LOST: Motivation. Please Return to Owner. Reward.

5 Brilliant Remarks
As explained below, this was my last run. What is that, 4 days ago? Yeesh. So, I've enlisted the help of this guy to help me find my motivation again. He looks like the kind of guy that'll get the job done, provided you pay in unmarked bills and supply enough bourbon.

Watch out: he's got a knife in his boot.

Honestly, as many of y'all know that have blogs, I'm confident that I'll derive some motivation out of the simple act of whipping up this poast. It gets your head back in the game, gets you connected with your goals and your running community. Crazy how that works, but it does.

I'll run tomorrow.

  • Distance 4 miles
  • Location Crissy Field, SF CA
  • Shoes Asics Kayano
  • The Lowdown I can't say I remember much about this run, except I got it done, went home, showered, then went out and ate a bunch of Chinese food. And then drank a lot of beer. (Please see @PunkRockRunner's post on Chinese food. You'll be glad you did.)

    I hustled to get Hella Sound running music track #2 together and up, which was long hours. And then I guess I celebrated some. By the time Friday rolled around, I was pretty much done for, but got this run in anyway. By Saturday I was Melba toast. Fried.

    I haven't run since. I missed my long on Sunday and missed my Tuesday 4.5 miler.

    Which is to say: egads.

Photo courtesy Bukutgirl on Flickr.

Who Likes Music???

3 Brilliant Remarks
Man oh man I've been busy! I've had my head stuck in music production since Friday, hustling to get Hella Sound's second release out the door. I finally got each MP3 rendered, QA'd and uploaded to my shopping cart at 4:30am. Yay! (Note to self: moving around 55 meg files on the internet *always* takes longer than anticipated.)

I'll be putting up a blurb on HellaSound.com about the song soon, but in a nutshell: it's a rip-your-face-off metal song that fires you up and keeps you psyched. I set out to make something blistering and heavy, and I think I got it.

Again, I say onto thee: yay!

  • Distance 6 miles
  • Location Crissy Field, SF CA
  • Shoes Asics Kayano
  • The Lowdown This was a good run. I'd been hustling all weekend (and most of Thursday and Friday) for work, so getting out for a run was something my soul was excited for.

    As a huge departure, I brought water with me. I never do this. Ever. The way I see it, races have water about every 3 miles, so I'm going to get in the habit of rehydrating every 3 miles. Makes sense, huh?

    Going long? Then go slow. I kept telling myself "easy does it" during the run, consciously slowing myself down and just focusing on cruising. Cruise cruise cruise cruise cruise. "No need to hustle, this was just a cruise"—that kind of thing. In the end, I'm surprised my time and average was what it was. I thought I was going faster than that. Good stuff.

Image courtesy Gerrysan on Flickr.

The Deal with Shoes

4 Brilliant Remarks
There's been a lot of discussion about modern running shoes' detrimental effect; the theory goes something like "modern, high-tech shoes encourage biomechanically incorrect movement and lead to all the injury you see in the running community". Go ahead, Google it—I'll wait for you to come back.

Like almost everyone else, I've invested the effort (and money) in finding shoes that seem to fit my physiology and ability. I chose Asics Nimbus based on my own reading and experience, and my new Asics Kayano from recommendation. And I've noticed how the Kayano does have more structure, does enforce more specific movement than the neutral Nimbus. Are these shoes encouraging bad habits?

I've also recently acquired Vibram Five Fingers "barefoot" running shoes. I'd been relatively obsessed with them since I heard of them, and I believe there is some logic to the idea that walking barefoot—with toes and other footy parts with free range movement—can encourage healthier, stronger lower legs and feet. Honestly, I had no plans of running in the Vibrams. I mostly wanted to get them for cruising around, running errands, etc. (You run a lot of errands on foot when you live in San Francisco.)

My take on the whole thing:
I applaud those that are trying barefoot running. It's commendable, and at some point I might hit the track for some easy workouts in the Vibrams. But I'm particularly aware of my form, my foot plant, and the impact each stride I take. For a 250lb guy, I believe I am remarkably light on my feet. I am the last guy you'll hear *SLAP* *SLAP* *SLAP*-ing on the pavement next to you during a run. As such, I believe modern, highly-engineered shoes are fine.

To say it another way: I could probably learn how to play baseball without a mitt, building up callouses and developing the technique to field a line-drive bare-handed. But why?

What do you guys think? Weigh in!

  • Distance 4 miles
  • Location Crissy Field, SF CA
  • Shoes Asics Nimbus
  • The Lowdown I *never* run two days in a row! Well, almost never. I guess this was an exception to the rule. I've missed cross-training days and whatnot, but I'm not going to miss my run days—even if I have to double 'em up. I ran Tuesday's run on Thursday, so Thursday's run had to happen on Friday in order to get a rest day in before Sunday's long run. (Got all that?)

    I felt awesome during this run. Just great. I felt like everything was clicking. It was nearly effortless, really. And imagine my surprise when I got it done in under 40 minutes. Crazy.

Image courtesy slendle84 on Flickr.

Self-Reflexive Prater from a Liminal Space

2 Brilliant Remarks
Cliche to show Oscar the Grouch in a blog post (or, if I may, "poast")? Yeah, I guess. But I was grouchy today. So, you get an Oscar.

In Other News

I reckon this is a blog in transition. Why? Because it occurred to me after my run today that my normal bread-and-butter post ("poast") content is sorta boring. I can do better. I can't do a lot better, but I can do better than I normally do. Where I'll go with this I'm not quite sure, but rest assured, this pristine frond is pivoting on its x axis.

This was a medicinal run. I knew I would feel better once I did it. I caught the last of today's sunshine down at Crissy Field, doing a final test run to our new song. (I'm pleased as punch with how the song turned out, btw. It should be available this weekend.) We had a visitor in town, so I wasn't able to run since Sunday's 5 miler. It felt great to get out.

My Favorite Endogenous Opioid Polypeptides

6 Brilliant Remarks

The Most Important Thing

When I did my little 36th Year Wrap-Up post, I forgot one of the most important things I learned this year:
Get to know people that run at (or slower than) your speed.
Follow them on Twitter, friend 'em up at a running group, connect with them on dailymile, follow their blog.

Why? Lemme tell ya:

I really started paying a lot more attention to my running—and connecting with other runners—about a year and a half ago (or so). The first few people who I connected with and/or followed their blogs (folks like this guy and this guy and of course this guy) are interesting, inspiring, talented and funny folks. But DAYAM are they fast. Like really fast.

And I'm just not.

In reading their accomplishments, race reports and workouts, I kept thinking "man, I really suck." It wasn't until I started "following" runners that aren't super-fast, super-accomplished, etc that I realized that I don't suck—I'm just slower than these guys.

I still love getting out there, getting faster, going longer. However fast these guys run shouldn't be discouraging for me. I don't even have to come up with some sort of rationalization or whatever; the fact is: It just doesn't matter.

In addition, the more runners I met that were around my speed, the more I discovered that there are plenty of folks that are slower than us, and they still love running, still love getting out there, still love putting in the miles.

So, if I have anything of value to pass along to you at the beginning of my 37th year, it's this: find runners your speed. Your (running) world opens up as soon as you do.

Sunday's Run

Man oh man was I tired when I started this run. Exhausted, even. Three nights of not enough sleep, plus not-so-good food had me feeling mighty sapped.

I'd already missed one run last week due to my schedule (a freakishly busy one for me). I was not about to miss my "long" for the week. I'm a man on the mission, you know?

So, I put on the Asics Nimbus and hit Crissy Field. (The Kayanos were good for the last run, but I did have a wee little bit of tenderness in my left lower leg. I'm getting used to them, and I'm doing it a bit at a time.)

Kids, my ass was dragging. I'm amazed my average pace was ~10:20 (Nike+ data and all), because I really felt SLOW. In addition, it was downright warm out there—warm and sunny, no less—and it got pretty hot pretty fast. It was hot enough for me to stop mid-way and get some water at a drinking fountain, which is something I never do.

I'll admit, that little bastard the Quit Monster did surface momentarily right after mile 2, but I didn't pay him much mind.

Done and done. And once I was finished, I was chock-full of my buddies, the endogenous opioid polypeptide compounds, AKA endorphins. I love those little guys. I felt great the rest of the day.

Image courtesy law_keven on Flickr.

Good Good Good

1 Brilliant Remarks
Tonight almost felt like the perfect summer evening. If it was only, say, 10 degrees warmer. I hit Crissy Field as the sun was fixing to set and put in my 3.5 miles, road testing the next Hella Sound song. The recording phase is all done—I'm in the mixing phase, and am just about ready to release that puppy out into the wild. (It was, incidentally, great to run to.)

I took the new Asics Kayanos out for the third time. The first two times I ended up feeling pretty shin splinty, but I've been putting more miles in (building up the base). I also walked around in them a bit to get my legs/feet acclimated. I think it worked. They felt great during the run—super solid. I reckon those'll be the shoes I run the half-marathons in, and I'm glad that they're starting to feel right.

"Running" Late...

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(Ya see what I did there? Like, using "running" as, like, an allusion to my workouts, and, like, as part of the phrase? Didja see that? Huh? Heh heh heh.) (Yeah, I suck.)

Yeesh, I'm a little late on this post.

See, I turned 37 on Thursday, which was nice. And I had every intention of celebrating (in part) by offering a wrap-up here on Slow Mofo of what I learned in my 36th year. Insights, clever musings—you know, the kind of thoughtful writing I never, ever do on this blog.

I got all wrapped up in finishing recording on Hella Sound's second release, and never quite got around to posting my 36th Year Report (or my last 2 runs for that matter). So, without further ado, difficulty, delay, fuss or disturbance, here's said runs and said wrap-up.

Birthday Run

Down to the usual out-and-back route at Crissy Field for this 3.5 miler. I guess I'm supposed to take some of these runs more seriously and intensely, but right now I'm concentrating on just getting the miles in and building my base without injury. I'll say this much: even when not trying hard I seem to be sticking roughly around the 10min/mi mark, which I'm happy with. I don't remember a lot from this run, other than I felt really cranky during, and was glad that I'd get a nice endorphin bump afterwards. It's the running-as-drugs method, you see. ;)

"Long" Run

Sunday's "long" run, but done on Monday because Sunday was just too damn busy. I recorded guitar tracks all Sunday—the heavy, Metallica-style chunka chunka chunka riffs—until the wrist of my picking hand was numb. Monday's recording was all finishing up the last few guitar parts—solo-y melodic-type lines, but with a lot of angst and menace in them. (Have I mentioned song #2 is a metal song? That's important to note.) Anyway, my fretting fingers (left hand) were beat up when I was finished, so it was time to run. Again, down to Crissy Field for the run.

Crissy Field is really pretty amazing for a local run route. I mean, it's on the bay, there's a nice big "fire lane"-style trail, the out is a full view of the Golden Gate Bridge, and the back is a view of downtown San Francisco. Pretty fantastic. (Oh, I just remembered a detail from Thursday's run: all the tourists were out with the cameras, but it was SO CLOUDY/FOGGY that the bridge was nowhere to be seen. When it's really foggy, it just vanishes. Sorta funny, if it wasn't absolutely miserable. But I digress.)

What I Learned in My 36th Year

Hello 37. That's a nice diagonal stem you have there. Welcome to the party. Can I get you a drink?

This was a helluva year. It had its pleasures and challenges. In bullet-list format:
  • Got my little business running I started it when I was 35, but it wasn't until I was 36 that I actually made real progress on Hella Sound—getting our first song up, developing good relationships, finding my voice with it, so to speak. Let me tell you: it is unbelievably gratifying to come up with an idea, make it a reality, and have people respond positively to it. It's a wee little thing now, but I hope to nurture it, grow it and build it bigger and bigger and bigger. More to come.
  • Now Exiting Newbieland As stated before, I've essentially been a running newbie for years now. In my 36th year, I finally feel like I have the secret sauce and the magic formula to exit newbieland. Basically, you must appreciate that what you're doing is stressful on the body, and you have to take things slowly. This is hard for the enthusiastic beginner, but unless you're incredibly, freakishly, impossibly resilient, it's absolutely essential. Think about surfaces, think about hills, think about speed and think about miles. All of these will take their toll. Tackle them one at a time. If you're doing hills, don't go long. If you're going long, do it slowly. If you're running on concrete, don't run that far. This, I believe, is the key to building a base healthily, which is how you advance from noob status.
  • Got mentions in major media Having Hella Sound mentioned in the New York Times was a dream come true of sorts. I pretty much flipped out and was on Cloud 9 that week. From there Kim Komando was nice enough to write about us for the USA Today. Again, flip-out worthy. We're not big or influential (yet), but this was extremely gratifying. Which is to say: woohoo!
  • Hello Bobby As mentioned before, I found out this year—after having horrific headaches for 8 months—that I had a little stowaway growing in my noggin. A tumor, to be exact—and walnut-sized, no less. Crazy, huh? A generally healthy guy doesn't walk around thinking "hey, I've got a tumor growing in my head!", so it took me a while to get used to the concept. As it turns out, it's non-cancerous, non-life-threatening, run-of-the-mill mostly-harmless kind of tumor. We named him "Bobby". The problem with Bobby is, while he's not going to kill me or spread, he has basically done a number on my pituitary gland (which is incredibly important). As a result, little things like my thyroid and human growth hormone production are all cattywampus. Jacked up. Etc etc. For the last 5-10 years, Bobby, as it turns out, has been sabotaging me from the inside, contributing to things like weight gain, recovery time after workouts, inability to gain muscle mass, and in general physiological not-so-fresh feeling. Again: crazy, huh? So, from here on out I take some meds, I get a shot every 2 weeks, and bam, I'm basically good as new. As a matter of fact, I'm better than I've been in YEARS now that Bobby's under control, which is an amazing feeling. I basically feel like I'm 25, which is incredible. Nevertheless, this definitely goes in the WTF?!? category for my 36th year.
  • Caught the race bug Thanks to some incredibly cool people on Twitter (you know who you are), I've found myself in more and more races, and am really digging it. I ran a half, two 5ks and two 10ks in my 36th year, and have no less than two halfs lined up for my 37th. Even crazier notions have since come into my head—like doing the Ragnar Relay, and venturing into the land of the Triathlon. Yes, I'm hooked.
  • Met some amazing people Look no further than the list of people I follow on Twitter to see amazing people. Granted, most of the amazing people I've met I've only met online, but a lot of these relationships have crossed over into "the real world", as people that live in their mother's basement say, and it's really fantastic. Getting more and more involved in the running community, I'm perpetually amazed with how generous, smart, cool, and fncking funny people are. People have the most amazing ideas, interests and insights. Good times.
I'm sure there's a lot more to say about my 36th year, but like I explained at the start of this post, I'm half-assing this a bit. It's hard to eloquently explain all that's happened in the last year and sum it up in a nice, neat, tidy package. So, instead, here's a picture of a horse: