Wednesday, June 30, 2010

L10 Day 34 - Double or Nothing

There is a cold snap in Virginia!  I started my morning jog just before 6 AM, and it was a brisk 65° and the humidity was only 35%.  I chose a hilly course with four new streets.  I was a bit disappointed in the way I slowed down.  It's like each hill subtracts X seconds off of every subsequent quarter-mile - independent of terrain.  But, I won't complain too much because at 4.6 miles I felt like stopping but I kept going until I had hit 6.5 miles.

Okay, I take it back - I will complain too much: ARRRRGGGHHH!!!!!

Okay, I know there were a few hills, but for Pete's sake, why is my average heart rate 154 for a lousy 12:31 pace??  And with a cool temperature and low humidity?  I took a week off after the Possum Ridge 5K, and now my resting heart rate has jumped from 48 to 58??  This is bogus.  And to make it worse, after finishing the jog I didn't even have 10 miles for the week.

So, I went jogging tonight.  I decided it would be a short one, but it would be aggressive.  The temperature was 69° with a 36% humidity.  Very ideal.  My left ankle was mighty mad at me for about a minute, but then it got pounded into submission.

I averaged 160 bpm, and got a 10:17 pace out of it.  I think my breathing was actually keeping up.  Hopefully the legs won't be mad at me tomorrow, because it will be nice out.  Then I'll take it easy because my next 5K is on the 4th of July.

The Possum Ridge 5K results were finally posted.  I finished 3 of 6 in my age group, and 33 of 76 overall.  Even if you weed out the 13 walkers (15+ pace), I'm pretty much in the middle.  Um, thanks Kentucky!

I might have some good news to post tomorrow ...

Monday, June 28, 2010

L10 Day 33 - Never Say Never

Had a cold Friday through Monday.  Monday night, I contemplated jogging with about 30 minutes of daylight left.  But, it was just so darn hot and humid out there that I gave up ...

... I actually jogged 30 minutes on the treadmill.  Turns out it is pretty humid in the house too.  I will spare you the details other than the fact that I shorted out the heart rate monitor bar on the treadmill.  (Either that or my jogging heart rate routinely fluctuated between 40 and 230.)

With walking on either side of the jog, I got to watch 40 minutes of Starship Troopers.  Jogging is easy enough now that I can pay attention to the movie.  It is extremely tedious, but at least I didn't feel injured afterwords.  In fact, my legs felt that I hadn't done any work at all.  I had it set to a 1% incline.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

L10 Day 32 - Snake and Bake

I jogged early in the morning again, trapped in a humidity cooker.  Separately, a snake was found escaping our garden.  I surfed around and the nearest I can figure is that this is a Northern Black Racer.  Black Rat Snakes are more common, but here's why I nevertheless think it's a Racer:

It didn't look all bumpy and lumpy when it was nervous.
It was quick.
It was slender-bodied.
It was a dull black, without any speckle.

I will appeal to internet experts on my classification.

The snake's tail is near the bottom of the picture, not where it first goes under the leaves.  This thing was between four and five feet long.  It's easily the biggest snake I've seen since I moved to Virginia.  We saw some good-sized king snakes in Tucson.

Here's the running junk ...

I don't like jogging early in the morning.  Add the humidity and having a cold, and it's pretty much the pits.  I'm ready for the fall already!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

L10 Day 31 - Crack o' Dawn

I started my jog at 5:41 AM this morning.  The temperature was a reasonable 68° and the humidity was only 85%.  Nevertheless, my heart rate seemed to be a lot higher than my pace would justify.  So, I'm not quite sure what's going on.  But, I did manage to squeak out 5.25 miles without stopping.  For the last 3/4ths of a mile, my compression shorts were bonded around my thighs like goopy paper-mâché.  I'll have to investigate this worsening cardio performance later ...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

L10 Day 30 - Sweaty & Confused

Be sure to check out my last two posts, because this one is a bit of a downer.  Temp 73°, Humidity 90%.

I got up an hour later than intended, and drove a few miles over to my desired course.  For what ever reason, it just wasn't a very good run.  I felt a little queasy, and I was just sweating a ton.  I hit the 5K distance right at 35 minutes, which is about a 11:20 pace.  After another half mile (at 3.6 miles) I walked.  My heart rate was up in the 160s, and that's not where I wanted it to be.  Turns out I had been in that range a few times.  Perhaps I just got confused after having all those short, fast jogs in the first part of June.  I started jogging at 3.75 miles and went to 5 miles, then I just walked the last mile to the car.  But, no worries, jogs are like pizza: even bad jogs are good.  Maybe the heavy steak and wine dinner was also too much.

But, there was a very bright spot today, because it's Father's Day and the family got me a Road ID bracelet.  Now if I keel over for real, they'll at least know who I was and who to call.  I plan to run with it every time.  Inexplicably, I am really keen on the little tin box the bracelet came in.  The bracelet is black, with silver clasp and ID tag.

I think I squeezed about five oranges worth of liquid out of my shirt, shorts, and bandana when I got home.  Oh yes, I should have mentioned.  I did wear a bandana for the first time, along with my Jack Nicholson shades.  So, aside from weighing 30 pounds too much, I looked very nifty.

~ Afternoon Update ~

Oh noes, the shopping spree continued.  I got a few bandanas and a Grey Pixel Buff.  I've wanted to try out a Buff for awhile, and I like them.  It's like Topsy Tail for balding men.

You've got to check out this movie to see all the exciting ways you can shape this thing.

Grey Pixel Buff

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Race Frenzy

The Washington DC Running Report has a wonderful search engine to find all sorts of athletic events.  And I found many of them to be very appealing!!  Here are the races that I am currently considering:

I have signed up for the Reston Firecracker 5K and the Goblin Gallop 5K.  In fact, I have both kids signed up for the 1K Fun Run Goblin Gallop.  They get medals, and we'll all get glow-in-the-dark shirts!!

I've probably been race shopping for five hours now.  Time to go to bed, so I can get up in the morning and see what one week's inactivity has wrought ... I will admit some concern, as I haven't had an entire week off since the third week of January when I started all this jogging business.

Monday, June 14, 2010

L10 Day 29 - Possum Ridge 5K


I flew from DC Reagan National to Louisville Kentucky on Friday, and drove something close to an hour and a half to get to Brian's.  He made me feel at home and gave me a room to sleep in.  I believe it was Sam, one of six children, who got couch duty.  It rained really bad in the early afternoon, but later it cleared up and Brian showed me around the city.  Somewhere along the way we hit a little snag:

That is the Daddy goose with his harem out front.  Undoubtably, these geese had migrated from Utah.  Below is the second batch that decided to spread out a bit more.  We've got three or four cars behind us at this point.

Then the third batch decided to cross the road:

After getting out of Lexington's city traffic we toured some neighboring farms.  And if you had only one word with which to describe Kentucky, let me tell you what that word is:  FENCING.  Mile after mile of it.  Double fencing.  Got a tree in yer field?  Put a fence around it!  I'd say there is about 12 miles of fencing per horse, and there are a lot of horses in Kentucky.  Perhaps even more than geese.

Even a couple hundred years ago, Kentuckians were obsessed with fences.  But, they were stone fences.

There are barrios all around these farms, where scores of people do nothing except paint fencing, or clean stables, or mow grass.  The magnitude of the industry is enormous - to the point that cattle and corn were noticably scarce.

After the tour, we went back home.  We had grilled chicken and salads and it was good.  We watched Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland ... and it was good.  The sun set, the sun rose, and so a second day.

Saturday (Race Day)

Okay, you couldn't actually see the sun.  First, I woke up before sunrise.  And secondly, it was raining cats and dogs.  We left at about a quarter til six ... running to Brian's truck in thunder, lightning, and torrential rain.  My mind bounced back and forth between "Geez" and "Epic!".  Brian drove us through that rain on twistly roads dodging turtles and other rain refugees.  You know it's raining bad, when you'd rather take your chances on a back road in Kentucky.

Twenty minutes before we arrived at Taylorsville Lake State Park, the rain stopped.  We were probably within the first dozen people there, and we got our packets without incident.  Right next to the registration tables were the park's restrooms.  These guys know how to set up a race!

Here's Brian and I in our pre-race photo.  We are each thinking the same think "Bring it!! Wit yore bad self!!"

I nervously went back to the head, and then it was about time for the race.  Brian started out really fast (8:15 pace), I started out at a non-crazy pace of 10 min/mile.

After about a mile, I passed a lady who said "Gonna set a record, huh?"  I spent the next four minutes thinking "Hmmm, what did she mean by that?   Was it facetious?  Was it a wishing of well?"  And so I continued with fog of the head until the turn around point.  I saw Slingshot Brian and he was walking, but he started jogging again, and I eventually caught up to him.  We jogged together for awhile, but he ended up walking some more.  Later he would explain that he had gotten all cramped up and tossed his cookies.  This is difficult to do, as we had not eaten any cookies.

So, I gave Brian some privacy and no sooner had I done that, than that nice lady from mile one passed me.  I didn't have anything pithy to say, plus it's hard enough to breathe through a frog, much less speak through one.  Oh yeah: 74°, 91% humidity, and a heart-wrenching zero-mile-per-hour wind.  Most of the race, I felt like an oil-slicked pelican in the gulf.

Anyhow, at 2.5 miles in, I passed that lady again and for good.  You gotta love turtles racing, huh?  I completed my first 5K race at 32:39 (10:31 pace) with an average heart rate of 160.  As far as I'm concerned that was right on target.  That's just where I am right now.  But, I hope to get to 10:00 min/mile by the fall.  I finished third of six in my age group.  I have to wait for the online posting to see where I was overall.

I know I didn't get any prettier during the race, but I sure did feel happier and happier.  Brian and I had each looked death square in the eye and survived.  Or, we at least avoided the meat wagon.

Despite having to run/walk for darn near half of the 5K, Brian finished in under 35 minutes.  His post race picture was perhaps a little less serene than mine:

We waited for stragglers and the prizes and awards.  I got fifteen Snappy Bucks, redeemable at any Snappy Tomato Pizza location in the one-light town of Taylorsville, Kentucky:

Brian received a fetching handbag, that brings out the intelligence in his eyes:

For me, the coolest thing was the shirt.  Just look at that beady-eyed critter!

I asked Brian if he wanted to go to Snappy Tomato Pizza.  He said it sucked, so we went to a vineyard.

Equus Run Vinyard is a nice place which we didn't explore because ... yep, you guessed it, it had started raining again.  But, we did explore the wines inside their little tasting house.  If you look at their website long enough, you will see horses and fencing.

I tried all the reds and Brian mostly stuck to the whites.  I liked one of the reds enough to buy a few.  After this place, we went to lunch and then a movie named Splice which involved a genetic freak who grows up and wants to be your lover.  Surprisingly, it wasn't terribly good.

That night I sprang for one-third acre of pizza.  Each pizza was about the size of a doormat, but hopefully a little tastier.  Then again, it wasn't Snappy Tomato Pizza.

Finally, the sun set, the sun rose, and so a third day.


I got to the airport early, and was listed on a direct flight to DC.  I didn't make that flight so they put me on a connection through Philly.  Well, that was delayed to the point that I'd miss my connection, so they put me on a connection through Charlotte.  Naturally, I get to Charlotte and find my connecting flight is hopelessly broke in Jacksonville Florida.  The passengers down there had de-planed twice for 'mechanical'.  Then, when their plane works, they can't take off because of weather in Charlotte.  Naturally, I had paid an extra 50 dollars for this abuse.  Did I ever mention that I hate US Airways?  They have some of the rudest people going.  I waited at that gate for over six hours.  And if that wasn't bad enough, there was a North Carolina Dance Theater Company or some such thing waiting there as well.  They were a couple of dozen boneless twenty-year-olds, huddled together like Bonobos under stress - all humpy and doing that mutual grooming thing. I began my airport day reading a nice academic collection of philosophical essays regarding the tenability of naturalism.  After twenty minutes of that Bonobo tribe, I bought a Denis Leary book about dumb Americans and their McDonald's lifestyles.  Naturally, I was surrounded by the Bonobos on the plane along with their loud-talker tour manager.  I end up back in DC at 10 o'clock at night.

Whew!!  What a trip!  The only question now is ... who is next?  What fellow "junior-class" runner in the continental United States wants a running buddy for their next 5K?  Enquiring minds want to know!

Here's that Garmin stuff you know I'd put in here:

When I got home, Tami gave me an official Couch to 5K graduation shirt.  (From here.)  Although I'd celebrated and made myself a diploma, apparently Tami didn't think I had officially graduated from C25K until I'd participated in an event with other humans!

I'm gonna take a full week off, and then get back into my running groove.  Ciao!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

L10 Day 28 - Rust Prevention

I have to admit something - I'm a happy turtle right now.  This past week, I've done two 5K distances in under 33 minutes.  Today was my last little jog before the Possum Ridge 5K in Kentucky, which I think of as a "rust prevention" run.  I took a few laps easy but I made some of them challenging.

I did the first three laps at a 11:14 pace.  For those keeping score, that was about my PB pace less than two months ago. 

I took a meandering route to the middle school track which took another three laps.  When I got to the track, some guy had just started jogging and was about 30 feet ahead of me.  I thought: "Okay, I'll pace this turkey."  This is exciting to me ... because I have no idea what this guy was going to do and his calves were disturbingly beefy.  He might have gained a few yards on me in that first lap.  Now, at 1.75 miles in, I had run the last mile in 11:10.

I caught back up to being 30 feet behind in the second lap on the track.  He would check his six every now and then, and I would look all nonchalant and anti-melodramatic.  Then on the next lap I decided to go faster.  It's still hard for me to decide this, especially in the middle of a run, but I did and I put in two laps that averaged to a 10:20 pace.  So I passed him and felt like a cub scout earning a merit badge.  To be even less mature, a different jogger was going to pass me in the last 100 yards of my mile on the track and I decided to go even faster.  I exited the track as "the winner", and started to jog home.  At 2.75 miles in, I had run the last mile in 10:38.

After a half mile, I somehow had the mental wherewithall to demand another pace increase.  I did that quarter mile at a cool 6.0 miles per hour.  Then I told myself I had to beat that, so I did with a pace of 6.5 miles per hour.  My run ended at 3.75 miles, I had run the last mile in 10:11.

It was a little cooler tonight at 72°, and it was only 40% humidity.  So, my run was much more enjoyable than last time.  As an added bonus, I hit 5K (3.11 miles) at 33:58.  Any time I beat 35 minutes, it feels like a big accomplishment, since that had been my target for so long.  As you can see, my heart rate got up there at the end, reminding me that I'm simply not sub-30-minute 5K ready.  Considering that I was doing a 13:20 pace during the later stages of C25K, I'm happy with having shaved off almost three minutes from that pace.