Monday, September 21, 2009

Quick thoughts 9/21/09

1. No cross country practice. I was kinda bummed about that, because I really like working with the kids. They're all doing great. No one has taken my advice of peeing in the bushes yet. However one parent/coach seemed to enjoy my explanation of bladder tension and the effects on running to the kids.

2. Did a quick 8 miles today. That's the most mileage that I've gotten in days. I need a long run so badly that my muscles are starting to ache with the need. I've tried to make up for the lack of long runs with more speed/tempo runs, but it's just not the same.

3. I just finished reading "Again to Carthage" by John Parker, Jr. I really enjoyed it. It's probably one of the best, if not best, fictional books about running that I've ever read. It really gets into the head of the runner without being too preachy. I'll probably too a longer review along with "Once a Runner" later.

4. I picked up "Big Bang Theory" Season 1 on DVD. It's been good to get in touch with my inner geek. After spending so much time re-building my physical attributes, it's been fun to remember that I have an awesome mind also!

5. Thomas Bagels makes a good cinnamon swirl bagel. It could use a bit more cinnamon, and it would be nice if it were made from whole wheat, but it's still darn tasty with 10 grams of protein to boot!

6. I still think that women make dominant distance/endurance runners with their ability to endure pain. I suspect that it has something to do with their biology to endure the ridiculous pain of child birth. While women may not be faster than men due to the differences in muscle mass, I still believe that the mind and body's ability to handle pain means that women can run farther and longer. If you don't believe that women can endure pain, ask my wife how life with me is.

That's it for now. Later kids and keep on running!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The nasty runner

No, no...this is not an entry-tribute to Janet Jackson (Ms. Jackson, if you're nasty). Sorry kids, this post is more along the lines of the nasty part of running/racing...the gastrointestinal part. My decision to do this blog was to give new runners my insights and thoughts about running, so never let it be said that I ever held anything back. Plus it's just funny to talk about pee and poop sometimes (this is why my wife says that I shouldn't be allowed to talk to the kids).

While those who know me will think that this is just an excuse to talk about my two favorite subjects at the same time (running and shatting), this can be a pretty serious topic for the serious runner. For instance, the night before a big run or race, you should eat early to give your body enough time to process all that food. Timing gets tricky because you want to make sure you take your deuce before you hit the road. Trust one likes to run with that heavy feeling in their gut. It tends to slow you down and if you become preoccupied by it (like I would) then it could take away your focus from your run. Plus it could be disasterous trying to find a port-a-potty in the middle of your run. When I was on vacation in Gulf Shores, I hadn't planned properly and left the condo without visiting my "office." Around mile 10 the pressure started to build and by mile 12 it felt like I was carrying a boulder in my gut while trying to waddle up the road. Fortunately, I was running near the public beach, so I was able to make a quick dash into the port-a-potty. That was a foul experience, but afterwards I felt much lighter and was able to finish my run (albeit very slowly as dehydration had started to set in by that time). Your timing issue can also be complicated if you're traveling some distance to a race. If I'm driving anywhere over 20 minutes away, I say get there early and take care of business there. Yes, it's public. Yes, it's gross. But the other option is waking up super-early and risk being overly tired.

The same rules apply for numero uno. Like I tell my cross country team, make sure you take a leak before you start running. No one wants to see you taking care of business on the side of the course, becaue it didn't occur to you to pee before the race started.

And while we're on the topic, I may as well mention gas. I imagine that there are several people (particularly the ladies) out there who wouldn't dream of ripping a fart on the course. Me, I see letting one go as an awesome weapon. First, the smell of well-balanced diet upon passing through a runner's system can be so toxic that it will knock out any would-be passers behind you. Second, like any other gastrointestinal activity, the pressure on one's bowels can be adverse to the runner as he or she tightens and tenses up to keep that gas under wraps. I find releasing it into the ether is somewhat like a turbo-boost in that after it is gone, I suddenly feel relaxed and free.

Ideally on race day, my morning will go like this. Wake up, grab a shower, and grab a bite to eat and drink. Drop a deuce, grab my gear and head out the door for my race. At the race, check in, take a leak and do some striders to warm up. If it's a long run, then I might have another bite to eat and drink (very little. Just enough to make sure I have something on my stomach but not too much as to weigh me down), and then it's back to little runner's room to take my last pee about 5-10 minutes before the starting gun. Any race/run over 10 miles may require a mid-race pit stop. Not fun, especially if it's a croweded field, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Okay that's enough for me. It's comic night and I have some reading to catch up on now. Later kids.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tuneless in the 'Boro

Lately I have not been listening to my tunes when I run a race. My thoughts being that I can concentrate better on the what's going on around me without the distraction of the music. Today I had a 10k which I did in 44:59, 7:15/mile. A personal best for me that placed me 38th out of 589 timed finishers. Unfortunately that also translated into a 10th place finish for my age group. No year-long, free Chic-Fil-A sandwiches for me. Sigh. Still a personal best is a personal best. But it does make me wonder if I had my tunes, would that have made a difference? Honestly there was no way that I would have shaved the 5 minutes off of my time to qualify for the free chicken sammiches, but it would have been nice to have scored 7:00/mile (which consequently is my next goal). Studies have shown that the proper tunes can help increase one's pace by a few seconds. I imagine it is the combination of the beat and the distraction from the difficulty of the task that the music provides. After all, I have no problem digging on some Black Eyed Peas when I'm slugging out a long run, why not fall back to my tunes on a middle distance race? There is the argument that you don't know what's going on around you, so that you could easily trip or even miss a turn. Then there's the sneaky bastages who sneak around you while you're jamming to Phil Collins or Celine Dion. When that happens, you have to burn precious energy playing catch up. Ugh. Not fun. Still there is a 15k coming up, that if I decide to run in it, I think I will break out my mp3 player and then it's me and Jesse Mac tearing up the greenways! Yeehaw. Later kids.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The ugly side of the long run

Saturday morning, I posted a 24 mile run from my parents' house in Tullahoma to Manchester and back. It took me 4:04:19 which translated to a 10:10/mile. One would, that's not bad for a training run, right? Well...yes and no. Considering that the week before I did 22 miles at 10:17/mile, yes it was a good run. Considering that I have only been running a year, 10 minute miles for 24 miles are pretty good. Now for the frustrating part...well, at least for me. 17 miles into my run, I had been clipping along between 8:30-9:45/mile without too much pain. Then I cross the magical barrier of mile 17, and it's like someone stabbed me in my left calf. After that I play chicken with the pain, running as far as I can till it hurts bad enough to stop and walk before I do it again. I notice by mile 20 that my whole body is starting to hurt now. My feet are burning, my back is sore, and my kidneys feel like someone has taken a bat to them. Each step is struggle, but the thing that really hacks me off is that I didn't finish my run in under 4 hours! Just call me wussy boy. Later kids.

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