Sunday, February 28, 2010

Double and Triple Digits!

Milestones. Benchmarks. Notch in the belt. Call it what you want. The path to an “ultimate” goal is littered with smaller achievements. Today, I marked two.

From this day forward, most every Sunday, my “long run” will be the furthest I have ever trampled under foot. Today, I ran 11 miles. Every f’n foot of it. It was (Oracle) SPECTACULAR! Valuable lessons were learned and I did not have one FML moment. I crossed the 100 mile mark in my training schedule. Since Feb 2nd, I have run 100+ miles. It was a good day. I cried, kinda (although I think it was probably the wind blowing in my face).

Feb 28, 2010, Longmont, Colorado. 9:10am. The Weather Channel app on my Droid says it is 31 degrees. HA! Thank God I brought the jacket, because the wind chill makes more like 10. An out and back. 5.5 miles and turn around. But no snow today, just a chilly breeze. 11 miles. Fuck. My back hurts; my foot hurts (that is new). I can do it. I have my line in the sand. My seam in the sidewalk. When I see this spot again, it will have been 11 miles. AND GO!

I am experimenting with music. Yes, I am religious about my iPod. I have a “running music” playlist that has about 6 hours of tunes, but not every song is the right song for any given moment. But today, I started with this.
And it was perfect. While not this particular show (actually it was 11/18/95 – w/Brickhouse throughout), the rhythm and groove got me going.

I was cruising along when, at the 2.5 mile mark, I happened upon my wife’s running partner (for some reason they were not running together today). From there we decided to run together. He has been running since the mid-1970’s and is trying to finally qualify for the Boston at age 60. Therefore, I was a bit tentative about trying to keep the pace, but he assured me time was not an issue. And we ran, and chatted about running. Between keeping my rhythmic breathing and cadence, the conversation in one ear, my music in another, the miles just rolled on by. He was supposed to turn around at some point, but said “The conversation is great, I’ll keep going.”

We rolled on. I gel/GU’ed for the first time, for no other reason than to try it. The pace quickened. And with gas left in the tank, I busted out the last mile at a 9:33 which put me at a 10:02 pace for the run. Sweet.

The lesson I learned? Long runs with someone are better than without. I will still and always keep music in one ear. I will try and find a friend during the marathon. It makes the run easier and keeps the FML’s at bay.

Finally, I went straight to the bar, had a few Bud Lights, watched Team USA Hockey and thoroughly enjoyed my day.

Feelin kinda Sunday……..Sunday Funday!

Todays run: 11 miles - 10:02 pace
Now Playing: The Bonedaddys - Waterside

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Do the Hills Have Eyes?

I hit it yesterday and at the time, I was F’n pissed (Sorry Syd). However, it was bound to happen at some point during my marathon training, and frankly, I am surprised it had not yet reared its head and I’m sure it will happen again. There it was. The Wall. At the Mile 5 mark of a 6 mile run, I just could not do it anymore. For about 50 yards and less than 1 minute, I had to walk (gasp!).

I know, I know. Every training book and running pundit will tell you that it is entirely OK to walk. There is no shame. In fact, it is encouraged. Injuries are avoided. Heart rates are controlled and stabilized. But damn it, I could not will myself to continue striding at the clip I wanted.

I live at the base of a fairly sizeable hill, which actually provides me a lot of options. Yesterday, feeling pretty energetic when I started, I optioned for mile 1 to be up the hill. Miles 2, 3, and 4 would be down and across the base on the other side, then mile 5 would be back up, leaving me a nice downhill for my final mile. Well, mile 5 flat out kicked-my-ass.

To get myself up this particular hill from the opposite side of where I start, I have three goal points….you know, “If I can get to point X, than I can get to point Y. If I get past point Y, than I can get to point Z (the top)” I started up the mountain hill, knowing I had about 10 minutes of misery discomfort. At point X, which is about halfway, the FML* thoughts were creeping upon me. I crank up the music. “Get MAD and run” Up ahead, speeding DOWN the hill was another Clydesdale. Now all I could think was, “Head up! Don’t lose form! Better to look good! He is an asshole going downhill” We passed each other at point Y. OK, at least now he won’t see me blow out my Powerbar & Emergen-C breakfast. 50 more yards. FML! 40 yards. Double FML. 38 yards. That’s it. Triple FML and I gotta slow down, but not stop. No way was I going to let the auto pause function on my Garmin activate. I walked the 50 yards to the traffic signal, crossed the street, and then proceeded to bust it down the hill and home. But damn it, I had to walk!

I still did my run in a reasonable time and I KNOW I should be more willing to accept these slower moments. This was just the first of many walking moments while I train, I’m sure (think water/first aid stations). They will save my ass come race day.

*FML (F*%K My Life)

Pictures of my nemesis hill to follow!

Yesterday's Run: 5.88 miles - 9:41 pace
Now Playing: A House MD rerun

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Top 24

Feeding the AI fire-
Whos staying - Girls:
Crystal Bowersox / Lilly Scott/ Paige Miles
Leaving -
Lacey Brown / Ashley Rodriguez

Whos staying - Guys
Casey James / Todrick Hall / Lee Dewayne
Leaving -
John Park / Michael Lynche

my $.02

Step Into the Freezer

There is really no good reason for me to be bitching. Moving to Colorado from NorCal 10 years ago was one of the better decisions I’ve made, but damn it, I am so over the cold! Usually by this time of year, Colorado gets some days of 50+ degree temperatures, but this year, nada. It was 41 degrees when I hit the streets, not terrible, but still........

My North-facing garage has the same sheet of ice in front of it that has been there since November.
Patches of ice litter the running trails and just when it seems it’s going to clear, another round of snow comes through. And it’s not yet March, our snowiest month!

Chris and I are way ready for running to stop being an exercise in the layering of clothes. This is everything I put on, just to run around the block. Yes, I am now naked while I take this picture. You like my purple Fruit of the Looms? Remember, it'a Wednesday. Laundry & American Idol night, so I had to take'em off eventually.

Now, I realize that some of this is by my own design. After utilizing the full capability of my Garmin, I am about ready to lose the heart monitor. And hopefully as the weather gets warmer and the miles increase, my knees will not need the support they require now. Now, I don’t always take the water belt, but in its place is another belt/pouch for my phone, ID and key. In addition, not pictured are a jacket, hat, gloves, iPod, and sunglasses. As you can see, there is a serious investment of time in order look good while being an insane idiot sloshing my way down the street. Fortunately, I wasn't wearing my UWS(ugly white shirt).

Speaking of belts, this little thing is great! Amphipod rocked the design. My brick Droid, ID, key, easily fits with some room to spare and the belt doesn’t bounce or move around while running.

Finally, Rock N Roll announced the route for the San Diego Marathon! Whoo Hoo! Check it out here   Time to book a hotel!

Oh yea, today’s run went much better than yesterday! Not super-fast, but enjoyable.

Now Playing: The Parlor Mob - Can't Keep No Good Boy Down
Todays Run: 6.38 miles - 9:46 pace

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's Better to Look Than to Feel Good

It is the start of week four in the training life of Paul, the Marathon-hopeful, and I gotta tell ya, I was just not feeling it today. Or, the it I was feeling had nothing to do with me getting my running shoes on my feet. I know, I know, some days are going to be better than others. After pounding out 6 miles on the Dreadmill on Sunday, the clean crisp air, fresh off a weekend of snow should have held some magical appeal. C’mon, I only had to burn through 3 miles. Just a stroll around the block, right? While I was Dreadmilling on Sunday, I was smiling about how 4-6 miles is no big deal anymore. Damn you coffee, you wrecked me this morning.

I am a pretty regular guy. Yes, I mean regular. My race morning strategy is already being formed, knowing I need to be up and moving at least an hour before the gun goes off. That is a given. But really, this morning was three trips before I could even think about lacing up. I should not have had that second, ok, fourth cup of joe. Although, I got to read a lot of this month’s issue of Runners World. The kicker was I realized I forgot to plug-in the iPod. How long does a tiny red bar in the battery status window last? I could not find out and forget the whole ordeal. BUT..

It is such a beautiful here along the Front Range. I should try to make the best of my run. See, here I am. Looking good, because I’m not in my ugly white shirt and I just got out of the bathroom.

And this is where I start my runs from home. I’m not really just looking at the sidewalk, that is my start/finish line

I ran to the shopping center just in case use of their facilities was going to be required (which you can't see, but trust me, it's there). But notice how pretty it is? That's Longs Peak, a 14er, in the distance. That mountain will be conquered this year.

I made it home clean, feeling better that I did not succumb to my primal urge to bag the whole thing. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Now Playing - Bruce Springsteen - The Ghost of Tom Joad
Todays Run - 3.11 miles - 9:21 pace

Monday, February 22, 2010

I got a new toy.....

No ladies, not THAT kind of toy......

My daughter was gifted with a notebook for xmas and I decided I needed one as well. Now I am getting configured, virus protected, and up to date on this machine. It will really rock for school! Major battery power and portability.

Meanwhile, enjoy this.........

it was a rest day for me and I have been sucked up in school and computers........but I totally wanted to run!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

To iPod or Not......

Is that a question?

There are a few issues regarding running that will inevitably prickle the spines of traditionalists and further segregate the so called non-conformists. Technology, specifically iPods, has again perpetuated the debate. To music or not to music.

...this also applies to those that watch TV while at the gym....or if you are trying to split the difference, listining to an audiobook/podcast/NPR...listen up! I know you crank up a wicked version of All Things Considered or blast your Car Talk to get you through those tough miles.

Allow me to say now….I will ALWAYS run with my music. If I am rolling miles with my wife, friends or a group, I might keep only one ear “plugged in.” Otherwise, running is a solitary and musical experience. The breathing, the pace, the zone….the music! All of it comes from the rhythmic beats to which I attempt to match my legs, my arms, my lungs, my mind. When I am in the middle of a long run and I wonder where my strength may come from, it is usually the perfect song that moment, guiding me to the inner purpose for what I am doing.

So much so, I’m considering a marathon “playlist” (or for my jam groovy-friends, a setlist.)

I am thinking about this for a couple of reasons.

1. Pace: Most times, the beginning of my run starts with a piece of music that I know will take me x distance . ½ mile, 1 mile, 2 miles? THREE MILES?....a blistering long Phish jam will get me three miles. It serves as a guidepost.

2. Emotional Fuel: Each mile is not created equal (more on that). THAT SONG can make a difference

3. Feeding my complementary passion: I get to do two things I enjoy ‘at the same time!’

4. I can practice my Guitar Hero riffs.

#4….not so much. Not a big fan of G.H. But don’t be surprised if you catch me playing Air Guitar or bangin virtual drums while out on a run. Although, if you caught me today at the YMCA, trying to blaze through my six miles, I was obnoxious with visible my strum and drang:

• Phish – Tweezer - 07/31/09 – Warm up / Mile 1+

• Phish – Sand – 06/07/09 – Miles 2 & 3+

• REO Speedwagon – Roll with the Changes - finish mile 3 into 4

• Tea Leaf Green – Franz Hanzerbeak – Mile 4 – 5

• Goo Goo Dolls – What a Scene – Finish mile 6

I realize that I didn't really address the argument regarding running with an iPod, To each their own. I choose to keep my eyes up and ears filled with music. Finally.....a little product placement
Funny run stuff here.
Now Playing: (again) Phish - Tweezer -07/31/09 Red this jam!
Today's Run: 6.01 miles - 9:13 Pace - Treadmill.....just tried to go fast, cause its inflated!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Because Hal Higdon said so.....

I am 2 weeks and 4+ days into my Intermediate I training schedule, graciously provided by Did you notice what today said? Oh YEA, Baby……day of rest! And given the 3 inches of snow last night and it’s Friday, I am calling Snow Day! Sorry campus of Colorado State University, you don’t get the pleasure of my company today. Yes, I will spend my time wisely and get some pending projects done. My darling Treadmill, I know we haven’t spent any time together this winter. If Mother Nature so dictates, I may see you this weekend, but I can’t make any promises. Only if it looks like this tomorrow will I come and visit:

The coffee pot is full. One of the greatest sportsmen of my generation is about show some humility and then I think I’m gonna watch this:

More dashing bold adventures tomorrow!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

You can't always.....wear your favorite shirt

In our household, I am responsible for getting the laundry done. As a student, bartender, and now marathon trainee, each week is fairly regimented. Wednesday evening is usually dedicated to homework, American Idol and providing those I love with clean clothes. My regime dictates that the laundry gets done, not some half-assed attempt with clean clothes left in the dryer for days (or worse, the washer). But yesterday my schedule got highjacked and it was impossible to do my chores. Which left me with this:

And not to mention the obstacle course surrounding the front door:

 I am not a fashionista. I mean, really. My work "uniform" is pre-ordained, the 'at home' attire consists of sweat pants and t-shirts. Otherwise, its jeans and something very neutral as a shirt to school (I'm 38 trying to blend in with 18 year olds!). However, I feel myself transforming into a running clothes junkie, and it's because I care about you, the public.

I am a people watcher. Not the "I stare at you until my probing eyes have made you completely uncomfortable" type, but the curious observer who enjoys surveying our society stumbling around our planet. I could spend an entire day at Denver International Airport, watching travelers shuffle past me, to my own great delight. Conversely, I do realize that, I too am being watched (no, not like Big Brother), but when I am "out there." If I am on the streets or riding the dreadmill at the gym, I want to look good while I lumber along.

You see, I am a 6ft, 195lb man with a receding hairline and questionable waistline. The visual sight of me plodding along the side of the road could be frightening, especially to small children. At the Denver Marathon last year, Boston Marathon winner Frank Shorter described my type as a "Clydesdale." While I am not entirely self-depreiciating, as close to those beautiful horses I come is the Bud Light regularly enjoy. I figure, since I will never glide over the pavement like Bolt or Legat, the least I could do is attempt to look cool. (I actually think I do look ok running/jogging/troting/galloping?.....I don't have a completely ass-backward running stride that fellow runners are not supposed to laugh at).  So my running outfit is an extremely important part of the package.

That's me, in my least favorite shirt.

I have enough cool/good looking running shirts to last 6 runs. Which means that if my laundry regime holds, I don't have to dig at toward the bottom of the drawer for that shirt. Now, I am being harder on that shirt than I really should. It's from last years Lafayette Oatmeal 5k and it is not bad, I just don't wear it very well. I like my colorful Nike and UnderArmour, which apparently supercedes my concern for factory workers in southern Asia., the pithy American I am.  But alas I had to get a load of laundry started before I treked out for five miles morning. Time management had backed me into a less than fasionable corner. Maybe, since it's cloudy, gray and snow is still on the ground this morning, I might blend into the background and no one will spot me.
Fortunately, I'll was running while most of the youths in our community were holed up in a what I can only hope was a windowless classroom as to not be witness to this Clydesdale, galloping down the street, and striking fear into their innocent hearts.

Now Playing: The Beatles - Helter Skelter
Todays Run: 5.39 Miles - 9:49 Pace

Random Thought: 14 more weeks of American Idol, 15 more weeks of training. It's gonna be a fun ride!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Who I am and Why I am Here

What a gorgeous day to be in Longmont, Colorado!

As much as I hated the nine miles of snow I had to trudge through last Sunday morning, withour days like that, today would never happen. Cool, crisp air, the snow blanketed mountains in the really is stunning sometimes.

While I was running this morning, I was mulling over about how and what I want to share with everyone. I was telling my wife last night about my decision to start this blog and what I hoped to do with it. It occurred to me that you may want to know a little more about me, other than the cryptic introduction in the first post.

Briefly, My name is Paul and I am a almost 39 year old man living in Longmont, Colorado. In my life are two beautiful women, my wife Christine (Chris) and daughter, Sydney. Both can be handfuls and I love them dearly. Chris and I were married last August at Red Rocks in a small, beautiful, intimate ceremony.

Professionally, I am a bartender here in Longmont at The Dickens Tavern Additionally, I am a full time, non-traditional student at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. My Junior Year started this past January, which has been a bit of transistion from our local community college. I had taken an eighteen year hiatus from college (read: I never went) until I started in 2007. HALFWAY THERE! I am studying business market, advertising and communications.

For fun, I love golf, the San Francisco Giants, live music, especially Phish, movies, House MD, hiking and restraurants. Oh yeah, American Idol and George Michael are my guilty pleasures, you are going to have to deal with it.

Because parts of this blog content will be about training for my first marathon, I should provide you some insight as to how and why I committed to such an endevaor.

Chris is a runner. However, when we first started dating, we had a pact; I wouldn't ask her to play golf and she wouldn't try and get me to run. It's not as if I was completely sedintary, but a do carry around about 20 lbs that are not exactly necessary. In addition, up unitl 5 months ago, I smoked 30 cigarettes a day. But, I have quit the nicotine and in an effort to avoid gaining more weight after giving up smoking, I took up running, again. The year before, in an effort to do something on a regular basis, I started running. Chris never pressured me (really, she didn't). Part of it was to discover why getting up at the crack of dawn to 'run' held some mystical pleasure. I had some moderate success, but my lungs laughed at me as I would run 3 miles and then smoke two cigarettes. Last year ('09) at the Colder Boulder, I power-smoked 3 cigs in the car before busting out a 9:30 pace for that 5k. Then I got hurt, so it worked out perfectly. No more running, more cigarettes! That was then..................

During the summer of 2009, Chris was training for the Denver Marathon when a stress fracture shut her down for weeks. Fortunately, she recovered enough to participate in the half marathon on October 19th. I quit smoking on September 17, 2009 and started running. October's goal became running 100 miles over the course the month. Lofty ambitions? Maybe. Probably, Definately.....

I had a plan. While Chris was running her half marathon, I was going to run about four miles. However, I had no idea where I was going to do it. Our car was parked in a lot ajacent to the course, and I had wandered back there to somehow figure out WHERE I was going to run. As I was strapping on my iPod and gulping down a Powerbar, herds of runners were cruising past me. And then, without giving it a second thought, I became that guy. A Bandit

Yes, I jumped on the course. No number, no chip, no registration fee. I ran four glorious miles. Down a hill, passing the walkers. Past Coors Field. I heard the cheering. I laughed as I saw the lines at the port-a-potty. I was so far in the rear, the first water station at mile two was already shutting down. I loved every minute of it and decided I had to at least try to be an active part of this celebration of human acievement.

Now I am learning to love to run. It's a challenge and some days are better than others. It may be crazy to skip over a 10k and half and dive straight into a marathon, but I KNOW I can do it.

Well, that is it for lame, dry posts. Stick with me.....far more entertaining stuff to come! I hope you join me for the ride.

NOW PLAYING: Phish - Free - 11/01/09 Indio, California
TODAYS RUN: 3.13miles - 9:16 pace - two big hills!

Learning Technology

The wife and went to see Gov't Mule at the Fillmore this past Saturday night. Sort of a last minute decision, but I hadn't been to a show since Halloween, so I was due. Overall, a perfect evening. We found "on street" parking three blocks away, the search to get in was minimal, good music, & I ran into a guy I went t school with at Front Range. Great Success! Jam-rock may not be your thing. Maybe better, sold out shows at The Fillmore in Denver may not be. Or maybe the waft of marijuana and sweaty, aging hippies may not be. But it is hard to deny just flat out good music. Here's a sample taken on my Droid

Monday, February 15, 2010

test video....

this is a test.....

camera orientation and bounce.......

The First.....


If you, my loyal reader, have repeatedly pressed the 'show older posts' to discover this, then truly, you have way too much time on your hands. Otherwise, WELCOME!

Welcome to my blog. This is a test, but not only a test.

I have a couple goals while this experiment of blogging continues.....(stop me if you have heard this before)

1. Consistancy....I am are here. We are all together. I THINK I might have something to say on a daily basis. If you have visited, post a comment, insult, praise, or anything that will indicate that cyberspace is not a black hole.

2. I am experimenting with technology.....this may be (I hope, at times) a vLog.

3. About me and this blog:
-I am a father
-I am a husband
-I am a non-traditional student
-I am a runner
-I am lazy
-I am golf
-I am busy
-I am Phish

-I am an observer
-I am a writer?
-I am a critic
-I am an advocate

-I am CSU
-I am a reporter
-I am a consumer
-I am the Walrus (The Beatles)

-I am the Sea (The Who)
-I am Mine (Pearl Jam)

-I Been Around (Phish)
-I Can't Drive 55 (Hagar)
-I am, I said (N. Diamond)