Tuesday, February 23, 2010

44 Can Be Divided By 11 (my fav #)

Wow, this winter will not go gently into that... ummm... night.?!?! I've had a weird cold over the past few days, but have been able to keep up an abbreviated running routine. I decided today, as I was filling out an online registration form, to run the Kansas Half-Marathon rather than the full Marathon in mid-April. It had been almost a coin toss for me, but I ultimately didn't think I wanted to trust my training to the whims of the weather in order to crank up the mileage I'd need to be able to comfortably knock out the 26.2. I also had happened to chat with a couple of friends this a.m. who are also doing the 1/2, so it should be a fun time.

In other news, I had been offered a well-paying job in Australia last week. I've been thinking about it a lot over the past days. After initially accepting, I'm having strong reservations as to the distance and logistical difficulties involved. I had a couple of other conversations about good jobs with colleagues, and they (oddly in this economy) think my prospects are great. I'm comfortable where I am for now, but if the right bus comes by my door, I may just get on. If I am to do something else, money won't be the lure. It has to be a good fit with a company or non-profit that cares about environmental or social justice issues, and puts some of its time and money toward those causes. I also want to be in some proximity to friends and family. And, finally, I want more time to run, write, and maybe get back a bit more into playing some music.

Anyway, enough about that. Yesterday was my birthday. At 44 I think I'm in the best shape I've ever been in for my age. I'm enjoying all aspects of my life (except for work) - art (screen printing) is going well, reading wonderful books, writing more fiction, got propositioned by someone I think I'm going to start seeing (hah - if you've read this far you have found the real news in this post from a confirmed bachelor), and really have been enjoying the Winter Olympics (men's and women's ski cross, short track and downhill skiing in particular).

So 44 and all's well. More next week.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Football; A Great Way To Increase Speed and Agility...

I took a week off from posts, because I spent the week recovering from football injuries sustained a week ago Saturday. My running buddy Chris plays flag football on Saturdays with some guys who mainly seem to be in their 20s and 30s. But c'mon, flag football... how hard could that be. So I showed up. On the drive over I'll confess to even thinking that I'd need to get a run in later in the day to get a real workout.

Oh, sometimes wisdom doesn't come with age. We played for 2.5 hrs in snow and mud. There were a lot of burst of speed, some tackling, and a lot of twisting and hitting. I did OK for a 43yo, but when it was all over...

I couldn't feel my toes. They were frozen and had been stomped on or something. I still have blackened toenail on my right foot, and it took three days for bleeding to stop in my big toe on my left foot - right where the toenail connects with the toe. When my feet began to thaw, the pain was eye-opening. For the next couple of days, it felt as if someone was constantly pushing a pin into the ends of two toes on my right foot. Muscle aches also gripped my. Odd places like my groin absolutely killed. My quads felt ripped (and not in the good weight-lifter sense of that word, either). I even had shoulder pain - which was odd because I hadn't thrown the ball at all.

So I did something I haven't done since I began to run. I took three days off. When I started up again, it was sheer hell (mainly from the groin injury). But I ran 2 miles the first day, 2.5 on day two, three the following day, and 4 yesterday.
None of the runs were easy, but I do seem to be recovering slowly.

Chris called my on Friday and asked if I wanted to play again this past weekend. I demurred. I will do it again, but will have to work on strengthening some areas that were brutalized. I also think I'll pass on days where it's so clod that I can't feel my feet. No good would come of that.

So, final thoughts as this old man tangled with the whipper-snappers: Youngsters recover faster than oldsters, ibuprofen should be consumed like air, I've still got some pretty good game for a geezer (with 2 TDs and 2 interceptions - one of which I ran for a touchdown), Chris Ford is a remarkable all-around athlete (he looked like Lynn Swann out there on some of his receptions).

I'm off to sunny Orlando this week with Marisa. We'll do some biz, see some manatee, and get some running in. Ciao.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Groundhog Run

Over the weekend I ran my first organized race in 23 years. The Groundhog Run is an annual 5 and 10K race held in the Subtropolis - a massive underground warehousing structure. It was a unique experience running in shorts and a t-shirt in KCMO on Jan 31. It was cold outside. But inside the caves, it was in the 60s (maybe 70s in places). The 5k race kicked off around 9 a.m. , with the 10K starting at 10. Chris (my running buddy) and I spent most of the time before the start of the 10K doing a little jogging to warm up, and a lot of standing in huge lines for a pre-race pee.

Like most races, the beginning was a bit of a crush as we worked our way around people for the first mile. Between mile one and two, it opened up a bit. We clocked the first mile at 7:50, and the second at 7:40. I could tell that Chris could knock out a faster run, so I encouraged him to take off - which he did with aplomb.

Right after Chris lit out, I experienced something that never happens to me on runs - an asthma attack. When running alone (which I normally do), I can always tell if I'm going to have an issue, and run just below the point of an attack. But in a race situation, with all sorts of runners around, I hadn't noticed until it was too late. It hit with a mix of wheezing and a crazy pain under my right ribs. I didn't have an inhaler on me, so I kept running and concentrated on breathing and tried to focus on enjoying the run rather than on the pain. After about a half mile, I stopped noticing the effects of the attack - mind over matter. I finished the first 3.1mi circuit smiling, and cranked out the second 3.1 at around the same pace. I ended up with a 48 min time - with which I was happy. But the moment I crosses the finish line and stopped, asthma enveloped my lungs. I grabbed some water and orange juice from one of the freebie stands and went to look for Chris, who then went to look for Marisa, who had the inhaler. And, I'm happy to report, after a couple of puffs, I was good to go.

I had never done a race (and neither had Chris) that used the timing triggers (some sort of RF-type thing) laced into our running shoes. That was kind of cool. In the races I did when I was younger, you simply got stuck with the time of the total race - whether it took you 1 or 10 minutes to cross the start line at the beginning of the run.

I had a blast doing the race, but it was a really different experience. I'm not used to running in a crowd. I'm also not used to being so time-conscious. I think that I'll do a few more runs this year - the KS Half-Marathon being one of them - but still plan to focus on the zen nature of my solo runs.

Finally, check out an article on running in today's sfgate.com. This'll get you there http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/02/01/MNFC1BID8F.DTL It explodes even a lot of current thoughts about how much exercise people should get. The short answer is: more is better. I plan to take the advice and start upping my daily totals in terms of time spent running. Again, this is worth reading.

See you next week.