Saturday, November 2, 2013

Race Report: 2013 KidsPeace Trick-or-Trot 5K, or "Preparation is for the Weak"

For all my many faults as a runner and a human being, I'm usually pretty good at preparation.  I have all my stuff laid out the night before the race; I've trained; and I get to the starting line early so I have plenty of time for extra, ahem, bathroom breaks.  

This morning, Chris and I ran the KidsPeace Trick-or-Trot 5K, which started at Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD.  Let's review my prep:

1. I had to stop for gas as we left, since I hadn't the night before.
2. I thought the race was at 9:00.  It was at 8:00.  We got there at 7:55.
3. I haven't run in a month, other than one or two 1-mile treadmill runs at PT.

We got there, picked up our bibs and shirts at approximately 7:55, thinking we had plenty of time to go back to the car and ditch my wallet and giveaway shirt.  Instead, the guy at the registration table said "Think of it this way, you're really early for a 9:00 race".  

So, I tied the shirt around my waist, zipped my car keys and wallet into the back pocket of my shorts, and set out for the start line.  Chris did the same, with the extra encumbrance of a zip-up hoody that she wasn't planning to run in.

The race started out adjacent to the Warehouse at Camden Yards, and within the first two minutes I knew I had a problem -- my shorts were going to fall down due to the bouncing of my keys and wallet.  Either I was going to have to keep one hand on my waistband at all times to keep hiking them up, or downtown Baltimore was going to see my ass.  I chose the annoying, but not quite as annoying, option of running the whole race with my phone in one hand and my wallet in the other hand, checking frequently to make sure I was holding it in a way that my debit card didn't go flying.

Still, despite our lack of prep and my complete slackerage as a runner over the past month, I think we did ok.  We stuck to Chris' run-walk plan of walking for a minute after every half mile.  I could tell I was out-of-shape, but except for two steep hills, we stuck the plan the whole way, instead of taking much more frequent walk breaks like we did at our last 5K, Boordy Vineyards in August (which, in our defense, was much hillier!).  I'm as heavy as I've ever been in my life, and I get winded chasing our cute kittens around the house, but my legs felt great during the race, with no trace of my compartment syndrome, so I think the PT I've been doing since the summer has really helped.

Race Report
As much as I sucked in preparation, the race organizers were the complete opposite.  I thought this was one of the best marked and best organized races I've ever run.  There were plenty of volunteers or police marking every turn; there was ample food and drink at the finish line (I love hot dogs, but not at 9am!  I had a delicious cinnamon roll, though); and there was a very nice presentation about the KidsPeace organization (which helps place kids in foster homes) that then continued into the awards ceremony.  And, the race finishes on the field at Camden Yards?  How can you beat that if you're a huge Orioles fan?  And how can you not take the opportunity to crash into the padded outfield wall as if you're Adam Jones robbing some Red Sox or Yankees jerk like David Ortiz or A-Rod of a steroid-assisted home run?

Really, really great job on this one by KidsPeace, the race directors and volunteers, Baltimore City Police, and the Orioles on this one.  This is definitely a race I'd come back to.

(The guy in all black in the middle is O's Manager Buck Showalter.  
The big bird on the right is the Oriole Bird.)


Friday, September 13, 2013

What's My Age Again?

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Blink-182, on a Thursday night, at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA, two hours away.  Ok.  Maybe didn't seem like that good an idea.  

But, my favorite band, which already broke up once (Van Halen is my other favorite band, by the way), on a relatively close to home on a very limited tour.  There was a little hesitation in our decision when my friend suggested it a few weeks ago, but we decided we had to go.

It did not seem like a good idea, though, as we drove up route 222 in a torrential downpour, or as we had been sitting in a traffic jam around Harrisburg, or on a construction-choked exit ramp 2 miles from our destination.  It did not seem like a good idea as we had dinner at the pub at the casino and were already exhausted.

It did not seem like a good idea a few minutes before 10:00pm, when Blink-182 still had yet to take the stage.

However, from 10:00pm until approximately 11:30, it was a spectacular idea.  Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge, and especially Travis Barker put on a great, high-energy show for the fans, most of whom were younger than me. Blink-182 played a mix including most of their biggest hits from each album but also mixing in considerable material from their last full-length album, Neighborhoods (2001) and their more recent EP, Dogs Eating Dogs (2012). (Full setlist here).  I've been a Blink-182 fan since college, and when they fired to huge confetti cannons at the end of "Dammit", their first big hit, to close out the evening, I definitely felt like I had gotten my money's worth.  Great idea!

 (L to R:  Mark Hoppus, Travis Barker, and Tom DeLonge of Blink-182)

I suppose I could say that it didn't seem like a good idea as we drove home, got back to my place at 2:00am, and then had to get up at 6:30 for physical therapy.  But I'd be lying.

It was still a great idea.  What's my age again?  37.  But that's not too old for the occasional stupid punk rock adventure.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

I Quit

I've had a bad August.   I've been more stressed out from work than I've ever been in my life, with a lot of really late nights, and I've just let it get the better of me.  Running hasn't happened.  I've gotten to the gym once this month...if at all.

I've taken every every excuse I could and haven't done what I had to do.  And now I'll pay the price.

The price, thus far, was my 17-minute 1.5 mile -- which was all I could manage this morning -- run through York Haven.  It was the just the third time I've run in August.  The price is going to be a lot of other bad runs as I work my back up to, that's right, 2 miles.

So, I'm not quitting now.  That happened already.  

 Now I have to start again.  It's not my 3rd or 8th or whatever attempt at comeback, it's basically a new start.  

Running was much more fun for me when I was good at it.  I mean, it was never fun in July or August, but I enjoyed being able to rip off 3+ miles without any problem.  It's going to be a frustrating climb just back up to being the middle-of-the-pack 5K runner that I was before.  I need to make that climb without big, scary races hanging over my head.

The Atlantic City Half Marathon, in October, not happening.'ll happen.  I just won't be there.  That was probably never realistic for me at the beginning of summer when I started running again, but I just didn't do what I needed to do.  I also plan, right now, to defer from the Shamrock Half in March.  That's 7 months away, and I know a lot can happen in 7 months, but if I can get myself back in 5K shape in the fall and 10K shape in the spring, then I can start thinking about half marathons and marathons again without making a fool of myself.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A New Problem for my Feet

That's right.  Kittens.  We have an infestation of kittens in one of our spare bedrooms.  The little orange one is named "Strax" and the black one is "Domovoi" (aka "Domo"). 

They're completely insane, adorable, cuddly and friendly, but they, particularly Domo, have decided that my feet -- the same feet that bring them their food and toys -- are an enemy to be relentlessly attacked at every occasion.

I'd be annoyed at them, but they're just so cute.  

They're probably going to be restricted to the spare bedroom for another week or two while Strax fights off a problem with his eye.  Plus, we want to very gradually introduce them to Higgy and Elizabeth, who are not going to be happy about this.  And we have hide all the sneakers.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Furry Friend Lost

A little over 15 years ago, a tiny, mostly black kitten tried to claw his way up the leg of my jeans.  I was less than thrilled with this.  My girlfriend, Chris (who is now my wife),  had adopted this little cat, Pooka, and his brother, Higgy, the prototypical brown tabby, over the summer before our senior year of college.  I was less than thrilled with this.  Pooka passed away very suddenly yesterday, and now that one of my furry buddies is gone, I'm a complete wreck.

He was a great friend to us, and I'll always remember him.  He was always happy and outgoing.  After Chris adopted him, he adopted me.  I didn't particularly like cats, but Pooka decided that I was his friend, and he was going to pal around with me.  It didn't take long for me to grow very fond of the big, black, happy cat.

In his mind, everything in the house belonged to him and everyone in the world wanted to be his friend.  If you talked to him or petted him, he would be purring in seconds.  If you started petting him, there was a great chance that you had made a friend for life and an excellent chance that he was going to roll over to expose his tummy for rubbing.  Indeed, it was very common, as I walked around our house, to randomly come across Pooka lying on the floor with his tummy up in the air, purring.  He was a big, friendly, noisy presence in our house.  It feels empty here without him, and we will miss him greatly.  He was a great friend, and we could not have asked for a more awesome cat.

 This sad day could have come 10 years from now (15 corresponds to roughly 80 in cats), and I never would have been ready.  That said, I'm thankful for every day that I had with my great, soft, purry friend, Pooka the Cat. 

Pooka was not as good at hiding as he thought he was.
Post-race naps will not be as cool.

Foam rolling will never be the same.  Pooka always stretched with me before a run.  
Then, he would run the four feet to the kitchen in world-record speed.  
He usually made funny cat noises when he ran.

He was soft, cuddly, and good-natured, but he was also a fighter.  He had a lot of medical issues over the years and he always came through it with his good Pooka cheer intact.  Thanks to our friends at Valley Green Vet Hospital, he got to be an active, happy kitty for over 15 years and he was his cheerful self right up until about noon yesterday.  I'll never forget the time he came back home after having bladder-stone surgery when he was around 8 years old.  Drugged-up, he stumbled out of his cat carrier, took two steps and fell over.  I was concerned, but when I went over to check on him, he was already purring.  
After surgery, his tummy looked like it had a happy face on it.

He had to wear a cone for a few months in the winter of 2011.  After he got comfortable with it, he was hilarious.  It was then that he often started making a "rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" noise as he walked through house. So I'd hear him coming and then I'd hear a "bonk" as the cone caught on a wall or table.  Then, pause.  Then, after he'd confusedly adjust his direction, "rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" and off he went.  
Or lastly, just a few months ago, when a pinched nerve or related issue caused one of his back legs to be paralyzed, it wasn't long before he was climbing out of the big bin that I'd made into his nest.  He never quite walked normally again, but just a few days ago, my wife and were marveling at some of the jumps our big old kitty friend would still attempt, and make.
I could go on, and on, and on with my favorite memories of Pooka.  But mostly I'll just remember how soft he was, how loud he purred, how friendly he was to both his biological brother and their younger adopted sister, and just how happy he was and how happy made us.  You're perfect, Pooka, and I'm glad we got to go through the last 14 years together.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

This Isn't Fun Anymore

That's what I said to myself on Saturday morning, as I set on the steps of Northeastern Middle School, breathing heavily, a veritable river of sweat running down the steps and into the parking lot below.  I don't mean to complain in saying that, but it's just a fact for me right now.  Nothing about running is enjoyable for me these days.

Two miles, a distance that used to be extremely easy for me, is a struggle.  I probably can't run a 5K right now and I feel like I'm a few weeks away from being there.  The half marathon I'm signed up for in October is probably a stretch physically, anyway, but mentally, it just seems completely outside the realm of the possible.

More troubling, is that I just don't want to run more than two miles right now.  I mean, why would I?  It's hot, it's humid, and it's hard; just not enjoyable in any sense of the word right now.  Really, I probably can -- and should -- try to push myself up toward 3 miles this coming weekend to get a better read on my compartment syndrome symptoms.  I'll definitely need a change of scenery for it (rail trail, maybe?) because I definitely am feeling bad vibes about just running it in the neighborhood where I usually run, where I limped back to my car so many times last year and earlier this one.

Again, I don't mean to complain, but I'm not sure how I fix the mental/motivational aspect of this.   I think I just need to accept that until I get some more conditioning back and the weather cools down, that this is going to be miserable.  It's just harder than usual to see the big picture when I really haven't had a really good, enjoyable, or rewarding run since the first half of last year. Today's run wasn't as miserable as Saturday's, except for the part where I tripped on uneven sidewalk and went flying.  That kind of sucked.

Meanwhile, I'll be out there on the road on Wednesday or Thursday morning, hating every second  of it.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


2 miles.  18:18.  So, my fastest run of the new era, but that's not really important.

What's important:

  • No compartment syndrome pain through 4 two-mile runs (last Thursday, last Saturday, Tuesday, and today).  Again, not conclusive by any means, but a good sign.
  • I felt really out-of-breath.  I was going to do two mile runs this week and next weekend, and then start trying to move up, but I feel like I'll probably be "stuck" on two a little longer than that.  A) I want to be cautious and B) I hate running in warm weather, so this was the worst time for me to begin a comeback.  I'd like to push myself up to 3, even if I have to mix in some walking, in the next two weeks just to get a sense of if my symptoms are really better, or if they only seem better because I am not running far enough.
  • Someone upstairs is clearly telling me that running is stupid and I shouldn't do it anymore.:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

And the Crowd Goes Wild!

Today, I started my Wellfit Infury Prevention Program, a sort of post-physical therapy supervised workout program that is a lot easier on the wallet than continued PT. ($45/month rather than a $50/session copay).  That's another post in and of itself.  But, because my therapist shares a name with an NBA Hall-of-Famer, I'm inspired to do what I like to do best on this blog:  tell long, rambling, pointless stories.

I was not a terrible basketball player in my youth.  At least, that's what I told myself.  I had a 3-year career as a shooting guard and small forward in 5th, 6th, and 7th grade at St. John.  I wasn't a good scorer.  I think I scored a total of 19 points in those 3 years, but I was good passer and rebounder, and I really did work hard in practice. In 5th and 6th grade, I played on the Jr. Boys team and in 7th grade moved up to Sr. Boys.  We played the local public schools and got routinely annihilated, going winless in my 5th and 6th grade years.  

In 7th grade, the shrinking parochial school only had one team for 5th through 8th graders (there were no 8th graders on the team, so my 7th-grade friends and I were the veteran leadership of the team.  Ha!)  We also bumped down a league, so we were playing the bigger public schools' "B teams".  We still lost more than we won that year, but we were competitive and it was a lot more fun than getting destroyed game after game.  I still remember our first close game.  We pulled out a nice lead against one of the local Catholic middle schools (their "A" team, too, I think), when our coach put the 5th-graders in to get them some playing time.  And they blew the game!  I understand that in youth sports it should be more about participation than winning, but most of us hadn't won a game our whole careers!

After 7th grade, I switched schools to a larger (graduated with a class of...65!) christian school.  I went out for the basketball team in 8th grade, got cut, and didn't try out in 9th grade, but I continued to ball with my neighborhood and school friends.

Meanwhile, in 10th grade I was in a sports club that would go over once a week to play basketball, touch football, or soccer at the local park.  I stuck to hoops, and playing among my friends I did very, very well in all phases of the game.  Indeed, often the court was covered in goose crap, meaning there were like 100 extra defenders on the court, and I'd still play very well.

With encouragement from my friends, I got the idea to try out for the JV team.  Luckily for me, there were few enough returners from the previous year that they really weren't making cuts.  So, my career was resurrected.  I worked my butt off in practice, and I think I genuinely improved a lot. One time, I even think I scraped the bottom most molecules of the rim with my fingertips.  

I liked being on the team, enjoying the early dismissals for road games and the camaraderie as we rode the team bus to opposing schools, blasting hair metal or 90s rap music to inspire us, and watching most of the game from the bench.   I didn't get a lot of playing time, but I don't think I embarrassed myself or the school when I was in there.  I was realistic, knowing I was one of the last two guys off the bench, but only once did my lack of playing time really, really bother me...

We were down at least 40 points late in the 4th quarter at Littlestown, a public school in Adams County, but I had still not gotten in the game.  With about 5 minutes left, our coach stormed off the bench to go help the varsity coach, his brother, prepare his guys for their game.  The assistant coach called me over at the next time out and says "Brian and (other last guy off the bench), I don't care what happens, just go out there and try your best."  I always appreciated that.  I quickly got the ball and got fouled.  I was only about a 60% free-throw shooter, if that even, and I missed my 1 and 1.

But I got another chance on the next possession. I grabbed a long rebound and had an open jumper just inside the corner of the foul line.  I released the ball, and to this day I can still picture the perfect arc and see the rotation of the ball... it soared completely over the backboard for a very embarrassing air-ball.  With only a few minutes left in the game, the gym was filling up for the varsity, and so quite a big crowd had a great laugh at my expense.  I was not so amused, but I did follow it up with another rebound and a made shot from the same place on a later possession.  When the coach heard that I got two rebounds and scored, he seemed pretty impressed.  I belive the final score was 60-12, so I was by default one of the leading scorers.

I didn't play the next year, when I probably would have been warming the JV bench again as a Junior. However, I think I still continued to get better playing against other JV and varsity guys at weekly church youth group meetings  through the rest of high school, and I even played pretty well in intramurals my freshman year of college. After that my mad skills started to decline via rust, but I'll always have that memory of the ball soaring over the backboard.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Go Away, Nature!

I live on a back road in a semi-rural area, but for safety and laziness reasons I usually run in a slightly flatter, sidewalk equipped, normal suburban neighborhood a few miles away.  

But, even though I was in normal American suburban neighborhood and not my backwoods trail of terror, I still a saw a big blacksnake on my two-mile run this morning. 

I couldn't get my camera phone to work (to either dial 911 or take a picture), so here is an artist's rendering:

Needless to say, I ran a bit faster than I did on Saturday.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Trying Again

I ran two miles on Thursday.  That may not sound like much, but it was the first two miles I've ran since April 20...which is also about the last time this blog was updated.

I have not been idle during that time.  I've been fairly diligent with the exercise bike -- since biking was the only cardio my orthopedist said I should do while I was rehabbing -- and also lifting more consistently than I have at any time in the last 3 years.  I've still been trying to earn my donuts.

I've been in physical therapy during May and June, learning new stretches and exercises that I hope will help me avoid the knife.  I've had my muscle fascias for 36 years, after all.  I'd like to keep them.

My run on Thursday was humbling:  2 miles in 19:04.  That's fine, and honestly, I couldn't care less about speed right now.  But afterward, I felt like it had been years, not months since I ran.  Parts of my legs of hurt that hadn't hurt since I decided to take up this stupid sport in 2006.  My quads were still sore from Thursday when I headed out for the second run of this latest comeback (2 miles, 19:34) this morning. I'm sure they'll hurt like hell tonight.  I was completely out of breath.  I can go 60 minutes on the exercise bike, no problem, but running is a whole different beast.

But its what didn't hurt that's important.  Shins=fine.  Ankles=fine.  Calves=sore, but regular soreness, not injured sore.  (I think I can tell the difference!)

It's a small sample size.  Just two runs at a distance where symptoms might not show up. I'll know more at 3 miles, I think.

I'm by no means out of the woods yet.  But right now, I'll take this gladly.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It's Bacon...On a Stick!

It seemed like a good idea at the time.  (I feel like that could be a good alternate title for this blog.)

It seemed like a GREAT idea, actually.  I love bacon.  I love Orioles baseball.  When the two came together to bring me "Bacon on a Stick", I had no choice but to try it.

One of the great things about Bacon on a Stick is that there are no surprises.  The name is exactly what it is.

The second great thing about Bacon on a Stick is that half of the ingredients are bacon.  (I'm sure stick aficionados are happy that the other half of the ingredients are stick.)

I'll be honest, though, bacon-lover that I am, Bacon on a Stick was not for me.  I like my bacon very crispy.  This was not especially crispy.  It wasn't floppy bacon, mind you, it was just very, very thick and so it still tasted fatty.  If you're a fan of very thick bacon, you'll love it.  It was well-seasoned and the lean parts of the bacon were tasty.

If I get it again -- and I make no promises -- I might see if they can do an extra-crispy slice for me, as they are cooked right there at the Bacon on a Stick stand.

(I had another picture of me eating Bacon on a Stick in which I looked less troll-like, 
so I decided to post this one.)

 And, since this blog post is completely unrelated to running or injuries and kind of worthless, anyway, it can only be improved by a random picture of Adam Jones at the plate:

The Orioles would go on to lose the last game of this series with the Dodgers after taking the first two, but their fans went home with full stomachs.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Race Report: 2013 Sole of the City 10K

I was really dreading the 2013 Sole of the City 10K.  I haven't been able to get even a 5-miler in since the 8K in Virginia Beach, and I have only one 4-miler. Even with aid of prescription-strength anti-inflammatories, most of my runs just haven't gone well.

This one didn't go all that well either, but it wasn't as bad as I was afraid it would go:  I ran 4 miles of the 10K course, but then needed some walk breaks to get through the last 2.2 as my compartment syndrome really flared up.  

The damage?  1:08:21 -- compared to last year's 57:17.  The good news, if I can call it that, is that it felt like my conditioning is coming back.  I paced myself well, didn't feel completely out of breath, and ran (most of) 6 miles for the first time since July or August of last year.  The bad news, and I can definitely call it that, is that even with a steady diet of naproxen leading up to the race, my symptoms were pretty bad.  There are sometimes where I've limped back to my car with aching shins and lack of range of motion in my left foot where I think I unconsciously exaggerate my limp a little because it's embarrassing, but I was really limping pretty badly during my walk breaks.  (I could run somewhat more normally, it was just more painful and I needed some breaks.)

(Race organizers suggested people wear blue and yellow to honor the Boston
Marathon bombing victims.  We also had a signs pinned to our backs, 
but mine ripped off when I put my long-sleeve shirt on.)

I like this race, but there's not a lot to distinguish it from other local races.  The swag is nice, but other than that it's the generic Baltimore race around Inner Harbor and Key Highway.  The course is challenging, in my opinion, because the second half of the course is hillier than the first half, but I didn't struggle as much last year when I was less injured and better conditioned.  

(Men got a blue quarter zip Under Armour running jacket. 
 Women got a full-zip.  Hey!  I want a full zip!)

It was very crowded at the start and could perhaps use a waved start, but is generally a well-organized event.  I thought the start of the race was better handled last year; this year the race started about 15 minutes late and I wasn't able to hear announcements or the National Anthem at all (last year they had an amazing National Anthem singer, this year I couldn't even hear it well enough to know when to yell "O!")

The post-race party was more spread-out this year, with the beer truck parked farther back from the finish than it was last year, when everything was crowded by the Greene Turtle (the bar that is one of the main sponsors).  The array of snacks was good, they had several wrap options including vegetarian and free beer.  The beer was Bud Light, however.  I just ran a race -- I don't need to have a low-calorie, flavorless beer!  Still,I shouldn't complain; free Bud Light is better than no free beer at all, and it was cold and refreshing on a cold and windy day, but one in which I was feeling pretty heated since the sun was out for most of the race.

I'll probably run this race again next year -- and hopefully be about 15-minutes faster whether or not I have those pesky muscle fascias in my left leg weighing me down!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Compartment Pressure Measurement

Earlier in the month, I went to the orthopedist to talk again about the persistent calf and shin pain I've been having, mostly in my left leg.  With x-rays and MRIs coming back clean and rest, stretching, and calf exercises not doing much to help, the doctor determined that it was time to take the next step and do the test for Exertional Compartment Syndrome (which I'm going to call ECP).

Unfortunately for me, the test for ECP involves big needles being jammed into four places on each leg, then me running until my symptoms flare up, and then needles attached to a pressure-monitor being stuck in again.

I'm a wuss.  I've been dreading this.  The doctor and his assistant put iodine on my leg and used a small needle for local anesthetic, and I'll be honest, the procedure itself wasn't as bad as I feared.  It was probably worse for the doctor, who had to put up with my nervous banter between him, his assistant, and Chris (who was kind enough to accompany me for moral support and to drive me home).  I think I did crack one good joke during the procedure:  As the doctor was using a pen to mark where on my leg where he would insert the needle, I deadpanned "that wasn't as bad as I thought."  It was pretty much downhill from there.

When I left the office with the assistant, who accompanied me to show me the likely direction that would be safest for my run, my calves still felt a bit numb.  The run itself seemed ok considering I didn't take any naproxen, I didn't stretch, and I didn't wear compression socks.  All of these anti-precautions were in hopes of making my symptoms flare-up badly and quickly.  Instead, I ran for 20 minutes and while my calves became very sore, I didn't have the level of shin pain that I normally have.  I did feel kind of stupid running around the medical center, but I never run on treadmills and so I thought it was best to go outside.

Despite the lack of shin pain, I sat down to check that my left foot didn't have the full range of motion and given the level of pain in my calves, I figured I was "good" to go back and be re-tested.

The second round of tests hurt a bit more than the first,  but not as much as the results (positive) and the aftermath (calves extremely sore all day).

The measurements showed that even at rest, the compartment pressures in both my legs was higher than normal, and after running the left leg compartment pressure rose even more, while the right leg stayed pretty much the same.  These results do confirm Exertional Compartment Syndrome, and confirm that it's worse in the left leg.

My best option is surgery, but with my doctor's blessing I'm going to try a few weeks of physical therapy first.  It probably won't work, but really don't want to have surgery.  I can't stress that enough.

A second is option is quitting longer distances.  Stop running or stick to the mile, 2-mile, and 5K.  I admit this option is tempting after a frustrating, often unenjoyable last 16 months of running.  But on the other hand...if I'm going to give up running, I really don't want to go out like this either.  I'm probably not going to be a frequent marathoner, ever.  But I'd love to get back to my 2011 form in which I could run 8-10 miles several times a week and train myself up to a half without much trouble.  More specifically, I would really like to be able to run the AC half this year and either the half or hopefully the full next March in VA Beach. 

I've quit a lot of things in my life when they got too tough:  tee-ball, soccer, basketball, cub scouts, jobs.  I don't want to quit running yet.

Still, before I get ahead of myself to the surgery/no-surgery decision, I'm going to cross my shins and hope that PT will do the trick. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

F*** This

I wanted to just take a moment to offer thoughts and prayers for all the runners, spectators, and friends affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy.

I'm sure there are a lot of good, thoughtful posts out there offering sympathy and condolences.

This is not one of them.  This is just the anger of a fellow runner.

I hate that some asshole, whoever they are, was able to ruin what should have been a great, triumphant, and hopefully fun moment in so many peoples' lives. Whatever he/she was trying to make, I'm sure it had nothing whatsoever to do with the thousands of people running 26.2 miles today or the even more thousands of people cheering them on.

To whoever you are:  I hope you don't think you won.  You didn't.  People are still going to train their asses off for Boston.  People are still going to cheer them on.  The BAA is still going to put on one of the most prestigious marathons in the world.  I'll be honest.  I never cared much about working to qualify for Boston or running the Boston Marathon.  But now I want to.  Just to give you the finger.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Race Report: 2013 Yuengling Light Lager Jogger 5K, Pottsville PA

I know I shouldn't complain.  One of our running friends ran a marathon in Michigan this morning with four big metal screws in her hip.  Her husband ran the half.  Both had a space-alien theme complete with probes, death rays, atomic cats, and flying saucers*.

 But, if you read this blog at all, you know that if I didn't complain, there would hardly be any posts at all.

So here we go:  This was the  Hilliest. 5K.  Ever.  This race was ridiculous.  I think Dreaded Druid Hills is hillier, but that's the only hillier race I've ever run.  (Which means it's the hilliest race ever, of course.)  Which totally excuses that this was my personal worst 5K.  I've had a few too many of those lately, but I don't feel badly about this one at all.

  I'll stop the complaining now, though, because Lager Jogger was fun.  The whole first mile was uphill (I thought it would never end), the second mile was a mix of gentle downhill and very steep uphills (yes, I took some walking breaks!), and mile three mostly a gentle downhill with a very steep downhill right at the mile 3 marker and a downhill finish for the last .1 (which seemed long to me.  I did take a walk break on the third mile, when my shins were bothering me.).  I can feel my conditioning starting to come back a little, since I've been able to run a little more w/the help of naproxen, and I'm happy with my effort,which led to a finish time of 33:01, smashing my previous P-dub of 31:24.

(I wore my sexy 2011Yuengling Shamrock Marathon pullover for part of the race and the after party, 
and Chris wore a Yuengling Shamrock jacket before and after the race.)

But, the crowd support was unbelievable for a 5K, the course was quite scenic, and the weather was very Brian-friendly (cold and windy).  Of course, Brian-friendly weather during the race makes for very chilly conditions after the race, but that didn't dampen the fun after party outside the Yuengling Brewery in downtown Pottsville, with plenty of Light Lager to be had.  I admit to being somewhat of a beer snob, but Light Lager is a very good light beer. (Yuengling Lager has been a trusty standby since college and Lord Chesterfield Ale and Yuengling Black & Tan are my favorites of the Yuengling line.).  

 (This photo is presented without comment.)

In addition to the Light Lager beer party, racers had the opportunity to tour the Yuengling Brewery.  Chris and I took advantage of this, and we had a fun time!  Yuengling claims the title of "America's Oldest Brewery" (that's one of two things the first tour guide wanted us to remember. I forget the other one.), having started brewing operations in 1829 and moving its brewery to its current location in 1831, after a fire destroyed its original building.  The tour was quite educational, and an interesting contrast if you've had a chance to tour a larger, newer brewery like Miller's main Milwaukee plant (which does have some neat old buildings) or Anheuser-Busch in Williamsburg (the other big breweries I've toured.).  Yuengling has newer, larger breweries outside of Pottsville and in Tampa (which is also outside of Pottsville, I suppose.)


 In summary, this was the hardest 5K I've ever run, but also one of the most fun.  I'm way not ready for Sole of the City 10K next weekend, but that's a topic for another post, and also the least of my worries right now, which is also the topic for another post!

(I got swag.)

*I just made this up. The Martian Marathon seems does have a fun Martian/alien theme, though.