Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Grind

I think my lack of blogging stems to my current situation - the grind. 

I'm at the point of the year where it's the offseason for most ... and it feels like it should be for me as well given all the crap I've done this year, but I still have one more race - the Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half-Marathon. I've thrown out any and all goals I may have had for this race at the beginning of the year - I just haven't trained enough or properly to hit them - but I'm still hoping to do relatively well and, most importantly, have fun.

But it's hard to keep training. I had a couple good weeks of run training ... and then two that turned disastrous. Last week was another full week. This week should be, if I don't sabotage myself. Then two more weeks and it's race day. So soon and it needs to be much, much further away.

Cycling is pretty much on the trainer these days and it's hard mentally to get on there. The effort it takes seems monumental. I've tried swimming, but the last month of swims have gone abysmally thanks to something going on at the gym - some smell, something they've changed with either the pool itself, the sauna or the steam room. I manage 5 or 600, but then the nausea takes over and I have to get out.

I have plans, grand plans for next year and I've checked out of this year and am just looking forward to 2015. I just still have to remember that I still have the rest of this year, too. And that I need the rest of this year to set myself up for success next year.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Of the Oatmeal and Running

As an aside, I think training needs to get more interesting, as I have nothing to talk about on here. NOTHING. 

However, two Mondays ago (the 13th), The Oatmeal (a.k.a. Matthew Inman), came to Colorado as part of his book tour for The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I RUN Long Distances. As I had nothing else going on that evening ... I went to go see him speak and get a book signed.

Inman talking.

He didn't talk much about running; instead, he chose to talk about a trip to the Galapagos and attempting to walk in Charles Darwin's footsteps (stuff he's working on for a future comic or two). He did, however, share a story on his possible fastest mile ever ... with him trying not to crap himself, something all of us who run have done at least once in our lives. (Example 1, example 2.)

There was a loosely organized group trail run with him before the signing, but unfortunately I couldn't swing it. 

Signing books.

I got mine signed, and he was gracious to chat with everyone there. I was wearing my IMAZ jacket and mentioned that since that was so hard, and I've heard stand-alone marathons are harder than Ironmans, I have no desire to do a regular old marathon. He said that his 70.3 seemed harder than a regular marathon, so who knows. Maybe someday ...

Signed to Team Baby Dinosaur!

If you get the chance to see Inman speak, do it. It's highly entertaining. Also: GO BUY THIS BOOK. It's awesome. Also read about the mantis shrimp (possibly my favorite comic of his EVER), because knowledge.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

10/6-10/12 - Of the Trainer and Crossfit

Despite being in the midst of run training, I'm trying to make sure I cross-train as well. Strength-training is staying around and I'm also attempting to swim.

The main thing I've been trying to do (mostly for next year's plan) is to get on the bike. Outside time hasn't happened so much, but I got on the trainer twice last week for a whole hour. That's nothing compared to what I was doing (five hour trainer ride, anyone?), but if it helps me get back into it, all the better.

Getting back used to this view ...

I also tried something technically new on Tuesday, October 8 - Crossfit.

It was somewhat intentional. SkirtSports does monthly group "runs" (although I hesitate to use the word run as this one was NOT really a run) on the first Tuesday of the month. I thought there was going to be more running then there was, but there WAS Crossfit. 

More specifically, two laps around the office complex, stretching and then three sets of 25 each squats, push-ups, and lunges (with a short lap in between each set) followed by two more laps to cool down.

Stolen from the SkirtSports Instagram feed. I'm in front in the pink shoes and IMAZ shirt. Taken during stretching.

I ... couldn't walk for a few days thanks to that workout. My manager who does Crossfit says the workout we did was no joke (and it was technically half of what was supposed to be done).

My thoughts? I get the appeal. I really do. I finished the whole thing, but both my squat and lunge form purposefully went to hell by the last set - I did NOT want to pull something and I felt that if I kept trying to keep proper form AND go fast ... I would injure myself. Which is something the detractors of Crossfit mention, and I totally agree with. I like how Crossfit gets people lifting. I really enjoy lifting (and need to do it much more often than I actually do), but you need to lift safe, and I'm not sure that always happens with Crossfit.

I will also say that I probably could have slowed down and kept with proper form even if it took me longer because we weren't actually being timed (like we would in an actual CF box), but I'm a little competitive and felt like I had to go fast. I do think Jen (our instructor, who was great) maybe should have told us to NOT go as fast as one normally would so as to keep proper form/reduce injury risk, but maybe that's just me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

9/29-10/5: In Vegas Training

This past week's recap will actually not be as fun as most of them are, unfortunately, as I haven't done anything all that fun. 

That being said, we've officially started training for the Vegas half-marathon.

The week started off slow (going to a metal show on Sunday night and then working very, very early both Monday and Tuesday will make one terribly exhausted), but on Wednesday, things picked up and have been progressing nicely since then.

I've also decided, for October, to do what I did back in January and commit to moving/working out at least 10 minutes every day. I can find 10 minutes a day. 

In terms of running, I had what I'm pretty sure was my largest running week in training yet this year - 17.22 miles (this does NOT include racing) including quite possibly my longest training run this year - 9.29 miles.

That 9-miler was ... interesting. If you paid along to my weekly recaps I did on here last year during IMAZ training, you may have noticed that I had a lot of things in "CCSP." CCSP is Cherry Creek State Park, which we happen to live down the hill from (no, literally, down the hill). We ride in there a bit, but I've rarely ran in there because I never wanted to attempt running-mapping the trails.

Then I got a Garmin, and I started to run in there a bit, but only a bit (my main 7 miler is an out-and-back into the park). Sunday, I decided, screw it, I have a Garmin, I may as well run in here.

Because it's me, and the universe likes to screw with me, my Garmin lost satellites at some point on the run after the 6 mile point. I glanced down, saw "6.03 miles in 1:03:xx" and thought, "okay, I thought I was moving a bit faster than that, but whatever," and kept running. 

After a while, I hadn't heard my Garmin beep for mileage (which I sometimes don't hear anyway), so I looked down ... "6.03 miles in 1:22:xx." Huh. That's not right. Stopped it, restarted it ... and oh look, distance registered again. 

Since thankfully the time kept running, I knew how long I had gone for, but I knew there was no way I only ran 7.whatever miles. So I ended up having to map the run ANYWAY. Thanks, universe, you a-hole.

In any case, it capped off a great second week of half-marathon training, so yay for that.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Running Shoe Lament (Free Verse of the Wide-Footed)

(Poetry corner on the blog today ...)

my feet, they be tricky;
bunions make buying shoes
an awful, awful experience.
let's go up a size
or ideally, in wide
for comfort is hard to be found.

since i started running,
lo these many years
(okay, seriously since 2005),
i've maybe had two pairs i've loved:
an adidas microbounce in black 
with teal and silver accents
and fun inserts in both teal and purple
that i got cheap at sports authority
(knew what i was doing? pshaw.)
and my glorious wonderful
(and unfortunately pinkish red)
mizuno wave rider 16s,
the shoe of ironman
(and thank you mizuno
for putting a wide in a fun color
that's not just boring white.
even if it was technically pink.).

then they died, as shoes are wont to do
and replaced, they needed to be.
the 17s? though pretty they were,
the seamlessness
and the top of my foot
were not friends when they met.

with 18s months away from release,
off to the internet to find more 16s
(old models meant cheap
or so i hoped)
and of course they're cheap
except the ONE PAIR of 10 wides i needed.
i needed shoes, so here, take my money.

but ... 
they never fit the same.
they try to blister my heels.
wide? you mock me, shoe!

people i know
who know people themselves
made me think i got a bad batch
(for the shoe says wide,
but believe it i don't).
a waste of my money
(serves me for not shopping local).

the 18s are out soon
(yesterday, in theory)
yet i haven't been able to find a wide
(i need to try before i buy)
(stupid feet)
as of yet.
i have a half-marathon in six weeks
and would like new shoes.

brand loyal i need not be
(i usually am
but said feet? mean shoes can not be)
but i think mizuno i'd prefer.
(never liked asics.
saucony? you wear out too fast.
nike misses more than they hit
and while zoot intrigues the triathlete within,
skepticism still reigns.)

so wish me luck in this journey
as my feet need to be shod
(barefoot i'll never run;
especially in vegas - yuck!)
and uncomfortable running shoes
are misery indeed.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Today I did an 8.5 mile run, which went really well.  I'm dramatically increasing the running, and the body and mind are responding.  I'm feeling like I'm making good gains, and that my Vegas goals are in line.

What's hard for me right now is patience.

For those who know don't know me, I tend to be impatient.  I'm that guy who is tapping his foot when I'm held up for whatever reason, looking at his watch, etc.  Maybe it's my nature as a pilot.  I don't know.  What I do know is that on long runs, where I'm holding back as much as I can, is I want to go faster.

It's an exercise in patience.  Dial it back, force yourself to go slower.  Gains are made in the LSD runs as much as they are on the track or treadmill.  

The other point where I'm forced to exercise patience is in the shape of my body/my weight.  Yes, I am starting to lose the lumpiness I've gained over the past year and seeing gains there.  But not as quickly as I'd like.  I'm forced to remind myself that I didn't gain the weight overnight, and I won't lose it overnight either.  Patience.

Friday, October 3, 2014

9/15-9/28: What I've Been Up To

Yeahhhh, we know I've been a bit remiss with blogging lately. As a result, I've got some workouts to catch up on!

On Wednesday, September 17, we rode into Cherry Creek State Park ... mainly so I could test out my new helmet.


At Crescent Moon, I won a free Rudy Project item (sunglasses or helmet), so I decided I'd try out a new road helmet. The chin strap is a bit bulky, but other than that, I like it okay.

A few days later on Saturday, September 20, I went on a group ride with Richard and Carlos and a few other people from Kompetitive Edge. We rode from the store up to Dinosaur Ridge, past Red Rocks, through Morrison and back to the store. It was a fun 30 mile ride.

Almost back to the store; stopped at a light.

Stoplight selfie.

September 24 we hit up what is seemingly turning out to be our monthly track session for some 200s. We successfully managed one more this time than last outing, so yay for that.

After we finished.

Finally, on September 25, also known as our third wedding anniversary, we played a little hockey. I forked out quite a bit of money for an hour of ice time so we could skate and shoot and realize how out of hockey shape we are. It was a total blast, though.

Messing around.

Kind of looking like I know what I'm doing.

Yay, fun times, right? I know y'all missed this ...

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September Round-Up

Anniversary mini-vacation meant no blogging. Which is unfortunate, because I have workout posts about fun things. They'll still come, though.

Anyway, September. September was only half-way decent thanks to Harvest Moon. And only kind of.

Running: 37.62 mi
Swimming: 2881.21m (1.79 mi)
Cycling: 105.51 mi
Lifting: four sessions (1:11)
Other: one walk (:24), one session of hockey (1:00)

Did I do something non-S/B/R related?: Yes! We rented ice for our anniversary and played a little puck and it was AWESOME.

Am I strength-training regularly?: Still averaging that once a week, but yes.

Am I injury-free?: Unless you count frying my skin, including a horrible triathlete tramp stamp, which I did at Harvest, which actually did affect my run ... yes, yes I am.

Motivation has been hard to come by since the spring/early summer. Vegas is on the horizon, though, and we are picking up the running. The cycling and swimming are going to be tricky, but I know we need the cross training, so hopefully I'll still have some progress in those. We both want the strength to get ratcheted up so I'm hoping to have a few hours worth of that next month.