Friday, November 24, 2006

"Everybody dies alone."

- Graffiti under the East Stimson St. bridge. Yes, I know what it's from.

Distance: 4.5 miles
Duration: roughly 38 minutes
Time: 2.30pm
Weather: 59 degrees and sunny

Futuritual (171 BPM) - dj steveboy
"A half-hour of primal tribal grooves, then we pull the stops out with trance, breakbeat, and drum & bass to sail you over the wall."

Don't do this. (But be sure to scroll all the way through it.)

O! The calories! No, I did not need seconds last night, who does. And running on a reuben and a milkshake was also a bad idea. But the weather is perfect and the Hocking was so inviting, I could not help myself.

I have been going over in my head how many things I learned in the past year. Earlier blog entries include my concern that I was always thirsty - I stepped up liquid intake and those complaints stopped. Obvious in hindsight, but it's not like I'd never run before. It's just that I'd never run so much before.

Dishing out Newports to the runners on Bedford.


I was resigned to running in pain, with shin splints which, by all available advice, would not subsided until I ceased training. Other advice taught me how to work through them, and I just don't have them anymore. The internet is truly an amazing and helpful thing. I thought it was only good for porn (though it is awfully good for that.)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I'm the same boy I used to be

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 3pm
Weather: 39º rainy

Playlist:
Sausalito Summernight - Diesel
Don't Be Shy - Spektrum
Call On Me (Filterheadz Remix) - Eric Prydz
Wild Wild Life - Talking Heads
Magical Trevor (Happy Hardore Remix) - Weebl

It is cold and wet, and we are making preparations for Thanksgiving, my true finish line. Running once a week will not do, but now that I can longer whine that "if I don't run, I'll never make it to the end of the New York Marathon!" it's difficult to justify the time. That, and the weather sucks.

So, before too much time gets away, let us all bask once more in my greatest athletic triumph !

Join me on the Verranazo-Narrows Bridge ...

Friday, November 10, 2006



brightroom Events Photography


Just couldn't keep my head up. Who cares, now I have proof.

Where did Daddy train?
Plainfield, VT
Niagara Falls, NY
Cleveland Heights, OH
Athens, OH
St. Paul, MN
Cleveland & Lakewood, OH
London, UK
New York City, NY

Too bad Chicago isn't on that list, but hey, what fun.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What happened next.


Distance: 1 mile
Time: 4:30pm
Weather: 63º sunny

The ING NYC Marathon is an extremely well-planned event ... until you cross the finish line.

It is strongly recommended that ou walk at least 20 minutes after the race, so your blood can redistribute itself and you don't cramp up and have a heart attack and die and everything. Unfortunately, once you cross the finish line, you meet a wall of other runners, funneled into a fenced-off road, shuffling their way along as hundreds of new runners pile in behind you.

You get your medal. They hand you a bottle of water. They give you a cup of Gatorade. They hand out those thin metallic blankets (you are hot and sweaty, but now cooling rapidly on a shady thoroughfare - remember, it's fifty degrees) and a tab to close it. They clip off your chip.

Shortly after getting my blanket, I began getting very emotional, thinking of see ing my wife, my children, at the family reunion area. And then I started feeling faint. What could be the matter? Then I realized I wasn't getting enough air. I went from four and a quarter hours of heavy exertion to a near-standstill (I wanted to be briskly walking so badly) and I wasn't taking in enough air. I looked to my left and saw all of these guys - men as fit as me, or better - lying on the ground, being assisted by medical personnel holding their feet up. I did not want to pass out. I began breating as steadly, but as fully as I could. I held my hand before my eyes for something to focus on (thank you, Louis Colaianni.) I did not pass out.

The UPS van that my personal bag was in was perhaps the longest walk from the finish line. I gather my items, fished out the complimentary Tylenol 8 hour and took it. I walked out to 77 St. to the family reunion area for people with a last name beginning with "H." I walked up the street, searching for my boy, my girl. I pictured a tear-felt reunion, Z. running towards me with O. following after.

They were nowhere to be seen. I got my cellphone out of my bag. My wife said they were caught in the park, there was no way to get to where I was, not with any speed. Could I head up Columbus Ave. to 85th Street?

So I did. My dry, warm clothes were with them. I shuffled down Columbus Avenue, glassy-eyed and shivering, like some homeless guy. Except everyone I passed was saying "Congratulations!' and "Great job!" People leaned out the windows of their cars to wish me well. The homeless don't generally get that.

Before dinner, I took a nice long shower. Each foot had a large, painful blister where my corns are. And though I never believed I had any use for any kind of Body Glide or Vaseline - never having suffered any kind of chaffing when running 18 or 19 miles - I now knew what is was for, and where.

As Brooke Shields said in The Blue Lagoon, I was bleeding. Down there.

This evening I took my first recovery run. I felt I could go forever, the evening was so beautiful. But after a half-mile, I knew this was not the case. But at least I know now that I will be a runner for life.

Monday, November 06, 2006

New York you make it happen


Saturday Night

Freaking out about my chip situation, I decide to head back to the Expo at the Javits Center. After waiting over a half hour for the shuttle in front of the Hyatt, a guy from Chicago named Joe and I jump a cab and get to the Expo. They are tearing everything down around when we arrive; compared to the excitement of the day before it's weird, it's like something is over, not beginning.

As it turns out, now both chips are registered, I could use either. I decide to use theirs, I don't know why.

That night I have dinner with two old college friends, Andrew F. and Missy H. Andrew buys me a pasta dinner at this great Italian place across the street froom where he works. Andrew designs props for the American Airlines Theater, after dinner he gave us a brief tour of the set of Heartbreak House.

I stop off at a market for extra food; a banana, pretzels, the odd energy bar, and a way too big bottle of water. Back to Coop's place, I lay out my gear, pack my bag and get in bed around 9.30.

Race Day

I don't sleep much at all, I wake up every twenty minutes. At 3.50, ten minutes before my alarm goes off, I get out of bed, clean up and suit up. I hate to consume anything when I first wake up, but force myself to drink a pint of water and eat a banana. I kiss my wife good-bye, say I'll see her on First Avenue, and head for the subway.

I chew a bagel on the way to the subway station. As I wait for the 6, other guys show up in running gear and their "official" bags. We were each given a clear plastic bag, the only bag, we are told, we can take to the starting area. No bags inside of bags either, it's obviously a security thing. We're all like, hey, and hi, and have a great run. But not very loudly.

By 5 am there's a line up us walking up 42nd street towards the library, and there are at least twenty busses waiting for us. After all that fretting about my bus pass, they never even check. They just want to see that we have numbers, there's no way they could see the small lettering on them that says if we have a pass or if this is the right pick up area. Whatever.

I have a great conversation with a guy from Toronto (sorry, I forgot your name) who ran the Cleveland Marathon last May. He kept saying really sweet things about our city and I kept biting my tongue from running the place down because we all do that.

Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island

I am there before dawn, maybe the sceond bus there. Looks like a refugee camp. There's even experienced runners who have brought sleeping bags so they can just crash until start time. The only thing I missed was a scarf, otherwise I was relatively warm. I spent four hours pacing, having two small cups of coffee, eating another bagel, and another banana, trying to read the Sunday Times with gloves on, going to rest room as strenuously as possible. When I tried sitting to read my body temperature dropped rapidly and so I got up again and just kept moving.

I even got in line for a massage. I didn't really need one, but it was something to do. She worked my back, I get tense in my shoulders a lot and my lower back hurt from all the pacing. By now the sun was up and I sat and worked on my red shirt. I wrote PENGO in block letters on the front. On the back I wrote:

CALVIN B.
ZELDA D.
ORSON A.
&
TONI K.

with a heart and a star. They got me to this place, I wanted to take them with me.

The people from different countries amazed me. Close to the start I met a young man named Matt from London. This was his first marathon, too - and he came from London. For his first marathon. So did I. Cool.

In my corral (the 20000 - 20999 corral) I found the 4:00 pace guy. I was going to follow the 4:15 pace team, but I'd already met this Londoner so I stayed there. Regardless, maybe I could pull off something like four hours, and maybe this was a big mistake, but whatever, I'd just let some people pass me first.

We began to move, and I took off the black sweats I'd gotten at Unique Thrift. I would be wearing my Asics all-weather black cap, glasses with a strap (not sunglasses) Lands Ends black long-sleeve tee, red Under Armour shirt, black Under Armour shorts, black running shocks and my Asics gels. I had gloves I planned on ditching. One last pee and we headed for the start. I was also wearing my iPod, had two GUs pinned to my shorts, and a tube of Carmex tucked into my waistband.

All my gear choices turned out to be perfect.

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

I reach the start line roughly six minutes after the gun goes off. My headphones are off, I am saving that for later. Just the thrill of, well, finally being here. I was nervous for a fraction of a second back on the bus, now, after hours of waiting, I am just happy to be moving. The sky is cloudless, the weather is mild, it is going to be a beautiful day for running.

Already there are men relieving themselves, over the edge of the Verranano-Narrows Bridge. I just don't think that's right. Over the next four plus hours, I will see guys just letting it go over bridges, through chain link fences, anywhere really. I also seeing amused photographers taking pictures of small groups of guys, pissing into parking lots.

Good-bye Staten Island.

Brooklyn

Brooklyn was amazing. And very, very long. After a two-mile bridgem we would be in the Borough of Kings until the race was half-over. Shortly after we arrived, we were greeted by large, large crowds of cheering locals. When I saw a guy holding a sign reading FINISHING IS YOUR ONLY F*CKING OPTION I knew it was going to be a good day.

There were Irish runners wearing big green hats, a guy dressed as a rhino. a surprising number of Norwegians in the pack, Dutch runners with matching orange jerseys sporting questionable cartoons of Africans with big lips, a guy dressed like the Statue of Liberty, and, so they tell me, Bobby Flay.

For most of Brooklyn I enjoyed the ambient sound, the bands playing every couple of miles. I drank at maybe every other station, sometimes water, sometimes Gatorade. I forced myself to drink even when I didn't want to, necessarily, though I found as I was drinking, that I really did.

Whenever I took long runs during my training, I would feel terribly drained after a while. I attributed this to a lack of something in my system. At five miles, I took my first GU, right before a water station to wash it down.

10K split: 0:57:33

By seven miles, I began to wonder if we were in Queens yet, and had to remind myself that that wouldn't come until mile 13. I tried keeping the bouncing balloons held by the 4:00 pace captain in sight, but needed to take a leak (at an actual port-o-john) and spent a few miles trying to catch up. I was going much faster than I should have. By the time we reached Queens, I lost them for the rest of the run.

I began getting that drained feeling before the Half-Marathon, and worried I hadn't packed enough to eat. They warn you not to pick up anything not at an official table, which is a shame, because there were kids with small water bottles, old ladies with orange slices, guys with bananas. I took a Twizzler at one point, because I thought that was good luck, until I remembered I never chew Twizzlers thoroughly enough. I had my second GU, this one with caffeine in it. I knew there would be a PowerBar Gel station at mile 18, and hoped I would last until then.

I had read on some message board that you shouldn't put your name on your shirt, that it gets annoying after a while. Everyone else said to do it. Well, I didn't write my name, I wrote my nickname. And I gotta tell you, I never got sick of perfect strangers yelling "Pengo!" at me. That was a big boost, and whenever I needed it, I moved from the center of the street to one of the curbs.

Queensboro Bridge

A steep incline, luckily I read in one of the magazines that there is a stunning view of Manhattan if you look to your left. I did, and it was. It was breathtaking. It was one of several moments during the run I almost, but didn't, burst into tears. God, I love that city.

Choice track: Such Great Heights - The Postal Service

Earlier in the run I was concerned I was dressed just a little too heavily. Maybe I didn't need to his thermal undershirt, at least not in the bright sunlight and 50º weather of Brroklyn. But the two miles on the lower level of the Queensboro Bridge made me grateful I had it on, that was brisk.

Choice track: Winners - 7 Seconds of Love

As we headed down the bridge descending into Manhattan, I said possibly the only thing out loud I had said to that point. I said, "That's a lot of people."

Half-marathon split: 2:00:17

First Avenue

Outstanding. First Avenue, deep with people, for miles. Bright and sunny again, heading uptown. My family was supposed to be waiting for me at 81st Street, but I started looking for them much earlier, on the west side of the street, looking for the SpongeBob Squarepants sign I got them from the expo. I missed the "official" banana station looking for my wife, but - I kid you not - I almost slipped on a banana peel.

Choice track: Future Sightings - I Am the World Trade Center

They were right where they said they'd be, Coop was holding the sign, which read "Go Go Pengo!" or I never would have seen them. I leaned over to kiss my wife and little girl, and headed off again. And then I got really, really tired. It was only mile 17.

I had used the iPod intermittently, but relied on it more heavily to keep my spirits up. I snagged a PowerBar Gel, and then a second one for later.

Choice track: A Little Less Conversation - Elvis Presley

I have no idea whether it is a boon or a curse to be familiar with the geography and relative distances of Manhattan in this situation. I knew I was racing into the hundreds, and that after a brief swing through the Bronx, it would still be a long way back to Central Park.

The Bronx

On the Willis Avenue Bridge we were greeted by a Scots drum and pipes band. Not as many people to see us at the Bronx, maybe the feel slighted being such a short part of the route. I was feeling distress in my abdomen, couldn't tell if it was just all of the synthetic protein and carbs or all the fluid I had been taking in, or just gas. I stopped at another port-o-john, which was a big risk. I tried keeping my legs moving as I pee'ed - that was a very good idea - and then got back on the road.

I applied lip balm ever few miles, I never lost the lip balm. I still had the gloves I'd tucked in my waistband.

And then we were back in Manhattan.

Fifth Avenue

I mostly listened to the iPod through Harlem and on toward the Park. The family was going to cross over and meet me there - at first my wife had said she would see me on the avenue, and then she changed that so I wasn't sure where I would see her. So I began looking well up the street. It was a good thing, too, another distraction.

Remember; I had never even run 20 miles before. The one time I tried it I fell slightly short, going from Cleveland Heights to Lakewood. Once I did hit 20, in the Bronx, I thought, well, from here on out I have no idea what I am capable of. I tried to drive any notion of what it was going to feel like stopping, of finishing, of having the medal, of seeing my kids again, out of my head.

Choice track: Put Your Records On - Corinne Bailey Rae

We crossed into Central Park. After another half mile or so, I found my family again. I wasn't stopping this time, I was just happy to see them. The last two miles were ridiculous. I can't say they were impossible, I didn't slow down any more than I already had (LOTS of people passed me on Fifth Avenue) I just kept going, not too slowly, either, it just didn't seem like it was ever going to end.

Final track: It's My Life (Vocal Mix) - Liquid People vs. Talk Talk

Remember, these tracks are at random, and this one was next. I listened to it a lot during my training, one of those songs from my teenage yeras that was playe so much it lost meaning at the time, but has creepingly gained meaning in the time since. And the artist who was Talk Talk now goes under the name Liquid People and "remixed" this track, which means he mostly put a thudding beat under it that makes it incredible to work out to. It was exactly what I needed at that point in time, reminding me of all the work I'd put into this. I just shut everyone out except for the deafening cheering that came through.

Out to south end of the park, and then back in, I headed to the finish line. There was no feeling of overwhelming exhilaration then, just relief.

Finish time: 4:15:28
Overall place: 16,838 (out of 38,368)
Average pace: 9:45

Sunday, November 05, 2006

To the Five Boroughs

Unofficial time: 04:21.09

Deduct roughly five minutes for the time it took us to get to the starting gate.

I did it. I ran the New York Marathon. And as God is my witness, I will never do that again.

Not that I'm not proud and thankful, or that it wasn't just simply amazing. It was just so hard. All of it, the training, everything.

But let's not go there yet. I ran the f*cking marathon. On my feet. Running.

Details soon.

UPDATE: LANCE ARMSTRONG says it's hard.

From the NY Times:

Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong finished his first marathon in a hair under three hours. Armstrong crossed the finish line 2:59:36, easily making his goal of finishing within an hour of the men's winner.

"That was, without a doubt, the hardest physical thing I've ever done," Armstrong said after the race.

Comparing his marathon experience to his cycling success Armstrong said, "even the worst days on the tour, nothing was as hard as that. Nothing left me feeling the way I do now." Armstrong said he shins started hurting around mile 12 or 13, and his legs felt heavy as he ran through Harlem. With three miles to go in the race, Armstrong said he stopped caring if he could meet his personal goal of finishing under three hours, the pain was so intense.

See? Me and Lance. We know what's up.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Don't Nod and Dream


1 Day to NYC Marathon

Distance: 3.56 miles

Playlist:
Do You Want To - Franz Ferdinand
Brand New Colony - The Postal Service
Pump Up the Volume - M/A/R/R/S
Everybody Everybody - Black Box
It's My Life (Vocal Mix) - Liquid People vs. Talk Talk
Hips Don't Lie - Bamboo (2006 FIFA World Cup Mix en Espanol) - Shakira

Around the corner from Coop's apartment on 3rd Ave. and down East 81st Street 'til it dead ends at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The up Fifth Avenue, past the Gugenheim (unfortunately scaffolded) and up and around the Reservoir and back. A brisk early morning run in Manhattan, and a route I took for several days in 2004.

Can I do this? With New York City as my backdrop, the answer has to be yes. My only concern right now is what I will do with the four to five hours I will be spending at the starting line, between sixish and ten.

And how to dress. If today is any indication, I will have no problem wearing my long-sleeve thermie under my red shirt (look for the red shirt!) my black hat and black shorts. I have a cheap, black sweat suit to toss, and gloves I don't like that I may tuck into my shorts if I think I may need them later, or toss by the side of the road.

This morning I had caffeinated GU, a PowerBar "Triple Threat" and Gatorade's noxious power-juice drink. I felt GREAT.

We are getting ready for a relaxing day in the City. My girl is watching Mary Poppins and the boy is diddling with an Elmo phone. The wife is making calls.

Mary Poppins was on tv while my wife and I were preparing to go out to dinner on New Year's Eve, 2001. We were in Niagara Falls. She was pregnant. Three months later our first child was dead.

Shortly thereafter I quit smoking. I dropped a lot of weight. Our subsequent, living children have made me even more obsessed with staying in good health. I have had kids late enough, I want to see as much as I can before I am done.

I've been running since I was 12. My dad was big into running in the late 70s and early 80s, you know, when it was all the rage (at least, from a pop culture stand-point, more people run now than ever.) We are not an atheltic family, of my two brothers and I, I think I was the only one who tried to engage in team sports. I tried softball, I attempted basketball, I was very bad at it and as a result I generally hate playing team sports. In college I would grit my teeth and smile whenever anyone suggested a pick-up game, and pray for it to be over, the way someone else might groan and grudgingly play Scrabble. Hell, I hate watching team sports, and I only sit through them for the beer and funny commercials.

My father was never much of a help. I like to imagine that if either of my children expressed the mildest interest in joining me, I would do what I could to bring them along. In fact, I already have, on the trip here my girl brought up a couple of times the day we ran together. We'll do that again soon, if she wants to.

What if my father and I had had one conversation about running? Anything about it, anything at all. Some pointers, some encouragement. Maybe I might have learned something.

I tired a couple races back then, I usually petered out after a mile or two. 5Ks weren't popular yet, they were all 5 milers, and those are long for someone who doesn't know what they're doing.

There was a girl I had a crush on in 7th grade, and we would make dates to "go running" at the track at the Bonnie Bell headquarters in Westlake. We'd run a mile and then walk the rest, with me listening to her go on about whoever it was she was stuck on that week. I think it was those experiences, more than anything, that gave running any significance in my life.

In 2003 I suddenly made myself a promise to do a marathon before I turned 40. I announced this intention at my 35th birthday party. But I didn't know where and when I would do this, until a cousin of mine actually ran the 2004 New York Marathon. And I realized, oh, if I am going to run a marathon, I need to plan to run a marathon.

I may have been better suited to do this back then. So many physical complaints, so busy, so much attention diverted from my wife, my kids. But this is the year, and I won't be attempting this any time again in the near future.

I hope I never stop running. I want to be one of those wiry old men who jog slowly up the street, past your house. And I want to run one marathon. I'll do that tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Exposition

We are in New York. The past twenty-four hours have been ... difficult. Everyone - the wife, the kids - were ill yesterday morning, and very unhappy about the idea of taking a weekend trip to New York. The suggestion was made that I go alone.

That would have totally blown. I don't think I could make it to the finish if I didn't know my family would be waiting for me at the end.

Anyway, by the evening things had turned around considerably, and the family was on.

Putting the kids to bed, packing, getting the house prepped for the housekeeper ... watching The Daily Show, these things take time and we were in bed by midnight to wake at 4.30 for an 8.30 flight. God am I tired.

I have been to the ING NY Marathon Expo at the Javits Center and back. When I was almost there, I realized I had left my chip back at the apartment. I could have just gone back to get it, which would be enough of a pain. However, when I received my registration materials, they read that I did not have a bus pass to Staten Island for Sunday morning, without which getting to the Starting Line would be, well, impossible. So I was concerned about getting to the Expo and getting a bus pass.

I chose to just get a new chip, to put down a deposit for a new one when I got there. What this mean,s however, is that I won't know if I am in the database until tomorrow, maybe Sunday. Maybe I won't find out until the race is over, and not even know if my splits are registering.

Listen to me. "I won't know if my splits are registering." Who have I become?

But I did. I got the new chip. They must be experienced at this, after all, there was a stack of cards for people who had also shown up without a chip. But it's the kind of thing I worry about.

And what did I learn next? I DO have a bus pass. Says I don't on my registration, says I do on my bib number (which is what is important.) Geez.

My number is 20368. Check out the Athlete Tracker at the ING NY Marathon website on race day to keep track of my progress. If my splits are showing.

UPDATE: Send me your email address, and I will add you to my list of people who will receive automatic updates on my progress.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Marathon Prep

Everyone in the house is ill. My nose cannot stop running. The forecast is 45 degrees and partly cloudy. I have disposable sweats and gloves (which I need to wash) but do not plan to carry a bag. This has confounded me, the idea of carrying a bag, like a small fanny pack, fills me with dread, so I haven't even gotten one. But I will be hungry long before we hit the mile 18 gel packs.

I was concerned whether to go with glasses or sunglasses, and luckily it would appear the weather will not require sunglasses. Contacts are out, I do not want my eyes to get dry and they can give me vertigo. I've never had a problem wearing glasses on long runs, not even in rain. And my new hat works fine, it's black, so, again, the weather works with me, it won't act as a solar collector. It also keeps sweat out of my face pretty well, and has a small visor.

Tomorrow we fly to NYC early, which affords me time to get to the Expo to register tomorrow afternoon, when it will be hideously crowded, instead of Saturday, when it will be impossibly crowded. I need to register, get my bib number, get a bus pass (I thought I had already signed up for one when I registered way back when, but apparently I hadn't, regardless, they have no record of it) and sign up for a pace team.

A pace team is headed by an experienced marathoner who will get you there in plus or minus two minutes from the time you choose. That means I'll be locked in to a finish time, but after all of this training, I believe it is reasonable to assume it will take 4.15. Remember; the goal is to finish.

I need to remember to bring:
All running gear, every conceiveable conbination.
Registration info (arrived in the mail last week.)
My ChampionChip.
Official Handbook.

I run three miles later today. Two in Central Park Saturday morning. And then Twenty-six point two miles through all five boroughs of New York.

UPDATE: Okay, here's the big question, iPod or no iPod?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Treading water

Thanks, Gina.

4 Days to NYC Marathon

Distance: 4 miles
Duration: roughly 36 minutes
Weight: 167.5 lbs. (Mmmmm ... candy ...)
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade "Rain"
Meal: spaghetti
Time: 3pm
Weather 48º cool & overcast

Betta Change (161 BPM) - dj steveboy
"Smooth & steady wins the race—but fast & steady can't hurt, especially when we let 'er rip in the last 15 minutes."

Yep, bagged on the no-tunes thing. I'll just deal with that Sunday.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Listening to the sounds of my own body

5 Days to NYC Marathon

Distance: 4 miles
Weight: 166 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade Endurance
Snack: macaroni
Time: 2.30pm
Weather: 55º cool, wet, windy, and very, very pleasant

No soundtrack, from here on our it's the sound of my own breathing. Not that it will be that quiet in New York, far from it, but I won't have the kind of music in my ears I have been training with.

And it was a little difficult. More aware of the way my body moves, and I wasn't that confident about it. A little creaky. White noise in both ears can help you ignore that. So can thousands of cheering New Yawkers, or so I am hoping.

Here's what I can feel good about; no braces on my shins, no braces on my knees. I saw a doctor today, my blood pressure and my resting heart rate were excellent. No, funny, I didn't lose a single pound training, but I have been enjoying food a lot more.

Thanks for the comment, Henrik. That was funny.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Saturday, October 28, 2006

HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW???!!!

8 Days to NYC Marathon

Distance: 6 miles
Weight: 167 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: yes
Time: 3pm
Weather: 41º Thunder, lightning, driving rain and hail.

"Chunk Style" Playlist
Stretches: Don't Believe the Hype - Public Enemy
Bust a Move - Young MC
Down In It (Shred) - Nine Inch Nails
Tread Water - De La Soul
Mama Said Knock You Out - LL Cool J
Unbelieveable - EMF
The Globe - Big Audio Dynamite II
Cantaloop (Flip Fantastia) - Us3
Doctorin' the Tardis - The KLF
Imagination - Exotic Birds
Bring the Noise - Public Enemy
Change In Speak - De La Soul
Express Yourself - Madonna
Hippychick - Soho
Cooldown(?): Doowutchyalike - Digital Underground

Oh yes, hail. Sirens, tree branches falling, a total mess. In the first mile. Why didn't I stop? I have no idea, something to do with running 26.2 miles a week from tomorrow. If I can do this, I can do that.

Unless, of course, the weather is like this in eight days. Then I don't know what the hell I'll do.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ketchup Is Tomato


... and high fructose corn syrup.

10 Days to NYC Marathon

Distance: 4 miles
Duration: 34 and a half minutes?!?
Weight: 167 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Meal: McDonald's
Time: 3pm
Weather: 50º cool & clear

OverDrive+ (175 BPM) - dj steveboy
"This mix doesn't care about being pretty or being your buddy pal. It only wants one thing: to push you headlong at 175 BPM for 78 frantic, full-tilt minutes."

Lawsy, what the heck's got into me? What on earth did I do to peel nearly two minutes off last night's run? 175 bpm had an awful lot to do with it, but that didn't mean I had it in me to keep up.

On top of that, I have been consuming enough trans fats these past few days to choke a whore. I should have cholesterol like putty. SO much for keeping any kind of running-oriented diet, no wonder I get so exhausted on the long runs.

Still. That felt good.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Do the limbo

11 Days to NYC Marathon

Distance: 4 miles
Duration: roughly 36 minutes
Weight: 167 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: water
Meal: beanie weenies
Time: 9.40pm
Weather: 45 º very cool

Fuse (161 BPM) - dj steveboy
"So-called cuz it's hot & burning, and because it puts together a lot of different styles. Somehow it all works out, so that you can all work out, too."

Damn. Almost bagged on that run. Talked my wife into letting me skip it, too. "I'm too tired, I'm too sick ..." Dude, you're training fro a fricking marathon, man, was this supposed to be easy?

Ever since the weather turned I have felt in limbo. Also, since the numbers started going down instead of up. Just treading water. Staying limber.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I get that funny feeling in my tummy

Distance: 4 miles
Weight: 164.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: no
Meal: yes
Time: 7.40pm
Weather: 44º cool & wet

"The Big Love" PLaylist
Warm-Up: Put Your Records On - Corinne Bailey Rae
Sunrise (Jason Nevins Remix) - Duran Duran
Love Rollercoaster - Red Hot Chili Peppers
I Don't Feel Like Dancin' - Scissor Sisters
Staging the Plaguing of the Raised Platform - Cornershop
Water of Nazareth - Justice
Mystery Train - Michael J. Sheehy
Shoe Box - Barenaked Ladies
Crazy in Love - Beyonce f. Jay-Z
Cooldown: Music - Madonna
Call On Me - Eric Prydz

Plane tickets are bought (NICE discount, NYC Marathon!) and we have a place to stay in New York. It's all staying limber from here on out. Damn, I wish I could shake this cold. I should have checked the temperature before I took off, it has been snowing, sleeting and hailing the past few days, but the temperature and th weather had calmed down and picked up in the past few hours, but I didn't notice and suited up for a snowstorm. I was a sweaty boy. Luckily it was a short run.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I'll be running circles around you sooner than you know.


Went to bed relatively early - 10.30pm. Woke to the alarm groggy but ready to do this ... and discovered it was midnight! The alarm had reset, I had six more hours to sleep! That was a good sign, that I was committed to do this on an hour and a half of sleep.

Six hours later I rose and dressed for cold. Welcome back butter beanie, welcome back bullethead. Yesterday I got new soles, new gloves (awesome gloves) and a new running hat.

My route was circuitous. I would run three five-mile circuits around my house. The first two ended with a pee break, Gatorade and GU (Strawberry banana - disgusting; Vanilla Bean - vile.) and after ten miles, I ditched the new soles for the old ones, the new ones were making the toes on my right foot go to sleep.

Yes, a very good run. Roger does Chicago tomorrow, positive thoughts and energy to Roger!

Distance: 15 miles
Duration: roughly two and a half hours
Weight: 165.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: yes
Snack: Balance Bar Gold
Time: 6:50am
Weather: 43º cold & clear - no wind

"The Big Love" Playlist
Warm-Up: Upside Down - Jack Johnson
The Sporting Life - The Decemberists
Such Great Heights (Album) - The Postal Service
Before Today - Everything But the Girl
Jerk It Out - Caesars
I Predict A Riot - Kaiser Chiefs
Future Sightings - I Am the World Trade Center
Red - Sister Soleil
Hips Don't Lie (Featuring Wyclef Jean) - Shakira f. Wyclef Jean
Burning Down The House - Tom Jones & The Cardigans
Exquisite Corpse - Hedwig & the Angry Inch
Decent Days And Nights - The Futureheads
All Things Just Keep Getting Better - Widelife f. Simone
Transatlanticism - Death Cab for Cutie
Weapon Of Choice [Explicit] - Fatboy Slim
Munich - Editors
Work It - Missy Elliott
Thank You - Dido
Ready 2 Wear - Felix da Housecat
Lucky And Unhappy - AIR
This is Where it All Begins - Plasticman
One More Time - Daft Punk
Mainframe - Kaada
Never Coming Home (Gonna Live My Life Remix) - Sting
Superstar - Jamelia
Wound Up - Office
Lose Yourself [Explicit] - Eminem
Closer [Explicit] - Nine Inch Nails
Night In My Veins (Album Version) - The Pretenders
Accepting Applications At University - Lilys
A Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Edit Remix) - Elvis Presley
Touch the Sky - Kanye West f. Lupe Fiasco
Hello - Poe
Lady Marmalade - Christina Aguilera, Maya, Pink, Lil' Kim f. Missy Elliott
Thinking About Your Axe-Wound - Joel Veitch
Outer Bongolia - Stereolab
The Man Comes Around - Johnny Cash
Cooldown: There There (The Boney King of Nowhere) - Radiohead
August Day Song (King Britt Remix) - Bebel Gilberto (Thanks, Calvin.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Ziggety zig zag, just look at 'em.

Distance: 4 miles
Weight: 166 lbs.
Streches: not really
Drink: yes
Time: 3.50pm
Weather: 57º cool & overcast

"Married/Buried" Playlist
I'm Too Sexy - Right Said Fred
Dreaming I Am - Bob Mould
It Won't Be Long - Alison Moyet
Round and Round - Tevin Campbel
Real, Real, Real (The Real Pop Mix) - Jesus Jones
All That She Wants - Ace of Base
Hit - Sugarcubes
A Girl Like You - Edwyn Collins
Across this Antheap - XTC
Soul Free - George Michael

No. Really. No tomatoes.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

... is not Chicago.

Distance: 4 miles
Weight: 166.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade Endurance
Time: 9.40pm
Weather: 59º cool, man, cool.

"Married/Buried" Playlist
Is Chicago, Is Not Chicago - Soul Coughing
Serious - Duran Duran
Veronica - Elvis Costello
The Globe - Big Audio Dynamite II
Kinda I Want To - Nine Inch Nails
Brave New World - Michael Penn
Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) - C+C Music Factory
Disappointed - Electronic
Cooldown: Vogue - Madonna

This may not be my best day ... but this ain't no golden age.

Time, a hideous migraine, family illness, dehydration and sheer exhaustion made it utterly impossible for me to run in Chicago, indoors, outdoors or anywhere else. So much for a second twenty miles, I am taking the risk. Made my big push two weeks ago, and am already gearing up for the big run. Travel plans are in effect, I need to seriously question my diet (no tomatoes, no tomatoes, no tomatoes) and keep myself rested, limber and well-energized.

I need to buy goo, and try it out on my fifteen miler this Saturday. Also, I must go thrifting and get some disposable sweats, gloves and maybe a hat. The gel soles in my shoes are well worn and should be replaced now, rather than later.

The shoes are good. The gear is good. My shin splints are gone. My corns are gone. Today, my hip does not hurt. It is, as the kids used to say, all good.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

No sweat

Distance: 4 miles
Duration: roughly 37:30
Weight: 166 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade Endurance
Snack: dired dates
Time: 6am
Weather: 44º cold & windy

Cruise Control (175 BPM) - dj steveboy
"I listened to this driving on the freeway and my car started sniffing up the white line like a supermodel. This thing moves. Which means you will, too."

Ugh, that was nasty. Weather said rain, thank heavens that wasn't true. Stepped out and thought, hmn, maybe 4 miles this morning. Slated to run 20 on Saturday, but that isn't going to happen. Either it is a short run on Lakeshore Drive or a long run on a treadmill at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza. This weekend: Chicago.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Drown'd, drown'd.

Distance: 5 miles
Weight: 165.5 lbs.
Strehces: yes
Drink: yes
Snack: dried dates
Time: 6am
Weather: 61º downpour

Jackhammer (180 BPM)
"61 minutes of lights-out lumberjack-style merciless full-contact chainsaw macho pump-uppedness to bring out your inner fwuffy bunny."

I am a soggy man. My back has been aching lately, the kind of ache I get from overstretching it. Sometimes it's difficult to sit. The pain in my hip has returned, but the run was good - it had to be. First off, 180 bpm is pretty high speed, and even if I am trying to keep my pace under it, when it starts raining like hell it's hard not to find myself in synch with it.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I get my thing in action

Distance: 5 miles
Weight: 165 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: dried fruit
Time: 6am
Weather: 53º cool ... but not that cool

"In the Night Kitchen" Playlist
Army of Me - Bjørk
Under - Filter
Unmarked Helicopters - Soul Coughing
Parsec - Stereolab
I Don't Wanna Grow Up - The Ramones
I Saw the Light - The The
Enter Sandman - Apocalyptica
White Lines - Duran Duran
Hell - Squirrel Nut Zippers
The Beautiful People - Marilyn Manson
The New Pollution - Beck
Verb: That's What's Happening - Moby
Cooldown: Bazamba - Sister Soleil

What the hell was that? That was great! I guess two days of air travel, packed in like a sardine, is good for what ails you. Seriously - I should be bulding up to a peak here, but it's kind of tapering off. Missed a day last week (and the week before that) 12 this Saturday turned into seven on Sunday, and I don't wish to take the time when we're in Chicago this weekend to put in my final 20. And running it during the week is out of the question ... or is it?

However, today (which should have been a four, but I couldn't help myself) I felt like I haven't in weeks. Just felt great. Put in a few speed intervals, nothing aching or throwing me off. I have burned/worn away the callouses on both feet, so there is much less irritation there, and my hip ... well, my hip let me through. Today, anyway.

I should add - there's a tendon or ligament in my left big toe (I'm not making this up) that I pulled a year and a half ago. This tiny little pain in my big left toe. Walking around the city over the weekend really aggravated it.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Lonesome for a place I know

Distance: Almost 7 miles
Stretches: yes
Drink: Lucozade
Snack: NutriGrain bar (before) & Special K bar (after)
Time: 7am
Weather: cool & crisp

Accelerator (162 BPM) - dj steveboy
"This one feels like it speeds up (it doesn't) until it gets enough velocity to leave the planet. After that it's one big space race."

It was a whirlwind journey to London, but I did get a decent night's sleep the night before (8 hours - barely noticed it) and got up at the EST equivalent of 1.30am to go running. If I had planned a little bteer I may have know it was the date of the London 10K - 30,000 people! - and signed up. But the first race was to be at 10:15 and then I would have no morning in Covent Garden.

As it was Hyde Park had all these temporary barricades strung through it, which I was too confused to go around. What if I got yelled at? That kind of thing. So I altered my route, to one which was much more ... boring (I am not a big fan of Hyde Park, anyway) and headed out towards St. James.

Yes, you know you are in London when you are jogging past Buckingham Palace ... and there's absolutely no one else around.

So different, running through St. James than strolling through it. I used to think it was so large, but it only took a few minutes. The playground the kids used back in March, I have photos that make it look much bigger, it was like a tiny patch.

A small man, on the another side of the planet, going for a run. Different air, different land, same pair of shoes.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

This pain will go

Distance: 5 miles
Weight: 163 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: dried figs (good boy!)
Time: 6am
Weather: 51º

"In the Night Kitchen" Playlist:
La Femme d'Argent* - AIR
Scream - Michael Jackson & Janet Jackson
Animal - Prick
Local God - Everclear
One Angry Dwarf & 200 Solemn Faces - Ben Folds
We Prick You* - David Bowie
Lovefool - Cardigans
Burning Ground - Van Morrison
Female of the Species - Space
Birth-Day (Love Made Real) - Suzanne Vega
Airbag* - Radiohead
Cooldown: Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me - U2

These new-fangled online mapping programs are downright handy. I already have a route around Regent's Park for use on Sunday. I don't anticipate doing 12, but I will be pleased to do any running at all.

I swear my butt is smaller than it was six months ago.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Gotta get up to get down.

Distance: 5 miles
Weight: 163 lbs.
Streches: yes
Drink: Gatorade (after - but not before, STUPID.)
Meal: oatmeal
Time: 9.30am
Weather: 70º warm & windy

"In the Night Kitchen" Playlist:
1979 - Smashing Pumpkins
Magic Carpet Ride - Mighty Dub Catz
Wrong - Everything but the Girl
Brakhage - Stereolab
Piku - Chemical Brothers
Stupid Girl - Garbage
Good Sh*t - Cornershop
Mama Told Me Not to Come - The Wolfgang Press
Fast Love - George Michael
Cooldown: Dark and Long - Underworld

Uhm, seventy degrees and no fluid before you run? Dumb. But otherwise satisfying, especially considering I have been socked with a nasty cold the past two days. Tried some sprints, as suggested by K (thanks, K!) and they felt very, very good. Knocked me out of that robot feeling.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Autopilot

Distance: 3 miles
Weight: 166 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Meal: Cinnamon Beef Soup (w/pasta)
Time: 8.15pm
Weather: 59º cool and clear

"In the Night Kitchen" Playlist:
Connection - Elastica
The Perfect Drug - Nine Inch Nails
Zoot Suit Riot - Cherry Poppin' Daddies
Making Plans for Nigel - The Rembrandts
You and Me Song - The Wannadies
Broken English - Queue Up
Soundtrack to Mary - Soul Coughing
Cooldown: Hello - Poe

Feel like I'm running like a robot, I'm all stiff legged. I don't feel normal, at all, when I run. Doesn't matter how much I stretche. Things were loosened up by the time I started, but it didn't feel "good." I got no idea where this is all going. And yet I keep running.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Swimmer

Week-end total: 31.25 miles

Distance: 19 and 1 quarter miles
Duration: roughly 3 hours and fifteen minutes
Meal: mac & cheese
Stretches: yes
Drink: yes
Time: 2.30pm
Weather: cool and windy

The Swimmer by John Cheever
"The Swimmer" is a masterpiece of mystery, language and sorrow. It starts out, on a perfect summer morning, as the record of a splendid exploit -- Neddy Merrill's quest to swim the eight miles from the house of his friends, the Westerhazys, to his own, via the swimming pools of fashionable Shady Hill -- and ends up as a kind of ghost story, with night and autumn coming on, in a thunderstorm, at the door to a haunted house ... (more) - Michael Chabon, Salon

Okay, it wasn't as bad as that. First off, it started with it threatening to rain, became a bit sunny, and then got cloudy again. And my family was waiting for me at the other end, the house wasn't empty. And I am not an alcoholic.

I am disappointed, going back to measure my route, that I did not go the full twenty. But I exceeded 18, and was much less the worse for it than I was two weeks ago. I feel good right now.

Gummi bears do not suffice anymore, pure sugar will not push me over the edge. There were several water breaks - I even walked into the Rock Hall lobby to pee and drink (I didn not get them mixed up) but by the time I reached Edgewater, I was missing something. Probably salt, anything - protein, complex carbs. I started feeling empty.

Prior to that, at around West 60th, this guy waiting for the bus said to me, "Only five more miles, man, you can do it. Five miles, good work!" That was really cool.

I was feeling not as pathetic as I had last time when I wasin the homestretch, but I did feel weak and was obsessing about water and food and rest. And then I thought - what if I run faster? I had slowed down to this little trot, and so I picked it up, I figured I had nothing to lose. It worked for about three minutes.

Now I'm thinking about Jack London's To Build a Fire. Every story I had to read in high school seems to related to my predicament today.

Arriving at my parents house, I drank water, my wife got me some pineapple juice with salty in it - it tasted like Gatorade! So that's how they make that! I took a mitful of corn chips with me as my father and I took a brisk walk around the block which was very painful. He's seventy-one but he still walks too fast. Probably just what I needed.

Pre-Run Psyche-Up

It's 54º and threatening rain. I will be wearing my rain jacket and old ball cap. I just went out to score more Gatorade, gummi cola bottles, lip balm and waterproof bandages - big 'uns, for my, uh, chest.

Here's the plan ... same old route, down Mayfield through Little Italy, University Circle and down MLK. Down the Shoreway to the Rock Hall, Science Center and the stadium. Then I will need to cut up West 3rd to Superior, cross the Detroit-Superioir Bridge and follow Detroit to the Public Theatre. I will then head north on West 65th, use the pedestrian walkway to to get to Edgewater Park, follwo it to Edgewater Drive, the Lake Avenue, then Clifton Blvd. I will end at my parents house in Lakewood.

Twenty miles. I am taking flight between 2.30 and 3pm, it should take 3 hours and twenty minutes. I will be carrying my cellphone if anyone wants to call.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I am the rain

Distance: 4 miles
Weight: 165.5 lbs.
Stretches: sort of
Drink: yes
Snack: banana
Time: 6.30am
Weather: rain

Rainy Day Run (145 BPM) - dj steveboy

Took a day off yesterday - down after midnight, up at 5:30? Not right now, thank you. The hip still troubles the old man, 20 miles on Saturday? Okay, I give in, which is, I guess, the attitutde I have been working for.

Two more days and I can sleep nights. A steady diet of wretched fast food and soda is slowly doing me in.

I need a proper running hat. On good days I just wear a hanky on my head, and I have good hats for the winter, but not for rain. If I wear a baseball hat, well, that serves to kind of ruin that hat for other purposes, and they fall apart after multiple washings. I need a hat to keep the rain off my glasses, and my head largely dry. They have commemorative Training 2006 NYC Marathon caps, but I am balking at anything that advertises my intent on my person while I run. Maybe I should get over that. Sweet looking hat.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

England's Dreaming

Distance: 4 miles
Weight: 165.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: yes
Time: 6am
Weather: 56° chilly

Hard-Driven (160 BPM) - dj steveboy
"Sure, you're hard-driven. But since this was mixed with a PC, so am I. (sorry) I'd describe this one as a well-organized stampede."

I believe that once the temperature dips below 55 degrees, I will need my thermal undershirt. A wee nipple out this morning. My left hip is still giving me grief ... but my shins simply aren't. So. Proper exercise and rest, huh, is that what I am hearing?

Twenty miles on Saturday doesn't seem like something this body can do. But I have said that before. Of course, I have a number of roadblocks (pun) ahead of me, including the fact that the following Saturday I will be on a plane for 8 hours and may or may not run in London on Sunday morning. Travel restrictions being what they are, am I really going to use up my precious carry-on space with a running kit - or am I going to (horrors!) check a bag just so I can run along the Thames.

Hmn. When I put it that way ...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Gearing up for 20

Distance: 4 miles
Duration: roughly 37 minutes
Weight: 164.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: no
Time: 9.30pm
Weather: 62° cool & breezy

Beautiful night for running. So, I apparently have gotten over my little crisis. The first big goal of September has passed, another falls this Friday, my schedule loosens and running becomes less of an issue. Whew.

I have attempted big out-and-back runs, and every time, it's the coming back that gets me. I will check and see how far it is to my parents house on the other side of town. Perhaps I will just head out, in one direction, and have my wife pick me up where I finish.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Straight Outta Lyndhurst

Week-end total: 23 miles

Distance: 12 miles
Weight: 164 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: Balance Bar Gold
Time: 6.10am
Weather: 61° humid & wet

Soleburner (165 BPM) - dj steveboy
"You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss your shoes goodbye. After 25 minutes you'll be on rails. “Let me off!” you'll yell. “NO!” the mix will reply. It's for your own good."

That Gets My Heart (131 BPM) - dj steveboy

That felt good. The run feels good, the days that follow don't. My left hip still bothers me - but not while I am running. My shins can whine in pain during the day, but not, lately, while I am running.

A different route today. I believe much of my difficulty on the long runs are psychological. I get halway and feel like I have accomplsihed something ... and then I have to get home. Then there's the downhill/uphill thing. This time I went east, straight down Monticello/Wilson Mills to I-271 and back. Uphill - mostly - out, and downhill back. Not bad. I think a second time would be boring.

Friday, September 22, 2006

It never ends

Distance: 3 miles
Weight: 164.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade "Rain"
Snack: Balance Bar
Time: 6.30am
Weather: 52°

Now it's fall.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

... and out of the subway ...

Distance: 5 miles
Duration: roughly 48 minutes
Weight: 164 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: yes
Snack: no
Time: 6.30am
Weather: chilly

It has been a difficult week. The past two days (when I was supposed to run 5 and 6 miles) afforded no chance to run. Well, I could have run - at 4.30 in the morning through heavy rain, then work all day until ten pm and arrive home at 11. I want to run this marathon, I do not want to die.

A little disheartening news, my cousin will not be joining me. He discovered that his knee gives him difficulty after a few miles, and has decided not to risk injury. He is 20 years-old and extremely fit, I am 38 and have pains like that all the time (after last Sunday's run my left knee was in pain for two days) so does that make me a fool for continuing to work at this?

He's not my first cousin, he's a second-cousin, my cousin's kid. My grandparents are his great-grandparents. My grandfather was born with a club foot and early twentieth century (late nineteenth century?) medicine being what it was, the treatment was worse than living with it and his left leg was atrophied.

My brothers and I were never athletic, never played sports. Things have changed as we got older, but I still think of our family as weak. My father did run a few marathons in the early 1980s. I have assumed that if he could do it, I can.

So I took a few days off, considered dropping out. Today I had time to get out and run, but if my wife had not encouraged me to, I wouldn't have - and that would have been it. She's been picking up a lot of slack for me this month, and still encouraging this endeavor. I owe her so much.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Distance: 3 miles
Duration: roughly 25 minutes
Weight: 167.5 lbs.
Time: 10.10pm
Weather: cool

Playlist: the sound of feet on pavement and my own breathing

It appears as though I am still in it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Gummi bears on dead man's curve

Week-end total: 29 miles

Distance: 18 miles
Duration: 2 hours, 54 minutes
Weight: 162.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Water breaks: 4
Meal: Ramen noodles
Midway snack: gummi bears
Cooldown walk: banana
Time: 1.00pm
Weather: sunny and cool - perfect

The Wall Playlist
Making Tracks (140 BPM) - dj steveboy
It's My Life - Liquid People vs. Talk Talk
Water of Nazareth - Justice
SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
Sex (I'm A ...) - Berlin
Buffalo Stance - Neneh Cherry
This Chamring Man - Stars
The Distance - Cake
The Glamorous Life (Club Edit) - Shiela E
Solsbury Hill (12" version) - Erasure
The Power - Snap!
Express Yourself - Madonna
This Is How We Roll (135 BPM) - dj steveboy
"This mix is chock full o' gangstaz, warriors, jewel thieves, vengeful girlfriends, and crazy people—so why's it so damn fun?"

Cooldown Walk: Tim Gunn's Project Runway - Episode 10 podcast

I ran up to the wall. In fact, I was running into the wall. The last two miles were murder. That and it was a beautiful day, and there went three hours I was not spending with my children. This is a stupid, vainglorious exercise and I don't know why I am doing it any more.

It was threatening rain when I stepped out, and so I have my rain jacket. With the first two miles the clouds had disappeared and it was apparent they would not be returning. I tied the jacket around my waist, resigned to the deadweight. I had gummi bears in one pocket, and lip balm in the other. That's one thing I learned last week, don't forget the lip balm.

This is my body:

HEAD Watch the alcohol, kid. I had two beers last night, two. But I have been exhausted, and I knew before going to bed that these two beers would give me a hangover. I pounded as much water before sleeping but it was no use. I woke with the beginning of a full-fledge migraine, took my Imitrex and went back to sleep. It was a rough morning, but the pain was gone well before noon.

VOICE Very tired, very weak.

CHEST Two words: raw nipples.

ABDOMEN I thought running would take care of my excess baggage, but running makes me hungrier and for the wrong things. I still have five pounds of deadweight (the figure above is misleading, it's all absence of water weight) to carry around every time I go out.

HIP My left hip was acting up since last Wednesday's run, and was pained up until I began running today. I still feel wrecked right now ... but my hip doesn't hurt. Bonus.

KNEES They are all right, I used a brace today because I have had a few twinges, but that was just a precaution.

SHINS Wore both braces, didn't feel anything bad all day, and including right now.

FEET Oh, my poor feet. Ill-fitting shoes and probably just bad posture give me these great, honking corns, which have reached mass density and now feature blood-blisters. Someone at work yesterday suggested the reason none of my shoes fit any more is because of all the running. Hmn. Smart.

This evening I drank a lot of water, but I didn't feel anything near well until Karl encouraged me to have a beer (carbs, muscle relaxant) and I had a big dinner. That, and Mark remembered to offer me some Ibuprofen. Karl has also urged me not to run tomorrow, but just to walk the three miles. That's if I even feel like continuing with the nonsense tomorrow.

Though, I have to tell you ... running all the way to collision bend - past all the citizens fishing in the lake, past the marinas, the whales on CPP, and Aviation High School, scarfing gummi bears next to Burke Lakefront while watching the Saturday traffic pour in and out of the city on I-90 on a gorgeous late summer day - and that I had gotten there on my own two feet ... that was pretty all right.

Now it is a hot bath and bed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bunnies in my neighbor's yard

Distance: 4 miles
Duration: roughly 39 minutes
Weight: 165 lbs.
Stretches yes
Drink: Gatorade "Rain"
Snack: banana
Time: 5.30am
Weather: cool & wet

Making Tracks (140 BPM) - dj steveboy
"Really I'm mixing tracks so you guys can make 'em. This is one smoove glide. You'll think you're on skates. Which might be bad if you use it for aerobics."

The beats 145 and under are just fast enough to provide a stumlating run. When BPM enters the 150-range, its just below my natural pace, and so it slows down my stride. I haven't tried many mixes 170 and above, but I think I would if my shins weren't acting up again.

Tomorrow is the wife's birthday, so I won't be running. I'll spend a better part of the morning with her and the kids ... and then the rest of the day is out in the world. It's just as well, and perhaps something I should have palnned anyway. Saturday I hit "the wall" - 18 miles, and I am not positive I can do it. Two days of "rest" will help.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Après

Distance: 4 miles
Duration: around 39 minutes
Weight: 165.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: banana
Time: 5.30am
Weather: cool & wet - after a downpour

Rainy Day Run (145 BPM) - dj steveboy
"Mixed on a stormy day, this one it starts off moody and slowly builds, but doesn't get all frantic. No thunder fx, though, I promise."

A good brisk run, welcome back, uh-huh. A torrential cloudburst while I was warming up so I put my rainy gear on, but there wasn't a drop falling once I hit the road. Kept to the sidewalks, large puddles in the road can push you into the middle of the street, which is dangerous. Sidewalks, however, in the dark, are murderous on the shins, trying to guess exactly where my feet will meet the pavement.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Dancing on the D-Train, Baby

Distance: 3 miles
Weight: 165.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: no
Time: 12 noon
Weather: cool & humid

"End Times" Playlist
Super Disco Breakin' - The Beastie Boys
Jumbo - Underworld
Atom Bomb (Atomix 1) - Fluke
To Ulrike M. (Zero 7 Mix) - Doris Days & Zero 7
Distance - Mors Syphilitica
Outside - George Michael
Cooldown: Cascades of Colour - Ananda Project

Raw and drained.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Never any time for sleep

Week-End Total: 30 miles

Distance: 12 miles
Duration: 1 hour 53 minutes
Weight: 164.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade + Red Bull
Snack: PowerBar Performance
Time: 4.00pm
Weather: sunny & hot

"End Times" PLaylist:
Rainbo Conversation - Stereolab
Smack My B*tch Up - Prodigy
Busy Child - Crystal Method
Tubthumping - Chumbawumba
Water from a Vine Leaf - William Orbit
MMMBop - Hanson
Big Pimpin - Jay-Z ft. UGK
Because We Want To - Billie Piper
Smooth - Santana ft. what's his name
Stars All Seem to Weep - Beth Orton
Kalifornia - Fatboy Slim
Millennium - Robbie Williams
The Way - Fastball
Five Fathoms - Everything But The Girl
Thank You - Dido
Gutaris Breeze (6000km to Amsterdam) - John Beltram
Red - Sister Soleil
Sexy Boy - AIR
Loops of Fury - The Chemical Brothers
Starbursts Over Orion - Modaji
Wannabe - Spice Girls
The Lie-In King - Irresistible Force
Cooldown: Southside - Moby

"He drinks a coffee drink,
He drinks a cola drink,
He drinks a power drink,
He drinks a Monster drink,
He sings a song that reminds him of the good times,
He has a massive coronary on the grounds of Case Western Reserve University."


Just yesterday I felt like I was coming down with a cold. That shouldn't strike anyone as strange. I was at work when i realized my hoarse voice was not merely from giving direction and talking sh*t for fourteen hours non-stop, but that I was actually feeling seriously run down and not well. This was at work, so my connection, E-Train, suggested Cold-Eze and Airborne. Just to play it safe I also got a Monster Energy drink.

Those things say right on them not to have more than three in a day. So I asked myself, having had two cups of coffee, a Red Bull and a Coke, was I still entitled to two more of those?

It was a hard trek. Not impossible, but I hadn't run in hot weather, in direct sunlight, for a long time. That takes a lot out of you. I did have two water breaks, and needed them more this time than before. And I have been thirsty, and trying to quench that thirst, ever since I got back (it's 9pm now.) I feel as thought I will not be without pain for the next two months.

One thing that really stinks about where I live ... it's called "The Heights" for a reason. Everywhere I run, it's down. And I inevitably find some hill somewhere that I will have to come back up. The idea of getting in my car and driving somewhere else to run makes me unhappy, however, and so I don't do it.

Oh, and if I was getting a cold, that stuff seriously worked.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Burning that candle

Distance: 5 miles
Duration: 47 minutes
Weight: 165.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade "Fierce"
Snack: banana
Time: 5.30am
Weather: cool

One Tribe (130 BPM) - dj steveboy
"Stripped-down sweaty steamy driving primal tribal grooving for an hour of regression to hunter-gatherer status. Upright posture optional."

I am getting by on Red Bull and a wish. There is shooting pain in both shins and I am entirely spent. Tomorrow is Friday, a day of rest, and then a twelve- miler on Saturday.

Twelve, you say? Twelve? I laugh at your twelve.

Say that over and over again and you begin to hallucinate. Or at least, I do. I have no brain.

Twelve, twelve, twelve, twelve, twelve, twelve, twelve, twelve, twelve, twelve.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Shins don't lie

Distance: 5 miles
Duration: a little under 47 minutes
Weight: 166 lbs.
Stretches: yes! really!
Drink: Gatorade "X-Factor"
Snack: handful of Haribo gummi bears
Time: 5.30am
Weather: perfect

I Put My Big-Boy Pants On (145 BPM) - dj steveboy

Okay, that hurt. I neglected (forgot?) my shin stretches before going out, and now thy both are singing. The front of each shin was bright and pained, it made for little, tiny - but swift - steps. Hmn. Gotta watch that.

Really dig that mix - check it out, sweet child of mine.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Keep it rolling

Distance: 5 miles
Duration: roughly 48 minutes
Weight: 167 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade (water after)
Snack: PowerBar Harvest
Time: 5.30am
Weather: perfect

Into the Zone (140 BPM) - dj steveboy
"Talk about breakin' through to the other side—this week we travel through some hypnotic tribal grooves that urge you toward an epiphanic ending. Boom-chik!"

Do not allow yourself to get hit by a car.

Still creaky stiff this morning, trying to shake off Saturday's run. By the end I was making much better time, but it was a pain doing stretches before heading out. Got up a half-hour earlier so I could actually spend time with my children before heading out for the rest of the day. In bed by 11, up by 5. What am I, 16?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I need this blood to survive

Distance: 3 miles
Weight: 167 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: banana
Time: 8.30am
Weather: cool

"Donnie Darko" Playlist
Never Tear Us Apart - INXS
Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
Mad World - Tears for Fears
She's Lost Control - Joy Division
Head Over Heels - Tears for Fears
The Killing Moon - Echo & the Bunnymen
Notorious - Duran Duran
Cooldown: Under the Milky Way - The Church

Amazing. Best day-after run yet. Last night was just painful, I did everything I could, I soaked immediately after stretches, we had a great dinner, but I was wrecked. Last night I got the most sleep I have in weeks, woke incredibly sore - and now, after the run I feel great. MP and Auntie A. are in town, and we're all going to the zoo. Let's see if walking up and down hills all morning is a good thing or a bad thing.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

America! F*ck yeah!

Week-end Total: 30 miles

Distance: 16 miles
Duration: 02.25
Weight: 163 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Meal: pasta alfredo (one hour before) + Balance Bar Triple Threat (half-hour before)
Time: 3.40pm
Weather: cool & rainy

That Gets My Heart (131 BPM) - dj steveboy
"Sixty-one minutes of digital Red Bull."

Exultant (152 BPM) - dj steveboy
"Another one that pushes and then breaks on through (I'd say to the other side, but you know....)"

The official end of summer in this neck of the nape is the Air Show. As I was running down Little Italy, the Heights were buzzed by some large, loud, military aircraft. At first I thought it was on my iPod,, this big roaring sound. The stereo effect was pretty intense - it was over my head!

The happy-happy joy-joy news of the week is that not only did I get two good water stops, I got two pee breaks. The tennis courts where East Blvd. becomes MLK Blvd. feature a port-a-john. I spotted that two weeks ago ... but didn't think I wanted to check out a lonely port-a-john at 5:30 in the morning.

Three-car pile-up on MLK, caught that both ways. Pretty ugly.

Hitting the Shoreway again, I took it west to East 55th Street before heading back. The waves were crashing, it was exhilarating. I almost took the few steps down to the breaker to catch some spray ... but knew I'd probably catch a wave instead. It was already pretty moist, I didn't want my shoes all soggy.

The trip was mostly incredible. Around mile 14 I thought "I can do this! I can do this!" Shortly thereafter I just lost it. I kept going, it was a great run, but I think I psyched myself out. The last two miles were a biatch.

Running on a cool afternoon is so much more effective than 5 in the morning. I am already a little limber, my system is running normally ... but I hate taking three hours of a day off to do this, when there is a family to be with and chores to be done. That, and I am a freaking zombie.

UPDATE: Googled "marathon training advice" and found this blog entry from two years ago. All the comments she received were pretty inspirational. Check it.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Ugh.

 Distance: 4 miles
Weight: 164.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: handful of Haribo gummi bears
Time: 6am
Weather: cool & windy

The shin is shooting with pain again - I wore the brace again today. My headphones fragged after a 100 yards, I will need to buy new ones. And I just felt like a man who has gotten roughly six hours asleep, if that, following fourteen hours of rehearsal. Tomorrow I sleep in - until 6:30!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Distance: 4 miles
Duration: 34 minutes
Weight: 164.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: banana
Time: 6am
Weather: cool

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I put my big boy pants on ... again!

Distanace: 3 miles
Duration: let's say 28 minutes
Weight: 167.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Sports drink: Gatorade
Snack: handful of Haribo gummi cola bottles
Time: 6am
Weather: warm & wet

I Put My Big-Boy Pants On (145 BPM) (cont.) - dj steveboy

Congrats to steveboy for finally tasting his product.

Oh boy. There is a big mental difference between staying up until midnight because you want to, and staying up because there is a bunch of stuff you need to do and you are rushing to finish it because you know you need to get up at 5.30 and run three miles. I now have forty minutes to wash up and get in my car. Later.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Try and escape the daylight

Distance: 3 miles
Duration: roughly 28 minutes
Weight: 168 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Sports drink: yes
Snack: before, no - after, yogurt
Time: "6 ... A ... M" (actually, around 6.15)
Weather: balmy with light rain

I Put My Big-Boy Pants On (145 BPM) - dj steveboy
"Wanna make sumfin of it?"

The Good Things
Using U.S. Track & Field's America's Running Routes program, I discovered that what I normally thought was a three-mile run around my block was, in fact, closer to four. So I programmed a real three-mile run, which will help me out on subsequent Sundays.

For a day-after- a-long-one morning, today was very good, except for a few items which I will detail in a moment. But the body was good. The legs, were good, so good, in fact, that I ran without any bandages for the first time in months.

This is how supported I have been: right knee brace, left ankle brace and left shin brace. I wore none of them today, and had not a single complaint. I am sure I will need to go back to some or all of them in the coming days and weeks, but the idea of healing is very encouraging to me.

The Bad Things
Just because you go to two birthday parties doesn't entitled you to two pieces of cake. Unless they are both celebrating your birthday.

Alcohol dehydrates you. And makes you drunk. Sometimes you have a headache the next day, the way I have now.

Also, eating lots of food the day before (it was a long, long day yesterday - and I was in bed by ten) might make you think, the next morning, that you don't need a pre-run snack. I felt like I was an empty shell the last miles, seriously running on fumes. That's bad, anorexics do that.

So. That's a lot of babble for a three mile run. It's a big week this week, lots of early runs and late nights. Actually, that's the schedule for the next five weeks. Pray for me.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I've got a sexy back

Week-end Total: 22 miles

Distance: 10 miles
Duration 90 freaking minutes, yo.
Weight: 165 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Sports drink: yes
Snack: Balance Bar Gold
Time: 6:15am
Weather: cool

"summer2006" Playlist:
No Hay Igual (Club Mix) - Nelly Furtado
Badass - Crystal Method
Ooh La La - Goldfrapp
Sympathy for the Devil (The Neptunes Remix) - The Rolling Stones
Putting Boxes In Boxes - Plasticman
Mi Tumbao* - Tres Coronas
Don't Cha (Ralphi's Hot Freak radio Mix) - The Pussycat Dolls
We Share Our Mothers' Health - The Knife
Buttons - The Pussycat Dolls
Listen Up! - The Gossip
SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
SOS - Rihanna
Pump It - Black Eyed Peas
Guess What - Keyshia Cole featuring Jadakiss
Every Day Is Exactly the Same - Nine Inch Nails
Girl and the Sea - The Presets
Stupid Girls - Pink
Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
Munich - Editors
Sixteen Military Wives - The Decemberists
Wound Up - Office
Rapture Riders - Blondie vs. The Doors
Cooldown: The End of it All - John Tejada

Wow! That was awesome! I think waking up at 4:30 just doesn't work. I am still at a loss as how to squeeze in a run twice this length without eating up an entire morning I should be spending with my kids. They are both still asleep right now, but they won't be long. I'll worry about that later. Something in my constitution let me through today, I ran fast and pain-free.

Down Mayfield & Little Italy, all through University Circle (with two laps and a water stop on Wade Oval) past Severance and UH, up the hill to Euclid Hts. Blvd. (another water stop at Turtle Park) on up to Compton, around the high school and back home. It's the usual route, after last week I wanted to try it one more time. Not sure if I will be heading down MLK next week when I need to stretch it to 16.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

epiphanic

Distance: 4 miles
Weight: 166.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Sports drink: yes
Snack: banana
Time: 6.45am
Weather: humid & overcast

Cloudrunner (150 BPM) - dj steveboy
"An escalating hour of sublime transportation. This is what's meant by run into the light."

Ten miles on Saturday. Ha! A run in the park. Today, in spite of the late start time, I was able to stay in the streets most of the time. I had revised my normal 4 miles route two weeks ago to hit more side streets, but some major thoroughfares are unavoidable. Whenever I see a bus I just hop up onto the sidewalk for a while, but the pavement is so uneven there in this area, and weaving from one block onto another is just one of those things that irritates my muscles.

So is war. That's another thing really irritates my muscles. And rude people.

UPDATE: Better off dead.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Step out of summer

Distance: 4 miles
Duration: about 37 minutes
Weight: 167 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Sports drink: yes
Snack: NutriGrain Bar
Time: 6.00am
Weather: cool & humid

Playlist:
Step Into Summer (130 BPM) - dj steveboy
"This Just Plain Nice mix starts mellow and builds but keeps a nice vibe. You'll see why it's called "Step Into Summer" about halfway through."

I have four days before it all comes crashing in. The new school year is beginning, and I will be in rehearsals all day beginning Monday. On top of that, I am involved in a show that begins work on Sunday night. How I can manage that, see my wife and kids, and put in 4 to 5 miles a morning is beyond me. I'll give it a week and see where I am.

UPDATE: This, from Sadie ...

"I did the NYC marathon! If you need pointers on it...just ask. It is fun, and by far the hardest I have done!"

Thanks, Sadie, thank you
so much ...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

PODRUNNER saved my life

Distance: 4 miles
Weight: 166.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Sports drink: yes
Snack: no
Time: 7.30am
Weather: sunny

Playlist:
Build (135 bpm) - dj steveboy
PODRUNNER: Exercise music for runners, spinners, or any fast-paced workout.

Two days off the road, and today was the first time in what feels like ever that I haven't felt beat up. Maybe it was the extra day. Maybe it was because we missed the alarm and I got an extra two hours of sleep. And maybe it was PODRUNNER a non-stop mix of dance music that I really, really ... really enjoy. Big ups to Karl for tipping me off. Word.

I do have to remember that at 7.30, heading east the sun is in my eyes. And heading west, the sun is in the oncoming driver's eyes.

UPDATE: Hey hey - Sadie G. is running the SF Marathon to raise cash for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I'm not raising money for anything! Check out her blog and send her a donation!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Interlude

Today is the only Sunday in the 18-week ING Marathon First Time Marathoner Training Schedule that is set down as a day-off. I do not know whether this is fortutitous or ominous. It's not even half-way through the schedule, and 15 miles seems an arbitrary number after which to schedule an additional day off. But it's the first time I have seriously needed one.

My fear is that it will not be the last time. Yesterday was hard, and I cannot tell yet if it was simply because of intestinal distress or simply my body saying I can't do this. I have gotten good at stopping for a moment (readjust a strap, stop for traffic) and just heading off again. But there was so much stopping and starting yesterday, by the time I was doing ym last mile, I just felt like I couldn't go on - let along run another eleven miles.

My schedule is just so tight right now. I feel seriously up against it. I don't know if I can do this.

UPDATE: Then again, I finished up running ...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

This Tower's leaning over

Week-end total: 32.5 miles

Distance: 15 miles
Duration: 02:22
Weight: 164 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Cooldown walk: yes
Sports drink: yes
Snack: PowerBar Triple Threat
Time: 5.15am
Weather: balmy & humid with occasional light rain

"GTC Megamix"
Too Much Information - Duran Duran
Slow Down - Backbeat Band
Unbelieveable - EMF
Push Th' Little Daisies - Ween
Evenflow - Pearl Jam
The Pink Room - Angelo Badalamente
Good Stuff - The B-52s
Just Keep Me Moving - k.d. lang
I Don't Want to Grow Up - The Ramones
Long View - Green Day
I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar - Jonathan Richman
Rock In the Pocket (Song of David) - Suzanne Vega
All That She Wants - Ace of Base
If I Can't Change Your Mind - Sugar
Missing (Terry Todd Remix) - Everything But the Girl
F*ck and Run - Liz Phair
Steam - Peter Gabriel
The Globe - Big Audio Dynamite
The Things That I Used to Do - G. Love & Special Sauce
Theme from "Northern Exposure" - David Schwartz
Sexy M.F. - Prince
Hey Jealousy - Gin Blossoms
Regret - New Order
Too Funky - George Michael
Informer - Snow
Night In My Veins - The Pretenders
Mr. Bitterness - Soul Coughing
Lifetime Piling Up - Talking Heads
Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) - Us3
Buried at Sea - MC 900 Ft Jesus
Stay (Faraway, So Close!) - U2
Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless) - Crystal Waters
The More You Ignore Me - Morissey
Hello City - Barenaked Ladies

"These teeth are white, trainers ultra-bright." - DD

We reached the beach today. Okay, not quite, where I live you aren't allowed near the beach, they put airports and highways there, because this city is dumb. But I ran, I saw the lake, and then I came home. Yay oh me.

Warning: Scatalogical Info

Is it just me, or is long-distance running all about where to take a dump? I'm am trying to push the enevelope here, 13 was attainable, what's another two miles, but I was hampered early on by an uncomfortable need to poo. The wife's suggestion that I drink a little coffee before warm-ups has been quite successful, until this morning.

Part of the problem, of course, if that I have been rising at 4:30 for these extra long runs, because I can't afford to take weekend time away from the kids. Okay, also because it's been so freaking hot the past two months. So there's absolutely nowhere open, no restaurants or stores that I can duck into and take care of business.

No, I had no disaster, just a lot of discomfort and short stretches where I had to walk it off. I may need to wait at least an hour after rising before heading out, so that I know I am prepared.