Monday, June 28, 2010

Swim Swam Swum

Today was day one of the Higdon Intermediate Plan and was reserved for cross training. Esti Ginzberg (left) and I headed over to El Dorado pool for some lap swimming. I found a lane with a slow looking swimmer in it, and took the plunge. I have not swum for exercise since high school.

I had it in mind to swim for 1/2 hour and see how it goes. All freestyle and nice and easy. The lanes are 25 meter long and nice and wide. After a couple of laps, it seemed like I would be smart doing ten laps total and that would be about 30 minutes. I finished in 18 minutes but decided to take it easy. There was some kind of cramp going on in my left forearm.

I oaf/blubbered my way out of the pool and got to talk to a skinny guy with an ironman tattoo. I asked him how many laps would equal 2.5 miles. He looked at me like I had suggested we swim with arms linked at the elbow and said that he didn't think anyone had ever done that kind of conversion.

I later realized it was like asking how many times would I need to skip down my driveway to get the paper and have it equal a marathon.

Determined, I spent some time with an online calculator  (HEY! Eyes back here! I'm describing my first swimming experience in this blog. Esti can wait!!) Anyway (Adam! Did you hear me??!??) By my calculations, I would need to swim 77 laps to get to 2.4 miles, and the pace would take just beyond 2.5 hours. In other words, in an ironman competition, I would get picked up by the rowboat and not even be allowed to get on the bike.

I liked the experience and want to try swimming about 2x per week. We will see how it goes, but its nice to change it up. I also got some advice from Molly, Luke, and Evolving Through Running for yoga and tennis. And a promise from Rio and Runlaur to support and join in on the swimming. My 2 year old loves that pool so I will probably get to play with him over there too. Thanks guys!

It's ok to look again.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cross Training Anyone?

I've been inspired by fellow booger blogger Runlaur again and am going to start a training plan tomorrow. Not because I have a marathon coming up in 18 weeks, but because I want to be accountable to something and also build base milage to better prepare for January. So I taking on the Higdon Intermediate which incorporates 5 days of running per week and one day of cross training.

Cross and strength training have been absent from my life ever since I quit the gym about 4 years ago. I know how important these two elements are to a balanced running program, but its tough to make the time. I do have some ideas though. Ride the bike and swim.

After reading a Triathlon magazine I determined that I need to swim for about 1.5 hours per day, followed by a century ride through the mountains, and culminating with a ten mile easy cool down run at 6/mile.

Then I remembered my age, sedentary lifestyle, bank balance, and overall desire to not do those things.

So, I'm back to the idea of riding the bike for a set period of time and/or lap swimming at the local pool. This is more like it. Mondays are the cross training days so I'm going to head over to a pool in Snottsdale to lap swim and also check out their gym.

Once per week for $2 ain't so bad, one less foo-foo drink at the coffee shop.

The heat gets pretty intense after 7 am, so I may stick to using the Cycleops  trainer on the patio in the shade. This brand is a bit expensive but you get a true road feel and smooth ride. I got mine at REI and love it. After 30-40 minutes, I'm a wobbly wreck and drenched in salty sweat. I can also cadence and not have to think about traffic lights if I'm in this protected microcosm. I like to ride and listen to a podcast --Banned on the Run or Boring Runner  (who only has two PC's so its really getting boring).

Look at how the hot weather is portrayed for AZ. 109 degrees looks like a scene out of a Corona commercial, but slip one degree up to 110, and you are in the grips of Hades and all of the sizzling scorching demons of hell!!

Meanwhile my wife is seriously considering her second 1/2 marathon. It's a premier Women's Half Marathon in Scottsdale/Tempe this coming November. She has started walk/running with our neighbor three times per week. This should be an excellent event.

I'd love any feedback you can give about cross training. Take care!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Random Saturday Stuff

Worked in the garden yesterday. Actually, I worked on the perimeter of the garden, Phoenix-proofing. The sun takes a heavy toll, so shade structures are a must for most plants.

This fabric will block out UV, but the birds and bugs need a more NATO type approach. Trying to avoid chemicals, but probably some netting and or natural/organic prevention. We have harvested tomatoes, zucchini, and the eggplants may be ready but they seem small. Not sure about that. Overall, the garden is doing well and we have plans for improving for next year and also for our fall planting.

Getting some burn spots on the peppers, hopefully, the shade will solve that.

Has spicy shrimp for fathers day. Mmmmm, one of my favorites. Thaw 1.5 pounds of shrimp, leave peels, legs, (and heads if possible) on the shrimp. Tons of flavor in these, through you of course throw them away at the dinner table. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbls. olive oil and a whack of butter, add in some red chile flakes (to taste) and the shrimp. When they look pink on one side, add the juice of 1/2 lemon and also just throw the squeezed lemon half in the skillet too--wtf. Turn the shrimp and get ready, they are seconds away from being done. Hold the phone!! Add about 1 Tbsp. of Old Bay seasoning (more or less depending on your taste. and you won't need salt or pepper). Stir well and serve over rice, noodles, or just with some sourdough bread. Mmmmm.

And lastly, because I couldn't resist, a return to the garden.

Sometimes, they just grow that way. Have a great weekend, and enjoy your races if you are racing!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Talking Murakami

I (Mrs. G) picked this book up at the Scottsdale library the other day and enjoyed reading it. I was drawn to the title and the topic. I love all of Raymond Carver (What We Talk About When We Talk About Love) and I have been running for the past 2.5 years, but don't have a lot of experience with non-training running books.

Though he writes that he spent a lot of time in revision and thought to complete this book, it reads a bit sloppy and lopes the reader across personal philosophy, self-analysis, race reports (very well-written), and dichotomies between personal life and his progress as a professional writer. Just keep in mind the last two words in the title, 'a memoir'. Murakami's book runs through his life like a runner who sets out without electronics, route, and time constraints --just run (write) till you don't want to run (write) anymore. Forrest Gump would nod approval and Karl Childers would agree and chop a bad man up with a lawnmower blade.

Murakami describes his first attempts at writing and his rapid acceptance as a popular author. Almost simultaneously, he transitions from a 3 pack a day smoker to a small-time runner. He started running because he didn't like the way his body looked and wanted to feel better physically. He quickly became a 6 day per week/daily runner averaging about 36 miles per week. And he has kept up this regimen ever since, give or take a few days for weather, illness, etc. He claims to have never been injured, though he does describes aches and pains and frozen body parts.

Some of his race reports include a route along the original 25 mile path from Athens to Marathon Greece. The original route was only 25 miles. He ran this in extreme heat along a highway. Murakami also writes about the NYC marathon and some of the triathlons he has completed (and not completed). 

He describes 'Runners Blues' that almost made him quit running. He lost the desire to run and also felt his PR times as a younger runner moving out of reach as he has aged. He struggles and moves forward with a one step at a time attitude and mixes things up with tri-training and geographic hops from Japan to New England, to NYC, to Hawaii. (Now I really want to run along the Charles river and in Central Park in the morning!! Hawaii? Meh.)

Murakami describes a spiritual debilitation that comes from writing. As the soul is drained from effective writing, it must be replenished, and he has found his source from running. So he needs to run and needs to write (and I guess needs to live in Hawaii sometimes) to stay balanced.

This memoir gives us an honest look into the worries, exaltations,  rising expectations, declining abilities, and all of the average experiences that occur in the life of this runner and author. He writes about his life as a 'pan of water with a small hole in the bottom'. We start out with a full pan, we can also add water and sometimes slow the escape, but at some point, the water will be gone.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Back to Random Unreality

Why did vacation have to end?? "Because you need to go back to work" say the Power ball lottery officials.
That was nice --one more photo of 55 degree bliss (I'm wearing a jacket and still shivering):
We went to some park in Paso Robles and I clonked my head on an overhead beam in a kids play house. Here is me smiling ear to ear with an "I'm concussed!" smile. Harrison thought it was the funniest thing ever. I have a giant scab across my scalp.

We went to We Olive, which is the Walmart of Olive Oils in Central Cali. We drank way too much olive oil and aged balsamic. What a wild time it was!! My fav was the blood orange olive oil and the 15 year balsamic. They drink it like wine over there!! It does taste pretty darn good.

Thought my toes were improving but there has been a delayed onset of blackening and peeling. I shot this out of focus because I was repulsed. The other foot isn't much better. Maybe time to research shoes with a bigger toebox? Lauren?
And lastly, our garden is taking off nicely. We have mucho tomatoes and more zucchini than we know what to do with. Eggplant is coming in nicely too. Peppers are burning or something else is wrong. Need to consult the experts.

That' Harrison's sunflower in the foreground which is growing about 6 inches per day (take it Adam, it's all yours)

Cherry, yellow pear, and Green Zebra, and cinnamon basil. Chill. Cut each into bite size pieces. Sprinkle with large grain sea salt and a tiny bit of black pepper, chop and mix in basil, drizzle with nice olive oil and a bit of balsamic. Serve with crusty bread. Yummy.
This weekend marks my official return to hot weather running. I'd like feedback on salt, electrolyte, mineral replacements. What do you do to replace? What brands do you prefer.

I'm reading Murakami's What I Think About When I Think About Running, and will review sometime early next week. Have a splendid weekend!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Self-Indulgent Vacation Photo Blog Post

Some photos and banal commentary. You had to be here......

Got to hit a Farmers market yesterday. Around here they are all over the place, but this one is a featured weekly event. This part of California, Central Coast San Luis Obispo county, is one of the greenest, fertile, climate consistent, beautiful places on the globe. The fruit/veggies are amazing, abundant,  and cheap. We bought a lot of it.

These beauties are sweet and ready now. 

And they do a Red Oak fueled barbecue called 'Santa Maria' style barbecue. Tastes good.

Here's a Garmin map you don't see on my unit very often (freebie unit joke opp. for Adam)

Garmin oh Garmin, when will you upgrade the Apple version of your program?? For the love of Pete, a little satellite map optioning... is that so friggin' tough?

This is the view as I left the house for an easy 5 miler turned 6:

Kick but mountains and 60 degree moist foggy air= gud runnin'.
Some views as I ran along the coast:

Really nice pathways along the sea. Lot's of runners out.

From the end of the Pismo pier which I had to myself today. That's how I got the water integrated
on the Garmin map.

Big ocean swells today. Sea lions playing, birds crapping.
The pier is typical but was empty and inviting.

Took these stairs down to run on the sand.
Tomorrow Mrs. G will join me for a short run around our neighborhood. There is an abundant supply of
cool pathways and streets to run on and we will surely make our way down to run on the sand. The ocean is freezing so it is nice to end a run with a lower leg soak in cold water. Nice to be back on the Asics after Sunday.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

San Diego RnR Marathon Race Report

Chip Time: 5:20:28. Pace: 12:28.
Oz's of Water/Cytomax/salty water drunk during race: about 80
Number of Times I had to stop to un-cramp: @81

This was my first marathon and I have to say, I'm proud and happy that I did it. I wasn't nearly as ready as I could/should have been, and the weather was much hotter than I expected so proper hydration was a challenge. But I ran pretty well when I ran and had a good time and I am un-injured. Though sore.... oh so sore.

The race started out like other RnR events (I've done three 1/2 Ms). Lot's of people waiting for the porta-potties, cold-stretching themselves into injury, eating free food because it's free, fine tuning their monkey diaper/Elvis/Scottish warrior/super hero costume.. you know what I mean. I had decided the day before that I would not be running with the 5:00 pace group. I couldn't bring myself to wear a pink id bib:

Besides, I was pretty sure 5:00 was a bit on the horizon. Maybe next Marathon.

Got going and went out fast the first 8 miles. Between 9:00 and 9:15 fast. My plan was to keep it around 10:15 to 10:30 and make myself walk for .1 every two miles. But I couldn't convince myself to walk while moving downhill. It seemed like a waste of a walk. Ran up with Rio somewhere around 8 or 9 or 10, not sure, and we traded photos. She was not enthusiastic at that point but ended up with a time right around 5 hours. And a big happy BIRTHDAY to me, her parents gave me a ride home from the trolly station area --more on that later in the complaint section.

As you can see, the sun came out about then and started to cook my fat cells, brain cells, and water cells (do we have water cells?). I had to tighten my Nathan belt and still it kept falling off.

Cruised through downtown and then entered the streets of slanty camber. I got a funky pain in the front of my left ankle and it still hurts. Also started to stress in some other leg muscles but held up ok. 

We got to mile 17 and from there through mile 25 I hearby dub "The Batan Death March" Out in the open sun, almost constant cramping in hammies, calves, and groin (?). My Garmin pace graph spikes to a stop no less than 30 times in the last 6 miles as I stopped to stretch and un-cramp. Cardio was fine and mental was fine, but I was dehydrated pure and simple.

I will also say that I was deeply affected by the site of the approaching Fiesta Island parade of zombie runners. As we approaced the 21 mile mark, we could see the runners stretched out on the East side of the island and knew that a big hot mile was in store for us. Followed by three more hotties on the backside (twss). Got to the damn island and el sol was relentless. I couldn't get enough water/Cyto. At each station, I filled my Nathan, and also drank a cup or two. I did eat a salt pack at mile 10 and again at 20, and I ate 5 Gu's and a Roctaine through the race. FINALLY made it off of the island and it was fairly easy going to the end. I ran the last 1.2 and actually ended up running 26.53 miles due to swerving and inefficient tangents. Other racers reported overages also, but as you can see, we were happy.
From the left, that's Runlaur (her third marathon or ultra-marathon in the last month!!), Rio, Boring Adam, and moi. Tiffany is hiding in the back stealing free Gu out of Adam's backpack.

With the race over, it was time to enjoy the post-race activities. For me, that meant bottled water and an escape plan, and getting my shoes off asap. I lubed my feet pre-race and my toes are actually in better shape now than before the race. Got home and had a celebration dinner that night and the next night. Enough celebration calories already! Very happy. 

The rest of this report consists of complaints, so you can stop reading now or become a Competitor executive and make some needed changes.

Rio and I got into line to take the shuttles back to the trolly, which would take me back to near my hotel, where I would walk. As we got into line, a staff member told us that the line for our shuttle bus would be 1.5 hours. Or we could take a 1 mile walk to the trolly station. Ugghh. We opted for the one mile walk where we would meet with Rio's parents who would drive me back to my hotel. Blessings! We walked with throngs of other exhausted runners along the freeway (Dante's Inferno) and noticed an enormous cue for the trollies. Crap! We would have waited 1.5 hours for a shuttle and then another 1.5 hours for a trolly. Thank God for Demi's parents and the drive back. Competitor needs to notice that the lines for the porta-potties are too long, and that the shuttle system to the start and from the finish is in need of enormous improvement. One last thing, why not offer sunscreen at some of the water stations? Mostly, they were on target, but these few improvements should be made.

First Marathon: Done and done! Now on vacation for two weeks in Central coast.

Friday, June 4, 2010

First Marathon Pre-Event Report

It has not hit me yet (as it undoubtedly will around mile 18). This Sunday, I will be moving forward for 26.2 miles in an organized Marathon dubbed Rock and Roll San Diego. Did I mention that it's my 44th birthday on Sunday? C'mon and shine on me Running Gods. I've been thinking about which mantra I will be using, and by default, it is a series of dialogue from the Curious George movie. Default because I have watched it 4,000 times in the last month.
 "Do you see that Junior? It's even bigger than I ever imagined!!" "I might not be able to make it bigger, but I know who can!" (TWSS)

The plan is to load the family into the boy hauler tomorrow morning and make our way west towards the sea, stopping in San Diego downtown for a couple of days to eat clams and run 26.2 miles in under 7 hours. That's my A, B, and C plan in a nutshell. 

I ran yesterday sans electronics, water, gu, etc. Just me, shoes, shorts and shirt. I was practicing enjoying the run and observing my environment. What a nutcase! My list of things I need for the race include 15 items besides myself. I did like yesterday's pace mental relief and am even considering wearing my Garmin on the back of my water belt. I plan to run around 10 minute miles and stop every two miles or so for a walky break -probably at water stations. I'm going to carry 5 Gu's including 2 Roctaines for the last two 5 mile intervals. As far as training plans go, I am woefully unprepared. It will be 108 here in Phoenix but only a high of 72 with clouds in SD. Ooohh! We may not return to AZ. Oh wait, California has Arnold -FOR A GOVERNOR!!

Nevermind, 108 isn't that hot. But AZ now openly hates Latino minorities, maybe a move to Nevada where there aren't any problems.

Adam, Rio, and Lauren are all running also. Rio in about 4.5 hours, Lauren in either 5 hours or possibly the half marathon for a PR (right Runlaur??), and Adam in about 17 minutes (having clam-crapped himself in the first mile. Adam, take care of things before you leave the hotel!!)

I'll join the 5 hour pace team and hopefully not be the asshole who sprints ahead in the chute to be first in my pacegroup. (Ego says: plan already installed and irrevocable -you can't rationalize your way out of it and you know it!) (stop talking to yourself, they can hear you!!) (This is a blog, you HAVE to talk to yourself!!!)

2 Weeks in Pismo after the race to unwind, eat seafood, and show my boy how to hunt sharks with a pocket knife some twine and a handheld mirror. Rock-on!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Versatile Blogger Post

This is post #70 at RTP. First week of summer vacation and 1st marathon coming up this weekend. But let's get into the list lest I use up all of my ideas in the introduction. Seven things about me and then tag 15 other people (presumably 15 people I know who haven't already done it --- impossible)

In no particular order:
1. I struggle with delayed gratification. Never really learned it and was not accountable to it growing up, so now I tend to be impulsive and have to exercise my spirit and psyche daily to be a better person.

2. I'm analytical. I love to take things apart to see how the parts work together. I also stare at things thinking about how they work and what they do. You will often find me in the aisles of Home Depot staring at things. It doesn't matter whether I need the thing, I just want to know what it's for and how it is used. I can't stand things that work inefficiently or are built cheaply -I need to improve systems and make sure they are designed to be functional-especially under stress. I love to engineer!

3. I'm a K-8 Principal, so most of the engineering there involves people. Engineering people systems would be a lot easier and more effective if they would simply stay put and let the smart people do the deciding--think 'Matrix'.

4. Billiards, golf, running, etc "require" practice and subtleties. Bah!! When you really bear into the pool stick and slam a ball into the corner pocket with authority, it feels good and in my opinion is worth the low percentage. See #1. Same with golf --it is really gratifying to swat the ball hard even if it goes sideways into a gazillion dollar house. Running buildups --I will surely be singing a different tune this Monday, so I better shut up now.

5. Gotta have my piano trio jazz. Monk, Jarrett, Peterson, Evans, Tatum, Clark, so many others.

6. I can't have booze in any amounts. I have a bad allergy. It almost never bothers me, but sometimes it bothers other people which is amazing.

7. I don't know how I found my wife and then had Harrison, but I sure love them and feel that life is truly complete.

My 21 RTP hostages followers who read this are officially 'tagged' if you haven't already been Versatile. Stay cool!