Friday, October 30, 2009

Too hot to handle!!!

This picture just about epitomizes my last week of work outs at the gym... Embarrassing (em-bare-assing), grueling, and just a wee bit homo-erotic. Judging by Lance's facial expression I'm guessing that bike has a banana seat...

Seriously though... being injured sucks. And coming back from injury hasn't been easy. In spite of my bitching and whining though I really shouldn't complain. The upside of my workouts really aren't that bad. In fact I'm starting to get fired up like a dog that ate gunpowder...

I still managed to squeeze in 11 miles of running this week... yesterday I tried a new strategy of running a mile, riding the bike 20 minutes, running another mile, riding the bike 20 more minutes and then running one more mile and it seemed to work ok... Then today I ran 3 miles non-stop on the treadmill increasing the incline by 1 level after each mile so that I was working slightly different muscle groups. This seemed to work as well although as I started my fourth mile I could tell that the pain was coming so I decided to stop pushing my luck before it caught up to me.

On top of the running I've been spending about 30+ minutes a day on the exercise bike and another 30 minutes a day in the weight room. Hitting the abs like never before; I think I might even be developing a six pack somewhere underneath my beer belly.

I've also been stretching like a mad man... hitting every position, angle, leg muscle, and tendon... I'm on that Van Dam shit!!!

So while my running my be suffering, hopefully my overall fitness is improving, and when I finally come back I'm gonna come back leaner, meaner, and a whole lot sexier...

Just try to tell me that ain't hot!!! Word out!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Walk of shame

After my successful 3 miler on the treadmill I decided it was time to take this show on the road.

Its starting to get a bit chilly but its not bad enough that the gym presents the better option plus I was excited to get in my first real run since my marathon.

I wanted to look my best so I geared up in my black striped adidas pants and hooded sweatshirt. Then I laced up my kicks, strapped my i-pod to my arm and queued up some hip tuneage... Before I heading out I did a quick pirouette in front of the mirror... 3 words: fitness jogger sheik!

I stepped out the door and I was off. Like a gazelle I glided effortlessly; feet kissing the pavement with each elegant stride. I floated like a free spirit. About 1 mile into the run I looked down at my Garmin: 7:30 pace... and it felt like a slow jog! I had planned on doing 3 miles but this felt amazing... maybe I'd do 4 or maybe even 5?

About a half mile later I felt it. The tightening of the knee. It gripped my leg and I had to stop. I walked a few feet, did a few stretches, and I felt better. I started to stride again... 5 steps later and the leg locks up again. No dice. I spend my next half mile run walking till I finally concede to the fact that it just isn't going to happen today.

As if on queue the slow drizzle of rain starts... Perfect, looks like I'm gonna have to walk my pathetic ass home in the rain. I pull up my hood and hang my head as I start my walk of shame. The cars speed by me as I slowly amble down the sidewalk. I imagine each driver looking at me in my jogging gear and I-pod and thinking "Guess that guy bit of more than he could chew, ehh?... must of fancied himself some kind of athlete."

As I walk another runner passes me going the opposite direction. I turn my head from his judgmental stare. Finally I'm home. Out of the cold, the rain, and the shame.

I guess I was a little premature about my leg feeling better... looks like I'm sticking to the treadmill and exercise bike for a while. You can't get stranded on a treadmill.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Treadmill running

Good news is I finally got a relatively pain free run in... 3 miles!!! Bad news is that I had to accomplish it on a treadmill.

I know a lot of people aren't big fans of treadmill running... I mean us runners have enough of a hard time explaining why we would wake up early on a Sunday to run for 20 miles and in the end wind up at the same place where we started, but my treadmill issues run deeper than the normal hamster wheel syndrome...

I'm not sure if anyone remembers Jim Carrey impersonating a velociraptor back in his "In Living Color" days but if you do you'd have a pretty good impression of how I look on a treadmill... see simulation below

Notice how the creatures arms are held up high and right in front of its chest? Yep, that's me... See my problem is that I have an unreasonable phobia that at any given moment I'm going to go flying off the back of the treadmill (must of watched too much America's Funniest Videos as a child). To counteract my fear I wind up running as close to the front of the treadmill as possible and because I'm short, 5' 8" (read 5' 6"), if I don't raise my hands up into velociraptor form I wind up banging my knuckles against the treadmill hand grips... The result is not graceful, dynamic, or comfortable!!!

Unfortunately, since I live in the Mid-west and hate going outside when the weather dips below 50 degrees it looks like I'm going to have to overcome my fears... either that or come to terms with my inner velociraptor.

To round out this post I leave you with a Youtube video of my greatest nightmare!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Come on ride dat' train

An unsympathetic A-hole once said “If life gives you lemons make lemonade”… I guess that person must of assumed that the receiver of said lemons was conveniently in possession of a pitcher, ice, water, sugar, a mixing spoon, and some glasses… thanks a lot Marie Antoinette but sometimes making lemonade is not a viable option! However, since I'm first and foremost an optimist, I decided that it was the sentiment that counted...

Recently I've received a "lemon" in my running life in the form of ITB pain. Ever since the last 4 miles of my Chicago marathon I haven't been able to run without my right knee tightening up. The frustrating part is that I just completed a marathon, am in the best shape I've been in for a while, and am hungry to start logging miles and reaching for higher aspirations. But as I said, I'm foremost an optimist, so I figured that instead of getting down about my inability to run I'd instead use it as an opportunity to ride dat' train... the cross-train!

So I dug up my long neglect gym-pass and headed to the gym. As I entered the gym I immediately remembered why I enjoyed running outside so much better (my gym is interesting to say the least... I won't go into any specifics today but I'm thinking that it's worthy of it's own post)... so anyway, I made way to the exercise bike and cranked out a 30 minute workout. I brought along a book to read while I biked (now there's something you can't do while running), I worked up a good sweat, and I got my heart-rate up to about the 70% range (better than nothing)... After that I hit the weight room for some upper-body and core work... nothing to fancy but all in all it was a good experience...

I hope to continue to incorporate cross-training (especially strength training) into my workouts even after I can start running again. I'm hoping to tighten myself up and drop a few pounds to help me increase my pace and I'm thinking that some full-body weight work could really help my metabolism. So I'm riding that cross-train to greatness... All aboard. Next stop Championville!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Running yourself right out of shape…

I just had my eyes opened to a sudden and disturbing realization… I had been living under the false assumption that by running I could get in shape and further more the more I ran the better shape I would be in. And furthermore from all my previous experiences I’ve found this to be more or less true… to a certain point… and that point is 26.2 miles.

18 weeks of training, 530 mile of training, plus one marathon later and I’m in worse shape than I was when I started. For the first couple days after the marathon I was hard pressed to even climb up stairs, a task that I had previously thought I had completely mastered since the age of 3. The following few days I could finally walk again as long as it wasn’t any farther than the mailbox (and it wasn’t easy either, but those Netflix movies weren’t going to watch themselves)…

Finally after a week of whining, complaining, and self-pity I finally get out the door for a run. It’s a beautiful day, the sun is out, the birds are chirping. This is going to be great I think to myself… WRONG!!!! 1.25 miles in and my knee feels all Tanya Hardinged… Come on! My first training run was 3 miles… So now I’m in worse shape than before I even started running.

Oh well, if I can’t train at least I can still say my prayers and eat my vitamins…

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chapter 1: Man on a Mission

Okay… let’s start out by bringing everyone up to speed…

A little over four months ago I started training for the Chicago marathon. Because I was cocky and impatient I decided on using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate program as my training plan even though I wasn’t running anywhere near the suggested base level of 20-25 miles a week when I started (more like 6 miles a week on a good week and zero on a normal week). Despite my lack of initial conditioning I jumped right into the program and after struggling with fatigue for the first several weeks my arrogance paid off and I was able to complete my training regiment (which BTW I diligently documented on my 2009 Chicago Marathon training blog).

After 4 months of training I arrived at the marathon about as prepared as you could expect from only 4 months of training. I started off strong but wilted in the end and was unable to reach my goal time. Although I completed the distance (primary goal) and ran the whole way (secondary goal) the race ultimately left me unsatisfied. I had valiantly battled the monster that is 26.2 but in the end the monster had won.

…Fast forward to now…

I knew when I started training for the marathon that I was starting on a journey. Over the course of the journey I’ve learned a lot; a lot about the sport, about training, and about discipline and determination. I’ve learned something about the virtues of patience and I was taught a lesson in humility.

What I didn’t know when I started my training is that the journey doesn’t end at the marathon; at least it doesn’t have to. I’ve learned a lot about myself but I haven’t yet reached my limits. The marathon left me hungry for more. I knew when I crossed that finish line that I must continue my journey and continue my learning. I must aspire for more! I must fulfill my destiny and become a champion!