Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday Taper

A first for me...taper, Christmas, New Years....MARATHON!! (oh, and half marathon also).

Santa was at my house. Hopefully, not the raging, roidin', virulent, Satan Santa shown in the picture below. Nothing was smashed or stolen. I think we must have gotten a visit from the friendlier looking one.

The kids are Wii bowling their little hearts out. My son rises 2 hours before anyone else so he can get his fill of Guitar Hero in before anyone wakes up.

I'm in Taper-Try-Not-To-Get-Fat-Eating-Snacks-While-Preparing-For-My-Marathon mode.

Last Sunday's 20 miler was done, sadly, on the treadmill. I was intending to run outside. The snow had melted the day before. Sidewalks clear. When I stepped outside at 9 AM however, there was a a strong, cold wind blowing. After debate and opting on the side of wimpery, I headed to the gym and the mill.

I capped off my peak training week with 40 miles last week.

10 on Saturday outside.
20 on Sunday inside.

Again, the Goofy Challenge totals 39.33 miles over 2 days. This past weekend's simulation was 76.3% of that total (30 miles divided by 39.33).

The last 25% will have to be purely grinding it out. Should be interesting.

Hope everyone received a visit from friendly Santa.

Happy trails.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Holiday Cheer

Merry Christmas.
Happy New Year.
All that jazz.
By the way, does anyone find this image of Santa disturbing?

I much prefer the less threatening, dopier original version.

My upcoming Goofy Challenge goals as well as a segment I lovingly call "Looking Back" and "Looking Ahead" coming up next.
Happy trails.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The BIG Week

Mileage wise, that is.

This is the week where I max out my long run and total mpw. I'm 3.5 weeks from the big event(s). Mentally, it's always nice to get this week behind me. I'll start feeling like the bulk of the training has been accomplished and I can start relaxing a bit.

Of course, the big mileage week is also hitting along with the first snow dump of the year. How nice.

Today on the way in to work, I literally did a 360 spin after gently (I thought) applying the brakes. Luckily, there was no oncoming traffic in the other lane.

The plan for this week:

Monday: 5 miles (completed)
Wednesday: 4 miles
Saturday: 10 miles
Sunday: 20 miles

Consecutive days = 30 miles of the 39.33 needed (or 76.3%).

I may do Sunday's LR on the treadmill. We'll see how Saturday goes first.

Last week, I accomplished the consecutive 9 & 18 mile runs for a total of 27 of the 39.33 needed (68.6%). The 18 was done on the mill. I was shedding sweat like a madman too. I drove off 2 runners who tried to occupy the mill next to me with my flying, spraying moisture. Whaddya gonna do? It wasn't intentional. They keep the gym cranked to like 85 degrees. You could work up a sweat farting.

I'm on pace to make this by biggest mileage month ever!

Happy trails.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Enough of the Whiny!

First of all, is that how you spell whiny? It's not a word I use often. Like persnickety. When did that go out of common lexicon?

You know what the funniest word is? Akimbo.

a'kim'bo (adjective)(adverb) "with the hands on the hips and the elbows turned outward"

I love that word. Try using it next time your spouse puts her hands on his/her hips in anger or frustration. Smile and say "Why are you standing there akimbo?"

Argument diffused!

But I digress.

In reading through recent posts, I've noticed I've become a bit whiny about recent leg issues. It's got to stop. And it is. Right now. Until further notice, unless I suffer from a serious injury setback, you will not hear any more complaints about various nagging muscle aches. It's part of the territory. I'll deal and move on.

I'm halfway through a landmark Goofy Challenge trial run. I rolled out of bed early, for me, and hit the road by 6:20 A.M. Nine miles later, I'm back and in the shower ready to get the kids to school. No worries, the lovely Mrs. Nitmos was home with the kids. As far as you know.

Tomorrow morning, I have the day off from work and will complete 18 more miles by lunch time. That's 27 of 39 1/3 miles. I feel like this will really tell me how prepared I am for this challenge. Again, speed is not a factor. Purely endurance. I have slowed my training pace back nearly 20 seconds per mile to accommodate this strategy.

Those 18 miles may - MAY - be done on the mill. I haven't decided yet. We'll see how much I feel like slipping around on sidewalks tomorrow.

Enjoy the release of baseball's Mitchell report today. We'll see what roided out freaks have been accepting applause and money under false pretenses over the last few years.

Alas, I'm feeling a bit persnickety(!) today.

Happy trails.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Ho Hum. Another Week Closer.

First, it's with much apology that I inform you that my milestone 100th post was the one titled "Paging Dr. Jellyfinger". Ah, to undo the past! Wait! Blogger allows me to do just that but, no, I will let it stand.

This was a cutback week and a reprieve from the back to back weekend runs so not much to report. Only 27 miles for the week with a LR of 13.

In the ongoing Fall of My (leg) Discomfort, I have another little issue to report. My left knee swelled up after Thursdays run. I managed to knock out about half the swelling through RICE (or RIE as I really didn't compress at all) before testing it on Saturday's LR. I seem to be able to run on it just fine. Normally, I'd take a week off at this point to relax but, high mileage weeks and all with a marathon and a half staring me in the face, I gave it an easy go.

The run went okay. Post run, it briefly swelled again but has since gone back to minor swelling. Only a little bit of pain when I twist the knee a certain way but otherwise no issues walking or running. I have an appointment tomorrow to have this looked at. After never seeing the doctor for like 2 years, I'll be in his office twice within a week!

This week calls for 5 miles tonight. Nine on Thursday and 18 on Friday in the continuing effort to simulate the Goofy Challenge. This will be 68.6% of the total race effort!

On a side note, I was in the mall the other day and noticed a bunch of Brandon Inge (3b, Tigers) jerseys on the clearance rack. Out with the old, in with the Cabrera I always say.

Happy trails.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Paging Dr. Jellyfinger

So, I had my physical the other day...

Let's face it, when you are a man and the word "physical" comes up, the only thing you can think of is rubber gloves and K-Y jelly. Sophomoric, I know. But there it is.

I haven't had a full blown physical since high school and that didn't include the dreaded check of your, ahem, nether regions.

Frankly, I'm obsessing about this when I get seated on the doctor's table and the nurse goes through the preliminaries. She leaves. I await the doctor. I look around the room: flyers on how to control high blood pressure, growth charts, cotton swabs. Normal stuff. Except there on the desk is a singular rubber glove laid out next to a tube of...of...LUBRICANT! Ahhhh. This is cruel. It's left purposely in my viewing area. The minutes tick by (you always have to wait in a doctor's office right?) but that glove and tube don't move. My eyes keep coming back to it. I entertain thoughts of disposing of it. Maybe he would forget all about it if it's not there on the desk? Maybe that's the last one of each they have? Is that a tack on top of one of the fingers??

No. I signed up for this. Best to do what needs getting done.

The doctor comes in. We go through the various phases of the physical. This is all a blur. My only concern is when he is going to put on that glove. When? When! Stop torturing me!!**

We discuss my family medical history. We discuss the level of my physical activity and concerns about recent heart incidences with other runners. I'm hooked to an EKG. Little lines and hills scribble on a piece of paper. How can they get a fair picture of my heart when I'm staring at that glove? And the tube of lubricant? Oh, God, they must think I'm in the beginning stages of a heart attack.

The doctor informs me I have a bit of prehypertension (no kidding! it was full blown at that moment) which we'll monitor over time. The EKG revealed sinus bradycardia with the absence of symptoms. The doctor chalked it up to a normal condition for runners, bikers, other athletes, etc. In fact, most runners probably have this condition. It's a byproduct of the training. If you have an unusually low resting pulse, there's a good chance you have it as well.

Other than that, all checked out well and I'm good to go. No concerns. Not sure why I have a bit of high blood pressure though. I exercise. I'm not overweight. Don't smoke. I've cut down - and will cut down further - on caffeine and salt. Stress? Genetics? Must be.

But, wait, what about the glove? Hmm, I'm not saying anything. He's not doing anything. I'm getting dressed and leaving.

Somehow or another, I escaped the, er, invasive part of this exam. Looking back, I think his evaluation of my family medical history combined with my age made the "procedure" not necessary at this time. Or he was being merciful.

I can't help feeling a bit like the wallflower never asked to dance.

Now that this is behind me, my wife, parents and in-laws can feel reasonably comfortable that my heart isn't a ticking time bomb waiting to explode during the next race.

As far as we know.

Happy trails.

** Level of fear greatly exaggerated for comedic effect.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Dreading the Mill

My cherry was popped.

On the treadmill, that is. I went 36 years and over 8 months before stepping foot on the evil "dreadmill" as I see it referred to by others. But yesterday's freezing ice/rain made it near impossible to run outside. I had to get my miles in. Normally, if the conditions are just too harsh, I skip the run and reschedule for the following day. However, for this training session, I'm intent on getting back to back workouts in to simulate the Goofy Challenge. I needs to get my miles in on schedule!

After Saturday's 8+ miles (8.22 miles @ 7:12 pace) on a clear snow less day, I watched the storm roll in that evening and knew Sunday was in jeopardy.

Sure enough, Sunday saw that sidewalks and roads covered in a nice thin sheet of ice. Rain pelting down. I'm up for running in some less than desirable conditions. But ice skating without skates? In the rain? No thanks.

I needed my miles though.

No choice. Time to head for the gym and the treadmills.

I've never been on one before. Frankly, I didn't even know how to work it. I stood there trying to look cool quietly checking everyone out to pick up some tips. I turned it on. And started walking. And walking. How do you get this thing to go faster? I didn't want set it too high and then zip off the back crashing into the mill behind me. I've seen that in movies.

Finally, I figured it out and started moving. After a couple of minutes, I got the hang of it and let go of the side rails. And off I went.

16 miles and a couple of hours later, I was done. It really wasn't that bad except I stopped on 2 occasions to get some water and was completely dizzy while trying to walk away from the machine. It felt like the floor was still moving. Weird.

I had it set to 8 minute miles (7.5 mph). I really felt like the thing was going much faster than that though. I felt like I was going at my normal outdoor pace which would have been around 7:40/mile for this type of run. Probably just a dreadmill newbie getting used to the idiosyncrasies of a hamster wheel.

24+ miles for the weekend. 61.5% of the Goofy Challenge total.

This week will be a cutback week. I'll lay off the back to back weekend workouts and my long run will only be 13 miles. Hopefully, the weather will be okay.

Happy trails.