Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We Are The People Our Parents Warned Us About

Watching the Today show this morning I was surprised to see a guy I knew from undergrad at Penn State being interviewed by Meredeth Viera. He wasn't interviewed as part of the freak show /Jerry Springer aspect of the morning news shows. Nope, he was interviewed as an authority from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

It took a minute for my sleep-addled brain to put it together. Hey, that's Sigma Nu Ross on the Today show!?!

It's always great to see someone from that time in my life who's managed to grow up into the a successful adult.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Rest Is As Important As Work - Duh!

Saturday I had my worst running performance since I began running. That's not an exaggeration; my legs could not run. After about 2 miles of slow shuffling, I had to walk/run back to my car. I cut off about 3 miles from my planned distance. There were a lot of reasons for my poor showing: dehydration, travel (round trip to San Francisco for a meeting on Friday), crappy nutrition on Thursday and Friday, lack of sleep. However, mostly I was simply over-training for the last week since I was trying to get ready for the San Francisco Half Marathon.

Yep, there were lots of reasons for Saturday's crappy run and I knew it. It was still a real confidence killer just a week before a race. I decided to rest Saturday and Sunday, eat more and gets lots of sleep. Hey, over-training isn't getting the job done. Maybe lying around the house like a slug will help.

Tonight I did my regular run up the 6th Avenue Hill of Panting. It was quite possibly, the best run I've ever done there. It was still tough, but I was able to go further, faster than I have in the past. I also bumped into the TNT walk crew after I finished my run. I joined them for 3 miles their walk, including the camelback hills. I jammed the camelback without even breathing heavy.

Turns out that the coaches are right - backdown is as important training. Rest achieves what over-training cannot.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Skirt Chaser

The cover story of this month's Runner's World magazine is about the fashion tidal wave that is the running skirt.

I started wearing running skirts before there were running skirts. I'd buy longer, non-white, tennis skirts and train in those. If you catch me wearing one of my older running skirts, I can show the hidden pockets that you're supposed to use to tuck a tennis ball for second serve. Whenever I'd wear a skirt to a race, a few women always asked where to get one. Other people were like, "WTF is she wearing".

Honestly, I don't know if I'd have kept training if I couldn't have found the skirts. I hate my thighs and the skirts make me feel a little bit better about myself. The skirt allowed me to feel girly enough that I wasn't horribly self-conscious.

Whatever gets you out to train is all right with me. All hail the skirt!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Stoking the Metobolic Fire

The running has really cranked up my metabolism. Consistent, intense cardio work makes your body burn through calories at an amazing rate. Come warm your hands around my metabolic fire.

You know when your metabolism heats up, because you are constantly hungry for healthy things - apples, yogurt, veggies and proteins. Unfortunately, if nothing healthy is available you're hungry enough to tear through whatever crap food is available. That's how people gain weight during marathon training - they're starved.

For the last week or so, I could feel my metobolism kicking it up a notch. This weekend, after the long run, it's really on fire. I'm hungry all the time. My metabolic furnace is so hot that I'm surprised I don't poot smoke.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

10 Miles

Who would have thought that there be a beautiful run in San Diego that I'd missed? Today's course was one of the most lovely I've ever run. We started from the city skateboarding park in Ocean Beach (the Hippie Hollow of San Diego) and on through "Dog Beach". Then we went along the coast, out to the end of the pier and on to Sunset Cliffs. I know that I see the coast every week, but this is especially nice coastline - rocky and rugged with great crashing waves and dolphins playing with the surfers.

The course was hilly, but mostly rollers with a few peaks for fun. It was challenging, but not torture. One of the coaches was kind enough to offer to run with me since most of the team is on a taper this week, but I'm going in the opposite direction and needed to increase mileage. I did pretty well hanging with the coach, but she's definitely faster than I am. Also, I faded a lot on mile 8, 9 and 10 while she was able to be more consistent to her pace.

An irritating problem for the final miles was an ouchy friction spot on my inner thigh. I'm out of my favorite running product EVER - Two Toms Sports Shield Liquid. I used to love Body Glide for the prevention of chaffing, but Sport Shield beats it by a mile. With Sports Shield there are no blisters, no chaffing from your sports bra and no upper thigh Chub Rub. Since I didn't have Sports Shield I used something else that was good, but not fantastic. After mile 6, my inner thighs were angry about the friction. Hey, my thighs make me angry when I see them in shorts. I guess we're even.

Overall, more than 10 miles in perfect running weather.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Technical Term Is Badness

Three miles in the humidity - including my nemesis the 6th Street hill. Not fun, but done.

Monday, July 07, 2008

AFC Half Marathon Preview Run

Tonight we ran the 6th Street hill that is mile 11-12 the America's Finest City Half Marathon. Considering all the miles I've covered around Balboa Park, it's amazing that I missed the 6th Street climb. It's a bugger even though it's only a mile with about 300 feet of elevation.

There are some real corkers in the middle of the climb - spots where it shoots up quickly. It's not nearly the beatdown that mile 6 of the La Jolla Half Marathon, but still tough. Of course, the hill in AFC comes at the end of the run. Hopefully, the long downhill and flat will give me plenty of easy miles before the long climb toward the finish line.

AFC Elevation Map
It was hard, but I made it without stopping. I was "running" pretty slowly in parts. Guess what I'll be doing every Monday between now and August 17?

Calendar Management Skills Fail

I somehow managed to get behind on my training calendar and I haven't been doing enough running mileage to be fully prepared for San Francisco. Normally, I like to increase my long run by a mile a week. If I follow that plan, I'll have only run 10 miles before San Francisco. That's actually enough to do the race, but I really want to have 12 miles of running under my belt.

That means I need a more aggressive plan than bumping it up by a mile a week. Here's the new long run plan through the AFC Half Marathon in mid-August:
July 12 -9 miles (+2),
July 19 -10.5 miles (+1.5),
July 26 -12 miles (+1.5).
August 3 - 13.1 mile (+1.1). San Francisco Half Marathon
August 9 - 14.5 (+1.4)
August 17 - 13.1 (-1.1) America's Finest City Half Marathon

Of course, this is silliness. I can walk a full marathon. If I can't do the full distance running, I can always fall back on my walking to finish the race.

But I'll be really, really disappointed if I can't run the whole way.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


For months, I've been working at home whenever I could because my office is a pain in neck. Literally, working at my office gives me pain and stiffness between my shoulders. If I work in the office for several consecutive days my neck will lock completely. It's very, very annoying. I've tried tons of different office configurations, but I've never gotten the correct ergonomics.

My gym offers weekly Feldenkrais classes which are supposed to do something to help you learn to move more efficiently. Every month I look at the Feldenkrais flyer and wonder about it. You have to sign up for the full month of classes and I just never got around to trying it. This month the classes focus on neck and jaw strain. That was incentive enough to get me in there.

Yesterday I went to the first class which was a lot of laying on a mat and sticking your tongue out on your lower lip. There was also some moving your hand in front of your face and following it with your eyes. If you've ever been to an acting class that covered body awareness, then you know what it was like. My neck did feel better leaving the class, but it didn't last long.

Today I was sitting in my office with my neck hurting and I had a flash of body awareness that my head was hanging forward stretching my neck. The computer monitor was too low. I'd been adjusting the angle of the flat screen, but I didn't know you could also make the whole screen go up on the support arm. After a quick adjustment, my head and neck are in the correct spot and the pain is eased.

Score one for the Feldenkrais method.