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.