Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hidden forest trail run

There's a fine line between running had enough to make me feel sick, and running hard enough to make me sick.

I tread that line fairly closely today, running with a friend who was kind enough to pace me through the race. I did reflect on an upset GI system, and how it mess things up. such is the stuff of life.

Quick vignettes:
Chatted with a fellow who had a IM tattoo. Turned out to be my junior high assistant principle's son. Small world.

Chatted with the lady to parked next to me, who was also sporting something Iron man; this time a hat. I was seeing a trend.

This year, I ran roughly 45 seconds faster than five years ago. I find that curious.

20 degrees warmer today than yesterday. I may have done better with yesterday's weather.

I need speedwork. I'm thinking treadmill. Maybe some strength training, too.

Post run meal at the woodshop in clarkston was a spiritual experience. And I can't afford to become a life to eat person. I like being eat to live. It helps not having either the confidence or inclination to prepare good food.

Good friends after the race, too, are a wonderful thing.

Tomorrow, day of rest I think. I'll figure out the rest of the week as it comes.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Woodstock 2012 Babel

When you start a story, the words you use have meaning. If I say "Once upon a time...", I'm probably doing a children's fairy tale. If I say "No shit, there I was..." it should be a war story. And if I begin "It was a dark and stormy night..." it should be a mystery.

Unless, of course, it really was a dark and stormy night.

Woodstock 2011 was a bit of a mess. Rain for three days made the the race a pretty unique experience. The mud was unbelievable in some areas, comical in others, and unrunnable for a lot of the course. Led to a lot of great stories, though.

This friday, as the sun went down and drops started to fall, I thought: "uh-oh"
When the wind howled and the rain blew sideways, I thought about the 100K and 100 Milers out of the course, I continued to think... "uh-oh"
And as I failed to fall asleep because of the occasional plink of rain on my face through the 12 year old seams on my tent, the slightly more coherent yet no less valid thought sparked in my brain "Tomorrow is going to be interesting."

I do enjoy camping at an event. There's nothing quite like rolling out of a sleeping bag 30 minutes before a race to change, get stuff together and wander to the starting line. Saves on a lot of early morning driving frustration.

I started the race wishing luck to a few ultra newbies; Christian and Carolyn from the west side of the state, Becky with whom I ran most of the race, and Andy a quasi coworker from my days at Running Fit. We played tag during the race; occasionally fading and running with others or catching up when feeling good.

During the race I also got to hang with some of the best ultra runners I know: Ken the "green hornet", Martin S, Kevin G and others, all of whom have running CVs as impressive as the dedication it takes to run multiple 100 mile races.

The race itself, for me, went quite well. I planned to run it easy, if not necessarily smart. I think I succeeded in that. I wanted to enjoy the whole experience, and I think I did pretty well on that front, too.

I recited some poetry: yes, the obligatory Frost poem, but also Kipling's "Hymn of breaking strain" which is my long running anthem. No songs, though. Thankfully, this race was ear-worm free.

To me, there was something vaguely surreal about the race. Last year I stopped wearing my garmin regularly, and this year I stopped wearing it for most of my races. If I'm running for fun, I don't want to know my heart race, or pace, or time. And I *really* didnt' want to know how much further I had to go. Ignorance is bliss.

I still get the energy from the race, but it kind of removes the pressure. Makes for an interesting experience... a long hike in the woods with people cheering you on, giving you food, and a peace symbol medal at the end to go with the sense of accomplishment.

I'm very glad I got to see so many wonderful running friends this weekend; for those who were there and I missed, perhaps next time! For those who weren't, perhaps next year!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A tale of two races

Seven years ago I started my racing adventure when I ran the Crim 10 miler. It was not an overwhelming success.

Big races aren't really my thing. I mean, they're fun if you're there with people, and crowd support can get you through some tough times, but I'm much more of happy camper on the trails, and you just can't fit thousands of people comfortably doing that sort of race.

But I digress. I didn't discover my passion for trails until '06, and really I should be talking about this weekend, not history.

This Saturday was the 35th running of the Crim; my 6th. And though this was the first time I didn't score a course person best, I was very happy with the way it went.

I had a good time and didn't blow up.
My pace for the first three miles and the last three was almost exactly the same (7:40 vs 7:41)
I got to meet some daily mile friends.

This was Saturday. On Sunday, I ran the Merrell Down and Dirty Mud run. Sadly, there was really very little running through mud.

As I parked and started wandering around looking for packet pickup, I started chatting up a women who mentioned doing Tough Mudder. It turned out she had run the Crim the day before, and has almost exactly the same 10 Mile PR as I.

It also turned out that she ran the Woodstock half last year, and that she ran a good chunk of it with someone who I had trained for that race. Small world.

I started to pick up a few more more friends (One was the daily mile friend I met at the crim the day before; two were from my west bloomfield running group) we all sort of figured we were all at about the same speed. We hung together for a bit during the race, but once we got the a balance obstacle I was toast. My balance is kind of the suck.

Something to work on, I guess.

Anyway, the obstacles were fun for the most part, although the variety was a lot better at Warrior Dash. The hills were a lot more fun during this race, though. I think I know where to go for hill training.

On the other hand, after the race (where I believe I came in last of five of us) we agreed to think about doing the Michigan Tough Mudder next year. And I'm getting pretty excited about pursuing the possibility!

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Friday, August 17, 2012


The thing about thursdays: there's a group run that starts near a couple of rail-trails. If I time it right, I can do both.

Also, I seem to be on the tues/thurs/sat schedule for weight training.

Take this all together, and Thursday becomes my heavy workout day; about an hour for weights, an hour with the group and 2.5-3 biking on the rail trail. And a lot of sore feeling today.

Some thoughts from weight training:
deep knee squats are a bad idea, I think. No injuries, by my quads are in pretty rough shape.

What happened to my lats? I used to be able to do 20 pull ups. Now I'm lucky if I can do two with good form.

I need to do more "V" up type exercises. A half dozen of those were harder on my abs than two dozen crunches.

Some thoughts on biking:
2" of sand is rough going.
I really need to make sure I research the map.
Take more water. And things to eat. And maybe even something to listen to.

Some thoughts on running:
I don't know if it was because of all the biking and weight training before, or that I haven't been running hard this summer, but running at an 8-8:15 pace was really stressing out my heart. Right around the 30 minute mark I went from 170s to 190s, and that's not really all that great of a sign.

It could mean I'm out of shape. It could also mean that I went into atrial tachycardia. Or both. Neither of which would really surprise me.

All well. Something to watch in the future, I suppose. :)

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Books this year

I know, I've been as remiss in updating the books of this year as I have been updating in general. Still, Better late than never, and so forth. :)

Reamde -Neal Stephenson
Winds of War -Herman Wouk
War and Remembrance
Monster Hunter International -Larry Correia
Swarm -BV Larson
The Weapon -Michael kWilliamson
Ex-Heroes -Peter Clines
On Basilisk station -David Weber
The cold commands -Richard K Morgan
The Steel Remains
Legion of the damned -William C Dietz
Hounded -Kevin Hearne
Valor's Choice -Hanya Huff
Better part of Valor
The spirit Ring -LM bujold
Shards of Honor
Warrior's apprentice
Vor Game
Borders of infinity
The Blade itself -Joe Abercrombie
Before they are hanged
last argument of kings
Ready Player One -Ernest Cline
Heartless -Gail Carriger
Lies of Locke Lamora -Scott Lynch
Way of Kings -Brandon Sanderson
Name of the wind -Patrick Rothfuss
The wise man's fear
Ghost Story -Jim Butcher
Theft of Swords - Michael Sullivan
Invincible - Jack Campbell
Redshirts -John Scalzi
Fuzzy Nation
Bloody Jack -LA Meyer
Hyperion -Dan Simmons

A number of repeats; usually when something is lacking in a book that's other wise acceptable, I go to a book I've read that had the missing feature in plenty.

Still have an awful lot of books waiting in the wings!

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Speaking of tomorrow...

... I didn't realize the week wasn't over yet.

Let's delve a little more into this low back pain (LBP) I've been feeling recently. Probably no interest to you if you've not felt the like, but I'd like to have a record for when I feel it again. It happens several times a year, and it might be helpful for me to remember what did and didn't work.

One thing I mentioned yesterday is that it hurts with transitions: sitting to standing, running to walking, and that sort of thing. The sensation is a bit like a muscle spasm with a side order of stabbing knife. I don't actually collapse from it, though I might've if I hadn't found something handy to grab.

Today, what I discovered when I was coming up to an intersection and needed to stop was this: If I focus my concentration on relaxing the muscles that go into spasm, the pain goes from almost dumping me on the ground to a mild stabbing knife feeling. Though I've never been stabbed by a knife, I did step on a piece of glass once, and the pain in my back is remarkably similar. Without the relaxing, the pain is worse. With relaxing, it's significantly better.

Like with most things, relaxing is a key to doing it right. Important lesson I keep needing to relearn...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Week in exercise: fail

I blame swimming.

When I go into open water without nose and ear plugs, I get sick. It might be one of above don't have functioning defense mechanisms, or it's psychosomatic, or whatever, but it happens. So for the past few days, I've been trying to throw off a fairly mild infection.

I'm also having some moderate low back pain. It always follows the same pattern: the muscles along the spine are tied in knots. After a few days they loosen up a bit and I can get the vertebrae to crack, and that helps feel better too. After a while I only feel pain when I go from sitting to standing, or standing to walking, or walking to running. It's the transitions that hurt.

Then, hopefully, everything resolves and I can go back to my normal healthy life.

Between the illness, the back pain, the heat and the deer flies, it's been a pretty cruddy week for exercise, and even worse for studying. But tomorrow's another day...

M: 20 minute swim
T: nothing
W: nothing
Th: nothing
F: 10 mile bike
S: 15 mile bike, 2 mile run

Monday, March 19, 2012


Five months of slacking, and my legs aren't what they used to be. I'm probably in the worst shape of my life since '07, and... it's kind of exciting. I'm really curious to see what happens as I start over pretty much from scratch.

Hopefully I'll be smarter when it comes to listening to my body.
Hopefully I'll find a good balance between rest and work, work and play, play and sanity.

For now, I'm hiking because my calf muscles can't take the strain of running. And it's pretty awesome. It gives me more time outside, and during this week between classes and clinicals, I have all the time I need.

Next week will be different, and I'll adapt as needed. But a four miler yesterday and a six mile hike today both felt quite wonderful. And one of these days, I'll be back to running down the paths. It's only a matter of time, energy, and effort.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

When irony gods strike!

Things that i learned on my run today:

1. when irony gods strike, they don't waste time. No self respecting irony god would be willing a chance to lose a good irony through a poor sense of timing, I think.

2. if I ever get to choose, I think I would like to be reincarnated as an irony god.

3. never, never, never, never think that you don't update your blog because you don't have anything interesting to relate. I think the irony gods take special notice.

4. wireless car door openers don't work if keys are in the ignition and turned to "radio". at least, they don't in my car.

5. shorts in temps in the 30s is fine for running, but it isn't so great for waiting for the AAA guy. for hours.

6. the kindness of strangers is a wonderful thing. otherwise, by this time I may resemble something close to fritz-icle.

7. I'm kind of lazy, which is why I'll never be a good irony god. hopefully, when the time comes, I'll be able to be a kind stranger.

If you got to this point, and want to read the whole story, leave me a comment saying so. feel free to bribe me if the mood strikes you. girl scout cookies go on sale this weekend, I think....

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