Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Tale of two shoes

Dear shoes,

If you are reading this, then know that that I love you both. The same.

I could never choose between you two. I have room in my heart for each of you. Equally!


Now that they are done reading let me tell you the truth!!

I have never had a problem with running shoes. Strap any old thing on my legs and I am good to go. Army boots; ballet slippers, doesn’t matter to me.

My knees may hurt but that does seem to be due to my shoes.

Regardless, at the end of 2007, when the Mrs. and I decided to get started in the whole ‘running thing’, I went ahead and bought a new set of running shoes.

I did the whole thing. Walk across the sensor so that it can analyze my running style. Buy a pair of shoes that matches me, looks good, feels good. All set.

They worked great. I felt good in them, ran good (but not faster unfortunately).

Everything worked fine. I ran those things into the ground within 15 months. I retired the shoes right around 400 miles or 75 hours. They had started to hurt my feet a little bit when I ran long distances. I could feel the ground a little too much.

I kept the shoes because they still looked good. Now they’re just my ‘tennis shoe’. I still love them, they fit like a glove and I have to confess, I secretly wet myself a little every time I put them on. Sooo NICE!

The next pair I got was a serious pair. Even did the treadmill test. I knew I was getting serious when the pair was U-G-L-Y! This pair was a trail rated shoe. Good for holding on to the loose rocks and good at keeping those same rocks out.

I found that they were great for the road too. Awesome! I tore through those shoes in NO time. 451 miles in 7 months.

Rumor has it, that running shoes should be retired after 350 miles. Well, crap! I am way past that.

The shoe still feels fine. Maybe I can keep running in them. Maybe all that junk about changing your shoes is hogwash. Advertising to get the public to buy new shoes.

Regardless, the new shoes are way over the limit. So maybe it's time to go back to the old shoes?

I mean they fit like a glove. They feel so good when I wear them out. Low mileage and smooth to boot.

So I took the old shoes out for a spin. A morning run, easy on the streets, no rocks no trails; easy.


My feet are K-I-L-L-I-N-G me! Appearently, the shoes have this knack for finding every freaking rock out there. If there isn't a rock, they'll find a pebble and make it into a rock.

My feet are so sore, it hurts to walk around the house.

So it's offically time. Time to re-retire the old shoes to 'fashion wear'. As for the newer shoes? I don't know. They still feel great, but maybe it's time to retire them too.

My worry is that as ugly as they are, there is no retirement job for those babies.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Off the Reservation

Forgive me father for I have sinned:

I may have deviated just a little from Dave Scott’s recommended workouts.

Let’s just clear the air and announce that Dave did not prescribe the century ride to me.

That was my own stupid decision.

First we’ll go over some back history (because there is always back history).

When I first joined up for CDA, I blindly jumped in. I had never done a Marathon, never done anything near 100 miles. Basically I was a stupid as stupid comes.

Realizing my idiocy, I looked around for was to fix my condone.

I stumbled on to the local Las Vegas Cycle group. They had just started a new challenge. “Century of the month club”. The rules…pretty simple, ride a century each month.

Well, that sounded perfectly up my alley. Never mind the fact that I was nowhere near prepared for a century. I went ahead a signed up and let the peer pressure build.

Never mind the fact that I had done all this without consulting my new coach. I had alluded to it but never came right and boldly asked about the idea of a century each month.

In fact he pretty much directly denied me to ride distances longer than 65 miles.

Ehhh! What does he know right?! I mean, it’s only a hundred miles. I can slip it in and he’ll never even know the difference right?

Wrong! Apparently, it actually does make an impact on the body to ride for 8 hours over hills and more hills.

While mentally I felt good. My body needed some time to recover. The next day I took off, but my body still wasn’t up for all anything and felt that it should let me know.

My Tuesday run S-U-C-K-E-D! It was supposed to be a Tempo run but midway through the warm-up, I knew it wasn’t going to go according to plan. My legs felt like I was slogging through mud and my perceived effort was through the roof! Only problem was my STOOPID heart. It barely even moved. I could have been sleeping for all my HR monitor told me!

But wait…there’s more!

I had thought that one day was enough; surely by now my body was done having a hissy fit. It was time to get back to working out in style. Again, I was wrong!

Next workout was a HR based workout where I had to bounce my HR between two different levels. One easy and the hard.

Nope! Heart rate wouldn’t even get close to the easy zone. And the only way I could get even close was to throw the body into high gear and crank the effort up to 10. Clearly, this wasn’t going to work for me. I finished the workout with a modified easy/easier workout and the body was very happy.

Luckily the body seems to have forgiven me since then. My third workout seemed to be back to normal. Mind you it still sucked, but that was more because it was a hard workout and I suck and less due to the fact that I was overtrained.

So what did I learn? Well first I am going to go all out there and say that I am not sorry I did it. It was a good way for my body to learn the mileage. It was also good to know what it ‘feels’ like to have my body overworked.

I learned that coaches KNOW what they are talking about. That they don’t just arbitrarily assign workouts.

Maybe there’s a purpose behind these workouts!! HUH! Groundbreaking stuff I know.

So while I can’t promise not to deviate now and then, I think it was good for me to truly appreciate the training that is prescribed to me.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ironman Utah

Guess what Southwest state is going to be home to the newest Ironman?

If you said Utah - you are smart (or you can read!)!

Looks like Utah is going to be hosting the new Ironman. Currently it’s scheduled for the first Saturday of May 2010 (May 1st).

There has been no official announcement but from the city council minutes there was talk and agreement to have the Ironman event.

The swim will take place in Sand Hollow and the bike portion of the race will go through the town of Gunlock.

The run portion of the Ironman will finish in the city center of St. George.

Again, there was no official announcement, but it looks to be a Full Ironman which would be awesome but it would seem to be in direct competition to CDA. But then again, Louisville and Wisconsin are also a month apart so who knows?

I’ve spoken to the Local RD for the Utah area and he has confirmed the event is going to happen but can’t speak regarding the length or who will run it. But if Ironman knows what is best for them, they’ll use a local expert and a RD who knows how to run big races.

I’ve done a couple of courses in the exact area that this event will be in and let me tell you, the area is hard! Not only is the area hilly but the road is rough and curvy. I hear the St George Century and the Marathon are no jokes either with all the hills.

But then Ironman is not supposed to be easy and the beauty out there is breathtaking.

I’ll let you know more when I hear (read) about it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

No good deed goes unpunished

One of my runs for this mesocycle, is a 'swing' run. Basically it’s a butt kicking run where you run at near lactic threshold for one mile and then back it down for the next mile repeat and repeat until done.

It’s sure to get the blood pumping!

I'm already mid way into it. My blood is thumping in my ears, my breath is shallow, and sweat covers my body.

Recovery is done and it’s time to run hard again. I have my dog at my side and we are flying down the hill. Now hills are tricky. With a hill you can just relax and let gravity pull you down. But you can't so that with this. You've got to keep the HR up. Basically it translates to running even faster. I'm now flying down the hill, feeling like Bolt! At the corner is construction and I have navigated myself and a clueless run happy dog through a traffic congested 4 way stop. Add in the blackness of a dark night and we've got a cluster on our hands.

Nothing like taking the exhilaration of flying down the hill and slamming into a wall.

I'm antsy, I want to run again. I NEED to run again.

Finally I'm through the traffic and it’s time to hit the high HR again.

Ready, focus, RUN!

Step, step, step. Feel the gravel crunch beneath your feet hear the rhythmic clicking of the dogs nails. Feel the...


Crap! I think I pissed myself!

There's a car directly behind me. Barreling down on me.

What the? I'm off the road, I'm not blocking traffic. What!

The car pulls beside me. It’s a beat up bronco. The engine is loud. The windows are manual. The paint is faded.

She's yelling something from the window but I can't understand. The passenger window is up and the engine is too loud.

I motion that I can't hear here and almost take off. But she seems adamant. She seems desperate.

The traffic is starting to back up behind her and I get the feeling that she needs help.

Crap! Woman! Can't you see I'm running? Running! Not ideally wandering around. I have a goal. I have a purpose. I can already feel the air cooling around me. My heart is slowing. I imagine I can feel the lactic acid building in my muscles.

I need to get out of here. Soon. I finally relent and pause the watch.

The lady motions to back window. It’s down. Finally I can make out her voice.

She is lost. Where is this street? I quickly give direction, but I can see that it doesn't sink in.

Hand motions. My body tells her where she needs to go (hopefully not telling her my body doesn't convey where she could go!).

Traffic has now built up behind her. She needs help turning the car around and now me and the dog are directing traffic.

She turns around and opens her door (to hear me better? Maybe the window doesn't work?). She starts to mumble her way through the apologies. She got lost. She's not from here. Her friend gave bad directions. She tries to continue on, but I don't care. I am busy. I NEED TO RUN!

I point her in the right direction. Stay around to watch her go and make sure she's going OK.

FINALLY! I can get back to running. By now my bodies cooled. My HR is relaxed. My body is done running.

I have to coax it back into it. Start slow. Build up again. Work the heart and body back into the mood.

It's not until the end of the road and about a .5 mile later that I'm back into it.

I can run again! I'm running. And running. And....running.

Where the hell is the mile marker? The watch should have alerted me by now.

I look down. Nothing. Nothing as in not turned on!

Arghhh! I forgot to turn the damn thing back on again!

The whole run since the car incident has been extra! I know I ran it but the official log won't show it. Either I end my run 'short' or I go the entire distance and go 'long'.

No good deed goes unpunished!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Ode to the trainer/Ode to the treadmill

Dear god, man!

Have you no mercy?

Does the wetness of my tears mean nothing to you?

Does sight of my blood and salt of my sweat not move you?

Nay, I say! You are a machine. You are cold, you are hard, you are steel.

You were created for a purpose and you pursue that purpose without stopping.

You are driven. You are relentless. You are near unstoppable.

I should not mock you. I should pursue your ideals. I should follow your path.

I will become driven. I will become relentless. I will become near unstoppable.

I will. Just as soon as I stop crying.

Monday, February 2, 2009

There is beauty in the desert

At least that's what they tell me.

Personally all I see is the white stripe of the road.

I'm at mile 50 and its all I can do to pedal.

There is no admiring the brown/beige of the desert. No chance of daydreaming at the crystal blue sky watching the clouds float by. I can't watch the lizard watching me.

All I can do is pedal. I have given up on looking around. I have given up on looking at the horizon. I have even given up on looking more than 4 feet in front of me. It's too much effort. Effort I can't afford to loose.

The wind is howling at me. The sun is beating me down. I am t-i--r-e-d! I've been pedaling for almost 4 hours. I am struggling up the umpteenth hill and my energy is at an all time low.

This hill alone must be a mile long and I swear it is a mile high! My speed has crept down to almost a stand still. I am struggling to maintain 4.5-5 miles per hour.

Lake mead has beaten me down. I can't stand to see another hill. My body quivers at the thought of more wind. Finally I give up. Lake Mead has beaten me. I had meant to turn at mile 57, but I relent and turn around at mile 50.

Suddenly, I don't feel the wind. I feel the exhilaration of speed. I am pedaling at 30 miles per hour with no effort. You can't even call this pedaling!

I am on top of the world. At least until I change direction and face another hill. Then it's back to a crawl again.

It's either effortless pedaling or it's a death crawl. When its effortless, I feel like I could go forever. Otherwise, I can't go another step. Time to call in the Calvary.

I compromise and head towards home. By the time I reach home I've hit 75 miles and I am struggling.

It's time to relieve the Mrs. from house duty. But I still want to get more mileage in.

What to do?

The trainer. The god forsaken trainer. The cursed devil spawn trainer.

Not that I'm biased or anything.

The last 15 miles took over 2 hours. Bike time is much lower, but I had to take a break every couple of minutes.

Maybe it was being home. Maybe it was because I was too tired. Maybe I just got wimpy. Whatever it was, I was d.o.n.e.

Finally I had to just shut up and pedal. Stop thinking and pedal. PEDAL!!

100 miles. 100.7 to be exact.

I did my first century. It was my longest ride ever and I earned every mile of it.

I am exhausted.

If I never ride the trainer again it will be too soon. I swear, I will scream if I ever have to ride it again.

Oh wait! I've got to ride it again this week. Oh great!