Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Demon that Never Let Lettie Mae Thornton Make Hoecakes

I am in desperate need of a race!  The Krispy Kreme Challenge, which I ran at the beginning of the month doesn't count.  It was a random act of extreme stupidity in which I am happy to say I took part, but it does not satisfy my need for a race.  The last race I ran in was the NHL All Star 5k, which ran while jetlagged out my mind from a 10 hour flight and only six days removed from running The Harold Chapson 8k, so to say that the NHL5k was not a chalked full of nutty goodness great time for me is a vast effin' understatement!  To put it bluntly, it sucked ass.  I showed up, froze my butt off, ran, and went the fuck home.  Therefore, my 8k in Hawaii was really my last honest to goodness race that satisfied the demon living inside me, which compels me to haul my big ass out to to race once a month so I can push myself to my vomit threshold.  Now, my demon is not as big of an asshat as The Demon that never let Lettie Mae Thornton make hoecakes, but trust me they're kin, and he's a Fucker nonetheless!
"Oh, my fuckin' God. Girl, this about to get ugly."

Now, over the course of the last few months, I have come to consider myself a serious runner.  Note, I did not say fast runner.  I am fat not fast, but I am serious!  I think about running all the time.  I train for running.  I read about running.  Given half the chance, I'll talk your ear off about my latest run.  And when I do get to race, I DO NOT dress up in costume, I do not take pictures with my cell phone (OK, I did take pictures with my camera in Hawaii but that was because I was a tourist and allowed to make a jackass of myself), I do not chat/wave to the crowd as I trot by, what I do is try to run myself into the ground.  And, I LOOOOOVE IT!  In fact, you know what I hate most about a race?  Waiting for the volunteer to pull my timing chip off at the end of the race because usually by then I am close the point of either blacking out, vomiting, or wetting myself -- note to insert your own Charlie Sheen Reference at your leisure.

So what am I getting at?  Just this . . . I need a race!  I am signed up for and 8k on March 5th, but my demon is impatient, and 9 days is like nearly as long as Charlie Sheen can take rehab ! So, I have attempted to placating my Demon with two-a-days at the gym.   Yesterday, I took Lisa's Sport's Conditioning Class twice: once in the morning before work and again after.  I was able to get Hiro to do the afternoon class with me, which made it hurt a little less.  We did station with 7 sets of 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest for each exercise.  In the morning class (which is a little longer) we did sprints for the last 5 minutes of class.   We did:

Push ups
Back extension
side plans
side shuffles with weights
shuttle runs
Mt. Climbers on a basketball
Toe tap quad exercise

I was beat by the end of the second class, but you know what . . . this morning, I was still looking to see if I could find a race on Saturday in which to late register.  Haven't done it yet, but really . . .  really want to do it!  The demon says that I can Make some Hoecakes if I register!

Tuesday's with Toning: 2/22

Tuesday's afternoon Toning class is becoming a real staple of my workout week because it is a class that is easy for Hiroko and I to attend together.  Hiroko can't make the morning classes because of her work and her unwillingness to wake up.  Honestly, when Hiroko is sleepy, it is like dealing with a belligerent drunk (minus the the smell of cheap liquor, vomit, and urine).  So, I long ago gave up on the idea of getting her to attend the morning workout classes with me.  Afternoon classes and runs are a definite maybe, but unless we are talking about a race, even asking her to attend anything before 10am with me is a waste of a good 14 seconds of my life.  Luckily, Toning class is an easy sell because Hiroko HATES HATES HATES being cold, and unlike the nOg run or the Fleet Feet Social run, Toning Class is all in doors!
This weeks class was taught by Jana and it was the first time that either Hiroko or I had taken a class with her.  I enjoyed the class immensely because not only was her class awesome, but her comments had me crackin' up.  I don't mind instructors, who don't say that much and greatly prefer the silent type over someone that thinks they're funny and isn't, or the type that feel the need to drone on and on because they
can't stand silence.  (Here is a hint I might offer to any instructor type -- if a dude drags himself to you 6am workout class the night after his favorite hockey team loses a game 7 and can still muster the pride to wear their T-shirt to class, DON'T look at this a conversation starter!  It will probably end badly and make everyone in the room just a bit uncomfortable.) 

 Anyway . . . Still a little bitter . . . but . . . where was I . . . oh yeah . . . . Jana's Toning Class Awesomeness!  Along with some hilarious banter, you get a very balanced workout that leaves you feeling like you worked out hard, but doesn't cause you to hate the fact that you worked out hard, which I think is the point of a Toning class.  She used two sets of dumbbells: one heavy and one light, but must of the exercises were just body weight exercises.  She varied her rep count and the speed of the reps to add intensity to the workout.  Also, she made sure to balance out the areas worked.  She hit the the back and hamstrings as well as the abs and quads.  And, in my opinion balancing out a workout is a tell-tale sign of a quality fitness instructor.  Far too often, instructors will pile on the ab and quads work to the point that you are plotting their death by the end of class, but completely ignore the back and hamstrings, which over time leads to muscle imbalances and injuries.  Once, I notice that an instructor focuses on easy to work areas like quads and core, I tend to avoid their class because I start to wonder what else might they be doing wrong that I don't realize.  Therefore, I was really impressed when our instructor not only worked our back and hamstrings but commented upon the need to do so. 

After class both Hiroko and I agreed that we got a quality workout.  Personally, after the Two-a-day on Monday, this well balanced workout was just what I needed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

10 Day of X-mas & the nOg Run Two-a-Day: 2/21

Hiroko had the day off on Sunday, and we decided to laze around.  I didn't feel as tired as I had the week before, but I still thought that a day off would be a good idea because I was planning a two-a-day for Monday.  I wanted to get up and go to Dan's 4:45am Sports Conditioning Class, but I was already struggling to get up in time when Basil decided to drink the glass water that I had left beside the bed.  So, after cleaning water off the floor and the cat, there was noway that I was going to make class on time.  Therefore, I decided to just workout on my own.  I figured that I hadn't done a 12 days of Christmas workout in a long time, and it was long overdue.  However, I ended up having to cut it a little short in order to make it to work on time (hey, they pay me and considering the economic times . . .); I ended up doing a 10 days of Christmas.

  1. Stairs and a lap around the track
  2. 1 and lap around the track
  3. 1,2, and leg lifts (each leg)
  4. 1, 2, 3, Fire Hydrants w/ leg extension (each leg)
  5. 1-4, push ups
  6. 1-5, Bicycles
  7. 1-6, Burpees
  8. 1-7 Prisoner Squats and leg raises
  9. 1-8 Arm Extensions
  10. 1-9 Cross over crunches (each side)
After the tenth round I was pretty beat, and knew that rounds 11 and 12 would take almost as long as the first 6 rounds had taken, so I just called it quits right there.

After work Hiroko and I went to the nOg run, which was MANDATORY considering it was 76 frickin' degrees outside in FEBRUARY (Monday @ Noon 74 / Tuesday @  Noon 39 WTMFH!?!) !!!!  Seriously, Mother Nature, why do you got to be screwing with my mind like this.  You and your freakin' mind games!  Honestly, I loved the perfect day, but it is shit like this that pisses me off about Raleigh because I just want some effin consistency -- my sinuses are going to go DECON 1 on me!

Also, The Tir Na nOg Running Club was doing a food drive, which I was really happy about because I organize food drives at my work at least twice year, and I know just how important events like this are to our local food banks.  I really liked that the food drive also coincided with my 10th nOg run, which qualifies me for my free nOg Run Tech shirt.  It seemed like a nice confluence of two thing which I care about: running and service.

I was really glad that Hiroko attended the run with me, even though she said that the only reason she did was for the $1 pasta buffet after the run.  Despite the claim that she was only there for the food, she hung in and ran really strong.  I had my best time yet for any of the nOg runs, but I am not really sure that I would call it my best run.  I have run stronger before I bought Old Bob, but I can only guess what about the time.  Today's run was also left me a more winded than other runs have.  Granted, this was a two-a-day, but fact are fact, I was sucking wind after this run.

I ran 2.80 in 24:17.81 which is a 8.39 pace.

Mile 1 8:29.08
Mile 2 8:59.91
The last .80 6:48.82 which is an 8:27 pace.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just Puttin in the Work: 2/19

Most weeks, I can't wait for my Saturday run.  However, this week . . . not so much.  I worked out fairly hard this week, plus I had been on some medication for my sinuses, which was turning my digestive track into a freakin horror show.  By the end of the week, I was feeling fairly well worked over and really wanted no part of any kind of run(s).  Nonetheless, I knew that I needed to do at least four miles in order to complete my workout plan for the week.  And, I also knew that my last run had just sucked so bad that I needed to put it in the past asap.  Still, I sat around playing with my cat, Basil, and watching hockey, until it became apparent that I either had to go run or risk spending the rest of the day trying to traverses a netherworld of self-recrimination.  And, personally I try to avoid all netherworlds, alternate dimensions, and the State of Texas at all costs.  So, I decided that I this run was going to get RAN.  I decided that I needed to go somewhere that I hadn't been in a while, but that I was familiar enough with so that I wouldn't be getting in over my head.  Also, if it was a place where I could get to my car quickly or a somewhat clean restroom rather quickly -- all the better!  The only place that I could think of outdoors was Shelley Lake and considering the weather was frickin' rockin' . . . Shelley Lake it was. 

In fact, Shelley Lake was just about perfect.  It is about a 15 min drive from where I live,  has a two mile paved trail that loops around the lake, which is nothing more than a big pond really, the parking lot is close at hand, and there is a public restroom which would do in and case of extreme emergency.  The trail is mostly flat with only a few minor inclines; however, it is very busy with walkers, bikers, dogs, and kids on the weekends.  I used to take my old dog Jon Doe their for walks the first time I lived in Raleigh in the early 90's, but I have only been back once or twice in the last five years, so I knew that I wouldn't be either bored or surprised by the course. 

I decided to do two laps around the lake and call it a day!  Honestly, dare I say that I felt like . . . Crap.  However, as tired and worn out as I felt, I was determined to gut out these four mile and not stop unless I had no other recourse.  The first mile was a little rough, and I felt stiff.  However, it went by really quickly because I had never run more than a few feet anytime that I had been to Shelley Lake in the past.  Jon Doe would have loved to go for a run, but running was not my thing at that point in my life (sitting on my ass and eating Doritos was more my thing).  So what had seemed in the past like a fairly long trail just Zooooooomed right on by in my mind.  I ran it in 8:56.84

The second mile had one minor incline and decline, also you run atop a retraining wall for the lake, so it is a bit breezy. But all in all the second mile is just a easy as the first and had I been in a better frame of mind to start with, I am sure that I would have just loved this run.  During the second mile, I gave thought to maybe doing a 5th mile, but those thoughts were fleeting.  I did the second mile in 8:50.93

Mile 3 was a repeat of mile 1, and I really wanted to improve on mile ones time, but I was looking forward to finishing more than running, struggling more that I should have been, and thinking about how quickly Thursday's run had gone south, therefore I decided not to push too hard and just try to maintain my pace.  I did mile 3 in 8:58.98

Mile 4 just came and went I pushed myself through it by just thinking about getting in my car and going home.  And what do you know, it was my fastest mile.  I finished it in 8:41.01.  Used the walk back to my car as a cool down stretched right on the edge of the parking lot and headed home!

I did 4miles in 35:29.02 for a 8:51 pace.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Welcome to Craptastica! 2/17/11

Recently, I have become aware of the Paradox that exists as little old me.  Outwardly, I'm jaded, sarcastic, and have a sense of humour that makes the Mojave Desert look like a effin' wetland.   But, on the inside there lives this annoying optimistic version of myself that is constantly looking at the bright side of things (and loves Musicals.)  Who Knew?  I sure as hell didn't until Hiroko pointed it out to me.  Well, one thing that I have realized, since I have started running, is that my glass is half full nature has really aided me in dealing with the ups and downs of running.  And Yesterday, was one of those days where it was a really good thing that I am the way I am . . . Because, yesterday's run . . . SUUUuuuuUUUCKED!

Hiroko and I attended the Fleet Feet Social Run, and we did the same 4 mile course that I ran last week.  However, this time, I was hurting from the two-a-day that I had done on Wednesday.  I thought that I would get loose once I got warmed up, but in a work, NAAAAAA!  The first two miles were all right.  I was doing 9 minute miles, which is just a touch slower than my normal pace, but the third mile was real . .  real bad.  I was able to keep my pace up, but I was hurting and knew that I was going to have to walk part of the fourth mile.  Hiro and the other lady, who ran with us blew right by me as I dropped off at the three mile mark.  Mile four: just blew chunks, I ran walk all the way in.  At one point, Hiro even stopped and started coming back to see it I was alright before I waved her on.  My legs were just tight, sore, and felt like tree trunks.  I kept telling myself that if I walked just a few seconds more then I would be able to run again.  Each time I started running, I knew that I just didn't have the heart for it.  No matter how much I tried to gut it out.  I would end up dropping back down to a walk.

Honestly, it was a touch humiliating after I took off and left the group the week before because I wanted to be an asshat run faster.  I would say that it was runner's karma, but I know that it was just that I tried to run one mile more than my legs had in them.  After the run, when I finally caught up to the Hiro and the other lady, who were waiting for me a the top of the last hill.  All I could think about was running on Saturday.  I told Hiro how I don't really mind crappy runs every now and then because you lean more from them than you do from the good one, which is when she pointed out my half-full mentality for the 13,392 time.  Even now, reflecting back on the run, I am kind of glad that it happened.  I have had a string of good runs recently, but I haven't been pushing my workouts the way that I have over the last two weeks.  I know that if I am serious about meeting my goals, I am going to be spending more time in Craptastica, so I had better get used to it!

The days run total was 4.00 miles in 38:23.52 for a 9:35 pace.
Mile 1: 9:07.34
Mile 2: 8:51.25
Mile 3: 9:11.20
Mile 4: 11:12.98 ----WTF!?!

The day's Biking totals were 4.33 miles in 29:46 burning 479

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Putting a Ring on My Crazy: 2/16

Alright Folks, it's time for me to commit to my crazy. 
I've been flirting with my crazy for some time now, but my crazy looks fine to me, and it's time I put a ring on it cause there is no other crazy out there that I want to be with.  I have spent most of my adult life dedicated to a purely sedimentary lifestyle, and I came to push 330lbs., I had a killer DVD and book collection, and I hated myself .  Well, over the last year, I have changed, become active, lost weight, and run some races.  But, I've been holding back, and asking myself questions like, "Greg, what's really going to change if you lose another 40lbs or can run 7 min. miles?  What difference in your life is it going to make?"  While I struggled to find an answer, I let myself get into a funk because I wasn't losing as much weight as I wanted, wasn't meeting my running goals, my exercise classes started to suck, and my feet hurt like a mother.  Waaa Waaa Waaa!

In December, I found myself at a crossroad because the weight was coming back, I slipped from 270 to 280, and I was lying to myself that my races were getting harder because of the courses and not the size of my ass, consoled myself by saying things like, "I may not win my age group, but I sure as hell win my weight class."  Fine, most guy's  the go 6'1" 280 can't run 8 and 9 min. miles.  But, here is the thing, I am not happy being one of the few that can!  If I were, that would be one thing, but I am not.  In fact it pisses me off more that I can because I keep thinking, what would it be like if I wasn't the same weight as an Adult Male Ostrich.  And as for the question that I keep asking myself, here is the answer, "Damn if I know, but there is only one way to find out!"

Over the last month and a half I've been making some efforts to get back to where I was in June and July, but the thing is that I want to go beyond that.  I want to go, truly, stark raving mad on this shit because  . . . I liiiiike it! I want to run my guts out every time that I run.  I want every workout to end with the strong possibility of a stroke some mild vomiting.  I love when a workout or a run leaves me drenched in sweat, dizzy, eye's blood shot, and looking like I might fall over gasping for air.  I don't want to count towards our nations obesity statistics, and I don't want to have to by my clothes at Old Navy because they got my size.
So here is the deal folks, 40 more lbs would bring me down to 240, a weight that I haven't seen since Clinton's first term.  I'll be there before the end of this year, injuries and illness be damned.  So, yesterday, I decided to just let my crazy run wild!

Yesterday's workout was a two-a-day.  I got up around 4am and decided to run to the gym.  I did the 1.63 mile run in 14:31.32 for an 8:54 pace.  The streets were clear, the sky was dark, and the air was cool, and a great time was had by all (and by all I mean . . . me).  I did mile 1 in  9:22.41and the last
.63 in 5:08.93 for an 8:10 pace.

After my run, I went to the 30/30 Spin & Strength class.  I had to cut out 15 minutes of the Strength portion in order to get to work (hey, they pay me, so I feel the obligation).  This was my first Spin Class, and it wasn't bad at all.  I worked up a good sweat.  And, it was good to change up from running all the time.  I would prefer to be out riding my bike, but you know, it is nice not having to worry about some NASCAR fan, out to prove that he's a better driver the Danica Patrick, on his way to work, flying down Western Blvd., and turning Franken-bike and I into a mix matched jigsaw puzzle.  The Strength portion of the class that I stayed for was Push Ups, One Legged Squats, planks, some jump rope hops, etc.  After the class, I jogged to Hiroko's work as a cool down, and picked up the car.

I felt good after my morning workout, but not dead . . . my goal for the day was to feel zombified, so I decided to attend Lisa's evening boot camp after work.  I have never atteneded her boot camp, but it was an awesome workout.  Class started at 6:15, but I got there about 10 minutes early and she had early arrivals start out on the track as they arrived.  We had the choice of walking, Jogging, or Running.  I ran.  We stayed on the track until about six 6:20.  I am no fan of the track at the Y because it is a super small, tight (15 laps = a mile), indoor track and only has room for 2.5 people to go around at a time.  So if there two people walking slowly side by side and chatting, it will cause problems.  However last night, I wanted to run.  And just figured that people will have to learn that the track is not where you go to walks slow and chat . . . hell you can't even hear for all the noise comming of the basketball courts.

Anyway, I was going around the track at a good pace, peope were running in fear for thier lives, when some tall skinny dude just blew past me with no effort, followed by another slightly bigger guy right on his heels, so I thought for a second. . . Do I really want to look like an total asshat and try to keep up with these guys until class starts in about 5mins or do I want to go about my merry way.  Now, I must say that just before going to this class I had been reading This Race Report by the Angry Runner, which may have effected my decision making process, along with the fact that I HATE tall skinny fast guys! So, I  . . . uh . . .chose to go the asshat route and fell in right on their heels.  I was able to stay with them  until it was time to go to class because of the other traffic on the track, otherwise the would have toasted me!  I was winded and sweating buckets by the time class started.
Class was basically the same as her the other classes I have done with Lisa, but with  sprints at the end of class . . . Nice!  So it was do an exercise for 30 seconds, switch to another for 30, run to the end of the gym and back, and repeat the process, then start over with two different exercises and continue.  Yesterday we did push ups, various planks, an assortment of jumps, lunges, squats, bicycles, and flutter kicks to name a few.  The sprints we the best part of the class and even though we did them for only around 5mins.  I was dead by the end: red eyed, sweaty as hell, and taking huge gulps of air in.  When I got home I just fell down on the bedroom floor and laid there with my legs elevated for about 10mins.  My crazy and I just having a happy moment together!  I felt like crap and loved it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday Toning Class: 2/15/11

I needed to attend Tuesday's Toning class because, if I missed it, I would have gone a whole seven days without attending a workout class,granted I ran on nearly all of those days), but I'm trying to avoid such long breaks between my workout classes and had planned to workout on my own at the gym over the weekend.  However, it was just too difficult to do so considering the wonderful weather.  I had also planned to go to class Monday morning, but I overslept because of some sinus medication I took the night before.  I have chronic sinus problems from a broken nose that are aggravated whenever we have drastic shifts in the weather, so the last week had been a bit rough.  Tuesday the high was back in the 50's for the day, which made it easy to go to the gym but continued to wreak havoc on my nose. 

I really hate side planks and we do them every week, which is why I take classes. 
Otherwise, I would never force myself to do a single plank.
Bryan's class is a good measuring stick by which to gauge my improvement because there are so many exercises that we repeat each week.  I could tell the my core is getting stronger, but I am still not back to the level of overall fitness that I had reached in the summer and fall.  But progress is being made, and if I can avoid the injury bug, I hope to go beyond my prior fitness levels.  I am using the 18lb pound body bar and the 8lb dumbbells for this class right now (b/c I'm lazy), and I didn't have any problems with the weight.  I think that I will be moving back up to 10lb dumbbells soon, but the 18lb body bar is the max at the Y.  Hiroko didn't attend class because she was still at work when it began, but she should be back next week. 

I also commuted to work and the gym on Frankenbike and road at total of 5.83 over 38:13 burning 569 calories. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Frankenbike & Tir Na nOg: 2/14

Recently, I have started taking Franken-bike (my single speed Cruiser) to work instead of driving.  I really enjoy my commute to work by bike, and I consider it a welcome addition to my workouts.  However, I have never really kept up with it on my blog because I didn't have a good way to track the distances, nor did I really consider these rides to be all that important to my daily workout regiment.  But, I have recently notice that when I talk to Hiroko about my workout, I'll say something like . . . "and I rode my bike to work!"  Like these rides are a huge addition to what I am doing, and she should be impressed.  (Yes, I am trying to impress my wife!  Most of the things that I do are attempts to either impress her or make her laugh, and I am more than OK with that!)  So, I decided that since I have Old Bob, that I may as well use him to track these rides.  Mainly, because I don't want to get an overinflated idea of the of these rides worth.  I realize that they are better than driving, but it's not like I took an hour long spin class either.  Also, I hope that by including these rides in this blog that I will be more apt to ride to work rather than drive when I don't have a good reason to drive.

Today, I rode to work.  I also had to run an errand from my campus to the main campus in the middle of the day and rode then, afterward I rode home.  All in all, I rode 7.03 mile spent 44:03.42 riding (and in traffic) and burned  687 cal according to Old Bob.  On a normal day, if I didn't go to the gym by bike, the total would be half this.  So as I suspected, these rides are not that big of a deal. 

After work today, I went to the nOg for the Run Club.  Since it was Valentines day, they were doing an event where single people were suppose to wear green and people in a relationship were suppose to red: Green for Go and Red for No!  Hiroko couldn't attend the run because her work has been CrAZy all week, and she would need to work from 5am to 5pm on Tuesday, so the nOg run was out for her.  She was joking with me saying that I would wearing a green shirt under my red one, but Audrey, Victor, and Ernie can call attest to the fact that I rock my Red Krispy Kreme Challenge tech shirt the whole time!

Blurry picture of me Rockin' the Red as I run.
I have wanted to take pictures at the nOr Run ever since I started attending, so that people could get a better idea of just how vibrant a running community there is there.  The last run on the 7th had 200 runners according to the club website, and since we all scan in for our runs, that is not guesstimating. 
Today, the weather was awesome -- right around 70 degrees, but windy -- and I would be shocked if we didn't hit 200 again despite it being Valentine's day!
People hatting in the nOg before the run

A group of runners preparing to start their run

My run was really awesome.  I ran the 2.80 course in  24:48.87 at a 9:05 pace, which is my fastest run at the nOg thus far.  I did the first mile in  8:19.68, mile 2 in 9:10.98 and the last .80 in 7:18.21.  I attempted to take pictures as I ran, but the lack of light made it difficult as you can see from the pictures below.  However, I think I run faster when I try to take pictures!

Oakwood Ave. at the end of mile one.

Heading toward the Capitol at the end of mile two.

Running on Empty: 2/13/11

Sunday should have been a rest day, but I am just not that smart.  I felt just as tired when I woke up as I did when I went to sleep.  However, Sunday's weather was even better than Saturday's, which made me want to get outside and enjoy it.  After debating with myself about what to do for a most of morning because deep down I knew that I wasn't feeling it.  I decided that I would go to the track for a quick 2 miles and call it a day.  I got ready and walked up to the track from my apartment just to find out that the track was closed for soccer.  Meredith College allows you to use the track during the day as long as they are not having an event.

By this time I was commited.  I wanted to get some sort of run in regardless, and I knew that one of the local high school's has a track that is supposed to be open to the public, so I retuned home grabbed my DL and jumped in the car and scooted over to that track only to find it locked!  Now, I know that some people would have said, enough and either just gone for a run around the nieghborhood, gone to the gym, or just chucked it and went home . . . I am not that guy . . . I get fixated . . . and I just happend to know that there was a middle school in the area with a track, so I jumped back in the car and headed to the middle school.

Finally, I found a track that I could use.  I got out of my car took one step and got a sharp pain right in my left shin.  When I was a kid, I fell on a broke bottle and took a nasty chunk out of my calf right beside my shin bone.  I should have gotten stitches, but for whatever reason, I didn't and I have nice scar about the size of a quarter on my shin.  When my legs are really tired, I will get sharp pains just below that scar.  My guess is that that the scar tissue messes with a nerve, but that is just a guess. I doesn't really matter why it happens, but it is a certanty that I will have a crap run once those pains start.  It isn't even that the pain is that bad; it is just that I have to be wiped out for the pains to start.  I tried to compensate by streching and warming up; however, I could tell that my legs were done in from the very start.

I was able to gut out 1 mile in 9:10.68, but I could't push myself to start the second mile becauseI felt like one of those Klement's Racing Sausages only with less agility.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunny Day Greenway 5 Miler: 2/12/11

This winter has been cold by Raleigh's standards, but we have gotten off easy when you compare it to what most of the country has had to endure.  Seeing blogs from runners like Jeri and Morgan kind of put things in perspective and keeps me from complaining too much about running outside on what I call a "cold" day.  I know that they would kill to see 35 degrees, and other than one ice storm, the weather hasn't made running outside all that treacherous.  I need to wear my big boy pants until summer when the endless day of high 90's hit.  I know this!  But, let me tell you . . . I was one happy Frikin' camper when I saw that Saturday was going to be sunny and close to 60 degrees!  I couldn't wait to get outside in run in the sunshine!  An honest to goodness sunny day in early February reminded me why I live in Raleigh-wood!  Because at times, I have to wonder: Pollen Season , nearly all of July and August, and every time someone asks, who I pull for between UNC, Duke, or NC State (b/c I could give a Rats A$$).  But, Saturdays weather made me rejoice that I live in good old 27607.

North Carolina Museum of Art Amphitheater

I decided that I didn't want to run Umstead because my ankle is still a little tender, and I thought why take a chance and ruin this beauty of a day.  Therefore, I chose to Run the Art Park.  I could have gone somewhere else, but I wanted to run somewhere that would not require me to drive, nor did I want to have to compete with traffic, so the Museum Greenway was it.  I decided to do the 5.38 course that I have been doing over the last two months.  I wasn't really looking forward to running such a hilly course, but I also didn't want to back down from it either, so off I went. 

I did the whole course in 50:44.12, which is my best time on this course.  I didn't beat my best time by much, only around 9 seconds.  However, when I did my previous best, I felt like dog poo afterwards.  I remember that I was dizzy, out of breath, and really felt like hell for the rest of that day.  This time I didn't exactly feel fresh as a daisy afterward, but I didn't feel nearly as bad either. 

Mile 1 8:57.99
Mile 2 9:34.57
Mile 3 9:54.32
Mile 4 9:27.14
Mile 5 9:24.71
I did the last .38 in 3:25.39 which is a 8:52 min. mile

Friday, February 11, 2011

Thursday Fleet Feet Social Run: Hi, I am not Anti-Social . . . I just want to run! 2/10/11

Last night was the Fleet Feet Social Run, which I've been attending for the last few months.  I really enjoy the running and meeting new people even though I sometimes struggle with initial meetings and an complete crap with names.  But, cut me some slack because I do well for an only child, raised by a single parent as a latchkey kid!  Last night I just felt a little strange because I just kind of stood around without saying much before the run and then during the run I didn't sit with the others but ran ahead of the group on my own.  Yes, I understand that the basic premise of a social run is to be . . . well . . . social, but in my defense I would like to make a few points.

The not talking before the run thing is just the way I am before any kind of workout.  I like to listen to some music and get focused.  I just need to get in the right frame of mind.  I am even like that around Hiroko, if I don't get focused I feel like I am not going to take things seriously and end up doing something stupid and hurting myself.  Also, I am annoyingly prompt and like to start the run as close to the designated time, which is difficult when everyone is chatting.  Sorry, I just get stressed out by tardiness.  

Not running with the group: that one is my fault.  There isn't really anyone who is running at my pace in this group at the moment.  Currently, there are two groups of runners attending the social runs, a group of 6 min/milers, who are too fast for me and a group of 10 min/milers.  Currently, I am in the mid 8's to low 9's.  So, I am kind of in a no man's land because I can't hang with fast group for more than a mile and if I run with the other group, I tend to push their pace.  So last night, I just pushed to the front of the slower group and then went out on my own, so I wouldn't be pushing anyone to go faster.

Also last night, I was really in the mood to push myself.  I had a great workout week and the social run would be my last run before my off day and I really wanted to finish strong.  Which I think I did, but it just may have seemed a little bit like I was more of an anti-social prick than I really wanted.  I wonder how other people that go to social runs handle this type of situation.  I am still really new to the social social mores and norms of the running community and fear that I am breaking some unwritten rule.

Last night I did 4.09 in 37:42.99  for a 9:13 pace

Mile 1 8:31.07
Mile 2 8:44.28
Mile 3 9:04.32
Mile 4: 10:26.74

Mile 4 was all up hill because I took on a tougher hill than last time because I missed a street sign. 

After the run, I did stick around and talked with the other runners while we stretched in a concerted effort to counterbalance and unintended prick-ish-ness that I might have accidentally conveyed.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wed. Morning Sports Conditioning: 2/9

Sports Conditioning Class ends at 6:45am, which means that I need the car after my workout if I am going to make it home to shower and eat before I got to work.  However, Hiroko needed the car to get to work at 7am.  So I left the car for Hiroko and ran the roughly mile and a half to the gym for my class.  After class, I ran to Hiro's work, which is only a few blocks from the gym and got the car.  I really enjoyed the way that this worked.  I go a nice warm up in before class and neither of us had to mess up our schedules to accommodate the other.

The run was very nice.  It was around 24 degrees ans still dark when I left the house but there was little wind, which makes all the difference.  As I have said before, I love to run in the pre-dawn hours, and his morning I was feeling what Hiroko calls "genki" meaning, "enthusiastic, energetic, or lively" in Japanese.  I did the first mile of my run in 9:38.83 and the last .64 in 5:31.76, which is a 8.37 pace.  I did the whole 1.64 in 15:10.59 at 9.15 pace.

The class in and of itself was one of the best classes that I have had in a long while.  Lisa was the instructor and we did stations and intervals, but since we had the whole gym to work with she was able to do both stationary exercises like jumping jack and push ups, as well as more active exercises like sprints and Carioka's that take up a lot room.  I have taken other stations and interval classes, but they were always in smaller class rooms, which limited what we could do.  Having this class in the gym makes a world of difference because it gives the instructor a lot more options.  Also it allowed us to workout in groups of three or four instead of one or two, which I thought enforced the idea that this was still a group workout rather than just a bunch of people doing their own thing in the same room.



1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.

2. Lift right knee to waist level at a 45-degree angle.

3. Keeping your knee high, rotate your hip so your knee is straight in front of you.

4. Step your right leg in front of your left.

5. Step to the left with your left foot.

6. Step behind your left leg with your right.

7. Step to the left with your left leg. Repeat the sequence for 20 yards, then change directions.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tuesday Toning Class: 2/9/11

As part of my re-dedication efforts to cross training.  Hiroko and I hit the Tuesday Toning class again this week.  Bryan was back, and there was a full house.  Having a different instructor last week was a nice change of pace, but it is nice to know what to expect from a class.  The main difference between Bryan and Grant's classes are that Bryan's approach is more measured a steady, while Grants is my active and dynamic.  I like both approaches to the class because I feel like with Bryan I am sure to hit the different muscle groups and can really focus on my form.  Grant's class, however, is more likely to push me to move outside of my comfort zones and work harder.  Both classes offer great workouts, Bryan's through focus and Grant's through activity. 

I can tell that my conditioning level has improved since I have returned to classes.  I wasn't totally crushed by this workout like I was in early January when I returned to the class.  I know that if I want to improve my running I will needed to really improve my base level of fitness.  One of the best aspects of attending classes is that they force me to do exercises that I usually avoid when I work out on my own.  Recently, I have not wanted to do squats, but Bryan had us doing a lot of squats right at the beginning of class forcing me to do something that I will guarantee you that I would have avoided had I not taken class. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

Two-a-Day nOg Run, Lone Ranger Style: 2/7

I needed to get a run in today after work.  I had somethings to mull over, and I just wanted to be outside.  Plus, like I've said before, I want to rededicate myself to my fitness goals, so I decided to go to the nOg run.  However, Hiro and I really needed to go to the Asian market and wouldn't be able to make it to the market before they closed if I waited until after the run.  I decided instead to go to the latecomers start at 6:30 after going to the Market.  However, I don't think that there was a latecomers start or I just missed them, but either way I ended up running the nOg run alone. 

I didn't really mind it because it was a nice night, and it gave me the time to myself that I really felt like I needed.  I made on wrong turn because of the darkness, but it had no effect on my run.  I ended up doing 2.82 miles and felt really good about my run considering I had done a pretty good workout this morning. 

Mile 1: 8:58.58
Mile 2: 9:25.99
Last .82 7:06.50 at a 8:42 pace.

2.82 in 25:31.16 at a 9:03 pace.

Monday Morning Sport's Conditioning: 2/7/11

My next race is The St. Patty's Run Green 8K on March 5th, and I am hoping to have a good showing. Over the course of my last few races, I haven't seen or felt the level of improvement that I had wished. The main reason for this is my lack of crosstraining and focus upon running only. Part of which was out of necessity because of injuries, but mainly, I lost my interest in my workout classes, and let my injuries, the weather, and holiday's interfere with my conditioning efforts. I have increased my workout class attendance since the new year, but I wouldn't consider it to be adequate to achieve my goals. This morning, I forced myself to get up and drag my sorry self to the gym for the 5:45am class despite having stayed up late after watching the Super Bowl. I know that Monday's set the tone for my workout week and if I can get up for the morning class I am much more likely to continue getting up the remainder of the week.
Hamstring exercise that we did in class today.
This morning's class was exactly what I needed. Lisa was today's instructor, and her class had a nice mix of exercise. She does an excellent job of blending more traditional exercises like push ups and leg lifts and pairing them with sprints and exercise ball exercises. My only wish is that she Incorporated, some more weights into the class. However, I don't think that it would have worked in conjunction with the exercise ball today. Adding weights wouldn't have allowed us to focus our attention. Lisa does a good job of keeping our heart rates elevated and making sure that we try to push ourselves. I am enjoying her classes more and more each time that I take them.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Post Krispy Kreme Run: 2/6

We are having another beautiful Sunday, and I am once again not feeling all that great.  This time it isn't because of exhaustion from running and travel.  No, I am not feeling well due to the dozen doughnuts that I ate as part of Yesterday's Krispy Kreme Challenge.  Neither Hiroko or I got sick last night; However, we both fell victim to something close to diabetic comas.  I slept for 4 hours following the race, and Hiroko passed out for 9 hours . . . I kid you not . . . 9 hours of solid sugary sleep!  The aftermath of the Challenge continued into this morning as I felt bloated and feared straying to far from the friendly confines of my own apartment.  However, like last Sunday, I was afraid to ignore the gift of a beautiful day such as this, so I decided to go for a run on the Meredith College Track that is just two blocks from where we live. 

I wanted to run, but didn't feel confident in straying too far from home.  Plus, the track's surface would do my ankle good.  The ankle is doing much better, but gets a little tender after running.  I wasn't sure how much I would run and didn't really have a plan when I arrived at the track.  I decided to just run as hard as my body would let me for as long as I could go because I really needed to burn off some doughnuts!  I ran two mile in 17:07.08, which I felt was really good considering I did the KKC yesterday.  I did the first mile in 8:36.84 and the second in 8:30.84.  I thought about doing a third mile but was starting to feel the doughnut and decided to quit while I was ahead.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Krispy Kreme Challenge: (Race/Challenge): 2/5/11

Time to eat the doughnuts!
The Krispy Kreme Challenge is one of a kind event that is part of the local Raleigh cultural fabric, and you are almost obligated to take part in the challenge if you live in this area.  Hiroko and I had not taken part in the Challenge since moving to Raleigh from Kasukabe, Japan in 2006.  We set out to change that this year.  I will start by saying that I was NOT the one that wanted to participate in the Challenge.  Hiroko started saying that she wanted to take on the Challenge the moment she her about it.  Hiro loves to eat sweets, and the idea of eating a dozen hot sticky sweet scrumptious Krispy Kreme's as part of a mass social experience just really appealed to her.  I think that for her it was about being part of American culture and fitting in with the community as well as eating a dozen doughnuts!  I always found myself reminding her about the running components of the challenge.  Eating a dozen Krispy Kreme's is one thing, but running 2.37 miles, eating a dozen doughnuts, and running 2.37 again in under an hour, is a whole different animal!  But, she never waivered in her desire to take on the challenge.  Therefore, as 2010 progressed and running became a larger and larger part of my life and Hiroko supported me through each new aspect of my running life, I knew that I would need to repay my debt to her, which is why when it came time to sign up for the 2011 Kirspy Kreme Challenge, Hiroko and I became part of the 7,500 registered participants.  And we decided that if we were going to do the challenge that there would be only one way to do it -- as Challengers!!!  We would do the run, eat the doughnuts, and run back.  There would be no carrying the doughnuts back for us.   We were all in!

The Race Begins

I regretted my decision almost instantaneously upon registering.  I do not have a good track record when it comes to vomiting and had at one point in my life acquired the nickname Puke Skywalker for having lost my lunch atop Mt. Fuji among other notable and epic spews.  About a week ago Hiroko and I came across the ESPN report from the 2009 KKC, and after watching it, I became really nervous about the challenge. I would even go as far as to say that I became something akin to a bitch about it.  Hiroko and I even went to Krispy Kreme and ate three doughnuts each just to see how it would feel, and it didn't feel too good, so I became even worse about the race.  Also the weather was forecasting rain for the day of the Challenge. 

Elvis Loves Krispy Kreme
 And not just a light sprinkle, but a nice good steady rain on a 35 degree morning.  So after week of pissing and moaning about how I wasn't the one that got us into this I set my mind to the challenge . . . rain, cold and regurgitation be damned!  The night before the race I took Hiroko out and got her a waterproof running jacket, and ready myself for my first race in the rain.

It's cold
Runnin' for doughnuts!
This morning Hiroko and I awoke to find that the weather people sure got this one right.  When we left our house to go to the race it was in the midst of a nice downpour that was cold-cold.  We of course accidentally stepped in the runoff at the first street that we crossed just to make sure that we had soaking wet feet before the race even started!  I was not a happy camper until, we saw all of the people starting to gather at the NC State Belltower, then the spirit of the event began to take hold, and I started to look forward to the Challenge, despite the weather, and my certainty that I was about to be very ill.  The crowds was in good spirits and many of the people had come out in costumes: Spiderman, Batman, Elvis.  King Leonidas and Bikini Girl were by far the gutsiest costumes that I saw considering the 35 degree temp and rain. 

Doughnuts Down in a Flash & Hiro's dream!

The girl that gave me my dozen

The start of the race found both Hiroko and I in great spirits and the first two miles were actually fairly easy.  The crowd did slow us down some and came across a couple of people carrying open umbrellas amid the runners, which was just ridiculously selfish, dangerous, and stupid.  But other than that everyone seemed to be having a blast and doing thier best to make this a fun and safe event for everyone.  Hiro and I did the first mile in 9:20.07 and the second in 9:21.14, which were not too bad considering the rain and the crowd.

Some People Go a Bit Far
Still soft and yummy!
1 and 2
Number 1
Then came the doughnuts.  They were not as cold as I thought that they would be and the first two went down easily.  I did them one at a time, and the rain seemed to help keep the moist.  After the first two, I began to smash mine together,  I think that Hiro took that approach from the start.  Doughnuts 3 and 4 were no problem, and I was still enjoying the taste.  People were talking, having a great time, and trying not to think about the next part of the run.  I kept my Garmin going, so I would have an idea of how long I still had if I wanted to get back in under an hour.  Really, the biggest issue I was having was that my hand were so cold that I could hardly use them.  I smashed 5,6, and 7 together and ate them like a hot dog, but the doughnuts were starting to put up a fight and the sugar taste was getting a bit too much.  As I finished 8, Hiro was starting her 6th and having doubts.  She really wanted water, so we moved around looking for water, but couldn't find any until someone gave us a cup that he had not drank from.  Number 9 was the most difficult for me.  10 wasn't much better, but 11 and 12 were fine.  I had swished out my mouth after 10 and the last two went down gleefully.  Hiro on the other hand was struggling and didn't know if she would be able to finish.  She was on 8 and not feeling great about it, so she told me to go on without her. 

4, 5, 6!
Still tasty

11 & 12

I start jogging around the Krispy Kreme to deposit my empty box and go through the gate for Challengers without any real issues.  I wasn't feeling that bad at all.  Honestly, I had been so sure that I would be sick as a dog, but I wasn't.  I felt a little heavy and a bit bloated but the run wasn't that bad.  In fact both the NHL 5k and the Autism 5k were much worse for me.  I had a little problem at the hill on the corner of St. Mary's and Hillsborough St. when I saw a guy lose what appeared to be a full dozen, but even the sight of someone else being sick wasn't that bad.  The worst part of the return was the smell from the IHOP.  The smell of bacon grease was not what I needed while running with a dozen glazed doughnuts in my belly.  But, even that was alright.  Mile 3's time is too difficult to figure with the eating time factored in.  I did it in 25:05.38 and at least 17 mins. of that was eating time.  Mile 4 took me 9:52.99 and I ran the last .74 at a 9.20 pace, which I am proud of considering.
Hiroko struggles

Last bite

Feeling good?

I made it to the finish in just under one hour but couldn't cross the sensor because of a bottleneck caused by people stopping at the finish line.  My official time was 1 hour, 32 seconds, but I consider the challenge completed. According to my Garmin I ran the Challenge in 1 hour and 36 seconds.  However, I had been standing and waiting to cross the finish for awhile before I turned it off.  My best guess is that I did it in around 59mins 40 seconds.
Some People Carry Their Doughnut Back . . . but that is just WEAK!

Belltower in sight

Hiroko was able to finish all 12 doughnuts and complete the race in 1 hour and 4 mins and 18 seconds.  Neither one of us got sick, and we were both kind of shocked by the fact that it wasn't all that bad.  I think that the cold and rain actually helped.  It kept you from getting too hot, the doughnuts stayed moist, and the smells were not overwhelming.  After the race, we both fell victim to a crashing sugar high and feel into comas that lasted around 4 hours.  I don't think that I will be doing this again anytime soon.
Finish Line

Friday, February 4, 2011

Krispy Kreme Challenge: Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Hiroko and I will run in the is event. I am not looking forward to this at all. Many people have asked me if I ever wanted to do The Krispy Kreme Challenge and I've always said "hell No!" However, when Hiro said that she wanted to take part in this event, I knew that I had to do it. Hiroko has supported me in all of my fitness and running efforts, so I couldn't say no. Wish me luck! I am sure that I am going to be sick!

Thursday Two a Day 2/3

I went to Dan's Morning class at 5:30am, which I had hoped would be more like it had been when I first Joined the Y.  I lot of push ups, abs, squats, sprints, and things of that nature.  But it wasn't, his classes have turned into more of a motion oriented cardiovascular workout, which is alright, but just not what I need at the moment.  Currently, I am all legs and lungs.  I have been running so much that, my legs and lungs are about the only thing that is in really good shape.   I need more traditional workouts to strengthen my core, upper body, and back. 

So, even though the class provided a good sweat and did so of the things that I needed it to do.  It did not wipe me out.  Therefore, I went to the Fleet Feet run after work and did four miles.  I got there a little on the late side because I had to stop by a different store to pick up my race packet for the Krispy Kreme Challenge and there was about a 20 min. wait.  By the time I got to Fleet Feet the group that I usually run with had already left.  I joined a different group and we did the four mile loop at about a 10 min mile pace, which was fine with me considering the morning workout and what is in store for me on Saturday. 

Mile 1: 9:47.62
Mile 2: 9:37.47
Mile 3: 9:48.81
Mile 4: 10:51.41

Tuesday Toning: 2/1

After Sunday's run, I just couldn't do anything on Monday.  I decided to take the Tuesday Toning Class at 5pm.  Hiro went with me, but we weren't sure how it was going to be because the regular instructor wasn't going to be in class and neither of us knew anything about the person listed as the replacement.  However, it turned out that Grant would be teaching the class, so we knew that it would be a good class.  Some people at the Y just love Grant's classes to death.  I am not one of those people, but I do like them a lot.  His classes are much more aerobics oriented than what I prefer, and I never attend his classes without Hiroko.  This class was a toning class and other than a small warm up there was not my by way of traditional aerobics.  Grant's style of toning is a different than Bryan's because Bryan will do a lot of different exercises to hit an area, but Grant while grant does few exercises, but changes his pacing and repetition pattern.  I enjoy both methods, but I must say that right now Grant's approach was what I needed because I have gotten too use to the way Bryan teaches.  I know that I felt this class more because my body wasn't prepared for what was coming.  Plus there aren't that many exercise that they share.  Overall, I am really happy that I went to this class.