April 29, 2007

That's good enough for me

I have run with a lot of different music. Even when I don't have my mp3 player along, I'll often have songs playing in my head. Sometimes those songs get a little strange, but today's song perhaps take the cake: Cookie Monster's "C is for Cookie". How the hell that got planted in my forebrain I'll never know.

It was the Run as One Thomas G Labreque Classic today, a race I've done in the past. Walking up to the tents, I saw the the shirts and thought, "hey, that's the same shirt as last year; guess I'll have another cotton bike rag." Much to my surprise, the shirts turned out to be tech t's this year. They ran a little small, so my medium fits me very well, and that's good enough for me.

The weather was perfect. As I learned in Houston during the Half and as it was reinforced today, upper 50's, overcast, and just the wee-est threat of rain makes for the perfect running environment. My lungs cooperated much better than they have in the last couple of months and I didn't overheat, either, and that is good enough for me!

I have had a chest cold for four or five days now and seriously considered not running today, but off I went anyhow. I am feeling better today and that, combined with 600mg iburpofen and a large cup of coffee, really helped me feel like I could tackle at least 4 miles. I didn't get to the park with enough time for a warmup, though I did get some good stretching in pre- and post-race.

Though my legs, belly, and lungs have all been hurting for the last week, everything worked fine today. From the diaphragm down, everything worked beautifully; my legs were "into it." The lungs are still not 100%, but they functioned much better than last week. I ran until I simply ran out of air and then walked as little as possible. I kept the pace easy, trying to go for consistency rather than speed. The first mile (including Cat Hill), I had no walking at all and was a 10-minute mile. I walked a little bit in the second mile and once in the third, but that's it. The result is twofold: First, though the distance was the same and my training is about the same, I simply enjoyed this race far more than last weekend. Second, I was able to shave 1:30 off last week's time. I'm still not in the speed range I should be, but I'll take any improvement I can get.

[post-nap edit] On the other hand, having just checked my race database, it appears that this weekend and last are my third and fourth best times for the 4-mile distance out of 8 races, so maybe I should be happy with what I'm able to do; because after all, hitting better than my 50th percentile is good enough for me! [/edit]

Really should be seeing the doctor soon. But I'm having to change clinics and get new referrals and it's a process. But I need to get some PFTs done and see where I stand clinically.

Last note: went by Paragon after the race to pick up a new pair of running shoes. Apparently the Adrenaline 6's weren't available (I checked all the shoes, but didn't see a pair out there; and Brooks website would indicate they're being phased out), but there were some Adrenaline 7's that didn't fit or feel any different, so I got those. According to Brooks Running, the midsole is a new one designed to keep that cushioned feel for 400 miles. The guy who "helped" me get the shoes was obviously not a runner and he questioned me even asking for a women's shoe. It took all my self-restraint not to call him a retard. I mean, when somebody walks in with a race number pinned to their bag and are WEARING their current pair of running shoes, you do not question their preferences! They may be women's shoes, but they're good enough for me, dammit! Also, the cashier didn't want to give me the NYRR discount because the shoes were "already on sale." I asked if, instead of the 5% off sale price I could get the 10% NYRR discount, he said no. So I asked for a manager. And got the NYRR discount. :) Bonus cookie: for even just trying on the shoes, I got another tech T. Sweet; it's good enough for me.

In completely unrelated news, a friend sent me this last night and I couldn't stop laughing. Right click and select "view image" to see the whole strip.

April 25, 2007

i repeat, this is just the beginning

Got out for a short run this morning, not even two miles. But still - it represents the first time I've gotten up early for a mid-week morning run in ... months, I think. A major victory for me. Still, it means being in bed by 10. Looks like I can have either enough energy to run or my Daily Show and Colbert Report, but not both.

The run itself was bad. My legs felt like stumps, not working well, not feeling strong - for the first time in a while, I needed ibuprofen after this run. And my lungs were certainly productive! The air was good and it was easy to breathe, but I was coughing up more junk in this short run than I did on the weekend for 4 miles. Maybe this is exactly what I need. Well, though it was bad, it's a beginning. Back to training.

April 23, 2007

"This is just the beginning."

Hell month is over, at last. I think there is one of those jobs that I won't be taking again, for many reasons. But at least now I can get a decent amount of sleep and get my game on.

Yesterday was the Adidas 4-mile run. I woke up too late and didn't get any warm-up in - got to the start line just as the horn sounded. And as I had a teaching commitment right after, I just did the four and called it a day.

Tough run. Not terrible, not even "rough"; just...a real workout. I needed it a lot. But it kicked my ass and showed me plainly that I am now officially Out Of Shape.

I walked a little bit - far less than I feared I'd have to - and the last mile was continuous and quite good. Overall time was 43:19. Again, not stellar (I should be able to notch a 36:00 for this distance), but at least I'm under the 11 min/mile bar for the time being.

Legs felt good. Lungs were a bit limiting - but mostly I'm just out of shape. Fat and flabby, that's me!

At the beginning of the run, I heard someone should "Go Brooklyn!" I'm not sure who it was (Uptown Girl?) or if they were cheering for me or not, but it was a bit of a boost. Hell, riding on that alone, I made it up Cat Hill without walking!

Two-thirds done and I hear some girls chatting behind me as they run. I'm thinking to myself about the NY Marathon (which I signed up for this weekend, finally and officially) and that I think I'll be following the beginner's plan again, though extend the schedule to include at least one 20-miler before the taper. At that moment, one of the girls says (appropo of I know not what), "This is just the beginning." Somehow, that phrase is sticking with me and is giving me the patience to tackle another long training season.

It is time to start getting up early in the mornings, get in 3 to 5 miles before heading for work - in short, to get my act together. It's been a long, slow, difficult winter and now I have the opportunity to take this sudden spring as a motivator.

If nothing else, I just want to finish the goddamn NY Marathon and be done with that distance for good. And now I have someone to beat to the finish line: Joan Rivers is planning on participating in the NY marathon!


April 12, 2007

maybe we don't

I may not make it to the Brooklyn half on Saturday. I am just exhausted right now and won't get to bed before 1 a.m. either tonight or Friday. Getting up at 5 a.m. to go run a half-marathon.... I don't know. I would much rather get my sleep on Saturday and put in a long run on my own time later in the day. It's not like I've been training for this one, or anything. I guess I'll see how wiped out I feel Saturday morning.

I did get a solid five miles in last Sunday and it felt really good. Minor amounts of walking, but nothing too disappointing. I haven't been running this week, except for running between two jobs. This will continue thru next week and then things lighten up. Time to start getting some runs in before going to work, now that the sun is rising in good time.

April 6, 2007

When will spring arrive?

Alright, this is getting downright depressing. I enjoyed an overly-long fall, including 70 degree days in early January, and was running pretty well at the time. Now, however, spring does not seem to want to arrive and we are still experiencing freezing temperatures and rain. Global warming my ass.

It makes me not want to run, much.

Not that I have time. the last week of Feb and the first three weeks of April have, for the last five years, been what I call Hell month. Project after project comes due and I always manage to get it all done. This year, two more large projects were added on top of the usual workload and they'll likely reoccur. My running has suffered for it all, as has my sleep, my nutrition, and...yes...even my health a little. I'm getting gunkier, though I'm not feeling bad or anything. I'm still getting out for a run about once a week, but that's so not enough.

Well, things are breezing right along and I'll get in a good run this weekend; I'm aiming for a slow-and-steady eight-miler. If I do the flat route out to Verrazano Bridge, it should be OK. It's going to be cold and miserable, though.

I'm looking forward to the Brooklyn half the following weekend, in the same way a meth addict looks forward to rehab: he knows it will be good for him and he'll wind up feeling good and feeling like a better man for it; but it will be a slow and painful slog to get there. My strategy is to use the boardwalk miles to warm up, concentrate on NOT walking during the six miles of Ocean Parkway, then deal with the five miles of Prospect Park hills as best I can. If I have to walk some of that, no big deal.

Incidentally, I saw NYFlyGirl at the Scotland Run and we chatted for a bit. I know she doesn't like the Brooklyn half (Queens is her run), but I distinctly recall seeing her zip by last year in good form and I can't shake the impression that it's the kind of challenge she meets well. I also recall that it was directly after my first (and so far only) Brooklyn Half that the Rundown by Derek Rose got started and I started perusing Beast's blog. Neat stuff. BTW, Beast just finished the JFK 50-miler on so little training it's not even funny. How the hell does he do that?? Well, that's neat, too.

And now, a funny easter cartoon which appeals to my dry humour:

April 2, 2007

Two Sundays

Last Sunday

I was in Chicago on business and called up Lora to see if she wanted to go for a run. She'd done 10 the day before but agreed to meet me Sunday afternoon. Having gotten a GPS with the rental car made getting round easy (I have GOT to think about getting one for my motorcycle) and I was soon meeting Lora in the parking lot of the clocktower, where she usually starts her runs. We jogged along the lake shore trail but both of us were having great difficulty with the unexpectedly warm and humid weather. We were doing about 11 m/m, a nice easy jog most days, but it was real work and we had to take walk breaks. It's a pleasure running with Lora, since just as I start thinking about slowing down, she actually does. So we sync nicely on that.

Turns out, though, that she brought the wrong key with her and was locked out of her Jeep. After some phone calls turned up no help, I drove her to her home, which she just moved to recently - a nice condo apartment in Evanston. The view is fantastic and includes a panorama of the lake. I met her bf too and he's just a big teddy bear.

all in all, a very nice visit, though I'm sure Lora wouldn't have wanted it to end with so much drama.


The Scotland Run 10K

My 35th roadrace turned out to be inauspicious. In fact, I'm going to mark it down as one of my top five worst races ever. It wasn't quite in the range of that disastrous Manhattan half of more than a year ago, but it wasn't anything like it should have been. I do NOT want to settle for having to walk hills... But that wasn't even the problem this time - it was just that my legs and lungs weren't ready for this race. At first, my legs hurt and I had to stop and stretch - that's fine, I've done that in races before, and about the halfway point, the pain went away and the legs were good. But I felt lacking in energy and that really hurt my race. Most problematic were the lungs. Even though I was taking hills nearly as easily as flats, my lungs would just run out of air at a certain point. I guess I could get in five to eight minutes of jogging, then have to walk for a minute. It was incredibly frustrating, since this would happen even on downhills. I coughed my head off the entire race and that was even MORE frustrating because it wasn't even a productive cough! So the race went.

To further rub salt in the wound, I failed to out-kick a handful of rather overweight runners at the end of the race. I just couldn't catch them and with every fifty yards I kept losing steam palpably. And that just pissed me off. This was just a bad race in most respects and I just want to put it behind me.

Final time: 1:12:23, my slowest 10K by four minutes. Ugh.

to add insult to injury, I didn't even get to go home, shower, and nap. I spent the next ten hours running from rehearsal to rehearsal and ending with a late dinner with a producer.