Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

Three more runs down.  They didn’t quite happen on the correct days, or in the correct order, but they are done.

Wednesday: 4 Miles – Treadmill Interval Training (Originally Tuesday)

Thursday: 6 Miles – Outdoor Long Distance Pace

Friday: 2 Miles – Outdoor 5k Race Pace (Originally Wednesday)

Exhaustion and working late keep disrupting my plans.  In fact, as I am writing this I am nodding off.  Why are there only 24 hours in the day?  To be fair, everyone has 24 hours in a day.  It is how you allot that time that determines your success at anything.  Of course, my body right now is playing the veto card on my choices.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, during his speech to the graduates of the University of Southern California in 2009, addressed the issue of sleep.

“I’ve always figured out that there 24 hours a day. You sleep six hours and have 18 hours left. Now, I know there are some of you out there that say well, wait a minute, I sleep eight hours or nine hours. Well, then, just sleep faster, I would recommend.

Because you only need to sleep six hours and then you have 18 hours left, and there are a lot of things you can accomplish.”

Click here for the entire speech and transcript.

I am surprised to hear the Terminator needed to sleep at all!  All joking aside, the rules are so simple.  Why are they so hard to follow?

While on the night road I met only one evening runner.  The encounter occurred as I entered a dead end around the third mile.  He stopped his run, and stared as I approached.  For some reason he seemed fixated on me.  I don’t think he even blinked.  I noticed his drool formed a pool on the pavement beneath his small, dirty feet.  I closed the distance to the end of the street.  He waited.  A few steps closer my eyes adjusted and focused while his beady eyes reflected back the streetlight.  Then he bolted in a nearby bush.

This evening prowler was an opossum, a dirty, dirty opossum.  Its face was ghost white, its body a light grey.  They are some creepy animals.  They look like rats on steroids.  I would say I would not want to meet one in a dark alley, but I pretty much did.

I started the six mile run tired.  I ended tired. The pace was terrible.  During the run I felt terrible.  The wind was terrible.  I shall dub this run “terrible.”  But I got out there and finished it.  It needed to be done.  Sometimes training isn’t fun.  Sometimes it isn’t pretty.  Sometimes it just needs to be done.

With the run done and behind me, I felt great.  No matter how bad the run, I find it cleans out my stress and worries.  They may come back later, but for a few glorious seconds, my mind is free of all things save the sound of my pounding heart, and the deep breathing of my lungs.

My two mile runs are really meant to keep a close eye on my pace and beat out my previous 5k race pace.  Of course I should have checked before I left.  I figured it was somewhere south of 10’00” and that is what I kept an eye on.  The two-miler ended up at 9’46”.  Sadly the 5k was less than that, 9’36”.  Next time I will aim for 9’30”.  This run was a nice finisher to three days of running.  It was lite, just hard enough, and timely.  Being on a Friday, it was a nice way to end out the work week and clear the mind.  Typically I listen to music on short runs, this was no different.  I asked for music suggestions on a previous post and Queen and the Police were nominated.  I like to mix things up so for this run I ran with the Sucker Punch the Soundtrack.  More importantly I ran to track number 4, a mash up of “I want it all” and “We will rock up.”  It is composed by Armageddon aka Geddy.  I don’t know much about him, but I do know it is a fantastic mash up of two great Queen songs.

Looking over my marathon training schedule, I realized there is a crucial flaw.  A vital problem, it seems.  I am training for a non-existent marathon!  I have not signed up for one, nor even found a possible one.  I need help.  I need to find a marathon for the September 22nd or the 23rd.  I want my first one to be a good experience.  It doesn’t have to be a giant event, just a good one.  I need to start looking.  Any suggestions?

All and all, it was not an eventful week of runs.  Tomorrow is a ten-miler around my neighborhood.  It will be good to get above ten miles again.  The time commitment is going to increase, of course.  The longer the run, the more time it will take.  Solution?  Speed up!  Time to do some speed work.

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Question:

Does anyone have any suggestions for a marathon on September 22nd or 23rd?

A Threesome…And a Good Duck

Posted: April 1, 2012 by Roberts in Races, Running Log
Tags: , , , , ,

Scandalous!  If you have been following, today was my second 5k and the tail end of the third week of my marathon training.  Let’s take a look at how the day unfolded.

6 AM: 2 Miles

To start the day of a race, I have been advised in the past to do a 2 mile warm up run.  When I woke up I wasn’t hungry, only dehydrated.  I decided to have a drink and head out.  Since the temperature had dropped to thirty I decided to wear my winter running pants.  The run and the pants warmed those legs right up.  As you can imagine, on cold Sunday morning the roads were empty.  I ran to Tron: Legacy again.  Since my pace on Saturday went well with it, I thought maybe there was something to the album.  I was a little worried about the Chipotle burrito.  By the half-way point my body reminded me I was carrying the extra 2 pounds of spicy meat and salsa.  I decided I needed to end the run before I vomited in my mouth.  I know, gross.  I pushed harder and shaved twenty seconds off the last mile.  In the end, my pace was five seconds off Saturday’s pace.  Considering I was a burrito-laden, breakfast-free, dehydrated, tired runner I am proud of only losing five seconds on a warm up run.  Time for the race.

9 AM: 3.1 Miles

When leaving for my race this morning, my wife and daughter both wished me good luck.  My not quite three year old son, who is into rhyming right now, said, “Good Duck.”  He thought he was the funniest person in the world.  My wife and daughter followed suit.  After numerous “Good Ducks” I was out the door for my race.

The Run Like A Fool 5k for the Chester Community Physical Therapy Clinic was a much smaller 5k than the Shamrock 5k in Baltimore.  A one hundred person race is far different than a five thousand person race.  A couple things clued me in.  There was no signage along the route save one turn with six traffic cones.  At the turns volunteers and campus police directed the runners with no dividers.  There were, however, more water stations than at the larger event.  The starting and finishing lines (same place) were not well marked; it was just where some staffers stood with a watch.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.  I think I was just spoiled by the Shamrock run being my first.  The race and staff were fantastic, and I will most likely do that run next year as well.  It is their second time running the event, and obviously do not have the budget for a large scale run.  The volunteers had great energy and enthusiasm.  I must have been ten years north of the median age of the other runners.  Why is that important?  I was pretty much guaranteed to win my age group!  Since it is such a small event, there were no prizes for the age groups, but it makes me feel good to say I won my age group.  I am glad six people from my office joined the run.  We all wore matching company running shirts.  It looked impressive.

The race started on a track.  Looking back at it now, I don’t think I have ever run on a track other than gym class (I think I pretty much walked it then).  Three of my coworkers bolted out at the start.  Without realizing my pace I kept up with them for the lap of the track.  Reviewing my run data, I was running a 6’47’ pace.  Good duck, indeed!  For me, that is a tremendous pace, and to maintain it for a quarter mile is fantastic.  After the track I knew I could not keep up that speed without burning out.  My goal was south of 10 minutes.  Stick to the goal, and don’t over exert.  Slowly, some other runners started to pass me.  Soon it would be my turn to pass them.

After a parking lot and a long driveway, the race entered the open road.  It moved through a neighborhood.  Just past the first mile, I started noticing people coming back in the opposite direction.  Shortly after that, members of my team were passing me heading back.  We high-fived as we passed each other.  At times the solo sport can be a team effort.  By this point, due to the low number of runners overall, everyone had more than enough space.  In fact, at some points I felt I was on a solo run.

Eventually, on my return lap I approached the walkers who were still on the first half of the race…They were walking after all.  Not just walkers, walkers with dogs…little toy dogs, some of which were yorkies.  In the last mile I started passing people.  Several people had gone from running to jogging to walking.  One person, whom I will now call Captain 170, was one such person.  Captain 170 did not like being passed by me.  The first time I passed him he was walking.  He then picked up the pace and passed me, and then started walking when he was around the next bend.  He repeated this process two more times.  The last time I passed him he couldn’t pass me right away, not until the final hill.  He caught up and nudged his way past me.  We entered a narrow sidewalk where I could not pass unless I entered the street on the other side of the guard rail.  You do what you have to do.  Once on the street I started to catch him again.  We entered the final parking lot.  Cones were placed to guide you to run around the entire lot.  He chose to cut across the lot while onlookers and staffers kept pointing and yelling at him.  The shortcut gave him too much of a distance to fully close by the end.  Through the last stretch, he kept looking over his shoulder to see how close I was.  How do I know he was looking for me?  The closest person behind me was at least a tenth of a mile.  It didn’t matter to me so much; I found it funny that this college kid found it so important not to be passed by me.

I finished out the 5k with a new PR of 29’19”.  The last 5k I ran was completed in 31’33”.  Almost a full 2 minute drop!  I can live with that.  The goal for next time is below 29 minutes.

4:30 PM: 5 Miles

According to my training schedule I needed to run 10 miles today.  Of course, Nike meant a single 10 mile run.  So instead, I needed to have another run to make up the difference.  I have never attempted a threesome of runs in a single day.  I entered the run already tired.  I didn’t care about the pace, it didn’t matter.  All I needed to do was finish up the distance.  I decided to listen to a funny podcast and hit the road.  A Sunday afternoon is very different than a Sunday morning.  The streets were filled with people enjoying the day.  There were groups of children on bikes, a man creating a dust storm with a snow blower, ten year-olds playing shuffle board, and three roving bands of three teenage girls each.

One kid on a scooter raced towards me and asked me why I was running.  That is the age old question often asked of runners, myself included.  No, I don’t have an answer for you.  I used to ask myself that question, and there has never been an answer that worked.  So I have stopped asking it of myself.  Why do I need it answered?

That completes the third week of marathon training.  “Good Duck” with your running this week!

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Question:

What is the most number of runs you have done in a single day?

Running of the Turkeys

Posted: November 6, 2011 by Roberts in Injuries, P90X, Running Log, Workouts
Tags: , , , ,

Distance: 9.00 Miles
Pace:
 10’06”
Workout: Chest & Back – Disc 01  / Ab Ripper X – Disc 12

Today’s run was meant for Saturday, yesterday.  I needed to push it back for a day.  My family and I got back at just before sundown after running our errands.  Any run more than eight miles starts and ends on a dark road with no side walks, moderate traffic, and very limited sight range.  In short, a potential death run.  I have almost been hit traveling that road at dusk, let alone at night.  That compounded with my general soreness offered the perfect set of excuses to wait a day.  Of course that means Sunday would be fill with a nine mile run and two sets of P90X.

Female wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) take...

Image via Wikipedia

This route takes me down an interesting trip.  The first set of buildings are industrial, a construction company, piano repair, and landscapers.  As I approach the end of the first mile I enter a semi-rural area with farm houses and a couple of summer camps.  As I took a bend I encountered a flock of eight to ten wild turkeys. Once they saw me coming, they ran away from me, directly along my route.  Just the strangeness of the scene prevented me from focusing on the run and my pace.  I was running with turkeys!  Not until I took my turn did the surreal Running of the Turkeys end.

My turn led me into your standard suburban neighborhood.  People were out blowing the leaves off their lawns, and kids were jumping in the piles.  Everyone was friendly as normal, and gave the customary wave or nod.

The final stop on my travels before I turned around took me to a neighborhood where the houses are still being built and selling for close to or over a cool million.  The neighborhood has playgrounds, yet many houses already have jungle gyms in their back yards.  The houses are vast, with three to four car garages.  I don’t fault the people who live their to having the ability to afford them, it just seems so strange to be so close to the other neighborhoods.  The school system is not the best, and the taxes are high.  It just seems like a strong set of reasons for those houses not to be there.  But what do I know? I am just running by them.  I enjoy looking at them as I run.

If I could only have been one minute faster on the entire run I would have made a decent pace for myself.  Sadly, the entire run I thought I was way off.  If only I had known I had to only push just a little harder.  The lesson here, push no matter what.  You can’t always see the opportunity before you, when you do it might be too late.

I have decided not to post every P90X workout routine anymore.  I am going to still keep up with the routines.  There rarely is anything interesting that happens in them, other than I completed the session.  If something interesting did happen, it most likely was a weight smashing into my face.  I most likely will not be in a position to write about it at that time.  I’ll try doing a once a week update if I am noticing an improvement in my strength and weight.  For weigh ins, I am planning on only posting at certain milestones.  With the P90X strength training and the holidays coming up, I don’t know how quickly the weight will melt away.

Next Run: 6 Miles (Tuesday)
Next Workout:  P90X (Disc 01 & Disc 12) (Wednesday)
Next Race: Burlington Race for the Hungry 5K

Suggestions? rebuildingroberts@gmail.com

Neither snow nor rain….

Posted: October 29, 2011 by Roberts in P90X, Running Log
Tags: , , , , ,

Distance:  8.11 Miles
Pace: 10’26”

When I woke up this morning, all I could hear was the rain.  The temperature was below 40.  It was a steady, cold rain with winds blowing at 22 MPH.  My body was sore from P90X, an easy excuse not to run, and the weather was adding another.  I decided to wait until the freezing rain let up.  By five o’clock the weather had changed from rain to freezing rain and then to sleet and snow.  It is October!  The last time the weather was this bad this time of year was 1979.  It was only getting worse.  It was time to hit the road.

The first leg of my sleet filled run

Standing out in the rain and sleet waiting for the satellites to find me, I started to second guessing myself.  Why am I subjecting myself to possible pneumonia just for an 8 mile run?  I needed another reason.  I did have a new running hat and my new running jacket that needed testing.  If I didn’t use it in conditions like this, when would I use them?  Rationalization found!  The point of today’s run was to do a gear review of the hat and the jacket.  Yeah that’s the ticket.  The Nike watch chimed, and I was off.

As I was going along I knew my pace would be off.  First, my shoulders and abs were still sore from P90X and I had to keep a close on the sleet covered leaves.  The last thing I needed was injuring myself by doing something stupid, like running in a sleet storm.  Through the entire run, the precipitation kept cycling from freezing rain to sleet to snow and back again to freezing rain.  Moving along the road, I could not imagine seeing too many people out for the day.  I was wrong.  First, I passed a frustrated looking man walking his tiny frost covered chihuahua.  The little dog shivered as it did its business, while the walker glared.

The encounter was shortly followed by a pair of young kids trying to make a snowman out of sleet, wet leaves, and dirt.  It was not a pretty snowman, to say the least.  If anything, it looked like a snowman who had suffered a tragic accident with a leaf blower and a dust storm.  The kids kept trying.  Their parents must have wanted them out of their hair pretty badly to send them out in a storm to make a sleet and freezing rain creation.

Along my route I started noticing the occasional person looking out their window at me.  I imagine that their thoughts ranged from, “he must be crazy” to “wow, he is dedicated.”  To be honest, it was most likely the former and not the latter.  The strange thing was not the occasional person noticing me out their window, it was the frequency it was occurring.  It may have been my cold, addled mind, but it seemed like the number of spectators was increasing.  Perhaps the neighbors were calling ahead to each other to say, “Take a look out side!”  One person stared at me in such a way that made me swear that when she was younger she could well have been an extra from the Children of the Corn.  Her eyes stared straight as her head tracked my progress methodically along my path.  To keep the run interesting, every time I ran past someone, a passing car, or a neighbor staring out the window, I acknowledge their presence with a tip of my sleet covered hat.

At the halfway mark of the run, my tree cover disappeared.  Nothing was stopping the elements from their assualt upon me.  The sleet and freezing rain was attacking my face under the brim of my hat.  The visor does nothing!  Or at least when sleet moves sideways it doesn’t.  At this point I started to question my own sanity.  It was too late, I was past the point of no return.  Time to pick up the pace, tip my hat to a few more people and get on home.

Just before my run I received a challenge request from another Nike Plus runner.  The challenge is to lose 20 lbs over the next 30 days.  Since my weight has remained flat for the past three weeks, there could be no better timing.  Challenge Accepted!  I need to push through this 250 barrier.  I am doing my weigh in on Monday, and I have a feeling it has not moved.

One last word, for those running the Marine Core Marathon tomorrow including you, Patti, good luck.  I hope the weather doesn’t ruin it and everyone has a great time.

Next Run: 5 Miles (Tuesday)
Next Workout:  P90X (Disc 3 & 12) (Sunday)
Next Race: Burlington Race for the Hungry 5K

My Sitcom Neighborhood

Posted: October 16, 2011 by Roberts in Running Log
Tags: , ,

Distance: 8.1 Miles
Pace: 10’26”

After that terrible run on Thursday, I needed this run.  My hamstring was still sore before my run.  It took a good 30 minutes or so of stretching the poor muscle until it loosened up.  I had goals and targets to make, and a sore leg was not going to get in the way if I had anything to say about it.

The cool evening air felt great.  I could tell this was going to be a good run.  A cool breeze was blowing in from the southwest, just enough to give you a slight chill, but not enough to warrant an outfit change.  Once the satellites found me through the watch, it was time to run.  Every step would get me closer to my goals, I just had to make sure I didn’t over stress the leg again.

Today was a scheduled late night eight mile run.   On a Saturday night, who knows will be walking the streets.  After the first mile and a half, I found them.  Parked on the side of the road was a small Honda.  With the cabin light on, a young couple decided it was private enough.  The young women was straddling a young man whom I can only assume was her boyfriend.  The two were going to town on each other like he was shipping out for war and this might have been the last time to would ever see each other.  Ahh youth….GET A ROOM!!!!  Actually no, don’t get one, you make runs entertaining.

The next couple of miles were filled with a small group of teenagers unwilling to move out of my path and an interesting group of ladies unloading their compact car. Each was loaded up with bags and clothes struggled to maintain control of their belongings. The trio must have returned from one glorious shopping trip. The last to leave, as graceful as a drunken mongoose on the high wire, slipped into a pile of clothes. I seem to live in a Tuesday night sitcom of a neighborhood.

My entire run I felt great with my pace. I knew it was possible to push a little harder and still not be a sprint. A longer run is about consistent pace; I did not want to burn myself out and pull my hamstring again.

I felt great taking each turn, and the ground passing under my feet. This is why I run. Or is it? There are times I question why I’m running. Why not cycling or lifting? I don’t know. I know why I started, just not why I keep putting one foot in front of the other. Life is simpler when you waste away on the couch, absorbing the world through the soft glow of the television. Why run?

What am I running towards? A better me? A sense of success? Control of my life? And more importantly, what am I running from? Each of us has an answer. The more I ask, the more likely I will find mine.

Next Run: 5 Miles
Next Race: TBD

No PRs just some Porn

Posted: October 11, 2011 by Roberts in Running Log
Tags: , ,

Distance:  6.28 Miles
Pace:  10’12”

Another 10k logged and put away.  It is amazing how these “short” runs pass by like they are nothing.  It is almost impossible to imagine when 5k was hard, and 10k was impossible.  It has only become possible from the long hours and months of training.  Looking at my weekend run, I am sad to see it is only 8 miles.  8 miles?!?!  Why so little?  And am I crazy for being disappointed?  Of course it is to allow my body to rest  because the weekend following is the half marathon.  Damn you body and your need to rest!

Well let’s move on to explain the title of today’s post.  Normally I travel the evening-shrouded neighborhood and find odd or interesting examples of humanity.  Not tonight.  Tonight the streets were empty of people, expect the occasional car driving down the street.  As I took a bend in my route, tunnel vision set in.  I began to focus on the path ahead of me, giving up on finding anything interesting to see.  I began to feel the rhythm of my pace, my heart, and my breathing.  I was in the zone.  Nothing could break that rhythm.  Well, almost nothing.

I realized as I was approaching the T-intersection ahead that I could see the large screen television in the house at the end of the street.  Normally I am not one to peer into windows or eavesdrop on conversations, but on a dark street a large bright TV stands out.  I closed the distance to the house trying to make out what they were watching, and what I was now watching as well.  Once I realized that for the past quarter-mile I had been watching porn, I could not help but laugh out loud.  My sides began to hurt as I closed the distance.  I needed to turn away just so I could refocus.  Laughing and running is a lot harder than you would think.

It seems not only did I get a good run in, also a good ab workout!

Next Run: 6 Miles

Distance:  12.2 Miles
Pace:  10’20”

My Nike watch is dead.  Or rather that is how the day started.  Nike asked me to return it to the store I bought it from and they will exchange it with them.  Their customer service is great.  They even took down the data from my last run that did not sync and said they will add it to the system.  The broken watch is frustrating, but the customer service made up for it.  Great work, Nike!

If that was the only problem I was having, it may have not been an issue.  With the new watch, I needed to adjust it to me and link it to my account.  This requires the internet; the internet that went out the moment I started working on it.  It took another hour of my life to fix the problem, and some time with the unhelpful tech at Comcast.  Their response was simply, “I can get a tech out the next Saturday.”  That is a week from today.  Using my tech savvy, I got the internet back up.  Finally.

After getting the new watch synced up, my next issue was getting all the components working in conjunction.  I forgot to set it up before I got to my starting spot.  After spending a few minutes, I was ready.  Almost.  I had forgotten my hydration belt bottles.  Am I new at this running thing?

Within the first quarter-mile, I dropped one of the hydration bottles and had to jet back and snag it in mid-pace.  The run started badly, but that didn’t mean it had to end that way.

During my run I encountered very few people, considering the distance.  Every person or pair gave a friendly wave or nod.  The only one that didn’t wave was a small dog.  He chased me out of his owner’s yard and down the block.  The small yapping monster could not catch me.

Enjoying a chuckle from my brush with the tiny savage fur-ball, I rounded the corner for my final approach.   At this point the sun had set.  The final mile and half is a straight shot up and down a few hills, and unlit.  The only light I had was the headlights of approaching cars.  For most of my runs this would not be an issue, however on this road there are no sidewalks and woods bordered the road.  There are very few places to run other than the road.  The road, most would call a back road, has very little traffic.  Enough to keep an eye out, but not enough to wonder how you will survive.  Within a mile of the house, a car was heading towards me.  All other cars had moved into the center of the road to avoid me, but this one did not.  As I watched the lights of sports car approach, I swear he drifted closer to the edge.  The was quickly narrowing the space I could run.  I couldn’t move off the road with out smashing face first into a tree.  Though a tree would hurt less than a car.  I hit neither.  I had just enough space.

I pounded out the last mile to finish out great.  At the time I felt the run was terrible, then the stats came up.  Another PR for the 5k and 10k.  I finally got my 5k under 30 minutes.  I am only a minute from my 10k goal.  Now it’s time to set the next goal!