Monday, January 31, 2011

That probably would have hurt if it wasnt so awesome

Or, "Que sera sera"

And we're back to running. Today's run was a fun one, with the goal more endurance than distance or time. Who am I kidding? there was no real goal. Its the day before marathon training starts and I just wanted to get some acidosis going on. It was snowing fairly hard when I got out of class and laced up the shoes, and there was quite a bit on the ground. It looked pretty, but it wasn't pretty to run in. It was pretty much a "pick your poison run," meaning that whichever route I picked to run wouldn't be 100% runable. I picked my normal 8 mile route down by the U of M, but only ran 5 of it. Its usually pretty well plowed, but not today. I couldn't even finish my warm up mile and a half warm up. I wiped out five times during my warm up, and ended up walking a little under half of it. Surprisingly, I didn't break anything. I fell a total of 6 times during that five miler. It was a good time though, I was fine during my run, save for being ridiculously hot and sweaty for it being 8 degrees outside.

I also got my Garmin watch today. I really wanted one, but honestly, I let my ambition get the best of me and ordered it last weekend. Granted, I wanted it for pace training for Grandmas, but I'm in a big fiscal crisis right now, it being the beginning of the semester and all, and I let my impulses get the best of me a little bit. That notwithstanding, I got a Garmin 305 off Amazon for $120 with free shipping, which is pretty cheap compared to what I could find. Anyways, I charged it up during my International Law and Orgs class and ran with it today. I'll review it later because today I used it in glorified watch mode. My heart rate (while I was running) was well over 180, so that tells you how tough the run was. The problem was I wasn't running all the time, which screwed everything up. However, I did somehow manage to click off miles 3 and 4 at 7:35 and 7:40, respectively. Just don't ask me to do it again.

Que Sera Sera means "whatever will be, will be" in Latin. Unfortunately, it looks like I'm going to start my Grandma's training on the treadmill. That is, if I can fit it in. Otherwise, we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

All Star review: swing and a miss

Or, "Bettman whiffs on another gimmick," or, "taking steps to alienate actual hockey fans."

Disclaimer: I know this is a running blog, but I've written about hockey before, and I'll do it again. If you're not interested, no offense taken, you can just sit this post out.

I just got finished watching NHL All- Star weekend from Raleigh, NC. This year the NHL tried a new format for All Star weekend, most notably instituting a fantasy draft for the all stars voted in. Both captains, Eric Staal and Nicholas Lindstrom were assisted by their assistant captains in picking a team from the available pool of players. I wasn't crazy about the fantasy draft idea to begin with, but I guess I can live with it. I'm hockey purist, so that was probably most of it. I was also hoping and praying that Ovechkin and Crosby weren't put on opposite teams (which most likely would have happened, had Crosby played), resulting in a ugly media orgasm not unlike the Winter Classic, which was billed as Crosby vs. Ovechkin plus some other guys who happen to be skating on the same ice sheet, but for all intents and purposes won't get mentioned. But I eventually warmed up to the fantasy draft, although I still think they should have kept the East vs. West format.

Saturday was the Super Skills competition, which was nothing short of a disaster. It started with the player introductions. Visually it was awesome, but it was filled with mistakes. This year they added a relay event, which consisted of 4 (or six, I can't remember) teams doing a relay consisting of a one- timer competition, a passing competition, a stickhandling component, and accuracy shooting. The competition was set up as a tournament, with the two fastest times "playing eachother." I couldn't even watch that. It was so boring. I wouldn't be opposed to the NHL adding the stickhandling component as a stand alone event, that was the only keeper of the bunch. Get rid of the relay, please! The only gripe I had passed that was that all the competitions were set up as head to head tournaments pitting team Staal against team Lindstrom. That was not only confusing, but unnecessary- just why? the superskills is an individual, not a team competition. The shootout competition was also super lame. Corey Perry was the only one who pulled a really sick move, and he got stoned by Fleury. They timed the accuracy shooting competition, so they did like the first person to hit all four targets the quickest. Awful. At the end they did a last man standing breakaway competition, where if you didn't score on your breakaway, you were out. That was the on;y event where it wasn't really segregated by team, and they did it right. So kudos to the NHL on that one.

The game itself was good. A little lackluster, save for the last ten minutes, but it was a good game overall. They could do away with mic- ing the goalies I think, but maybe I'm thinking that because I used to play goalie. The player intro was very Ottawa Senators in last year's playoffs- esque, so in other words just weird. The music made me want to throw up. Three Doors Down? really? like come on, pick someone who was popular in at least the last five years. They also plated way too much rap, and not popular rap either. I also heard the Cha Cha Slide at least three times and the Cupid Shuffle once. At a hockey game? really? come on man. Also, get rid of Doc Emerick, he's an awful announcer and makes me want to cut my ears off. They should just let Eric Staal commentate. My favorite part was when he and Doc were talking. It went something like this
Doc: Here's a three on one for team Lindstrom
Staal (screaming): FOR GOD'S SAKE GET BACK!

That, or the ref talking to Staal saying "that would be f***ing awesome." Don't even get me started on the NHL Guardian cartoons released during the second intermission. So, in summary:

Fantasy draft: good
Changes to Super Skills: worse than bad
Game itself: good

Friday, January 28, 2011

Holding down the couch like its my job

The calendar is up in my room, and that only means one thing, and that thing is that marathon training is starting up on February 1st. Which marathon am I training for? Not sure yet. Maybe Grandmas again, maybe Med City, maybe something else. Whatever though, I mean four months is a long time. I better be prepared rather than unprepared if I decide to do a spring marathon, whichever one.

So, running has been tough lately. On Tuesday, I ran, and I chafed. Like, real bad. I was chafed in places where no dude wants to be chafed. If you’re a guy I think you know what I mean. So I took two days off- completely off, save for core work. It sucked. I usually don’t wear body glide because I usually don’t chafe, except in the late miles of marathons. I learned my lesson this time. This morning I got up and ran, although not as far as I had planned. I went three. Three whole miles.

One of my problems was that I wore my GTS 11’s for the first time in three months or so. Bad idea because today was the first day over freezing in forever, so the streets were filled with slush. It was a slog fest, and I doubt I could have gone very far anyways because of the conditions. I was sweating even after the three miles I did run. Despite that, I’ma try and run tonight after work if I can.

Run #2-

I ran after work because I couldn't leave today at just three miles. It was still pretty warm outside when I got home around 9:30, but same song second verse, really. I decided to count time since counting miles was pretty much useless since the roads were so bad. Usually my winter runs are confined to one or two routes because people don't shovel their sidewalks, but today it was bad everywhere. Definitely should have hit up the indoor track.

I missed the Milrose games, which I'm pissed about, but I heard ESPN 2's coverage wasn't that great either (surprise, surprise). But I got to see the tail end of the Gopher Hockey game and the NHL all star fantasy draft. I'm not sure what I think of the new format yet, I'm sure I'll write a post on it, but not right now because my head hurts like nobody's business.

Monday, January 24, 2011

That feeling of feeling

Today it was 27 degrees when I started my run at 5:20, and 25 degrees when I finished at 6:10. Above zero! This is big news, it was almost Florida hot in the great state of Minnesnowta. Okay, I shouldn't get too carried away, but it was nice not having to wear two jackets, thermal tights, and a hat. Of course, when there's a good foot and a half of snow on the ground and it warms up even a little bit, you get the snow melt. That kind of sucked a lot since St. Paul doesn't do the best job of shoveling off their footpaths in the winter. But nonetheless, it was nice not having to thaw out after a run. For example, on Sunday I went 14.5 in -2 degree temps (not windchill), and after I got back I couldn't really do anything. It even took me a while to lay on the couch because I was literally frozen. I had ice everywhere, it was great. But I mean, today I came in and I had sweat dripping down my face, and usually those are icicles.

Also on Sunday I went computer shopping with my grandparents. Their computer crashed a few days ago. Actually, the motherboard went bad. I offered to replace the motherboard for them, but they said they'd rather get a new computer. A new motherboard would take a while to get here anyway. So we went to Best Buy, and then Staples. I might have mentioned before that I work for St. Thomas' tech support department, and unfortunately my granddad pointed that out to everyone in the store when they asked "do you need such and such a support package?" That kind of got on my nerves, but whatevs. So he picked out a computer and a wireless printer and we went home. After 4 hours of shopping though! are you kidding me?

Anyways, I networked the wireless printer, fixed his wireless router, and set up his computer. I also recovered the data from his old hard drive and put it on his new one. You know what that would have cost him? $425! for an hour and a half of data recovery! that's highway robbery. I should start my own computer repair shop. Honestly though, if you have a computer question, you should let me know, since I do that stuff for a living.

I'm watching the show "I used to be fat." I think that show is hilarious. Maybe that's not the right word- amusing, there you go. Let me explain myself though before you go and tear me a new one. I think its great that people are getting into shape. Thats great, good for them. What's funny is when they're surprised getting in and staying in shape is hard work. There's a reason they call it "letting yourself go." I think a lot of that is how I was raised though. I'm a big fan of the "play the cards you're dealt" philosophy.

But anyways, I'm rambling, and I've got to find my phone that I lost earlier today.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ice, ice baby

Its cold. Every day I've said that, and the next day's colder. Today, I had to do 10 miles because I felt bad about skipping running the past two days. In my defense, I was feeling pretty crappy both days. Yesterday (Wednesday) was by far the worst; I couldn't keep anything down and was rushing to the bathroom every 10 minutes and got no sleep because of it. I still don't feel the greatest, but I'm not in that bad of shape. For instance, today's run I had sloshy stomach throughout the whole thing, and I felt like I was going to puke my guts out for a while, but never actually did throw up, even though I gave myself ample opportunity. I hop you weren't eating when you read that. Anyone want to play doctor and tell me what's up?

Anyways, when I started my run it was 4f, and when I finished it had warmed up to six degrees (not windchill, actual temperature). Supprisingly though, it wasn't that cold- except when I went across the Hennipin bridge- that made me wish I was dead. I wore two layers though-three on my legs. I went wind briefs, thermal tights, and running shorts on my legs, and a Craft Nordic Ski wind blocker long sleeve fitted mockneck, and a softshell jacket over that on my upper body. I was actually kind of toasty. My "beard" froze too, which was pretty legit- had icicles dripping down and all that. I wish I had taken a picture.

Also, this kid in my psychology class who goes to Hamline and runs cross country for them released this mix tape called The Fly Away a few days ago. I'm not a huge fan of rap, but his stuff is pretty good, especially for a debut album. His name is Ellis Cleve and you can download The Fly Away here. Give it a listen, you won't be disappointed.

Second, one of the runners I used to coach at the Courage Center, Krista Pylkki got a really nice article written up in the paper about her. Krista's a Paralympic hopeful in the 400m and currently holds the 400m world record in her disability class. Right now, she's in New Zealand competing in the IPC world championships for team USA. I'll explain how elite level disabled sports work in a later post, but the fact that she can compete at this high level just blows my mind. I had the honor of competing in track and swimming, as well as coach Krista, and you'll never meet a harder worker. Link to story

Monday, January 17, 2011

How to: Run in the winter

**The idea for this post was stolen from Cole over at The Art Of Running. This is kind of an addendum to his post, so check his blog out for more!

Dealing With the Weather
  • If you're planning on doing an out-and- back, make sure you start running against the wind, that way when you come back the wind is at your back, not in your face. I ignored this on my long run on Sunday, and the sweat on my shirt froze so it took like 20 minutes to get my shirt off after I was done
  • Be cold. Make sure you're chilly when you start running, because you're going to heat up quickly. Make sure you wear less on your lower body than your upper body, and use a hat sparingly. Contrary to popular belief, you don't lose most of your heat from your head. Also your hands are slow to warm up
  • Chances are, if there's cold, there's snow and ice. Invest in a pair of trail shoes, preferrably with gore- tex or something of that ilk. Or you could get a pair of yaktrax, although I've never had a pair so I can't comment on them
  • If you're a dude, wear some wind briefs. My rule is sub- 30f and they go on. They get a little toasty at times, but its better than not being able to have kids ever.
Don't get hit
  • If you're running late, or know you may be running when the sun is going down, wear a headlamp. Seriously, this is the best investment I've ever made. Its not uncomfortable, and cars can see you a lot further out than normal reflective strips
  • Count to three after you see the walk light while crossing intersections. Black ice and unplowed streets make stopping distance exponentially longer. I usually like to push it when crossing most intersections (eg. If there's no car coming, I'll cross, no matter what), but I wouldn't think about it in Winter
  • Run on the sidewalk or pedestrian paths. If you have to run in the street or on a bike lane, make sure you're as visible as possible
  • Cary some form of identification in case you do get hit (God forbid). I have a Road ID that's linked to an online database with all my medical info. Even better, carry a cell phone if you can
  • If you're running at night- and this is just a general rule- don't wear headphones. Its safer and more fun because you can sneak up on people

Friday, January 14, 2011

The loneliness of the long distance runner

No, I'm not referring to the book because that book sucked. Seriously, don't read it, it made me want to jump off a bridge. Book was super depressing. Anyways, I think I named a post the same thing two years ago, but deal with it. This one will probably be better anyways.

I'm almost done with Once A Runner, I've got 30 minutes (~1 chapter) left. I'm at the part where he's just about to compete in the Southeastern Relays against John Walton in the mile as his Finnish alter ego. I'm going to finish up the book tonight, even though I promised myself I would only listen to the book while running. I'm pretty amped to get home and listen to it, even though I could probably write the last few chapters of OAR from memory. I've read it five times already. Once A Runner is like the Bible- you pick up something new each time you read it.

Anyways, it was freezing cold today. It was the type of cold where I wish it would have snowed just because that would have raised the temperature a few degrees. It did snow at the tail end of my run, which made me want to go longer except I couldn't because I had to go to work. I love running in the snow, except the part where snow accumulates on the sidewalks- that part sucks. It seems to be an epidemic around me, and I'm guilty of it too. It snows, you tell yourself "I'll shovel that tomorrow," the snow melts and freezes overnight, you decide it takes too much time to shovel that, and it snows again and the cycle repeats itself. What results is piss poor footing and an uphill battle to stay upright and move forward at the same time.

And so is born my current crisis. I fell and ripped my running tights the other day, which is a problem when I only have one pair. So the last few runs have been chilly, and I have my Brooks wind briefs to thank that I still have the, um... ability to have children, shall we say? So, I'll have to hit up Run 'n' Fun on Sunday... oh shoot.

Other than that, today's run was pretty awesome. I ran to the U, but this time crossed over to the West Bank for some variety. It was peaceful. I named this post the loneliness of the long distance runner because we all are solitary creatures, and crave that time when we're alone with our minds, with an expanse of road in front of us. Some of us don't need that, but I know I do. I live in our fraternity house and someone is having a good time there almost every night. I'm not a party guy per say, since I don't drink and the measure of a man seems to be how many beers he can drink. So, its nice to get away from that mess and... I don't know... reground yourself?

That also concludes my first full week of consistent training since late July. Only 20 miles, but at a 7:54 average pace, which is halfway respectable, all things considered. I still have one workout left to add to my flotrack workout log that is written on a pizza box on my bed. That just oozes class. I ran 4 days, which I think I could up one more day without, you know, the knee flaring up. Its finding the time that's the issue.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11 review

**Disclaimer: I've run a grand total of 22 miles in the Adrenaline 11's, so take this worth a grain of salt. However, they have been sitting at the top of my closet for upwards of three months, so I feel like I owe a review anyways.**
So, the first question that probably crosses your mind is "why have you had these shoes for three months and still only have double digit miles on them? are they a bad shoe?" The answer to that question is no, no Brooks shoe is a bad one, especially not an Adrenaline series. I bought these shoes in late November, a few weeks before we got 2 feet of snow. Because of the snow and ice, I had to switch from the Adrenalines to some trail shoes to give me some traction. Come when the snow melts, I'll wear these shoes much more often, and I'll tell you why.
The first thing I noticed getting these shoes out of the box is their um... interesting lacing configuration. I'm having a tough time finding a picture of the lacing specifically, but basically there are these tabs above the eyelets in the actual shoe itself that you lace the shoe through, in addition to the traditional eyelets. In addition, there's another loop sewn into the tongue in the top corner, dubbed the lace lock. One of the first things I do when I get new shoes is replace the standard laces with neon ones, so learning the intricacies of relacing took a little time and a few attempts.
The second addition, which was billed as a major overhaul, was the addition of the Brooks DNA cusioning material. For me, I see plusses and minuses with this. DNA is supposed to give you the right responsiveness proportional to the force you put on the shoe. I like the idea, but it may be a little soft for me, but that's personal oppinion. When I say soft, what I mean is this: When I want to go fast, I wear flats, and when I go slow I wear trainers. Naturally, DNA is going to be softer on my slower runs, but I mean they're not made out of sponge cake or anything. Maybe its paradoxical, but the heel- toe transition is amazing. These shoes are buttery smooth.
One thing that I wasn't fond of in the GTS 10's was the small, cramped toebox. The toebox is most definately wider then the 10's, but the whole shoe is wider. Not by much. For example, the Ghost 3 has the same problem compared to the Ghost 2, but to a greater extent.
In conclusion, buy this shoe, but if you can't find it or are on a budget, try to find the previous version. One thing I hate about other shoe companies is that they don't update their new models. For Brooks, a new version means just that- something totally new and innovative, for better or worse. In this case, the update is definately for the better.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

John L. Parker is not William Shakespeare

Theres a raging debate on Track Talk (okay, not a raging debate, but its there) about Once A Runner and its literary merit. Not only that, but I've heard "Once A Runner sucks" from quite a few people. It might be coincidence but the majority are fat kids who haven't ran a mile in their lives. Anyways, the question was brought up "would a non- runner even want to read OAR?" I don't really care, but I don't think so. From a non runner's perspective, I think I would find OAR quite boring. A whole chapter on 400 repeats? pages and pages describing unremarkable training runs in detail? really? I love OAR, but its no To Kill A Mockingbird or Catcher in The Rye. That said, I'd rather read OAR than both those books because OAR is about runners, and runners are a rare breed . Not all of us obsess over shoes or 400 repeats, or Sammy Wanjiru's high school cross country times. Maybe not all runners do, but all runners run, and so a book about running naturally appeals to them all. So I guess in that sense is a cult classic. In the world of running books though, its got to be at or near the top.

As far as running goes, I did it, I went back to back. I shouldn't have, but it happened. I'll probably end up going three days in a row too since I have a three hour break between class and work tomorrow. I only went 45 minutes. Only 45. Why do I say only 45? Well, I'm going slow for one, I'm just trying to build up a long slow milage base so I can get a few good months of training under me and then figure out what I'm going to do with my life. I'm on chapter 11 of OAR as well. Book gets better each time you read it

Monday, January 10, 2011

If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run

And so it begins. That's part of a quote by Rudyard Kipling, but I hope you know that already. I actually know that quote by heart- every year we have a packet of readings each day for our pledge process for Sigma Chi. That quote is from one of the packets we had to read during our pledge period, and we had to chose one reading from each packet to discuss in front of the actives each night. I chose "if" (that poem) and talked about OAR and Quenton Cassidy and Bruce Denton and all that. Of course, no one knew what I was talking about.

The moral of the story is that I started reading Once A Runner again for the third time. Actually, I downloaded it on audiobook from the library and loaded it on my iPod. It works pretty nicely, although I do have a complaint. OAR was only available in Windows Media Player format, and it wasn't playable on a mac since you needed a certain codec not available on mac to play it. No problem right? I started up my virtual machine and downloaded the book. After installing the apple usb drivers on my virtual machine, I was ready to roll. I plugged in my iPod, but had to reformat my ipod for windows, which erased all my songs. That was kind of a headache, but whatever. Im already on chapter 7.

On to the actual meat of the post, right? Well, I ran a little over 7 miles in about an hour. Slow, but peaceful. It was nice to go out there in the light snow and just slog through a couple miles. granted, it was a little difficult footing, but its all good. Night runs are awesome, and snow running is awesome, so put both together is really awesome. My knee felt really good too. I could feel it a little bit in the last mile or two coming home, but not a problem.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Nice one, Flotrack

I ran 5.2 miles today, maybe more, but the number's irrelevant because it was 40 minutes, my longest continuous run since mid- July. I know that's slow, but try not to laugh. Out loud anyway. As to the condition I'm in right now, I'm not hurting, but definitely couldn't crank out a double. My knee is letting me know its there, but its under control and I iced it just in case. But whatever. So today, I logged on to my Flotrack account for the first time in a couple weeks. I usually go there daily, but haven't logged in in a while since I haven't had to post a workout in a couple weeks, maybe a month. Since I logged in, Flotrack changed formats and updated their site. I figured it out, but I went to select a shoe, and it said I didn't have any. Its a good thing that most of the shoes I own are new or close to it, save for my flats, so it doesn't make much difference. I'm light anyways, so putting a ton of miles on shoes isn't that rate. I used to count miles meticulously and switch shoes every 600 miles or so, but I can't afford that anymore and since I've done a lot of timed runs lately its hard to count miles. No big deal really, just kind of annoying I have to re- add them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A new year, a new me?

Its been a while, but hopefully I can get myself back up on the horse, so to speak. You haven't missed much, I'm back to running, but not that much- my monthly mileage is still in the double digits. If I even count mileage, let alone log it. As long as I run more than a half hour each time out, I can't complain, but I miss it. There are days- a lot of days- where I feel like a 20 miler would really hit the spot but know it won't happen. I keep busy though, I mean, I've got a full plate with school, although its on a downward spiral now that I only have class for three hours a day. So I'll ramp up slowly, as in running slowly and see how it goes. I mean, I'll be careful and all that, but at the same time, its been six months since I've really ran. I guess I'm day to day. But aren't we all?

In other news, my laptop crashed, and I'm going on five hours of data recovery. F- you genius bar, I don't need you. And you thought macs couldn't get viruses. My goal for this January is to read Once A Runner (again) and Again to Carthage. Updates to follow...