Negotiation, Disappointment, Optimism

8 Brilliant Remarks
Kids, the last 2 weeks or so have been somewhat frustrating. Lemme break it down for you.

Over the last few years I've racked up about 475 miles running. Yet I've somehow managed to be the perennial beginner. The cycle goes something like this: start running 3 milers, averaging 6 to 10 miles a week; sign up for a race; jump into the training program for the race; get shin splints; half-ass the training program; run the race, do somewhat poorly; take time off from running.

Soak, wash, rinse, repeat.

I'm realizing that not being "good" at running has become a low-level frustration for me. Let me clarify: I was always good at sports, but I'm not a hyper-competitive guy. In baseball or football or whatever, I always tried to do my best, but I never really cared what the final score was. Not winning doesn't really bother me, but I've realized that not being good myself is in and of itself frustrating.

The few weeks I was chasing the sub-30:00 5k crystallized this for me: running felt good, I didn't get shin splints, and I made great progress. I enjoyed the sense of accomplishment.

So now I'm in a 10k and a half marathon, and I have to prepare. And preparation has not gone great. The week I started adding on miles, I immediately started getting wonky shins. Fnck.

Soak, wash, rinse, repeat.

In order to try to break the cycle, I've backed off on the original Hal Higdon half marathon plan (intermediate) and am going for the Higdon novice one. The mileage is less, there's more cross-training possibilities, and it should be more gradual for me.

I just gotta put on miles slower and not get over-ambitious. Total rookie mistake on my part, done over and over again.

Today was a 4 miler, and it was a little weird. First, right out of the gate I had this exceptionally weird feeling that I couldn't get a deep breath. I have no idea why this happened. But it really felt like I couldn't inhale completely. This psyched me out a bit so I paused the Nike+ and did some torso stretches. My lungs felt fine, it just felt like my diaphragm was being uncooperative for some reason. Weird, huh?

My left leg started feeling splinty at about the 2 mile mark, and didn't get better until I stopped at about 3 miles. I am running in new shoes, so for all I know that's a contributing factor. What I did do is pause my Nike+ and remove the shim I wear in my right shoe. It actually helped, and I was able to finish the 4 miles as planned.

Alas, it was 4 somewhat uncomfortable miles with 2 stops. Not ideal. But I'll keep working. And keep I want to get good at this.

In other news, the new Nike+ site is up. I had no idea they were whipping up a new version, but that might explain why they had some funkiness the other day—they must have been rolling out some backend stuff and something probably went kablooie. While some folks on Twitter had some initial poo-poos on the new site, I'm down with whatever whatever and will see how it goes as they roll it out (it's still in Beta). Connect with me! My username is (surprise surprise) HellaSound.

Cranky 5k; Song #3 Road Test

2 Brilliant Remarks
No, Crabby McSlacker did not hold a race. I, myself, was actually cranky. I usually like to be Johnny Upbeat and whatnot on this here blog, but the honest-to-jeebness truth is that I was just cranky today during my run.

My fuel sucked—I fell off the low-carb thing for the last couple days and was chock full of pizza; my sleep has been jacked up; and my left leg—from my knee, through my lower leg and down to my foot—just didn't feel like cooperating today. Grrrrrrrr.

Yeah, I'm sure the issue with the left leg starts in my hip, but there was nothing I could do about it once I was running. It was one of those days when you know your foot—for whatever reason it has—just isn't landing right, pronating right, and springing off right.

Lazy good for nothing left-foot bastard.

I'm sure there's some physiological explanation for why this happens from time to time and whatnot. I don't know it, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I mean, I don't understand how microwave ovens work, or iPhones, or even the derailer on a 10-speed bike, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. And, just like I can't explain how the differential on a car works, I can't explain why my left foot just doesn't cooperate sometimes. But both the differential and the periodic flapping foot exist.

DISCLAIMER: I promise you, with all my heart, that this isn't a product pitch. Okay? I am not pulling a ShamWow on you. There is no Vince in what I'm about to say. It's a Vince-less statement. Promise.

Anyway, like I said, I was cranky. Still am cranky, honestly. BUT, the ONLY thing that got me out there to run was the knowledge that I was going to run to the new metal song we're working on.

I'm extremely excited about it, and it really helped me get through this run I didn't feel like getting through today. Even when my left knee started feeling wanky at the 2 mile mark—and I had the "am I injured? or does it just hurt?" conversation—I kept on running beat-for-beat and got in my 5k.

So, on the bright side, I really enjoyed running to it, and it really helped. I have just a few more things to tweak on it, then I'll be going into final production at the 10 different speeds (140, 145, 150, 155, 160, 165, 170, 175, 180, 185). Some of the faster chugga-chugga-chugga metal parts are going to be tough to play at the higher BPMs, but I'm looking forward to channeling my inner rock god to do it.

Total Weight: I don't even know today. Ask me on Sunday.

Running Music Road Test - Song #3

1 Brilliant Remarks


Where are you Nike+???

You're gonna have to take my word for it that I ran 5k today, because Nike+ just ain't workin' today. Maybe they're rolling out some fancy new feature, but between me and you, I suspect they got hacked or something. Some catastrophic data failure maybe. Or something. It just seems odd for them to be down all day long. Maybe they put up some sort of "scheduled downtime" notification, but I didn't see it.

Anyhoo, where was I.

I broke my short sabbatical and went for a run down at Crissy Field. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous day. It was *almost* warm out it was so nice. It's almost never warm in San Francisco.

To make the beautiful day even sweeter, I got to run in my brand-spanking-new Asics Kayano 15s. Check that shoe out. That's a damn handsome shoe. And the colors are almost the same palette as the Hella Sound color palette. Shazzam, I say.

I ordered them on Zappos and, in true Zappos style, they were delivered in a mind-bendingly short amount of time. Seriously. I didn't even have a chance to put my wallet away and the UPS guy was at the door with my shoes.

Again: shazzam.

They feel really nice. I've been running in Asics Nimbus and I really liked them, but Halima recommended I try the Kayanos during my gait analysis session. Halima was right on the money. The Kayanos feel more structured than the Nimbus (what's plural for "Nimbus"? "Nimbi"?) shoes, but not in a painful or stiff way. As a matter of fact, I felt like they really promoted what seemed like a healthy, natural pronation. I felt like each step flowed correctly through my foot and out my big toe (as I'm told your step is supposed to go).

Good stuff. I really like them. I suspect they put a little bit of magic in every Kayano. This is just a guess.

Speaking of guesses (and smearing a fine product/service with no basis in fact), look what's back up!
Looks like Nike+ is back up! Good times, good times.

So there's your digital proof that I went out and huffed it for 5k.

Oh, yeah, and the Road Test; this was another run with the in-progress version of what will be our 3rd song release. It's a metal/thrash song with a bunch of fun stuff in it. Here's what I have to say about it: it totally kicked my ass. I really dug running to it, and once I have a couple little things ironed out in the arrangement I'll be ready for beta testers to take the song out on the road. Again, good stuff.

Total Weight: -18lbs

Playing Conservative Ball

1 Brilliant Remarks
I was supposed to run a 6 miler this weekend in the Presidio, but I decided to rest up. My ankles have been feeling a little wonked—I suspect I ramped up mileage too quickly, dammit.

So, I got the pegs wrapped and I'm trying to get things in ship shape.

I'll hit the 6er tomorrow, and hopefully all will be well.

In the meantime, I've posted a bunch of trail run events on the Facebook Hella Sound Events page. Check it out, and if you're in the Bay Area (or will be during any of the posted times), let's hook it up! More dates to come.

Running Music Road Test - Song #3 (Thrash \m/)

2 Brilliant Remarks
I bounced down the thrash song and headed out for my 5k run.
("Bouncing down" is the process in which a multi-track recording is merged into a single stereo audio file.)
("Thrash" is aggressive music made popular in the '80s by bands like Metallica—that is, before Metallica started sucking. Badly. The distinct characteristic to the genre is that it makes you want to punch people in the face. And run aggressively.)
("5k" is a metric distance. Why the US never adopted the metric system, I'll never know, but until we do I'll continue to buy my milk by the gallon, my gas by the rundlet and my beer by the hogshead. Stupid British measurement system...)

When I lay out and record an arrangement, I work at 160 BPM. When it's done and thoroughly road tested I go back and re-record everything at the different cadences. 160 BPM is now slower than my 5k running cadence; as such, I didn't come close to 30:00 today, but that's cool: it was a good run and a good road test. There's DEFINITELY some parts to this song that get you really amped up and you fly. There's one part, though, that I thought for sure would be great, but really doesn't work well for running. I'll have to hack it out and rework the piece.

But man, I like it.

In continuing with my warm weather prep, I ran with a dark long-sleeve shirt on and a black shirt over it. The sun was bright—it was a gorgeous day out in San Francisco today—but the breeze was still somewhat cool. Perfect running weather, really. But Los Gatos and San Jose will not be as cool or as kind, so I keep preparing for the worst.

Total Weight: -15lbs

2 Mile Run in Pseudocode

5 Brilliant Remarks
require ("Nike+");

function run (@tempo, @distance) {
var @m; // instantiate mile variable

// create new Nike+ instance
@np = new Nike+();
@np.setPlaylist("Hella Sound Running");

// loop through each mile in distance
for (@m; @m <= @distance; @m++) {
@t = getTerrain();
if (@t["elevation"]["upcoming"] > @t["elevation"]["current"]) {

function getTerrain () {
var @surface;
var @elevation = array ();
// returns concrete, asphalt, gravel, dirt
@surface = eval(Earth.loc.surface);
// assess current elevation
@elevation["current"] = Earth.loc().topography;
// assess upcoming elevation
@elevation["upcoming"] = Earth.loc("10 feet ahead").topography;
return array(@surface, @elevation)

$(John.ready(function(@) {
// put on some clothes
John.apparel("Asics", "Racevine shirt", "shorts");
// hydrate a little
// run, bitches!"165", "2");
I dare you to out-dork this post. I mean, how are you going to beat poorly-written procedural pseudocode? The gauntlet, my running blogging friends, has been thrown down.

Total Weight: -12lbs*
* Yeah, big weight change since last Friday. Sunday and Monday were gluttonous: IHOP, Gamine, Chinese food and Philly cheesesteak. Bad and off-plan, but this'll drop back down just as quick as it went up.

Weekly Mileage: the 10% Rule

1 Brilliant Remarks
Today wasn't a run day. Today was a get-a-bunch-of-work-done day. But I was thinking about running.

I was looking at my weekly mileage, trying to be smart about things. The 10% Rule says you're not supposed to increase your mileage more than 10% week-to-week. This is usually where I screw up and try to do too much too soon.

I've been doing my day-on-day-off 5k thing for a few weeks, and while I haven't truly built up a solid base, it's probably the most consistent I've been.

If you look at my week-by-week from Nike+, it's really been only the last 2 weeks that I've done about 9 miles; the weeks before that I did 6 or less. If I rapidly jump up, I have a higher risk of getting hurt, so in order to keep myself from being a complete jackanus I've figured out what the recommended weekly mileage increase would be over the next couple weeks, leading upto the beginning of the Higdon half-marathon plan (going by 10%). It looks something like this:
 ⇒ 11
I've added this to the calendar so I'll make sure to not go beyond this each week—even tho I'm adding a progression of longer and longer runs in preparation for the 10k in Los Gatos.

Makes sense, right? Dorky, but it makes sense. Hopefully I'm being smart (and not just nerdy), and this'll help me keep training smoothly.

My "long" this week is 6 on Saturday, so I'll do 3 miles Tuesday and 2 miles on Thursday to make 11 for the week. Next week I'm slated for another 6 miler with a 12 mile week allotment, so M-W-F I'll divvy up the remaining 6 miles.

We'll see how it goes.

No Sleep, 5 Miles, Beautiful Morning

2 Brilliant Remarks
Someone needs to tell the surfers in San Francisco *why* they call the Pacific Ocean in this area the Red Triangle. There were a bunch of guys out in their wetsuits purposely playing in the same water that great white sharks are made.

To me, this is not a great plan.

What is a great plan, however, is heading out early and taking a 5 mile trot along the Pacific. My normal route is being used for the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon this morning, so I switched it up and ran along Ocean Beach. (Thus the suicidal surfer reference.)

It's a nice little route. There's a "multi-purpose path" along the road opposite the ocean that's asphalt and packed sand, which is easier on the meat than concrete. There's nice little rolling hills and very few intersections to get stuck at. I'll have to run this route again.

No, I didn't sleep last night.

And really, it's not that I have insomnia; it's just my body clock has somehow adjusted itself to Japan time. I have a bad habit of staying up a little bit later every night, working on code or plans or whatnot, and before you know it it's really, really late. So late it's early.

Today I figured to pull a carpe diem: I'm gonna try to stay up all day, go about my business and make it all the way through the day so I can so I can reset my clock and fall asleep at a normal time tonight. Wish me luck on that.

Photo courtesy oskay on Flickr.

29:56 Beeshes!

3 Brilliant Remarks
Check Flavor's clock, yo—I finally hit the sub-30:00 mark! Awww yeah!

I really wasn't pressing it super hard to break 30:00—I was mostly just running how I felt. I felt like hustling, so I hustled. And 29:54 is what I ended up with.

The trick from here on out is to redo this over and over and over again (until I have a faster goal time to shoot for). Just keep truckin', keep having fun, and avoid injury.

On the avoiding-injury front, I really gotta start sleeping better and doing my active range of motion hip exercises.

They're all set up for the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon down by the Bay—something I've been meaning to watch every year but have missed for whatever reason. I think I'm gonna cruise down there on Sunday, watch the action and cheer people on.

Total Weight: -17lbs

Run entry on

Running Music Road Test #1 - Song #2

0 Brilliant Remarks
I got an early draft of Hella Sound's next running music release from the wonderful composer that's working on it, so it was time to take it out for its first road test.

Ooooooh babies. We're on to something good here. It's groove-a-licious. I can't wait to share it with you all.

The version I was sent was at 160BPM—a notch down from the 165BPM I've been running with. So, as you'd predict, my overall time today for 5k was slower—stride rate/cadence is key component of speed. But I thoroughly enjoyed the run. All things considered, it's probably a good idea to have a mix of run workouts: pace-pushers, cruisers, and long-slow runs. Today was a cruiser.

Feeling good, feeling on top of things, feeling on track. No issues to speak of in how things are going. I do believe, however, that I'll have to invest some effort into the following:
  • My ARoM hip exercises (which I've been neglecting)
  • Getting better sleep
All in good time.

In unrelated news: check out the new Hella Sound home page. I love that photo. Found it on Flickr, loved it, contacted the photographer, and he was super cool and enthusiastic about us using it on the site. How cool is that? We live in wonderful times.

Total Weight: -15.5lbs

Run entry on

5k(3x3) = 30:01

2 Brilliant Remarks
I snuck out just in time for the last little inklings of twilight as San Francisco got engulfed in clouds, mist, and night.

(Damn, that's kinda poetic.)

I ended up doing 5k in 30:01—my fastest yet—but really didn't intend to. I was just running, enjoying myself.

I had eaten a 3 x 3, protein-style from In-n-Out just about an hour before; I'm not sure if that helped or hurt. It didn't rattle around, so that's a plus.


Total Weight: -14lbs

Run entry on

Long Runs Out & About

0 Brilliant Remarks
As I mentioned on Twitter, I'm going to try to find fun places to do my long runs in preparation for the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon. These runs are on Saturdays and Sundays in August and September. Here's the schedule:
Sunday, Jul 26 - 6m
Sunday, Aug 9 - 7m
Sunday, Aug 16 - 8m
Sunday, Aug 30 - 9m
Sunday, Sep 6 - 10m
Sunday, Sep 13 - 15k(?)
Sunday, Sep 20 - 11m
Sunday, Sep 27 - 12m
This is following the prescribed mileage from the Hal Higdon halfie plan, as described in greater detail here.

Anyone interested in joining me? Do you have any locations to suggest?

I'm in San Francisco, and there's TONS of fantastic places in the vicinity to run. Off the top of my head I'm thinking of Sonoma, Napa, the Marin headlands, but I'm sure there are a lot of great places to run. @smellycents suggested hooking up for a run down the peninsula in Woodside then a trip to Buck's, which sounds like a really good time.

Here's a couple thoughts that may be helpful:
  • I'm pretty darn slow (this site is called "Slow Mofo" after all.) I'll probably be doing 10:30-ish miles.
  • I'd be willing to drive a few hours to get to a running location. I don't think I'd want to sit in a car for 5 hours, but I'm definitely flexible.
  • Since the moderate heat/sunshine of the last SJ RnR Half crushed my soul last time, I'm looking do at least some of the runs in warmer weather. "Warmer" meaning "75 or so"—not some 100 degree broil-fest. I did all my runs last year in the cool SF evenings, and paid dearly for this on race day.
  • I'm not really looking to do some hellacious, technical trail run. I'm also not really looking to take some super Dipsea-style hill trouncing.
  • If at all possible, I'd prefer to avoid doing miles and miles on concrete.
  • (I'm beginning to sound really high-maintenance, aren't I?)
  • There's a very good chance I'll run with headphones on. Partly because I love running to music, but also partly because I use the Nike+ to track my runs. This doesn't mean I'll be some weirdo, silent, anti-social guy; I don't blast my stuff (it's bad for your ears you know) and I'm normally a chatty cathy. But I've never really gotten into talking *a lot* when I run. I mostly breath and keep going (is that weird?). So, I'll be plenty social, but I'll probably be plenty social with headphones on. Take no offense. Hell, I'll even hook you up with some custom running music, if you're so inclined.
What do you think?

If have route suggestions, or you're interested in coming along, leave a comment (don't leave your email tho—spambots will snatch it up) or Tweet me and we'll work it out. Thanks!

Photo courtesy acaben on Flickr.

"Long" Run #1

4 Brilliant Remarks
Beautiful day, went down to Crissy Field and put in 4 miles. This is my first "long" run, as preparation for July's 10k.

I didn't worry about speed—just basically tried to take it easy and log the miles. I ended up averaging about 10min/miles anyway, which historically is pretty good for me. So that's a plus.

I definitely, definitely have to get cracking on my active range of motion exercises for my hips. My left lower leg was a wee little bit wonky, which worries me. I want things to be smooth and happy and healthy.

One note: due to visiting friends and social opportunities, my diet hasn't been what you'd call "strict" the last few days. My weight reflects that, but I'm back on the ball. Takin' care of bidness, yo.

Total Weight: -11lbs

The Plan V; Less Plan, More Fun

2 Brilliant Remarks
Alrighty kids, as stated in my last carefully-crafted word salad known in blogger circles as a "post", I've gotten myself into a couple races: The Los Gatos Jungle Run 10k in mid-July and the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in October.

I've really been enjoying doing this casual Quest for Sub-30:00 5k thing, but I wanted to get into races, too. So, I reckon, I'm going to continue running mostly 5ks during the week, with gradually increasing longer runs on Sundays in preparation for the 10k. Once I'm there I'm going to start my buddy Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training Program. It looks like a winner, and very doable.

I've adjusted my training calendar so I know what to do on which days. Funny how that works. My priorities are basically:
1. Continue to lose weight
2. Build up an adequate base
3. Prepare correctly for 10k
4. Prepare correctly for Half Marathon
I'll leave my other 2 goals ("5. Becoming King of Scotland" and "6. Perfecting the art of the cheese fry") for a later date.

Wish me luck!

The Calendar

Late Afternoon Run, Nonsense, Looking Towards the Future™

3 Brilliant Remarks
Having recently met up with some very cool runners that do some very cool blogs (a post on Hella Sound to come), I feel obligated to make this post more than the usual "I ran here, I did X, it was fine."

Obligated, but also inspired.

I'm not wholly sure how I'm going to do that, really.

I could include cute pictures of my cats, I guess. Those always go over well.




Or I could include a picture of someone twirling glowsticks but give absolutely no explanation for its inclusion in this post:(...although some of you may be able to divine a reason, or read your own meaning into it...)

Alas, I will do neither of those things, even though I just did both of those things.

Sorry, discussion over. That's final.

On to the "I ran here, I did X, it was fine" segment of the post:

Somehow I managed to make it all the way to 5pm without eating (whoops!). I'm a food person—an eater—so this is unusual. I reckon I may have been preoccupied, but regardless, when I went for my run it was pretty much on an empty gastank.

Nonetheless, I made a decent go of it. Not sub-30:00, but pretty damn close.

Also, as the day wore on I found myself signed up for not one (1) but two (2) races:
The Los Gatos Jungle Run 10k in mid-July
and the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in October.

You may remember that the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half beat me like I stole something from it last year. I pretty much have 4 solid months to make sure it doesn't do that to me again.

The main trick will be finding enough warm sunny days in San Francisco to prepare myself for running in San Jose. It's quite a bit warmer down there. Maybe I'll do some runs in the East Bay as prep.

So, I've been enjoying my preoccupation with the sub-30:00 5k, but I have some races on the horizon. If there were more 5ks (that didn't cost way too much for a 5k) then I'd probably be running those. Also, someone (I'm not naming any names) pretty much goaded me into doing the SJ RnR, and I never back down from a challenge. Well, except all those times I backed down from challenges.

I think a month is definitely time enough to prep for the 10k, and I think 4 months is plenty of time to get into half marathon shape. Soon I'll formalize my ease-into-it plan and post it up on this here site.


Total Weight: -12lbs