Monday, February 28, 2011

I aim to misbehave...

Jessi and I have been so good lately that we needed a day off. Since giving up the weekly alcohol and watching what we're doing a little more, I'm actually losing weight a little too fast for my health right now. It's really only been two weeks and I'm down about 10 pounds since. That's just a little too quick, I think. She's getting a little burned out with everything, too, so we decided to take a day off and go out and eat a bunch of Thai food. We also split up a box of Thin Mints when we got home, and thus ends the cookie dilemma.

One day won't kill me, and tomorrow it's back on the horse. We'll see how I feel and what the roads look like tomorrow. It may be time to start adding some distance.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I'm probably thinking there's a change of plans...

Ok, I'm not exactly sure what it is. Maybe it's the fact I haven't ran an official race in 3 weeks, and I feel race starved. I'm not sure, but I think I'm going to be going off the goals page soon. I made the mistake of starting to look at races down the line throughout the year, and in the process of chosing my one per month, and I kept piling on. I think my eyes are getting bigger than my legs, here. I'd find one race to do, and then I'd find reasons that I think I needed to do another "just for that month." I'd look down the list and say to myself "oooh, I wanted to do that one last year, I have to this year," "that was a goodie, don't want to miss that," "I hate the time I got on that one last year and have to re-run that," and many other reasons.

Then I started looking at that list and thinking, "Am I really going to try to average 4 races a month?" That I probably won't do, but I can't see narrowing them down to 1 per month. It's just impossible, especially in the late summer season, and even in March, I'm already signed on for 2, and I see #3 that I can't pass up sitting on the list too. I think I may have a problem. Of course I don't like talking to my friends about it, and I'm guessing they really don't care about it that much. I just don't want to become one of those smug runner people that's always talking about their conquests, and that's another reason I'm writing this blog, because it gives me the outlet to write how I'm feeling about the whole self-project I'm trying to do here.

Besides, there's a lot of stigma to being the fat runner out there for me. Sure the majority of runners out there seem to be well above average in human quality, but there's a few that enjoy poking fun at you and don't believe you should be out there. I can deal with that, and I can kind of understand it, because there are people there with the mentality of "races are meant to be done by those that can win (at least in their age group)" and hobby runners probably do get annoying when you have that mentality.

It's kind of like the two types of Detroit Tigers fans you see at the park. Some of them are really into the actual game and take it seriously hanging on every pitch made, and others are there to hang out, have a beer, and enjoy the sunshine. Each group can annoy the other at times, but they both have equal right to be there. I just don't think people (runners and non-runners alike) want to hear about some fat guy trying to run. They probably believe I'm shuffling along at a 15 minute mile and walking half the time anyway. Maybe in their mind I'm out there making a fool of myself; hitting the checkered flag long after the other racers have gone home. Other racers that probably went out after running the race and finished their grocery shopping for the day before I made the last turn. Yes, I exaggerate to sound more's a thing.

Anyway, Jason and I went for another shake at the path yesterday in the newly fallen snow. I'm still trying to push harder when I don't think it's there. I haven't had a bad run in a while, which makes me more than happy to continue my avoidance of beer during the week. That seems to have snowballed into a few other things. Not having post-alcohol munchies really helps. I've been eating a lot better, and even the weekend drinking has been cut in half because I don't have that higher alcohol baseline all week.

I've actually been pretty good in general, other than getting my McDonald's Shamrock Shake. Unfortunately, like many things in this world (pop music, movies, primetime TV) it seems that McDonald's is also catering to the desires of teenage girls, because they've dolled up the shake. I don't like it, and it's not worth the calorie hit anymore. Whipped cream and fake cherries...not to mention they've thinned it out so it's more "drinkable." I actually kind of liked the effort that it took to drink the old ("Triple Thick") ones. So I guess my pre-Lent shake binge has been called off. I guess there's always Halo Burger's Irish Mint shake, which should still be a "man's shake," but chances are that doesn't come out until mid-March when I can't have it.

Last thing...after our run yesterday, in the processs of going to get the new Bright Eyes album, I stopped by Kohl's to look at those Asics Kahanas once more. I just ended up buying them. They're just too custom fit to my feet to pass up. I'm pretty sure I haven't bought a pair of their shoes since they were a nobody brand and still cost $25. I was going to go to the running store and have them custom me into a pair, but I really don't think it can get better than this for my feet. They remind me of my first pair of Adidas Kanadias (also grey and orange) that fit so well. I'm not sure what's up with me and shoes that start with "K," but as soon as we have normal pavement again, I'll give them a test drive. I probably didn't need two pairs of shoes designated for jogging, but I have them anyway. Shoes for several occasions? What did that shake do to me?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

5K's Gonna Fall, The Near Miss (Left Ankle Again), and Other Updates

We finally got some dry pavement to run on today at the trail. Sure there was still some snow and ice, but, for the most part, all was clear. We set the timer for 15:00 and started running. We just kept going and going. I half stopped by 1.5 miles thinking we had to be close, but it never went off. We ran over some ice and snow past a few runners that gave up and were walking through that stuff, and still no timer. Finally I just had to ask Jason, and he looked at his watch, and said "we still have another minute." It finally went off, and I'm thinking by now, "you had to have stopped it and hit the button twice accidentally at some point." I was wrong, because the trip back was finished before the 15 minute alarm went off again. So I'm pretty sure the 5K record is going down again, maybe even on the first one of the year (I'm thinking the Corktown St. Patrick's Race).

I know the weather isn't staying this way, but it's nice for now. Any time away from the hazards of snow and ice is welcome. Last Thursday my ankle rolled outward on me at the trail on a slippery patch. I recovered quick, and didn't think I was actually hurt, and finished up the run. It hurt most the rest of the week, but felt fine Sunday, so I ran on it. I probably shouldn't have, because it hurt and I had a couple quick sharp pains on it at the front of the ankle, just above my foot. I kept going through the route, anyway, because I'm an idiot, but I was smart enough to skip Tuesday. Obviously today was all fine and good, so I think I'm okay.

Other than that, I've banned myself from the beer during the week. It had to be done. Jason's quit it completely, and I admire him for it. I just enjoy beer tasting and the whole culture of it so much at this point, I can't give it up completely. Of course there will be special weekdays where there are exemptions. This week's FVD was one of them. I'm sure the calories will add up (or actually subtract down?). Jessi recently joined a gym to kind of join me in healthy endeavors, so I'm sure that will end up being some extra motivation/support for me to lose more weight this year. I'm back on track, and eating healthy. Lent's coming up and I restrict myself so much with my usual no alcohol, no soda, no fast food, no pizza, and it used to be no smoking, but that doesn't apply anymore since I don't anyway. That should help give me a boost, while making me sad I'm missing out on the double filet-o-fish.

Other than that....effin' Girl Scout Cookies, man. My fiancé and I put in the same exact order and we ended up with double the intended amount. Gotta stay away from that.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Winterläufe Weekend

Another first time race is in the bag. I actually think I liked the Winterläufe better that the Volksläufe, but the circumstances for that last year weren't ideal enough to enjoy it fully. There is a lot more fanfare for the Volksläufe with the tents, the bbq, the music, pancake breakfast, the crowd, and everything else. That's for sure, but there are some things that it's missing that are pluses. First off, you don't have a big crowd to wade through. Outside of the first half mile, everyone was spread out enough for me not to be impeded in any way. The other thing is that it's the dead of winter, so the majority of the people there mean business and/or have done a few of these races before. Other than a small group of people that are still hanging on to that New Year's resolution, there won't be any newbie walkers going 5 or 6 wide to go around at the start of the race. To be honest, by the turn-around, there was a huge bubble between the people ahead of me and those behind for me to run in. Maybe it was lucky, or maybe I just smell. Also, the Winterläufe had better shirts. Dark blue and long-sleeved? I love you, Winterläufe.

The race itself was challenging and potentially hazardous at times. The hills were definitely both, and starting out with a few of those early caused a lot of premature runner mortality for some of the participants. It's one of the most predictable things you see as a runner. Every race, a hill or two is going to steal someone's will. If you're just starting out and a race has hills early, it can really beat you up mentally, and you start thinking, "I can't run a full race of this." Then, just like Fozzy Bear, you're a Wakka Wakka Walker and you don't know why. I just pushed through them like usual. I just can't justify stopping anymore unless I actually get hurt. I didn't see too many people out there that looked like they got hurt or had any really bad pulls. That's pretty good for a winter race. I hate seeing that.

There was still a slight glaze of snow and ice in places, but not enough to wear my new snow slippy-on-thingies (official name). The only place they would have been really needed were the bridge and just after it, and possibly some of the hills going down. I made a pretty big point of getting to as much solid ground as possible for the downhill portions and keeping my feet under me. It was pretty reminiscent of the Howell Nature Run, only with snow, slush, and ice instead of loose gravel. I also didn't see anyone fall. I'm sure someone did at some point, but not seeing it happen a few times, at some parts in particular, was pretty miraculous.

Amidst all this, I posted a personal best for my 8K, a 53:24 on the clock and 52:45 chip. I wasn't expecting that to happen, so I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say that maybe I am still improving. I was also fighting off a tight back with a huge knot in the upper left side. It was bad enough to keep me from the first half of work Friday, and it did act up a bit at the end of the race. It was still less of a bother than a side cramp at the bridge on the return trip. I did benefit in part from an mp3 player that knew what to play at what times to push me along, though. Thanks for that extra shot of Andrew WK my little Coby com-padre. Twenty dollars and 3 years ago, and it's been with me through this entire running adventure. It just may be the best $20 I've ever spent. This run was also Jason's first 8K, and of course he beat me, but now he has a good time to work from.

After the run, Jason and I grabbed some sandwiches at T-Dubs. It was pretty decent, and ridiculously filling. It wasn't even that big of a sandwich, I didn't get fries, and only had a small bowl of chili, but that corned beef sandwich knocked out my hunger for the rest of the day.

I wish I could say the same for the Super Bowl. I ate too much, drank too much, and I'll stop myself there before it turns into a Dave Matthews song ( I the only one that thinks he looks like a ventriloquist's dummy?). Anyway, much of the calories were lost in the double vomit tsunami that came after sailing to sea on Barbarossa's ship. Tradition for the big game dictates that we do a drinking game with some questionable, untested, cheap rum, and so far all non-Morgan substitutes have proven to be a very bad voyage for this crew. Still though, I put in a full, very productive day at work, and even got up early. I already need a weekend, though. Admiral Nelson (2010) and Barbarossa (2011) are butt hash.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


So what if the trail was covered in thick snow and drifts to our knees in spots? We went for it today. That was the most I've pushed my leg muscles since The Crim last year. My thighs were on fire and my calves were ready to explode. I don't care what the distance or the time was today, because we went deep into the snow and went further than anyone dared to tread on the trail before us. The only tracks after a certain point are Jason's and mine, and we did it all running hard with shortness of breath. It was like we did sprints today, and I can't wait for there to be semi-clear roads Saturday. It's going to be a piece of cake.

Today I realized that in some sick way I'm actually starting to like the snow and see it as a welcomed challenge. They always say you'll hate snow when you get older, but despite the run hindering and the shoveling, I still like it. I hope we have more winters of being blasted like this. If we do, I can see a pair of cross-country skis in my future. I used to love doing that, but the lack of snow in recent winters hasn't made buying them worth it. If we're going to have more like this, where it stays cool for long periods of time, I may have to get on that.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Arms Race Continues

Well, there they are, another weapon for me to win the Cold War. I tried them out this afternoon after work before this "blizzard" we're supposed to get. I pretty much had to, because I also just bought them today. New toys are meant to be played with. They're great on ice and thin snow, but not much of a difference on the thick powder.

This is my first attempt at officially stepping back up to 3 times a week on the running. Today was a solo gig. I pushed pretty hard, and time-wise was pretty solid again. I've been doing some upper body stuff and some other things on the off days. I'm trying to build up a regimen, even if it's nothing too spectacular at the moment. Right now, though, I have to admit that I am dead sore. Also, with the low calories I've done the last few days out of punishment for eating Taco Bell (to be abbreviated TB from now on) and Burger King (BK) back-to-back, I'm kind of wiped out.

I made sure I ate somewhat reasonable today. Dinner was a little on the heavy end, but I don't want to fall off a cliff here. If I string myself out too much, next thing I know I'm lying around eating a 90 count bag of pizza rolls myself, and too full to move, let alone run. I'm trying to keep this thing under control. Besides, I don't have to be too drastic, because, even though the results have been slow, I've dropped about 30 pounds since this all started. That's without making efforts anywhere but out there on the road. I shouldn't have to do too much more to have some big results. I need to step off a little tomorrow, because I'm a walking ache right now. Unfortunately it's looking like there will be a foot of snow to shovel, so a full break is not on the docket tomorrow.
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