Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wednesday Rant Day

For those of you who aren't lucky enough to live here in New England, let me tell you about the weather we've been having. February is after all, the most depressingly cold and wintry month of the year. Well, not this year. We had a string of two days below freezing this week, culminating in one of the finer snowfalls I've seen in a while. Of course, I was out running in said snow storm because that's why God gives them to us, just like thunderstorms.

That Soft White Blanket

Well, after my run last night (which was fantastic), I tried out some yoga moves on my new mat, bullshat on the computer for a little while, had some supper, and retired to bed. Throughout the night I could hear the sweet tinkle-tinkle of Snow Day-causing snow bombarding my bedroom windows.

This morning I awoke to an NPR money-grab and hoped they'd pause to at least tell us that the schools were closed. They did not. I'm not in school, but if they're closed I consider work closed for me. By the time I was up and moving, it was clear that at least my road was perfectly fine so I got dressed, had breakfast and headed out to shovel the driveway.

At some point during the morning, the sweet tinkle-tinkle of the snow turned into the not-so-sweet tinkle-tinkle of rain. By the time I got out to shovel it was raining pretty good, and the snow was far from light and fluffy. The end of the driveway where the plow puts it's mess was truly back-breaking.

As it turned out, the schools were closed today but there's no way I'm wasting my vacation to sit at home for a Rain Day.

Speaking of Running

Yesterday afternoon I received several pleas to plan a run. I weighed the various needs of the people pleading for a run, and posted the resulting activity on our group message board. The plan was simple: meet at a specific place at a specific time, and we'd determine the route based on how good everyone felt.

Well, I headed out 20 minutes early to run to the meeting spot. As I arrived at the predetermined location (3 minutes late, but 7 minutes before the standard 10-minute grace period ended) I saw one car and no lights on in the house. I rang the doorbell anyway, thinking maybe they were in there and just about to leave. The single set of footprints leading away from the house convinced me that the occupant had already left. Hmmm.

With 5 minutes to spare, I wrote the name of the road I'd be running on the windshield of the car and waited in the cold wintry snow. After the 10 minute grace period was up, I left and proceeded to do my own run at my own pace, lost in my own thoughts. I never did see anyone else, but I'm sure they were out there somewhere.

When I got home, there were two messages on my voicemail asking where I was. They didn't know how they could have missed me and claimed that they even went by my house (but I noticed they left no footprints), noting that it looked dark. Since the reason they "missed" me was that they didn't bother to wait (which was very obvious to me), I didn't feel it was all that important that I return the calls. Those calls would be followed by concerned "I just want to make sure you're home alright" calls, which went unanswered because I was busy with my yoga/IM bullshitting.

I wouldn't say I was pissed, because I can even imagine the conversation that led up to me getting left behind. They probably thought "oh, we'll just head towards his house and meet up where we meet up", not thinking that there were many different routes I could have taken and I could have been on foot or in the car. Hell, I could have been coming from the complete opposite direction if I had to run errands on my way. And as it turned out, I was perfectly content running by myself. I just would rather not have to make plans for everyone else only to have them not wait for me.


Well Cooterinos, I think tonight is going to be another bike roller night, followed by some yoga. It's either going to be rainy or icy out, with neither being preferred.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Friday, February 08, 2008

Training Isn't Just for Training's Sake

Cooterinos, every once in a while a person says to hisself "Why am I doing all of this? What am I preparing for?" I found myself saying those very things and decided to do something about it...

Ha Ha, Tricked You Into Reading About Running

I convinced four of my running compatriots to join me in this year's Boston's Run to Remember, a combination 5 mile and half marathon race. Since Boston is a long way to drive for a 5 mile race, we opted for the latter. So this May 25th we'll be racing our way through the streets of Boston in the hopes of setting that coveted Personal Best.

Before you ask how far of a Half Marathon it is, I'll save you the embarassment. A Marathon is 26.2 miles no matter where it's run. There are not longer ones or shorter ones, they're all the same length. If a race director wants to run a 28 mile race, he'll call it a 28-miler. From there, simple math tells us that a Half Marathon is 13.1 miles.

Now that I have a goal race in mind, I can begin the training process properly. I plan on using a time tested training plan partly for the motivation of it and partly because I've never properly trained before and I thought it would be a nice experiment.

So Whatcha Shootin' Fer?

I knew you'd want to know what my goal time is, so I'm offering a preliminary goal of sub 90 minutes. That equates to a 6:51 min/mile pace, a respectable yet achievable goal. As I work my way through the 12 week program I may adjust that some but for now we'll go with 90 minutes.

As a reference, I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Arizona last year in a time of 1:40 (100 minutes) with a leg injury. I think that with a proper plan, proper stretching (I've been getting into some yoga) and a good bank of karma I should be in pretty good shape by the end of May.

Not only will this kick off the summer race season early, but it'll give me a head start on some of the local competition which might not be inclined to train in the winter. Plus, with a major race out of the way early I can feel better about riding my bike more in the summer. Oh, this plan is pure genius.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

It's Easy Like Friday Morning

Well, I started writing this post back on Wednesday and it was all about how Wednesday is Hump Day, but when your workweek ends on Thursday Wednesday is really Over-The-Hump Day. Now that it's Friday and I'm sitting in the comfort of my own "study", sipping Lady Gray tea, listening to Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk I can truly appreciate the short work week.

Double-Meat's New Development

JD, AKA Jack Bland, AKA Double-Meat Downs has traded in his Player's Club card for the life-long promise of marraige. Go Double-Meat!

Back on the Trainer

Wednesday night I set to work changing parts over on my bike so that it would be more trainer friendly. As you may recall, I bought a set of Kreitler rollers last summer to enhance my bike training. Technically, rollers are not trainers but are a separate class of training paraphernalia known simply as rollers. Back to the bike. When riding on rollers, you are forced to ride almost perfectly straight with smooth motions and for God's sake, don't even blink too hard or you'll throw off your center of gravity with grave consequences. For safety reasons, I replaced my clipless pedals (that you, ironically, clip into) with "regular" pedals you'd likely find on any normal person's bike. In the event of a catastrophic eye twitch, the non clipless pedals allow you to bail easier, reducing the pain of being slammed to the floor beneath your bike.

With that task complete, I got all set up in the doorway and began pedaling for what would be about half an hour. I forgot to wear a headband, hat or anything to catch sweat and after 32:18 my eyes were burning with toxic face sweat, forcing me to stop.

The next step is to build little platforms to sit next to the rollers so that I can easily climb on an off the bike. Currently the bike sits about 4" off the floor, leaving no room to comfortably stand over the bike. A eunuch might not have any trouble, but even that might be a stretch. Also, I'd like to be able to ride somewhere besides a hallway, with a better view than a doorway. With the platforms I could set it up in front of a window and be able to enjoy the merriment of the squirrels whilst suffering away at a steady clip of 0 MPH.

That Loud A$$ Mothafu(k!n& Barking Dog

Have I ever mentioned the owner forsaken dog that barks at everything that passes his house? I have made that dog my sworn enemy, although I know the fault truly lies with the owners who leave him outside all day long, devoid of playmates or attention whatsoever. If I wanted a dog, I would kidnap him and show him that life doesn't have to be lived trapped on the porch and blacktop combo that is his prison. The poor guy.

Well, that's all I have for today. I have been feeling pretty lax about blogging and I think the problem is epidemic. The blogs I read on the regular have all remained updateless for the last few days. I blame the seasonal blahs.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Hey folks, this weekend was a real trifecta as far as quality goes. There were good things, there were bad things, and there were ugly things...

The Good

On Friday night my running group had a private Spinning class at a local gym. For the low, low price of $2 each we got to have our asses handed to us for an hour straight. For many of us, this was our maiden voyage into the world of Spinning classes, and it proved to be quite the exciting time.

At 6:00 we were all huddled at the entrance signing waivers. Most of us are not members of that gym (or any gym for that matter) but they allowed us to come in to take this class as a special favor to the woman who set it all up. The class started at 6:00, but the general rule for our group runs is that there's always a 10 minute buffer in case someone's running late. We assumed this was true for the Spinning class, which it was not. The class was supposed to START at 6:00, but we all got there at 6:00, had to check in, change, warm up, etc. Fortunately it was a laid back crowd, so nobody minded.

As far as Spinning classes go, I can't comment on the relative quality of it since it was my first time. I can say that it was a hard 60 minutes and I was amply tired afterwards. Not too tired to sit in the sauna for 20 minutes, but pretty tired.

After the class (and subsequent sauna visit), we headed next door to Spice for dinner. They have three different eating venues with very different menus and pricing schemes. We opted for Medium Spice, which was still rather steep but the food was good and we had a good time.

On Saturday I was scheduled to usher at The Colonial Theater for a Creole Jazz Serenaders show. I wasn't sure what to expect, but with Jazz in the name it was bound to be at least tolerable. With the exception of the freezing cold job I had (standing in the unheatedest corner of the building waiting to push a button) and the freezing cold seat I had (why was cold air blowing on me the whole time?), the show was great.

They played for about 2 hours, mixing in songs that highlighted the various influences in New Orleans' music. The musicians were tight and played extremely well together. I could have used some accordion or possibly a cow-bell, but they had an upright bass, and I love me some upright bass.

The Bad

After the Spinning class and following dinner, I went home and first-things-first, plunked my ass on the couch and petted the cats. Apparently while doing so, the weight of Vinny on my legs combined with having my feet up on the arm rest caused me to hyper-extend my right knee. Yes, I hyper-extended my knee while laying on a couch, petting a cat.

Saturday I went for a run, hoping I would just run it off after a few miles but that did not happen. It didn't get any worse, but it certainly didn't get any better. I had already planned on running the Superbowl spread in miles (12 pt spread = 12 miles) on Sunday morning, but I had to bag that because of the knee. I couldn't put on or take off socks, tie my shoes, lean over or anything without major discomfort.

Damn it! First the shin splints for a week, then the cold for a week, now a freaking hyper-extended knee from laying on the damn couch! The anti-running gods are laughing at me from on high.

What I can say though, is that the core workout from Bicycling magazine has been doing wonders in keeping me positive. It involves some stretching, which seemed to help the leg (how can you stretch out something that's injured due to over-stretching?). I'll probably ease into a run tonight to test the proverbial waters, and reassume my full-blown training regimen if all goes well.

The Ugly

The Patriots sucked ass last night. End of story. Congrats to the NY Football Giants, you deserved to win that game.

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...

Friday, February 01, 2008

Can I Please Go Out and Play?

Alright folks, here's my problem. As I'm sure you recall I was injured last week and couldn't run. Then, once recovered, I went out and overdid it on Sunday but in a good way. The next thing I know, I have a cold. What you need to know folks, is that I don't get sick so I refused to let this get me down. It got me anyway.

Down for the Count

Monday night I was feeling a little chilled but it was manageable. I had a slight scratchiness to my throat but otherwise was symptom free. Tuesday was slightly worst, but the sore throat was akin to something you'd have after a good loud argument or a riotous softball game. I went to bed early in the hopes that I'd just sleep it off, but at 3:30 in the morning I found myself still awake, watching the minutes tick by.

I figured I'd have to take the day off from work because no matter how I felt, I was bound to be tired at 6:00 AM so I dialed up ye olde managere and told him I wouldn't be in. By about 4:30 I was finally able to sleep in the recliner until I was rudely awakened by my alarm clock upstairs at 6:00. Sonofabitch!

Off I traipsed to shut that damn thing up, whereupon I collapsed onto the bed fully clothed to sleep until the morning. Hmm, that humidifier worked some magic.

My Wednesday off consisted of napping and brief periods of reading. I've been working on Stephen King's The Stand, the unabridged version. First of all, it's about a superflu and is not something you should be reading when you potentially have the flu. Second of all, the damn thing is like 1100 pages long. I'm over 500 pages deep at this point and I've barely made a dent in that epic tome.

Editor's Note: Despite it's length and untimely reading, The Stand is a freaking great book.

But Anyway

So what the hell do you care? Not much at all. The reason I'm telling you all of this is because while I've been sick I've been stuck in the freaking house. I can feel myself getting slower, weaker and fatter by the second. I've been doing a core workout I found in this month's Bicycling magazine, but there isn't much in the way of a cardiovascular workout there. What I really want is to get back out and run.

Well, last night I attended my Thursday Night Run and it felt great. Yeah, I was a little sore at the end but I felt good, fresh and raring to go. My watch and headlamp both died, with the former causing a good deal of uneasiness on the unplowed dirt roads of Dalton. I thought for sure I'd be recovering from a sprained ankle this morning, but I made it through unscathed. Can I keep going outside to play now?

Over and Out,
Old Coot

Get the Whole Story Here...
"Something inside of me just said 'Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him.' and I just took off." -Pre