Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Will it go around in circles

When running encompasses just going out for an hour jog about every day and then double or triple that most weekends, it doesn't seem like much to ask.  Pretty simple to manage.  When aspirations abound for some reason it becomes more of a hassle.  No matter if it is work, play, or personal stuff, it always seems we'll get ahead of it.  One can make it better.  Most times you just go do it.  That is and has to be the way for work most of the time.  On the personal side of things you have to march the line between serendipity and Black Sheep Squadron.  What is left after that you do is stuff.

I've been doing stuff for decades and it is real cool.  A lot of my stuff involves the act of running, but potentially even more time is spent thinking about running.  When I was younger it was baseball cards, but for whatever reason I think running a bunch.  And even though I don't have to draw a line in the sand, I do have to come to the realization that someone else has won.  Someone else has picked up whatever imaginary torch is there.  You passed the test long ago...you made the grade.  You are flying missions which do not exist and even more importantly there is really no need to put those racing flats on and conduct a two mile lightning session.

Look, Ice Age is always on the table.  I'm there to run the best I can that day.  That probably won't change for a couple more years.  If I just keep jogging 8-9 hours a week I'll finish fine.  The problem is I am now exploring or acting on things such as core, weight, rest, and even cross-training.  All so I can potentially run what they call better.  As much as I try and pull myself out of this I just can't.  All those items require head space to think about and act on and I am not someone who has free roaming brain space to manage these. 

Not to deceive anyone, but the cross training has been getting the dog out 3-4 times a week for a slow jog or walk.  This is maybe 10 miles a week, but frankly it is wearing me out.  I get in my sleep.  I'm sleeping by 7:00 - 7:30pm this time of year and up at 3:00 - 4:00am.  When we actually have daylight in the evening this changes.  I could blabber on, but the bottom line for me is just do what you've been doing with a few minor adjustments and leave the lightning rounds to the game shows.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Michigan Rag

Looking through the stats for 2018 and not much changed.  I did continue to run slower and line up for less races.  I like to race.  It is something to shoot for.  The problem is I'm not much for pre-registering for shorter races and when the day comes I usually decide to keep the $40 in my pocket and go entertain myself with a run.  I've also noticed I run so much slower than others.  That's fine until it's not.  Running 12's on the trail and 10.5's on the road is good by me.  Survive for another day to train.  There is always a plan to reverse this and I honestly believe it could be done.  But it requires more time, attention to other details, and unfortunately a mentality that can suck the life out of other life areas.  None of this is new to anyone who does this. 

Yesterday was a good day.  I felt well and so I ran a couple hill repeats and 2 x 3:00 all at a good effort.  I intentionally kept the volume low.  In life it is funny how the brain subconsciously interjects great ideas without any governance.  It said you SHOULD do this sort of thing 3-4 times a week.  When finished the plan was to get back out later on a dog jog.  Thankfully we had freezing rain, so I copped out.  Truth was stiffness settled in.  Cinnamon buns on the counter?  Today there is one left.  Not a big deal because in reality a nice long easy effort tomorrow will suffice.  I'm just out here aimless, or am I?  2018 was a great year.

Top ten people I ran with:

Dewey - 39
Tim - 35
Robert - 15
Christine - 11
Dean - 4
Andrea - 4
Andy - 4
Clement - 3
Blanchard - 3
Swanson - 3

The first three I primarily run with at Menomonee Park.  Christine and I train for Ice Age.  The next four represents the Minooka group.  The final two is the Monday Lapham group I went to in December because I had some Monday's off.  I really have to get back to Minooka.  That has been my go to group for years, but after moving to the sticks I rationalize the 38 mile round trip too often.  It's not about the run anyway and I need to get back into the mix.  Just looking at the list I see that everyone on it has ran Ice Age.  Combined there are over a 100 Ice Age finishes.  Four had finishes last year and two (Clem and Christine) each won three in a row!

I covered 2,423.5 miles last year.  That's consistent with annual totals.  I ran the Southshore half with Dean, Andrea, and Clem, finished 29th at Ice Age (20 seconds behind Robert), pounded out another Al's Run 8k, and finished the Glacial Trail 50k in October.  That's it.  Consider this my annual report.

Monday, December 31, 2018


Barely squeaked over 200 miles for the month.  Ran like a chump Saturday, only completing 25k on the trails with Robert.  Pretty sure he got the whole 50k in.  Back and pelvic structure in pain.  The past week or so I have become so inflexible that I have to sit down to dress.  Maybe I should have been addressing this.  I’ll be fine.  I will have to finally listen to other people who know stuff.

What’s up with radio?  Tried to catch a bit of good tuneage and Journey is on way too much.  Is something going on I don’t know about?  Nothing personal.  I saw them around ‘81 in Buffalo.  Was there for The Stones.  Whaaaa!

Weather is in charge for the next couple months.  As long as I can stock up on the Swanson fried chicken dinners, old fashion loaf, and coffee I’ll power through.  I was frying up cabbage, noodles, onion, and ham in butter fairly regular, but I sensed by the wife’s grimace I was pushing the envelope pretty tight.  Be working the crock pot over tomorrow with a pork roast and kraut.  Sooo good.  Cancel Christmas good.

I look up who the current XC coach is at my HS in PA.  I sent him a note on LinkedIn to see if there is an alumni meet.  Last year was his first year.  I was talking to a former teammate and he’d consider going back as well.  We have never had anything like that.

Have a good New Year.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

We have ignition

In my spare time I butter finger around and read accounts of the Big Backyard Ultra.  I'm trying to get a sense of how people were pacing, how they may have prepared, and what needed to happen in the time they are back at the start.  I've acquired a few decent training ideas.  It goes without saying the last man standing format makes it intriguing and brutal.  I don't personally see any benefit from spending much time punishing myself with sleep deprivation training prior to such an event.  I mean I would probably run at times, and attempt certain training functions that would touch on foregoing normal sleep, but I'm not sure I could stay up just to stay up.  If anything it will already prove what I know about myself when tired.  Go to sleep.  I'm just going to make a big mental note for the event if I get in and leave it at that.  Okay that's done.

My friend Andrea asked to join her and Dave Schmidt as a group to sign up for Superior Sawtooth 100 lottery for September, 2019.  Andrea if reading this I am going to pass.  It would be 6 weeks from Big's if I get in and I want to be fresh as possible.  I'm looking at doing a longer training run every 2-3 weeks starting now.  I mean, why not play around with the training in such a manner that you will be in the race on 10/19/19?  It will also be my de facto training for the Ice Age 50 in May.  I've already told the big gang of 2-3 people I know that I'm going to put a bit of starch in some training for Ice Age.  I'm planning on leaning into it a bit this year.  I mean I can hold my breath the last 5 miles, so why not crack open the oxygen biofuels early and bring down the thunder?  Do the right thing, do the wrong thing, but do something.  Either way it ends up I know Bill Hutchinson will be all for it!

Check this out today.  Twenty push-ups and sit-ups and a one minute plank.  I have to start somewhere.  The dog and me stumbled around for 62 minutes and covered 4.6 gentle miles.  I'm having a tough time walking for training.  Bums me out.  Thing is if you go to a race and you have to go slower, or even way slower than normal it will probably require walking skills (pace knowledge, muscle groups, wear patterns, etc.).  I'm nothing without my choppers, but even I know you better practice going slow, or pay the price.  Of course you have to practice Juno 1 so you can live stream efficiencies and just basically tear a$$ around when needed.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

One Tin Soldier

Merry Christmas.

It snowed about an inch over night and I can truly say it was a great morning to get a 10.5 miler in from the house up around Loew Lake.  Outside of a few people and their dogs it was me matriculating through the forest and country roads.  I picked it up a few stretches in the last half and hit 9:04 and 9:08 miles.  Have to get the heart rate up there occasionally.  It actually felt pretty good if you can consider that "legging it out" territory.  Grizzer bears pilgrim, grizzer bears.

Christmas is here at the house today.  Brad and Emily (the kids) are coming in today as well as my sister-in-law Suzi and mother-in-law Iris.  Same tribe as Thanksgiving.  Pizza.  That's the main menu and then on to hand and foot.  A card game best played with six people and six decks of cards.  It is my mother-in-law's favorite game and probably Emily as well.  It will be a good day.  Even though I'm off tomorrow I'll be the working class hero and work a big chunk of it.  My bad.

I think the next three days I'll just jog around with the dog and take it easy.  I'd like to get the 50k in this coming Saturday if I can.  Just roll through it.  No need to get the hackles up.  Yesterday running easy with the Lapham Legends group I was instructed about biking as a workout option.  I'm supposed to look up a gravel bike.  I'll take a look, but I'm not about spending tons of dough on a bike.  I haven't even bought a serious head lamp or hydration pack yet.  I just want something cheap I can use the Vulcan mind meld on and work the crap out of it. 

I'm considering thinning out this squirrel population by going down to the little woods here and tuning up the .22.  I haven't skinned one of these out in scores.  Of course I'd have to buy a license and the season is over in February.  It's like fishing.  Unless you get a mess of them it's kind of a pain to only have one or two.  I'm not sure why I'm inclined to get back to the things I enjoyed as a youth, but much of it is to just get out of the house.  Watching reruns of the Rockford Files and watching chess matches on my phone can't be all that good for me no matter how right it feels.

Monday, December 24, 2018

There's a beverage here

So on 12/16 the day after the 5 trail circuits I hit the road for 4 - 50 minute circuits of 3.6 miles each.  Mentally this wasn't much of a problem accomplishing and as the day before, each segment was a bit faster = 39:23, 39:08, 38:33, and 38:30.  I was actually tired, but the tiredness was in my back and pelvic region.  Just this real annoying stiffness one can only ascribe to as old age.  Years of only running have (probably) caught up to me.  I'm doing this for competitive advantage (haha) as, "I don't run to take beatings!"  Whatever, as visions of core and stretches and cross training and diet danced through my little brain.  I get the dynamic.  If I would supplement this, or replace this for that I would probably thank my ever loving self to the 8th power.  I just don't really give a rat's hamstring about all those options that have brought millions of people joy, clarity, and the urge to see Hamilton.

I probably should get some type of bike and do a big ride once every week or two.  I probably should spend 7 easy minutes a day on core.  I probably should select stretches to work on the pelvic region (and could probably alternate every other day with the core) and I should probably cut back on eating sugar coated sugar.  When I type it out that way it probably isn't that big of a change.  But it is.  It really is for me, because I like many long time runners have to fill the other voids (well...those left after working all week) like what useless book can I read, what 40 house projects can I push off to next week, and I'm about a half dozen hand written notes behind.  I won't get any of that done because the dog and I have been scouting out the 42 acres of Marshland (Public Land) by the house the past two afternoons.  I'm planning on potentially hunting there next year.  The dog found a fair amount of dark colored niblets.  No conscious. 

This coming Saturday is the annual 50k Fatass.  I'll probably be there and if motivated I'll mickey mouse around and complete the whole thing.  I have to go down to Chicago this week and take care of something for work.  Might be there Thursday and Friday.  I'm not super stoked, but there are Italian Beefs and good Mexican food in the mix here.     

Saturday, December 15, 2018

We got eighty feet of waterline

So today I rolled out to Funk Road to run on the Ice Age Trail.  I would run 2.2 miles out, then back, then ride out the balance I had left on the hour.  I would complete 5 circuits and see how it all goes.  These were the running times (52:25, 51:51, 51:30, 49:00, 47:30).  So the idea was to start slow and kind of hang around there.  What happened was at certain points on the trail I started basically taking advantage of the more runnable portions.  It turned into something I looked forward to and it broke up the sameness of it all.  I was noticeably tired on the third loop and the occasional pick up seemed to cure this.  The biggest take away was that by the 4th and 5th loops my back and pelvis were already getting stiff.  Note to self to look into pelvis stuff.  I'd hate it, but the occasional few minutes of work could help.  Besides you can pause Gilligan's Island now and pick right up were you left off.

If I get into the Backyard run, my thought was one might as well dog it for the first daylight hours.  If one can average 12:30 pace for 4.167 miles that is 52:09.  That is still a solid 6 minutes to take care of yourself.  I would be all wound up anyway and not tired enough to try and sleep.  It was nice having 10 minutes to change some clothes, eat and drink, and do whatever.  Right now I don't feel like I covered 22 miles, but I am stiff.  In long continuous runs I tend to loosen up and find a rhythm.  Stopping is going to take getting used to.  Probably more of and age thing.

Most people already in this event are long distance monsters.  Many events covered from 6 day, Multi-day, Badwater 135, Arrowhead 135, 24 hours, European events, and tons of 100 milers.  I also see some folks have some pretty long events lined up 1-2 months before the Big Backyard Ultra.  This seems odd to me.  I have a grand total of one 100 miler finished and that was 2003.  But I don't look at it as a disadvantage at all.  I just want to get used to running every hour and see how to figure that out.  I'm not fast any longer, but I am still able to run sub 8:30 for trail 50s. 

I have to keep the mind set that I am going to get in, so I stay motivated to train.  If I don't get in, then I don't get in.  I might try and sign up one more time, but after that I'd be 60.  I'd probably migrate to trying to run a fast marathon then.  Well...fast for me.

Other notes from the run.  Johnny Appleseed was out with his dogs today because no one else would probably be on the trails.  Black dog 1...Me 0.  First time I have been bite in the inner thigh.  Just nicked me, but we left on amicable terms.  Multiple people with dogs off collar today, because when it hits 40F+ in December who would be out on the trails?  I have a dog, I get it and as long as I'm not seriously hurt I try and be cool about it.  One lady had her dog off leash and her 6-7 year old on a leash.  She let me know her dog would never bite me.  Which is nice.  So I have that going for me.  Glad she paid it forward.

I bought a sub and chips afterwards.  While waiting I heard one guy say to the gal he was with, "I'm just telling you how I feel and you keep telling me I'm wrong."  My experience is most people don't give a rats rump about feelings.  Best I play it close to the vest and invest in ways to be comfortable in my own skin.