February 17, 2008

I am still in the game

Halfway through training. My gym time is slipping - though that's understandably due to being out of town for work - and therefore my core exercises and weight training. (The new core exercises require weights, most of them, and full paint cans just aren't a good substitute.) Well, I'll get to the gym four or five times this week. Going to have to; my legs are becoming tight again and it showed in yesterday's run.

This run went much better than last weekend's long run, though not quite as good as Thursday's 5-miler. I didn't have that same sense of powerfully running through liquid air - and I had to walk a lot.

The REASONS for walking broke down neatly into three distinct classes, which came sequentially during the run. For the first five miles, it was simple tightness and the resultant pain in my IT bands and shin splints. I am kicking myself for falling behind in my stretching and foam rolling - this is an AVOIDABLE problem and I have run smack into it. Literally. Pausing to stretch just didn't seem to help.

After the fifth mile, the tightness eased up considerably, but by then I was running into the wind, having turned around at the Verazzano. I had to really work and had I been wearing my heart monitor, it would show clearly during the two miles between the bridge and Owl's Head park, where I got into the shelter of trees and buildings again. Still, the wind was worth it because Saturday was just such a beautiful day and running along the bay was ... well, there are some runs I don't mind being slow and filled with walk breaks, and this long run was one of them. The bay was beautiful, the greenway (park? non-wooden boardwalk?) was almost deserted, so there weren't many people or bikes to dodge. Most of the people I saw were out for their weekend workout, just like me. Hard to summarize the bay-side portion of the run. It made me less dissatisfied with my performance. It made me look forward to spring. It reminded why I like this particular 9-mile route so much.

The last 2.5 miles were hard because by then I was having a pretty good-size exercise-induced asthma attack. Been a long time since my asthma kicked in during a run. I'll have to start bringing an inhaler again.

The graph shows the walking, but notice that I was doing roughly half-mile stretches and the walk breaks weren't all that long. The graph is TIME, not DISTANCE, so the walk breaks are exaggerated. I finished strong, too, upping my pace a little bit. I thought that if I had to, I could have gone a full 13.1 miles and finished in uner two and a half hours.

So that's what makes me say, I'm halfway through training for St Louis and I'm still in the game. At this point, I have confidence my body can go the distance, and even enjoy the event. The second half of training will continue to increase the long runs, but hopefully see this continual slow two-steps-forward-one-step-back progress in eliminating walk breaks. In other words, I hope to get my consistency, form, and speed back together. I don't know that I'll PR in April, but I think I could certainly pull off a better time than in Houston and have every bit as much fun doing it.

By the way, three weekends ago, I switched back to carrying Sustained Energy for my long runs. I have no end of praise for this product. It really helps keep me going and is quite pleasant to chug on the run.


Saw these hanging in C-Town today:

Very good idea; nice to see C-Town is helping reduce the need for plastic grocery bags.


I became just a little bit more of a self-righteous asshole today. I admit that I tend toward that anyway, but this morning, I finally called the police. You see, I expect that on weekends, I can sleep in. I expect other people to respect a certain amount of a.m. quiet time, especially businesses. But Saturday morning, promptly at 8:30 a.m., I was woken up by a hammer drill. Some small team was tearing out the top step of a stoop two houses down. They'd poured new concrete and were gone by 1 p.m. But it just pisses me off that they'd do such a noisy job so early on a weekend. We do have noise ordinances in this city.

"24-224 Construction activities.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person shall engage in or permit any person to be engaged in construction activities in any zone other than on weekdays between the hours of seven a.m. and six p.m. A person may, however, engage in construction activities on one or two family dwellings, convents or rectories, which are classified in occupancy group, J-3 as defined by section 27-266 of the administrative code, on Saturdays and Sundays between the hours of ten a.m. and four p.m. Such activities, however, must be located a distance of three hundred or more feet from a house of worship."

The GIANT ASSHOLES with the hammer drill were breaking the law. And had they waited until 10 a.m., I wouldn't have been quite as pissed off. I think I'm going to the neighbor and enquire about any further plans for home improvement. I'm also going to be pro-active about putting a stop to such activity.

But wait, it gets better.

This morning, I was awakened at 10 a.m. by very loud Mexican music. I couldn't tell where it was coming from from inside my house, but I didn't the the Hispanics down the block would do this - they never have before. I pulled on clothes and stepped outside to find that the workers at the car wash across the street were detailing a large SUV and had the CD player blaring. The absolute balls of these jerks amazes me - to have the effrontery to make such noise in a residential block on a Sunday morning calls for action. So I walked across the street and had to yell at the top of my lungs to get the attention of the detailer working fifteen feet from me. Had to yell three times before he heard me. That's how loud the music was. I told him to turn it down or I'd call the cops. I said this several times and he either didn't understand English or pretended not to. But in any language, what I was asking for would have been clear, even moreso with the word "police" at the end of it. He kept gesturing like he didn't know what I was talking about and looking over toward another part of the carwash, perhaps where his boss hangs out.

I went back inside. I called the city. The girl on the other end of my 311 call took the information and said the case would be forwarded to my local police precinct. Next time, I'll just call the precinct. They're two blocks away.

Now, this isn't the first time I've had to deal with this. Twice before I've had to deal with their noise, once for music, once for a fucking car alarm that they wouldn't disable while detailing the vehicle (another fucking SUV, btw). Unfortunately, being in an M1-2D district means that the commercial establishment falls under N-3 standard of the noise ordinance, which means a maximum of 70dB from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. without a weekend restriction, as far as I can tell. BUT, the same noise can't be more than 45 decibels when measured inside any residence. For comparison, 60dB is about normal conversational level and 70dB is your average radio or normal street noise, which I'm quite prepared to tolerate here. In short, my complaint is valid based on the volume, if not the working hours.

I'm trying not to let my hate rule my decision-making process. I'm trying not to let my hate of SUVs cloud my judgement. I'm trying not to just outright hate the carwash and its employees - they are my neighbors, after all. But the fact is, they violate noise ordinance incessantly, they constantly block the sidewalk out front with the cars they're drying and glossing, they often forget to shut off their immensely powerful floodlights or signs in the rear at night - which then shine into my windows all night - and their employees take up all the parking on the streets. If this business had any sense of community responsibility, I wouldn't be so upset - but they clearly have no respect for the people who live here.

Upon further research, I found this related to illuminated signs:

Surface Area and Illumination Provisions

M1 M2 M3

In all districts, as indicated, all permitted #signs# shall be
subject to the restrictions on #surface area# and illumination as
set forth in this Section, provided that the following #signs#
shall be exempted from such restrictions on #surface area#:

No #illuminated sign# shall have a degree or method of
illumination that exceeds standards established by the Department
of Buildings by rule pursuant to the City Administrative
Procedure Act. Such standards shall ensure that illumination on
any #illuminated sign# does not project or reflect on
#residences#, #loft dwellings# or #joint living-work quarters for


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