Monday, January 31, 2011

Get out and push...

Yesterday I finally got sick of us slacking off, and pressed pretty hard out on our run. The snow's piled up enough that we had a few good hurdles to jump along the way. The only problem with jumping a snow bank is you better get up on it first. You can't jump without seeing the other side. One blind leap onto a patch of ice on the other side and it's "Sub Zero wins," runner fatality (at least in the sense that you'll be rehabbing a while).

The other thing about jumping and climbing snow banks is that it will steal the wind right out of you. You're doing fine, and suddenly you're trying to catch your breath. It isn't really advisable to be sucking in air too hard when it's this cold, either. We came across the other side of some of the banks with heavy legs, that's for sure.

At least this time, though, we kept pushing hard the entire time. We didn't slow to a crawl to catch our breath or let the legs recover. We just kept dragging our tired selves along kicking and screaming (at least our muscles). We even actually had a nice sprint going for the last 1/4 mile, which we haven't done much of lately. Sure we've sped it up, but flat out sprinting (as much as it can be done on ice/snow) has been out of the question.

The end result wasn't all that favorable time-wise, but it was about 3 minutes down from the last few times. I was exhausted after, and I'm still sore today, so I know it was a good run this time. We need more like this. I think the new goal is to push to get down to our warm weather times in this stuff. We'll have to take another 2-3 minutes off for that, but I think it can be done. Obviously the snow's not going anywhere, and we're supposedly getting another foot here tomorrow night (should make Wednesday's run interesting), so we should have plenty of opportunities to conquer it.

I should probably get Jason's phone back to him before Wednesday, though. It was on our recliner, so it must have fell out of his pocket. Hopefully he'll be home when I try to run it out to him today. I'm not sure if he knows where it is at all, but hopefully if I miss him at his place, he'll come to ours looking for it.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'm back!

Well, the blog is back. Here's the temporary one from "Run Fatbrent Run 2":

Well, my old blog seems to be on hiatus, so for the time being I will start a replacement until google can get it back for me. Don't expect me to spruce it up too much, but for now it's home. It's been over a week since my original had its issue and fell off the map, and I've had at least 3 itches to write entries. At this point, it just can't wait any longer.

First of all, the secret weapon shoes I had bought for running in the snow; they and I had a few issues. The first thing was, despite feeling better at the upper size, they were slipping all over. So back to 13's I went after one snow run. Shhh, don't tell the store I wore them. The 13's are a little tight, but (as I had previously forgotten) so were my Kanadia tr 2's when I started. Anyway, I think we're good now. I don't think they are built for road races, though. They slip too much on wet pavement, but we'll see if that changes with a little wear. I still would like to get something to go over the shoes for snow, even though the Adidas are pretty good in the powder.

The weather is still a major factor in the runs. In three runs since the old blog went AWOL we've had some interesting conditions. One run (on the trail) with deep snow over uneven slush that froze to ice, which tested the ankles pretty good. We had one in my neighborhood with an ice pond from a water main break. In that case, trying to go across was a bad move. My feet went through the ice down to pavement covered in another thin ice layer with flowing water over it. After 2 failed attempts to go through, we just gingerly walked around it. Apparently fixing the break shut down 2 lanes of traffic on Monday. Yesterday, the trail was with about 3 inches of snow, and we didn't get but a mile down before the timer went off.

The frustrating part about the weather is that we have absolutely no idea where we are, shape-wise. There's nothing to guage where we're at, or where we'd be at on dry land, because every time we go out, it's something different. The snow doesn't just create a layer to slow us down, it creates a layer of doubt and a haze of uncertainty making us wonder whether we're even doing ourselves any good right now. Sure there is something in just going out there, but is the snow making us stronger in our legs, or are we using it as an excuse to half-ass it out there? I really don't know at this point.

I can say right here and now that, yesterday, I didn't push at all. Jason was struggling (which is still faster than I want to go) so I took it easy (or easier than usual). At the same time, I haven't made good on my word to be healthy this week. I saw some weight loss last week, and I got too happy with myself (also, because, despite my insistence I haven't lost hardly any weight, I am down 28lbs since July '09). I hadn't had any fast food yet this year until this week, and I didn't keep that streak going. Wednesday, I decided to try Burger King's Jalepeno Cheddar XT, and after a quick coupon check, found out I had a buy one get one coupon. So there I went eating two of those, back-to-back, without batting a lash. Yesterday, just 2 hours before our run, mind you, I had a large Quiznos Chipotle Prime Rib sub. I then proceeded to wash that sub down, not a large soda, that'd be bad enough...but a footlong Subway Meatball sub.

You see though, I do things like that, and publicly calling myself out from now on might be a good thing. You see, I'm a sucker for fast food promotions, and right now that Beefy Crunch Burrito at the Taco Bell is beckoning. The revelation that Taco Bell has only 35% beef in its meat just has no ill effect on the appetite. At least yesterday, I cut myself off after lunch, and ate no more the rest of the night. Still though, I'm sure I was way beyond my daily caloric intake anyway. Sadly, I was still completely starving until I went to bed, and almost caved into making some microwave nachos. I swear my appetite is its own animal. If it could take form, it would be exactly like that "me want honeycomb" monster, but with more varied taste buds, and the resolve of the Ranch Tooth.

Wonder what a hybrid of them would look like...maybe it's a project for photoshop when I get home...

I'm going to try to have a caloric make-up day today, burrito or no. So far I've only had 500 cals (at least according to Tim Horton's website).

More later...happy to be back.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lock and Load

Meet my new secret weapon

This should give me a little more traction until the roads are clear, and should be pretty great for the trail runs. Admittedly, I still don't do a lot of research on shoes or dump a lot of money on them. So, because I loved the last pair of Kanadias, and they got me through my first 10 mile, I'm going to stick to what I know. I may decide I need something else, maybe something lighter for the road races. For now,though, I'm happy for my new foot tires.

Also, I redesigned the blog a bit. No big whoop.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Shoulda Brought Some Snowshoes

The Snowflake 10K wasn't biting off more than I could chew this early, but it wasn't easy and there were no records being broken. The parking situation made me wish I had left just a wee bit earlier, but since it was cold and in the burbs, I didn't think it would be a problem. I picked up my packet, ran it back to the car, threw on my bib, and by the time I made it back there were only 2 minutes to spare. That was just enough time to find the TRON soundtrack on the mp3 player, and get it rolling in my ears.

Right off the bat, I knew I was out of my league. The people running this time of year are total pros. They have brand new shoes, and they even had these special slip on things over them that gave them traction in the snow. That was a far cry from me and my old, old Adidas that I wore out there to give a proper last hurrah before retirement. That was a bad move on my part, because they had no traction at all with the sole's bottom being worn flat.

I figured out just how little traction I had right off the start, because the thin layer of snow on the road was only being crunched under my foot instead of being tossed backward like everyone else. I was running pretty hard, but getting next to nowhere, and my legs were getting tired right away. As usual, I just kept going. I lost the girl I was pacing in the snow, so I needed a new target. On a road surface I would have stayed on her, but she was getting some good push on the snow. I made a mental note of her shoes, and if they come in mens I'm totally buying them (that sounded a little prissy, didn't it?).

Anyway, it was time to pick a new target, so I picked this guy running slightly ahead of me, and kept pushing on. At some point a woman in pink caught me from behind and pulled ahead. When we hit the snow she stopped to walk, and I caught up, and the second I do that, she starts running. I hate that. Maybe it's just me, but I think I motivate people to go faster out there when I pass them. I swear they think "If he's passing me, I better get moving." Long story short, she tried, but she got blown away by this chubby snow rabbit, and I probably had her by half a mile at the 5 mile mark.

I never stopped, but I really needed some of those cleared patches of concrete when they came. The snow was so tough, it made pavement feel like running on a treadmill. It took me 1:09 to finish, which is my slowest official 10K, but I still feel like I earned something. All the times looked slow, even the winners, so I don't feel so bad. At this time last year, I was just sitting on my duff doing nothing, so running at all is an accomplishment.

To keep things going until the Al Kayner, I've signed up for the Winterläufe. Hopefully they have pancakes before that one too, and they best have beer after. I love the "-Muth."

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"...And I suppose that I feel like a four-leaf clover"

My friend's class schedule has been moved around this semester (naturally), so we have switched to running on Thursdays. Yesterday the trail was ridiculous. Running in 3" of snow can really slow you down. The 20 minute alarm went off at the spot where we're usually about 13 or 14 minutes, and with him having class at 6pm, we had to turn back.

We still ran the same length of time, but the distance was definitely hindered by the powder. Our calves were barking something fierce and I felt like I had been pointing my toes like a ballerina for hours. Of course I wasn't as cold and ineffective as my phone was after the run. I thought I left it in my friend's flat, but when he called me it didn't ring. I told him to call again as I got to my car, and it was in the snow under my car. If it had been broken, I'd probably just slip out the SIM and put it in one of the 40+ phones that work has tasked me with getting rid of.

It's hard to run in this, though. The fact we're doing it at all will put us at least in the shape we were in May by March this year, and likely better. I thought last year was bad enough at the Al Kayner in March, but we've officially fallen off the deep end into crazy runner status. Speaking of, I registered for Al Kayner St. Patrick's Day Races v2.0. Doing the 8K this year. Hopefully they have medals again, because I like hardware. I'm not likely to be getting any by winning races yet, that's for sure.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I am so full of Bumblefluff...

All this talk about doing right by myself, changing how I eat, and doing what's right for me, etc. Cue last night, a Hopslam, a Double Trouble, and a Dragon's Milk at a bar in Ann Arbor, while eating this monstrousity: Photobucket

Yeah, that's chicken and waffle, with gravy and syrup. Mind you the decision was partially alcohol-fueled, but the straight honest-to-God's truth is I kind of love the chicken waffle. Ever since I saw the fake Roscoe's (which is actually a real chicken and waffle joint) commercial in the movie "Tapeheads" I wanted to try it. Once I tried it, I kind of liked it. Even though, at this point, the novelty has worn off, I still have an inkling to go to it when it's available. In some rare cases I will make it available by mix and match order on my own, but it's been a while since I went that way.

The thing is, I'm not really sure it was actually worse than getting a bar burger from a health standpoint. Everyone around me was burger or bbq sandwich and fries. I know, I know, it's such a cop out to point fingers around me and use it to justify what I do, but they had appetizers too, involving cheese! They did!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snowflakin' is just my job...

Against my better judgement, I just signed up for a 10K in the dead of winter to start off the running season. Sure, 10K is nothing anymore, but in the winter, a 10K is about a 15K with the lack of traction you can get, the cold muscles, and just the general desire to stop and find a good coffee shop to warm up.

Of course after signing up for something called the Warrior, it seems kind of wussy to be worried about something called "The Snowflake." but this year is supposed to be about getting to the next level. I can't just run a bunch of 5Ks and be happy with myself this year. Well, at least future me looking back on 2011 won't be, as much as present me is still so damn pleased with himself from last year.

Anyway, the Snowflake is last year's Al Kayner. It's the beginning, the bar-setter, the unknown, and the "I'm not sure I want to/can do this." Only, I'm pretty sure it's going to be colder (Al Kayner was 34F when I started, I believe). I still haven't signed up for the Winterläufe, but I think that's one of my targets too. Too bad there's no Frozen Blueberry this year. That kind of wrecks my racket, because I never got to do it, but oh well.

In health news, I bought a lunch bag so I could bring lunch to work and not be enticed by fast food cravings. This was day one of doing so, and it wasn't that healthy (tuna sandwich and chips), but probably better than the alternatives. My lunch bag is a Detroit Pistons bag that is uglier than all hell (see below), and is basketball hide on the sides. Yeah, it's ugly, but it has the old Pistons logo and still has the Sonics on it, so it was worth using the ebay bucks I racked up over the holidays.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I am the Warrior...

I was just convinced to sign up for the Warrior Dash. Time was wasting, and the heats were filling up. Jason, Mike, and I are all doing it in the 2:30 run. If you're not familiar with the Warrior Dash, just go to and you'll get the picture really quick by watching the homepage video. It's essentially a treacherous obstacle course run.

To be honest, it's a little intimidating, but it was one of the big three I wanted to do. I hope I'm up for it. I just really suck at climbing things, and I hate heights, so it's going to be challenging. Also, the video makes it look a little "Nu Metal" for my taste, and if I wanted that I could just go to the Machine Shop.

We had a pretty good jog today, despite me taking a spill and making a tumbling snow angel. The streets and sidewalks are slippery with snow and ice, and adding in the fact that they're uneven in spots, it can be treacherous. That will teach me to pick up my feet.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

And I said how 'bout a resolution...

Ok first of all, I don't have any grandiose plans to change my entire lifestyle in one year. The thing is, mental perception is pretty much everything. I used to think I was an addicted smoker, and lighting up just one would start the cycle again. Now, thinking of myself as a non-smoker, if I have a cigarette or two with one of my double-digit drinks at New Year's Eve, I wake up New Year's Day and don't feel any inkling for another.

I used to think that it was impossible to get back to running 3 miles ever again between my leg injuries and my weight, and I figured out that it only took 3 months of work to get there. I used to think I couldn't break 10 minute miles on a 5K, now it's almost S.O.P. I used to think I couldn't run 10 miles, or at least not get up to it within one year, and with a little help from my friend Jason, we bridged me from 5K distance to 10 miles in 2 months.

The truth of the matter is that the mind is good at tricking the body. It's much more mental than physical to know I can run XX miles. Right now I'm thinking "Oh yeah, I can do a half-marathon this year, no problem." "I want to believe" I can do a marathon, but the brain isn't there yet. It's mentally closer than a 10 mile was last year, though.

The biggest mental blockade is looking down at all this weight, but look at the perception I have. My blog is "Run Fatbrent Run," so it kind of seems like a pretty powerful, primary self-definition (and claim to be somewhat a fan of Simon Pegg). I'm a fat kid. I've always thought of myself as one. I've always thought of myself as someone that loves food, especially bad food. I've got more of a penchant for coney dogs than that of a Sonic the Hedgehog (it's in the cartoon, trust me). I eat multiple bowls of cereal after 10 o'clock sometimes. If I have pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, I often have, not a slice, but "A" pumpkin pie. Yes, I will eat a Big John 16" sub, as long as I have the red sauce, I could do two (never have, never will, but I think it's possible). Yes, I have had the double-down chicken sandwich (just once, but it still happened and I was immediately ashamed).

If I continue down this path, chances are, no matter how in shape I am athletically, I will never physically get in shape. I'll keep the beer gut (though beer is not the primary culprit), and I'll keep the start of chin #2. The only thing I may lose is half of my wardrobe that I keep around thinking I will fit into it again, and give it away out of hopelessness.

I must become the guy that says: "Nah, I don't put that into my body," "No, I don't eat this late at night before bed," "No thanks, one serving of that is enough in one sitting," "No, I'd rather have something a little more healthy." I have to get to that perception if there's any hope for me. I know it's going to be hard, because I remember when I was at (what I consider) my ideal weight, I really worked hard at it. I didn't eat carbs hardly at all. The only beer I would drink was Miller Lite keeping carbs and cals down. I ran pretty much every other day (though only 2 miles), and I did a lot of weight training. The other thing I remember is: I felt like I was starving ALL THE TIME.

Anyway, enough about me, let's go for the goals:

1) Continue to do a race a month. - I could shoot to go for more, but all I would accomplish is paying more money and having more shirts I need to get rid of.
2) Can I Get a Half-Marathon? - I can do this. After the Crim we felt like running the 5K, and would have if Pat showed. Now it's just a matter of where to do it
3) Try to Run a Race out-of-State - I'd really like to do this if the opportunity arises. We'll see what this year and the finances hold.
4) Register earlier - I could deal with saving some money on these races. I need to make a game plan and pick what races I'm doing this year, and sign up early.
5) Make lifestyle changes that actually affect my weight - I've done everything else. For my size, I am a powerhouse of energy and endurance. Imagine what I could do if I slim down. I could be unstoppable.
6) Do "The Legend," the "Warrior Dash," or "The Martian" (or all three) - I haven't decided yet, but two are races I missed last year, and the other looks like a blast (though I am actually somewhat in fear of it).

Another year. Let's go.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Old Year's Justifications

The holidays are murderous. I can honestly say I tried to hold back on the food and the drink during it, but that restraint didn't stop a few floods. "Friend Christmas" was too much Food and Beer (mostly Dogfish Head's Raison D'Etre and 90-minute IPA). Hosting Christmas, Christmas Eve, and cooking for Jessi's family brought a ton of food into the house with a timer attached. Just the meatballs, pasta shells, taco components, deviled eggs, pumpkin pies, etc. that I made was too much. Add what the families made, and tried to pawn off on us to take home, and you have a huge problem. Follow all that up with a NYE binge of Schlitz beer and whiskey and coke (could have at least went diet, dummy) in Chicago with an obvious hangover helper day after, and things can get out of hand.

Most importantly, I made an engagement dinner for Jessi, some stuffed chicken marsala, and that was waiting when we got back. Yep, I set up table, chairs, favorite flowers, learned to fold napkins all fancy, bought new dishes, etc. I kind of put on the ritz for her, but I'll keep the mushy details out of this blog since it's about health and running mostly. Mushy like those 3 Egg Nog shakes I had this winter. Thank you Halo Burger for a great big taste of heaven on earth, and at least an extra pound or two.

I know it sounds bad, but let's put things in perspective. Last year in the late November-December gauntlet, I probably gained 20 pounds. Impossible you say? Not when I gorge on everything. I limited the beer drinking except for two days. I tried to eat the healthy stuff at the dinners while they were live and skipping seconds, despite caving to left-overs later out of necessity. I also did my best to give away dessert whenever possible. It helped that I was able to have my family over again after Christmas for a left-over dinner. I was able to rework some of the food into other foods like a cafeteria lunch lady and make it work. What I could freeze, I did, to stretch the time and not have to eat it within my 3 day "it's safe" window.

All in all, though it sounds like I failed miserably, it's an improvement. Last winter I had to fight to break even in weight for winter. With only a 5 pound gain from the holidays, I'm in a better position to maybe even slim down. I'll divulge those plans later.
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