I Don't Even Want to Talk About It

1 Brilliant Remarks
It was a wrong-side-of-the-bed-type run. I was so frustrated I didn't even get my weightlifting workout in.

Tomorrow's another day.

New Shoes == Happiness

0 Brilliant Remarks
Just like Harry Potter, I'm rockin' the Nimbus. Although mine are shoes, and his was a broomstick. Major difference.

I ordered the Asics Nimbus 10s from Zappos.com on Tuesday afternoon. Damn shoes showed up on Wednesday. No lie. And, while they weren't cheaper than other stores, the shipping was free. Fantastic shopping experience. (No, I ain't in any way affiliated with Zappos and was not induced to say this, just as this woman was not paid to relate this great post about her experience. They're just doing good work.)

I couldn't wait to strap them on and give 'em a run.

Today was 2 miles running, deadlifts and whatnot. I couldn't help but ratchet up the pace a bit more, spending most of my time around the 9:40 mark. Damn it felt good. And I'm pleased as punch with the Nimbus 10s. Very cushy, seemed to be friendly with my high arch, seemed to let me pronate as I'm supposed to. Goodness.

Weights

Deadlift: 3 sets of 5 reps @ 60lbs, 80lbs, 100lbs
Lunges: 1 set (each side) of 5 reps

I basically didn't really feel like doing lunges today. Not a great attitude, but eh. Whatever.

Hahahaha. *sigh* Oh well.

Tomorrow's another rest day as I ramp into the training schedule.

...It's Like a Hamster Wheel, But For People

0 Brilliant Remarks
Per The Plan III I hit the gym today, knocking out an easy 2 miler, some free weight squats, lunges and the anti-shin-splint exercises shown in this post.

Two miles were cake, and I bumped up the pace a bit. My whole plan is to ease into this the right way, and I didn't want to shoot myself in the foot (or the shin) by being way too overzealous and amping the speed way up. So, I stuck around the 10min/mile mark.

Unfortunately, in order to get my workout in quickly and efficiently (as well as avoid concrete or other hard running surfaces), I decided to run on the treadmill. Treadmills can be boring, but it didn't really bother me today. Actually, it was a pretty great way to get my run in and concentrate on my form. I think what you lose on a treadmill (aside from outdoor aesthetic values) is the need to pace yourself. When the machine is lapping the belt at X rpms a minute, you don't have to monitor your pace and maintain it yourself—it happens for you, automagically.

In trying to get lifting into my routine, I foresee a problem reconciling my run locations. Or, to say it in another, non-spaghetti-talk way: it's gonna suck to have to run on a treadmill all the time, but I'm not sure what my options are.

Regardless, and above and beyond all else, it was a great run and a good workout.

Weights

Squats: 5 reps x 3 sets, 115lbs, 135lbs, 155lbs
Lunges: 5 reps (each side) x 3 sets forward-backward step lunges

Photo courtesy kennymiller at Flickr.

Excited to Be Starting Back Up

0 Brilliant Remarks
W000000T!!!

After a wonderful vacation in Mexico with my gorgeous @LosBee (celebrating our 5th anniversary, soaking up the sun and the all-inclusive resort food and resort booze), I'm stoked to be back in action and excited to start training again.

As you can see in The Calendar (below), I've laid out a plan that will hopefully get me prepared, conditioned and—most importantly—disciplined as a runner, injury-free. I'll spend the first 4 weeks easing into it, gradually adding miles as well as runs. After 4 weeks I'll begin 4 weeks of pre-training, then begin the Cool Running Twelve Week Beginner 10k Program. The weight workouts I've planned are multiple-joint movement exercises, which are important, but ultimately secondary to my running schedule. This'll all be over on March 1, and I'm sure by then I'll have developed a new goal and a new plan.

Here's to new beginnings, and doing things the right way!

The Calendar

Beautiful Day, Great Run

2 Brilliant Remarks
Man oh man what a great run. The schedule said today was my second recovery run—a 3 miler. My shins were a little tweaky after yesterday's short trot on concrete, so I hit Kezar Stadium's all-weather track.

What a beautiful day. It's about 73 degrees, sunny, light breezes. No clouds. The Blue Angels are practicing flying formations over the city (I guess there's some air show coming up), and the periodic roar of jets flying over head has been a long-time favorite sound of mine.

After my dynamic stretch warm-up, I hit the track running. Felt great, and I was cruising pretty fast. I'm not sure if it was the healthy dose of caffeine I had this morning (Peet's Major Dickason's Blend coffee), or my new-found determination, or a combo platter of all the above.

Great run. Paula Radcliffe was nice enough to tell me I ran a personal best for the mile (on my Nike+) when I finished. Thanks Paula! I bet you say that to all the guys.

Afterward I did my normal static stretches, as well as some of the dorsiflex/shin strengthening exercises I found on YouTube (below). Then it was back home to a banana, blueberry and OJ protein shake.

It's a tough life, I tells ya.

2 Miler, Cholo Style

1 Brilliant Remarks
Today was a shorty 2 mile "recovery" run according to yon calendar. I'm not really sore after my half marathon meltdown on Sunday, and the run went easily, as expected.

I did bust out my brand new Sugoi knee-high socks, and paired them with my ├╝ber-long black running shorts. Socks go up to the knee, shorts go down past, so voila! It's the CholoRunner™ look.

All I needed was a white wife-beater undershirt and some ornate black tattoos and it would be on.

Like I said, the run was pretty uneventful. I ran over to the Presidio and back—didn't get too far in before turnaround time.

The long socks were comfy, and they breathed, but they did get a little warm. I can see people that run in cool/cold climates loving them. Me, I got a lot of goofy looks. I'm sure I looked like I was batsh*t crazy. Oh well. Wouldn't be the first time.

The Plan III

2 Brilliant Remarks
Hey all.

So, after my last post, which was the break-you-down half of the break-you-down-then-build-you-back-up cycle, I've devised a new Plan.

Executive Summary
(Refer to The Workout Schedule calendar)
  • Post-Race Recovery week
  • 8 Weeks Pre-Training
  • 12 Week 10k Training Program
  • Multiple-Joint Weightlifting 3 Times a Week, Plus 1 Day Circuit Training
Weight Program
squats, lunges, toe raises — 3 sets @5-8 reps each
bench, pull-ups or rows, still dips — 3 sets @5-8 reps each
deadlift, lunges — 3 sets @5-8 reps each
circuit training — 30 minutes

Rationale
I could deconstruct what I need to do in a billion little pieces, analyze them and elaborate in great detail; but it really all comes down to discipline. I have no proven method for becoming more disciplined, but I do have a theory; with any large, potentially daunting problem you don't know the solution to, it usually helps to break down the BIG problem into smaller, more manageable pieces. I feel that if I break the problem of discipline down into a series of workouts, then tackle each workout individually, along the way I will develop discipline. That's the underlying theory behind The Plan III.

Things That I Used To Do
Historically, I've somewhat half-assed my training; I did the Couch to 5k thing some years back when I first started running. Since then, I've taken a somewhat commando approach to training for races. If I wanted to run a 10k, I picked a 10k plan and jumped right in. For the half marathon, I picked the Cool Running Beginner's Half Marathon Program and immediately started on Week 1, without verifying I was adequately pre-trained.

I didn't always strictly adhere to every date in the schedule, and I didn't necessarily make sure my pre-training was up to snuff. The cart came before the horse: I would sign up for a race, then I'd find a training plan and fit it in.

The Medium is the Message
This time out, my approach is the opposite. I am not choosing a race as a goal; instead, going through the process of training is my goal. Once completed I can feel confident that I've put the time and the miles in, I have a solid base, and that I'm where I should be. Then, having proven this to myself, I can pick a race to train for and go from there.

I think I'll run a lower risk of injury, and be much better prepared for whatever the next step is.

Some Lingering Doubt
It's critically important to have realistic goals. Looking at this schedule, I'm confident that I can commit to the running. I am concerned, however, with working in the gym-bound portion, which is more difficult than throwing on a pair of shoes and going. I've switched up some other (off-topic, personal) stuff, which should allow me to get into a schedule more conducive with hitting the miles and the gym.

I'll try to be realistic, and adjust the calendar honestly and objectively as I go.

Final Thoughts
If my theory proves true, discipline won't be achieved through one sweeping gesture; instead, it'll be earned and accumulated in each mile I run and workout I complete.

One step at a time, baby.

San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon Post-Mortem

2 Brilliant Remarks
The Fine Art of Failure
Or
Back to the Drawing Board
Or
Time to Put Theory Into Practice

It's been well documented in this here blog how poorly I do when it's warm out. Now, most races happen in warmer seasons.

Are you beginning to see the problem here?

When it comes right down to it, the fact is that I'm just too heavy right now to effectively manage the heat. In San Diego I'd run early in the morning, or wait until the sun went down. Here in San Francisco, the weather is frequently—but not always—on my side. I do fine when it's cool out. But that's not really something I can expect for every race (or every run, for that matter). And shit, it ain't exactly healthy for me to be rockin' a 34+ BMI. *cough*

So ultimately, I think it's high time I drop down a weight class. Well, actually, several weight classes. In Ultimate Fighting parlance, I'd be leaving Fedor Emelianenko behind so I can take on Anderson Silva.

I'm not built to be a 155 pound runner. I'm a stocky cat, and have always been drawn to weightlifting. Well, weightlifting, beer and pizza. But even with low body fat, I'd probably be a lot closer to 180 than 150.

To sum up, this ain't cuttin' it. By shedding this unnecessary insulation, I think I'd be much better able to handle heat. I mean running will fundamentally easier for me at a lighter weight, and it'll also greatly lower my risk of injury.

I know a whole lot about fitness, nutrition, diet and exercise. My primary problem, however, is demonstrating any kind of consistent discipline in pursuing any of these over a longer period of time. And so before I decide to dedicate myself to X plan or X goal or X race, I think I have to figure out how to become disciplined—mentally tough—if I'm going to have any success with any new goals.

Race Report

Okay, where was I. Oh yeah, the race.

I was excited that it was rainy yesterday at the race expo. I was hoping for a nice, cool race. I'd run in chilly rain over warm sunshine any day. Alas, today was clear and bright.

The San Jose Rock & Roll Half Marathon course winds around the various parts of downtown San Jose, weaving through nearby residential neighborhoods. I was shooting for a 2:30 finish, based on my time from my long run last Wednesday. I did 12 miles very comfortably in 2:15, including an on-the-clock potty break. I could do 2:30.

I started off feeling very strong. I was rested, I was fed, I was hydrated. I was good to go. I spotted the 2:30 pace group (which, by the way, is a concept I love. How ingenious! "Run in this group and you'll get there on time." Brilliant.) and was easily able to stay with them. It felt like a very, very doable pace that I could comfortably complete. Understand, I wasn't looking for a specific finish time—I just wanted to finish this thing.

Mile one was fine. Mile two was fine, too, although I became very aware of how bright the sun was. The banks we ran by during the race reported around 75 degrees, which is not what anyone would call "hot". But the sun... I was optimistic this wouldn't become a problem. Mile three was okay. I ran by the water station, thinking "why would I need water at mile 3? We just got started?"

Wrong. Mistake #1.

By the time mile 5 rolled around, I began to feel...not right. I was starting to lose motivation, and the ugly little "doubt" bastard peeked his head out. The "doubt" imp, which is always followed by the "quit" jackal.

By mile 6 I knew I was in trouble. Understand, I NEVER drink water during a run. Not even on longer runs. I pre-hydrate thoroughly, and then make my way through. But by mile 6, I realized I had to get some fluids. I stopped at the water station and took a cup of water, carefully sipping. I didn't want to drink it all down.

Mile 7 proved to me that these sips clearly were not enough. I was feeling bad mentally, and got completely out of the game. I began to run/walk, and took advantage of every water station we passed by.

By mile 9, I did two things:
1. I took a cup of Cytomax, because I was pretty sure I needed electrolytes.
2. I got really pissed off.

I didn't work towards this race to have it all fall to hell so easily. So, I did my very best to hydrate, and I committed to the idea of finishing as strong as I could.

The end of the race was pretty uneventful. @LosBee was at the finish line, screaming for me (which is always nice), and another race was in the bag.

Now, check out the Nike+ above. I set it to "Half Marathon" at the start of the race. It was by-and-large in sync to each mile interval along the way. But somehow, it was off by a mile. I couldn't figure out how the hell that happened. Granted, I started it in the corral before the official race start, but how could it possibly be 1 mile too long?!?!?? Very, very weird. It seemed to be calibrated accurately (mile for mile) at first, but it was totally out of sync.

Weird.

The Results:

Strollers That Passed Me: 0*
Place Overall: unknown out of 9563
Men: 3905 out of 4188 men
Age Grade: 33.9%
Finish: 2:56:41
Pace: sllllllloooooooooooooowwwwwwwww

It's back to the drawing board time, kids. I have no race planned to focus on, so I reckon I now have the bandwidth to concentrate on the "core issues" and fix my foundation. Good times.

* Officially, strollers were not allowed on the course. However, somehow, I got passed by 3 folks with strollers. Now, I'm pretty sure they weren't wearing bibs, so let's just say that they hopped on the course to run along with Mommy or Daddy for a short spurt and not the full 13.1. Deal?