Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Akron Half Marathon makes me want to smoke pot

Official time: 01:48.38

My half-marathon split last year in New York was 2:00.17. And I took the first half much faster than the second half, I added fifteen minutes getting to the finish. So the big question was whether I could break two hours this time out. If yesterday was any indication, it wasn't going to happen.

I must have spent over four hours in my car yesterday, from home to Shaker Square, then to the offices downtown, to the rehearsal space, out to the far West Side, back to the rehearsal space, to dinner with the wife, out to Akron to pick up registration materials and back home again.

I do not like driving Akron after dark. I can't get the hang of the one-way streets in broad daylight.

At night the kids were wired, full of anticipation of the following day's activities, and the wife was also truly wrung out and exhausted. How could we put everyone down for the night, prepare for a day on the road including assmelbing all the necessary race clothes and materials?

The only solution was none at all. I put them to bed, and slogged through, cleaning up, making sandwiches, laying out my gear, pinning on my bib number, double-checking everything. There would be no time to do any of that in the morning, and I was already planning to wake at 4:30. I went to bed at 11:30. Five hours of sleep before a Half Marathon.

Of course, I was up checking the clock every hour, then every half-hour. Rolled out a little after four. Got my wife and the kids in the car by five-fifteen, and she drove me to the starting line by a little after six. I'd made it. Now all I had to do was run.

After a day spent in a car, the idea of two hours of exercise out of doors sounded like bliss, no matter what shape I was in, though I had to admit I felt pretty good. I'd had coffee, an energy bar, a sunbutter sandwich and mixed my first batch of Accerlerade.

Wow, that stuff tastes like ass.

At the tent I also had a banana, some Gu, water and Powerade. I was full of running product. Two trips to the port-o-johns (remembering to force myself to exonerate my bowels, which I was in no mood to do) and dropped my bag with the FedEx people, forgetting to keep my lip balm with me or apply and body glide. Luckily, I did not come to regret lacking either.

I won't say the run was easy, but it was a breeze compared to a full marathon (or as one announcement put it, the "real" marathon, which was kind of a pisser.) In the attempt to make two hours, I did a quick calculation an decided to start with the 8:24/mile pace team. This was also the 3:40 Marathon pace team, so I figured if I could keep that sign in my sights, I would make the run in 1:50.

Much to my own surprise, I not only kept the sign in my sights, I kept it right in front of me almost the entire way.

At mile 4 the race went past the photo lab where I broke my heel in April, 2005. That was a marvellous surprise, and a delightful vindication.

At a water stop at mile 5 I was frightened by a blonde woman in a pink top who began running the other way at the end of the water line screaming "Oh my God! I missed all of them!!!"

There were two marching bands at high schools, a steel drum band on steps at U of A, and a live blues band in someone's front yard. All of them were playing songs like Everything's Gonna Be Alright and Low Rider and others with strong drug associations. Where are the Techno marathons?

At mile 6.6 I grabbed one too many Gus, but I still have the one I didn't consume, I tucked it in my waste band. God, are those vile ... but extremely effective. By mile 9 I needed to pass a drink station (I had been alternating, water, Powerade, water, Powerade ...) because I finally began to feel a little bloated and like I actually needed to sweat a little more. That, and I was beginning to need to pee.

At mile 11 the "real" marathon and the Half Marathon split. There were far more of them, and we were sent in a much spottier line down the highway. I shared with some of my fellow travelers the fear that this was a big joke, and they were just sending us losers down the highway with no real finish anywhere.

Keeping my own pace, without a "pace leader" was not as difficult as I'd feared, and as we turned into Canal Park Stadium, I actually sprinted, passing several people. The clock at the finish had passed 1:49 (not my time, it took a minute for me to reach the start - chip technology is really super) and I really didn't want to go longer than 1:50. So I didn't.

There's more ... the girl ran the Kids 1K which started, or was supposed to start, at 9 am. I not only made the run, which they did not expect, but it took over a half-hour for the kids run to commence. I can carp more about that later. The good, great news is I got a PERSONAL BEST, my feet are in excellent shape, no blisters, no bleeding (anywhere) and, well, hey. What's next?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who's to say I can't do everything?

The fine print on the Akron Marathon states quite clearly NO HEADPHONES. So for those of you who disdain runners with iPods, or my taste in music in particular, here's my comeuppance. I have serious concerns about my running for two hours without my music.

But then, I really did run most - which is to say more than half - of the NYC Marathon with my headphones down around my neck, listening to the crowd, the bands, the everything. I only really needed them near the end - after I'd gone 18 miles.

The girl and the boy have signed up for the 1K at 9 am. At first, I just thought the girl would run it, she's been asking about it for weeks. Monday we went for a test run/walk around the block, I'd mapped out what 1K is so she understood how long it is. The boy was suppoed to ride in the wagon, but he refused. I couldn't get him to stop running. She needed to stop every few house length to wait for us to catch up, but he just kept huffing and puffing and wouldn't quit until we got there.

I have created two, unstoppable running monsters.

Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 167.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: coffee, Gatorade
Snack: Zone Perfect bar
Start Time: 5.30 am
Temperature: 68º
Weather: humid, following a rainfall

Watching the wildlife this morning. One skunk, three deer and a bunny. The world without us.

I'm Alright * - Kenny Loggins
Car Wash - Rolls Royce
All Things (Just Keep Getting Better) - Widelife f. Simone
Shake It Up - The Cars
Europa and the Pirate Twins - Thomas Dolby
SexyBack - Justin Timberlake
Rehumaize Yourself - The Police
No Expectations - I Am The World Trade Center
Cooldown: Gave Up - Nine Inch Nails
Cooldown: Upside Down - Jack Johnson

And when are you going to hear those last two songs back to back?

I Am The World Trade Center
"No Expectations"

In an alternate universe, this is the top dance hit of all time.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Baby, the stars shine bright

July 4, 1980 - my first five mile run. My first run, ever. Check out those Keds. Just rolled out of bed and started running. You can do that when you're 12.

What a morning. Welcome, new moon, haven't seen stars that shiny in ages. Hello, Venus.

I understand it's been raining a little bit in London. Henrik says bits of Run, Fatboy, Run are "hopelessly naïve" - trying to train for a marathon in 3 weeks. I say yes, that's what makes it a comedy. If he took 3 months, that would be a documentary.

Received my first copy of Running Times magazine in the mail this week, a perk of signing up for the Akron Halfer. The wife thinks it's amusing - an article on Brian Sell and Eritrea's Elite Running Program? Pinch me! But I did find several pieces of interest.

Having said that, what price, writing? There's a column in there about hitting the road at 5 am that is much less interesting and, frankly, less well-written than your average daily blog entry. I'm wondering what future first-person human interest articles have in the New Media, you can get such better stuff for free.

I'm not talking about me. I just quote New Wave tunes from the 80s.

Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 166.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: coffee, Gatorade
Snack: PowerBar Triple Threat
Start Time: 5.30 am
Temperature: 57º
Weather: perfect

Welcome to the Pleasuredome - Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Do It Again - Steely Dan
Warsaw * - Joy Division
Steppin' Out * - Joe Jackson
Music Time - Styx
Water From a Vine Leaf - William Orbit
Sin (Long) - Nine Inch Nails

Everyting But the Girl
"I Don't Want to Talk About It"

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Let the bass from the speakers run through ya sneakers

Ten Miles to Gandhi and back. Toe separator? Check. Gel? Check. Water break mapped out? Check. Lip balm applied? Check. Band-aids on nipples? Check.

Route: Home to Gandhi

Distance: 10 miles
Weight: 165.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Breakfast: Cream of Wheat with butter and milk, banana, water, coffee
Drink: 8 oz. Gatorade before and after, 2 water breaks at 3.5 and 6.5 miles
Snack: PowerBar Gel at 5 miles
Start Time: 10.00 am
Duration: about 90 minutes
Temperature: 72º - 75º
Weather: sunny & warm

Ooh-ah, seriously chafed nipples. Something I forgot since last year, I simply have too much hair to rely on a small finger band-aid, I need to restock on the big, waterproof ones. Those suckers were flapping inside my shirt before I got halfway.

And halfway was so nice. I have missed MLK Blvd. since last year's training, but going out there and back is just not worth that kind of effort on a regular basis (check out the elevation) but the new Indian Cultural Garden was dedicated after my long runs were through, so I never got to stop and look at it.

I took off my headphones (sorry, Haircut 100) and took a brief stroll around, reading the quotes at the stone stations and trying to peer up at the old man but the sun was right above him. Go figure. I was sucking on a gel, which I tried not feeling odd about.

Ten miles is too far go so on a sunny day without lip balm in my waistband. And the gel and the water breaks made it much less of a slog than my last long runs down MLK were. It's amazing, all of those runs last July, August and September, and I still hadn't learned most of what I did in the last month before the marathon. I'd figured out water breaks and bathroom breaks, but absolutely nothing about eating on the go.

Pon de Replay - Rihanna
Get the Party Started - Pink
The Beautiful People - Marilyn Manson
The Distance - Cake
Let Go (canto de ossanho) - Astrud Gilbetro
Wound Up - Office
Grinding Halt - The Cure
Elephants & Flowers - Prince
What's On Your Mind (pure Energy) - Information Society
Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
Face the Face - Pete Townshend
Love Plus One - Haircut 100
Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey) - De La Soul
Closer - Gabriel & Dresden
They Boy From Ipanema - Crystal Waters
Crosseyed and Painless - Talking Heads
Late Bar - Duran Duran
Rock and Roll Part 2 - Gary Glitter
The Power - Snap!
A Little Less Conversation - Elvis Presley
We Got the Beat - The Go-Go's
Cooldown: Remember the Time - Michael Jackson

Here's my recent observation about the whole headphone thing ... is this a Boomer vs. Gen X thing? I mean, we're the ones who can't live without a pop soundtrack - I mean, who just check out without one. From Sesame Street to Electric Co. to Schoolhouse Rock we learned everything through music. Then came music videos, Miami Vice and all the rest. If your Revolution doesn't have a beat, I won't dance to it.

Or am I just talking poop?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

On the wire between will and what will be

Were you aware that Doritos now comes with two flavors in one bag?! It's crazy! Hot Wings flavor in the same bag with Blue Cheese flavor! It's like a party in my mouth! Literally - there is an actual party going on in my mouth!

It is because things like this happen that I will never have a flat stomach.

Still a little rub on the left heel, I'm going without gel cups for the first time in years. I tried stuffing my old ones in there but they don't fit. I believe I will pick some new ones up this afternoon. Otherwise the news shoes are feeling pretty good.

Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 166 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: Zone Perfect bar
Time: 5.30 am
Temperature: 67º
Weather: warm

Real Gone - Sheryl Crow
Dancing Queen - ABBA
Road to Nowhere - Talking Heads
Verb: That's What's Happening - Moby
The Globe - Big Audio Dynamite II
Maniac - Michael Sembello
Block Rockin' Beats - Chemical Brothers

Sheryl Crow
"Real Gone"

The Boy loves the talking cars.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I am the neatest thing in town

Wore the new dress shirt the wife got me for my birthday to work for the first time. Very stylish, minty green on green. My nipples were chafed withiin a half-hour and I was scrambling around to find a co-worker with band-aids, but the damage has already been done. Forgot about that little incident by this morning and found by halfway through my run that I was in discomfort, I'll have to wear the damn things for the rest of training.

Speaking of which: The Biomechanics of Women's Breast Movement During Running Puerile - yet so informative!

New shoes! Picked up a pair of Asics Gel-Kayanus at Second Sole yesterday. Guy kept calling them "Keanus" which made me nervous. Little rub on my left heel, have to watch that.

Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 167.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: Slim Fast Optima Meal Bar
Time: 5.20 am
Temperature: 54º
Weather: cool

Dangerous Power (Gabriel & Dresden Extended Mix) - Gabriel & Dresden
Rainbo Conversation - Stereloab
Rockaway Beach - The Ramones
Barok - Plastik - Stereloab
Hold It Now, Hit It - The Beastie Boys
Don't Care * - Klark Kent
Keep It Dark - Genesis

WARNING: Advertisement

This American Life
"Crispy With the Rock"

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Never comprehending the race had long gone by

Am I not in training? Just got all my confirmation mats for the Half Marathon - which is in a day less than two weeks. I keep thinking that 13 miles, while no walk in the park, is something I can just do, and not worry about, as long as I put in regular runs every other day.

It does not help when I have one too many drinks at the wife's birthday party, and then have four hours of sleep. Yesterday was a monster, and fortunately I had the generous fortune of getting in ten hours of sleep last night. Yay, ten!

But seriously, I have put in a few eighters, tried to stretch to at least five or six every weekend, and just keep putting down three milers every other day. However, in spite of trying, very very hard, to keep my water consumption up I have urine the hue of golden honey, and the past two runs have been like moving through sludge. That and my head is expanding through my bandana, another symptom of dehydration.

And there has not been a moment to buy, let alone break-in, a new pair of shoes.

Distance: 5.15 miles
Weight: 167.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: energy bar
Time: 11.20 am
Temperature: 51º
Weather: crisp & cloudy

Make a Circuit With Me - The Polecats
The Robots - Kraftwerk
Pop Goes the Weasel - 3rd Bass
Stupid Girl - Garbage
La Colegiala - Gary Low
Gone Daddy Gone * - Violent Femmes
I Melt With You - Modern English
Keep Hope Alive (JDS Mix) - The Crystal Method

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Just wishing

Almost too cool to sweat. The difference between Tuesday night and this morning was vast. Five hours of sleep, long days behind and ahead of me ... I don't know why I did not opt for another hour of sleep, but it's never very good sleep.

But I fulfilled my mandate. I ran. I have no concept of how I am going to be able to make it through to bedtime.

Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 166.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: PowerBar Triple Threat
Time: 5.30 am
Temperature: 51º
Weather: brisk

The Way I Are - Timbaland
Sixteen Military Wives - The Decemberists
She's Lost Control - Joy Division
Banquet - Bloc Party
Take California - Propellerheads
We Share Our Mother's Health - The Knife
Rhythm Is a Dancer - Snap!
Wishing (If I HAd a Photograph of You) - A Flock of Seagulls

Joy Division
"She's Lost Control"


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No better time than right now

9/11/2007 I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies.

Wow. Wish I had a time on that, I just tore. And maybe I tore something, can't tell yet. Was planning on running tomorrow, as per my ritual, but the wife is trying very hard to establish her own exercise routine, and just signed up a the rec center. So it will be she getting up at 5 am.

I have been so wrung out lately ... which was part of the reason I just needed to get out. Bad day. Don't want to talk about it.

The girl insists on my reading to myself in her room while she tries to go to sleep. Usually I am just place-holding for Mom until the boy is down, and that irritates me. The girl fidgets and I don't get any real reading done.

Recently I have been looking over my running journal from the NY Marathon, and she wanted me to read that to her, out loud. I thought it would bore her, but instead she just had a million questions about all the strange words. Gear, splits, goo.

I got to the part where I whine about my father not inviting me to run with him and she asked why he never invited me to run with him, and I said he probably didn't think of it, and when I thought of asking him, I feared being a mile or so out and having to come back by myself.

She asked why he didn't think of asking me, and I said it's like how grandma gets down on the floor to play with her and brother, she never did that with us, because it didn't occur to her to do it. But she learned to.

"Did her mom and dad teach her to get on the floor and play with her grandchildren?" the girl asked, and I said no - your mom and dad taught her how to do that. Her mom and dad would rather be caught dead than get down on the floor to play with a child.

I didn't say that part, about being caught dead.

Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 166 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: NutriGrain Bar
Time: 10.40 pm
Temperature: 62º
Weather: cool & breezy!

Love Rollercoaster - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Chains of Love - Erasure
Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Holiday - Green Day
No Time This Time - The Police
Lonely Boy - Andrew Gold
Cooldown: Dust In The Wind - Gabriel & Dresden

Andrew Gold
"Lonely Boy"

Monday, September 10, 2007

Born to be a god among "Salesman"

Everybody play Nude Runner! (Warning: nude runner)

My co-workers have been arguing over whether I have a flat butt or a bubble butt. Can I have them sued for that?

Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 168.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: banana
Time: 5.40 am
Temperature: 66º
Weather: very pleasant

Proper Education (Club Mix) - Eric Prydz vs. Floyd
Dead Man's Party * - Oingo Boingo
Blueeyed Devil - Soul Coughing
I'm Still Standing - Elton John
Ah! Leah! - Donnie Iris
Pressure - Billy Joel
Cooldown: I Do Not Want This - Nine Inch Nails

Saturday, September 08, 2007

To work. To play. To live. To love.

Daft Punk is playing in my head. In my head.

September is difficult. If I want to get out I need to rise at 5 am at the latest - and then after a full day's rehearsal, and spending the evening with family and closing up the house, there's about a half-hour to myself before going to bed around midnight.

If there's one thing I have learned in the ast several months, it's the effect rest has on the human body, or rather, the effect the lack of it has.

But I'd set the clock for five, and knew I would not be happy or get back to sleep - I needed to go running. Right now I am glad I did.

Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 168 lbs.
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: Balance Bar Gold
Time: 5.40 am
Temperature: 73º
Weather: balmy, overcast, with a broken up sliver of moon

Eleven (Extended Club Mix) - Gabriel & Dresden
Verb: That's What's Happening - Zachary Sanders
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger - Daft Punk
Digital Love - Daft Punk
Enola Gay - Orchestra Manouvers in the Dark
The Brooklynites - Soul Coughing
Turning Japanese - The Vapors
Cooldown: Emerge (Daft Punk Mix) - Fisherspooner

Zachary Sanders

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Diet Coke and a pizza, please

Is it me? Is it an odor?

Recent Running Blog Posts is ignoring me. I keep sending them emails, asking them to add me to the list, but I get no response. This has been going on for almost a month. I am glad to have a listing at Running Blog Family Directory but I'd like my regular posts to reach a wider audience.

Which is to say, any.

I have been lulled by those who would suggest it is not necessary to warm-up before running, but that it is only necessary to stretch after running. This may be true - if you begin your run as a warm-up. Mika has a tendency to turn the start of your run into a race.

I have heard from my shins today for the first time in a long time. Watch it, dummy.

Distance: 3.25 miles
Weight: 168.5 lbs.
Stretches: yes (but not before, schmuck)
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: PowerBar Triple Threat
Time: 5.30 am
Temperature: 67º
Weather: balmy & sweaty

Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) - MIKA
Just Like Heaven * - The Cure
Neat Neat Neat - The Damned
Antmusic * - Adam and the Ants
Gypsy Woman (Red Hot + Dance Remix) - Crystal Waters
Friends Forever - Puffy Amiyumi
Burning Love - Elvis Presley
Something Like A Mama - Underworld

Monday, September 03, 2007

You've gone and got sick on my trainers.

This will be my kids memories of their grandparents; car trips to the hills, playing in the muck by Dow Lake, running around naked, tractor rides, a big bonfire to the moon and the countless visible stars.

Having said that, diet for the last two days have consisted of burgers, hot dogs and pizza, Cheetos, White Cheddar Cheez-Its and Wavy Lays, Cosmos, margaritas and beer.

Yesterday was hot, oppressive, and searingly bright. The night was cold ... and I learned that if I lay on my back, I'm fine. If I lie on my side, I get a headache. I lie on my back, it goes away. It went like this until I woke up for the final time - as usual - three minutes before my alarm went off.

Running the bike path along the Hocking is beautiful at sunrise. I need to ask my wife what the birds were. Shared my morning shower with a deer.

Distance: 6.75 miles
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: Balance Gold
Time: 6.00 am
Duration 1 hour 4 minutes
Weather: cool, misty & humid

"Run, Fat Boy, Run"

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Never Over

Stressful week, peaceful weekend. Woke when I woke, there's grandparents to look after the kids, got to the bike path before it started getting too warm. The outlwas have an outdoor show behind the garage facing a wide field circled by thick trees. At this time of day the sun is facing the deck, and after your shower you can just sit in a chair and dry in the sun.

If you have a better idea for a Saturday morning, you can keep it.

Hocking River Bike Path
Uhm, I didn't mean to say it was grass, it's not grass. You can't edit those once you make them.

Distance: 6.75 miles
Stretches: yes
Drink: Gatorade
Snack: Balance Gold
Time: 8.20 am
Duration 58 minutes
Temperature: 60º
Weather: warm & a little humid

Summer 2007 Playlist:
Dashboard - Modest Mouse
Stronger - Kanye West
Blockbust - Sweet
Chelsea Dagger - The Fratellis
Shine - Take That
Vegas - Calvin Harris
Mass Repeat (Extended 12" Version) - Gabriel & Dresden
Girls and Boys In Love - The Rumble Strips
Malegria - Manu Chao
Totally F*cked - Soundtrack from "Spring Awakening"
Sorry (Man With Guitar Mix) - Madonna
Foundations* - Kate Nash
The Girls - Calvin Harris
Cooldown: Disco Heat - Calvin Harris

Summer 2006 Playlist

Daddy's Red Margarita
juice 1 lime
equal measure Tequila
2/3 measure Couintreau
lime rim of glass, coat with Kosher salt
add ice to glass, pour
add 1 tsp Grenadine, 1 maraschino

Manu Chao