Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week ending 2/27/11

monday: 7 miles in the ice storm. cool. strength training class, 1 hour.

tuesday: 4 miles inclined on mill. 20:00 bike. cable machine strength training. 6 miles in the afternoon, 4 with trainee Jill.

wed: 12 miles

thursday: 4 mile cruise.

friday: 7 miles at university of toledo track. 2 mile w/u, 6X800, 1/3 mile RBI.

saturday: 7 around tuna beach.

sunday: 16 miles. wildwood park with gabbo for a couple. then went exploring ottawa hills neighbor hood for some good climbing. found a lot of short, very steep hills. then went to college campus for more hills, stairs and then a long paved straightaway back to gabbo's.

TOTAL: 63 miles.

Thank god. finally a decent week of training. I've been really busy, too, which makes it feel even better. The bike shop job is going to be awesome, I think. I put together bikes, sell stuff and most important: talk about training with guys who work there. Rob is 42, life-long cyclist and still rides for a few companies, trains very hard year round and has a pretty solid race schedule set up for the year. Good inspiration and good focus for my own running.

It's one thing to read a bunch of blogs, but it's another to talk face-to-face with a guy who is killing it. Definitely feel a renewed sense of purpose and dedication. Which is a funny thing to discover you need. but not "haha" funny.

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's so entrepreneurial in the D!

man, this video is so good! detroit is amazing. if you have time, be sure to watch ALL the videos in this series. it's really key.

...but the first one is pretty righteous. interview with the legendary gangster/"entrepreneur" Larry Mongo!

"I said 'What the hell is going on? There's 200 white kids on bicycles outside!'"


Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Yob

Well, in addition to filling kids' heads with as much subversive nonsense as I possibly can in a few short hours each day, I now will also be getting paid to talk about bicycles. Something I know relatively little about, other than how to ride on one for a super long time.

The pic is great, if a little out-dated. No one drinks sparks anymore, as far as I can tell. Nor are Kanye glasses even ironically-uncool cool anymore. Or were they regular-cool cool? I can't remember the final word on that, other than I always thought they looked like shit. It would have been cooler to go out to the bar in a blindfold. That would be funny.

However, I still associate bike shop guys with fixie hipsters like our friend up there...but with more tattoos, ideally on their knuckles and neck. Which is funny, I guess, because the guys that I DO work with are just really good, fairly clean-cut cycling dudes. And also a little...weird. But not any weirder than your average cyclist (they're all bananas). ha.

We had a massive ice-storm last sunday night. Which has made running either insanely slippery or insanely dangerous, as we still have giant tree limbs falling from the sky. It's like treepocalypse around here, as they are all literally encased in an inch of ice...which is also starting to fall out of the sky and hurts like hell when it hits you directly on top of your head.

Still though, I have been running hard all week. It's thursday, I'm about to suit up and brave the blitzkrieg yet again. a nice 12 miler yesterday. fun ice storm 10 miler on monday. tuesday was 7 miles of checking out tree damage around the area.

I have made drastic, yes DRASTIC, reductions in my alcohol consumption this week and, surprise surprise, my heart rate has come down (moderately). I may avoid a trip the doctor's office yet!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekenders Episode 2/20/11

I'm trying to get a bunch of stuff done tonight and as a little "carrot" break from that, I'm going to do my weekly update.

I don't have my tiny, paper-maché mileage-booklet in front of me...with the perfectly calligraphed notes, written with a raven's feather dipped in boar's blood, etched into the eternal fabric of time..with the PRECISE distances which my very-shoed feet did cover...

What I'm trying to say is: I'm not sure right now how far I ran...

AND I should have just cleaned my apartment and found that fucking book using the time it took me to double check whether or not "calligraphy" can be turned into a past participle.

For now, we shall say: 50 miles this week. Not great. But...I guess...I upped my miles without slacking off on my winter gym workouts...? is that good?

NO. not at all. I have, exactly, 5 weeks of running before the Bel Monte 50 miler. While I have zero doubts that I can force myself through the race, that wasn't my plan at all. I had hoped to deal with the oppressive mental war wrought by Mother Nature during the winter months by mixing up my running more as well as adding lots of strength training and crosstraining. Then, I had planned on directly shifting this strength/aerobic base* into a decent string of running weeks...emerging a tougher, faster, better downhill runner than i would have been with just lots of flat running alone.

We shall see if I can still salvage that plan.

In other me-related running news: my resting HR was almost 90 a few days ago and I'm not sure why. I ought to go see my doctor, but after the whole drug fiasco... I don't know if I'm going to find a very receptive ear. So...I feel a little adrift. My constantly-elevated HR has definitely been either a contributor or a result of my months-long battle with super-insomnia (a special brand reserved for those who go from years of battling insomnia to months of losing aforementioned battle).

EXAMPLE for your consideration: I started a run at last saturday's mid-morning, warmed up for a couple miles, started to pick up the pace and watched my HR hit 200. I ran back home and sat down.

I ran some errands, etc. and went back out: initially I saw that my HR was climbing, i.e. 7:45/mile and 160. I backed off, relaxed a little (HR: 140) and then went back to running a bit harder. Oddly, my rotten old ticker seemed to find it's groove and I ran the following 9 miles at 7:40/mile and HR 145.

So what the hell? Just to make things clear: I'm 27 years old. I fought off an addiction to the worst opiate drugs modern man can create...but this only lasted about a year?

Nothing I've read indicates that the result should be this wild heart rate situation. Maybe (maybe!) this sort of thing happens after decades of abuse...but a year?



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sweat drips on the bitch?

Kids. All style and no substance!


Ok ok. Enough half-naked girls making out.

Wait. What?

No. Seriously. Last week was a tough week. OK on the running front. Not this guy good, but OK.

Good on the workout front. Good on the love front.

My not-puking-for-8-hours-straight front, however, had some serious lapses in vigilance.

After being stricken with a really brutal bout of food sickness (discount sushi bad idea? who knew!?) on Friday night, I still got up (off the floor) Saturday morning and packed to go snowboarding with Gabbo for the weekend. On literally zero sleep, coming off of three days with about 8 hours of sleep total. I don't know when it was that insomnia became a lifestyle for me, but the brutal reality of this stares at me every morning as I shave. He's a creep.

The weather has broken, though. Which puts my all-time life count at: ME=27, WINTER=0.

Kiss my ass, Winter. You can go fuck yourself.

Not this Winter, though. He's ok.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kahtoola Michigan Hill 8K and week ending 2/6/11

The vampire bandana strikes fear into the hearts of...small children. My biggest competition.

This was a good week of training. Perhaps a little light on the running, but I ain't sweatin' a goddamn thing these days. 6 hours of gym work (cardio, plyo, weights), 40 miles of running in 3 runs, 4 hours of snow shoveling, 3 hours of cross country skiing.

First, today (sunday) was the Kahtoola Microspikes Michigan Mountain Ski Hill 8K (or whatever it's called). I placed 8th out of 100+. I don't remember my time. I'll find it online after they post it.

The course was two 4K loops that basically went up and down the black diamond runs three times per loop. At the base of the hill, the connecting trails were all knee-deep powder left from yesterday's surprise blizzard #3. It was quite a tromp through the snow.

This race accomplished what I had hoped: I learned exactly what I need to improve upon for the Bel Monte 50 and it's accompanying 11K of climbing. It turns out, I had things backwards: I descend much faster than I ascend (relatively speaking). I'm surprised a little, as I am much more able to train for uphills via stairmasters, treadmills, etc. but have almost no opportunity to run downhill. My training for downhills out here in the midwest has consisted of turn-over work to let my legs really get loose on the steep grades in addition to what (i think) are some pretty unusual plyometric and weight routines. In these, explosiveness, precision and eccentric contractions are emphasized

If I ever REALLY find myself bored one afternoon, I'll video my strength training routine just so maybe GZ or Lucho will look at it and either A) laugh or B) give it a passing thumbs up. I'd just be curious as I've never seen the exact workouts that I do anywhere online.

Ok. enough of all that.

The rest of the week I was snowed-in. I used the opportunity to do a lot of wintery fun stuff. I also did a nice 12 mile snow slog (7:45/mile) in the evening on thursday and then followed it up with a 14 mile run the next morning (7:40/mile). It's been a while since I've done a workout like this and towards the end of the second run, I could begin to feel the familiar "all-over" ache common at different moments throughout an ultra race. It got me pretty excited for the upcoming 50 and starting tomorrow, it's time to up the weekly cruising.

Lastly, I have been pleasantly surprised to see some low HR's on those longer runs (at 7:30/mile and 9 miles in I have to remind myself to not slack off as I find myself in the low 140's). Again, I'm deathly afraid of jinxing myself but I think that as I finally finish this course of blood pressure meds and am slowly (SLOWLY) starting to be able to sleep again, my post-methadone cardiovascular system is returning to normal. I really hope I'm right.

There is no ultra marathon that can compare to the protracted pain and suffering I have felt throughout this rehab process. This is in no way a boast. Let me be very clear: I would not wish this experience on anyone. It's horrible. It's pointless. It's ignoble. It in no way something of which I am proud. I don't feel tougher. If anything, I feel more vulnerable and more keenly aware of how delicate our bodies truly are (despite the amazing feats of endurance we put them through). I can't wait to start wasting fools out on the trails (2012 perhaps).

This is definitely starting to ramble, so let's wrap this up.

Gabbo and I are definitely back together and I could not be happier. I love her! Yeah!

I look forward to running in 2011. It has gotten me through so many rough patches. I have several incipient fundraising projects in the works for the summer. I want to do something for Toledo's urban farming initiative, Toledo Grows, not to mention the Toledo Metro Parks themselves (that I frequent weekly). I also want to try to get together a running event throughout the city of Detroit to raise money for Hostel Detroit (see previous post).

Yes, Detroit has the Tour de Troit cycling event and the Detroit Marathon, but I'd like to run a purely grassroots sort of event that highlights the areas of Detroit that the average visiter does not get to see. Maybe skip the ruinporn and aim for some the up and coming neighborhoods, full of incredibly hard-working and dedicated young people doing everything they can to turn around a completely unique city.

There is so much more I want to say on this point, but I'll save it for another post on another day. This is already so long that no one will read it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Snow Day part Deux

Yeah, big wind! Still though, some good XC skiing. I also ran a brisk 14 miler. You can't go slow when the winds are still steady around 30mph and the temp is around 15F.

bummer to see a good hobie all fucked up...i don't care as much for the lazer(?) i think beneath it. anyway, like i said: big wind.

i really hope i'm not jinxing myself with this late night drunken post BUT: i think i may have finally dealt with whatever shit was dragging me down. i feel good lately. i've had some good runs the last few days, in addition to just being very active outdoors. i wouldn't say all of my energy has returned...but I can feel the welcome pressure of the upcoming 50 miler and i want to do well. i know i can do well.

i watched "Man on Wire" several times over the past two weeks. I hate watching movies. I can bear watching documentaries...and this one is just overwhelming. Coming from someone who has spent the majority of his life experiencing and enjoying art as much as i possibly can: I recommend that doc highly. "Man on Wire" has literally brought tears to my eyes each time I've watched it. Afterwards, I also feel a renewed sense of purpose, drive, unwavering self-confidence and yes, love.

Take some time out from your too-busy lives and give it a watch. You won't feel it was time wasted.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day

Snowtorious B.I.G.

this is my fourth snow day of the year and by far the biggest amount of snowfall we have received.

i knew it was going to be a really excellent day off (which is always bittersweet seeing as how i don't get paid if classes aren't in session). the snow had stopped completely, the sun was making occasional appearances and the mid-teens temperatures were tempered by the insulating effects of the snow.

shoveling is one of my favorite workouts. i can certainly bitch about snowing and covered driveways etc. but it's all a ruse. just a way to make small talk. like professional sports (of which i watch literally none. i have exactly zero understanding of professional sports). deep down inside, i love shoveling snow. i got my fix today. i shoveled my ass off. then i dug out my fallen ass and shoveled it back on again. it was thrilling.

i also went out for a pretty solid cross country ski expedition. it's always fun to travel around on skis and need'em. we had sustained winds over 50 mph and the drifts provided a welcome change in topography from the standard, rutted farm fields. the weight of the snow "sunk" the ice slightly and rendered it fairly treacherous, but again, the XC skis were a suitable means of transportation and snow over the frozen lake was fast. good times.

sadly the iceboating season may be over. this much snow pretty much puts the kibosh on things.

i rounded out the day with a 12 mile run. my "vampire-face" bandana came in handy as a balaclava. some weird looks from plow-trucks, but in general the run was perhaps my best outing of the young year. my quads and hamstrings are in rough shape from the gym visits of the past week, but on this run my legs felt as fresh as two hairy daisies.

this was a life-affirming snow opposed to those weird, beerful snow days que no sirve para nada. ¿Verdad?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Total Domination. sort of.

it's been years since i homebrewed (although that may change with an uncle's purchase of a force-carbonating system for keg-brewing)...and as such, it has been quite a while since i perused the archives over at BA. i just noticed the amazing collection of NW IN and S. MI breweries on their "Top Beers" list. having lived along that latitude for way too long, i have spent many many nights drinking brews from founders (best michigan brewery), bell's (personal favorite, i think) and Three Floyd's (really stellar permanent line-up and some legendary seasonals).

anyway, take a look at the list. yeah there's california on there...and belgium. but the area of the midwest that houses those indiana and michigan brews is maybe like a 4 hour drive from end to end and all generally part of the same beer culture.

if you like american wine, go to napa valley i guess? but if you want american beer, you need to be further east. MI, IN, OH, PA the Four Horsemen of the Hoppocalypse.