Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dystopian Post + Project Runway Spoiler Alert (If you haven't seen the final episode)

I might have a longer post later. I'm heading out the door for a 10 miler with monster runner, Chris Ford.

Random thought: Have you read or heard a movie review this week where the word 'dystopian' wasn't used? Seriously, I'm so over that word and the pretension with which reviewers use it.

Best thing for the week: Mondo wins Project Runway Allstars. He should've won it the last time around as well...

Best run of the week: Indi - who did a 31 mi training run. WTF?!?! That is awesome! You go, girl!

Ciao for now.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Random Thoughts, Mizuno Update, RFF (request for film)

I'm going to attempt to keep this post brief (for once). I got in a bit of running last week with a few 4-5 mile days followed by an 8.5 mi river run yesterday. The cold that had hit me in Newport refused to relinquish its hold on me. So other than the longer run, most of the shorter runs were unpleasant maintenance ordeals. I'm heading out in a few minutes to knock out another 8.5-10 miles on the river trails with Chris Ford, who is actually seriously training to try to again medal in the Kansas Half Marathon in April (I'm his long run buddy - in shorter runs I just stare at his heels as he moves off in the distance (Not true. He waits for me - lol)). Anyway, Chris really is looking to add to the mounting hardware in his medal drawer (wouldn't it be nice to have to have a drawer dedicated to holding one's medals?).

I saw the documentary, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead a few weeks ago. On Friday I started a 7-10 day juice fast. It isn't really a fast, though. I really do consume about the same amount of calories that I normally would. They (the calories) are just in liquid form. And, since they come from massive amounts of veggies, fruits, and spices, with no added fats or processing, they seem to interact with the body differently. Yesterday, for instance, I did the run in the a.m., did yard work in the afternoon, and then popped over to the pool to do 3/4 mi in the H2O. I felt as good or better than I normally do. Time will tell, but this morning, I'm up and ready to tackle another decent distance.

I want to give a product update - I have now trod through a lot of miles over varying surface and conditions in my Mizuno Wave Ascend 6s. I had my doubts that I would like them better than my old Cascadias. But I must declare the Mizunos to be the best trail shoes I've ever had. What makes them the best? For one, they are the grippiest pair of shoes I've tried. The tread really digs in to minimize slides on slippery surfaces. Second, they feel incredibly light and airy, yet still offer protection. I smacked into a stump with the front of my right shoe yesterday. I thought that there's be blood when I removed the shoes after the run. Honestly, I couldn't even see a little bruise. So the shoes' weight doesn't seem to diminish its ruggedness noticeably.

Finally, a request: Does anyone have a copy of Unbreakable that they would lend or sell used? I keep hearing about this documentary, but haven't seen it (I missed the KC showing). Let me know if you do.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sharkies and Celebs in the OC

Newport Beach - Back Bay

So I spent the past week in Orange County, CA. The OC is not one of my favorite spots in the world. It is trafficky, crowded, vapid, plastic, a bit to ostentatious, and (more than a bit) too Republican. I usually get stuck for a week in the nation's biggest parking lot - Anaheim. But this year was a bit different. Marisa and I spent our non-working hours at the home of our co-worker's parents in Newport Beach. Alyssa (our co-worker) grew up in Newport's Back Bay area. She and her parents were excellent hosts, and allowed us to see all that is Orange through fresh eyes.

I was able to get out and run several mornings before being smacked around a bit by a cold that settled in on day 4. The Back Bay has paved and dirt trails that skirt its edges. The trails are surprisingly hilly. As you enter the trails, there is a smell like fresh tea. Marisa told me what plant created the aroma, but I promptly forgot it. Along the way, you can see a lot of rabbits, numerous types of birds, and if you're lucky, a bobcat.

We were in the So. Cal region in order to run our company's booth at Natural Products Expo West - the largest natural products show in the world. This was my 19th year of working the show, and my first working to introduce the World's Best Veggie Burger to the world. Since it is LA proximate, we saw and met some people everyone would know. Fabio had a booth promoting whey and colostrum protein. He actually looked really good, and spent long hours with everyone who wanted to talk about his product. The wonderful Marilu Henner stopped by our booth twice in order to eat our burgers and chat. There is a picture of Marisa and I with Marilu on the Hilary's Eat Well Facebook page. She is really committed to natural, organic, and vegan/vegetarian work. Dean Karnazes was there to promote something, as was Brendan Brazier with Vega.

I ran into Scott Jurek after hours at a vegan eatery in Costa Mesa. He was hanging out with an acquaintance of mine who works for Flora - the company that sells Udo's 3-6-9 oil blend that Scott uses. I had run with him one morning last year (which had been a thrill). I told Scott that I was glad to see him in one piece after the accident. He mentioned that he is looking for a new car.

Finally, I stopped by the Sharkies booth. Sharkies makes fantastic vegan, organic,energy sports chews. I mentioned to their sales director how much I liked their products, and she handed me a case. I'm heading out on a long run today, and plan to take a packet of them with me. If you haven't tried them, you should. They are really tasty, with a good texture, and natural energy. I am a real fan of companies that offer vegan sports products like Sharkies, Vega, and Flora. If you are looking for energy chews, post-workout protein, or essential oils, I would recommend Sharkies, Vega Sport Vanilla protein powder, and Flora's Udo's 3-6-9 Oil Blend. You won't go wrong with any of them.

And finally, finally - I have been reading Truman Capote's Answered Prayers. I've read almost all of his works, but had not picked one up in a while. I had forgotten what a truly remarkable writer he was. The book (unfinished though it is) is so thoughtful and moving. If you are looking for something that you will enjoy, yet will also make you think, check out a copy at your local library.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Hey, I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything's right

My new(only worn once)Mizuno Wave Ascends

What a week of wascawy wunning (think Elmer Fudd). Anyway, it was a week of new experiences. My running buddy and confirmed sadistic bastard, Chris Ford, invited me to go with him to a training session at Therapy Works Sports Acceleration, Sports Performance Center AKA - Athletic Republic. It started off in a rather benign manner; chill little warm-up movements in a carpeted room, followed by 10 minutes at an 8:15 pace on a treadmill. Then we crossed the room to a pretty serious-looking treadmill that required going up a small flight of stairs in order to mount. The super-treadmill (my designation) could tilt at least 45 degrees, and could reach speeds of up to 40 mph. In order to get on it, I had to stand next to it, holding a bar, and touch its surface with the near foot until I got the feel for how fast it was going. I then just sort of jumped on and began running for 40 seconds at a time. The trainer stood right next to, and slightly behind, in order to assist in case of a fall.

The machine was at a pretty good angle, and I reckon that the speed was somewhere in the 6:00 - 6:15 pace. I did a series of three or four of those. It seemed easy for the first two rounds, and then it began to suck. Chris thought I was going along pretty well until I bent over and grabbed my knees after the third pass on the machine. It seemed to go on and on for the better part of an hour. By the end, I was just doing 15 second bursts at a 5:15 pace. And for an old, ummm strike that, well-seasoned runner like me, 5:15 on a bit of an incline is pretty much flat out.

Chris, meanwhile, was doing some ridiculous long bursts, including 3 x 2minute sprints at the end. He took a bit of time between the sprints to suck in as much air as he could. He looked a bit like he was hating it (which certainly made me feel better). His session is what I have to look forward to doing in a few weeks should I choose to stay with the program. And I do plan to go forward with it. The running session ended with another 10 minute cool down run which we completed on the roads outside the building. Chris stayed to work a bit more on his core. Since I had begun my day with a mile swim, I figured that my core was fine. I went home, and was out cold by 9 pm.

I had scheduled a run for Thursday with Eric 'Banjo Hawk' Henry and John Hampton Tyson II. We were just planning to do a 5 mile loop on the River Trail after work. As we left the parking lot, I could tell instantly that the run was gonna suck. And it did. For five miles. I just didn't have it in the legs. They really, really hurt and felt leaden. Eric and Jack went as slow as they could stand, and I just trailed along. It may have been the most continuously painful run I have ever done start to finish. The training session had given my muscles a very different type of workout than they were used to, and they were pointing that out to me in an emphatic manner.

The next day, Friday, I figured I had better get out early and do a recovery run. I opted to risk the rain and snow and just go for 2-2.5 mi. outside. I took it slow and easy, and finished the run with minimal difficulty. I wrote my two trail companions from the day before and proposed a Lands End jaunt for Saturday morning. They both readily agreed. So at 9 this morning, we set out on a very muddy Clinton North Shore run. I had on my never before worn, Mizuno Wave Ascends. All the pain I had felt on Thursday had evaporated like money in a Florida home mortgage. I felt just shy of a hundred percent, but better than I had felt in days. The new kicks performed wonderfully - no blisters or irritations. The stability felt great, as did the unreal grip the sole pattern exhibited. I have always liked the look (in particular) and the feel of my Brooks Cascadias. But just from my initial run, I would deem the Mizunos the better shoe for my current needs. Since they are soaking wet, I haven't been able to really tell, but I bet the Ascends are lighter than the Cascadias as well. I feel a bit disloyal, because the Cascadias have, and will continue to serve me well. But my new go-to trail tramplers will be the Mizunos.

Tomorrow I'll be working the Hawks' Pi Day Run. If you want to knock out a seriously fast trail half-marathon, this is your race. I have some super nice runs planned for next week. I also have another training session. And, in all seriousness, I'm thrilled that Chris found this place. It is really amazing. The follow up post to this one will probably be in 9-10 days. So, until then....