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


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.