Saturday, May 31, 2008

I'm Not Dead Yet

I can't believe it has been 10 days since I last updated. Where has the time gone? I have been very, very busy with work, and our social life has been active lately. It seems I've not had much time for anything else. But I can't believe it has been 10 days!

Since my last post a lot has gone on. We began our old college-days tradition of Friday evening Ultimate Frisbee. We started last week and played again yesterday. So much fun. It was interesting to see how everyone has gotten out of shape in the past few years. There were only two players (counting myself; Kristin didn't play) that exercise regularly. Any observer could definitely have picked out a few that don't. I thought it would be a breeze -- I run all the time. But this was different. Many short sprints rather than just a long, paced run. After the hour and a half of play, my feet were killing me and I was exhausted. We played for closer to two and a half hours this past week. It was very warm and humid, but I still held up better than the prior week. Kristin played this time, too.

After frisbee last week, we checked out the new brewery in downtown Akron, Ohio Brewing. Not too bad a place. This week we went to On Tap, a local bar that does karaoke on the weekends. It is tradition to go there for my friend Brandon's birthday. We used to go regularly -- maybe every four to six weeks. But we haven't been there in months. It was a great time. There was a big-boned guy there who reminded us all of Billy Bob from Varsity Blues. He didn't get beer by the glass, he got it by the pitcher and he drank straight from said serving ware. His giant hand holding that pitcher looked like my hand holding a regular glass. We chatted with him and cheered him on, and he ended up picking up the tab for our whole table -- thirteen of us! What a guy.

Work has been terribly busy. Our intern started this week, and I have been assigned as his mentor. I haven't done any sort of training since I left McDonald's back in 2002. It has been incredibly time consuming, and I still have a lot of non-intern stuff that I need to be working on. I only took a lunch break once this week. But at least it was a short week with the holiday and the days went super fast.

This past week hasn't been the greatest for mileage for me. But Kristin did well. We both posted our best month so far.

June is now upon us and will be a busy month. Hopefully we can keep up with everything (including this blog).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Running Gear

I have been thinking about running gear off and on for a while now. I am curious to know what you all out there have invested in. Kristin and I have both taken a liking to Asics shoes. And we went to a local running store that confirmed that the brand is a good choice for both of us. I also bought some moisture-wicking socks when I got my newest pair of shoes. I find them to be rather comfortable before and after the run, but don't really notice a difference while running. I have also been thinking about buying some new shorts. The ones I have been running in are a bit thick and not really a material that would have been designed for running. They never gave me problems until Monday's long run, which did start to produce some friction. I am also beginning to think about longer runs and water. I hate the idea of carrying a bottle for over an hour.

So what does everyone else have? Have you found good shoes? Do you wear special socks, shorts, or shirts? How do you handle water on the longer runs?

As far as running today, Kristin ran a five-miler. That is a personal best for her this year. She has been doing a great job in picking up distance in the last month or so.

I ran three miles today, and I was very stiff through the whole thing. I have to assume it is hold-over from Monday's seven miles. It was not a fun run, but I got through it without slowing down. About 26 minutes.

This brings me to another thought. I pace faster outside. This was a crappy day for the muscles, but I ran in under a nine-minute pace. When I run on the indoor track, I have to push hard to run 50-second laps -- which equates to a 8:20 pace. I never feel like I am pushing for speed on the roads, but my natural pace is faster than what I typically run indoors -- usually between 8:00 and 8:40. I think this all goes back to my theory on watching your time/mileage too closely. You have to count laps on the indoor track, so you are constantly aware of your exact progress...which is a mental drain and makes it hard to get your physical momentum going. Outside, you just run. You know where start and finish are, and where the turns are, but (unless you carry a GPS and watch it constantly) you really don't know your exact mileage at any given moment.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Half Way There

I had planned to run six miles on Saturday. I had a really good one-mile warm up. Then my plan was to run my three-mile course then the two-mile course. I got about a mile into the three-mile course and crashed. I just couldn't keep myself moving. I pushed through it, though, and finished the three, but I didn't even attempt the last two miles that I had planned.

Later that afternoon, I had my first round of golf for the year. It wasn't too terrible a round for me (61), but it wasn't my best, either. I was hoping for mid-50s (we're talking 9 holes here, not 18). I couldn't do a thing off the tee. The only decent tee shot I had was on a 180-yard par-3. I dropped it on the green, but then three-putted in to give me a bogey. I'm still working on getting my second par. This will be my fourth year golfing and I still have only ever made par once (three-putted several bogeys, but still only one par). So needless, to say, I'm not very good at the game.

We had poker night afterwards. I decided that next month's poker night will be a charity event. A couple years ago we did one for Relay for Life. Half the pot went to the charity, and it ended up being over $100. This year we'll earmark the money for the Dream Team (big surprise!).

The big news for me happened tonight. Kristin wanted to run outside, but I wanted to go to the rec center so we could do weights after the run. But things were feeling good...and kept feeling good. Long story short, I ran seven miles this evening. My legs were like jelly afterwards. And I was starving. So I ended up not doing weights. I feel a lot better now, but the real test will be seeing how I feel tomorrow. Hopefully not too fatigued.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Progress Check

Here we are approximately four months into our year of training and about eight months away from the big race. We have run a quarter of the miles in about one third of the time. This is not a concern to me. I expected from the start that we would get behind to start and then make up the miles later in the year as our training gets more intense. If my calculations are correct there are 231 days left in the year.

I have put in 133.85 miles. I have 375.15 left in my journey. Through the end of the year, I need to average 11.37 miles per week.

Kristin has put in 121.2 miles. She has 387.8 left for the year. Through the end of the year, she has go average 11.75 miles per week.

We do need to start picking up the pace. Neither of us is up to 11 miles per week. In the two weeks so far this month, I averaged 9.3 miles and Kristin averaged 9.05 miles.

We have a lot of work left to reach our goals. I am still confident that we will do it. We are on target to raise over $500.

234 days left until we see this:

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Running Wild


Yesterday, Kristin and I ran the Run Wild for a Cure 5k at the Cleveland Zoo. If anyone has been to that zoo, then you know it is very hilly. If you look towards the left of the map and see the Koala symbol, from there to the Gorilla exhibit is about an 80 foot elevation change -- which means a steep hill.

This was the most challenging 5k run I have ever done. Almost none of it was flat. And it was the first time I've done much steep downhill running. It is more challenging than I would have thought.

The map doesn't do the course justice. Basically start by the front gate. Run to the top right of the map -- through the inner and outer loops. Then cross the zoo and run up the big, steep hill to the gorilla area (the hill started just past the one-mile mark). Then immediately downhill on the opposite side of the gorillas. Around the elephants, then back to that top-right corner and around just the outer loop. Then back to the entrance area.

This was the first race I have done where I was not near the start line when the gun sounded. It was a big pain in the butt running around people. We were at least a quarter of a mile in before I could get any sort of rhythm going. I'm sure the Disney race will be much worse than this, though.

It was fun running through the zoo and seeing the animals. It was a nice distraction during the run. Although, the tigers saw all the people running by and they were eying us like they wanted to chase us down and eat us. They reminded me of house cats when they play...how you can wave a string in front of them and they'll act disinterested...but they're really following the toy with their eyes until they finally pounce. That's exactly what the tigers were doing, right up at the front of their enclosure.

I was a bit worried going into the race because I was having a fairly decent amount of knee pain on Friday. It wasn't bad during the race, but was acting up a bit after. I feel I did pretty well considering the difficulty and the crowds at the beginning. I plan to rest a few days now so I don't get me knee acting up again.

We walked around the zoo for a few hours after the race. Then we met up with some friends for dinner and went to see The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. This was a funny show. I'm not quite sure how to describe it, or what the creative team really wanted the audience to get from it. But the actors did well and overall it was a good show.

And, sadly, the "Grin & Bear Eats" eatery was closed at the zoo...so we couldn't stop for lunch. Gotta love that name!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Spring is Here

Weather in Ohio has fabulous since I've been back from Canada. Rainy a couple days, but that's typical Ohio. It has been in the 60's and generally sunny out. I'm lovin' it.

Since the last post, Kristin and I put in a 3.5 mile run outside on Monday. We ran a good three-mile course that I mapped out a few weeks ago. Some good hills -- up and down -- plus flat sections. I really like the course, Kristin was convinced it was longer than three miles until I proved otherwise. So I don't think she liked it much. And I must say that like the drink, the street named Beverly sucks. It is a very short part of the course, but there's hardly a flat spot to put your foot down with all of the holes and rough patches on it. I should try to map around it, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

It was raining this evening, so I went to the gym to use the indoor track. I was trying to decide whether to do two or three miles today -- I planned to run tomorrow, so I didn't want to overdo it. I finally decided on three. So I ran a warm up mile and then stretched. As I was finishing mile two, I decided I could do four miles. As I finished mile three, I decided that I could do five. So great job goes out to Heath at basilsspyglass.blogspot.com for putting in his five-miler yesterday, and thanks for the inspiration. I haven't had a long run (which I would define as past four miles for me) in a while, and reading about his longer outing helped jog my memory (no pun intended) that I needed to get some longer runs in. I spent just over an hour on the track. That included five running miles, stretching, and about half a mile of walking mixed in to everything.

We have a 5k coming up on Saturday, so I will probably take it easy tomorrow since I put in a longer run today.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Back in Ohio

Just a quick post today. I am back in Ohio. It was pouring yesterday so we went to the rec center to run. We each put in about 3 miles.

The numbers on the side board are up to date. Kristin edged past me by a few miles in April. Way to go. She has picked up the distance lately and we are pretty close in total mileage.

We plan to run tomorrow. I haven't worked out a schedule for the week yet, but I need to plan around Saturday's race.

One other thing of note. I have started another blog. For a while now I have been thinking about jumping on the bandwagon with an actual Disney blog in addition to this training-focus blog. I should still be updating this blog with the same regularity as I have been. The new blog can be found at www.EarningMyEars.com. The first post should be up for tomorrow. I am going to start with a series about officially released WDW theme park music -- records, CDs, even an 8-track thrown in the mix.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Quick Update

I am back in the Toronto area again this week for work. It has been cold in the mornings -- just around freezing -- so I haven't been running outside. I went down to the fitness center yesterday morning to hit the treadmill. It was the first time I've been on a machine since early March. It was killing my knee...discomfort with every step. As I partially blame treadmills for the bad knee pain I had in March, I decided not to run too long. So I only put in one mile. I finished out my planned workout time on the bike.

It is only supposed to dip into the forties tonight, but looks like rain in the morning. So I don't know what I'm going to do at this point. I don't mind running in the forties...but forties and rain is a different story. At this point, I don't think I'm going to get all of my miles in this week. I'll try for two runs this weekend.

I don't know all of Kristin's numbers for the week yet, but I do know that she had a four-mile run earlier in the week. Great job!

I'll get all the mileage and dollar totals updated after I get home.