About This Blog

As time permits, in-depth musings on myriad subjects will be posted. Abbreviated adages will be announced via Twitter.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

So, it's been a couple of weeks since my last post, and here's an update of how things are going.
  • First semi-long run was last weekend: 18+ miles out in the Hill Country, with no injuries or other maladies to speak of. Post-run rub-downs, btw, rock.
  • Figured out what (most likely) has been causing my pain when running track: I'm too much of a cyclist. That is to say, when going into a corner, I lean too much into the corner, instead of adjusting my stride/stance/whatever. Still working on a good resolution, but not many track workouts left on the schedule before White Rock.
  • Air has a bit of briskness about it, as Fall, Texas style, has officially moved in. Runs have felt great, but it does make it extremely difficult to get out of a cozily warm bed in the mornings.
  • I have been doing rather well with sticking to my schedule, but for a missed long run this past Sunday. See above comment regarding cozily warm beds.
And here we are with today: a double: Three miles easy in the morning; 12 hard(er) this evening. The morning run went well, with the pace picked up the last 3/4 miles or so, as I spotted another runner on the Parkway I was curious if I could catch; I did. Scared her, too. Runners and their headphones are more than just a nuisance & safety hazard on crowded courses (or MTB trails -- another story for another time), they're a safety hazard to themselves. This person was unable to hear my footfalls and/or breathing until I was virtually upon her, and she caught a glimpse of me out of the corner of her eye. Needless to say, her heart rate was well in the anaerobic range. Being the cordial runner I am (I will say 'hello', smile, and wave to others I encounter, even if they don't reciprocate), I apologized and continued my run.

Tonight's run was able to begin before night, as I was able to slip off campus more than an hour ahead of schedule (had a sub, since I was reviewing apps for NHS). After taking care of my license plate issue, I made it home, changed, and was running at exactly four PM. Hypocrite that I am, I had my iPod firmly strapped to my arm, earbuds in place (but with the volume adjusted to allow me to hear anything that might creep up on me), for I felt I needed the tunes to keep me focused on pace, instead of running the risk of running too fast (not likely) or too slowly. Even though I know my splits weren't even, I managed to average my target pace for White Rock: 7:58. Sweet.

N--- called a short while ago to let me know the editor of The Onion would be on "Fair Game" tonight to promote the new book, Our Dumb World -- an atlas of sorts. Despite my fondness for the rag, I don't think I can keep my eyes open much longer. Last night was a late night (couldn't get to sleep: too psyched about my new PB for the Parkway -- 43:37!), and today's runs have totally taken their toll. With a faculty meeting on tap for first thing in the morning, I'll need all the rest I can get to guarantee my lazy bum is out of bed by 5:30, running by 5:45...in the morning.

Sorry to have rambled on for so long, but bad habits are hard to break. Regardless, thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Talk about a bittersweet beginning to the day: I wake up with the thought that today is the day N--- returns from Las Vegas (been there since Sunday afternoon for a work convention), get dressed & stretched for my run, start a load of laundry, and then step outside to be greeted by wet streets and light rain. I get the feeling Mother Nature is somehow upset with me and is bent on foiling my runs with whatever she can throw at me.

Knowing that I don't like running in the rain (premature wear on shoes) and am hesitant to ride in the rain (for while I do enjoy riding in the rain, I don't enjoy the 90-minute post-ride bike cleanings to avoid damage to the drivetrain), she's been throwing a lot of rain at me this year. A lot. No clue as to what the area's rain fall for 2007 is to date, but I'm willing to wager it is well above average. And to think, I was lamenting how much dust & dryness there was in my backyard last night whilst mowing. Heh, at least I got (most) of the leaves mulched up before the wetness returned.

So, now what? I can't head to the gym, for I started a load of laundry before walking out the door, and I sure as heck am not going to run in place in my living room for an hour. As has been par for the course this year, I guess I'll do nothing; nothing resembling exercise, that is N--- tells me she is in need of an alarm clock, so perhaps I'll begin poking around at what's out there.

Alright, enough of the personal stuff. Time for me to head on over to RadioShack.com to begin my shopping. Sorry to have bored you this morning, but thanks for reading.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Leaf Me Alone

Not much to report tonight, but to say that I am still on track for White Rock. My leg did me some grief this evening whilst mowing (more to mulch the leaves than to trim the grass; we've not had substantial rain in a while, though you'll hear nary a complaint from me) but is otherwise fine.

I'm off to stretch for a bit before bed, as I'm to be up early for an 8-mile "As You Feel" run. This morning's 6-mile "easy" pace run was every bit that, so I am a-o-k with focus and cadence. Providing I can continue long(er) runs with little-to-no pain, I should be geared up for a strong finish in Dallas in a couple of months. The more I think about it, the happier I am that I decided not to run San Antonio again. I'm still tempted to do the half, but methinks I'd rather volunteer at the RTR water station. Heaven knows the group has helped get me going with my running the past couple of years; 'tis the least I could do to return the favor.

Hark, have we not heard the chimes at 9:30? Probably not, but I do hear "Pictures of You" coming to a close, indicating that if I time my stretching & reading just right, I should be ready to doze off by the time "The Same Deep Water as You" cues up. Having said that, I am off to bed. Good night, and thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Not Half Bad

It's 11 o'clock on a school night, and I should be in bed. Obviously, I am not.

Since returning from an extended session at Borders this evening (reading, grading, and drinking my fill of green tea), I've been doing all I could to pretend the new week is not almost upon me. I did some shopping for Halloween costumes (ordered stuff, too! Buyer's remorse will hit me hard tomorrow morning, I'm sure), with only an undershirt remaining for procurement, and listening to all the Gwen Stefani music N--- picked up the other night at CD Exchange. Talented, sure, but she's just really not my thing. I'm left wondering, though, if G--- still has that late-90s crush on her he once had.

Dang. I just noticed I ordered the wrong #%! thing for my costume; the pants would be entirely too short. A just-dispatched email should take care of thing, but only if it gets there before the order can be placed. Sure hope karatedepot.com can remedy my mistake.

Big news for the weekend? N--- & I both ran the Helotes Half this past Saturday. N--- was shooting for a finish time of two hours, while I jokingly indicated my goal finish was October 13th. Somehow, I managed to get motoring at a good pace and finish in 1:39:39. Not too shabby for someone who A) hasn't been training; B) is still nursing an injury to the right glute. Yeah, that thing. It's STILL there. Fortunately, the longer runs seem to be doing it some good, as long as I keep my stride steady and remember to stretch properly before & after. Massage sessions with Rio Massage haven't been hurting much, either. :)

Given my still-somewhat-injured status and recent costume purchases, I will likely wait until mid-November to register for White Rock. At this rate, though, it looks like a go, kilt & all. The decision for the kilt, too, will be made in mid-November, with the Skirt-chase Run serving as the, well, dress rehearsal.

Right. My writing is getting a tad rich in the cheese department, so I'm going to cut out. After all, it is 11:25, and I'm supposed to be waking up in six hours for a six-mile run. I'll pop back in tomorrow or the next day to let you know how that goes...went...whatever.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Running on Empty

"Wire, main office...tell them I said, 'Ow.' Got it!"

In the span of some 12 hours, I managed to log some 21+ miles: 8.4 miles after a 25-mile bike with D--- after work last night, and then a 12.something mile run this morning (part 1 of the previously mentioned dual workout planned for today). My glute was hurting something fierce for most of the run, but it was the last three or so miles that really did me in: I had no nutrition with me, save the Nuun-flavored water in my bottle. Well, at least I had that.

So, I limped in, making my final average 8:27/mi, something I was not happy about. I know I was moving at a much more brisk pace than that for the bulk of the run. However, between the heat and the humidity, I literally had nothing left but an empty tank. Still, I did manage to finish my run in time for work.

And now, here I am, counting my blessings that tomorrow is a rest day and that I do not have to race the Helotes Half on Saturday; it can be just a long, slow run with N--- and however many other people turn out. Despite tomorrow being a non-running day, though, I do still need to be up early for breakfast with "the boys." I'm starting to get a better grip on the whole blog thing, so, hopefully, I'll be reporting back in again and soon. Today was a busy day, with much to talk about. However, something far more important requires my attention: sleep. Be sure to get some for yourself. If anyone gives you any grief about, just tell them that you said it was okay.

Look for a recap of the Helotes Half sometime Sunday evening. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

On a Roll for the Rock

Brief post, as I've higher priority things requiring my attention tonight, the least of which being lunch for the week: Poblano peppers stuffed with brown rice & Boca meat, served with a side of steamed vegetables. It's good to be a quasi-vegetarian.

I'm back on track for a running program, using the same one that D--- sent me last year for San Antonio, again modified for White Rock (the program was initially tweaked for SA, but had to be scrapped when I ran too hard on a track workout and tweaked something in my glutes). My right leg still isn't firing 100%, but I cannot just stand still, watching everyone else have all the fun. The last two runs I've done have produced noticeable sensations in my leg, but nothing to keep me from continuing to move. Two big tests this week: a dual on Thursday and the Helotes Half on Saturday. Based on how I feel after those two (or one, if it hurts that badly on Thursday), I'll get myself signed up for White Rock this weekend. Ah, peer pressure: Do we ever out-grow it?

With that rhetorical thought, I'm going to bow out. Check back for regular updates (honest!) on how training for the White Rock Marathon (a distance I do respect & appreciate, D---) goes along. Light a candle for the fast healing of my leg, and, as always, thanks for reading.//d

Monday, October 01, 2007

Racin' the Ranch

"Gee, imagine if I would have trained."

The above thought seems to have echoed countlessly this season: Austin Half Marathon; PlayTri Half-Iron; yesterday's Stonebridge Ranch Olympic tri. In Austin, I set a new PB for half marathon (94 minutes & change), while at SBR, I finished 27th OA and 3rd in my age group. I suppose it's not a bad exit for someone leaving the uber-competitive 30-34 AG and entering the soon-to-be-uber-competitive 35-39. But, I digress. Here's the break-down of the race.

Swim - 34:26.2
Despite getting conked on the head half-way through the first loop (2-loop course of 750m/loop), I felt fine through the swim. Perhaps because I was just happy to swim in a lake, again, but considering I've not done regular swim workouts in better than a month, I suppose my finishing 8th in my AG wasn't too shabby; I'm not sure how I finished in my wave, as all males, 49 and under, began together. I just don't feel the need to compare my swim time to everyone else's. Bike times , on the other hand, are another story, but we'll get to that in a tic.

Once we exited the water, it was an awfully long haul to T1, and I was unsure of where to hit the watch. I guess it was supposed to be right out of the water; I hit my split once entering the transition area. Whatever. It was after I exited T1 that the real fun began, anyway.

Bike - 1:05:38
Boo-yah. The wind was a real bear for the whole course, and I really fought it on the crosswinds, courtesy of the Zipp 404's deep rim. However, the lightness of the rear wheel really made up for it, as the 6.something-mile course was particularly hilly...at least for Dallas standards. Still, the 404s gripped the road rather well, allowing me to soar my way to a 2nd best bike split for my AG; 10th for all Age Groupers.

T2 transition was hairy -- really hairy. Unable to remember how much space was available before the dismount line, I opted to leave my feet in my shoes, clipping out to swing over once I hit the line. However, my left foot felt a tad too slippery on the pedal, so I opted to just dismount a lot more casually. How was I to know I was in contention for a medal?

Run - 47:23.6
I was very leery about doing the race because of the run. I'd injured myself a couple of weeks prior, training for the SA Marathon. As such, I'd done very little running since, with most of my race preparations coming from stretching. Going into it, I felt a burning sensation in my lung for the first few miles, finally getting into my stride after the turn-around and getting passed by a couple of relayers. With less than two miles to go, my cramping was gone, so I kicked it into high gear, passing the aforementioned relayers. In the final stretch before the finish line, I heard N--- should it, "Kick it!"...and my right leg promptly cramped.

I more or less limped across the finish line, collected my consolation prize and found N--- and her family, as well as D--- and K---. (K--- had done the sprint [as had N---] and finished admirably in her AG; N--- just ruled in hers, especially in the run: she looked so fluid.)

The End?
Thus went my last scheduled race of the season. Running San Antonio is definitely out, though White Rock remains a possibility. If I can find a way to get over this whole injury thing and get back on an aggressive running schedule, I'm fairly certain I can be ready to run a pretty strong marathon -- possibly beating my foundation of 3:31:08. Qualifying, I know, is a pipe dream, but I still think it'd be fun to run a race where so many of my co-workers will be. Besides, I've my SportKilt to really break in on a long run, and, as someone mentioned in transition after yesterday's race, it'd be hilarious.

As usual, I've a whole slew of people to thank, but one in particular stands out, and that is N---. Without her, I don't think I'd have the proper focus and/or attitude in my life, so thank you. Naturally, a huge thanks to Bicycle Heaven for setting me up with the wheels for the race, as well as the bike, transition bag, and other tidbits that make me feel like a supported athlete (as opposed to...oh, just go watch 'Grease'). Special thanks, as well, to N---'s parents for the room & board during the whirlwind trip to Dallas; brunch was the least of ways I could have said 'thank you.' Finally, a special thanks to my own mom & dad, without whom I never would have known a bicycle can go that fast. That Raleigh Capri put me on the fast track all those years ago. I do not think I will ever forget that bike, even though it cost less than the pedals alone on my current rig.

The 2008 season will be pretty nonexistent, as I the present plan for my finances doesn't permit for it. Then again, I said the same thing about this time last year, so who knows. Regardless, look for my ramblings here and there, and, as always, thanks for reading.