Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rain Delay Workout & Killt Quadz: 9/29

The plan was to go to Sports Conditioning class, but it has been raining here in Raleigh nearly non-stop since Sunday, therefore I wasn't able to make it to the gym this morning because I needed to give Hiro a ride to work.  The drawback to both of us using our bicycles as our primary transportation and sharing one car is that inclement weather will wreak havoc with our routine.  Luckily, Raleigh doesn't often get morning rainstorms -- this is a tropical depression coming in from the Atlantic -- so this happens like once every three or four months.  Also, Bryan's class really worked me over, so I don't think that I would have done well in Teresa's class in the slightest; my forced change of plans may have been a really good thing.  I could feel that my quads were pretty sore when I go up and down at work today, and they seemed to get tighter as the day progressed.  My quads had just begun to feel better from Friday's class yesterday, when Bryan hit them hard again.  I am going to have to really treat them well tonight.  Some muscle cream may be in order. 

I didn't really know what I wanted to do when I got to the gym.  The rain had drove a lot of people in doors, so the Treadmills were nearly all taken.  I got the last one and walked on it for about three minutes before I started to run, but I quickly figured out why it had been open; the belt was really loose, and it just felt like I was sliding every five or six steps.  I had enough after about 45 seconds and went to the track, which was shockingly empty as I started to run.  It did get really busy as I ran but not too bad.Everything was fine at the start of the run but at  2/3 of a mile, the quads started to scream out.  The were so sore that I turned the run into an interval run just to get through it .  I ran one mile, walked 1/4 of a mile, ran one more mile, walked 1/4 of a mile, and ran 1/2 mile.  By the time I finished, the quads just felt dead.  I stretched my legs then used the foam roller on them, which really seemed to help a great deal, then I stretched again.  The best thing is that my heels have really improved it seems.  They are still not 100%, but they feel better than they have in months.  I think that I may have turned the corner on that one, but we shall see.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

1 Mile Run and Toning Class: 9/28

Had a good workout today.  I needed to get back to more cross training, which made today's class all the more important.  Hiroko and I went to Bryan's afternoon toning class.  I had planned on going to his Sports Conditioning class Monday morning, but I overslept.  Today, I made sure that I changed before I left work just to insure that I would get to the gym with plenty of time to spare.  I actually got there sort of early allowing me to run before class.  I decided to run a mile on the indoor track and to try and push it -- giving me a better idea of the progress of my heels.  I ran about an 8 minute mile by my monkey math!  (I really need/want a Garmin).  The run went well and the heel felt much better that the last time I tried to run on the indoor track.  I wasn't really winded after this run -- no coughing or anything, which is a big change from the last time I ran this pace.  I encouraged because this track is really tight and I have to slow down in the corners, so I think that in a straight run I would do a little better.

The class was very good.  Actually, it was kind of tough.  Hiroko and I both agreed that it was pretty difficult.  Bryan focused a good deal of attention on the quads, which was exactly were Friday's class hit as well.  I was hurting right off the bat.  I used 10lb. dumbbells and the 18lb. body bar for the class, but the were not a problem.  The problem came from the abs.  Mine are currently feeling like something close to Hubba Bubba Bubble gum, so an abs hell day was pretty rough.  We did tons of different planks and bicycles along with a few other ab exercises.  I know I needed it, but it is going to make tomorrow morning class difficult to face because Hiro and I are both sore already.  Most times, we don't feel this sore until the day after the workout, so I am not really sure what is in store for me tomorrow!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Treadmill Time & KT Tape: Plantar Fasciitis -- 9/27

My heels have been feeling much better since I returned from San Fransisco.  Perhapes walking up and down all of those hills did them some good!  More than likly, they have improved because of the rest from running and my latest tape jobs.  The video above is close to what I have been doing. Except, I add another strip of tape that runs horzontaly along the sides of my foot, just under the ankel and around the achilles tendon, which give some additional support to the Achilles.  I think this modification is improtant because the PA that I went to said both injuries were related.  I have also been using the frozen water bottle technique as well, which also seems to help a lot. 

This morning I still felt really tired, so I waited until after work to go to the gym.  I ran on the Treadmill for the first time in a long time and had a gret run.  Actually, it was my best run on a treadmill.  I have gotten a lot stronger over the summer despite my injuries.
Treadmill Time:
5 mins @ 3.6
15 mins @ 6.6
5 mins @ 6.8
5mins @ 6.6
At the end of this run, I still felt really good.  I wasn't doubled over panting or anything near it, so I really think that I could have push it more if I wasn't still trying to protect my heels.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Nothing from The Never Ending Story Run (Sept. 25)

Can't adequately describe this mornings run.  I've heard many people talk about how every so often when you're running, you'll just find yourself in a bad place mentally -- where you have this The Never Ending Story moment where The Nothing is there to suck you in.  I've never experienced it for myself until this morning; I've have bad moments before where I didn't think I could keep going, but this was different.  I knew that I was tired when I got up this morning, the bad flights, the excitement of the Raider game, the wonderful but exhausting walks through the hills of San Fransisco, the insomnia upon my return, and the crushing CrossFit workout from Friday morning had really caught up to me.  I was feeling it yesterday -- just this irrational irritability that I couldn't get past.  By the time the evening came around I found myself just staying awake for no good reason.  I was planning on getting up early and going to Umstead for my Saturday run, but I didn't feel any of my usual excitement.

When I woke up this morning, I felt slug like --just laying there waiting for some kid to come a long with a slat shaker.  But, I still managed to get myself to Umstead.  Looking back, I can see that the only reason I got there was that my heels weren't feeling bad for the first time in a very long time.  My latest tape job seems to be helping a great deal, and this gave me just enough energy to get to the park.  Granted, I was over an hour later than I wanted to arrive, but I was there.  I only focused on my heels during my walk to the bridge where I start my run and didn't notice how tired I was.  It be came shockingly apparent as I started my run that I had nothing in the tank.  Most times the first mile is the worst, but things get better as you progress.  Not the case here.  I knew right away that nothing was going to get any better and by the mile mark I was running because I couldn't figure out how to stop running.  There wasn't going to be any digging deep, grunting through it, or prove something to yourself moments for me -- not on this day!  It was going to be run until you get sick, become incontinent, pass out, or just stop running.  Luckily for me, somewhere around the three mile marker, I just stop running.  Honestly, The Nothing had me!  I couldn't think of any good reason to be running, no inspirational song on my I-pod could push me forward -- I was done!  I could see it reflected in the faces of the people that were going in the opposite direction.  I looked the part of the beaten fighter that has just picked himself up off the mat after the ten count.  It wasn't that I was doubting myself or anything like that, the worst part of this was that I just couldn't find a good reason to be running at all -- not just today, but ever.  I tried to start running again and my legs would feel like they could go, but the quit was just coming from a much deeper place.  It wasn't my legs, nor any other physical part of my body.  The quit was just deep down in my soul, and it didn't matter if I ran a little here or there because I was just done, plain and simple.  I wasn't even depressed about it -- just resigned to it.  Hell, I am still not depressed about it.  I've never gotten to a place like this before from running -- but I kind of knew that it was out there, and I am sort of glad to have experienced it now, instead of during a race, but I really don't want to go through it again anytime soon.  Tomorrow is an off day for sure.  Rest!  Now, I need to see if I can get The Never Ending Story on Netflix instant.

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know if you have ever met up with The Nothing while on a run.  I would love to hear how other people have dealt with it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

CrossFit Workout: Kelly 10/24

The Queen of Grunts!
I've been looking for a new class since Plycore Thursday has become a stair climbing class, which I can not do at this time.  Luckily, I just found out that there are CrossFit workouts going on every Friday morning.  I decided to join them this morning.  Now, I am not sure if this is an actual class or just a members organized activity, but they are using the CrossFit workouts and this morning we were doing the workout titled: Kelly.  I am not sure why the CrossFit workouts are given women's name, but my guess is that it is because each one is a BITCH demanding, difficult, but rewarding if you can hack it. 


Run 400 meters

30 Box jump, 24 inch box (I did leg raises b/c of the heel problems)

30 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball (I alternated between 14 and 16 lbs)
5 Rounds
this was the most difficult workout that I have done in some time.  By round four, my body was feeling it, but I was able to gut threw it even though the wall shots caused some serious Monica Seles-esque grunting, I am glad that I did this because I have needed to get back to cross training, and these workouts will do that in a big way.  I have always enjoyed my group workout, so I am looking forward to next Friday's class already. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jet Lag Jaunt, Sept. 23

Hiro & I at Tiburon
Feeling rather out of sorts at the moment.  Hiroko (my wife) and I flew out to the bay area for the weekend for the Raiders home opener and some sight seeing.  Our 5th wedding Anniversary is coming up this weekend and we wanted to take a trip to celebrate.  Neither of us had been to the Bay area before and I am a huge Oakland Raider fan, so we just combined our efforts on this one.  It was an awesome trip!  The Raiders won, which is a rarity these days, but I digress.  We did lots of walking around the city, and climbed tons of hills.  I really loved it, and I could tell that San Fransisco is a much more fit city than Raleigh.  The food was much more healthy and the citizenry were strikingly more active.  This wasn't shocking in the slightest considering the staggering obesity rates here in the south.  I didn't do any workouts while I was there, however, because we just did so much walking and were there for so little time (4 days and 3 nights).  However, I would love to come back and run the Bay to the Breakers next year.  I'm going to cross my fingers that I will be able to take some vacation around that time.

Violator Raider and I
Now that I we have returned, I am still feeling like a mess.  I wouldn't really say that I am Jet Lagged, but my biorhythms are certainly out of sorts.  I could sleep last night and had to leave work after being there only a hour.  I knew that if I stayed I would fall asleep at my desk.  I attempted sleep this afternoon but could only get an hour or two of tossing and turning sleep.  To make matters worse, the temperature in SF was around 70 degrees the entire time we were there, but we have returned to an ungodly 95 to 98 degrees.  I frickin' hate the weather here!  I mean, it is nearly October already!  I waited to go for a run until 6:30pm, but the heat was still brutal.  I was also incredibly out of sorts, and I was just happy to have the run over with.  I did 2.5 miles and stopped off at the gym for a few quick abs and push ups.  I"m just hoping that I will be enough to let me sleep tonight and get my body use to activity again.

Friday, September 17, 2010

KT Tape & a Friday Morning Sunrise Run: 9/17

I'll be doing a bit of traveling over the next few days, which is why I altered my workout plan and will not be running in Umstead tomorrow.  Last night I retaped my feet with KT Tape.  It is more flexible than the tape used by the PA, but it seemed to do the job.  However, the PA also used a medical glue to keep the tape on that I forgot to buy until I had already started my retaping.  The tape is starting to come off at the edges -- I'll need to redo it sooner than I would had I used the glue, but that is OK with me because I want to keep my feet clean.

The exact tape I am using.  Yes, I have giant size 15 Green Feet!

 I don't know that much about KT tape, and I'm really not sure if I should be using it this way, so if anyone who reads this would like to offer up some good advise on what I should be using, please feel free to comment on this Blog! 

I got up a little later than I would normally if I were going to the gym, but since I wasn't taking a class today, I thought that sleeping in until 5am would be a nice little treat.  The 5k run to the State Capitol and back from the Y is mainly flat and even though it is through the city streets usually offers very little traffic at my normal run times.  However I started about 45 mins. later, which meant that I would have to trade seeing the sunrise for more traffic.  Today, it was a good deal because even though their was some cloud cover, I really enjoyed watching the sunrise over the downtown.  The first mile of this morning's run was on of those where your body keeps asking you if you're really sure that this is what you want to be doing, but as I hit mile two and the sun came up everything seemed to come together.  I found a good stride and on the way back came across another runner to pace myself against, which made things all the more pleasant.  I kept finding myself staring up at the sky drifting around in my thoughts as I ran back to the Y.  I wasn't really thinking about anything important or even memorable, but I just felt really relaxed.   Only two things that took me out my mellow running trance: the smells wafting from the IHOP as I ran past -- uhhhh -- bacon grease, and the sight of two drunk college guys, still holding their beers, screaming into a cell phone to their lost taxi driver. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mummy Feet: Day 2 Morning Run & Wed. Sports Conditioning Class!

Okay, My feet aren't mummified, but it does take a bit of time to get used to running with them taped up like they are.  The PA that I saw is a triathlete and swears that I could still run, which I am doing . . . cautiously!  I'll be traveling this weekend and early next week, so I plan to take a few days off, which I hope will help the healing process along.  I did a very short 1 mile run on the track at the Y last night just to get warmed up for my stretching and foam roller.  My feet felt really weird running on all of that tape -- it was like I had borrowed Jimmy Hoffa's shoes because they felt like the bottom the bottoms were filled with cement.  I used yesterday as a both a light and adjustment day rather than just rushing head long into a workout. 

This is not exactly how my feet are taped but very close.

I got up this morning at 4:30am.  It was still dark out while I was running, and just so relaxing.  I love running before dawn before the traffic picks up.  The city is just so peaceful, and it is a great time to set aside life more mundane problems.  This mornings run was particularly noteworthy because the sky was really clear, the stars were stunning, and the air was just cool enough -- right around 64 degrees!  I ran the same 2.67 course from Monday, felt sluggish at points and weird from the tape at others, but overall was really calm throughout the run.  I'm not sure what I was even thinking about for the most part, but I know that I was glad that I had gotten up and ran. 

After the run, I attended 30 Mins. of the sports conditioning class, mainly the abs and legs portion of the class.  My legs felt more sturdy than they did last week, but I still avoided anything closely resembling a hop, skip or a jump.  After the  class, I used the foam roller some more and stretched.  I am feeling good about my treatment.  I feel like there has been some improvement, but it is really too soon to tell.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Medical Report & Advice for Myself and Others Part 2: 8/14/10

I went to the MD yesterday, and my feet are mummified in tape.  He basically told me that I have a combination of plantar faciitis and Achilles tendinitis, and taped up my feet to give the tendon in the bottom of my feet some extra support.  He also showed me some exercises and stretches to use which I talk about in another post.  I've been dealing with these problems most of the summer, so I a really looking forward to moving past them, but I wanted to take sometime to share how I am dealing with all of this because injuries can be more mentally taxing than they are physically.  

The mental side of the weight loss / workout battle is much more difficult than the physical.  I've been stuck at my current weight for over two and a half months.  Also, I have been dealing with Achilles injuries for all of the time.  I have had some rough days where I have let my frustrations get to me a little, but for the most part, I have been able to keep my spirits up.  I have talked before on this blog about how I am an annoyingly optimistic person.  And that is true.  I am an optimist for the most part.  I have my bad days and crappy moments, but I just don't see the point in negativity because it doesn't lead anywhere.  I can get upset that my Achilles is messed up, and I can get frustrated that I can't get one stinking ounce below 270 lbs., but it won't change anything or make me feel any better, so I've decided not to go down that road for if I can avoid it. 

Honestly, these things are temporary frustrations, and life is way too short and often brutal to let them get me down.  Frayed Laces  has this great picture and quote on her blog.  It is her running with a quote that says: "There will be a day when you can no longer do this . . . Today is NOT that day!"  I love this idea, and I've thought about it a least once everyday since I saw it.  And, I don't limit the idea to exercise but extend it to life in general.  One day this frail existence that I call my own dear life will come to an end.  Fact.  So, I should do my utmost to enjoy it as much as I can.  Therefore I've decided that I need to Love this fight! Love the work, the struggle, the small rewards, the crap days, the shitty advice I give myself and others, the morning runs, time with my wife, the injuries, laying out my workout clothes, getting up at 5am, and I even need to love my Achilles pain!  If I Love every bit of this stuff, and I will come to love myself because it is all me. I am the one doing it. No one is doing it for me or to me!  No one is standing in my way. This is my life and how I choose to live it, so I need to love it and enjoy it!  Because one day I won't be able to do any of this . . . but today is sure as hell not that day.  It may be hard for some to understand that I love my Achilles injury, but I do.  Granted, I will be glad when it is healed and won't miss it one bit when it is gone, but I love Achilles injury because it is here challenging me, making me mentally stronger, testing my commitment to myself.  I'll be stronger, smarter, and more appreciative once it is healed, so in reality.  It is a blessing.  A gift.  My Achilles injury, frustrating as it may be is here to help me, so I am going to love it.  I know . . . that you think that I am high, but I'm not!  It is just that the alternative line of thought is nothing more that a treadmill to nowhere.  

Monday, September 13, 2010

Running with Fast People & Heading to the MD: 9/13

Recently, I've been running more alone than as part of my classes, so this morning's run as part of Plycore was a welcome change.  Most of the people who take these classes are in much better shape than I am.  Even though, I have gotten much stronger over the last year, their conditioning is far better than mine, so keeping up with them is always a challenge.  We ran 2.67 miles this morning, but consider I don't have a Gamin yet -- I can't tell you what pace we ran, but I do know that it was much faster than I am currently running when I run on my own.  The first three guy were out about a full two blocks ahead of me by the time we reached the halfway point.  I was able to stay with the next three ladies until we were about two thirds of the way through the course, but the settled in about a half of a block behind them and losing ground quickly.  It was a challenge just to keep up with them as longs as I did and required much more form me than I normally put out.  Normally, I have enough energy to sprint out at the end, but that was not an option on today's run.  I may have been able to pick it up a little but didn't try because that wasn't the point.  My goal is to be able to keep up on these runs at my own normal pace.  I know that it will require a lot of continued effort on my part, but I am committed to my running goals.

After class I did a few cross training exercise on my own because the class stuff was sure to aggravate my Achilles.  I made sure that I stretched a lot, then hit the foam roller.  I can see this being my SOP for a while.  I hope not, but I think it will last this way until I finish my next race on the 9th. 

To that end, I will be going to the MD this afternoon to talk about my heels.  I have been avoiding it because I know that I will be told that I should take some time off from running.  And -- I just can't bring myself to do it.  However, I don't want to take the risk of injury, so I have decided to suck it up and go.  At the very least, I might get a better idea of what is going on with my heels.  Do I have Achilles Tendonites?  Is it Plantar Fasciitis?  Some weird hybrid?  or maybe there is a demon living in there that just hates me?  Who knows, but I hope after today that I will at least have a better idea of what treatment might help.  Also, I will be traveling this weekend, so If i just cross train the remainder of this week and the remainder of next week after I return I might be able to give myself something close to two weeks off from running.  Maybe?  Not promising!?!  Probably won't happen, but we shall see!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Umstead Saturday Sat. the 11th: Grunts & Guts Run

Umstead trail picture found on net

The weather is getting much cooler and the leaves are just beginning to turn, so I don't have to get up before dawn if I want to run when it is cool; however, I wanted to get going at 5am this morning.  It didn't happen.  The alarm went off, but I just couldn't get up.  I slept in until just before 7am, but I managed to get out the door just after 8am.  There was already a high probability that this run was going to be difficult because I had run more in the last two weeks than I have in a long time.  Yesterday had been a rest day, but my legs felt more heavy than rested when I got up and started moving around.  My suspicions that this run was going to be kind of sucky were confirmed when I stumbled in the parking lot before I even started running.  It got worse as I walked the trail to the Company Mill Loop.  I kept misstepping and stumbling, which had me a little concerned about falling.  To make matters worse, I had a hitch-hiker in my shoe and felt like I was going to had to make a numerical pit stop before I even made it to the bridge to begin my actual run.  But, I ignored all of the discomforts and started my run without any delays or stops.  I spent the whole first mile and a half debating about going off the trail somewhere and finding a nice tree to stand behind, but by the second mile my legs felt sacks potatoes, and I knew that stopping anywhere meant my legs were not going to start running again.  By the time I reached the last inclines keeping my legs moving was the only priority.  I actually push myself to run harder up the hill, not because I was trying to prove anything, but because I wanted it to be over with.  Grunting out the last three quarters of a mile was difficult but I actually managed a bit of a sprint because I just wanted the run to end.  after crossing the bridge, I couldn't manage to look more than two feet in front of me, and I had absolutely no aspirations to run any bit of the trail back to the car.  I didn't appreciate nature, could care less about any of the wildlife, and sure as hell didn't want to interact with any of the people, who were passing by me all excited to be starting their hike or run.  I just wanted to get back the parking lot stretch and go home.  Some people would be proud of themselves for gutting out a run like this, and maybe am a little.  But mostly, I am just thinking that I want runs like this one to crop up less often, I want to get better conditioned and understand my body more, so grunting gut runs are an infrequent occurrence.  

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday Plycore: 8/9 Why I Have to Go to This Class!

Of all of the Classes at the Y, Dan's Thursday Plycore is the class that I hate to miss the most.  This was the first morning class that I attended, so it is the class that means the most to me.  My life changed with this class, and I hate to miss it or sit it out.  I know that some people might think the I am overstating things when I say that that one exercise class changed my life, but I wanted desperately to change the way I lived for my entire adult life, but I could never find the fortitude to change until that morning.  The class kicked my ass!!!  Seriously, I am sure that the people in the class feared that I would pass out and die right there in the middle of class.  I could even do half of the exercises that they were doing, and my only real goal was to not give up.  I'll be honest, about twenty minutes into class, I thought that these people are effing insane and I'll never be able to do this class, so I should just go home!  The exercises were difficult, but what was more difficult was fighting though the thoughts in my head.  I kept think that this was a huge mistake -- these people are wearing shirts from marathon's that they have run, and I can't even do ten push ups!  Thoughts like this just streamed through my head, but the clock kept moving and so did I.  When the class was over, I had done less than half of what everyone else had done, sweat twice as much, and smelled worse than everyone combined.  I doubt that any other the class members ever thought that they would see me again, but I knew that I would see them.  My wife took this picture as when I got home.  
That shirt is completely soaked in sweat, but if you notice , I am smiling! 

I guess that somewhere in my mind attending Thursday morning Plycore has come to mean that I haven't given up.  That I am still hanging in there, struggling to make all the changes that I desperately want to make.  So, on Wednesday night, I decided that I would return to Plycore Thursday morning. That night I set out all of my stuff, set my alarms for 4am, and went to bed at around 10pm. I had no problem getting up -- I actually woke up about 5 minutes before my first alarm.  I left my apartment, and when I walked through the doors to class was greeted by Dan and several of the class members, who asked how I was and said that they were wondering why I hadn't been in class.  It felt really good to be back.

However, I had to be realistic because they are primarily running stairs in the class, and there is really nothing that could be worse for my legs than stairs, and running stairs for thirty minutes straight would be beyond stupid of me.  I really do miss taking part in the morning classes.  Even though I almost always keep my I-pod on and don't talk that much I really enjoy being part of the group, which has made these solo workout all the more difficult. So I asked Dan How long he thought that they would be running stairs and he said about thirty minutes, so I told him I would Run 5 kilometers out side and join the class for the last 15 minutes of their workout, which I did.  It felt great to be back because without Plycore, my wife wouldn't have taken this picture of me getting my medal at my first 5K!


Weds. Sports Conditioning & the Foam Roller: 8/8

In accordance with my plan to try and strengthen my lower legs.  I returned to Sports Conditioning Class this week.  I also miss taking part in the classes, which I mentioned in my last post.  My plan was to take the first half hour of class and then go off and Stretch and use the foam roller.  I really wanted to do the ab portion of class and then do the lower leg portion that usually comes next, but I also knew that I would need to avoid the jump rope and jump squats.  I replaced these exercises with heel raises and regular squats.  The abs were a little difficult because I had done Bryan's Toning Class less about 12 hours earlier, which was ab intensive.  The single leg squats were not too bad, which was somewhat shocking.  The leg raises were not fun however, but I wasn't really worried about how my achillies would be during class because it mainly flares up after I have been sitting or inactive rather than while it is in use. 

I did leave the class after thirty minutes like I had planned, so that I could stretch and use the foam roller.  I was able to take my time stretching.  I the roller really seems to make my legs feel better.  It isn't a pleasant feeling in the least, but the roller does seem to reach deeper into the muscle than ordinary stretching.  If you are having leg pain I really recommend giving the roller a try.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Toning Tuesday: 9/7

Needed this class badly!  Tuesday was one of those days where you just have watch life just pile it on someone that doesn't deserve it.  All that you can do is offer your support and hope that the person is strong enough to deal with everything.  I can't really tell you how I felt when I left work,  I guess it was a  combination useless and sullen.  Nothing had happen to me directly, but I still felt like crap.  I just wanted to get to the gym so that I could do something physical and hopefully turn off my mind.  I took the Toning  class which was tough, but not tough enough for me to escape my thoughts.  We did a lot of abs and leg work.  Both things that I need. 

I am going to try to attend more of the classes, so I can work on strengthening my leg muscles.  My heels need the support.  I don't want to do too much, so I will be skipping some exercises, leaving early to do extra stretching, and making use of the foam roller as much as I possible.  I did a good stretch after this class and made use of the roller, which I think helped a lot.  I miss attending classes because they give me a sense of camaraderie that I really like.  I don't mind running alone, but I am not fond of doing exercises alone.  Abs, push ups, and lunges are a better when done with friends.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Umstead Labor Day -- Three Naps and Four Miles of Spider Webs: 8/4 & 8/6

On both Saturday and Monday, I ran the same trail that I've been running: the Loop of the Company Mill Trail.  Saturday's run was good, but not as great as last week.  By the time I got the the beginning of the loop I was chomping at the bit to run.  I could tell right away that my pace was too fast, and that I would be forced to back down at some point, but I just couldn't hold myself back.  It felt as if I were really monstering it until I hit the utility road.  I got there much quicker than I had anticipated.  I reeled it in a bit after I crossed the road and was still doing well on at about the two miles, but then I hit the up hill portion of the trail leading back to the utility road, and I felt every mile that I had run that week smack dab in the middle of my quads.  My pace slowed a great deal during the up hill, and by the time I crossed the utility road again, I was grunting it out.  Luckily, I was able to recover some energy during a couple of tricky down hill spots and was able to finish off the last bit respectably. 

After the run I was wiped out.  My wife and I were going to the NC State game that night and had some errands before hand.  I took a nap after I got home from the run, another nap after we got home from our errands, and another one after the game and before dinner.  I was just beat.  Sunday, I just stayed home watched movies and read running blogs. 

Monday's run was much better but had it's own issues.  And by issues I mean 4 miles of spider webs.  I got to the park just after 7am, even though the hours are from 8am to 8pm the gate has been open when I've gotten their at that 7 on Saturday's.  I guess that since it was a holiday they were waiting until 8am or were too short staffed to open the all of the gates early.  There were already at least eight cars parked outside of the gate, and almost all of them had some sort of triathalon or Marathon related bumper stickers!  Love it!  So I pulled in right behind the last car, and I made my way to my trail.  I figured that surely someone had already gone down the trail before me.  But, alas, I was mistaken!  The only thing that had been down that trail were raccoons and snakes, and their tracks were fresh!  Also, all of the spider webs were in tact.  I know because I cleared the entire first mile of the lead trail, and then nearly the entire loop.  I didn't see another person until just after I crossed over the utility road for the second time, which adds up to about 4 miles of spider webs.  By the end of it my hair was in absolutely no need of any gel!  Overall this run was much better.  My legs felt fresh, and I paced myself better at the beginning of the run (because I was looking out for snakes on the trail).  I was still running strong as I completed the loop, which only took me 45mins.  It was really a great run!
However, I am coming down from a major running high -- I can feel it. Can you say Junkie boys and girls? Although my goals are still weight loss centered, I can tell that there has been a major shift in my focus. I still like when the scale is kind to my, but it feels so much better when the clock is kind. The scale is a fickle mistress, who loves to screw with your mind, but the clock is the super sexy, above playing games, and speaks with direct mathematical honesty. It's refreshing! I have had the feeling for a while that I needed some sort of competitive direction for my training. Weight loss just for the sake of weight loss is a wonderful thing, but I think that it is difficult to sustain. It is easy to get frustrated because your goals are not being achieved, and just as easy to lose focus once your goal has been reached, so I've thought for sometime that I needed a sport or hobby to focus my activities. Also, I've always felt like I missed out on something because I didn't take part in any real competitive sports in school. I wasn't on any of the teams in High School (unless you count chess . . . yes . . . I was on the chess team!), nor did I do anything competitively in college -- not even on the intramural level -- which I have always regretted.  I played sports until around Jr. High, but I quit mainly because I was playing football and baseball, which I loved but wasn't really any good at. I lacked the concentration and aggression needed for football, and I just sucked at baseball. And even though the idea of Cross Country always appealed to me, I thought that I was too big to run and honestly was too scared to try. Also, because of my size, there was always pressure to play football anytime the topic of sports came up, so I avoided the topic in general.

Now, I find myself on the back end of my 30's, and I am filled with this overwhelming desire to both run and compete. I have no delusions of ever being anything more than average runner, and I know that I still need to lose around 50 pounds. But, I can't get running out of my head, I am talking about it all the time, I have a Garmin 205 in my cart on Amazon and have told my wife not to even think about getting me anything else for Christmas, I am truly obsessed. My Achilles has been injured for around two months.  And it made me crazy to stop running. It is getting better (I think), but I know that it would heal quicker if I took some more time off, but that is just not an option. I already have my next two races planned out, but I can't help looking for more. The achilles are really improving, and I think that if start to strengthen the muscles around them that they will get better. The morning stiffness and pain is nearly gone, and I hardly have any problems throughout the day, but it still is not to the point where it feels 100%. I am frustrated a by it and really tired thinking how my achilles are doing. I know that the people around me are tired of hearing me talk about it!

Last week people kept asking me if I had any plans for Labor Day weekend , and I would get all excited and tell them how I was going to go running in Umstead Park on both Saturday and Monday!!! They would just stare back at me like I was a Fucking idiot an idiot because of course for them "plans" meant trips to the beach or the mountains -- Not running in a park 10 mins from my apartment. But, truly that is all that I can think about these days. I've been reading running blogs like other guys read porn ( I'll give you links later). Currently, my wife is humoring me -- meaning she listens to me talk about running until it is too much and then just goes into English off mode, which is easy for her since English isn't here native tongue. She just flips a switch in here mind and filters out anything that isn't Japanese -- and then the smile and nod fest begins, but the worst part is that I am so desperate to talk to someone about running that . . . it works for me!!  But, I am not sure how much longer it will work for her!?!  So, I need to find another outlet for all of this quickly!

Blog Links:

Fitness Junky
The Boring Runner (He's not)
Frayed Laces

Monday, September 6, 2010

Another Car Share 1.67 mile dash: Friday 8/3

I was off on Friday, so I slept in!  My wife took the car to work, which was no problem.  I had some stuff to do later in the day, and I needed to do a shorter run.  Everything just fit into place, so I ran from our apartment to her work again and picked up the car.  Our little car share system worked really well once again.  I used to do this on my bike all the time, but now that I am running more, it just makes so much sense.  I can also make this into a longer run really easy on weekends if I want.  I probably won't be doing much of that until the weather turns bad and I can't run in Umstead or one of the other local nature parks.  This short little run was just what I needed because I was planning two Umstead run for the three day weekend and wanted to have a little rest up before hand.

Thursday 9/2: Morning Run

I was wiped out Wednesday morning and overslept.  Not a little either, I had my alarms (three of them set for 4am, but my wife had to wake me at 6am so that I wouldn't be late for work.  I took it as a sign that I just need to give myself a day off.  Plus, I wanted to see how my achilles would react to a full days rest.  I got up on time Thursday morning, but opted not to go to Ply Core because I figured that they would be running stairs for most of the class.  I decided to run down to the capitol again and do my 5k route.  My achilles were feeling better, not fully healed, but considering all of the running that I have been doing, I really shouldn't complain -- I will -- but I know that I shouldn't.  I enjoy running in the morning just before sun up.  When I leave my apartment, I can still see the stars in the sky and get to enjoy the sunrise as I am leaving the gym .  I never thought that I would be a morning person, but I am now.  Thursday morning was a really great morning for a run through the city.  The run went off with out a hitch, very little traffic on the street.  I got off to a really good start.  I attempted to really soak in this run, enjoy it, and not let the moment escape me.  I did however make a point to sprint out the last portion 10th of a mile.  I wanted to end it on a strong note rather than just ease on home.  I wanted to feel those big deep breaths of cool morning at the end of the run.  I really like this side of running, which is probably why I don't mind running alone.  I never really get bored on runs.  Granted, my longest run are around 45 to 50 mins. but still I doubt that it will ever be a problem for me.used to be when I was younger.  I used to say that that was why I didn't like running, but I doubt that that was true.  I was just lazy!  As long as I have my I-pod, I am sure it will never be an issue, but I don't think that it will be one if I ran without it. 

After the run I stretched, did some abs, and hit the foam roller, which just sorted me out like you wouldn't understand.  I miss going to my classes, but I am enjoying my running more than I care to attempt to explain.   I know that I need to get in some cross training or I will regret it later. 

Tuesday Two-a-day: Had a Feel It Would Hurt . . . 8/31 Toning Class & AM 5k Run

Since the Y had canceled their classes in order to refurbish the floors last week, I spent the entire week running and did not one crunch or push up.  The closest I came to a push up was when I lowered myself on the ground to look under my car so that I could make sure my neighbors cat wasn't under it, and I am pretty certain that doesn't count.  I knew for sure that the afternoon toning class was going to be a giant suck fest!  And, I thought to myself: how can I make it worse?  I thought this because . . . sometime . . . I like to piss myself off  challenge myself.  So in the morning, I got up and ran 5 kilometers just to make sure that the class would be a grand old giant suck fest times two . . . And . . . it was . . . it was . . .it was!  Push ups, bicycles, planks, they all sucked big time!  The worst was the side planks because at one point I thought that my kidney was going to pop out!  I would like to say that by the end I was starting to enjoy it, but that would be a bold face lie.  I was happy that it was over.  End of story!  I stared at the clock for the last five minutes, thought about crying, and just prayed that it would end.  The bigger problem is that right now I am still in full on running mode, and even though I know I need to attend more conditioning classes, all that I really want to do is run.  I am going to have to rectify this after the labor day holiday or life will just suck when I start doing more conditioning once the weather gets bad.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Numeric Interruption Run: Sunday Aug. 29th

August is quickly fading and won't be missed.  It hasn't been an awful month by any means, but I am no fan of summers in the South.  The weather seems to entering into a more moderate phase with fewer days feeling like a punishment from God!  The previous days run in Umstead Park had me on a real high, and Sunday's weather was just too good for me to take the rest day that I needed.  So after spending the morning debating about going for a run, I did what I knew that I was going to do all along and threw on the new running shoes.  Now. I'll admit that this was not the best idea.  I really was in need of a rest day, and even though I was able to run in my new shoes the day before I really did need some time to just get use to the new insole.  But, like the Good little Cancerian Crab that I am I got my little claw around this idea and would not let it go. 

I decided that since it was nearly noon that I would just run around my neighborhood because even though the temperature was in the low 80's, it was rising quickly, and the Sun was already beating down pretty hard.  My neighborhood has a lot of nice shady trees, so I hoped that this would provide some relief.  However, I didn't really matter all that much because this run was going to suck for a variety of reasons that no shade tree could help.  I finished my warm up and had run for about 5mins when I realized that I had a pressing numeric issue if you catch my drift.  Now had the value been any greater than 1, I'd have been heading straight for home, but considering it was less than two I decided to go find a public restroom that I could duck into.  I live very near NC States campus and was only about a block away from the library, so I headed off in that direction.  I doubted that anyone would notice me since it was Sunday afternoon on the second weekend of school and a gorges day.  I could pretty much guarantee that the library would be empty except for a few international graduate students and the checkout attendant.  Luckily, I know that library like the back of my hand, so I was able to go straight to the nearest restroom without drawing any attention to my sweaty self.  After, my pit stop I decided to go and run on the intramural field, which is a nice place to run -- very flat with well maintained grass.  However, as soon as I got there and started to run around the field, my I-pod decided that it had to die.  I knew that it was on it's last leg because too much sweat gotten into it and had started to act like it is possessed: turning on when it wants, skipping songs, ignoring the hold switch.  But I was hoping to get another few weeks out of it, but the sucker was toast, and I took that as the final sign that I shouldn't have attempt this run, so I went on home before things got any worse.   If you want an example of worse just follow this link: Frayed Laces: $150 pit stop mistake

Friday, September 3, 2010

Return to Umstead: Sat. 8/28

Armed with new shoes and determined to take advantage of some great weather, I made my return to Umstead park.  I felt really great after my first run in the park and have been eager to return ever since.  This time I wanted to run the entire Company Mill Trail Loop, which is around 3.8 miles.  The trail has several hills and can be a little narrow in places, but I have wanted to run it for a long time.  The last time I ran in Umstead, I cut across the utility road rather than running the more difficult upper section of the trail.  I had decided on that route before I began because I wasn't sure if I was ready for the full distance.  At the time, it was a wise choice, but after running my second 5k and armed with new shoes I was felling great about the prospects of the morning run.  My achilles felt much better after the rest, and the new insoles were giving me a lot of confidence.  The store attendant warned me that I should walk around in the the shoes for a day or two before running just to get used to the insole, but that recommendation went right out the window.  He'd of had better luck asking me to read the instruction manual to a new car before I drove it!  

Saturday morning and I was standing in The parking lot at Umstead looking around at all the runners forming groups, stretching, some preparing for runs while others were finishing, I felt like this was right were I needed to be at this moment.  I didn't feel the least bit out of place or at odds with myself, which for me is a rarity.  I don't often handle new social setting well internally.  Externally, I don't think that most people are aware of tumult of my canerian soul, which is a good thing.  I decided that I would once again walk to the trail that leads to the base of the loop as a warm up, then run the loop, and walk the trail back as a cool down.  Things started rather oddly when about halfway down the trail a mixed bag of runners were stopped in the middle of trail do the a rather testy copperhead (poisonous) snake.  I stood their like a bitch waited while a woman poked it with a stick until it decided to move off of the trail.  After that I made my way to the loop and started my run.  Everything went really well!  The new shoes were doing get and my achilles felt stable.  The first mile went by fairly well.  It has one pretty good hill which was no problem.  Also, I wasn't fighting the trail, which felt very natural, and I wasn't worried at all about twisting an ankle or falling.  After crossing over the utility road and beginning the second mile, I started to notice that I was running a lot stronger than I am accustom to running and was still able to sing along with my I-pod (OK . . . sing is an overstatement considering I am tone deaf -- I could speak the words in a rhythmically challenged sort of way)!  After I crossed back over the utility road and was headed  back toward the bridge, I expected to start to lose steam, but I really didn't.  In fact, when the bridge came into sight I was really shocked -- my exact words were "you've got to be shitting me!" -- I had no idea that I was that close to the bridge.  After I crossed the bridge, I knew that I could continue the run back to my car and was tempted to do it, but I decided to stick with my plan and walked out.

I made a point to try to enjoy my walk back to the parking lot.  I looked at the sunlight shinning thought the trees and just stay in the moment.  This moment felt exactly like I had hoped.  So few thing in our lives live up to or expectations, but this run had.  After I returned home I told my wife about in an annoyingly detailed and ecstatic manner, but she loved me enough to listen, which is about all I can ask.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Friday Aug. 27th: Short Run and A Shoe Fitting

I ended up taking the better part of three days off in order to let my body rest and my achilles recover after running the 5k and my mistake run on Monday.  Fortunately, the class at the gym were all canceled, so I didn't have to feel like I was skipping anything.  I did do a little stretching session on Thursday, but I wasn't anything of note.  I thought about taking Friday off as well, but I couldn't hold myself in check any longer.  Instead I went for short run.  My wife and I both needed the car our car on Friday, which isn't normally a problem because we both live within 2 miles of our jobs and own bikes.  We use as our normal mode of transportation.  However, with my achilles acting up, I have been driving most of the month, my wife wasn't feeling well and needed to drive to work.  Since she had to be at her work earlier than I needed to be at mine, I told her to drive the car and I would just run to her work then drive home, shower, eat, and go to work.  It was a great way to handle both of our needs for the car, and since she would be working a little overtime anyway.  I could work my regular work day and pick her up without her having to walk home or wait on me.  The run was 1.67 miles with two nice little hills, exactly what I needed after a layoff.

After work, I dropped my wife off  and picked up all of my running shoes changed into some shorts and went to Fleet Feet for a fitting.  I spent about an hour there talking about the problems I have been having then trying on different shoes and insoles, until we found the combination that worked best for me.  I ended up getting some Superfeet insole, which I hope will combine with my new shoes to improve my achilles. They are not your regular soft insole, but a hard insole designed to support your feet more than cushion.  They take some time getting use to, but I've noticed a marked improvement in my Achilles since I have worn them.

I am not prepared to say that my problems have been solved, but thinking back, my problems began around the time I bought new shoes.  I  recently read over my blog and compared that to my bank statement and noticed that the pain started about a month after I bought my last pair of shoes.  So it is could a least be a factor.  And when you consider the haphazard way I have gone about selecting shoes in the past . . . I am kind of ashamed to say this, but this was my first proper shoe fitting.  I wear size 15 shoes, and I grew up in a small town where the shoe buying options were limited, when I would go shoe shopping I would be lucky if the store had two pairs of shoes to try on.  The town where I went to college was the same way, and I never once bought shoes when I lived in Japan because I was a giant there.  I always had someone buy them for me in the states and mail them to me.  So, it never entered in my mind that I might have options concerning foot wear until recently.  My habit had always been ask for a size 15, see if it fit, buy it, and go home and wear it until it falls off.  But, I recently started noticing that most of the shoe store around my stocked a lot of 15's, which caused me to think that I should invest more time in my shoe shopping.  Also, one of my friends who runs and blogs gave her local Fleet feet a ring endorsement: Running in Circles: Fleet Feet.  The push I needed came when one of their staff members came to the Y and provided some details about their store and services to the members.  I spoke with her for a good 15 mins. and it was her suggestion that I bring in all of my current shoes when I came to the store, which I thought was a great idea.  Well now that I have what I hope will is proper footwear for me, I might be able to enjoy my workouts more and worry less about injury.