"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- WOW-- What a Ride!"

Saturday, April 30, 2011

First Race of the Season...

First race of the season is under my belt.  Woot!  Today I ran the Road Ends 5-Mile Trail Race.  Man, that was fun!  Trail racing is even more fun than trail running.  Today's finish time was 54:58.  My goal was to finish in 60 minutes or less.  When I checked my time at mile 3 I was running 11:22 min/mile, so those last two miles were a bit faster.  I know I passed a lot of people in the last 1-1/2 miles or so.  It seems they were just running out of gas on the rolling terrain.  All that running I've been doing on my local trails paid off with gas left in the tank at the end.  Even though I wasn't even close to winning my age group, I still finished strong and had a great time.  What more could I ask for?

The course was a loop around a lake in the Pinkney State Recreation Area.  The trail was mostly single track, kind of a gravelly surface, some packed sand, some packed dirt, lots of softball sized rocks, and lots of tree roots.  There was not very much flat, mostly either going up or down.  Passing had to be done carefully to avoid running into trees.  I loved the course.  I want to go run more of those trails again someday.

The plan for the rest of the day is to do some stretching and rolling and enjoy some family time.

I hope you all are having a great weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


This week I've been traveling so the whole running/workout schedule has been a little random.  Last night I ran 5 miles on the hotel treadmill.  I swear it was 80 degrees in the fitness center.  Phew.  Good practice for summer I guess.  My plan for tonight is more of the same.

Saturday is my first race of the year:  The Road Ends 5-mile trail race.  I'm starting to be a little excited about it.  Should be tons of fun.

Do you suppose buffets are a good fueling strategy 48 hours before a race?  Depends on the choices one makes I suppose.  I hope it works out :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to Pick Up Dog Poop - wikiHow

How to Pick Up Dog Poop - wikiHow

What's this have to do with running? Ever run down your favorite path and have to swerve to avoid the pile right in the middle? Yeah, me too. It's national scoop the poop week, so pass this along to your dog walker friends.

Just so there is no mis-understanding: I'm all in favor of dog walking. It's good for the dog and their person. I'm just not in favor of leaving a big, steamy pile for someone to step in.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rest Day Monday & Beginner's Corner

I'm not sure why, but Monday has evolved into a rest day for me.  It's all good though.  Not having to think about the details of a run makes it easier to jump back into a busy workweek.

Today's only plan is to do some stretching and rolling.  The rolling really helps my quads and knees feel much better.  Because of my sedentary desk job I seem to get pretty tight from the hips down.  I try to make sure to move around regularly to loosen up during the day.  I also do some calf stretches under my desk.

Presenting another episode of Beginner's Corner:

Beginner's corner is an irregular series that looks at the meaning of various running terms for the benefit of beginner's like me.  Today we look at easy, medium and hard effort.

Easy effort would be a comfortable, conversational pace.  We looked at easy pace in the previous episode of Beginner's Corner.  I look at easy effort as not causing me to huff and puff.

Medium effort is comfortably hard.  For me this would be just fast enough that I could speak in broken sentences, but I really wouldn't want to carry on a conversation.  It would be a pace that I could maintain for about 3-ish miles.  Some people might be able to carry it farther.  At a medium effort I'll be breathing pretty hard, but still in control.

Hard effort would be starting to get into the all-out category.  This would be trying to go as fast as possible.  I might be able to maintain this pace for about 400 yards or so.  At this effort I will be breathing hard trying to get as much oxygen in as I can.

The majority of my workouts tend to be in the easy effort category.  A few are in the medium effort category and very rarely in the hard effort category.  I might do one medium effort workout per week, and maybe one hard effort per month.

What do you do to stay loose while at work?  Do you have any set pattern between easy, medium and hard effort workouts?

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's All in the Timing

Tonight I ran for time instead of distance.  For me, it's easier to keep to an easy pace when I do that.  I know I'm going to go for x number of minutes and that's it.  I'm not focused on making it to some arbitrary mileage figure.  I think sometimes I get so wrapped up in running a certain number of miles or at a certain pace, that I forget to just go out and run.  Eliminating the distance variable helps me get back to just running.

Breakfast tomorrow will be crock pot steel cut oats.  They are super easy to make and we get to wake up to nice, hot steel cut oats in the morning.  No muss, no fuss.  Just make the coffee and sit down to breakfast.  See part 2 of Alton Brown's Oat Cuisine episode that I posted a few days ago for his recipe for crock pot oats.  About the only thing I do different is I don't use any milk.  Just water.

My plan was to write up this blog post and then lay here on the couch watching a Red Green movie, but I'm beat.  A bit of a nap might be in order.  Although, I am listening to CBC Jazz radio right at the moment and I'm really liking the mix of some classic jazz works.  I could just sit here and enjoy some good jazz for a bit.

Do you run for time, distance or both?  How do you mix up your routine to keep it fresh?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sports Drinks

Are Sports Drinks Necessary?

Something to ponder on this rest day. Are sports drinks necessary or are they just empty calories? Personally I only break out the Gatorade when I run farther than 8 miles or so. Anything less and water seems sufficient. When I do get into the Gatorade I mix it half-strength because the full strength is too strong for me.

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Since I've had quite enough of running in the snow, I went to the Y this afternoon and put in 3.5 miles on the treadmill. While in the 'mill I ran 5K in 27:33. The extra .4 miles was .2 warm up and .2 cool down. My fastest 5K time ever! Yeah, yeah, it was on a treadmill. I'm going to celebrate anyway. I'm all about celebrating the small victories on the way to the big ones. The most important thing was that my knee felt completely normal even after pushing it a little.

The big brown truck dropped off a package for me today. My foam roller arrived. Woot! Uhhh...now what? So, I went in search of some samples of what to do with the foam roller. I found this video which is entertaining in a slightly cheesy way. I enjoyed it though and got some good ideas from it:

What is your favorite thing to do with the foam roller? How often do you use it?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Oatmeal Part 2 & a trail

Today is a holiday of sorts for CPAs and accountants in the US. It's the day after tax day. We all get to take a deep breath after the sprint to the finish.

To celebrate my holiday I got up this morning and ran 6.5 miles on my local trails. I went out easy and kept the easy pace the whole way. I just wanted to enjoy the ride. Seeing the sun filtering through the bare trees was pretty cool.  There was a little stiffness in my left knee as I finished, but no pain.  As I went about my day the stiffness went away and now only my quads are telling me I did a lot of hill climbing today.  There are no flat spots on my trails.  I figure that's a good thing.  All that climbing and descending will only make me stronger.

Here is part 2 of the oatmeal episode we began last week:

Today I tried Bob's Red Mill 7-grain cereal. Good stuff. Hearty. Nice texture.  It stayed with me all the way until dinner time.  It went well with my banana, but I imagine it would work equally well with raisins or dried cherries.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Snowy Trail Run (with Pics)

Ran 7.1 snowy miles on trails today. I had firsties on the majority of the trail. A short section near the parking lot someone else had walked in. The rest was just me and the deer. In lieu of descriptions, here are some pics from today's run:

From Running Pics

From Running Pics

From Running Pics

From Running Pics

From Running Pics

From Running Pics

I hope you are enjoying a warmer and drier day than I am today.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

How Trail Running Is Better Than Road Running

How trail running is better than road running, presented by the editors of Trail Runner magazine.

Thought some of you might enjoy the article linked above.  I have nothing against road running.  I run roads whenever I can't get out to the trails due to time constraints or weather.  I run in road races and find them to be great fun.  I do really enjoy trails though.  Given a choice, I will choose to run a trail over the road every time.

How about you?  Trails or roads?  Both?

Friday, April 15, 2011

How do you spell relief? T-R-A-I-L

Tonight I dashed out for a quick 3.9 miles on the trails.  Well, quick in the most liberal of translations.  I ran a real easy pace to keep things easy on my knees.  In my work life I am a CPA and we are down to the wire for the tax filing season.  The stress levels are pretty high right now.  I left a lot of stress out there on the trail tonight.

To get the run in and not get too far out in the woods I ran the short loop tonight.  It is basically 1.6 miles around with a .3 mile stub to get me to and from the parking lot.  Lots of nice, rolling hills.  Noting too high or steep.  Not much flat though.  I figure it's good practice for my 5-mile trail race at the end of the month.  While running it I noticed an old jeep trail I hadn't really noticed in the past.  Sometime before the underbrush springs up I'm going to have to run the jeep trail just to see where it goes.

It's windy and cold this evening.  With the leaves blowing all over the woods felt and looked like November.  The bare trees against the slate gray sky just reinforced that feeling.

Where's your favorite place to run?  For me it's those trails in the woods.  I come out of the woods with a much improved mental state.  I'm sure it makes me an easier person to live with.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Active rest

While I enjoy this active rest day by working on quad strength and hamstring flexibility, I hope you enjoy part 1 of Alton Brown discussing oats.  Oats have to be my favorite food.  So versatile and yummy.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Well That Was Fun!

Tonight I chose to run on the trails in Pere Marquette State Forest.  I picked out a short loop and figured I'd give it a shot.  If it didn't work, well at least I tried.  It was awesome!  The soft sand and leaf covered trail was far easier on my knees than the roads and sidewalks.  I walked all the downhills.  That seemed counter intuitive in the woods to run the ups and walk the downs, but it was easier on me so that's what I did.  In the end I got 4.9 miles in and came out of the woods with a huge grin.

QOTD:  What's your favorite surface to run on?

I think my favorite surface would be packed sand covered with pine needles.  It's like running on a cloud.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Running Again

So, this is it.  Back to running today.  I am planning on 3 really easy miles this evening to see where my knees are at.  They feel really good right now.

In other news the quad strengthening exercises and hamstring stretches seem to be doing their job.  I want to get into a routine of doing them 5 days per week and see where I'm at in a month or so.  I also need to be more diligent about stretching after my runs.  Hopefully this little setback will be a good learning experience for me and I gain some better habits because of it.

Hope to be back with more later.  Have a super day!

Back for more...

The run went well.  Once my muscles got warmed up it was pretty darn nice.  The sun was out, the birds were chirping, I was in a pair of shorts and a (GASP!) cotton t-shirt.  Don't tell anyone I wore a cotton t-shirt.  I'll be labeled a jogger.  Everyone knows runners only wear synthetic tech shirts  ;-)

I'm not ready to pronounce my knees fully healed or anything, but they feel good enough to continue running at reduced mileage.

For dinner we had chicken roasted on the grill.  It was awesome.  Thanks honey!  The smokiness was perfect.  Recipe is basically 1 chicken, butterflied.  Put chicken on the grill with the charcoal pushed off to one side.  The chicken goes on the side without the charcoal.  Put a handful of maple or apple chips on the charcoal.  Put the lid on the grill.  Roast the chicken until done.  On our grill it takes about 45 minutes.

That's all for today.  Have a great night everyone!

Monday, April 11, 2011

One more rest day

OK, one more rest day.  The knees are feeling much better.  Rest and stretching seems to have helped them calm down quite a bit.  Tomorrow I will try an easy 3 mile run and see how things go.  I'll be sure to walk all the downhills to minimize the stress on the patellar tendons.

We made salsa chicken in the crock pot yesterday.  Served over brown rice it is all kinds of awesome.  The next day, served rolled in a tortilla it is awesome with extra awesome sauce on top.  I have no idea what the recipe is as my wife is the keeper of that one.  I know it involves chicken and salsa.

Tonight's plan is to stretch the hamstrings using this stretch and then do the leg raises farther down the page.  After that some side leg raises, lateral step ups and step downs.  Whew.  That should be enough for tonight.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Due to the ongoing knee issue I went for a bike ride this afternoon instead of my normal Sunday long run.  In 90 minutes I covered 15 miles.  The sun was shining and the temp was 75 degrees.  Nice!  It seemed like a June day rather than mid April.  It sure was nice to get out and be active after a couple of total rest days.

The knees are feeling better.  I started doing some quad strengthening exercises today and some stretches to promote hamstring flexibility.  I'll give the knees a couple more rest days before I try running again and then this week will be at reduced mileage.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Unscheduled Rest

Took an unscheduled rest day today.  Last night during my run my knees were telling me they needed a break or they would make me take a break.  So, no running for a few days.  Sunday in lieu of a long run I'll take my bike out for a good long ride.

Tomorrow I'll look for some quad strengthening exercises I can do and some stretches that will help my hamstrings and quads be more flexible.  All of that should reduce the stress on the tendons around my knee.  The several days of rest should help any inflammation subside.  I'm hoping I caught this early enough that it won't be that big of a deal.

How do you all cope with temporary setbacks to your training plan?  I'm afraid that if a setback is more than a few days I won't deal with it well at all.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

7 Healthy Foods for Runners | Active.com

7 Healthy Foods for Runners | Active.com

Interesting article. I've never seen black rice in my grocery store. Maybe I just need to look closer. Brussels sprouts are something I've just never tried. Maybe this summer when they are in season I will. See anything here you might like to work into your regular diet?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Midweek XT

The knees were being tweaky and my quads were feeling kind of tight, so I turned today into an XT day.  Back to running tomorrow.  I ended up spending 30 minutes on the elliptical at the Y and then walked 1/4 mile on the indoor track to cool down.  A pretty low impact, low stress workout.  It was just what I needed.  Now I'm thinking every Wednesday should be an XT day.

Dinner tonight was a salad of spinach, mixed lettuces, red bell pepper, and tuna topped with black bean and corn salsa.  Yummy.  Salad topped with salsa is one of my favorite things when I need something quick to just throw together.  It's also a great way to use up leftover roast chicken.

My birthday is this weekend and we're going to go out for dinner somewhere on Saturday evening.  It's my job to decide where. Hmmm...  Almost wherever I decide will require me to be very careful on Friday and Saturday with my calories.  I'll also have to be mindful of the fact that I will be running 10 miles on Sunday.  Such a tough decision.

What's your workout routine look like?

I think mine will look like this:  Mon - rest; Tues - run; Wed - XT; Thur - run; Fri - run; Sat - rest/XT; Sun - run.  My Saturday XT tends to be things like geocaching, hiking or biking.  Wednesday will be at the gym.  IN about 2 weeks I'm going to work in a 5th running day and I think that will go on Saturday morning.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Night run

Well, actually, all my weekday runs are night runs.  Tonight was interesting because I was running on a rail trail with only my headlamp for light and I could hear coyotes howling off in the distance.  Even though I could tell they were far away the sound is still chilling.  Definitely put a little extra pep in my step :)

Post run snack was a handful of grapes and as much water as I dare drink just before going to bed.  No sense taking in a big pile of calories I don't need.  A recent thread in the RWOL forums got me thinking about all the stealth calories in my daily routine.  Those are calories I need to work hard to control.  Just being aware of their presence is a step in the right direction.

Is it spring yet where you are?  Spring is starting to displace winter here.  Still a lot of snow in the woods, but everywhere else is really thinning out.

Hope you all had a super day!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Just a lazy rest day today.  Total rest today.  I did give some consideration to the plan for this week.  It should end up looking something like this:

M - Rest
T - 7 miles
W - 8 miles
Th - XT
Fri - 8 miles
Sat - XT
Sun - 10 miles

We're supposed to be in the 50's with some rain later this week so I'm hoping that will melt most of the snow in the woods so I can hit the trails again on Sunday.  If not, I'll be back on the rail trail.

Hope you all had a great day!  Is anyone running today or is Monday a pretty common rest day for folks?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Long Run Sunday

Sunday.  For many of us it's long run day.  I look forward to this all week.  I'm not sure why as I run throughout the week.  I even try to do something medium long on Wednesday or Thursday.  Maybe it's because Sundays are usually the only day I actually run in the daylight?

Today I ran my first 10 miler ever.  Woot!  I ran it out and back on a rail trail.  I knew it would be flat with only moderate hills and no nasty camber to deal with.  Old man winter decided we needed just a little reminder that he isn't going away quietly and proceeded to dump about 2" of fresh snow on us just before I wanted to go.  Since the snow came with lightning (thunder snow) I waited a couple hours for the weather to pass before heading out.  By then the fresh snow had turned to slush.  So, I got home soaked half way up my shins from all the slush.

Fueled up with steel cut oats topped with banana and peanut butter this morning before church.  Lunch was quesadillas made with my homemade tortillas.  My energy didn't seem to drop off so I think the calorie intake before the run was good.

How was your weekend?  Did you do your long run today?  Ready to hit the ground running tomorrow?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011 - Early Mornings and Oatmeal

Rolled out of bed at 0600, had my coffee, a glass of water and a blueberry Soyjoy.  I was out the door by 0630 all decked out in my reflective gear and headlamp.  The really cool thing about early morning was all the birds singing.  That's something I haven't heard since last fall.  I saw lots of robins out doing whatever it is they do in the pre-dawn grey.  I ran 8.2 miles this morning.

Tomorrow I'm going to attempt my first 10 mile run ever.  It will be my first time into double digits.  I'm pretty excited about breaking into double digit territory.  It's almost like I'm becoming a real runner or something ;)

The Soyjoy was just perfect for early morning pre-run fueling for me.  The blueberry flavor was really good.  The Soyjoy did a good job of getting me going and leaving me feeling like I had adequately fueled by the end of my run.

Waiting for me when I returned was a nice batch of steel cut oats.  I make them using this method:

1 part steel cut oats
4 parts water (adjust down or up according to taste)

Boil the water, add the oats to the boiling water, let cook for a minute or two, cut the heat, slap a lid on the pot and walk away.  Let the pot sit on the back of the stove overnight.  In the morning, spoon some oats into a bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes.  Put the remaining oats in the fridge for later.  Steel cut oats don't get mushy in the fridge so I like to make a big batch to have plenty of leftovers.

Some favorite oatmeal toppers are: bananas, apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, peanut butter, honey, dried cherries, raisins, almonds, pecans, or walnuts.

What are your favorite oatmeal toppers?  Any running accomplishments you want to brag about?  Please brag away.  I love reading about all the great stuff people are doing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Rest Days

Took yesterday as a rest day.  I think today will be a rest day as well.  I'll plan on 8 miles early Saturday morning.  I've just been feeling kind of run-down this week.  Shifting my run back by 6 hours or so won't hurt anything and I'll be able to get to sleep earlier this evening.

A big THANK YOU to Soyjoy!  They saw my comments earlier this week about trying Soyjoy and sent me some samples to try.  I'll be trying one tomorrow for pre-run fueling.

Some daily randomness:  I know spring is here now because baseball has started.  My Tigers lost to the Yankees yesterday :(  That's ok.  It's a long season.  There's still a lot of baseball to be played.