Monday, December 5, 2011

Runner's Den Fiesta Bowl 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Chip Time: 2:10:57
Garmin: 2:11:01
New Personal Record!

For one of the first times in a race, I put a little extra focus on tangents (and choosing a mute taxi driver that would scurry me to the ten mile mark), and finished the race at exactly 13.1 miles on the Garmin. Actually it was 13.11, but I didn't stop it until after all the paparazzi had taken their gratuitous photos of me for the tabloids. Seriously, nice job on keeping mile splits even with the course. And I set a Personal Record for the Half marathon distance by 9 minutes and 19 seconds!

This is the third time I have run this race, and I am a big fan. All the events that are put on by Runners Den are well organized, popular, and full of good spirit. There were 1,082 half marathoners and a huge number of 5K'ers. They started the 1/2 M people at 7:30 and the 5K about 15 minutes later so there was no overlap.   I was in line to hit the porta-potty as the gun went off but no worries, I just walked up to the start line and started. My goal was to run this at 10 min/mile pace and I hit it at 9:59, though I watched a 9:45 overall average slip away in miles 10-13.

9:58 9:53 9:43
31 minute 5K

9:41 9:53 10:18
61 minute 10K

9:44 9:47 9:44
some time in the bank

10:21 10:11 10:21 10:21
withdrawals from the bank
9:30 for the kick

I was pretty sure I could do this based on my runs lately, and I was glad that I didn't completely flop in the last few miles. My water and Gu plan seemed to work pretty good. I never had to stop at an aide station. You can see the walk in mile 6 for a Gu, and again in mile 9, then something curious happened which I had never noticed before in a race. As I ran up on small groups, I found myself almost automatically falling into pace with them, and I found that they were running slower than my plan, though I doubt I would have noticed if it weren't for the Garmin. I think my mind was trying to distract me and convince me that the slower pace was what I had been running. So lesson learned --new underwear every day no matter what follow the pacer whether it is strapped to my wrist or holding a sign.  I plan to keep putting in long runs on the weekend to build endurance. I think I could easily run a sub 2:10 with some steady work. And sub 2:00 is the goal for this coming year.

Speaking of pacers, I was chatting with the 2:07 pacer prior to start and thought I would go out with them and fall back later in the race, but she said she was going to try to run 9:35's and then make water station stops and slow as the race progressed. That style does not jive with RTP, so I left them alone and ran alone.

I had to get back to the homestead after finishing, so I left pretty quick. But not before grabbing a free Chocolate Muscle Milk Lite. Yuck fuckity yuck!!! SUAR, what are you endorsing?? A lot like chocolate Peptol Bismo might taste. Anyway, I did have my traditional post race chicken parmesan sub sandwich and Metro Mint Peppermint water. Love that stuff. And besides two serious toe tip blisters, I'm in good shape. Thanks Runner's Den for a well-organized event!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Goober? Non!

Peanut* Crops Fail, peanut* butter** prices rise by at least 40%. American beastiality practice took a sharp hit this quarter in response to failed peanut* crops this past Fall. Citing an almost 40% price rise for this aphrodiasiac-turned-sandwich spread, sexual deviant Thladius Rickover claims, "Things just aren't the same out in our barnyard these days. The stock is barely interested in me as it is. Now take away the only reward they get for their unsavory tasks, and you really have to make it an 'FTD moment' on your own. I just don't know", he says looking off into the distance where the cluck-clucks gobble gobbles from a neighbors turkey farm can just be heard.
Photo taken just before I crammed my face into this jar
After a run, I crave protein. I almost always rely on a PBJ*. But* now that my favorite foodstuff is pushing $7 per jar, I may have to switch up and try some of the other nut** butters* that we can get at the specialty counter, or look for alternative sources such as tofu and eggs. Eggs make me nervous for all the cholesterol, not to mention the cooking and guilt for not cleaning up after myself. And I eat tofu almost 5 times per week in my lunch salad. Chocolate milk? I hear and read lots about that and will work it in to the rotation. I'm wary of protein powders. Each have their positives and negatives, but all have their expense and ersatz nature.

What do you eat/drink after a workout? Any response to the rise in price?

*nut... he he he
** butt..... he he

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Product Review: Hot Wheels Mega Garage

The elevator really works!
The folks at Mattel have done it again. Depleting the cardboard honeycomb mines of Southeast Tunesia to package this toy which will be used for about three days. Then Norman, The Destroyer lab, will chew and crap it to pieces, and it will finally sit in a landfill for the next 500 years as historians scratch their heads with holographic head scratchers and marvel at the acres of plastic. And yes, in this scenario, a Native American stands at the edge of the dump, and a single tear runs down his cheek. But for now.... Awesome! Happy birthday Harrison.
About as Native American as I am Eskimo
Just some catch up. Last weekend I headed out to the desert to meet up with a complete stranger named Janette and hike with her through the night for about 15 miles. Oh, and this was one of six days in the year when it was supposed to rain. I got out there Saturday later in the afternoon and hung out with Stephanie, who claims to be friends with Lauren. But I can recognize a squatter simply by meeting one and squatting with them for a few hours. We squatted around in Lauren and Janette's camp and talked about lots of things, then Janette showed up for a transition. We did some math and determined that I would begin my pace loop sometime between 2 and 3am. So off to sleep I went and woke up to get back to the start at 1:30am. It was raining. At 1:30am. Night. This is the Javelina Jundred.

While waiting, I met up with some friends I had not seen in a long time and even saw some names on the race roster that I knew and will be catching up with them soon. Lauren had a tough time of it and had to stop, but my runner was still out there somewhere. Finally at around 4am, a race official told me she had dropped at Jackass Junction (sic) along with ten or so other racers and were waiting for a shuttle to get back to base. That was my cue to skeedaddle, narrowly avoiding a Navy Seal-like training experience. Watching those people cross the line after 101 miles made me want to do this Javelina Jundred thing next year  get home to a warm dry bed. And I got home just in time for the family to wake up. Cock a doodle doo.

I am starting to work on my New Year resolution list, which will likely include guidance towards running goals. 2011 has been a banner year for lots of reasons, but my running has definitely taken a back seat in these last few months. I want to increase my dedication to this past time in 2012 and reach some milestones that have been unattainable so far. I may even go to a coach, at least to give Nitmos something to rant about. Sure, I realize that coaches are for pros, but how can I ever hope to compete at the professional or olympic level if I don't have a coach? The only runner I know of at that level who is coachless is Ryan Hall, but he has that whole "Jesus Christ" thing going for him. Did you know that if your purchase a 2012 Ram Truck it will manufacture and assemble a log cabin for you in only one day? True. I've been running on Saturday mornings with a running group comprised of people who work in my school district, though everyone is welcome. We go for about 45  minutes starting near the Biltmore area in Phoenix and drink coffee afterwards. (Blog author wipes mouth and rises a bit shakey from vomiting these random thoughts out to you reader monkeys) ( I was told by a highly reliable source that calling you names would increase my roster of reader monkeys and I've always wanted 60-70 monkeys).

I went out today this morning for the Thanksgiving 5K/10 miler put on by the Arizona Road Racers. They always put on terrific events. There were lots of people there. I had originally planned to run ten miles, but my wife and kids wanted to come along so I deferred to the 5K, and ran it at an average 28 minutes. There were lots of walkers and I haven't been running much lately, so I took it easy. I have to stop this post now because I think I just burned off another calorie and I feel lightheaded. And now, a three day crescendo of gluttony!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

RTP Training Report

Been pretty much caught up with this little one
I really miss running regularly and blogging, but I haven't been doing much else except building on my Tootsie Roll fetish, and that topic has already been corraled, cornered, and covered. I was able to meet up with Adam and Lauren yesterday for lunch, and it was nice to catch up with both and hear the real story behind Adam's dismal failure in Savannah -- (Penn State letdown).

I will be pacing a 5 hour loop tonight for the Javelina Jundred endurance race, and I'll post about that tomorrow. Aren't you thrilled? You aren't even reading this!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

2011 Cactus Cha Cha Race Report

Chip Time: 1:19 (pace 11:27)
Distance: 7 miles
Location: White Tank Regional Mountain Preserve Competitive Track, West Phoenix

What a beautiful venue. someone should take photographs of it.

Thanks so much to the organizers and volunteers who all helped to make this a smooth fun event. There were something like 600 or 700 people out there and about 1/2 of them ran the 3 mile children's bunny course while the other half ran the 7 mile adult black diamond Wildcat course. I chose the later because that is just who I am. I had listed "trail run/race" as one of my new year resolutions, so this fit the bill perfectly for that. Having never run in a  trail race before, I selected my skimpiest sluttiest RTP outfit to hopefully disguise my novice status.
Dirty Girl
This race was started "because we just like to run". There is no special charity or person that the funds are dedicated to, so the price stays cheap. I headed out the door this morning at about 5:45 to make the drive to the West side of Phoenix and made it to the starting area in about 30 minutes. The race didn't start until 7:30, so there was plenty of time to hit the PJ. Since I had chicken wings and 2 slices of pizza last night, this was a priority. Sorry for the defilement beautiful Arizona desert. The 3 milers started at 7:15, and we started at 7:30 without much fanfare. I did the first couple of miles conservatively at about 11:00, then we went uphill on a singletrack, so even if I could have gone faster, we were in a soul train of 11:15'ers. The ups and downs reminded me of several other Maricopa county trails. Mostly sandy and flat with some rocks thrown in just enough to prevent you from looking up. There were some mandatory walks due to traffic on the singletrack, and some mandatory walks due to low endurance on my part, especially for varying paces. That almost never happens on my street running, but in this trail race we were bouncing up and down the pace zone throughout.

After the race was over, I chatted for a while with Nathan, owner of the soon to open Tortoise and the Hare running store in Glendale. Nathan was there as a volunteer and let me just say the volunteers were great at each aide station. This seems like it would be a fun race to join the volunteers, and that might be on next year's resolution list.

Today actually had a 7 mile run on my 'break 4:30' training schedule and my pace is supposed to be 11:23 LSR. Trail running is supposed to be slower than street running, so success. Also, I feel injury free and was able to hack out several good sized lungers that have been loitering in my bronchial passages for the past week.

Check out this race next year if you are looking for a trail run or something different to do around the beginning of Oct.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review of the Garmin Forerunner 305

THE Garmin 305 Forerunner
There are quite a few opportunities for TWSS in this post, so I'm just putting this one here at the start and you can cut and paste it anywhere you like (twss). I've been running with a Garmin Forerunner 305 gps device since January of 2009, and I love it. This ubiquitous gizmo is seen on the wrists of runners all over the map (Redundant? Only if you know what ubiquitous means, and even then, it's still an ok sentence. Certainly good enough for this blog).

The 305 ('ole Red) is worn on the wrist like a watch. Like a toaster-watch. Seriously, it's bigger than most watches but fits well for most people. It catches gps satellite signals so that it can track your exact location, your speed, your distance, the exact route you are taking, and combines that data into a few other useful displays like pace and time spent running. The 305 usually comes with a heart rate monitor strap which is worn around the chest, and you can also get a cadence sensor for your bike data and a foot pod to measure running data indoors (treadmill). The auxiliaries connect wirelessly to the main 305 and add to your information overload.

The 305 itself holds about 50 workouts and then it starts writing over the oldest workouts, so most people download their information into one or more of several online and/or pc-based applications. I use Garmin Training Center which is loaded on my laptop and also Daily Mile which is an online social running/workout network. After I download my workout, I simply delete the data from the 305 to keep it clear and to stay in routine. I used to load workouts into the Runners World online log but stopped because I wasn't using that information in any useful way.

The 305 has a multitude of functions and display options, and it really comes down to what I want to see while I'm out running, because I can get all the other information when I return home. The 305 collects everything, but only displays up to 12 fields (between three separate screens) on the unit itself. Those 12 fields are found on three screens that I can toggle between, and the fewer displays per screen the larger the data displays --one data display per screen is large, but with four, it has to divide the screen into four so the data displays are smaller. This only matters when you are gasping and wheezing and trying to see how fast you are accelerating after running off of a cliff. *

Most of the time, I like to see current pace and average pace. Almost all of my routes are pre-planned, so distance is known, and time is not ever important for me. I'm a pace junkie and that is that. So screen one is pace and average pace.

Screen two has three fields for lap pace, distance, and average pace. I use this screen when doing speed work and only really look at lap pace.

Screen three is a repeat of screen two, but distance is the top display. I look at this when I'm running without a pre-planned route or when I go off route.

The 305 also has a feature called virtual runner which allows me to set a pace in the computer and run against that pace. The 305 displays a skinny 20 year old Kenyan on roller skates racing against a pudgy stooped 45 year old running through mud. Guess who is who?

I love the free software "Garmin Training Center" that comes with it. It tracks all my runs and allows me to compare runs to each other. Garmin also has an online semi-social site called Garmin Connect which maps and keeps data and shares it with others. Meh. Not so much. For PC users, there is Sporttracks, which is the penultimate online tracking software. You can re-live your runs in 3D and see all sorts of other kinky cool data collusions. I'm an Apple user, so I don't get to play with that, but someday....... I can picture one lonely nerd in the back cubicle at Sportracks working to try to build a digital bridge for the Apple users. Give it up buddy, you'll never make it.

Some of the drawbacks:
  • It is not waterproof, but does claim water resistance. Though after some heavy duty sweating, the sound of the beeps has diminished considerably and sometimes I need to clean the contacts on the back so it will connect to the cable. There is a waterproof version which can be used for swimming, and perhaps is more resistant to sweat. Salt from sweat is corrosive on most materials over time, so it may be a once every five years investment to get the latest version. Garmin is now moving a 610 version for $350 that has a touch screen but otherwise all the same features of the 305. $350?? Seriously??!? You can find a 305 with HRM for well under $150, and around the holidays for $99. That can't be beat.
  • PIRNIG --problem in runner, not in Garmin. If you accidently press start and stop buttons on the 305, it will start and stop. It doesn't recognize accidental button pushes, or whether a runner forgets to restart the unit after shitting in the bushes stopping at Dunkin waiting, pissed off, at a traffic light.
  • It's ok to let data drive most decisions, but a natural or 'naked' run is nice once in a while. That is a run without electronics or route or speed or anything else besides you and your 3" shorty-shorts. And running shoes. Barefoot running causes cancer and melodramatic heel spurs in everyone who even tries it just once.
I really love my Garmin, and recommend it for everyone who likes to keep track of their running and set goals for improvement.

Do you use a Garmin? What data fields do you use? What online or PC-based application(s) do you use?

Cake = it's great and I highly recommend this product. Keep your fingers away from my mouth.

A despondent physics student jumps off a bridge, and falls for three seconds before hitting the water. How fast is he going when he hits the water?
Approximating g as 10 m/s2, he will gain 10 m/s of speed each second. After one second, his velocity is 10 m/s, after two seconds it is 20 m/s, and on impact, after falling for three seconds, he is moving at 30 m/s.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Product Review: Tempeh

Tempeh: The healthful option
Tempeh (pronounced Tempeh) is a mixture of fermented whole soybeans, barley, oats, and other healthful ingredients formed into a cake and used in a variety of culinary creations. This is a staple food in Indonesia which is not located in the United States. Internet sources describe Indonesia as a series of islands near Asia riddled with sex slave industry and Tempeh factories. I imagine most people read about the variety of Tempeh uses, then actually cook and eat one and never look back. Tempeh is pretty nasty stuff.

The texture: mostly firm. You definitely need to slice it with a knife. Sort of like cheese, sort of like head cheese.

The aroma: Sort of like....mmmm... kinda........put some chicken pigeon in a crock pot and add some of that foo foo near-beer Nitmos likes and a pretty good dollop of dog shit. Simmer on low for a few hours and your kitchen your neighbor's kitchen will smell like Tempeh I think.

What it looks like: A bit like a veggie burger with some blue cheese dark spots.

Care: Keep it refrigerated or, better yet, in your neighbor's trash, or ultimately, leave it at that hippy over-priced grocery store you found it in. It's in the cooler near where Nitmos can be found smuggling Summer Shandy under his girly blue parka.

Taste: See 'Aroma' and go no further.

The Brand: Trader Joes 3 grain Tempeh (BTW, it is inexpensive, likely because of capital economics)

Today's Plate: Sliced into cubes and scrambled with three chicken eggs. Finished with two shakes of the ginger/wasabi sauce bottle. Ice water, a nose clip, and a 75 pound labrador retriever volunteer at the ready.
Knives ready in case any of this actually goes into my mouth
Nutritional benefits: Well yes, there is this. Tempeh is high in fiber, high in protein and "Tempeh  is a great choice for people who have difficulty digesting plant-based high-protein foods like beans and legumes or soy foods such as tofu. The process of fermentation makes the soybeans softer, since enzymes produced by the mould predigests a large portion of the basic nutrients. The Rhizopus moulds produce an enzyme phytase which breaks down phytates, thereby increasing the absorption of minerals such as zinc, iron and calcium. The fermentation process greatly reduces the oligosaccharides that make beans hard to digest for some people. Studies have shown tempeh to be essentially non-flatulent and producing no more gas than non-legume food."

RTP Rating:

Cow pie = not on your life, but it's sometimes fun to watch others interact with this.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Home Surgery

Cut carefully! And fucking sterilize everything!!
Fifteen years ago this summer, I made a final decision to fully explore a lump that had been on my scalp since childhood. The lump came and went over the years, sometimes feeling like a little pimple, and sometimes like a lima bean. I didn't know it at the time, but I had a sebaceous cyst growing there. On that fateful evening, I put a bic lighter to a box cutter razor, opened the bottle of rubbing alcohol, turned all the lights on in my bathroom, and made Junior the cat stay outside. A few careful incisions later and out popped a white bean-looking thing that really felt like a piece of plastic. I first thought that it was a plastic bb that my brother had shot at me during our summer war games. Not able to stop myself, I opened the little thing up, and a bunch of waxy white stuff came out. Then I noticed the blood streaming down my face, so I put the cyst aside and went about the business of cleaning and sanitizing my scalp. I thought I could see my skull, but have since learned that there are several layers of membrane before the actual skull comes into view. I believe I was below the skin but above the periosteum --- I'd say medial to those two layers.
From Wikipedia: another excellent source of medical information!

A small dent still can be felt on my head, but I think I mostly got away with it, and it surely emboldened me to try other surgical procedures, mostly on myself. And that brings me to my main point for this posting: Don't play with your belly button too much!
A veritable flight of naval germs

About 5 years ago, I noticed a large ball of lint in my belly button and started to remove it when I noticed a pretty big deposit of waxy linty disgustingly hairy crud and began to use several tools to extract it including tweezers, the cap of a ball point pen, and whatever else was around. Something ..... happened. Not sure how to explain it,  but there was a feeling of release and mild discomfort (still makes me queasy. I'm not worried about you because the only people still reading are morbid or SUAR). Within a few days, my belly button went from inny to outy. I went to the doctor for something unrelated and casually mentioned that I thought I had a hernia. The doctor checked (thoroughly!!) and said that I didn't have A hernia, I had three. Two inguinal and one unbilical. No, I didn't operate on myself for this, but there are many Youtube videos that take you through it step by step. That surgery was done, and I removed the stitches myself, then found out that they were supposed to dissolve on their own. So I made another visit to have my handiwork reviewed. The doctor told me to leave it alone, and I did. Mostly.
a lot easier to ruin than you might think

Nowadays, I dabble in hanging toenails, toe blister easement, and an occasional ear canal reaming, but the thrill of actual surgery is a thing of the past. A phase. Have you ever taken a surgical situation into your own hands? What is your sterilization procedure? Do you think that Youtube videos give us all the necessary information to conduct our own surgeries? Write back soon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fall/Winter Race Schedule

Hard to believe I'm thinking about this since it was 116 degrees outside today. My truck battery died, and I only ventured outside once or twice to let the dog pee. But I'm encouraged by reports from other runners in cooler parts of the US. SUAR is biking with arm warmers, something I never would use here in Phoenix.

Having a few races scheduled gives me motivation to run above my comfort zone and try for improved performance. I have one race scheduled each month through January which matches our budget just right and keeps me accountable.

September is always set to the Moon Valley Grasshopper Bridge 5K. This will be the 4th time I have run this race. It's my first ever venue and I love the course. It's pretty flat, and has some grassy sections near the end. I pushed Harrison in his stroller for the first three, and then he/I got too heavy/unwilling. Amelia, of course, is still too small to push, but hopefully the family will be out there to cheer me on at the finish. I've had a mental block for 5K's this whole year. My training runs are sometimes much faster than my 5K PR, but I have not been able to put together a PR effort in an actual race. This is my last attempt this year, so I plan to achieve the goal of a sub 28:00 and a PR.

One of my running new year resolutions was to run in at least one trail race, so I signed up for the Cactus Cha Cha in October. This seven mile race is out in the White Tank mountains and is well-rated by many of my running friends. We shall see. Seven to eight miles is my favorite distance because I get really warmed up, but it isn't so long that I might die out on the course.

November will be the first time I run on Thanksgiving day. Arizona Road Racers is putting on their Thanksgiving Day classic, a ten mile run out at Peoria sports complex. ARR always puts on a great event, and I'll be able to eat an entire Costco pumpkin pie that afternoon.

December is another favorite race -- the Fiesta Bowl Half-Marathon in Scottsdale. The last two times I've run this, I had to wear gloves and a "Fuck-you I'm a gangsta!" scalp hat. This is a fun event with about 500-600 runners, and there is a possibility that Adam The Boring Runner will be pacing me to a PR. I have a C goal of finishing in 130 minutes, a B goal of finishing faster than that, and an A goal of finishing sub 2 hours.

The plan for January is to get a free entry into the RnR PF Chang's Marathon. I have some connections through work that will hopefully bear out. If not, trusty ARR sponsors a January up/down marathon for less than 50 bucks, and I'm pretty sure that it's pants-optional.

The RTP has been a bit dry lately in content and frequency. Baby Amelia is taking a lot of our time and even though she is sleeping really well so far, the rest of the family is not, so my motivation level is just not there. God is that kid cute!! I just can't wait to be in running events with them.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Stork is En Route....... Has Arrived

We are scheduled to have our baby girl Tuesday morning. "We?" you say?? That's right, WE. Maria carries and gestates the child, and Maria pushes her out when told to do so, but it is I that has to hold a leg, I that has to give ice chips-- sometimes having to go out to the hallway for more, and I that has to scrounge around for meals while she is laid up in the hospital.

We go twice tomorrow for some chemical gel that ripens the cervix. Google or Wikipedia it if you need to, but DO NOT Youtube it. You have been warned. Then we go back Tuesday morning for another chemical that launches the whole labor process.......

Maybe I'll go for that "Blogger of the Year" award next year. Baby Amelia is born!
Amelia Juliet Geyer: 0-5 female division

She was born Tuesday at 11:56am. 8 pounds even, 20.5 inches. Mom and baby are doing great! I have lots more photos, but they are of other mommies giving birth or pretending to have other ailments. Thank you trusty "Resident" badge! It's amazing what can be generated from the internet and a decent printer.

Maria went through it sans drugs, just like with Harrison. She is a MACHINE!! She kept saying that she would call for the needle if it got too bad, but suddenly Amelia was out and in her arms. I think she gets a race medal for that. It's kind of like the runner at mile 22 thinking about walking, but deciding to run a little slower instead and see what happens and then the runner lays down on the pavement and someone crams in a Ford transmission and pulls it out while a "Resident" snaps photos and says, "Gross, is that the... GROSS OMFG GROSS!!!!"

Well, they come home today, so time to sweep up all the pizza boxes and get ready. Tales from the road coming shortly as soon as I start running again.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Improved Blood

This is what you will see if you suspect someone is out there and you try to peek thru the peephole. Have you never seen a slasher movie??
I signed up for a life insurance policy in February of 2008 and was ordered to undergo a health screening including a questionnaire, blood sample, and pap smear (they should NOT be allowed to do that!)

When the numbers came back, I went into a mild panic and began a running regimen. I had already made a life decision to never eat McDonalds again. I won't even pee in their bathroom.
It's always a clown in the park isn't it

Fast forward to this summer. My doctor had asked me to come in for a physical, so last Friday I headed over to the office for another questionnaire, blood sample, and a procedure similar to the pap smear but without the 2008 raised eyebrows, exclamation of WTF??!?, and forehead-slapping chart-consulting epiphany "she's a he...
a manchild!" Even so, will that really tell you something about my overall health? Apologies indeed! Sir, you are a cad!!

Running has helped. Take a look at the comparison:
My weight has gone from 217 during that exam to 196 today.
This is a move in the right direction. Still not the numbers and weight I want, but good solid progress. I asked the doctor if I should cut out bacon cheeseburgers and he said no to just exercise more. He barely got the sentence out before I screeched into the parking lot at Chicago Hamburger Co. So.... more races, more early morning runs. As Suzanne and I were standing in the street in front of my house early this morning sweating buckets, we were chatting about the time this past winter when we ran in 25 degree weather. We vowed to connect the dots and keep running until it gets to be 25 degrees outside again. And now, to further randomize this posting:

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Thank you IKEA for your mind-numbing illustration-only instructions
We are about four weeks away from welcoming our newest member to the family. Mr. Stork should arrive sometime around the 14th or 15th of August, and we have been busy converting this house from a three person abode into a four person home (not counting the 72 lb. dogshit machine). Some of you have been asking about names. We aren't announcing but we are considering Suar, Jamoosha, and possibly Nitmosa though it's so tough to pin down the pronunciation on that last one (long O sounds like a drink in Okinawa, short O sounds like a monster in Okinawa ---a very small squeeky monster).

So the conversion of the office, computer room/storage room was necessary and daunting to say the least. I have made two big trips to Goodwill, numerous trips to the dumpster, and assembled the mommy chair, crib, and dresser/changing table, hung the flowery curtain, and painted the room pink. I can't believe how much stuff we had.
She will have to sleep on that until I can get the energy to finish the crib
Look carefully and you can see the faint outline image of the little old lady who was strangled in this room
We are also in the process of teaching our son to use the potty. Holy Moses! He likes the movie Cars (hates the band which is a shame since I like them a lot and they have recently reformed), so we set up his bathroom like a Pixar museum with milestone prizes taped to the mirror. So far, he just sits there on the throne for a half hour or so playing games on the iPad until we get tired and get him down and he promptly lets loose.
The diecast cars for a tinkle and the DVD for a deuce
Playing Mr. Giggle and Caveman Bowling on the ipad
Running has been going fairly well lately. I have been running three to four times per week including a track speed session on Thursdays. It's been hot (duh), so that has slowed my pace a bit, but I'm injury free and feeling good about keeping this base. I ran in the Arizona Road Racers Summer Series 5K yesterday morning and had a hard time keeping my paces according to plan, and finished over a minute slower than the target. Oh well. The main road to South Tempe was closed, the line to the six* porta potties was enormous and I was not able to line up with my pace group, and I left my inhaler back in the car. Meh, wtf. My summer race season is now closed --the next race is in late September, and my goal is to maintain a base through the remaining summer and get our daughter situated in her barracks.

* really there were only five since one was so badly desecrated that only the most iron-stomached runners could have used it. Most of us took one look and turned back to the line for a do-over clemency pass for the next open door.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday at the Track

Just moving a few things into your closet
Met Adam the Boring Runner out at Camelback High School for some early morning track speed work. I ran out to the track from home as a warm up since it is only about 2 miles away. We searched the perimeter of the school and then found a service entrance that led up to the athletic fields.

Adam had decided to run 800 meter repeats and I wanted to try some 400 meter repeats (with 200 meter jogs in between) at a prescribed pace (9:00) to see how well I could stick to that pace. Because I'm relatively new to running, I have a difficult time running at a prescribed pace and/or knowing what that pace 'feels like', so this is good practice.

I did a warm up 200 on the track and then spent the next 30 minutes running and looking at my Garmin like it was suddenly going to pop up the winning Powerball numbers. My splits were 9:11, 8:53, 8:40, 8:42 rest rest rest, 8:39, 8:47, 8:42, 8:07. Faster than 9:00 for sure, and a bit up and down, and I finished feeling like I could have done more and happy that I was in the ballpark of my pace. Last week, when I finished, I realized that my paces varied by a lot and I was really beat. So this week I wanted to run closer to 9:00 (my 5K pace) and see if I could finish and still stand up. Mission somewhat accomplished, but some of my running buddies are saying that my 5K pace should be faster at around 8:30 to 8:40.

This Saturday is race #4 in the Arizona Road Racers Summer Series. A 5K through Kiwanis park in Tempe that I last ran two years ago finishing in 32:43 with mile splits of 10:00, 10:54, 11:09, and the last .1 in 10:29. I looked at the walk breaks and I took 3 out of 4 of them going DOWNHILL! I think I can improve on this and will try for a PR 5K this Saturday. My best all time 5K is (and you know this from studying my blog) 28:07 which is a 9:03 average pace. I remember having trouble in the second and third mile of that race, so my strategy is to go out the first mile at about 9:15 and get the time back in mile 2 and 3 and finish in the 27's. Also, just before the race starts, I plan to inject a nervous system boosting bolus combination of heroin and cocaine known on the streets as a 'speedball'. Just a little.... aboooouuut that much. And then I'll quit again. Really.
I see people with jobs and families

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ladder Workout

Got him out of his shirt in the first five minutes. Easy street!
I got up at 4:20 this morning (surely Jamoosh was ready for lunch by then) to make the drive out to East valley and met Adam for a track workout. We like to meet up a few times per year to run, drink coffee, and look through back issues of GQ sniffing the cologne samples. We met at a middle school track and he basically did his workout while I did mine.

We embraced, played a quick game of pattycake, and set off for some 5K pace work. I had the idea to run 400/800/1200/1600 and then back down again with 400 rest laps in between. Adam talked me out of the 1200s and that was fine with me. I know there are no rules in running, but the suggestion is to run the back side of the ladder a bit faster than the front side. Hmmmmm. Here are the numbers:
400 8:34
800 8:29
1600 9:34
800 8:52
400 7:54

I also wore the HR monitor and was surprised at how low my HR stayed despite the heaving lungs and inability to talk. My overall average was 154 bpm and my average on the run splits was 164 bpm. That's not outrageous for me. Two years ago, when I wore the monitor all the time, I was getting up to about 180 bpm. It was very hot and humid this morning, which may have had the impact of making it feel like a tougher run than it really was --whatever the eff that means! Hmmmmm again.
You can't just 'help yourself' to mommy's weed!

We chatted a bit about discipline. I know that I don't run according to a plan and have trouble adhering to a schedule, and that may be a big opportunity for me. I'd like to start planning pace and distance and sticking to the plan to build improvement. I'm a head case when it comes to running and I really believe the recorded paces tell the tale. That mile was definitely tough, but what was my plan? At the start, Adam asked about 5K times and suggested that I run the splits at about 9:15 based on that. Well you can see what I thought about that! Is that why I ran the mile at a full minute/mile slower? And what about that "I'm almost finished" final 400? I think it's possible that if I trained according to plan, instead of throwing myself around the route willy-nilly, I may see improved overall running. I have today to use as a baseline, and will be able to establish a plan for the next workout, so that is the silver lining.

This was a tough workout. I'm not really sore muscularly, but I know I got some cardio work done and that feels good. We also talked about getting some S. Mountain hill work in on the weekends. I'm down for that!

Post-Swimming lesson Einsteins with daddy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pre Ladder Workout

I'm going to get up at 4:45am tomorrow and drive out to Gilbert to meet Adam the Boring Runner for a speed track workout. I'm looking forward to hanging out with Adam and maybe getting some free coaching, but I'm a bit worried about the workout itself. I haven't done speed work in a long time, and it feels like I'm on the night before an early morning colonoscopy procedure.

Adam asked what kind of workout I was planning and I cooly replied that I would be doing a ladder drill of 400/800/1200/1600/1200/800/400 with 400 cool downs in between. No response from Adam as I'm sure he immediately went to his CPR manual to brush up on methods for cardiac arrest revival. Hey pal, just be sure to use Listerine, that's all I ask.

In the past, I've done Yasso 800's and some strides and quite a bit of Tempo running, but never a progression run and certainly never a ladder, so this may very well induce vomiting or at least generate several new index labels for the RTP blog. I spent two weeks at a much higher elevation trail running, and I'm interested to see what that does for the ole VO2. I'll be strapping on my HR monitor to see how close I am to the red line. Wish me luck!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sedona T'Storm Run and Hide

From our Sedona vacation home where we are on vacation in Sedona. Sedona Sedona Sedona.
Saw the clouds approaching and thought, 'not too many chances to do this'. So I ran through Safeway in a cowboy hat and a jockstrap  headed out for  rainy thunderstorm run on the trails of West Sedona. Are you f'ing sick of hearing about my vacation in Sedona? Me too, and I'm here.

Headed out with Norman on a familiar trail, and ran into rain streams--
See the little Sedona waterfall?
No real clue how to align Sedona photos in Blogger
Norman shit one regular time, then the thunder started and he began some righteous metaphorical shitting
Norman in Sedona

Some cool blooming. These century yuccas throw awesome yellow flowers as soon as there is a drop of H2O on the ground
A plant in Sedona
Got off the trail trying to navigate the front side of Sugarloaf, so I built a fire and drank my urine but found our way back soon after. It would be pretty embarrassing to have to be rescued from a trail called Sugarloaf. Going back to Phoenix tomorrow with a new appreciation for trail running and hiking. Sedona Sedona Sedoan Sedona Sedona.....

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Powerbar Energy Blasts Review

I'm leading, SUAR is in third place back there. Yep, stopped to crap.

Mmmmmmmmm good. PowerBar has hit a home run with these yummy little energy chews. I used the 2 for 1 coupon in last months Runners World to buy these. I only use gels on long runs of eight miles or more, and I only use other energy products like these chews before a long run, and then not very often.

So the other day I ate a pack before a five mile trail run thinking that the trails have been beating me up and I would benefit from a little extra energy. These are seriously yummy and hit my sugar peptide just right. I ate them about 30 minutes prior to the workout and felt....... the same when I finally hit the trail. It was hard to tell if I was feeling chemically energized or energized from the trail run itself. I don't know, my high/low  energy reference points are when I haven't had coffee in the morning and when little Jeffrey goes 'up periscope'.

But it doesn't matter because these are really good and relatively inexpensive. As for the 'squirt in your mouth' effect, I think I ate them too fast to notice. Nutritionally, these little guys are pretty solid and are positively endorsed by Josh Cox among others. Here's the breakdown:
45 grams of carbs, lots of sugar, and Black carrot juice for color. WTF? Black carrots??? Off to Google we go------
Keepin it clean for this family blog
Carrots originated in the Afghanistan region about 5,000 years ago. Though not a robust crop choice here in the West, black carrots proliferate in Asia and the Baltic states, and are becoming more popular in modern restaurants. The chemical composition makes for an ideal red coloring, and you can read a lot more here at the carrot museum online. I swear!

Post #150!!! Thanks for following!

RTP Rating for PowerBar Raspberry Energy Blasts:
Cake = it's great and I highly recommend this product. Keep your fingers away from my mouth.

Running in Red Dirt

Layers of natural red dirt, unnatural skin tone, and baby seal skin compression
Gross story but true: Due to a miscalculation on laundry needs, I had to re-use one of my socks for yesterday's run. How I went 'odd' on my sock count remains a mystery. What on Earth would you use one sock for?? Oh yeah...
Can you tell which sock has already been used?
These past two weeks have been a nice getaway for me and the family. We have spent time running, hiking, eating, sleeping, watching and speculating on the Casey Anthony trial, sending our hound in for surgery, and, of course, channeling the vortex. As for running, I've stuck mainly to the trails. They are so much fun to run, and the roads here are filled with angry old people driving around in their 5,000 pound Buicks.

As you may know, Sedona is high desert and covered with red dirt. You can't really tell from the photo, but all my running gear is now reddish brown. Cool. I ran last night with Norman on the famously technical "Teacup/Soldiers Pass Trail", which winds through coffee pot canyon for about 3 miles. I extended the distance by running on a jeep trail and surprised a group of German sightseers (some interesting spelling history on that term). There was a mom and dad and a 10'ish year old in the back of one of those pink jeeps taking photos of a prickly pear cactus like they had captured shooter #2 in the Kennedy assassination (you don't really believe in that single-shooter bullshit do you?). We ran up behind them and they started shouting "Hasselhoff Hasselhoff!!! mein gott ach du leiben mein kampf hes gott un giganta weinershnitzel!!!" or something like that. They were all amazed that we were running through the desert.

These trails and roads go up and down pretty steeply and require muscles that don't get used ever, so I've been sore. Also, Sedona is about 4,000 feet higher than Phoenix, so there is the whole 'lack of oxygen' thing going on. Trail running is different. Paces just seem to go out the window, and the usual hypnotic road mileage is instead one photo-inspiring (but not enough to actually bring a camera-inspiring) John Wayne movie scene after another. We go back to Phoenix on Monday and the heat, but really it's only 118 or so right now, so not too bad.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2011 SYTO 5K Virtual Race Report

Time: 29:18 pace 9:27
Location: Sedona Arizona High School track (Home of the Scorpions)
My witness
I really wanted to be down in Phoenix for the 2nd annual Sweat Your Thorns Off 5K to ensure that Adam is not cheating and is fully clothed run with friends, but this vacation is too necessary for my health and sanity. So I decided to run it virtually along with many of the other thousands of participants. We got up early and headed over to the track. I didn't know if it would be open and the backup plan was to run the race on the trails just to the West of where we are staying. The crime rate in Sedona must be low because the entire field was wide open. There was plenty for Harrison to do while I huffed around in circles. He played in the sand pits, jumped on the mats, and spray painted "Fuck you Principal Skinner" on the front door of the school.

The temperature was about 75 or 80 degrees when I started and the track is new, cushiony, and otherwise yields no excuses.
stretch like this daddy

We stretched a bit and then I started. I ran the first mile at just under 9 minutes, the second at a plodding 9:45, the third somewhere in between, and the final .1 at about 8:00. There was nobody else on the track. The salient question is, "Did I Sweat?" Yes indeed. I always sweat and today was no exception. I have to say that I hope I never have to run a race on a track again. It was really boring, and I had to consult the Garmin to check distance because I have trouble counting to 12. Not much else to report for this race, so here are some gratuitous photos of my 3.5 year old.

Thanks Adam and everyone else who helped organize this event (Lauren, were you the cornstarch girl again?).