Friday, August 24, 2012

running amuck

I had a really good week of running this week.  I haven't got my miles in here for a while and finally have something to report so I better get it down.

Saturday 3mile warm up, 5k race, 1mile cool down.  7miles total
Sunday 5 miles easy

Monday 6 miles easy
Tuesday 4 miles easy
Wednesday 6 miles easy
Thursday 9 miles with 2 hard
Friday- Off

Looks like about a 35- 40 mile week :-) 

Knee pain is still there but not that bad.  I've been icing like crazy and before everything hurt.  Now I have to massage around a lot with the ice to even find those tiny little spots that still hurt.  Knees still hurt first mile though. 

Yesterday I ran this loop from Colvert Mill down to Great Falls, a loop there and then back.  I ran the first part pretty normal, then around the lasso part I stopped a lot to admire the views of the Potomac, then on the same trail heading back I ran 3 minutes faster than I ran out.  Pushed a bit the last 3 miles.  Feel like when the going gets tough I resorted to overstriding.  Not enough fitness to keep the turnover going.  Plus it was muddy as hell and those Brooks Pure whatevers aren't all that great in the mud.

Oh....on my Wednesday run it was pouring ran and it stopped about half way in.  I looked up and saw an owl perched in the tree.  I shook my fist at him and he flew to another tree.   I ran the next 2 minutes looking back to make sure he wasn't following me.  Once I quit looking a huge raindrop fell from a leaf and whacked me right on the head.  It was enough to nearly send me sprawling for cover.  My reflex was to just dive right in the mud.  PTOD  (Post traumatic owl disorder).

Friday, August 17, 2012


I've had a rather pathetic week of running.  Last week I overreached.  My motivation is high though.  This faster running is helping my form and so far all of my aches are manageable.   It will come back.  This weekend I run a 5k and then I'll probably spend a few weeks getting my miles up.  Got a few races in to get myself energized, but it's time to do real work.  I'd like to be fast again, but the real goal is marathon.  No matter what the goal it takes miles.....

Monday, August 13, 2012

Track Meet

A friend of mine talked me into going to a track meet last friday.  I decided if I was going to go I might as well run the 2 mile.  My goal was to do it as a workout.  Just run 5:20 pace.  Once I got there I decided to run each distance event.  Just run a good solid effort.  Not really race, just tempo.

I got there with plenty of time and set out to run a warmup.  As I circled the track I felt so miserable and it was so hot that I felt like walking the entire time.  I decided to veer off through the neighborhoods where there was a bit more shade.  Within about 10 minutes I was totally and utterly lost.  Finally, with increasing anxiety that I would be late for my race I stopped and knocked on the door of a home where I could see people inside.  They gave me directions back to the school and I made it.  Missed out on time for stretching, bathroom, and the GU I had planned....but I made it.

Right before the race I saw the Georgetown Running Club guys.....great.....2 guys that ran the Olympic Trials.....  The race started and I immediately let those guys go.  I thought I was being smart about pace but I guess I still got swept along.  When I came around I saw 75....too fast.  I tried slowing the next lap but again was too fast.  After 6 laps of that I was pretty cooked and nearly slowed to a walk.  I recovered and jogged it in.  No need to race.   Just a workout.

In the mile I was better about judging my pace and effort.  Plus I was able to get that GU.  I didn't time my meals very well because of a weird schedule at work that day.  I ran the mile easy cheesy.  In the last lap the lead woman came up next to me, but I was already a few seconds faster than my goal and I didn't want to be "that guy" who sprints violently to not get beat by a instead I let her pass and enjoyed the much improved view.

Next up was the 400 meters.  I was cooked.  In the 2 mile, that 75 had felt so fast that I was quite certain an all out effort would get me around 60-65.  I decided to go full speed and see what I could do.  At the start I slipped (I wore spikes without actual spikes in them) and hurt my foot a bit.  As I ran I realized at that speed that spikes were necessary and I was slip sliding the entire way.  On the first curve a youngster got around me but I couldn't do anything or I'd go sliding off.  Once I got to the straight away I was able to make up some ground but then had to slow again for the curve.  In some places the track was so worn where the rubber had worn off that I was on the concrete and I was really slipping.  Then on the final straightaway I really opened up and reeled the youngster in.

I'm glad I stuck around to do those extra races.  With each race I felt better.  Not sure if it was because of the GU or if it was that the sun had gone down.  It was still horribly humid but cooler was better.  In that 400 I ended up running 55 seconds which was WAY fast for me.  Plus with spikes I could have gone even faster.   My fastest ever 400 was 52.6 , so I wonder how fast, at 37, I could get to my all time PR if I did some training.  The best part of the evening was coming off the final curve with 100m to go and feeling no hint of fatigue.  So caught up in the race and feeling so good that my acceleration made the finish line feel like it was moving to me instead of me to it.  No matter how slow I ran, or how bad my place.....if I could just replicate that feeling occasionally....I'd be addicted for life.

Saturday I took the day off, not by choice, but I had promised to help a friend and that took longer than I thought.  Then I had normal TerribleTerry behaviors to perform in the evening and didn't get my run in.  Yesterday I wanted to do a long run but bit off a bit more than I should have.  I ran 10 miles but at mile 7 my form started to fail so I drastically reduced my pace and just took my time getting home.  Lots of water stops in the last 3 miles.  Junk miles.  Should have done a route where I could have stopped as soon as my form failed.

Last night I was horribly tired and sore.  Did a nice foam roller session and ice massage.  Today I'll be lazy.  Probably just do some swimming and a nice stretching session.  I feel like a runner again.  If I can run a 55sec 400.....  surely I can run good mile with some training.  If I get to where I can run a good mile.....a good 5k is just around the corner...   and so on....and so on.....

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


During a run through a shady cemetery in Painesville, Ohio when I was 19 years old, the sage Tom Quade tried to express to me the importance of stretching and the problems of aging.  At the time I was probably busy hurdling headstones and sprinting off ahead to look good for some cute girl jogging....but the information wormed its way in there and clung somehow to the recesses of my brain.  Yesterday after my run I sat on the stairs recovering from a nice, hot, 5 mile run full of excitement at how well I'd ran the last few days due to my new stretching routine.  I called Tom while I stretched and it hit me......   I suppose people with kids have this hit them around my age.  What I'm talking about here is this slow realization that they, in fact, have turned into their parents.

 In my case I don't have those little bundles of joy or memories of passed down wisdom on how not to strangle them.  My teenage years weren't filled with much in the way of parental advice since I basically made my own decisions and life choices since I was around 14.  I mostly spent my teenage years trying to prove to everyone, including Tom, that I knew what I was doing, didn't need their advice, and I was going to do it my way.  No matter what the consequences.   Instead of the bits of wisdom gleaned from seeing how my parents did things, or positive input from others, I chose to learn from trial and error, and error, and error.

Finally when I went off to college, I may not have realized it yet, but I started to see the wisdom I'd absorbed during those long runs around town with Tom.  Of course I still didn't embrace the knowledge, foolishly thinking that I was superhuman and that basic things like physics and entropy didn't apply to me.  That biological adaptation, mitochondrial absorption, capillary development and all that mumbo jumbo were words that slow people learned to describe why things just didn't work for them. 

Throughout my 20's when I was a running machine and adding weekly to a bix box of medals and trophies for my basement, I didn't think about that place, and that wonderful man as the sage encyclopedia of running knowledge that I've now come to realize.  Back then I simply knew that they were my anchor.  There's this line in the movie Forest Gump when Jenny is asking Forest all about what he saw when he ran across the Unites States.  As he's describing the beauty he witnessed, she says that she wished she could have been there with him.  It's a powerful scene to me.  He turns to her and tells her.  "You were Jenny".  In his mind and in his heart she was always there.  That was Painesville, St. Claire Street, that route through the cemetery, Strawberry hill, and Tom.  They were my home, no matter where I went, who I met, what sort of crazy things I was doing.  Those places were with me.  He was with me. 

Now, having pedaled through a good portion of my 30's and having not needed to access the treasure of running memories and advice, I'm slowly beginning to pull these memories from the recesses of my brain.  Those runs where Tom dispensed advice and bemoaned his aging.  There wasn't a single muscle twinge, inflammation, ache, or injury that I was feeling that Tom hadn't already experienced and could readily, and instantly, tell me the remedy, the probable time until it healed, and the cause.  As I'm restarting my journey as a runner, I'm finding that those rules, that advice, and those apply to me.  And somehow I'm still that silly guy running up the road to look good for the cuties, and learning by trial and error, and error, and error.

As I was stretching yesterday following a rather spectacular run I remembered an analogy Tom used to use about running and age.  He compared good workouts to the perfect "PING" sound a golf club makes when you hit the perfect shot.  That feeling that goes through your body as the ball soars in a perfect arc down the fairway.  The often felt mystery of where that came from and how you could replicate it.  I remember discussing this as we ran through that cemetery just starting one of our runs together.  Him telling me how frustrating golfing was and how you'd be just about ready to quit and....PING.... you'd be hooked again for a few more futile hours.  He described how as he aged that PING came less and less frequent, and that I should enjoy the fact that I could call upon my body to PING at will.

Yesterday during my run things just worked.  The proverbial PING.  Which led me to thinking about Tom.  So there I was on the phone with him while stretching.  Those same stretches he'd taught me 17 years ago that I thought were only for old slow people.  It struck me....   Fuck....I've turned into Tom!!!!   Then I smiled.   NICE!!! 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Return to routine

Right before I left for Mexico I set aside my orthotics again and bought some  low drop shoes.  I tried running 5 miles everyday while I was there and icing my knees like crazy.  Knees still hurt all the time, so bad that my runs aren't really all the much fun.  But I'm running everyday which is more than I could endure with those nasty orthotics.  Hopefully things will turn around.

I got a bit lazy mid-week while I was there.  Late nights and the heat are my excuse.  Came home yesterday and did my 5mile loop with Hunters Station hill in it.  Started overheating a bit the last mile but it went pretty good.  The few days I'd taken off had me pretty fresh. 

Something I've noticed about my knees is that days off doesn't seem to help them.  The only thing that seems to help (besides tossing the orthotics) is ice massage and lots, and lots of stretching.  John pointed out that I ran all those pain free miles in the winter while doing yoga.  So I'm inclined to think he's right and I need to increase my stretching routine.  I've added 6 new stretches to my routine.  Between that and my core work let's see if I can't get something going again.

I only had one wild night in Mexico.  I emptied my pockets except for about $80 and handed my wallet to Zoya and strolled off into the night.  It was pretty entertaining.  Some of the locals went out of their way to show me the city and try to get me drunk.  We went everywhere and I saw pretty much everything.  I turned down a good deal of offers for things I'm just not into (drugs, paying for sex, that sort of thing)  I did meet a nice girl named Wendy who seemed quite intent on sitting on my lap and staring at me even though I couldn't understand a single word of her Spanish.

There were only two times that I felt even the least bit unsafe.  First was when we first entered the slum.  They were burning some leaves to keep the bugs away and the folks who were mostly blinded by the fire reacted in fear at seeing 3 guys (one of them white) entering at 1am.  Before long we were all sitting on buckets and they were telling me stories.  It's amazing how educated some of the slum dweller children were.  They roused them out of bed (well....cardboard on the floor) because they could speak English.  The other time I got a bit scared was a bum on the main road who wouldn't leave me alone.  I'd left my tour guides and was walking to get a taxi.  I finally had to put my left forearm to his throat and push him against the wall letting him see my right fist cocked back.  I think that's the universal sign for fuck off.  He was too drunk is all, so it wasn't really that bad.

I had pretty good times with the Schaller family.  I had a bit too much exposure to Alex in the last 2 weeks between Placid and Mexico so by now I'm glad to get away from that.  Other than that the trip was pretty swell.  We kept up a pretty good pace of activities and saw and did a lot.  I think there's plans being made for a return trip someday :-)

2 videos today that make me smile.  First is a short commercial from Nike.  I have 2 co-workers I'm working on right now.  One has lost 63lbs and the other 18.  That's badass!!

The second video is the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech.  It's a bit long but a really great tribute this guy gives to his mother.  I don't remember him as a player...but of course I only sporadically watch football.