Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why do I keep Doing This To Myself?

Well, self, why? My training plan has me running 6 days a week, generally by going easy-workout- off- workout- easy-easy- long, with the workouts being tempos and speedwork and the last easy run before my long run being mid- distance around 10 miles. This gives me a day to play around with a little bit if I want to be creative. The problem is, I'm never creative enough. I usually take my rest day on Monday, which forces me to run an easy day and a track workout back to back. That never works. I always go out way too fast on my easy run and bomb the track workout. Like yesterday. I had an 8 miler on Tuesday as my first run of the week, and and averaged 7:23 miles. Typical. My training pace chart says my easy runs should be from 8:01 pace to 8:31, so yeah, that was bad. The next day, Wednesday, was a track day with 2 miles up then 5x1000 and 2 miles down. To compound my problems, it was 87 and humid, even at 10 p.m. I'm always remiss when I run track workouts since they're supposed to be run at "5k pace." What is 5k pace? any ideas? For me 5k pace is run as hard as you can and then pass out and hope you are in the chute when it happens. So I ran them right around a 5:12 mile pace which is a tad on the slow end, but it is what it is.

So now I'm into another easy run tonight, and I'm exhausted. Its a good exhausted though because I know I haven't cheated myself. Because in the end, all you're accountable to is yourself. And that goes for all walks of life too. Ever read the poem "The Man In The Glass"? Well I linked to it so no excuses. Thats kind of what its like not to cheat, to look in the mirror and believe yourself to be a self- made man.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I caught a baseball!

For real, I caught a baseball today and it was pretty sick. Now, let me preface this by saying I've never actually caught a ball at a baseball game. I was at a Twins game in sixth grade and I got a glove on a frozen rope line drive that was going to take the old woman behind me's head off, but that popped out and some overzealous fat guy pushed me out of the way to get it so we won't count that. Today I was doing the Rice Park loop (~10 miles) plus going to add on another 3 mile loop for my 16 mile long run to bring my weekend total to 26 (36 if you want to count Friday) and I run right past the Hamline baseball field on my way down to Downtown St. Paul. Well there was a summer ball game going on, and some guy popped up a can of corn foul ball. So I'm running by, doing like 7:50's, and kind of watching the game out of the corner of my eye. You go over a bridge over some railroad tracks before you go past the field so I had a good vantage point for a while. So i'm a little behind the field when this guy pops it up behind the backstop. I don't alter my pace any, but stray a little to the right and hold out my hand and catch it, all nonchalant like. It was pretty cool, one of the cooler experiences I've had on a training run.

The rest was a world of suck though. I woke up at 9:30, but waited until 3 to do something with my life. By then it was 80 degrees, and 85 when I came back. Downtown it wasn't that bad, but going from like Hamline to John Ireland was super boring. Thats like the boondocks of saint paul kind of, and there isn't really anything to see. It sucks. Coming back I ran on the Minneapolis side of the river down Water street and on some secret trails, but most of them were flooded out, so that wasn't cool. On my extra six miles I met up with a couple random guys and convinced them to run with me. See, thats whats cool about runners, I just ran past them and asked how far they were going, then said I'd do 6 with them at least and they were like lets do it. Pretty soon we were flying down the river boulevard at a decent enough clip singing Piano Man by Billy Joel at the top of our lungs, it was good stuff.

So thats that, but the rest of the week was pretty bad. For those of you who don't know, Minnesota was blasted by a heat wave, and the entire week was in the upper 80's- upper 90's range. At least 3 or 4 days had heat indexes over 100, so running was not fun. Usually I ran at 11 or so at night, which felt a little better, but it wasnt really cooler at night. I think it was Wednesday that I woke up at 5 A.M. to run and it was 90 degrees already. What really got to me was there was no escape from the heat. My house doesn't have AC and my room is the only one in the house that doesn't have a window unit, so it was like this: sweat when you're sleeping (if you can even get to sleep), shower, immediately start sweating, run, sweat more, shower, start sweating again. Yeah, I guess I could have gone to my parents house, but one thing I absolutely hate more than anything is people that aren't self sufficient. I don't know, I'm increadibly headstrong too, you kind of have to be to keep putting in 300 mile months, every month.

This post is getting ridiculously long, so if you read this far, kudos to you. Here's some random thoughts and happenings lately:
  • The new Matt Nathanson album, Modern Love, is super good. Like amazing. I feel like only girls like him, but whatever. I saw him at the Electric Fetus a couple weeks ago an am going to see him again at the state fair. What up?
  • Bon Iver's self titled CD is sickness as well. Just super dirty. Hipster Alert! I'm seeing them also in November. They just kicked off their tour in wisco two days ago.
  • This kind of describes my feelings on the weather lately:
  • The government is working! hooray! now I can drink beer, and get arrested for all the fun stuff I did when the gov't was shut down (like quarry jumping)
  • This weekend I worked St. Thomas' Orientation and Registration. I feel bad for those kids.
  • Half Marathon on the 6th, I've got to figure out how I'm going to get there
  • I signed up for another half marathon on the 28th, this one with my roommates. I probably won't race it so I'm going to wear my Wisco singlet and America shorts. These ones-
  • When will the Eugene Marathon get their sh*t together and open registration?
  • 2 months and 1 week until Twin Cities

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Or we could blaze!

That's a quote from Once A Runner, if you didn't know. Most of my post titles are from OAR. I would have put the full paragraph up there, but it wouldn't fit, so here ya go:
It is simply that we can all be good boys and wear our letter sweaters around and get our little degrees and find some nice girl to settle, you know, down with...Or we can blaze! Become legends in our own time, strike fear in the heart of mediocre talent everywhere! We can scald dogs, put records out of reach! Make the stands gasp as we blow into an unearthly kick from three hundred yards out! We can become God's own messengers delivering the dreaded scrolls! We can race dark Satan himself till he wheezes fiery cinders down the back straightaway....They'll speak our names in hushed tones, 'those guys are animals' they'll say! We can lay it on the line, bust a gut, show them a clean pair of heels. We can sprint the turn on a spring breeze and feel the winter leave our feet! We can, by God, let our demons loose and just wail on!

Yeah, good stuff. I think I'm going to get that book out of the library today and never finish reading it. Kind of like that book on Haile Gebreselassie that I never finished reading? that one sucked though. Its not like I can't sit down and write all of OAR either, because I probably can, but there's something about reading that book every summer that gets me geared up for running.

So, actual running has gone great lately. Apart from the lax bros taking my beloved track from me. Like this lax bro, who is also my roommate (see photo). So my track work is scheduled on Tuesday, and because of my work schedule, I can't run until 8. Well, lax camp has both the field and track from 8-10 everyday, and since the only other day I could do a track workout in the morning is Friday (which would make me have two easy days in a row, but a speed workout and a marathon pace long run back to back, which would suck a lot. So I've been going to the High School track 5 miles or so from me (so 10 round trip). I'll just run there and run back. Its kinda brutal so sometimes I'll just wait until the brosciety meeting is over and run track at like 11, but that sucks too.

The Last 2 runs I've done in my new flats- my New Balance MR1400's. I think I figured out why I like them so much- they fit exactly like the Brooks Racer ST4's (which are my favorite shoes of all time), whereas the ST5's run a tad wider than the 4's... but I'll get to that in a later post. The two runs were an 11 mile tempo (2 mile warm up, 7 mile @ tempo pace, 2 mile cool down) on Thursday, and a 7 mile recovery on Friday. I'm probably going to wear my trainers for this weekend's runs, but I'd like to get up to the point where I can do an entire half marathon on flats and feel good about it.

Thats another thing, I signed up for another half marathon next month, so I'll be doing 2 within like 17 days of each other. Even better, they coincide with my long runs, so what up?

So last night was a rough one. I thought I was going to go to bed early like I usually do, get up for work at like 6, work from 8-noon, and then run home from work (which is 7 miles, I have 8 to do today). Not happening. I ended up pulling an all nighter for no reason, and it looks like I'm gonna grill when I get home, then nap, then take a night run since its supposed to get real hot real quick.

It looks like I might finally get my 21 papers sometime soon. I got an email from the New York Times (they email me headlines) saying that the Senate had reached a deal on the MN budget, which would potentially end 16 days of shutdown. However, when I clicked on the link to the article, it didn't exist, so I don't know what that means but I think we're still in lockdown mode over here. I tried to get my license renewed through the county service center last Thursday, but doors were locked and no one was home at 11 in the morning, so I don't know what's happening right now. It could be worse, at least we're not Detroit.

I'm thinking of getting into the steeplechase. Like really into it. Last year I did a couple club races and didn't do too badly (I only came in last twice) and only ate **** off the water jump once or twice. But I think it would be kind of cool to have that in my back pocket. Heck, Steve Slattery is still steeplechasing and he's like 50, so how hard can it be?

Also, one of my friends just turned 21, and she's engaged already. Either the kids aren't alright (thats an Offspring reference for all you hipsters) or I've got some work in front of me as far as dating goes

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brooks Ravenna 2 shoe review

Okay guys, Its been a while, an I don't think I've posted a review on the Ravenna 2's, so here you go.

Out of the box, these boys are stiff as boards, which is an oddity for Brooks shoes. Granted, that could be due to a lot of things- the shoes sitting around a while in a dry warehouse- or something like that. Usually when I get Brooks' I can run six or so easy miles right off the bat with little or no problems. This time wasn't happening however, so I wore them around for a day, and then ran an easy three at night. Miserable. The upper was tight, the shoes felt like boards and the heel collar tore up my achillies. So back to the drawing board I guess. I cut off the first quarter inch of the heel collar with a razor and covered it with duct tape. Then I cut the groves in the bottom of the shoe an eighth of an inch deeper all around. Then I wore them around work all day and streched them out a little more with my hands. Then they were ready to go.

The shoe itself
No bells and whistles here- or at least less than the Adrens I usually run in. They're still a great shoe fore the money if you need some stability, but not much. If you currently wear the adrenalines and need the stability, switching to the Ravennas won't kill you or your stride. The major update this year was the addition of the DNA midsole. I think I posted in my Adrenaline 11 review that I didn't care for the DNA material too much, now I'm indifferent about it. I run in shoes that have both the DNA material and the old hydroflow chambers and can't tell a difference.

Last year's model of the Ravenna had weird sizing, it ran about a half size small, and the Ravenna 2 is the same, plus its a bit snug along the midfoot, but it has more forefoot and toe box room than both the original Ravenna and the Adrenaline 11. One thing I'm not a fan of is the heel collar. Its TPU reinforced, so when it irritates you, you're in trouble. But that's the same in all Brooks shoes so I'm not going to dwell on that a whole lot. The one thing I've heard that's not true is that it "feels fast." Nope. But its a trainer, and it fills that function well. The cushioning is- well, um... its there. Nothing spectacular, but it does the job. You get some "road feel" with these shoes, but not enough to the point of annoyingness.

The Ravenna has lots of cushon in the heal but not much anywhere else, so if you're a heel striker you're going to love these shoes, otherwise you'll be so- so about them. Also, they wear out really fast- I only got 325 miles out of these before the outsole started coming apart.

The Verdict
I'm never going to tell you to stay away from a Brooks shoe, but these shoes are almost a solution waiting for a problem. What I mean is the shoe caters to a very slim demographic. If you're just starting to run, chances are you're a heel striker, which makes this shoe perfect for you. However, if you're a new runner, chances are you also overpronate, and would be better off using a full on stability shoe. So basically, if you want to change your stride but are tentative about it, these are a good jumping off point. Just don't start using them in the later stages of a marathon training cycle.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Turning 21- kind of

So for all of you following the Minnesota political scene, our government has shut down as we can't close a 5 billion dollar deficit in our state budget. If you're not paying attention, I don't blame you. I'm a political science major, and bipartisan politics is driving me crazy. This means that all our politicians get unemployment checks. Yep. They still get paid even though they won't talk to eachother. Without getting into a rant on how stupid and childish that is, the bottom line is that all state offices are closed. State parks are closed, but more importantly the office where I get my drivers license renewed is closed. Not quite sure why since its a county office, but whatever- that's bureaucracy for ya.

So, even though I turn 21 today, I can't do anything until the state either (a) the state issues me papers saying I'm 21, or (b) I get a new license that doesn't have the huge red "UNDER 21" marking on it. Yes, my license has my birthday on it, but apparently no one reads that. Anyways, its not a big deal. I think I mentioned on here already that I can't drink alcohol because of medical stuff, plus I'm always in marathon training. But it would be cool to go to a bar, just because I know I would spit some awesome game about marathon training and my "all I do is run, work, and sleep" syndrome. Girls love to hear that stuff.

Back to running though, Saturday I ran with my club, and promptly fell off the pace and got lost. Well, not totally lost because the run was in my neighborhood but I wasn't listening to the route so I missed a left turn and ended up a good three miles from where I should have been. So that was exciting. I also missed a water stop, which was too bad because it was really hot. The next day I ran 12 for a long run and that really sucked. Thank God its forecasted to get cooler here, because its getting ridiculous, especially because my house isn't air conditioned either.

I'm looking for a summer marathon to do next summer. I've done Grandma's the past two years and while thats a pretty awesome race, I'm looking for something different. Right now, I'm looking at the BMO Vancouver Marathon, the Eugene Marathon, and the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. Any recommendations? reviews?