Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My World At the Moment

On October 14th my world turned upside down.  Kaito's birth was a couple of weeks early and even though Hiroko and I were pretty well prepared, you're never really prepared to deal with a new child . . . never. . . ever. . . and we weren't.  Three day's after his birth I found myself checking my son in to the Hospital, sleeping on couches and chairs as he spent two days being treated for Jaundice.  Not where we expected to be.  But finding myself in a children's ward among kids and parents, who were dealing with devastating illness like cancer, opened my eyes to the realities of fatherhood rather quickly.  And despite Kaito's illness being fairly routine, let me tell you, when someone hooks your three day old son up to a machine to monitor his vital signs, it will make you go weak in the knees.  Two day's later, we were home and doing fine, but the realities of parenthood were stark and boundless joy mixed with cold hard panic and fear with nearly every moment.

I managed only two runs in the first three weeks of parenthood, and despite missing running, my responsibilities to my wife and son took priority over everything.  I routinely forgot to take my inhaler, didn't bother to even check the score of the Raider game, and didn't turn on the TV for weeks.  Blogging not only fell to the wayside, it nearly fell off the map when the responsibilities of parenthood combined with a new job at work.  However, slowly, day by day, as I've gotten more sleep, my life has begun to feel slightly more manageable . . . at times.  I've found time to run and workout regularly, the Raiders have been so Godawful that I don't even waste my time, hockey is on strike, but The Walking Dead and Radio Lab still provide my with some nice entertainment, and I even managed to run a race . . . . with only three hours of sleep.

And there is Kaito . . . he is now the center of everything.  Words are feeble things that can't hold the weight of meaning needed to describe the love a parent holds for their child, and I am not a skilled enough writer to adequately put them to the task.  Let me just say that the feeling of his hand wrapping around my finger will never fade from my memory.  And I never knew joy until I felt the softness of his hair or his feet kick the palm of my hand.   I can go on and on and on, but it is getting late and sleep in a rare commodity these days.  Not sure when I'll get back to blogging regularly, but when I find the time, I'll continue to write about the place in my life that I have carved out for running.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

An Admission that I Suck and Shout Out to Morgan & Spike as They Get Hitched

Originally, I had a grand idea of organizing a virtual run in honor of Morgan & Spike's wedding, but I SUCK I have been swamped by a position change at work and baby freakouts planning and have had to scrap the idea.  Many MANY apologies to Morgan and Spike.

However, if you are running this weekend and think about it.  Please send a shout out to Morgan and Spike on there wedding day!  They're AWESOME people and are taking the first step in their new lives together this weekend.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Happy Little Runner Running Through A Bob Ross World

Saturday's run was just enough of a struggle that it caused me some concern about running on Sunday.  My plan had been to make an attempt a topping my weekly mileage out at 30 miles, which would be my new high water mark.  But, Saturday, had been a bit warmer than I had expected, and I was feeling the miles more than I should.  However, since I am inching close to the uncertain times of Hiroko's pregnancy, I thought that I had better go for 30 miles now.  Luckily, the morning was nice and cool with just enough cloud cover and strong breeze that kept everything nice and cool.

Entrance to the Greenway at Meredith College
I have been running the same route over the last few weeks in order to stay closer to home and get used to wear most of my runs are going to take place over the next year or two.  Luckily, the Greenway near my house really offers a lot of interesting sights as well as a challenging course.

I go through two tunnels, cross run bridge, run through a college campus, a museum, past a research farm, a small lake and into a State Park all in the span of five miles, which makes this a pretty awesome place to run.  Sunday, I began to feel like as though I were running through a world created by Bob Ross.  The sky was impossibly blue, and filled with happy clouds and happy trees, which just caused my run to pass by with an amazing senses of calm and ease.  Frankly, the feeling actually mirrored the calming high that you get from watching an old episode of Bob Ross' show.  I ended up doing 11.5 miles and crossing the 30 mile mark in a rather peaceful fashion that left me with the feel that good old Bob was smiling down on me saying something like "let's just add a happy little runner on the side of this road".    

Friday, September 14, 2012

Turkey Love Run!

Bowling was one of my PE classes in college.  Yep.  Bowling.  One of the things that remember from that class was that three strikes in a row is called a Turkey.  After Sunday's awesome run and Tuesday's fantastic run, I set out yesterday morning on mission for my 3rd great run in a row.  It was going to be my Turkey run.  The morning was cool so I decided to run through the Museum park near my house.  The area is beautiful on mornings when there is a little fog, and it didn't disappoint yesterday.  I ended up doing 6.5 miles and just enjoying the heck out of my Turkey Love Run!  I've No idea when the last time I had three runs like this in a row.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Assembling a Great Run

Running has been a soul crushing catalog of everything that sucks over the last few weeks.  Sometime in early to mid August, the wheels just came off and nearly all of my runs just turned to excrement!  Heaping piles of EXCREMENT!  Mile after mile spirit snatching crappy crappy runs.  The only thing that helped was running trails, but then scheduling and late summer thunderstorms conspired to take trail running away, leaving me to slog along the city streets of Raleigh.  My mileage has been sinking quick, runs have gotten cut short, and I've been wondering if I am suffering from burnout.  Or perhaps, it is anxiety caused by my impending fatherhood.  To top things off my shoes smelled worse than Basil's litter box and all of the music on my I-pod was putting me into a coma!  Arrgh!

Luckily, yesterday seemed to offer me hope that things are going to get better.  Aside from the weather improving, and the realization that my fall allergies begun, which require some medication, I had three big things come together.
  1. Brooks Ghost 5's
  2. I Was Totally Destroying It
  3. Angry Angel Beer
Last week my wife and I decided that, even though the Asics I had worn during the summer had many more miles on them, the stench was too much and they had to go.  I wasn't really happy with the clunky nature of the shoe, so I decided to try something different.  Luckily, the running store that I shop at had a pair of Ghost 5's in my 15 wides!  As soon as I put them on I knew this was it.  I did two short runs in the earlier in the week and the felt awesome. However, during my run on Sunday, I realized that I had long last found "my" shoe and know how Cinderella felt when she put on the glass slippers!

Also, One of my friends posted a song from a band I Was Totally Destroying It that I had seen a few years back and really liked but hadn't bought any of their Cd's.  So last week, I bought I bought Preludes their 2011 offering, and wow!  It was just what I needed.  I love the whole CD.  It is awesome when you find a local band that you really like and can easily identify with.  I listened to this CD three times over the course of my 10 miler.  Both the music and the lyrics were appealing and help push me along as I ran.

Confidentially or maybe not, in two of their songs I Was Totally Destroying It: All Get Lucky and With You Now the lyrics refer to someone as an Angry Angel, which is interesting because a local brewery that I like Big Boss Brewing Company makes a beer called Angry Angel and I just happened to have one in my fridge.  Every time those songs would played I would begin to think of just how good that beer was going to taste when I got home.  It was great fuel for an awesome run.

. . . And awesome it was.  I tackled 10 miles for the first time in nearly a month, and more importantly, I finished this run stronger than I started it.  I can't recall the last time that I felt stronger over the last five miles that I did over the first.  I just hope that this run is a sign of things to come and not just a momentary blip.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Best Wishes Virtual Run October 13th to 15th

Many of people in the Blogging and running world know these two, right?

Image stolen and used without permission, don't be mad!  Please!
Morgan & Spike are two of the best people that I never met in real life, but interact with via the wonderful world of the Internet, and as many of you know, they are getting hitched on October 13th.  Morgan has been the most supportive and encouraging person of my running, fitness, and blogging life.  Her comments and have meant so much to me, and I wanted to let her know just how much her encouragement means to me.  When she was suffering from a stress fracture and couldn't run for around a year, she still took time to read about my running life and send me some encouraging words.  It meant the world to me, and I think that I have found a way to say thank you.

The Plan: A Best Wishes Virtual Run For Morgan & Spike

When: Anytime Between October 13th and 15th (the wedding is the 13th and Morgan's Birthday is the 15th)

What You Do:  Take a run in honor of Morgan & Spike, send me an e-mail at: gregjd77@gmail(dot)com and tell me the number of miles you ran in honor of Spike and Morgan. Links post, and pictures would be awesome as well!  All will be shared with Morgan and Spike.  I plan to do a write up of every ones effort and share it on by the end of October.  (Adam at the Boring Runner is also planning to help as well and I'll add a link to his page shortly)

What You Get: A warm fuzzy feeling inside for having done something nice for two people on their wedding day.

What I Get: The same warm fuzzy feeling.  Nothing more.  I do not wish to profit from this in way.  I don't do promotions on my blog, nor do I have ads or profit from my blog in anyway.

Do you have to know Morgan or Spike to participate:  No, not at all.  On my wedding day total strangers went out of their way to congratulate my wife and I and wish us well.  It was wonderful!

Do Morgan & Spike know about this:   I am not trying to keep it a surprise and did ask permission.  This is my way of attempting to do something nice for a couple on their wedding day.  

Run Raleigh Labor Day 8k Pictures.

Pre Race

The Race

1 Mile Fun Run

Monday, August 27, 2012

Raleigh 8000 Race Report

Last Year's Raleigh 8000 was run on the edges of Hurricane Irene.  In addition, it was my first race following my illness and development of Asthma, so my only goal at the time was to not pass out while running.  Puking was fine as far as I was concerned, but passing out was bad.  Fortunately, I managed not to puke or pass put, but finish the race with a bloated time of 48:39.
Start of the Race
This year the weather was nearly perfect, but the race would once again follow a layoff from racing.  This time the lay off was by choice and was not related to injury or illness.  I had decided in the spring to use the summer as a time to just run and work on getting fit without the need to focus upon a certain race.  This decision was also aided by the fact that my first child is due to arrive in late October and wouldn't allow me to commit to any one race beyond September.  So, I was happily signed up for the few races that were outside the official baby arrival watch dates.  Besides, the Raleigh 8000 incorporates the Greenway of Shelley Lake, which I really like running.  I also was set to run in another 8k the following week, so I figured that I would use this race to knock some of the rust off and be ready for the race on September 2nd in downtown.

Chugging up the hill at the end

The Course:

In a word: Hilly.  It starts on a downhill, then goes right into an uphill, followed by another downhill.  around the lake the course is deceptively rumbly with a couple of potential bust you butt declines.  After a lap around the lake it ends with the same hills that started the race in reverse order.

I felt good before the race.  My warm up went well, but since there were only two port-a-johns for the race (WTF), I had to sneak in the McDonald's bathroom, which was kind of annoying. I am not really sure what was up with that.  Honestly the whole race was rather bare bones.  

Better view of the hill at the end

The Race

This race seemed to really only draw serious runners.  Nearly everyone running seemed fairly fit and experienced, which was a big contrast from the charity races that I had been running int the spring and fall.  However this made it a bit hard to tell where I should line up so as to be near people running at my pace.  In addition, I hate beginning races on a downhill because it is so easy to screw up my pacing from the out set.

I think that the down hills start and my fear of the uphill finish led me to hold back more than I needed to in the race


Mile 1: 8:14
Mile 2: 8:27
Mile 3: 8:46
Mile 4: 8:58
Mile 5: 8:07

I felt good during the entire race and ran well, but I don't think that I pushed myself at all until the final mile, which I think was some pretty good work on my part considering it was my fastest mile and took place over the largest elevation gains of the race. 

Just happy to be back in a race
Overall, this was a good way to shake off the rust, I finished the race in 42:30, which was not a PR but a world of difference from last years time, and I hope that it will help me run harder in next weeks race. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012