Sunday, October 31, 2010

10 Boring Miles

I got up early and drove out to Gilbert, a Phx suburb to the East. Who decides the names for all the suburb communities? They all sound like Shakespeare wrote them while under the influence: Stratford Fountains, Buggering Coven, Our Boxes are Bigger. I finally found Ashland Village and parked in front of Adam, The Boring Runner's house.

We were running together, not on the same path, but with the same finishing time and agreed to meet up at his house afterwards for coffee, pool time, and Parcheesi. We both rounded the corners onto his street at the same time and ran it in together. Adam claims his run was "shitty" but mine was good even though I did goof my math at one turnaround which resulted in a total run distance of just under ten miles.

I ran out of his subdivision and south along the canal. The scenery was typical South East Phoenix: bedroom communities, shopping malls, and Pima cotton fields. It really is beautiful out there. New development mixed with established agriculture and rural life. I passed a couple of blue tick hounds guarding a farm equipment yard and they were hoarse from barking (presumably) since Tuesday. On the way back, their barks were strong again. I can only assume they had received their weekly food and water rations.

I will also say that the canals out there are much nicer to run on than the canals in central Phoenix. The canal path was paved for about the first two miles then transitioned onto smooth dirt with very little canting. Almost no other runners out there, and I can't decide if that's good or bad. It depends o the day I suppose and yesterday there were just the right number of other people. If Sartre was right, and hell is other people, then yesterday was a bit of heaven. The weather was a cool 65 degrees and I felt strong all the way.

I've been concentrating on good form including a 180 cadence. I'm not wearing a metronome, but I do think about turnover and not slouching into a slow rhythm. After my run this past Sunday, I was extra cautious about my lean and did not have the back problems again. My scheduled pace was 11:08, but I ran at just over 10. Slower than I have been going lately, (I just can't make myself run in the 11's). I need to keep my LSR's at a slower pace, especially as I increase mileage. I have my first 20 miler from this plan in 5 weeks. Adam and I agreed that running too slow can cause gait issues and other related problems, so that's my justification.

We stood around in the pool for a while icing our feet, and Adam sloshed his Sony mp3 player around in the pool and and showed how it still worked (he was a little pushy but I didn't buy one), and then I made my way back home. It was nice to see some different land, spend some time with a neat running friend, and I hope to do it again sometime soon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Night Repast

East meets West this evening in the G's household. 5 pee em saw the smiling exit of Mrs. which left RTP Jr. and I to fend for ourselves in the culinary world. 

After a digging episode in the garden which can only be described as 'brown', we cleaned up and began the inventory of available edibles in the kitchen. Foregoing matronal advice to 'please eat some of the leftovers', we narrowed our choices down to three: leftovers, re-grilled leftovers, and carb loading for tomorrow's 9 miler. It's a sure bet whenever taters are involved and from there we set forth.

The food network dot commies suggest baking in the oven for almost two hours at a temperature that would cause the sun to flinch. Out of the question! Smiling like a mongoloid, I vaguely remembered a time or two during my undergrad days when we would prepare potatoes in our dorm room coffee pot, and once or twice in the RA's microwave oven. Hell, we have a microwave oven right there, and it even has a potato button. Jackpot! "Say you're once..... twice...... three tiiiiiiiiiiimes a potato, and I loooooooove you!" If one spud is good, three will be better. So, fork poke all three and into the microparticulator. Potato button once --not done. Two times --not done. Three times..... tasty fish!!

Now to split, top, and present. And here is where I honestly made an effort to use leftovers, but not the stew she had in mind. What goes good on a nightshade tuber? About anything it turns out. A whack of butter each, a generous pinch of sodium chloride each, and what have we here? Prepared horseradish... hmmmm sounds spicy, so take it easy with amounts---oops. Now here is something interesting hiding behind the ketchup bottles! Mango chutney. Looks like jelly with stuff in it and not a lot left in the jar. Damn the torpedos --all of it!!!! I'm eating leftovers!!! A little dancing in the kitchen with my boy. What kind of funky monkey cocaine is this here in the spice rack?? Garam Marsala?? WTF???!??? WTF indeed.. on it goes, and it comes out of the jar faster than I thought it would. Now a little knife smearing and a blog photo op. And the moment you have been waiting for...

It was .... different. Not bad, a little harsh on the tummy here about 15 minutes later which may also be caused by the forced switch of TV programming. HJG just has to watch that little bald-headed Canadian ef'er named Caillou. Watch yourselves parents to be. This program will make you want to claw your eyes out and stuff them into your earholes. 

The sweetness in the chutney harmonized well with the horseradish bite, and was together a nice counterpoint to the Indian spice. The underlying creamy butter made a valiant attempt to pacify the battlefield, but, severely out-gunned, surrendered before the meal was halfway consumed. My developing gastro-distress brings to mind the punchline to an apropos old joke: "C'mon ice cream!!"

Actually, I think it's time now for a little Father Brioschi. Then some ice cream. Vanilla in a bowl with a spoon. Nighty night!

Gooder Form Running

Completely stripped then realized it was just shoes and socks time. Embarrassing!
I was at Runners Den last night for a class called Good Form Running. The idea for this class originated out of a running store in Michigan, and one of the founding philosophers, Nathan, is now working here in Phoenix. Nate is a decent guy and a really fast runner and is teaching this 4 step plan for free to whoever signs up for the class. I knew it would be a serious class when I saw that Nathan was wearing his Vibrams. Sadly, I am short on photos because it was difficult to remain inconspicuous about the camera. I got a glare or two from the other ten participants and decided that it would have to be described in text and through Google images.
Most shots look like this: bank surveillance system quality.
Because I obsessively read about and discuss running, I was at least aware of all four tenets of the program, but it was nice to hear rationale behind each. Anyone can go to the website and get most of the information, but there are in-class examples and explanations that make it comprehensible of there is any doubt.
I knew Jamoosh was in this somehow! Barefoot!!
We introduced ourselves one at a time, our running history, sexual orientation, and any running injury information. Kiiiinnnnda like an AA meeting without the coffee and warts.
New to running and a bit sassy. I got her number.

As said, there were 11 of us, including one middle school kid with her mom who was trying to improve her form to compete in cross country. We went outside and Nathan video-filmed each of us running a short ten yard stretch once in shoes, and once barefoot. He explained that barefoot running  naturally puts most people into a near-perfect form.

He was not advocating barefoot running except as a spot-check once in a while. Nathan took us through the four points that would help our overall running experience.
Good posture head to feet (as in Kenyan style), cadence --180 foot strikes per minute, lean -gravity is our friend, and mid-foot strike -keeps the doctor away. Model and explanation for each, a bit of guided practice, and an invitation to join RD for the Saturday 6:30am group runs and/or the Wednesday 6pm group runs to run with Nathan and practice the form.

I like these kinds of gatherings and learning more about running injury-free. If you read my post from this past weekend, you know that when I tried the form, I was suddenly conversational in my seventh mile and maintaining a sub-10 pace. That has never happened. Looking forward to running with my team this weekend and trying these techniques again. Take care!!

Off topic, I bought a 3 hour maid service for Mrs. for mother's day, and we are finally using it today. God bless the woman who has to clean my shower.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Slight Change in Plan

Looks flat, it's not.

I'm running on a pirated version of the Runner's World 'Break 4:30' marathon training plan. Thanks to a local area fellow runner and blogger not named Adam or Lauren. The plans I have used in the past have really only included changes in distance as the M date approaches. This plan ups the distance but also incorporates hill work, Yassos, and a variety of speeds --all in a 4 run per week 16 week program that will spit me out on the starting line of the PF Chang's Rock n Roll AZ on Jan 16, 2011. I have my doubts about a sub 4:30, but dumber stranger things have happened. So far, the training is going well.

I'm in week #4 and I had 4 miles of hills scheduled this morning. Got 'er done. The plan asks me to find the hilliest course possible and try to maintain even pace on the ups as well as the downs. Not so even on the paces. I kept a fairly even sub 10 on the ups, and was much faster on the downs, and slowed as the miles progressed.

When I stopped at the crest of the final hill to photo journal for this blog, I tripped the stop button on my 305 and ended up not recording the final .21 of my route. I hate when that happens. Trust me, I finished the run and am not still up there.

The course of choice is the famous Curry Hills section of town over by ASU. Lauren, Adam, and I trampled this earth a few months back and the memories were fresh. The distance is nearly perfect for hill repeats and there is a park with water and bathrooms at one end of the route. And plenty of other runners and Ironman trainees out there for inspiration.

The hill rises from 1160 to almost 1275 feet in about a 1/4 mile, and back down again in a short .78 miles total. Then the idea is to turn around at the stop light and go back over. I did this twice for a three mile run, took a little walk break and then went up a bit past the top and back to the beginning for four total. This is a good workout and awakened a cardio-vascular me that I wasn't sure existed. Nearly barfed. Much different than the flat canals and neighborhood routes that have been my norm.

Looking South toward Tempe

I have hills once per week for the next 6 weeks then I start doing Yasso 800's instead of hills. This plan is cool and the variety is motivating.

Tonight I go to the Runners Den for a Good Form running class. They will video me twice and offer suggestions for improving my stride, cadence, and overall running form. Look for a blog post in the next couple of days.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Got a nice LSR of seven miles in this morning. I've been meeting up with locals at the Runners Den running store. They form up on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. And as it is really starting to cool off here in Phoenix, my times are improving. I've run seven miles each Saturday for the past 4 weeks, and have gotten faster each time. According to plan, I'm supposed to be at 11:18, but I'm just a little over 10 and comfortable.

Nathan from Runners Den leads the group, and runs back and forth about 50 miles each Saturday checking on his runners. We range in speed from super fast to beginner slow, but he somehow finds time to spend with each of us. We start at the store and run out East on the canal system for about 1 hour to 1.5 hours. It's nice that we can leave keys and stuff locked in the store and come back to ice water, bathrooms, and talk about our runs with others. Afterwards today, a few of us went out to a local coffee shop and overpaid for java and eggs. Adam and his lovely expecting wife were there, along with Lauren and her secret sweetie, and Chris who recently has gotten back into running and has a new pair of Landreth Asics and a nifty water belt. We ate, drank, laughed and cried, and embraced as lovers do for about two hours. I love Saturday mornings after a run!

Nathan was telling me this morning about a free class offered by Runners Den that analyzes gait, posture, turnover, etc. and includes two videos of both shoed and barefoot running to get a better idea of how to improve. I'm going to attend the next possible class to get better perspective ---Adam has been coaching me to skip/run while singing NKon the B:
3..2...1...... POUT!

Girls, where would boys be without girls to love
You know that I’d be with you girls,
Where would boys be without girls to love - sweet love

I'm no 'advanced' runner, but I have my doubts about this strategy and probably will stop the practice here in a few weeks if I don't see significant improvement. It sure is embarrassing and would be really rough I think if he weren't having me wear a bicycle helmet which prevents people from stoning my head directly but doesn't protect my bare mid-drift.

I've been enjoying my plan so far --thanks Demi. Looking forward to a 1/2 in December and full M's in Jan and Feb next year.