Sunday, August 31, 2008


I exchanged some email with a friend this week about my training conundrum, and she's reassured me that thing will be fine and that I'm doing the right things. Her main point: AVOID INJURY.

Got it.

Her other suggestions were to continue to include tempo/interval runs and to add "speedups" to the long runs as well. Also, hill workouts. And perhaps the most reassuring: to not go beyond 20-21 miles on the long runs.

Otherwise, the training runs had been going well the last few weeks (basically, since getting back from L.A. and readjusting to the time zone). I've been mostly running in the mornings, and I've generally felt pretty good both during and after the runs. It was mainly the length of long runs in the training plans I had seen that had made me nervous.

Yesterday, I proceeded with my new plan with the intention of ramping the miles of my long run, shooting for around 15 miles after only running a bit over 11 miles last week. (I had also snuck a hill run in on Thursday, but I did take Friday off as a recovery day.)

Route planning has gotten so much easier since the advent of GoogleMaps and the portable GPS.

In the old days, I would drive prospective routes, taking notes on street names and odometer readings. And then at home, I'd go as far as measure string on a driving atlas to guesstimate distances for trails or roads I hadn't driven.

I *heart* GoogleMaps and all your route dragging, mileage-calculating goodness. And with the GPS, After I map out a route on Google that's generally the right length, I just remember the one or two street names where I need to turn and then go. The GPS lets me know how far I've gone and how fast I'm going (for the most part... it does occasionally go off into the weeds where pace is concerned in hilly and/or wooded areas, but it's pretty obvious when it's off, and it's been pretty accurate for distance for the most part) so I don't sweat the details as much anymore.

Which may be less of a good thing sometimes. Take for example... yesterday's run. 15 miles, head out through Weston on 117, take a left on TOWER ROAD, and then follow the roads I'm familiar with once I pop out on Boston Post Road.

First off, I got held up by the train. Railroad crossing gates came down, so I turned around, retraced maybe 100-200 yards and then came back around. Still no train. On the second go-around, I see the train finally pull up. ...and stop, maybe 50 yards from the road. 2 minutes have already gone by at this point. After 3 minutes, I get impatient and just cross the tracks. I know I'm not supposed to. I was even good and waited when the gates first came down. But impatience, and fear of burning too much critical energy looping in the holding pattern got the better of me.

That threw me off. And I hadn't bothered to check where the train tracks were relative to the Tower Road turn off. And then I hit Route 126 and I was pretty sure at that point that I'd missed the turn.


I thought I might have missed it because I was distracted by the train or there was poor signage, but when I eventually found it, there were 3 signs, on both sides of the road. I either totally spaced or there was traffic on the road that was either distracting or obstructing the view.

So, instant 19+ mile run. I actually started walking after 15 miles, so I don't think I can say I ran 19 miles. I was actually feeling pretty good even on the 15th mile, but I guess my body took the 15 mile plan to heart because at 15.1 miles, my hamstrings and gluts suddenly got really unhappy. But I didn't stop -- just walked the next 3 miles or so and then ran the last mile and a half. (There was a false start maybe at the beginning of mile 17 where I tried to get it going again and the anterior tibs started complaining immediately, which led to some more walking.)

Anyway, really long run yesterday. Big ramp from last week. And... feeling pretty good. The quads are sore and the achilles has tightened up a bit, but pretty good, all things considered. I'm even thinking of running an easy 3 just to get the body loosened up a bit. Held off first thing this morning because I'm waiting for another stupid Craigslist person that I was hoping would call me back, like sometime during the day that she said she could pick the damn thing up "anytime." WTF is up with the flakey Craigslist people?

A few random notes:

  • After crossing the tracks, I ended up running almost a half a mile MUCH much faster than I had planned (driven by adrenaline and possibly guilt for doing a no-no). Definitely sub-8s for a 9:30+ intended pace.
  • Sheep! Moos! And only because I missed the turn. (but which unfortunately made me think of this comic.)
  • Also saw a cardinal and a flock(?) of wild turkeys. (Not to be confused with a case of Wild Turkey. [Yes, that was bad. Sorry.])
  • really good luck with the traffic lights on the last few runs -- thank you, Traffic Goddess.
  • 3 Obama yard signs, in Lincoln and Weston. I saw my first McCain sign on a run on Wednesday, in Auburndale/West Newton of all places, which always struck me as slightly more working class than the other villages.
  • Hit another "private road" that looks like a normal road on GoogleMaps. It cuts through a golf club. Only slightly nervous. Still better than some of the dead-end roads and non-roads that I used to hit from my driving atlas days.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The problem with the plan

So I've mentioned that I was planning on running a marathon this October. And I finally signed up for the Cape Cod Marathon on the 26th, just to make sure I actually had a race to run in. drive a stake in the ground. Training was actually going pretty well through early June, even though I had blown off a half-marathon in May that I was going to use as training. It was all cool.

And then I got sick. Probably the worst I've felt in years.

And so I've been carefully trying to get myself back into game shape, or race shape, I should say. This week felt like a major accomplishment -- morning runs 5 out of the last 6 days, a long run over 11 miles (the first long run in double digits since before I was sick) and over 33 miles total for the week. It actually felt like a real training week for the first time in ages. And I didn't feel like total crap after any of the runs.

So that's good -- I finally feel like I'm ready to get myself back onto a real training plan.

And so I've taken a look through one of my books, gone back to a few of the websites I was looking at before I started this whole business.

And it looks like I'm well and truly screwed.

I'm just under 9 weeks away from the race, and most training plans I've looked at had me running 20 mile runs by now, if not 3-4 weeks ago. I know I'm not qualifying for Boston, but I'd still like to actually *run* a marathon, not just finish it. So at the moment I'm struggling with whether I just stick with the gradual mileage ramp-up and peak at whatever I peak at 2-3 weeks before the race, or try to ramp more quickly to get the miles in but keep the tempos down and be more careful about giving myself enough rest between runs. I'm not convinced either approach is necessarily going to be a good idea.

It feels like things always seem to be more difficult than planned*. I figured that this marathon training thing should have been straightforward, if not easy. I knew it was going to be work, but it wasn't supposed to get so... complicated. It keeps making me wonder whether SOMEBODY out there is trying to tell me to just cut it out and sit my ass down.


* I know that at heart, I AM kind of idealistic, but I'm not supposed to be that positive, optimistic guy. I'm supposed to be pragmatic. Realistic. Pessimistic. Plan conservatively. Maybe I've changed. Or maybe it's just overconfidence when it comes to physical activities. Like when people heckle pro athletes or watch action movies and think that they could be all heroic and shit.

Why I hate Facebook

Facebook: Hey! A friend wants to share a book with you! Click here to see!
Me: Uh, thanks... what's the book?
FB: Hang on, just sign up for this application!
Me: Huh? Ok, fine. [clicking Add] So what's the book?
FB: Wait, look at all of your friends who aren't using this application yet! Why don't you let me infect I mean, invite them to use it too!
Me: Um, no... [clicking Skip] so, think you could tell me what book that was?
FB: Hey, do you like any of these books?
Me: C'mon, quit it. [clicking Skip] Ok, so what was that book?
FB: Thanks! Hey, here are all the great features for this application!
Me: Alright, already! What was the fucking book?!
FB: [crickets]
Me: um, hello?
FB: [more crickets]
Me: Ok, this says recommendations, maybe you put it under there? [clicking Recommendations]
FB: Sorry, we do not have any recommendations for you.

Fucking facebook.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

barriers to productivity

Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

This is one of the few downsides to working from home. I can feel myself getting carpal tunnel trying not to disturb him too much when I try to type around him.

On the other hand, it's 3:30pm and I'll probably head out for a run in less than an hour. (seeing as I couldn't motivate when I woke up at 6 this morning, and then ended up over-sleeping*.)

* Prolly got up around 10. Yeah, jetlag...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Um.... what?

"Not every wrong, or even every violation of the law, is a crime."
- Attorney General Michael Mukasey

I guess I'm going to need to look up the actual definition of "crime" now...

In other news, we're back from our trip to Kansas City (actually, Olathe) and Los Angeles, but posts will probably continue to be sparse given the whole work and training thing. Better to check up on twitter, flickr and facebook... (yes, facebook -- got sucked in, but still trying to lay low over there)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Glorious, glorious legroom

Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

The travel gods were kind to us on our leg from K.C. to L.A.

Southwest has made some changes to their line-up policy and assigned actual line number positions. We were pretty deep into the first seating group, but I was still able to get the double row exit row seat, a much-welcomed improvement from the last trip to L.A. when I was stuck in a middle coach middle (on American with crappier seat pitch) in both directions.

It wasn't a full flight, so it probably would have been okay elsewhere on the plane, but I'm still grateful.

It's just kind of a bummer to have to fly into LAX. Unfortunately, the only flights that were available into Burbank at the right times had layovers and were almost $100 more expensive, and sometimes I'm just not willing to throw that much more money at a problem. (And the return leg on JetBlue -- thankfully out of Burbank -- cost us a lot more than I would have liked, so that figured into the equation as well.)