers were getting all their spring merchandise out. The weather ended up being 74 degrees because of the South winds.....wait a minute...hold the phone, did someone say South Winds? When the South winds start blowing this time of the year, it can only mean one thing....a BIG STORM.

Welcome to our first spring snowstorm. The trees are budding, the birds are chirping and the winds are howling at 30 mph and 25 degrees outside. I think I will hit the local gym with the kids (I'm committed to taking them today as they all bugged me about it on the drive to school). The forcast says that by the end of the week we'll be back in the 50's.

Overall though, my spirits are high and the weekend was a good one.

Friday: I got a pair of compression shorts from Pearl Izumi to test out. I also discovered that I had enough points on my Subway card to get a free sandwich for lunch.

Saturday: I went on a great run and did some yard work (I picked up the rake and decided that I was better off renting a powerrake from the tool rental...thus postponing my yard work for another 2 weeks..wahoo!!)

Sunday: I assisted my wife in hanging empty photo frames. I think we have more empty ones then ones with actual photos in them. She did order the photos though, so now we get to take them down, put the pictures in them and rehang them. The good part about that is getting on the good side with the wife.

I also found out I won a $40 gift certificate from Runners' Lounge..Runners' Lounge... thank you Amy. I now get to decide what to spend it on. Maybe some more socks, maybe $40 off some Asics...

I am anticipating a great week and a little snow storm won't dampen it. Welcome to Spring.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Have you experienced the joy of It is as amazing as Apollo Burger (If any execs from Apollo Burger are reading this, I think I deserve like a lifetime free burgers after all the business I have sent you). I went running with a work colleague this morning who opened my eyes to the site. In the early days of my running, I would map out the route in my head then drive the route to get a close estimate of the mileage. Once I learned the joys of I never looked back. My colleague and I spent a mile or two discussing the marvelous benefits of this site and how he had mapped out easy 7.5 miles on it last night.

The site is a truly amazing tool. The power of google maps incorporated into a mapping tool so that I can look up a location by keyword or zip code then zoom in or out to get my starting spot. I simply click my way through the streets and determine which route is going to give me the best run. It has an elevation feature which I use always. Where I live is very hilly (this is the mountain west definition of a hill, not the east coast definition of a hill) and so knowing whether I am running up hill or down is important to me and my legs. I can set out and back routes, save my maps and do many other things in addition to adding my own notes about various points on the route. This is my way of compensating for my lack of a Garmin or Nike+ or other sort of mileage tracking device on the market.

So, that's it for today...mapmyrun is awesome and it is free (if you dislike the ads, you can always pay).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Excuses for Thursday

Yesterday, the plan was to pick the kids up from school, drop off the van, run home with the kids then run back for an easy run. I instead used the excuse of "it's a rest day" and "we don't want to start off to fast" to avoid the fact that I was basically being a lazy butt who wanted to just watch tv and eat ice cream (neither of which happened in the end.) So for today, I worked on some really good excuses that I can be armed with the next time I am in the mood for ice cream.

1. I absolutely cannot exercise because:
-I am solely responsible for keeping the universe in balance between in-shape people and out-of-shape people. If I were to cross over the in-shape then that would mean either the world would end or someone who have to move to being out-of-shape and I can't stand the thought of having that on my conscious.

2. I don't have to exercise because:
-I'm already thin and if I exercise there won't be anything left of me
-I have superior metabolism
-I already have lots of energy

3.I haven't warmed up properly...pass the girl scout cookies and hot chocolate.

4. I get a workout just by watching The Biggest Loser and Survivor

5. I am cross-training today by:
-Walking 12 feet to my mailbox to retrieve the mail
-Skipping 3 blocks down to the local Dunkin' Donuts. If I get two dozen, then it counts as weight training also
-Jumping up 2 times to use the bathroom during the commercial breaks during The Biggest Loser
-Working my arms by opening and closing the refrigerator many times

6. My Spring wardrobe hasn't arrived yet and I would not be caught dead in last years shorts

7. My pronation is bothering me today. There must be a storm coming in.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Snacks and nutrition

I came into a client's office today to get some work done. As I was leaving my stomach informed me that the breakfast I had eaten no longer was around and it deserved some attention. I ran through my list of possibilities of what would work that i could take with me. A few that came to mind are:
Granola bar-i've done that the past few days and am tired of it
Clif bar-If I had one that would be a nice idea
Nuts-There weren't enough in the can
Peanut butter-good choice, but messy
Banana-No thanks...good in smoothies, gross by themselves

It was getting rather bleak and with a few hours until lunch. The little lightbulb went on and I grabbed a package of saltines. Odd choice you may think, but I remember a staff meeting with my client a few weeks ago where I supplied peanut butter and saltines as a meeting snack. I bet on the fact that there would still be peanut butter left. I was right...there is still peanut butter and those that were in the office lit up when they saw me with saltines.

Food just doesn't last as long as it used to unless it is something really heavy like a hamburger combo meal from Apollo Burger (my own personal mecca). I'm interested in hearing any other good snacks that are easy to prepare, good on the go, taste good and are filling.

On another note, this week I am scheduled for some easy 5-6 mile runs and then a longer run on Saturday. I dropped the van off at the school and the kids and I ran/walked to home (about 1.5 miles). I left them to do their chores and did another 5. It felt good to be in the sun. By the end of my run, the afternoon wind had picked up to about 15 miles/hour and the last 1/2 mile was into the wind. My ankle and achilles tendon were sore, but since advil/alleve and ice are my new BFFs they were feeling better later in the evening.

Today, I'll do a run with the kids again and then just loop back to the school for an easy 3-4 miles.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A runner's best friend

I received an e-mail from the local running store yesterday. They were announcing a mini-workshop on ankles and feet. A local podiatrist and runner was the guest presenter. I jumped on the opportunity. A few weeks ago I strained my ankle doing a trail run and it's been bothering me since. I took this as an opportunity to get some medical advice without the co-pay or wait involved. The class lasted about an hour, the doctor did some Q&A and was well-versed in the common injuries.

There was a common theme that kept coming and ibuprofen.

When I started running I had a friend who runs (was very active and now isn't) tell me to stock up on the advil, alleve, tylenol and any other pain reliever/anti-inflammatory I can find. When I first started running I couldn't imagine how that was possible. But now....I'm generally not the self-medicating type, but there are times when I have stretched and iced and rubbed and rolled and nothing is working. That's when I reach for the handy vial of ache-and-pain be gone. I am think that in the inventors of advil should be granted Sainthood, automatic berth into heaven, etc..

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pi day

Today has a been a motivational black hole. I've spent some time delving deep to find out the root cause of this lack of motivation (I can also use this as a great way to avoid doing anything). I am theorizing that part of it stems from an utter lack of decent dietary habits over the weekend. After the race on Saturday, the eating healthy** me leaves for a vacation and offers the good-for-nothing brother to watch after the house. This past weekend was no exception, but I have a good excuse this week. It was "Pi" day. No, not "P-I-E" day, but "P-I" as in that number taught in math that goes on for infinity (3.14.....).

This is one of those little known holidays, but one of my favorite. Each year on March 14, pi day must be observed by consuming anything that can be linked to the word pie. Saturday's dinner consisted of pizza and pie. Saturday night I discovered that Wal-Mart sells mini-pies for only 58 cents. I could buy a big pie for $5.00 or get 10 little ones for just a little more. So, of course I had to buy only makes economic sense. But that is not all, there are other reasons why I bought all those little pies...they contained all my favorite ingredients. I am a huge fan of "partially hydrogenated," "corn syrup," "modified corn starch," "natural and artificial flavors," (they are twins) and then last but not least let's not leave out "natural and artificial colors" (the other twins). I was doomed from the beginning. The powerful force involved in those ingredients was too much to resist. I blame my lack of willpower of the race officials from Saturdays 10K for not having any of my ingredient friends there to cheer me on.

So, now that I have successfully put the accountability of my poor motivation today squarely on the shoulders of those who deserve it. Now I can sit back and relax...whew...that was close.

** This word is used very loosely and should not be used around people who use the phrase "balanced diet" on a regular basis.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Rex Lee 10K commentary

One thing I have learned as a runner is to be prepared for any type of weather. The weather report has a fair success, but sometimes can be rather off. Today was one of those days when the weather report was spot on. It was a fabulous morning. My kids were into being there and cheering me on which I appreciate. There were high-fives from each of them before the race began.

My pre-race jitters finally subsided and I settled into the pre-race excited anticipation. This 10K was not a test to see if I could run an actual 6 miles. I do that on some of my easy runs. This race was two-fold. The first was to see if all the training that I had done had paid off during the winter and the second was a start to the races I have planned for '09 thus far.

I had picked up my bib number, chip and shirt previously so we arrived at the race about 20 minutes before the starting cannon. There was sufficient time to do some warm-up jogging and then be in the starting crowd. The weather at race time was about 35 degrees with the sun starting to peak out from behind the mountains.

I was glad I opted to wear my jacket over my long sleeve shirt. The first two and a half miles were without the sun being up and were rather chilly. My fingers started thawing at about mile 3. At mile 3, the 10K portion of the race and the 5K portion of the race meet up for a small stretch. My 3 mile mark was a little after mile 1 for the 5K participants. Mile 3 was when the fast racers from the 5k went sprinting by. My thoughts arrogantly shouted out to these super sprinters "yeah, let's see you in a real race..." forgetting that I was once one of those participants although no where near that fast and that they could probably kick my butt in the 10k also.

There was a water station at mile 2,4,and just before mile 6. A 6 mile run for me is about where I will sip from my gatorade if I bring some, but for this short of a race, there was no need. Someone must not have gotten the memo that people running really don't need a 32 oz cup of water. Some of the water cups were bigger than my average soda that I get with a combo meal. The other possibility is that they ran out of the smaller cups on all those racers ahead of me.

The course ended on the track of the university so the last small section we raced around the track to finish in front of the bleachers. I saw my time as I was approaching and called forth every bit of energy I had left to get across the finish before the minute was up. I made it...49:40. My goal entering the race was to finish under 50 minutes with my average pace being 8:01...thus shaving :48 off my pace from last year. I can live with that as a starting point for my 2009 season.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Casual Dinner

Knowing that my race is tomorrow and I changed my routine up a bit this week to accommodate the race, I did intervals on Tuesday instead of Thursday. The plan for yesterday was going to be an easy four or five miles. Since it was a more casual run, I opted for a run at the local rec center instead of the road. I thought it would be a good outing for my kids also.

The process of getting kids started at 3:00 and I am now getting into the gym at 5:00 pm. You all know what that means. That means that all the treadmills are taken. It's track time for me. The rec center has the track on the second floor and it goes around the entire outer part of the building. I can look down and see the different basketball courts or gymnastics or whatever might be going on in addition to seeing all the people on the second floor that are lifting weights or doing the machines, etc. I turn on my iPod and look forward to zoning out and ignoring the fact that I am just running in circles over and over and wondering if one time I am just going to go faster and faster and crash into a wall. I get half-way through my first lap and notice that instead of gymnastics set up in one of the areas below, there are tables with linens and a stage with music being prepped. This throws me off completely and also brings up the question. Why would anyone want to have a dinner at the rec center? There are plenty of fine banquet facilities that are available, but the gym? What brilliant mind thought that one up?

Part of me is revolted and the other is amused. Why would I pay money to come to the gym for a catered dinner? If I wanted food from the gym I could go to the food court in the lobby and get a churro or something, but a sit down dinner? I guess the idea of sitting down eating dinner while sweaty people of all different sizes run around you. Maybe these people are descendants of the Romans who used to watch slaves fight it out in the coliseums. Maybe they like this. As I lap around and around, I see different aspects of the prep work going on. I see the dessert trays being brought out, the heating pans, the butter being put out (this is buffet style I guess), the people donning aprons. I start wondering what it would be like if someone passed out on the track above the dinner or if someone wiped a sweaty brow and in the flicking off process, sweat landed on someone's table. Then the band starts a sound check. By this time, my run is over and people are starting to enter the dining area. It's time to pick up the kids and go home where I can enjoy a dinner without anyone running around over my head.

'Twas The Day Before a Race

I thought it would be cool if I could go off the same rhyming as the popular Christmas tale. I couldn't get past the start.

It's pre-race day. For me, my thoughts are not filled with pacing, form and hydration. Those would all be great things to be going over. No....I am concerned with more important items...race day fashion. I have been working on all the former items for weeks, yet last night my mind decided to grapple this one item that I obviously haven't spent enough time worrying about. The weather tomorrow is scheduled to be a balmy 56 degree high. That means at race time, it should be around 45 which is almost t-shirt, shorts and sandal weather. The question comes to mind as to what do I deserve to wear. Should I be brave and go in just shorts and a technical shirt. Should I wear my long running pants and my wicking long sleeve top? These are all decisions I have to make. What will my finish line photo look like? This race last year I was suffering from an IT band issue and was just glad to finish the race. Last year my outfit was a miss matched collection of whatever I could find.

I want to make a good impression on all those people who might recognize me. They let me pass last year because it was my first official race, but this year I better be prepared for the scrutiny. Have I improved my overall runner appearance? After all, I am representing the sport as a whole. What if Runner's World comes and is looking to publish the best and worst dressed runners. Where would I fit? Would I be a disgrace to my family and friends if I grace the cover as one of the worst dressed runners? Or will I be one of the best and end up with a sponsor who will outfit me in all their apparel and put on all their advertising? This is what is running through my head today.

Does anyone else think like this? I'd like to know. Since this is a new blog and so far I only know of one person who reads it, this may be more of a rhetorical question, but it is one that bugs me. If I broach this concern with my wife, she will give me that look (all you married men know the look) and say something like "buddy" or "it's time you find a different addiction." Until then, i'll worry about it. I'll be the one in the middle of the pack evaluating what everyone else is wearing and fidgeting with my outfit.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shoe Shopping

It's time to buy some new shoes for my son. Shoe shopping for me is almost like a religious experience. My shoes have to connect with me on a deeper level than just the outside appearance. It's almost like we have to connect soul to soul before I could put down the cash to get them. My son looks at this process as something that has been banned by the current political administration. His thought process is..."how fast can I get out of here".

I think we've worked out a treaty in this process. I will spend time finding the right shoe for my budget and then present it to him. I spent a few hours last night looking on line and found a pair of asics for him at a good price. This morning, when I presented the option to him, he glanced at them and said "ok". There was no analyzing or becoming "one" with this particular shoe. It was just ok...i've got a long way to go....

[note: Just back from the running store. After a brief trip to Kohl's we stopped in at Fleet Feet and picked up some shiny new asics 1140s. He has that magical new shoe glint in his eye and I know he's thinking he's just shaved a minute off his per mile pace :). They cost a little more, but he's worth it and I picked up some new socks while I was there so we both won.]

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Trail Running

According to much of the literature that I have read, running on grass, dirt, gravel, etc. is supposed to be easier on the body. I personally think it is just another marketing scheme to get us to buy a different kind of shoe. Here's my reasoning. Two Saturdays ago the local running group I run with on occasion decided that the nice smooth asphalt was no longer acceptable. The snow had melted sufficiently that a trail nearby was dry enough to run on. 
Anxious to test out the theory that my feet and knees would appreciate this run, I committed to be there. I suppose a nice well run trail would be easier , but after running on various angles, up and down and maneuvering around semi-frozen mud holes, my feet and legs felt like crap. My ankle definitely didn't appreciate the change. Maybe its my shoes...I should definitely look at getting a pair of trail running shoes or maybe I should just stick to the streets.

Just Keep Running

I must be addicted if I am starting a blog about my personal running journey. It all started over a year ago when several co-workers and I were having lunch with a vendor. He rattled on about his own experience at peer pressure at his work to train for a marathon. All of the sudden, someone at our table piped in that it "would be fun" to train for one also. The next thing I know, I have committed myself to actually doing something that requires more physical activity than walking out of my house and to my car. 
I now own more running shoes than any other pair of shoes. My casual, everday shoes are my Asics 1120s and I can't wait for my next issue of Runners World to come and my kids have declared that Fridays are "no talking about running" days. How did I become engaged in such elicit activity? I still wonder.