Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Look over there!

So, I've decided to re-launch my blog . . . writing, specifically, for healthy stuff just wasn't cutting it . . . so, yeah, I'm closing this down. Well, I'll keep it open for awhile, but I'm going to start posting at The Adventures of Daddy Runs a Lot now.

Thanks for checking in here, though

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Damn setbacks

It's 33 days until my marathon, and wouldn't you know that life just throws all of the curveballs that I can at me? Last week, I had a horrible stomach flu. I just wasn't feeling right as I walked my dogs in the morning, then I made it to my 6am videoteleconference, and then I made it to my other office. It was one of those things where I kept on feeling like I should be feeling better, but I felt worse throughout the morning, until the entire contents of my stomach started finding their way out of me. I'll be as polite as that.

So, that had me out of commission Monday & Tuesday...I could barely stand for periods of time, didn't go to work, really didn't do anything. Wednesday, I made it back to the office but running was far from my radar...Thursday, too, though I managed to actually feel like myself for a little bit. Friday saw me run for the first time all week, 4.5 miles without pushing myself - it felt good to be back.

My plans were to run a half-marathon on Saturday, and then run 2-3 miles on Sunday, just to get my legs back under me. I just got my Vibram Bikilas, I had just been sick, I didn't want to push myself too much, bring myself back too quickly (and I've conditioned myself well enough that 13 miles really isn't a "big thing" for me . . . my plan is to get that number to 25 so that I could run a marathon with minimal training, but I'm nowhere near that right now).

Alas, plans got in the way, and I only had 90 minutes to run, and try as I might, that's not enough time for me to get 13.1 miles out. But, I did run 9 miles . . . and gave myself a tremendous blister. No running Sunday - in fact, now, Tuesday, it's just starting to feel closer to back to normal, but it's still uncomfortable.

My schedule keeps me from running Monday & Tuesday, so I'll be running tomorrow with moleskin on my foot. Training setbacks are to be anticipated, but I really hoped to have completed a 22 mile run by this point . . . I'm not worried about the marathon just yet - but why can't bad shit happen in the middle of the winter, when I don't have the "big thing" on the horizon?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Vegetables in Soceity

We had a "goodbye" lunch for a developer yesterday...and, as most any "we have no idea how many people will be attending"-type event is, we worked our way to a Chinese buffet. If you've ever been to a buffet with me, you know I see a buffet as a personal challenge. "There is all of this food here, and they're not going to stop you from eating," (cue John Pinette's "Chinese Buffet" bit) so I just keep on going. Of course, not eating meat, it makes my selections somewhat limited...a huge pile of vegetables grilled on the hibachi, a great big heaping pile of "mixed vegetables," and if I'm feeling really saucy, maybe a vegetable egg roll.

I looked at two of my coworkers, and our plates couldn't be more different. Well, they were both absolutely brimming with food, but there was nothing but meat on their plates. Seriously, just a stack of meat. We joked around for a little bit, but the end result was as simple as they "didn't like vegetables."

Seriously, they didn't eat vegetables because they didn't like them.

I'm brought back to my first fiancée, who didn't eat vegetables. When I was in college, I was a bit of a porker, but LOVED ordering Chinese with her, because she's order beef & broccoli, and I'd eat all of her broccoli. To this day, I'm told that my ex still doesn't eat vegetables, and has to play the "do as mommy says, not as mommy does" with the kid.

But, seriously, how do you live life not liking vegetables? I know vegetarianism isn't for everybody . . . but anti-vegetarianism? I don't get it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm Stylish, Dammit

So the Mad Woman Behind the Blog finds me stylish. Surely, you know of the Mad Woman, don't you? You don't? Well, go the fuck over to her place - she's funny, and smart, and hot, and, you know, actually fucking updates her blog on a regular basis. Really, she's among the best bloggers around and deserves your attention. And, she's pregnant, so if you don't go to visit her, she may just eat you.

Ok, where was I? Yeah, she finds me "stylish" and gave me an award. Obviously, she knows of the cold days where I've chosen to run in three layered sweatshirts and my Guitar Hero flannel pajama pants. Running, in the dead cold so that icicles formed in my beard so it looks like I just gave a truly sloppy blowjob. I mean, look at me, ain't I stylish?

Ok, enough snark. Thank you momma, for the award - which brings with it several conditions - first, seven things which you may not know about me.

  1. I was disqualified from a Pinewood Derby. My first try at the Pinewood Derby was pretty typical - 3rd grader gets the kit and wants to spend more time painting it than, you know, carving it. The result was that I had a wooden block that went down the track, and it didn't do too well. The next year, I designed the car with my dad. We came up with this sleek car, all weight taken by removing wood added as lead pellets to the rear of the vehicle. It was fast, it won a whole lot of races, to the point where I went onto the regional level. We moved the wheels further apart at the regionals, though, because that should have made for a faster vehicle on the track. It also violated the rules. Whoops. Read the rulebook first. Heh.
  2. I've been fortunate enough to consider myself a traveler. My grandfather started things - he went all over the world when he was a working man, but as I've learned myself, you really can't visit a place that you travel to while you work. So, he made a list of his favorite places and took his grandchildren with him while he actually got to see them. Between trips with him, and trips with school, and with my family, I've visited (in order, with most countries getting multiple visits) Mexico, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Belgium, Poland, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Great Britain. I love traveling, and I've been quite fortunate enough to get to do it as often as I have.
  3. My beard (which is more or less permanent) started on a whim. I was working for a company that had a strict "use it or lose it" policy with vacation. December came and I had been saving vacation on the chance that we'd get a last minute call about an adoption situation, so I had something like 7 days of vacation to use up. When you start throwing in holidays & weekends, well, I wasn't at work for two straight weeks. And, heaven knows I'm not about to shave when I don't need to. The result was that my beard had just moved from the "scruffy" to the "barely acceptable," and now it feels like it's a part of me.
  4. I am an absolute horror movie freak. If I need to put on something just to "have something on," I always prefer a B-Horror film...the faker the effects, the over-acted the happier I am. I've seen some truly silly films, and some truly deranged, but it's a little scary how much I enjoy them. That said, my favorite movie is a horror film that was quite subtle, Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In).
  5. I am fascinated by Christopher McCandless. No, I'm not about to pick up and spend a winter in Alaska without provisions, but damn if it's cool to say "I want to do that, I don't care if you think it's crazy, and I'm going to do it all by myself." I spend all day, every day, around a computer, and even if I'm not at a computer, it's not difficult to get a hold of me. Up & "unplugging" for an extended period of time has a real Siren's call. I think I can satiate the call with weekend & week-long camping trips, but the Wild, she calls to me.
  6. If I wasn't working in IT, I really think I'd find my calling as a health care professional - most likely in hospice care. Well, I'll always hold out hope of being a professional author, or playright, or composer, or recipe designer, or musician - I mean, it'd be really cool to make enough money via creative endeavors to get to the point where I can claim "independent wealth," but I really think I'd excel "helping people." I love meeting new people, getting to know someone, helping someone out. The dying, in our society, are kind of swept under the carpet. I don't know, but I just think it would be quite rewarding to know I was providing comfort to someone uncomfortable and scared.
  7. I have a single tattoo, and a single piercing, but I have plans for many more. Well, maybe not "many," but I certainly have plans for more. I think body art is a bit over-done these days. Nothing irks me more when you ask somebody about a tattoo on display to hear "I thought it looked cool." That said, it's the ultimate form of tribute - a piece of your skin devoted entirely to a memory/thought/person/event/idea. As long as they're personal & meaningful, I love body art. My current tattoo is on my right leg, a bicycle chain wrapping around & cutting into my skin . . . it's a reminder that, if I'm not doing something active, and I can be doing something active . . . well, maybe I should be. My next tattoo will be a sleeve on my left arm, filled with little bits & pieces (with holes left for the future) of symbols of my children.

Winning this award also dictates that I nominate seven other bloggers for the award...in no particular order:

  1. Rachel of Happy, Healthy, Homemade because she can cook some really healthy stuff has bionic boobs.
  2. Eleanor of Lelly's Musings because she keeps me motivated. Every day, I struggle to work out - Lelly cheers me on while I can swear I feel the smile emanating from her own post-workout tweets.
  3. Ken from Fat Kid Suit because it's a little uncanny how much alike we are. He's had weight issues, I've had weight issues. We've both had some serious attempts at changing our lives for the better that just didn't quite work out and we can't pinpoint why . . . sometimes, it's just better to know you're not going on a journey alone
  4. Chrissa from A Little Wicked & Lori from Oh Shit, She's Awake (yeah, two for the one because it's totally impossible to pay attention to one without the other, and their own friendship makes you like them as a whole even more) because they're witty, silly, beautiful, provocative, and currently churning out some of the best blog writing I've ever witnessed in their own 50-50 challenge.
  5. Dana of Amid Life's Crises because she's wickedly smart, tremendously sweet, has a great meme with her Sunday Secrets and if she keeps up her workout regimen, she's going to make me seem like I live life standing still.
  6. Allie from So I Had Cancer... because if you ever confuse my words for inspiring, you haven't read Allie.
  7. Pop from Go, Pop, Go! because, quite frankly, the future years of fatherhood scare the everliving shit out of me, and reading what Pop has gone through makes me think that I might just survive with my sense of humor intact...sometimes.

So, bloggers - go forth, spread the award, but most importantly, write!

Monday, March 7, 2011

I love sleep, and weather is an asshole

I had such grand plans. I truly did. I was going to run on Wednesday, rest on Thursday, run on Friday morning, wake up early to run on Saturday. Wake up early to run on Sunday. Rest on Monday. None of that happened. Even the days that I planned to rest? I really didn't rest.

Wednesday was raining. Like, really raining. I don't mind the rain - my first 5k was in a rain storm. My first, successful 100k bike ride was in a monsoon. But, as we're in that part of the year where winter turns to spring, my allergies go on high alert. And with my allergies on high alert, it doesn't take much to get me into "I have a cold" territory - and running in the rain seems to tempt fate. So, I didn't run. I, in fact, chose to spin (my thinking being that it's better to do something than nothing). So, I start up Super Troopers and my phone rings. "Hmmm, it sure is funny to have my phone ring at 5 in the morning on a Wednesday" I think to myself...it's work. There's a major issue.

Well, "major issue" means different things to different people - and the issue was not "major," but I don't do well with "there's an issue, just let it be" when you interrupt my plans . . . so I did not even spin. I did, however, manage to run that afternoon. I was home, so I might as well do something, and CJ was napping, but Leila was fussy - so into the jogging stroller she went. I'm not sure if she was awake or asleep, but she was quiet, and when I finished and got her out of ths stroller, she had a great big smile on her face.

So, Thursdays are Duffy's days to run, so Duffy ran on Thursday morning, and I took a rare "no band" Thursday night off. The next few days made me rethink that decision.

Friday morning, I woke up with a sore throat (this has progressed into a "productive cough," which is as fun as it sounds when you Google it, but, really, is not all that uncommon for me) and took things lightly. Then my world took me into King of Prussia for the afternoon, which turned into dinner with friends, which meant that I got home at 10pm . . . so there was no work out.

You know what I love? Sleep. Saturday was going to be a big day for me - I had to take all three of my pets to the vet for a yearly checkup, and then one of my best friends had an all-day bachelor party planned. So, if I wanted to run, it had to be at like 5am. And it was Saturday, and I love sleep. Didn't happen, and I still don't feel all that guilty about it. I slept, I parented, I took the animals to the vet, I bought liquor, I went to the party.

I got home from the party at about 1 in the morning...so running at 5AM on Sunday? Yeah, wasn't going to happen. The kids slept horribly, and the dogs were in their "hey, are you awake yet?" mode as soon as both of my little darlings were asleep, so I went to take them for a walk. But, alas, it was raining again. I managed 30 minutes of spinning until it was time for me to get myself ready for church.

Mondays are my "early day" at work, where I'm in at 6. So, if I want, I can run Tuesday afternoon, or get back on my schedule on Wednesday.

In the grand scheme of things, I'm still quite on track - it will be two weeks between "big runs" come a Saturday run, but I think it's quite possible (I'm thinking about going back to my first "big run" location, just for nostalgia sake), but that May 1 marathon is approaching. Despite the fact that clothes are fitting me better, I'm nervous. But, despite bachelor party snacks by the fistful, I'm eating well, and I'm hardly a bump on the log. I got this.

Monday, February 28, 2011

18 Mile Thoughts

I had to make my big decision before I went to bed. I had a commitment in the mid-morning (dress rehearsal for my symphony concert), so would I wake up early & run a smallish run, or would I wait until after rehearsal to see what kind of run I might be able to fit in.

The early morning had its draw - I mean, I'm used the early morning runs. Since I had some extra time, I'd be able to a little more than my standard 4-6 miles. I'd be able to get a 10 mile run in, head to rehearsal, and then play the rest of the day however I felt like it. But an afternoon run, well, I might be able to test just how "on target" I was for the May 1 marathon.

The kids were up early, and that kind of settled things. Duffy tried to deal with a persnickety CJ for awhile, but something clicked in my mind, and Leila decided that she wanted to play - so I relieved my wife in the kid-watching department. After getting them dressed and fed and keeping them entertained . . . well, it was to head to the dress rehearsal. That's ok, though, I really wanted the afternoon run.

Following the dress rehearsal and lovely family brunch, it was back home. Duffy wanted to run, so I got myself ready as I watched the kids and my wife ran. Then, she was home, and I went out.

My goal was 18 miles - this is the pretty standard "ready for a marathon" run, the theory being that adrenaline is enough to keep somebody going for 8.2 miles . . . although, damn, 8.2 miles is a long way to run on fumes. It was actually a nice-ish day - some cloud cover as the temperature neared the 50's. I left at 3:30, and if I could manage eighteen 10:00 miles, well, that fits neatly into three hours (and puts me well on pace for a 4:30 marathon).

Now, when I'm really running a long distance, I just try to keep things even. I don't want to be "too fast" so that I'm truly sucking wind mid-way through. At the same time, there is nothing worse than sprinting the last mile of a long run and feeling like you still had a lot left in the tank, that you took things way too easy at first.

I'm not even a mile into the run (I have Runkeeper set to chime in with my splits every mile, which is the only reason why I know the approximate distances throughout the run) when I hear something behind me. It's another runner, and he flies right by me. I know I'm not fast, but I have really fucking long legs - to feel like I'm walking as Usain Bolt sprints past? Well, it sucks.

So, I try to process being left in the dust. I knew I was taking it easy, and, ultimately, I'm running my run, he's running his run, so some random runner being faster than me makes absolutely no difference. I absolutely refuse to pick up my pace, even as he gets smaller against the horizon. In fact, I intentionally slow down....and then I hit the first mile mark, which I've hit in 9:02. I was convinced that I was running a 13:00 mile, so that's something.

I continue running in & out of the neighborhood, and then in & out of my own neighborhood, and then in & out of another neighborhood, consistently marking times between 9:00 and 10:12 / mile. I'm feeling good, but then I hit the golf course.

Somehwat near me is the Army Heritage museum, which is a really great little place. It's a walking trail that takes you through US military history - from Revolutionary War forts to Cold War tanks to Vietnam-Era helicopters, to World War II bunkers. It's also adjacent to the Carlisle Barracks golf course, which has a 2 mile jogging trail around it. I hit this right around the 10 mile mark, and my goal was to run everything three times and then work my way back home.

I'm used to running this, though, in bone dry conditions. It's packed pebbles, which aren't too bad to run on when dry, but in melted snow, wearing Vibram Five Fingers? It's pretty icky. Still, though - this was my plan, so I run the jogging trail, and then through the walking path, and then through the jogging trail, and then the walking path when it started to get dark.

Well, it was getting dark, and while I wanted to hit 18 miles, that number was just an "out of the air" number, and didn't really hold any significance. I'd work my way back home maybe run around my own neighborhood once or twice if the mileage isn't just where I want it.

As I ran through the muck, my times started to slow, but I really thought I attributed things to the icky conditions. I was stepping much more carefully, so 10:30, 11:00, even 12:00 miles weren't all that bad. Slipping and falling would be disastrous.

But, when I got back on the road, there was simply no picking up my pace. I could sprint if I needed to, but my "go" simply was turned down a few nothces. I made it back home, hitting the 17 mile mark at the very top of the biggest climb during the entire run. It was dark, and I was rapidly approaching three hours on the road. I decided to skip my 18 mile requirement and sprint my way back home.

17.25 miles in three hours. I was tired. But, I was able to lift my kids and climb the stairs and do all of those things that you're afraid to even try to do at the end of a run.

The Gettysburg marathon is in 60 days, and I'm feeling pretty good. Due to a blister on my right foot (a small hole opened up in the rubber coating the shoe, and I suspect a small stone snuck in - good excuse to buy a new pair of shoes), I took Sunday completely off, and I have early morning work commitments on Mondays, and Duffy runs on Tuesdays, so it will be Wednesday, at the earliest before I get to run again, but I may actually spin, instead, waiting for my new shoes to arrive (although I guess I could run in regular sneakers, but Super Troopers isn't going to watch itself, meow).

My favorite part, after a long weekend run, is how I feel a day or two later. My legs are mostly recovered, but they want to go. My hamstrings aren't quite tight, but I can feel them, as if they were springs ready to be spring. It actually takes restraint to sit at my desk and not just do jumping jacks or sprint to the end of the hall. I absolutely love this feeling - where your body is still in the recovery phase, but, at the same time, it wants more. It's nearly as addictive as logging that next mile.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Work Gets in the Way

So it's been a little while since I've posted, again. This really needs to stop happening. No excueses, remember? The issue is that I simply don't have the time in the day to do everything that I'd like to do.

I wake up before 4:30 every weekday, which sucks just as much as it sounds. I have a video teleconference with my offshore team in Manila at 6am on Mondays, so I'm out the door as soon as possible. Tuesdays & Thursdays are my wife's days to run, so I could get some writing done as she's out doing her thing. I could. But, I choose to get a little bit more sleep.

Then, Wednesdays and Fridays, I run in the mornings before work. Sure, I could sacrifice this time for writing, but I have this marathon in May, and, dammit, I'm gonna beat my Harrisburg marathon time. Plus, as we all know, I feel so much better throughout the day when I manage exercise in the mornings.

So, before work - no blogging.

After work - well, have I mentioned my kids lately? They're 15 months & 8 months and they're handfuls. Actually, all things considered, they're not too bad to take care of - but, two kids under a year & a half old . . . yeah, there's not a lot of "free time" that I can spend at a computer.

That leaves work itself. And, unfortunately, I'm quite busy at the new job (don't snicker, I actually am). I can spend a few minutes writing here or there, but that would cut into the few minutes I spend following bloggers. Seriously, I can't miss new pieces from A Diary of a Mad Woman or Pretty All True or Fat Kid Suit or A Little Wicked or Oh Shit, She's Awake or Momma Kiss or Have We Met? or Amid Life's Crises or Funny or Snot or The Kitten that Dates or Mental Poo or City Midwife or my first blogging crush Jen's Voices? I spend what time I have checking in on these writers, commenting where I can, and between work & stuff, well, that's the end of the day for me.

The thing is, there are certain activities that I simply feel better when I make time for them every day - exercise, meditatate, perform, and write (yes, perverts, you can add something else to this list, too). I need to find time to write - be it here or for myself...take the crazy that lives between my ears & let it out for little bits at a time.

About that blog roll, though? Read through them - as you read, if you're not drawn to be a better writer, yourself, well, you're simply not subject to whimsy.


Ok - so that sums up why I haven't been here as often as I should...how is everything else going? Well, it's a rollercoaster. I live in Pennsylvania and this winter has included a fair amount of snow & ice. This means that I haven't been able to run like I want to. As weekends are perfect times for road trips, my long runs don't always happen on schedule. However, I really think I'm ready, today, for a marathon, if I absolutely had to (becuase, you know, there are armed gunmen standing outside that will make me run 26.2 miles because, dammit, if someone doesn't run a marathon right now, the bunny gets shot). Considering I have a full two months left before my next big adventure in making myself tired, I'm well on track.

This morning, it was 7F outside, with a significant breeze - I did not run. I did, however, watch Super Troopers as I spend some time on my spinning bike & with my free weights. Meow.

Eating - well, I have a fun story which, on the surface, appears to have nothing to do with eating. As I was making my way to my father's 65th birthday party last weekend, I stopped to get gas. It was a beautiful, though very windy day. I pull out my debit card (because I'm trying to keep myself from ever getting into major financial dire straights, I only ever carry the debit card) and get startled. The card, I kid you not, catches the breeze and takes off. Whoosh. I couldn't find it.

I call and make the customary "cancel" call, but I'm now on the road with only the cash in my pocket. I beg, borrow, and steal the cash to get myself back home, but I'm still a few days from getting a replacement card. I hold onto any cash I get just in case I need to head somewhere unexpected and need a gallon of gas.

What does all this mean? Well, I'm packing my breakfast and lunch (I always mean to do this, but if I don't do this now, I starve). I'm eating healthier and yummier frugalier than I ever have. I need to keep this up after I get my replacement card.

Anyway, so that's all of what I've been up to as I haven't been here. I'm really going to try to invent the 30 hour day simply for my own blogging.