Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Know You Want To Know

After you have read this.

The answer is yes, it was comfortable. 

Monday, April 15, 2013


I am devastated by what happened today and our thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims of this horrific act of terrorism.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Nothing New, but Graston

Based on APORES scoring “Amusement Park and Other Rides Excitement Scale,” which ranges between the penny ride at Meijer on the low end and Millennium Force on the other end, my injury rates somewhere along the excitement level of a bidirectional carousel. 


I went to the sports doctor today and they did an X-Ray, just to be sure it was not a stress fracture.  The conversation went like this.

Dr: “Your tibia and fibula look good.” 

Me: “Thank you.  People always say that, but it just seems like the type of thing people say to be nice.  When you see them in black and white, you can really tell they are awfully nice.”

Dr: “Well…moving on…”
(In case you forgot what they look like without their meat.)

No stress fracture.  So, they have scheduled me for some physical therapy.  I start next Monday.  They will be using the Graston method.  Painful they say, but effective. 


Well, I can only hope that, like the penny ride, it will be over quickly. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Serious Pain

My injury was not shin splints, nor the dreaded stress fracture.  The doctors were sure of that after pressing all up and down my right shin—at least buy me dinner first eh.  So they flipped me over like a flap-jack and decided it was a tear in my Soleus muscle.  That was on March 6th.  I haven’t run since February 26th.  It will be three weeks next Tuesday, but it seems like forever.  Ffffoooorrrrrreeeeevvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.    


These things take 6 to 8 weeks they said.  So, I’ve been an elliptical god, spending as much as 3.5 hours straight on the lower-body-gerbil-wheel.  It had been feeling better, not hurting from walking or standing around, so tonight I gave  it a little test on a treadmill.  I walked .1M at a 15m/mile pace, and then tried to run at a 9m/mile pace.  I didn’t get to .2M.  The pain was there immediately. 

Looks like more time on the elliptical for Spike.  And thusly a few things stand out.  It seems very evident that racing Glass City is out.  If I’m lucky I can maybe keep enough fitness to trot it, or maybe the half.  Moreover, Racer and I have switched places and it will be my turn to support her marathon while I’m sidelined. 

Only, I wish this injury was something more serious.  Something that would justify sitting on the couch and issuing orders through my megaphone.  Or, maybe I just wish I injured a muscle most people have heard of. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Things Break…Sometimes in Bunches

I love my Garmin 405. It has suffered with me through countless terrible runs and half-hearted efforts since I purchased it on Thanksgiving 2009.  Dark Atlas has seen eight states and even Paris, France.  It was with me for my 50M race, was with me for my marathon PR, and has carried me to three of my four consecutive BQs. 

But we are both getting older and sadly showing signs.  Myself, I have a mildly serious case of shin splints that may or may not be a stress fracture depending on a doctor’s diagnosis…which I have conveniently avoided.  I’ve had shin splints before, and always reduced my running and mileage to ensure they didn’t evolve (like a Mogwai into a Gremlin).  But this is the first time the pain in my right leg has forced me to take off primary runs (skipping a 8M tempo run and a 18M long run this past week).    In lieu of my long run, I did two hours on the elliptical on Saturday and then a three hour cardio session on today (elliptical, bike, elliptical); all pain free.  My hope is to make it through my speed workout on Tuesday and then maybe skip my tempo run and hopefully be pain free for my 20M next weekend.

Now, back to the important matter; Dark Atlas.  The battery lifespan is getting shorter and shorter.  A 20M all but exhausts the battery starting out on a full charge.  Worse, somehow the satellite reception is off, causing me to add about .02M to every mile I run.  Many times I’ve run next to Racer and her Garmin is right on while I keep adding hundredths.  Also, running my base 4M, 5M, or 7M routes all coming up about .02M per mile short. 

I’ve spoken to the fine people at Garmin and run completed both a satellite reset and a factory reset. Nothing solves the problem.  “They just get old and stop performing as well,” the Garmin representative told me.  Don’t we all. 

However, Garmin no longer makes the 405.  Or even the 410 for that matter.  They do make the 610, which I’ve never really loved and is perhaps more watch than necessary.  But the 210, which Racer owns, lacks a simple feature I really like…the ability to look at the individual laps of a run on the watch (the 210 requires you to download the run before you can dissect each mile).  The good news is that I can find new 405s and 410s online—relatively inexpensive. 

Or should I go with the Nike GPS?  Does anyone have this watch that really likes it?  Can you review your splits on your watch?  Is there anything annoying about the Nike GPS watch?

While I await your input, I will continue to be an elliptical god as I rest my leg.  Because there is little need for an aging Garmin on the elliptical. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Shoe On the Right Foot -- Shoe Review

Runners are more loyal to their shoe brand than their alma mater.  Seriously, how much money do you spend per year on a particular running shoe while wholesale ignoring the repeated high-gloss mailings begging for a small annual contribution?  Sure, you may root for them on Fall Saturdays and even be lucky enough to have a basketball team worth its salt and therefore extend the spectating season until March, but no check is sent off to the College of Fancy Letters or the School of Legoeering.  Yet, without fail, around every 250 to 500 miles the same brand gets another donation.  And I am no exception.   


Which is why, when the outstanding folks at Online Shoes give me the opportunity to road test a new pair of shoes—any brand of shoes my wild little heart desired—I elected to test a pair of the bard I know and love so well…Asics.  I always alternate between a pair of the 2100 series (that is, until they elected to eliminate the series and/or rename it) and either the Nimbus or the Gel-Kayano.  I rotated to the new Gel-Kayano 19.  This Gel-Kayanos are a little sturdier than the 2100 series, with added cushioning and a slightly different lace wrap. 


Like all new pairs of shoes, I break them in easily with a few easy 3 to 5 mile runs.  But you never really know a pair of shoes until you take them out for some speed work.  So, after several comfortable easy runs totaling around 20 miles I gave the new pair, the Grey Starks as I’ve named them, a go on a six mile tempo run.  And, because the running gods are aware that no running kindness (the ability to try out a new pair of awesome Men’s Asics shoes for free) goes unnoticed, they elected to infuse my run with a combination of rain turning into sleet which turned into hail.  Yep, little frozen balls of water hurtling down from the skies in an attempt to strike you with sufficient force as to produce an audible thwacking sound.  This meant quickly deteriorating running surface conditions during a speed workout.  Ugh! 



But the Gel-Kayanos were superb.  They handled the rapidly changing conditions and I was able to pull off my best tempo run of the training cycle.  Best of all, as I finished my last mile the clouds broke and the setting sun shone triumphantly down upon me.  No joke, Michigan weather is just that stupid. 

What I feel makes the Gel-Kayanos such an excellent running shoe is its ability to take a severe beating while still delivering comfort with every foot strike.  This is something I never felt about my Saucony Kinvaras.  And so, a speed workout done and the Gel-Kayanos having proven themselves, I look forward to the remainder of my training cycle with my Grey Starks.   

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Goofy Recap

I would say I mildly trained for the Goofy Challenge.  If pressed, I would define that training as doing almost every long run with the Redhead and that my longest long run was 16M.  Regardless, I sat fearless with my Cuz Saturday morning as we watched the fireworks start the half-marathon at 5:30am.  And we waited.  And watched more fireworks for more corrals.  And waited some more.  And at 6:25am our corral was finally sent off.  FN1

Our plan was to take the half easy but comfortable.  And that we did.  However, this is Florida, and Florida sure enjoys cooking pale white folks like me.  So it wasn’t long before the sun went up. FN2

I wouldn’t say there is anything special about the course for the first few miles. But, once you enter the Magic Kingdom and run down Main Street, you know it is worth it.  Cuz and I ran and sang and refused to let the angry sun getting angrier to stop us.  As we rounded Epcot we knew that we were only steps away from finishing the first third of our adventure. 
That night we had an excellent dinner and went to bed both sore and giddy.  But then the morning came, and the soreness was still lingering, and I’m sure I had the same thought every Goofy runner has ever had on marathon morning: “Why don’t they run the full on Saturday and the half of Sunday?” 

This time, Cuz and I decided to take a different approach and sneak up into corral B (my corral).  But we got on the wrong bus, and found ourselves on the VIP bus.  The bus took us to the start line and bypassed the mile long walk from the gear check to the starting line.  This would not really be a problem, except that I had my bag and they weren’t going to let us continue to mooch off the VIP status.  So, I mean why not?, I ran mile to the gear check and ran back after sneaking Cuz into corral B. 

The marathon was by far my favorite of the two races.  Perhaps it is because it includes more parks.  But, maybe mostly it is because Cuz and I started 50 minutes earlier than we had the day before and that allowed us to hit the Magic Kingdom while it was still dark and lit up. 

Pretty early on, we decided to use our own improvised Galloway program.  Really, it didn’t matter, we were there for the adventure.  Only, the sun got even angrier on Sunday, and we worked hard.  Some course highlights included the Animal Kingdom where I was able to kick a goat and hug a llama, running through Champions Stadium at the Wide World of Sports, and down the boardwalk.  The least impressive part of the course, for me, was running on the racetrack. 

I will tell you that, like my idol, we had to use BioFreeze to make finishing possible.  But still, we persevered and Cuz even managed to set a marathon PR even having run a half marathon the day before.

Having been deemed completely Goofy, and sporting the bling to support it, I think my days of ultra running are at an end for now as I focus on the more traditional marathon distance.  But, I do want to say that I had a lot of fun and that I’m so proud of my Cuz who dug deep and ran had even when he thought he couldn’t.  I’m proud of you buddy.  FN3


FN1: If you ever run the Disney full or half, lie or cheat or steal or whatever you need to do to be sure you start in a higher corral.  Seriously, an hour to get to the starting line!

FN2:  The overall winner of the half ran it in a 1:05:26.  So, the winner finished before we finished our first mile.  If you read the article, you’ll notice how the winner stated the race is run entirely ‘in the dark.’  Well buddy, not for everyone.

FN3:  I also want want to say thanks to the Redhead for her support and say congrats on your awesome half