Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bye Bye, Blogger

Hello, my loyal reader (I assume there's only one of you, if that). I'm done with Blogger. It was the first time since LiveJournal (before the Russians took it over) that I used something other than WordPress. The Blogger UI has been bugging me, so I installed the latest version and bought a domain. You can now find my blog at:

I haven't done anything with it, besides import my posts from here, so don't expect anything fancy.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Let's [Move] Tonight, Share the Spice of Life

This weekend was the Let's Move Festival of Races, which means:
Half Marathon #2 is in the books with a new PR!  I went in with the goal time of 2:15, but I ended up with an official time of 2:06:43!  That's about 17 minutes faster than Detroit.

The day started off by waking up at 6am.  It's still an hour later than a workday.  Came downstairs to make some toast with Nutella and start drinking water.  Pretty much just vegged out on the recliner watching the news.  The night before the forcast said mid 30s and a 20% chance of rain.  In the morning, I actually heard the weatherman said "some of you might feel a few wet snowflakes." Perfect.  It turned 7 so I got dressed and headed out.  I told Lauren to stay at home with Jack due to the weather.  She left a note of love and encouragement on top of my bib.  I'm very lucky to have a wife that is so supportive.
Love from the family

Luckily for me, Anthony's parents live within a mile from the start and the course comes down the end of their street.  While he wasn't racing today, his sister and brother-in-law were doing the relay (and came in 2nd place).  I got to the house and filled up my water bottles and mixed in my new favorite fuel, HEED (I am in no way affiliated with Hammer Nutrition.  I just really love their products).  I'm pretty sure this stuff saved me in this race.  We headed out the door and toward the start.  I left the group to gear check my bag and meet up with another group, the GP Runners. I was convinced that I should start with the sub 2 hour wave.  I knew I wasn't breaking two hours, but I didn't want a repeat of Corktown.  with about 15 minutes before start, I had my first of two Hammer Gels. Unfortunately there wasn't any water available to wash it down and all I had was HEED in my bottles.  I was sure to hit the first water station.

I completed the first mile in 9:30, way too fast for my strategy.  My plan was to go a nice and easy 10-10:30 min/mi pace for the first half and do some speedwork in the 2nd half to average my pace near 10:00.  My real-time pace on my watch  was never correct.  I thought I was running a steady 10ish, but when I downloaded my run, only 2 miles were over 10 minutes (by seconds).

I bumped into a GP Runner that had the same goal time and we paced each other for about 4 miles, when we reach the relay exchange.  I took gel #2 and decided it was time to kick it up a bit. I started pacing with a guy who had been near me the past mile or so.  We got to talking; quite a bit of talking, actually. Turns out we works for the landscaping company that my company uses.  We've probably seen each other and never knew it.  We talked shop and it made time (and miles) fly by.  At mile 7 I had that feeling that all runners fear in a race; my left calf twitched.  I reached for my water bottles and drank what was left of my HEED.  While I felt the cramp there for the rest of the race, it never came full force.

My new friend had me pacing at about 9:45 and I was able to hold conversation so I knew I had some energy left in me.  I wasn't going to leave my new friend though.  His company was helping more than anything.  Once we reached mile 12, he shook my hand and told me to take off.  He knew I had plenty of gas left.  I started my kick and averaged a 8:40 pace.  I could hear an encouraging "You got this!" from behind me.  That last mile is probably the hardest part of the race.  I would guess it to be on a 2-3% grade.  Not terribly hilly, but for the final mile of a course thats almost entirely flat, its not welcomed.
I saw The Sign and it opened up my eyes.

I reached Main St, the final stretch of the course and I first see Anthony on his bike cheering me on and next to him I see The Sign (TM) being held by fellow Blogger/DailyMiler, Mary Beth.  That could only mean her relay partner was nearby.  I turned my head and spotted Cara Jo right behind me.  We finished within seconds of each other.  I briefly said hello and we congratulated each other on our awesome finishes.  I managed to get a pretty cool action shot finish.

Mid-Air, Thumbs-Up Action Pose

Anthony and I met up with the rest of his family and looked up the official results.  At the time, I was 7th in my group, but was later knocked to 9th.  I usually don't pay attention to ranks, but I made 403/2900+ overall and 85th percentile seems like something to note.  I'm definitely making improvements and its only the start of the season.

Add caption

Here's to a sub 2:00 by the end of the year!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Real Quick...

Someone PR'd by 17 minutes.  2:06:43.  Felt awesome.  Recap to follow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

John Cougar Prefers Deep Tissue

So like I mentioned last post, I had my first full body massage yesterday. I had purchased a Groupon for a place nearby and it was about to expire, so I figured race week is as good as any. The Groupon was for a nice, relaxing Swedish massage, but when I arrived I was given the chance to pay a little more to have them beat the crap out of me (i.e. deep tissue massage). I took them up on the offer.

When I made my appointment, I was asked if I had a gender preference. My wife told me I should ask for a man, because they are typically stronger and can apply more pressure. Easy choice for her to pick a guy, since she would never be part of a dude-on-dude rubdown. Also, I'm pretty sure at least in the back of her head she didn't want some other woman touching me. So when the question came up by the receptionist, I replied in my manliest voice, "no preference."

I arrived on time, was given some paperwork to fill out, paid for my beatdown upgrade, and was asked to wait as he would be with me shortly. Yep. Got a dude.

I should stop right here and clarify. I know a massage is non-sexual; or at least they should be (different topic). I also know that my masseuse is a professional, like a doctor (of course, I would never tip my doctor after an exam. Especially if it involved a colonoscopy or hernia check...Awkward). That all being said; its still me, stripped down to my boxers, getting an oily rubdown by some guy; and I think I have the right to feel a little uncomfortable about it. No offense, Jason.

Sure it was a little awkward at first, but you get used to it. Awkwardness surfaced again when he hit the glutes, but subsided. Really, my head is buried in a pillow and no one is talking over the sounds of XM Spa in the background (its been a while since I listened to Enya and Tangerine Dream). It could of a been a woman (with man hands) for all I knew; then I had to flip over. I chose to stare at the ceiling, because nothing screams awkward like looking into the eyes of a guy whose hand is all up on your pectoral.

It started fairly gentle, warming up the muscles. It was pretty relaxing. I wondered if he had noticed that I upgraded. He noticed. Before I knew it, he was digging his elbow into my trapezius. An experience that I can't call pleasant. It was a good pain; It hurts but you don't want it to stop. Think the scene in Little Shop of Horrors where Bill Murray is at the dentist.

He also did this thing which to me felt like he grabbed a knot and tossed it back and forth from one hand to another. That actually wasn't painful at all and seemed to help. I won't divulge into every muscle group this guy worked on. I'm sure I've bored you enough already.

I couldn't really do anything after I got home. Lauren was having a mommy-night-out with a friend, so it was just me and Jack. He ran around for a while then joined me on the couch to watch the end of a disappointing Tigers game.

Talking Points:

  • Ever had a massage? Swedish? Deep Tissue? Sports? or that one where they use their feet?
  • What was your experience like?
  • Is it weird that I, a straight, married male had a male masseuse?
  • How awesome is Bill Murray? That's rhetorical, but feel free to join me in his praise. And for LSoH.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Haven't Blogged You in the Longest Time

Its been quite some time since my last update.  There is so much to cover:

First order of business.  The pop culture reference in the last post's
title was a lyric from Irving Berlin's "I Want to go back to Michigan".
That's simple enough to Google, but why was it my title?  The song was
performed by Judy Garland for the movie, The Easter Parade...and it was
Easter.  That's how my brain works...sorry.

Training News:
I was disappointed to skip my 11 mile run on week 10.  Because of that, I
ended it up not reaching 20 miles for the week.  I bounced back in week 11
with a very positive 12 mile run.  Weather wasn't the most favorable these
past few weeks, so I've learned to accept the treadmill for short,
lunchtime runs.  One day I decided to try negative splits and now its the
only way I can run on the 'mill.  Its win/win:  I get some speedwork in, I
don't get as bored, and I can get off that dreaded hampsterwheel sooner.

Run of note:
I had my last long run before Let's Move this past Saturday.  It was
supposed to be 12, but ended up being 12.6 miles and I did it in about the
same time I did the Detroit Half.  Methinks I'll be able to shave a few
minutes off my PR.  I felt solid the entire way; even detoured to a nice
hill.  At about 4.5 miles, I made my way to Anthony's where he loaned me a
scoop of HEED and joined me for the final 8.  I've been meaning to try
HEED and I think it really helped.  It will be in one of my bottles this

Random Thoughts:
During my long run, a man pulled over and asked for directions to one of
the high schools.  It made me realize that local runners must be some of
the most knowledgeable people to ask for specific directions.  While the
directions I gave the man weren't as specific, I could have probably given
him distances down to the tenth of a mile.  As runners we know the true
value of a mile.

Final Thoughts:
Yesterday was my final exam (I think I passed), so hello

Monday, April 9, 2012

I'd rather be where they go to bed at nine

Had a pretty good week after the previous week where I managed to only get 8 miles in.  Somewhere in those 8 miles I hurt my knee, too.  Did that stop me?  Nope.  I put in 9 miles early in the week.  My knee was really feeling it.  Did it stop me? For two days I took some rest, not really because of my knee, but schedule.

Some friends from DC drove into town for Easter.  Lisa is a triathlete and her fiance, Dave has ran several marathons, including Boston.  I asked if they had their running gear with them and they said yes.  So Friday morning (after a Thursday night of drinking) we headed out for a 10-miler.  It was a great run with friends that 1) I get to see maybe 2-3 times a year and 2) share a love of running.  I don't have too many of those.  Dave got a tour of the area.  He was fascinated with the night-and-day border of when we crossed over from Grosse Pointe to Detroit and just about every house was falling apart.  We thought we had cut the run short, but we still somehow managed to break 10 miles.

My knee felt fine the whole time.  It was a few hours later that it started acting up again.  Easter Sunday I snuck out real quick for 3-4 miles.  The first mile I was asking myself "why?"  My knee was acting up so much that I was practically limping the first mile.  I told myself that maybe I'd just do 2 miles.  That would be enough to break 20 for the week.  After that first mile I decided to not turn around and to keep going.  The knee eventually loosened up and I was able to run with a form that didn't quite resemble Igor.

Should I see a doctor?  Probably.  Will I? No.  At least not before the Let's Move Half.  Plenty of time to heal after that.

Theme of this past week

Oh and one more thing.  Someone has been consistently +1ing my posts on Google.  Its not public as to who though.  So this is a call out to you:  come out of hiding add me to a circle.

Just kidding. One last thing.  Leave a comment explaining the pop culture reference in the title of this and every other post (there's always one hidden) and you'll get a point.  Points have no monetary value, but if you collect enough, you can trade them in for my gratitude (I'm broke.  That's all I can afford).

Friday, March 23, 2012

Up With The Sun, Gone With The Wind

Does anyone ever notice my titles are almost always in reference to something in pop culture; usually a song? I used to do that in my writing classes, as well.  Leave a comment if you get it (no Google).  I'm curious.

Anyways, had a nice 6 this morning.  I did something I had been meaning to since I moved into this house.  I woke up early enough on a day off to make it down to the lake shore and watch the sun come up.  Its not the clearest of days, but I was still awesome.  I woke up later than planned, but I hurried out the door and made the 1.5 mile trip to shore, just-in-time to see this:
Well it looks like the clouds bought me a little time, so I stuck around, did some stretches, and even threw in some sit-ups all while greeting the sun.

I often find myself getting a little jealous when I see other runners posting their trail runs that are right in their neighborhood.  I'd love to be able to run Paint Creek Trail and spot the HBDP team on their daily run.  Or hit the trails out at Stoney.  But I can't complain too much.  Grosse Pointe is a very runner friendly community.  We have beautiful houses on heavily wooded streets, pedestrian-friendly shopping areas and the gem of the Grosse Pointes, Lakeshore Drive:

That's right, my regular run is the end credit scene of Gran Torino
 I made another quick stop to snap a photo of the riding horses at the GP Hunt Club.  Not many cities (especially next door to Detroit) can say they have something like this.
Right after this shot, they decided to trot around.  Warm-up for equestrian classes.
And that's my city.  I'll make a point to snap more shots when I'm in some other neat areas around town.  Now its time to get this weekend started.