Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hot, Hot, Hot

Flushing 5K was at the peak heat of the day at a nice 93 degrees.  I saw a few people that drove out there bow out before it even started, deciding it wasn't worth the trouble.  It's always this hot for this race.  It just is.

With the heat factor, one of the things you see at this race more than any other is people completely losing it at mile 2.  We went out quick and hit the first mile between 7:45 and 7:50.  It was a very good start, and I thought we could hold it and both PR again, but hitting the blacktop in the park and the sun did not allow it.  I honestly think I could have just fought to hold it for the rest of the race on a normal day, and maybe even had a big push at the end.  Yesterday, it wasn't going to happen.

I hit both water stops in the stinking 5K, and my mouth was dry before both of them.  We both slowed down on the slight incline of the 2nd mile, but that was still better than a lot of people around.  I even saw someone with a tattoo on their back that said "endurance" drop their run and start walking.  In all honesty, I could have too.  I think every year I run this I want to walk mile 2.

That was also where J started pulling away from me, and that big internal baby started whining about everything (mostly "I WANT WATER!").  I told him to shut up, and kept trying to run my race, push out of that stupid park.  I saw my wife and dog and said hello to them, and tried to make it to the next water station.

I actually gained a little ground on the pack at the tail end of the park, and J as well.  At this point the only people going by me are the fast people that showed up late and were trying to catch their friends.  I finally made it out of the stupid park to the big downhill, and kept pushing and pushing.

Somehow I actually managed to get back into striking distance, and passed J right at the same time I saw my mom and sister cheering me on.  The problem with that was, now I was his target and I had to hold it on the final stretch after I lost my gravitational edge of weighing more and going downhill.

Well, I did.  Just barely.  Checkered flag for "Daytona," but only by 11 seconds.  Statistically a dead heat.  No PRs, and both times just above 26 minutes.

Sorry for the late post.  Just got back from Pittsburgh, watching my Detroit Tigers and doing a little sight-seeing.  Had a wonderful time, but didn't get any cool runs in, unfortunately.  My knee was not cooperating, and I was too afraid of getting hurt and/or lost on those winding, hilly roads with no shoulders or sidewalks.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gentlemen, start your engines...

For some reason, the June races this year are exactly backwards from last year's Flushing, Dalmatian, Retread schedule.  So today is Flushing.  As it seems every year, it's going to be a 90+ scorcher, and one of my fellow runners already told me I was crazy for planning on going today.  My response back was "It's only a 5K, it'll be over in like 25 minutes (I hope)."

Flushing is personal, though.  It's really the TRUE beginning of all my running nonsense and J and my running love, in my opinion.  Last year I referred to it as our Daytona, and that importance still stands.  After all, if we don't do this race 2 years ago, we may have never even started running together.  Both of us are going to be trying like hell to beat the other today.  Forget everything that's happened earlier in the year or the last two weeks.  You win this, you have bragging rights (that neither of us would actually ever use), at least until the Crim or the Detroit Marathon. 

I've been calculating every factor I remember from the course last year, trying to find where I left seconds out there.  The heat, the big downhill, and the last stretch are all going to be major factors.  I also need to be careful not to get boxed in at the start, because if I do and he runs free, it will be over before it starts.  I also can't hit that park stretch tired, but can't start too slow.  The slight incline will beat off a few ticks that you can't get back if you won't take what it gives you.

Also, I'm looking at possible family in attendance (mom and sister) and my wife and dog-child will be coming with me.  How can I look them in the eye, as a man, if I'm unable to be the first of us two? 

I may need more than a meatball and avocado sub (though, be assured, I had one).  I must summon my eagle powers...Brenchooooooooooooo!

Yes, it's true....I am Brencho

Monday, June 18, 2012

In case you were wondering...

...I was not able to reclaim my winning ways, and beat J at the Dalmatian firefighter run on Saturday.  Maybe if it were a real firefighter run and I had to carry people along the way while inhaling smoke, my strength and being a former smoker may have helped.  It wasn't like that, though, and if there was a big ladder to climb as part of the imaginary firefighter race business I would have been screwed anyway.
Pre-Race and wearing the lucky Darko jersey
In the real firefighter race I held on as long as I could to pull up on him late, but there was just no catching him.  I also was not able to catch the famous fluorescent man from last year, who blew both of us away and cruised in for a major heavyweight division victory.  This year only his shoes were fluorescent yellow, but wearing normal colors does not seem to slow him down.  All theories that his shirt last year somehow solar-powered his body and/or legs can now be quashed.  His presence made me sign up for heavyweight again, despite saying I wouldn't, with hopes of winning the chubby bunny hop outright, but alas, it was not meant to be.

Also, J's claim of performance enhancing can be questioned as well.  Despite PRing the Retread on a Claritin D, he blew that time away for another PR just a week later, coming in with a 24:19.  That nails down his side of the bargain in us both getting under the set goal of 25:05 (a ridiculous time we've chosen for its mystical powers that we've imagined all in our head).  It also silences any questions that he accidentally "cheated" last time.

However, all was not lost for me.  Even in defeat, I managed to capture a silver lining of a new 5K PR.  Yep, 24:44 (at worst, because there's also a 24:32 listed).  Either way, course PR, 5K PR, and exclusive membership in the sub-8 minute club.  Of course this means that avocado/meatball subs are a performance enhancer, and I'm now the cheater.

Division Trophy "Tron"-styled pose
I know what you're thinking, you're going to try this too.  I'm warning you though, once you start down this dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, at least for the limited time during the summer where Subway is offering avocado.  You'll want to use it for every race, and you'll be going along having a merry little back-to-back-to-back-to-back PR fest, and all of a sudden....promotion OVER!  You won't have time on your lunch break to pick up an avocado from the store, pit it, scoop it, mash it, and spread it on your already closed meatball sub.

You'll even put it on your post-race burger at "Freakin' Unbelievable Burgers"
(which are actually just "OK")
Anyway kids, here's an important message from your uncle Brent......don't buy subs.  Become a pop star (or tell Subway "it's for a duck"), and they'll give you them for free.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Dopeman, Dopeman's Got the Upper Hand..."

During our Monday run, my friend, with the new-found PR at Retread made the mention that he may have inadvertently done some performance enhancing.  With his allergies bothering the hell out of him, he had a Claritin-D earlier in the day to alleviate those symptoms.  He said he didn't even think about it until later that night when he was having trouble sleeping, but he thinks it may have boosted him a little bit.

After doing a little google research on whether that's true or not, I can't say.  I do know that something in it is on some sort of banned list for elite athletes, but as far as scientific proof or studies of it helping you run faster...I haven't seen anything.  I guess we can "Ask the Magic 8 Ball."  Oh well, maybe there's a reason it's on "Lockdown" at the pharmacy.

Either way, with the Dalmatian Run today, and it being my former 5K PR, I'm going to do some performance enhancing of my own to end my "Losing Streak" against him.  Just like last year's PR, I've duplicated my lunch.  The footlong  meatball sub with avocado, pickle, southwest sauce, onion, olive, jalapenos, parmesan cheese, and banana peppers.

Eat Fresh, Mr. Falcon.
If it works, and I actually put up a best today, I'll be a "Happyman."  Alright kids, time to make Howard J. Reynolds proud....

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Diplo-Dash Retread 3

So what if we crammed in 14+ miles yesterday, and so what if I haven't run a 5K since, oh, The Corktown Race.  Never mind that you have to go with your wife to Renfield's puppy beginner obedience class graduation immediately after the race.  It's Retread time again.

I didn't leave myself enough time to walk to the race because I was too busy walking our dog, watching Doctor Who, and eating string cheese after work.  So, instead of doing the smart thing and driving, I threw my old Brooks shoes over my shoulder, and ran to the YMCA.  Why save my energy when I'm pretty sure I'm going to tank this race anyway?  That was kind of the thought.  

I found J, registered while raining sweat all over the entry form, and dumped off the Brooks shoes for the charity that retreads them (hence the race name).
Adios Amigos
One year this race was the bane of my existence, and last year I actually went home with an award.  I've referred to it as our "Bristol," even though I don't like NASCAR.  I was pretty sure this was going to be a crash and burn sort of year.  Also, where have all my brethren gone?  Chubby runner people...where the hell are you?  You can't be all walkers, or can you?  It was almost all skinny people out there.  What the H?

We headed out, and J took off like a shot.  I held my pace and just tried to hit a zone.  My legs felt tired, but I managed to hit mile 1 and heard the timer guy yell out 8:38 at me.  I figured if I could hold that, I'd be pretty dang happy.  About mile 2, I felt like I slowed, but I was still picking people off pretty well.  J was long gone, though, and that may be because he set a HUGE PR today, destroying his personal best by over a minute and coming in at a 25:13.  So he officially has the 5K title again.  The best I've ever done is a 25:50.  

Mile 2 came and they yelped out that I was barely over 17 minutes.  I held really strong on the final 1.1, and came in at 26:22.  Not a PR, but not a bad summer 5K at all.  I've only ran two quicker 5Ks since I've been doing this.  So I will definitely take that time right now, especially since I've completely abandoned any short or speed work with my weekend recovery breaks.  We held around after the race eating an apple and drinking some water until we confirmed we didn't win jack, and J gave me a lift home. 

I took a 4 minute shower, changed, and it was off the puppy school graduation...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Brent vs The May (Subtitle: I suck)

1) Pick 12 things of social importance that I've had limited exposure to, but decided I didn't like and immerse myself in each of them for 1 month.

It's becoming harder and harder to do this, given I keep tacking on more of the previous ones, but this month, I actually tried to delve into The Beatles.  Yes, I know what you're thinking, and I've heard it a billion times that it's impossible to like music (especially to the extent that I do) and not like The Beatles.  I'm not thinking my end of the month immersion helped any, either.

I guess I just don't get the automatic throne they're given.  In many cases, I swing toward the George songs, and in a lot of cases I'd rather listen to some cheesy solo George Harrison cover of "Got My Mind Set on You" (yes, I assure you it's a cover) than a lot of The Beatles songs in general written by the other two.  I think I actually like John better outside of The Beatles, too.  I don't know.  It's just not clicking for me.  I'm not sure it ever will.  Something's wrong with my ears or something.  Also, I don't like the Rolling Stones.  I mean...I don't hate them, but I only really think they have 8-10 good songs.  For these beliefs I'll always remain some sort of music geek outcast, and trying to remedy it doesn't seem to work so far, but we'll see how it shapes out down the line.  The door is still open a crick.

2) Learn 12 new recipes (1/month). 

Total failure...forgot to attempt even one.  "I've brought shame upon my dojo."

3) Do 12 home improvements (1/month).

Dammit!  Almost every weekend has been burning hot out this past month, and most of the things I need to do require a mild day (painting, window glazing, etc).  Most of the indoor stuff, I plan on saving for winter.  So all in all, for May, I just suck.  When it's not scorching, I've been busy.

4) Try 12 new restaurants (1/month).

We actually tried a new italian place called Paliani's.  We don't have Italian restaurants around here that are worth anything.  The chain ones stink.  The independent ones...well frankly, I know I can do better, so it's a waste of dinero.  So anything new is worth a shot.  I actually liked this place.  I don't think they were anything special, but the food was solidly good with fresh ingredients.  I'm still looking for a place that is perfection with spices and make a really good red sauce, but when I don't feel like cooking and I just want something that's solidly good without a lot of cost, I'll definitely come back there.  

The search for good Italian that I can't top continues, and, honestly, it needs to stop.  I'm almost a full on Irish boy here.  I shouldn't be able to cook Italian food better than you guys.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.

May Running Extras

Running Highlight - Not letting 5/3 River Bank Run beat me, even though I felt knocked around like a raft at sea.

Running Low - Halfway through a 6 mile run on Memorial Day thinking I needed to quit and walk home.

Mileage - 113 Miles.  Finally above that triple digit mark for a month.  

The Legs - Honestly, they are beat to hell.  I'll be okay, though.  I anesthetize with alcohol.  That will cure my weird nagging left ankle right?

Other - Just got my enhanced license in the mail today.  I'm all legal for the Detroit Marathon.  The mileage is piling on, and it's starting to seem well in reach.  I'm not worried about anything other than my legs getting injured at this point.  I'm hoping this nagging stuff will clear up and the gates will open wide for me to get this thing done.  I'm almost starting to wish the marathon was this month or next.  I'm tired of waiting, but I refuse to do some piddling local marathon to prove myself worthy of the distance.  I pretty much insist on not actually going 26.2 even in practice until that actual day.  So, that's why I'm going to say to the Detroit Marathon, "Move this thing to this month."  Heat of June be damned, I'd fight through about anything at this point just to get this over.  Even still, I bet it won't be over then.  I'll probably want to do it again a few months after swearing this is the end of running Brent.    

I kind of love it.  I can't help it.  I'm smitten with the idea of marathons already....

I'm also smitten with the fact that I'm brewing my first ever batch of beer.  If all goes well, I'll be the first Oktoberfest to corner my desired market (me, my wife, and my friends).  If the smell of the CO2 coming off of it is any indication, it's going to be delicious. I'll be bottling this weekend.  I think that will be the make or break part of the process.  That counts as a recipe, right?  I was never even this persnickety and careful in the chem lab, working with things that could blow my face off.  Of course that was just for grades or a company. This is for consumption.  Serious stuff.

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