Friday, April 25, 2008

Time to figure out Plan B

Apparently, they've closed open registrations for the Chicago Marathon this fall.


Wasn't expecting that. Somehow, I thought I'd have a little more time to decide what I was going to do this fall, but I guess at least that decision has been made for me.

Just another indication that Chicago has it out for me. Maybe Chicago just thinks it's just being all friendly-like and playfully fucking with me.

Frankly, Mr. Ha-Ha Chicago, I don't need friends like that.

So maybe Cape Cod?


Marine Corp?

Long Beach?

Definitely passing on Bay State, but any other thoughts or suggestions? an MTI classmate I saw at a workshop last weekend mentioned a small marathon in upstate New York somewhere but I haven't been able to track down any details -- anyone out there have any leads or info?

UPDATE: The mystery marathon is the Steamtown Marathon near Scranton, PA.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Yay, Spring!

Yay, Spring
Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

It seems like it's finally that time of year.

The seedlings were grown from seeds I collected from some of the tasty tomatoes we got from the CSA last summer. I think they were orange banana tomatoes, which actually sounds like I'm naming 3 fruits. We've had pretty good luck with stuff in the garden seeding in in the past, so hopefully these guys will do alright and will actually bear fruit.

Unfortunately, we didn't get our act together to sign up for the CSA in time this year, but we'll probably have our hands (and tummies) full with our own garden, not to mention overflow production from the SOOTTAD's parental homestead gardens. Kinda nice to actually have some time to plan for this stuff this year.

And as another comment on the weather, I've actually gone on my last 3 runs in shorts. (all afternoon runs, but still...)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Learning Experience

Today's lesson brought to you by Key Run Workout #2: a 5 mile tempo run at mid-tempo pace.

The lesson: apparently, I can't run 5 miles at a 7:30 pace. (a goal pace based on my half-marathon pace 3 years ago.)

It probably didn't help that I ran the first fast mile, well, too fast. After a 1 mile warm-up, the first tempo mile clocked in at 7:16. Whoops. I kept it in the ballpark (below 7:40) until about halfway through mile 4 when I hit another uphill section and just couldn't keep it up.

I could blame it on the fast start, the hills, the headwind, even fatigue from my "recovery workout." But really, I know I'm still being a little optimistic about what kind of condition I'm in. I'm testing the boundaries right now, basically just to make sure. This might also be considered "setting myself up for disappointment."

Another observation: my pace varies quite a bit moment-to-moment. The logs routinely present an uneven sine wave representing my speed -- a line littered with peaks and valleys. I suspect that it's in large part due to the lag of the GPS giving me a pace measurement and the ensuing hysteresis as I try to hit a specific pace. I'll have to try and not look at the watch so much and see how it goes.

Clearly, still a work in progress and always something new to try and figure out.

Book meme

I got tagged by Matt for the book meme. It's kind of silly, but I so seldom participate in these kinds of things, and out of respect for my friendship with Matt, I'll play along.

Here are the rules:

  1. Find the book closest to you with at least 123 pages.
  2. Turn to page 123
  3. Find the fifth sentence
  4. Post the next three sentences
  5. Pass it on.
I'm warning you in advance that I'm breaking rule 5, but if people want to play along, feel free to be my guest.

The nearest book: Tcl and the Tk Toolkit by John K. Ousterhout

If any other completion code occurs, do simply reflects that exception back to its caller.

When do reflects an error upward, it uses the -errorinfo option to return to make sure that a proper stack trace is available after the error. If that option were omitted, a fresh stack trace would be generated starting with do's error return; the stack trace would not indicate where in body the error occurred.

That was, uh, interesting? Revealing, perhaps. That's what you get when you compute in your home office full of tech books. Unfortunately, the massage therapy books were on the other side of the bookshelf.

Perhaps, what this exercise was shooting for was the book I'm currently reading/referencing right now: Run Less, Run Faster, which I mentioned in my previous post. (and will likely mention in my next post.) In THAT book, we get:

This cycle must be carefully structured so that the overload does not exhaust or injure. The recovery must be sufficient to permit the next overload workout.

Finding the appropriate balance of overload and recovery is essential for improvement.

Why don't you just tell me the last junk reading you did? And maybe the last movie you watched? You know -- brain candy.

Reading: Flight 4 a collection of short comics by different artists. Beautiful, interesting, thoughtful, often funny and great for today's short attention span.
Watching: The Frighteners Actually, pretty darned good, if you asked me. Although I guess you didn't.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

You do the best you can

Nu Shooz

In the last week, I've only gotten up once before 8AM, and that was yesterday (6:30, blargh) to take my car in for an oil change. You could almost count this morning because I did wake up for the alarm that was set for 4AM so the SOOTTAD could catch her rescheduled flight to Chicago after the one she was supposed to be on yesterday was canceled. But I didn't actually get up and I went back to sleep, mostly... took a while, and there was a little too much almost-awake-almost-asleep time.

On the plus side, I've still been getting my runs in, and have managed to either run or play disc (or both) every day since Friday. I just haven't been doing them at 7AM. In fact, the last AM run was Sunday. That may just be the way it's going to be. At least for now, before we start hitting the hot and humid summer days.

I'm on to the next training book, Run Less, Run Faster, which came highly recommended by a Tri friend of ours. The program is centered around what they call the "3plus2" plan which focuses on 3 key training runs with 2 days of cross-training. I like that the runs are focused and have specific goals (which they explain), and I thought the cross-training thing would be great, until I read the relevant chapter and discovered that ultimate pretty much didn't count because it continues to work (and stress) the same muscles I'm training for running. Worse, their suggested activities -- swimming and cycling (and deep water running?) -- really aren't part of my repertoire.

Nevertheless, I like their approach to the running workouts which stress quality over quantity (although yesterday's interval workout ended up being over 7 miles and took over an hour), so I'm trying to integrate their ideas into my training plan. I'll probably just take actual rest days or do easy recovery runs ("junk miles") which they do allow for (but do not recommend) in lieu of the proposed recovery activities.

Of course, it is spring, so I'm playing ultimate, hopefully within hamstring tolerances. I actually played yesterday after the track workout and it felt surprisingly, well, not bad. We'll see how it goes. I may end up adjusting the key training runs depending on how things are feeling.

So I'm going to try to crank up the intensity, focusing on the pace at specific distances. (Yesterday was 800m repeats around a 6:35 mile pace.) And today, after trying my best to sleep in a bit and catch a few extra Z's after the early wake-up call (I think I got up around 8:30), I did, in fact, suck it up and go to the gym after work and sat on a recumbent bike for 45 minutes.

For the record, it sucked. A little knee stress, my calves feel overworked, and my ass -- ow (geez, I gotta at least try a normal bike if I do it again) -- but I'm not sure how inclined I'm going to be to repeat that experience.

But, well, you know...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Listening to your body

I was exhausted last night.

Miraculously woke at 7AM yesterday morning, even after a late night (wine pairing dinner at Ten Tables -- dericious!) Went for a 7+ mile run (marginal -- right ankle has been feeling a bit wonky and it flared up around mile 4, and legs were feeling pretty heavy on the last mile), then to work. Client in the evening. A little work at the computer after dinner. And then I just hit the wall. Didn't even want to go downstairs for a snack.

That was at at a quarter of ten.

I guess I should have just gone to bed, but I ended up reading until 10:30 before killing the lights.

At midnight, I finally gave up and got up, had a drink, had a snack, did a little more reading and looked at some pictures (in an actual photo album, looking at my phases of long hair) and then finally back in bed around a quarter of one.

I really thought I was past this not falling asleep business. Oh well. It continues to be rough since getting back from Chicago.

Anyway, no surprise when I woke up "late" around 7:40am, still tired.


  1. run the same 7+ mile route as the previous day for comparison purposes. Was I just having an off day? Was I running too fast? Would my foot start hurting at the same point? Would it hurt at all?
  2. run something around 5 miles, maybe at a tempo pace. Y'know, try and work on that VO2max thing by training at my lactate threshold. And stuff.
  3. run less than 4 miles (distance of onset of foot pain) as a recovery run, or simply training at a level where I was fairly confident I wouldn't exacerbate any existing injuries.
  4. Skip the workout. Turn it into a rest day and get to the office relatively early.

The earliest I could probably start a run would be a bit after 8am. Then cooldown, stretching, a shower, and then the drive up to the office.

I still didn't get into the office much before 9. I'm not sure how that happens.

Still pretty beat today. I'm rationalizing that I only got about 6 hours of sleep last night, after probably getting less than 6 hours the night before. I know there are plenty of folks out there who are completely functional with that much sleep, but I've always needed closer to 9 hours for peak operating conditions.

And there's the stuff that I had gleaned from what little I'd already read in the book. Basically, train "opportunistically" and to your own body. It makes it ok for me to adjust for other activities and commitments. And most importantly, to adjust the training based on how my body is feeling. So I took the hint about the ankle not feeling so good, and probably not getting enough sleep and I ran (or rather, didn't run) with it.

And I think it was the right decision. More rest for the hamstring. (which I tweaked again playing pickup on Sunday.) The ankle is feeling a little better, or rather, I'm not feeling my ankle so much today. I think you're not supposed to notice the bones in you leg and foot when you're doing your everyday stuff, right?

So the plan is now to just do a short run tomorrow, maybe 3-4 miles and then do a long run Saturday, more than the 8.6 I ran last week, but almost certainly less than the 12 that's currently in the plan. I'm thinking 10, but we'll see how it feels.

On the down side, it was in the 30s this morning, although above freezing and sunny. Whereas tomorrow it's supposed to rain, possibly snow (?!) in the morning so it looks like I'll be hitting the gym tomorrow. (And as much as I hate the gym, it's probably good for me to do some hamstring strengthening exercises anyway.) Saturday, light rain all morning, and I just hope they're wrong. Or at least if it rains, it really is light rain.


I just got an email from AirTran advertising their "Foolishly low prices" if you purchase tickets by April 1.

Is that supposed to be funny?

I can almost rationalize it making sense in some sort of post-ironic reverse-polish-notation kind of way. To be honest, when I saw an email from AirTran, I kind of assumed that they were notifying me that they'd gone out of business or something.