Saturday, December 31, 2011

The New Love in My Life

Just used a foam roller for the first time.  Awesome.  I highly recommend it.

The training is back on schedule.  I ran five miles on Wednesday with no calf-pull pain.

Premium Textured EVA Foam Roller
The New Love in My Life

While I'm at it, I thought I'd record some goals for 2012.  Then I changed my mind.  I just ate five Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and four pieces of toffee.  I'm not feeling too good about myself.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Santa Uncovered: Scandal Rocks Reindeer Games!

So I was watching Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer last night and was intrigued about how much of a total jerk Santa was (I'll be getting sticks and coal this year in my stocking).  In addition to forcing the misfit toys into exile on their own cold-as-the-9th-level-of-Dante's Hell island in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, which for some reason remained unfrozen despite it being the middle of winter, Santa totally took part in reindeer discrimination.

After Rudolph dominates the Reindeer Games by flying higher than any other young buck, his fake nose falls off, revealing his red nose.  All the reindeer laughed and called him names.  Rudolph's father, Donner, looked on in bewildered embarrassment.  Coach Reindeer, who frankly has that Jerry Sandusky look about him, does nothing.  Then Santa turns to Donner and says, "You should be ashamed of yourself.  What a pity.  He had a nice take off too" and walks away in disgust.

Really Santa?
Here's the clip.  Santa appears at the 3:20 mark.  Fireball, Rudolph's supposed friend, has a great reaction at the 3-minute mark.  The whole scene is priceless, unintentional comedy.

So what does this have to do with running?   Everyone makes fun of the way I run.  But if they think I'm pulling their car out of a ditch in a snowstorm, they're sadly mistaken. They can freeze to death for all I care.

Merry Christmas!

One more thing.  This incident goes against the Teen Wolf Theory of Life, which states that no matter how big of a freak you are, if you're good at sports people will like you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 Race Report

I don't run many races.  Why pay good money to do something I can do on my own?  The only purpose I see to signing up for a race is if it's at a heretofore not done distance, there's a steep discount, it's free, or it provides a unique experience.  In addition to the Utah Valley Marathon, I'll do three or four additional races in 2012.  That's more than I did in 2011.  Here's a recap.

Showdown at Sundown Intermediate Triathlon, Boulder City, Nevada, March 27, 2011

We all pretended to be upset that the swim portion of the triathlon was canceled due to too cold water temperatures.  Deep down inside we were happy because we could skip the swim and not feel like a quitter.  Truth be told--cancelling the swim was lame on the part of race sponsors. That's why we all had wet suits.  My message to the folks at Sunset Racing: You guys suck!  Looks like the 2012 edition has been moved to May and taken over by a new organizer.

The bike ride sucked.  The last nine miles were at a steep incline, against the wind.  It was gratifying seeing people walking their bikes up the hill.  It was a little less gratifying that they were walking as fast as I was pedaling.  Upon completion of the bike ride I wandered into a port-a-potty to talk myself into finishing the race.  I did.  It took me 73 minutes to run a 10-k. That's embarrassing. Having to stop every couple minutes to massage cramps out of my quadriceps didn't help my time much.  The guy at the finish line who stretched me out after I collapsed just might be the greatest person alive.

Ragnar Relay: Wasatch Back, Logan to Park City, Utah.  June 18-19, 2011

A couple of friends called me at the beginning of May and asked me if I wanted to participate on their relay team. I accepted and pulled a calf muscle on my first training run.  Sound familiar?  It was the same exact course I pulled a calf muscle on for my first marathon training run.  Maybe I should change courses?  I ran the race anyhow.  The first leg I ran was seven miles downhill.  A lot of fun.  The second leg was eight miles uphill.  Not a lot of fun.  The last leg was a flat 5-k.  I just wanted it to be over.

If you have the opportunity to do a Ragnar, I highly recommend it.

Family Reunion Rock to Pier Run, Morro Bay to Cayucos, California, July 18, 2011.

Great run.  I recommend you run the actual race if you're in the area in July. I've done this race five times.  The most recent run was my best time yet.  I finished second, destroying my brother-in-law but getting dusted by my nephew.  Looking forward to winning it in 2012.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bulletin Board Material

This excerpt from Benjamin Cheever's Strides: Running Through History with an Unlikely Athlete got me thinking about bulletin board material, motivation and when we need it most:

"And swiftly indeed did they run, for the prize was no mere beast for sacrifice or bullock's hide, as it might be for a common foot-race, but they ran for the life of Hector.  Three times they ran around the city, and then Hector stood to fight.  He lost, of course. Everybody lost to Achilles...Then Achilles tied Hector's dead body to a chariot and dragged it back and forth before the walls of the city.   
And you have to think that if Hector had known this was going to happen, he might have lost those last five pounds, taken the necessary days off, and done his interval work."
That got me thinking about motivation.  When did Hector need the motivation to run harder (yes, I know Cheever's account is rife with satire; just play along)?  It certainly wasn't when Achilles chased him with a spear. It certainly wasn't when his life was on the line.  He needed the motivation while training to fight.

That got me thinking about bulletin board material.  Quite often before a big sporting event, some idiot will run his mouth about how much better his team is than the other team.  Then the media gets a hold of it and claims that the aforementioned idiot gave the other team "bulletin board material," suggesting that the insulted team's coach is going to post the insult on the bulletin board so his entire team can see it, providing the necessary motivation to win the game.  That's dumb.

You mean to tell me that athletes need extrinsic motivation to play hard during the Super Bowl, Conference Championship Game or the annual rivalry game with State University?   These athletes need motivation in the off season, when there's no one watching, when nobody cares, when there is no immediate reward for playing well or playing hard.  That's when bulletin board material would help.  Everyone plays hard once the contest begins.  Everyone runs hard once the race begins.

That got me thinking about the Marathon (or any race of import).  Few runners have trouble getting out of bed on race day.  Few runners have trouble getting started when the gun goes off.  Few runners find trouble running hard when passed going up a hill.  Few runners, unfortunately, achieve anything close to their potential.  Why?  Because it's not the race that determines greatness or success.  It's the race preparation.

Few runners love getting up early for the daily training run.  Few runners relish the first 100 yards on a cold morning running alone.  Few runners are willing to power up a hill when there's no one to pass and no one to hold off.  This is when we need the bulletin board material.  This is when we need the motivation.

What's my bulletin board material?  Everyone who tells me I can't qualify for Boston.  So far, that would be everyone except my wife.  I'm not even convinced I can do it.  I even called myself out in my blog, printed it out and posted it on my bulletin board.

Whatever it takes.

What's your bulletin board material?

Training Update and Barefoot Running Debut

The calf is feeling much better.  I'm doing no actual training runs for at least another week.  That hasn't, however, stopped me from training.  I've been doing double Insanity workouts--three times this week.  That includes doing one Max Insanity disc, not including the final stretch, immediately followed by a regular Insanity disc, including the warm up but not the warm up stretch.  For those familiar with the discs, the Insanity warm up is about twice as hard as a "normal" workout.

After completing three doubles this week, all I can say is a 10-mile run never sounded so good.

I do P 90 X weight lifting on the in between days, along with a recovery workout, making six good workouts per week with a rest on Sunday.  Yesterday, I jogged a half-mile indoors barefoot.  It was fun.  I've been doing Insanity workouts barefoot, so it wasn't that big of a shock to the feet.  I'm thinking about getting some minimalist shoes so I can run outside.  I don't know if I'll make the full shift to barefoot running, but barefoot Insanity has helped my form, warded off PF (despite what the experts say) and saved me money on socks.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Revolutionary Marathon Strategy and a Double Plyo Debut

I'm not sure why I'm able to do 80 minutes of high intensity plyometrics without any pain in my calf when running four miles makes me feel like someone implanted a tennis ball in my lower leg.

Because of my calf injury, my unconventional training methods are being put to the test immediately.  For those who may not remember my training philosophy and my problem with traditional marathon training methods, I've approached the marathon in a completely different manner.  I'm only running three days per week.  One day is reserved for long runs.  One day is reserved for an easy run.  One day is reserved for an intermediate distance run.

Two days, however, are devoted to high intensity cross training.  Just in case the calf never heals I'm going to cross train my way 26.2 miles.  Here's a list of exercises:

  • Mile 1 - Heisman.  This involves bringing the right knee to the chest, hand out like a Heisman Trophy, followed by the left knee.  Repeat until mile is over.
  • Mile 2 - Jumping Jacks.  Do not run next to me.  You will get punched and punched hard.
  • Mile 3 - Plank Walk.  Get in push up position, perpendicular to the course.  Walk on hands and toes to the side for a mile.
  • Mile 4 - Power Jumps.  Jump vertical.  Bring knees above the waste to hit your hands.  Get in my way and I'll bring knees to your face.
  • Mile 5 - Reverse Squat Jumps. Start in the squat position, core tight, hands in front.  Do a 180 jump, landing in the squat position.
OK, you get the point.  Maybe I should just hope the calf recovers.

Monday, December 12, 2011

How to Cope with Running Injuries

Most runners have to deal with injuries.  Use these suggestions to make the most of your down time.
  1. Complain a lot.  People are dying to hear about your sore groin, aching knee, sore quadriceps and strained soleus.  
  2. Feel sorry for yourself.  Make yourself a victim.  Talk about how the world is unfair and how you'd be an Olympian if it weren't for all your bad luck.
  3. Sit a lot.  Don't do any exercise.  Cross training is for sissies.  Either you run your hardest at all times or you sit on the couch.
  4. Eat.  Since you're not exercising, you might as well eat unhealthy foods, all the time.  Look at recovery time as an opportunity to indulge.  You'll soon start looking forward to running injuries.
  5. Try to injure others.  You can't run.  Why should they be able to?
  6. Blog.  This will allow you to complain a lot, talk about how the world is unfair, sit down, eat, and give poor advice so others injure themselves.
You'll learn to love getting hurt when you follow these suggestions.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Other than pulling a calf muscle and having to limp the last two miles, not being able to run again for another month, and severely diminishing what slim hopes I had for qualifying for Boston at the Utah Valley Marathon in June, it was an excellent start to my marathon training.

After the Showdown at Sundown Intermediate Triathlon in March, I spent from April until now getting in the best shape of my life.  3.85 miles into my first serious marathon training run I pulled everyone's favorite calf muscle, the soleus.

Illu lower extremity muscles.jpg

I am in good shape though.  I specifically chose a difficult six-mile run, the one I used to train for the triathlon and for Ragnar.  If I would have been able to continue--it was 2.1 miles downhill from the highest point of the run when I had to stop--I would have finished in about 50 minutes, not even close to qualifying standards, but about six minutes faster than my fastest time ever on that run.  Not bad.

I never felt tired.  When I stopped I wasn't really even breathing hard.  Not sure what to do from here.  I guess swimming and biking are an option, but what I really need to do is log some miles.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Running and Weight Loss: Illegal Drugs or Exercise?

I felt I had covered all the angles on how to lose weight.  Then my Aunt reminded me of the benefits of illegal amphetamines in the quest for weight loss.  Let's take a look at the pros and cons.


Pros: There's no need for sleep, which leaves ample time for exercise.  The metabolic boost will burn extra calories.

Cons: They're illegal.  They're addictive.  They'll eventually ruin your life.  They'll cause your teeth to fall out.  They may cause heart attacks.  They'll destroy your marriage, get you fired from your job, and turn you subhuman.

Decision: Stick with exercise, such as running, for weight loss.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Eating Disorders or Exercise: Which Is The Better Method for Losing Weight?

In part 1 of this two-part series on eating disorders, I showed how eating disorders could lead to faster marathon times.  In part 2, I'll answer the question "What's better for weight loss: eating disorders or exercise?"

There's no easy answer to this question, so let's look at the pros and cons.  We'll treat bulimia and anorexia, the two most popular eating disorders, separately.


Pros: You'll save a ton of money on your grocery bill.  Weight loss usually happens immediately.  You'll spend more time doing things instead of eating.

Cons: You're always hungry and lack energy.  Everyone will think you're a freak. You'll spend a fortune on counseling.  You could die.  You don't really look that good (think trailer park, tank top, Cops episode).


Pros: You can enjoy your favorite foods in massive quantities.  Constant vomiting strengthens core muscles.

Cons: Puke is disgusting.  You'll spend a fortune on food and cleaning supplies. You'll probably die a painful death from stomach acids burning a hole in your esophagus.


Pros: It makes you healthy and strong.  You won't die a slow and painful death. You can actually do things.  Chicks dig strong guys. Guys dig strong chicks.

Cons: It takes a lot of time.  You'll sweat a lot.

Insanity was my exercise program of choice for 64 days.

Final Decision

After weighing the evidence, I'm going to side with exercise as the best option for weight loss.  In fact, you'd be better off having a butt so big it requires two extra plane tickets when you travel coach than you would utilizing an eating disorder as a weight loss strategy.

Below are my Insanity after pictures.  There are no before pictures. 

This is as close to anorexia as I'm getting.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Guaranteed Way to Set a Marathon World Record

I read somewhere that for every pound a runner loses, he can drop five seconds off his per mile pace.  That got me thinking...

My last 5-k was run in 24:37.  I did an Internet search and found this calculator that uses a ridiculously complicated formula created by someone who didn't go to UNLV and I discovered I could probably run a marathon in 3:54, which is about a 9-minute pace, which means if I lost 120 lbs, I would finish the marathon about a half-hour before it started.

Bulimia never sounded this good!

File:Anorexia case-1900-Nouvelle icononographie de la Salpetriere.jpg
Me in about seven months

Getting Ready for Utah

I have two goals for the Utah Valley Marathon on June 9: (1) Finish the darn thing; (2) Run it in 3:15 or less. I know I can accomplish #1. I have no idea if I can accomplish #2.

Utah Valley Marathon

I haven’t entered a ton of races. I do not plan on entering any races between now and June 9. I don’t need a bib or a timing chip or a t-shirt that will be converted into an emergency baby clean up rag. And I certainly don’t need to fork over $30. It would be nice to have an aide station every couple miles on the long runs, but a bottle of water and a bush should do the trick. 

I'll use a different bush to urinate.

My goal to run a marathon at a pace I have never even, up to this point, run a 5-k sounds ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as having a phone that takes pictures sounded 20 years ago.

I created my training schedule with the following philosophies
  1. Positivity. Change the way I think about myself. If I hold onto the belief that I am slow, then I am slow. If I start thinking of myself as fast, I am fast.  At least that's what my MLM buddies tell me.
  2. Running too much is not fun. I want to have fun.  
  3. Running three times a week is fun. I want to have fun.
  4. Intensity! Intensity! Intensity! I’m using Insanity in place of interval runs, tempo runs and hill repeats.  I'm going back-to-back workouts, followed by puking.  I'm considering doing the Insanity program, but instead of one disc, I'll do the same disc twice each day.  Now that I've written that out, that might be the single stupidest idea I've ever come up with.
  5. Rest is necessary. In addition to a couple rest and recovery type workouts each week, there is a rest and recovery week every month. By rest and recovery, I mean reducing physical stress when necessary, not watching The Cosby Show and snacking on peanut butter Captain Crunch.
  6. Injuries suck. See above.  The key to not getting injured is not getting injured.
  7. Flab is the enemy. I’ve already dropped about 25 pounds.  
  8. A schedule keeps one accountable. My workout calendar is completed up until March 6. I’m flexible.  It's ambitious.  So am I.  So was Mussolini, though.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Calling Me a Runner Was a Bit of a Stretch

I have entered races in the past. See if you notice a pattern (I’m going from memory).
  • 4th of July 5-k blast in Las Vegas: More people finished ahead of me than behind me, including a blind guy, a six-year old and a pelican.
  • 10-mile Koloa Sugar Mill Run in Kauai, Hawaii:  A great way to ruin your dream vacation.  I'm not sure anyone finished behind me.  The halfway point was the low point of my life.
  • Rock to Pier Run 2009 (6.1 miles) in Morro Bay, California: More people finished ahead of me than behind me, including a school of dolphins who leaped out of the water and onto the beach in order to mock me.
  • Make sure the chain's on your bike before you start the race
    Lake Las Vegas Sprint Triathlon 2008: A lot more people finished ahead of me than behind me, including the 74 people who swim slower than me and a few carp who, although slow runners, are fast bikers.
  • New Year’s Day five-mile run in Las Vegas, 2007: I got passed by several men in their 70s. With about a half-mile left, another 70-year-old tried to pass me, but I outkicked him at the finish…and pulled a calf muscle.
  • Rock to Pier Family Reunion Run in Morro Bay: My brother-in-law Parry destroyed me…so did several other brothers-in-law, a couple nephews, my wife, and an amputee octogenarian.
  • I passed out right before this picture was taken  after getting harpooned.
    Showdown at Sundown Olympic-Distance Triathlon, Las Vegas, 2010: just under 3:30; 92 people finished before me; 13 finished behind me; 3 didn’t finish.

I already know I can finish things, but I’m done with being a back-of-the-packer.

There is an exception to my back-of-the pack racing career. I did win the 2008 Grand Phelasco Sprint Triathlon in Boulder City, Nevada. There were three participants: me, my wife and my wife’s friend Laura. Although my wife can bike and run faster than me, I swim much faster. A simple manipulation of the course—instead of a 500 meter swim, it was 1000 meters—and I had a large enough lead coming out of the water to hold her off. I was runner up the next two years.

Although my endurance increased during the 15 years of running, I kept getting slower and slower and slower. 

10-mile Koloa Sugar Mill Run in Kauai--I'm totally destroying that lady behind me!

I Worked Out Like A Professional Athlete Today

Today was Insanity, Day 61.

I was an NBA veteran streak shooter today. I picked my spots. I started out on fire, went through a lull, causing Shaun T to chastise me for not being back to my position in time. I then entered a new zone for Level III drills and freaking killed it...and nearly killed myself in the process. Then Shaun T got on my case again because I was listening to music when he was trying to explain the side push up. I told him I'd done this like 15 times, which made him even madder.

Shaun T.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Problem with Traditional Training Programs

I am not trashing traditional marathon training programs. They, however, have trashed me. 

I made my own schedule. It follows the same principles as a traditional program, without all the nerdy runner jargon that only people who can run a fast marathon understand anyhow:

If you wish to run YOUR FASTEST MARATHON EVERRRRRRRRRR, you must not only do long runs and easy runs, you must do fartleks and tempo runs and tempo runs at your 5-k pace and tempo runs at your half marathon pace and tempo runs at your 5-k pace, but only on the second cloudy day following a new moon in months ending in ‘Y’ or beginning with an ‘M.” And don’t forget the 3 x 1200s and the 8 x 100s, and the 4 x 400s, and the Yasso 800s and the 1600 walk-on-your hands while blowing your nose in a windstorm half sprint at your 1-mile pace. 

Don’t get me started on hill repeats. Seriously? You want me to sprint up a hill, walk down it, and sprint up it again?

This is the only hill I'm repeating!
I’m not doing that.

I’m doing one long run per week until I do at least one run of 20 miles or more and 1 or 2 easy runs ranging from 3-8 miles. That’s all the running I’m doing. And I’m cross training. Intense cross training. Cross training that will make running seem like a day off. Cross training that will have me near puking…in the warm-ups.

If I ever figure out how to upload documents onto this blog, I’ll upload my training schedule. If you notice my schedule isn’t uploaded and you know how to do it, let me know.