Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bad Idea

I'm on pace for by far my worst-ever blogging month and my worst running month since February, when I had the excuse that I was coming back from a month off with injuries.  I really should be doing a better job with both.  As for blogging, there's actually a lot to write about, I just haven't found the time or motivation to write it lately.  But since I actually have a few post ideas rattling around in my brain these days, I'm going to stretch them out over the next week rather than doing a big catch-up post like I usually do.

My biggest running news is that I signed up for the Atlantic City Half Marathon.  It's unquestionably a bad idea.  The half marathon (and marathon) is on October 21, and here I am, on August 25, not having run more than 5 miles since the Fourth of July (6 miles).  My left leg has been giving me problems, my tailbone has been a pain in the ass*, and I'll be honest, I've been having trouble finding the time and motivation to run lately.  (That's a blog post that I probably won't ever get around to writing!)

Chris and I have been contemplating the AC Half for months, and she put together training plans for us.  Mine called for an 8-mile run today.  Problem:  I haven't run more than 5 in months and my last run was last Sunday in the burning desert of Las Vegas (more on this in a future post).  8 miles was too ambitious.  My plan was to try for it, but to be happy with 6 or 7, and I extended my usual out-and-back route accordingly.  It was a cool, if very humid morning, but I felt pretty good.  Unfortunately, by extending my route, I hit some steep hills that I'm just not ready for these days.  By the time I'd hit the 4-mile mark, my left leg was in a lot of pain.  

Chris' training plan calls for a step-back week every other week, so next weekend is a 4-miler.   Yeah, no.  I've got to do a good job lifting this week, get the midweek runs in, and bust out a 6-8 miler.  The whole summer has been a step-back week, and my day of reckoning is fast approaching.

*So, back in July I wrote my Spartan Race reviews and said I wasn't sure if I would do one again.  Well, I'm sure now.  No way.  My tailbone still isn't all the way healed a month and a half later because of a stupid slip'n'slide of all things and it's been a pretty big setback to my running.  Seriously, screw Spartan Race.  I'm proud of how Chris and I did, and I do have some good memories of it, but I'm definitely a one-and-done Spartan.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Going for Gold

I'm addicted to the Olympics.  I don't know why.  I don't watch a second of track & field, soccer, swimming, gymnastics, indoor volleyball, boxing, and a whole bunch of other silly sports (seriously...who invented some of these things?) the rest of the year, but for those 2 weeks every four years, I can't get enough.

But I'm a little concerned.  Let's take a look at the medal count:

China is leading the U.S. 64-63 in total medal count and 31-29 in the all-important gold medal count.

The U.S. swim team did a great job again this year, Gabby Douglas certainly did her part, and this year's version of the dream team, led by 76er Andre Iguodala, seem to be up to the task. Still, I can't help but notice that China completely dominates diving and table tennis, which remain in the Olympics, while softball (where the U.S. women were dominant) and baseball (where the U.S. would be at least a medal contender) are gone.

I don't think this is fair.  It's time to add some other sports to the Olympics:

American Football (aka Football) -- The rest of the world loves it.  Who cares that they might not play it outside the U.S.  We don't dive, do gymnastics, play table tennis, play soccer, or do synchronized anything here in the U.S.  It will instantly be the most popular Olympic sport.  We can even give the national team Rich Kotite as coach, just to make it interesting, and we'd still win. 

Beer Pong -- I don't think this requires further explanation.  If table tennis is an Olympic sport, why not this?

Spartan Race -- The rest of the world probably thinks this is stupid.  They're right, so we'd dominate.

Bowling -- Again, look at some of the things that are in the Olympics and tell me that bowling doesn't belong.  There's several gold medals to be had here.

Poker -- It's on ESPN.  Therefore, it's a sport. 

Americaball -- the rest of the world can't win if we never tell them the rules.  USA!! USA!!  USA!!  It comes in Men's, Women's, Team, Mixed Doubles, and Synchronized versions to allow for lots of Gold Medals.

Come on, U.S. Olympic Committee, you have just a few days to get this done!  There's still time to go for the gold!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The ABCs of Being Pain Free?

I ran just 10 miles this week, but that's not important.  What is important is I ran 10 miles without a hint of trouble from my shins or varicose vein, and I'm cautiously optimistic that I've found the fix for it.  And by "I've found the fix for it", I mean Chris told me something to try that seems to have worked.

It's writing the alphabet in the air with my toes.  Here's an example that's a little more thorough than what I've been doing:

Please note that I can't endorse all the Red Sox stuff in the background, but this seems like a good example.  I've just been writing through the alphabet once or twice several times a day while I'm working or watching TV and before I run.  I've been doing a little better with strength training lately, which may be helping, but I've noticed I didn't have any exercises for the muscles on/next to my shins, which is where I have so much trouble on my left leg.  This alphabet thing seems like it fills that void in my workout routine.

Now, my quads were another story.  My quads felt weak (I blame last night's fencing class for this) throughout the run, I've clearly lost some conditioning over the past month, and it was digustingly humid and warm this morning.  A four-mile run (per my training plan) that I wanted to turn into a six-mile run since my shins and ankles felt so great ended up a five-mile run when I felt like I was going to overheat if I went another mile.

So today, I lost the battle.  But for the first time in quite awhile, I think I'm going to win the war and be ready for a fall half marathon and spring full marathon.

And since this post is boring and people come here for the cat pictures, here's Higgy helping me work.