3.1, 6.2, 12.4, 13.1, 26.2

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hillbilly Enablers and Honking in The Key of 'F'

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving break. I got to spend copious amounts of time with family and friends. As a bonus, my sister was in town for the week from Kentucky, so it was nice to see her and her family. Which reminds me, I’m mad at her. In response to my last blog entry entitled ‘Bucket of Cookie Dough’, her and her husband gave me a Pillsbury log of chocolate chip cookie dough. It was funny; we laughed. But sure enough, I’m half-way through the log, slowly taking it down one spoonful at a time. Damn you Hillbillies! You know I have no will power when it comes to cookie dough! She is what I’d call ‘An Enabler’. LOL. Anyway, on with the show…

Running Update
I ended up having a good week of running this week; I’m pretty proud of that. Typically over the Thanksgiving break, I tell myself I’ll stay in my running and workout schedules, but I inevitably don’t. This year was an exception. I ran 5 miles on Thanksgiving Day morning and knocked out an easy 10 miler Saturday morning.

My long run this week was a good one; 10 miles under a bright sun and good temps for late November. There are a few certain parts of Ankeny that I really like running though, and after nearly four months, I was able to return to one of them; Ordnance Road. At first glance, there’s really nothing special about the road; it’s pretty ordinary. As a matter of fact, it’s plain and boring. But that’s why I like it; it’s simple, easy and unassuming. For those of you who know Ankeny, it’s the stretch of Ordnance Road from State Street to Walnut Street. It’s a long, gradual half-mile uphill heading east. On one side of the street is light commercial businesses; a landscaping business, a couple collision repair shops, a “townie” bar and even an old-school lumberyard. And on the other side of the street are older, smaller houses will modest sized yards. Again, nothing special about the street at all; but for me, each time I’m on the sidewalk, racking up the miles, there’s just something about the aura of each house’s characteristics and now it contrasts with the businesses across the street that seems to relax me. If running is my drug, then this street is my high. The balance of commercial business hustle-and-bustle contrast against the laid-back, quiet residential setting is both soothing and comforting. Ever since I ran up and down this road a couple years ago, I always try to incorporate Ordnance into my long runs. That’s why it’s been so long since I’ve run it; it’s part of my double-digit running routes. If you’re looking around for me next Saturday morning, I’ll be on Ordnance Road enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of one of my favorite running spots.

Reflecting on my preferred running street got me thinking; what’s your favorite stretch of running real estate? Do you have that one area that you always enjoy running through? Or perhaps that one street that brings back memories everything you run on it? Respond in the comments section to let everyone know where your favorite path/trail/street/area is.

Training Update
So I mentioned last week about my strategy for not over-indulging in the Thanksgiving feasts that abound this time of year. And I’m happy to report that I did a pretty good job with not consuming too much. We had two big meals to hit on Thanksgiving Day, and I successfully navigated though both of them without over-eating; which was my goal. Knowing that I was motivated to keep with my training over the break, I wanted to realize the bonus of good workouts with not over eating. It was tough, but I made it (except for the damn cookie dough. Or should I say “cookie DOH!”). For each meal, I didn’t cut back on what I ate (turkey, stuffing, potatoes, deserts, rolls); I just halved all my portions. So the quality of my Thanksgiving dinner intake was the same, the quantity was vastly different from last year. Though some would argue that this strategy isn’t the healthiest, it seemed to work for me this year and kept me away from the “I ate too much” gut ache. Goal realized!

The only down-side to my training routine this week was I didn’t get to swim. I tried, but karma was bound and determined not to let it happen. The family and I headed to the Y Sunday afternoon (my normal swim day) so I could swim, Shannon could exercise and the boys could play in the daycare room. We got there at 2PM and headed straight for the daycare room to drop off the boys. Door was locked. On the locked door was a schedule for when daycare is available; 4 – 6PM. DOH! We were two hours early and I really didn’t want to leave and come back later. Disappointed, I ended up running an errand with the boys while Shannon got her work out in. Had to skip the swim day.

Update on the Men’s Health inspired exercises: so far, so good. I’m two weeks into the routine and having fun with it. I’ve done more back and shoulder work in two weeks than I’ve done all year. And I can tell. Not from ripped, bulging muscles. Oh no, more like from the ache and tiredness of back muscles that haven’t been worked much. You know, that good tired ache from hard workouts. I still have another three weeks to go with this routine before I change it up again. Any ideas for what the next 4 – 6 week routine should be (don’t say plyometrics. I hate plyos)?

Non-Running Thought of the Week
I successfully worked the following fact into two – yes 2! – separate conversations this morning:
     Most American-made cars honk in the key of ‘F’.

I’d also like to give a shout out to Shannon for nearly notching her first vehicle tag last week while running. So close!

Remember, “You’re not running until you’re GimpyRunning”.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bucket of Cookie Dough

It’s been a couple weeks since my last entry. Sorry about that, had a big presentation I was preparing for, so didn’t have much time to blog last week. And today couldn’t be a better day to update this blog. I just love this time of year. If you’ve been around me for more than 10 minutes, I’m sure you’ve heard me say that a dozen times. There’s just something about the fall, and specifically the month of November, that I just love the most. Especially for running; the air is crisp and cool. The temp is just right and the fall colors make for great running scenery.

Running Update
Nothing too exciting to report on for the last couple weeks of running; I’ve been holding strong with 5 & 6 mile base runs during the week (Tuesdays and Thursdays). My last couple long runs have been 8 and 9 miles with a 10 miler on tap for the upcoming weekend. Once I get that knocked out, I’ll have met my goal of getting myself back to 10 mile long runs by December. The next goal is to maintain the 10 – 15 mile long run over the winter and then ramp-up to marathon distance training in the early spring. So far, all is going to plan. I just hope the weather cooperates so I can still be on the streets between now and March.

Training Update
This week is always a hard week to maintain a good workout/running routine. And it’s not just from having all sorts of food readily available at your finger tips. Having extra downtime from work combined with a sense of eagerness because the holiday season has officially kicked-off also contributes to many people’s lack-luster desire to work out this week. I know I feel victim to that last couple years. But this year my plan is a little different. Rather than be hyper-sensitive about calories, portion sizes and good food/bad food intake like I am every year at this time; I’m going to allow myself the one or two days of extra indulgence to partake in the tradition that is the Thanksgiving feast. And the reason why I can do that this year all center’s around my new workout routine. As I mentioned in my last blog, I’ve started a new workout schedule/routine courtesy of Men’s Health. Rather than the focused, isometric workouts I’ve been doing the last 14 months, this new routine is a return to the full-body functional movements that I had a lot of success with in years past (makes you wonder why I went away from it, doesn’t it). The workouts are shorter than what I’ve been doing, but I’m burning more calories (not to mention sweating more too) because of the up tempo, constant full-body movement. So with the new workout, comes more confidence about being able to burn off the “holiday calories” that I know I’ll consume over the next few days.

The other side of the “food indulgence” is swimming. I never thought I’d be a regular in the pool as part of my training and exercise. But I have to say, I really enjoy it. To anyone out there, if you think you’re in shape, hop in a pool and start swimming. You’ll quickly discover how NOT in shape you really are (that’s what happened to me). There are two specific reasons why I’m swimming: 1) it’s a great full-body, hardcore exercise that will kick your butt without the impact that running and lifting has on your body and 2) I’ve decided to do the Ironman triathlon in 2012. Yep, you heard it here first; I’m going to compete in the Wisconsin Ironman in 2012. And rather than play catch-up with my swimming training next year, I’ve already started in on a methodical swim training program that I can slowly workup to the 2.4 mile swim that’s the first leg of an Ironman event. I started swimming at the beginning of the summer. At first I swam laps for 20 minutes. Now I’m up to swimming 1.1 miles in just under an hour. My goal is to get myself to where I can swim 3 miles in one shot by time of the Ironman.

So with the new workout routine and extra burn from swimming, I feel good about not having to watch my intake of food this weekend. Of course I say that now, but I’ll let you know how this philosophy worked out in next week’s column.

Non-Running Thought of the Week
Fact: over the last three weeks, I’ve eaten an entire bucket of cookie dough. I don’t even know where it came from, but like clockwork, I’ve consumed 1 or 2 spoonfuls a night for like 20 days. On a related note, I’ve had an upset stomach for three weeks. Damn me for not having the will power to stay away from chocolate chip cookie dough! Now do you see why I run? If I didn’t, I’d be huge! LOL.

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! Remember if you decide to run-off your calories this holiday season, “You’re not running until you’re GimpyRunning”.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rebooting This Blog

Time to blow the dust off this blog and get back to grinding out meaningless thoughts and comments about running, training and other nonsensical junk floating around in my head.

Let’s get right to it.

Catching up
So it’s been since last spring since my last post. As I’m sure it is with everyone else, a lot has happened between now and then. But what hasn’t happened a lot is running. Here’s the rewind… I was on a quest to use Grandma’s Marathon in June to qualify for Boston. That so did not happen. In fact, I posted my second-worst time in a ‘thon at Grandma’s. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have even run it. I was injured, over-trained and just not prepared mentally. I had spent the month leading up to the race fretting and worrying about potential outcomes based on my setbacks and injuries I’d suffered over the last 6 months. In the end the run was a pure grind. I felt decent for the first dozen miles, but then hit “the wall” at mile 13. So the last 13 miles were a combination of pain, determination, run/walking and a whole lot of frustration.

I ended up having to take a full month off from running after Grandma’s just so I could heal. And then in late July, I suffered yet another injury/setback from dislocating and breaking a toe in a volleyball tournament. Spent the next three weeks on the mend (again) and by the time I was able to run again, I jumped back into it so fast, I ended up with Runner’s Knee and shin splints. It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I’ve been able to get back into and maintain a regular running schedule. I’m slowly working my way back to a 10 mile long run every week (still a couple weeks away from that) and I’m hoping to maintain the 10 mile long run on Saturdays throughout the winter. My long-term goal is to start ramping back into ‘thon training around March or so.

Running Update
As mentioned above, not a whole lot to update you on for running over the last few weeks. The most exciting thing that’s happened lately is the 2 mile yelling match I got into with some a-hole who almost ran me over in an intersection last week. Yes, you read that right – a “2 mile yelling match”. I was running along a mid-major road on the NE side of town. As I approached the intersection of a cross-street, I did my usual routine and took a quick glance behind me to make sure there wasn’t anyone attempting to run into me. After years of running and almost being hit several times, I do this out of habit as a last-second check to make sure any cars in the intersection are paying attention. Or, more specifically, paying attention to me. Sure enough, this genius wasn’t and sure enough, he proceeded to turn right from mid-major to cross-street cutting me off and narrowly missing my foot by a couple feet. So, like any good, well respecting runner should do, I tagged the trunk of this car, held up my arms as if to say, “what the f….?!?!” and continued my trek through the intersection. Apparently my slapping his car and corresponding jester did not sit well with him, because he stopped his car, and hanging half-way out the window, yelled me. My response was short and specific as I looked over my shoulder at him, “I have the right-of-way, Jackass!” I continued along the same road for another block then veered onto a bike path. I was still amped up from the exchange and replayed it a couple times in my head over the next half mile. At the end of that half mile, the bike path intersects a street and just as I was approaching that intersection Youknowwho from my yelling match had stopped in the middle of the intersection and was waiting for me. Sure enough, he had double backed to meet up with me again at the next bike path/street intersection. I was still 40 – 50 yards from him, but decided I would continue towards him, but if he got out of his car, I was going to take evasive action. I figured I wouldn’t be able to out-sprint him if it came to that. Thankfully he stayed in his car, but was yelling and swearing at me as I neared the intersection. I simply reminded him that I had the right-of-way and quickly passed behind his car. And by “reminded him” I mean yelled back, this time with more gusto. After I was through the intersection and continuing up the bike path, he sped off and turned on the next street that parallels the bike path. I could see him off to my left on the street pacing me, turning around in parking lots if he gotten too far ahead of me. This continued for the next mile and a half and we exchanged pleasantries each time the other was in ear shot. Eventually, the path must have been far enough out of his way, because when I reached the end of it (next to a fire station I might add); I didn’t see him. I kept expecting to see him throughout the rest of the run, but thankfully I didn’t. But I was on high-alert the rest of the way, constantly scanning traffic anytime I got close to it. In the end, I had only gone 9 miles, but was wiped from being adrenalized for most of the run.

Training Update
Starting this week, I’ve decided on a new routine to break out of my rut of the same old workouts I’ve been doing all summer and so far this Fall. Thanks to Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness, I’ve put together a full-body, functional workout that should help compliment my training as I work back into long-distance cardio shape. I haven’t put my own workout together in a while, so I’ll keep you posted on whether or not this is a good idea.

Starting off the new workout routine on Monday with legs/hips, back, abs and chest. Running Tuesday, then arms, shoulders, abs and back on Wednesday. Run Thursday. Friday is a day off. Saturday is long run (8 – 12 milers over the next month) with swimming and abs on Sunday.

Non-Running Thought of the Week
Don’t forget to follow me on twitter: @GimpyRunning. I have a lot of important, earth shattering things to say.