3.1, 6.2, 12.4, 13.1, 26.2

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Impact if Ink

When first putting together my fitness program to get me to Boston in 2011, I never thought getting a tattoo would be something I would have to alter my training schedule around. Since I started my quest to qualify for Boston back in October, I’ve had to alter my work outs or running schedule for injuries, work schedule, vacations and now ink. Well, pigment is technically the accurate term. As many of you know, I have an intricate tattoo covering the top portion of my right shoulder and upper arm. Its one continuous piece of tribal-like marking I created myself that engulfs my existing “SF” logo tattoo with every piece of the tattoo interlocking with the next. What’s there already was, by design, the first of three phases of the tattoo sequence. The first phase, what exists as of last week, covers the upper part of my arm and shoulder. The second phase, what I had done last weekend and will finish this upcoming weekend (it's going to take three 2-hour appointments to complete this phase), covers most of my right peck and the under-side of my right arm. The third phase (scheduled for later this summer) will cover most, if not all, of my right shoulder blade. I’ll start work on that design in the spring.

So how does this impact my training you ask? It’s simple: the healing process. Let me explain: there are a few key people that I talk to and receive advice from that directly impact my running schedule: my trainer, LL. My wife, Shannon. My body. And most recently, my tattoo artist, Jonny. Jonny works at Skin Kitchen Tattoo here in Des Moines. And let me tell you, in my opinion, this guy is the Pierre-Auguste Renoir of tattoo artists in Iowa. I won’t let anyone else put ink on me; it’s Jonny or nobody. So aside from the hetero man-crush I have on Jonny and his amazingly detailed work ethic and out-right passion when it comes to the art of painting on skin, I let him tell me if I can run or not. And I do that, because he knows best about how the body heals after getting inked. In the place where I’m getting this tattoo, there will be a lot of skin movement and friction from running or the functional movements from my lifting exercises. And with Jonny being the expert on how new ink reacts to those types of circumstances, he’s really good for saying “yay” or “nay” to how soon I can run after getting new ink. Case and point – when I go for the fill-in portion for this new tattoo, I have to wait at least 5 days to allow the skin to heal enough so that the ink won’t bleed out and scar from the friction of my arm swinging as part of my running stride.

With all that being said, I’m hoping to get a 14-miler in this Saturday afternoon before my 9PM appointment with Jonny later that night. As of today (Monday), the weather looks good, so hopefully it all works out. Because after I see Jonny Saturday night, I’m on the shelf for a week.

Still haven’t gotten the bugs worked out for the countdown component for my blog. So consider that still under construction.

Training Update:
This past session with LL was a good one. We took a break from focused leg work to do more of an all-around functional workout. This week’s routine consisted of: squat-to-press, Bosu ball lunges, bicep curls, sumo squat to up-right row, backward lunge with peck fly and, as always, a shit-load of ab work. J Though there wasn’t a lot of specific ab exercises, what she had me do was very oblique-focused. This is what I get for complaining about having “back fat” from not wanting to give up Taco Johns. All-in-all, it was a good workout and I’m looking forward to doing it a couple more times before we meet again.

The Running Route:
This past Saturday’s long run was only 10 miles. Based on how I felt after last week’s run, I probably could have gone another two or three miles, but I didn’t want to push my luck and force miles. Going into the run, I had already decided on an easy 10-miler, so that is what I stuck with. But I’m happy to report that for the second long run in a row, I felt great and wasn’t gassed at the end; a good sign that I’m finally getting back into the shape I was in towards the end of last summer before all my injuries piled up. This route was pretty much the same route I’d been running through Ankeny with the exception of staying on the streets instead of using the trails. Literally. For the entire 10 miles, I was in the street. Which was disappointing considering the 10 ft wide sidewalk along 18th street wasn’t cleared from the snowfall the day before. This really surprised me, to be honest. Usually the city of Ankeny is really good about getting the trails and city sidewalks cleared off right away after a snowfall. Especially since those pathways are used so often by runners, walkers and bikers year-round. But, for whatever reason, the sidewalks were junk, which meant Yours Truly was street-bound the entire run.

If there’s one thing I enjoy about running through Ankeny, it’s the scenery. For the most part, it doesn’t matter what side of town you’re on, Ankeny has done a good job over the years of backing up quaint neighborhoods to other developments (new or old) that almost always offer a pleasing sight while running. The route I took Saturday was no different. Starting in my brand new development (Cherry Glenn Estates) and running north, then east I passed a few open fields and an undeveloped lightly wooded area. Just in the first two miles alone, I saw a picturesque snow-covered hill side, the wide-open space of huge corn field and even a couple of deer. Continuing east on 18th St, I ran past another new housing development that backs up to one that’s been there for several years. But the transition from new to old development isn’t so dramatic that I feel like I’m in another town. That’s the thing that I’m learning to appreciate about Ankeny; one development naturally flows into the next. From there I traversed a smattering of new and existing neighborhoods, a sports complex and eventually ended up in “Old Town Ankeny”. This is, by far, my favorite place to run in the entire town. Old Town is only a fraction of the size of Ankeny itself, covering less than 10 square blocks, but the layout and nostalgic feel of the buildings and houses is something out of a small town portrayed in a Hollywood movie. The two story buildings are butted quietly up to each other with store fronts on the ground floor and studios above. And where there are houses mixed in, they are larger, dated homes will yards full of huge trees that have been there for a hundred years. This neighborhood isn’t full of houses that are run-down, but you can tell the homes have been a part of the landscape for several decades. Just running those 10 blocks completely relaxes me. From Old Town, I continue east on 3rd St, crossing Hwy 69 (Ankeny Blvd) and through an area that consists of a couple busy street, some small shops and fast-food restaurants. Once through that, I’m right back into an older, quiet neighborhood that joins another older, quiet neighborhood. Eventually, I hit my 5 mile turnaround sport and get to run back through all the pleasing sights from which I just came. No deer on the return trip home, but still some pretty nice views.

Non-Running Thoughts of the Week:
Here are some of my non-running thoughts since my last blog posting:
- Went and saw Valentine’s Day last night with the Steele's and Hanson’s. I have to admit, I really enjoyed this flick. I didn’t think I would, but I did. I recommend it as a good date night movie.
- Is it OK that I think Ashton Kutcher is cool? I’m sorry, but he is.
- Our new TV doesn’t arrive until Tuesday, but I’m already looking forward to watching something, anything, on it. For those of you who haven’t seen and LED TV, go check one out. What a difference from an LCD it is.
- I’m still sick of shoveling snow. Even though Shannon shoveled from the last round of snow. Thanks Babe!
- I think it’s about time to turn over the music on my iPod. I’ve played out every current playlist I have and now the songs are starting to annoy me.

Running Rant of the Week:
To the super smart high school chick that almost ran me over while turning out of Casey’s: pay attention, put down your damn cell phone and take a freaking look around before running the stop sign and tearing onto the street!

How kids these days are such terrible drivers is beyond me. I have no doubt that this girl at some point was shown the proper way to drive by her parents. We’ve all been there before – 10 and 2 on the steering wheel, radio down, use your turn signal, always be on the lookout and….I don’t know…. don’t run stop signs!

If you haven’t guessed by now, this week’s rant goes to the airhead that almost plowed me over coming out of the Casey’s on 18th. If it hadn’t been for me paying attention to her (not that I wouldn’t anyway), I would’ve been sliding across her hood. But not in a cool way like Bo or Luke Duke. But like in the rolling from hood-to-windshield-to-ground way when someone’s clearly not paying attention when behind the wheel.

And this rant really isn’t about almost getting hit, as any runner will tell you over the course of a running season, you almost get hit several times. That’s why it’s so important as the runner – or biker for that matter- to ALWAYS pay attention to the cars and NEVER assume they see you. In my closest of near misses (there have been several over the years) it’s always a situation where the driver is not paying attention and bleeds through a stop sign or intersection. So I’m not ranting about almost getting hit. But rather because this girl was obviously so engrossed in her phone conversation that not only did she not see me, she didn’t see the stop sign she blew through on her way into a busy street. And I would think I would be easy to spot because; 1) I was wearing all black against the white background of snow. 2) her view of me was not obstructed by tall snow drifts. 3) In anticipation for both of us arriving at the corner at the same time, I put up both my hands just above my head (think referee when a field goal is good) as I always do to draw more attention to myself. 5) I slowed down and locked eyes with her. But despite all that, she still came within a couple feet of hitting me as a result of running the stop sign.

You may be asking, after this latest near-miss, will I be running in the street anymore? Answer: damn right I will. I have just as much right to be in the street just as a biker or a car does. Granted, I’ll admit it’s not the safest place to run, that’s why I always do everything I did above to avoid getting hit. But with sidewalks that have 2 – 4 inches of snow on them, I was left with little choice for a clear running surface. And, I’m not one of those na├»ve, “feel bad for me” runners either; I realize I’m in more danger when I’m running in the road vs. the sidewalk. So I’m not going to pretend that I’m surprised by almost getting hit. Hell, I’ve almost been clipped while on a closed course during a marathon. It happens on a regular basis for me and every other die-hard runner out there. It’s something I’ve learned to stay aware of when I’m out in the street. So again, to the chick in the red Cobalt, pay attention. Next time it might not be a runner at the intersection. Next time I might be an 18-wheeler that can’t stop on a dime. #justsayin’.
Oh, and one more thing to Little Ms. Oblivious: put the cigarette out, you barely look old enough to drive, let alone smoke. It looks trashy for someone your age. Don’t you know smoking is the most unattractive things a woman can do?


  1. You're welcome for shoveling! :-)

  2. You're my hero, Josh! I'm impressed by your dedication.... can't imagine the word marathon ever even making it into my vocabulary, let alone into reality. Keep up the good work & best of luck! ~Ang