Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day 606-607 1+1 = None

So I think/hope/am holding my breath that the domain nonsesne with 1and1 (my domain provider) is over. For most of the last couple of days the awe-inspiring/life saving/federal deficit eliminating content of The Longest Run was unavailable as I kept trying illogical combinations of settings to make the forwarding work with AND I would find one combination that would work and then three hours later it would not work. Nonsense. Meanwhile, as I looked for solutions and found that apparently would appear to be the most reviled domain and hosting provider that has ever existed. Good thing they only have legal rights to my left kidney.

Running is going along. There is talk of signing up for another marathon, which would then serve as a training run for an ultra in February. I find all of this talk to be even more nonsense. The more likely scenario is that I sit on the couch and chug quarts of nine day old coagulated cheese spread. (Wait, was that an unpleasant visual? Replace cheese with chunky country gravy. There. Better.)

Keep on rocking and running. Just keep in mind I have no plans on listening to my own advice.


606 1.0 in 10:13
607 1.0 in 12:55

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 604-605 Leading the parade

11:45pm and I haven't run yet. Seriously. How many times am I going to do this? I need data plotting the actual times of my runs. The vast majority have occurred after 8pm, and I think probably thirty-forty have been after 11pm. This all originally started way back when I started this running thing. I was absolutely fed up with being soooooooo out of shape. So one day I got up off the couch, set down the Mountain Dew I.V. and started walking up and down the stairs in our house. I just went up and down the stairs like fifty times. My family thought I had lost my mind. It was a near death experience. So the next day I picked something else. I decided to run. I knew however that this experience might be a little bit less than aesthetically pleasing to those unfortunate enough to catch a glimpse of it, plus I was planning to live next to these neighbors long term, (who we actually talk to) so I decided I didn't really want to share the image of me waddling with them. Solution? Black hat, black sweatpants, black sweatshirt, black gloves; run at 10:30 pm. I figured I might get picked up for burglary, (Which almost happened, though I'm not sure I ever blogged about it, go figure.) but I thought that if I was stealthy enough, no one could stop and laugh.

Things are much different now. I have run during the daylight. I have run on crowded streets. I have even run shirtless (admittedly it was well after dusk, though there was just a trickle of light coming over Pike's Peak and someone MAY have seen me.) I am sharing my running with the world. You're so welcome, world! At least when I don't procrastinate until the last possible second.

604 1.4 in 15:01
605 2.6 in 26.13

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 600 et al (596-603) and Fancy Ketchup!

Day 600. I'm not sure how exactly to celebrate hitting 600 days, but I feel I should somehow. My intention was to run six miles on day 600, but somehow I mixed up which day it was. Ha. I think my only choice then is to go geek and give statistical analysis. Tune out now if you don't like spreadsheets and mileage numbers. 600 days down and 131 days to go. Seems strange to think about. Generally my memory is restricted to: right now, two or three minutes ago, and things I liked when I was seventeen. Maybe that is a good thing...

p.s. I changed the blog address. It is now The old address should work for who knows how long. I wanted to make sure all the "naturalists" who also like to run could find the site more easily. :)

Year 1
Total Mileage: 800.01
Total Average miles: 2.186
Total Average time: 24:19
Total Average pace (Minutes/mile) : 11:07

Year 2 (through 8/26)
Total Mileage: 520.05
Total Average miles: 2.25
Total Average time: 25:49
Total Average pace (Minutes/mile) : 11:28

Overall Streak Totals
Total Mileage: 1320.06
Total Average miles: 2.199
Total Average time: 24:38
Total Average pace (Minutes/mile) : 11:11

(the break in the middle is from the two days at the end of '08 that didn't constitute a whole week)

596 - 1.0 in 10:42
597 - 1.0 in 12:02
598 - 2.35 in 24:02
599 - 1.0 in 11:3
600 - 2.1 in 22:35
601 - 1.0 in 11:42
602 - 6.0 in 71:45
603 - 1.0 in 10:12

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 595 - Don't Forget to Remember

I read a quote somewhere, (probably on one of your blogs) that said something like, "Discipline is really just remembering. Remembering your goals and acting on them." I know that is gross oversimplification, but I kind of like it. I know when I catch myself making a choice that is clearly contradicting one of my goals (cutting a run short, not doing the rehab, not icing, chugging two liters of mountain dew at midnight...) I say to myself, "Self? Do you want to run an ultra or not? Right now it looks like...not." Sometimes that doesn't change my action right away, but sometimes it does, and I am at least thinking about the consequences...


So teh wifey was a track coach (long distance, of course) in a previous life. And of late we have enjoyed watching the antics of one of her former athletes who has had some incredible success, winning this year's Pikes Peak ascent and being named a member of U.S. Mountain Running Team for the third time. He was always one of those great kids you love to teach, and he was always one of the crazy guys who if you told him to sprint ten miles up a mountain, he would get done and say, "Can I do that again?"

He's running the Leadville Trail 100 miler this weekend, so best wishes Mr. Tim!

Day 595 1.0 in 11:45.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day 594 - Rocks in my Pockets

"Life is short, running makes it seem longer. "

Sometimes. Sometimes things go fast without even thinking. Like me. Lately I've been running faster. Not intentionally. It just has sort of happened. Now the comparisons are all relative of course. Kind of like Tyson Gay is slow compared to Usain Bolt, and I'm pretty fast compared to well, I'll think of something...
That being said after the recent backpacking excursion, where a fifty pound pack was hefted around for a few days (remind me to leave the multiple pounds of jerky at home next time), I was reminded that I used to be hefting around that much extra weight, in my "trunk" among other places. I have to say, running is much easier without it. I think I'll keep it that way. Oh and I should probably lose the piano as well. One note at a time I suppose...

2.35 in 24:30.

Day 569-593 Summarization (in Cajun Man Voice)

Hey there, running fiends. Hope you're having a nice sweaty run right now (you know, WHILE you read this amazing blog.) I have had some crazy running experinces this summer. There has been quite a variety of adventures, including everything from running in the woods of Montana and dodging moose to running the Mall in D.C. and dodging rain deluges to dodging gamblers on the summertime strip in Vegas to running rocky trails at 12,500 feet in Rocky Mountain National Park and dodging Elk to running amongst the tall corn of Iowa and dodging...well, you know. Its been nice to break the monotony of Colorado suburbia runs.

The knee is feeling better. I've kicked the PT to the curb half way through (still doing exercises!) And I'm searching for that next motivational running goal to keep me going. Motivation sounds like a good theme for a while. There are some days in this streak thing where it feels like a Herculean effort just to look in the general direction of my running shoes. Thankfully 'teh wifey' usually intercedes in those moments and gives me the cheery, loving, "You can do it honey!" which usually helps tremendously. If that doesn't work she moves in the direction of "don't make me beat you" (just kidding, its all positivity, I promise, no I would never mention those things, PLEASE NO NOT AGAIN!)

What helps you get out the door? I might steal some ideas...

For the reading pleasure of all those streak run auditors out there:
Day 593 4.0 in 38:58 longest run with no pain since the marathon
Day 592 1.1 in 12:30
Day 591 1.0 in 11:04
Day 591 1.0 in 11:44
Day 590 1.0 in 13:12
Day 589 3.5 in 35:36 Starting at the Continental Divide, in a snow storm, through a herd of Elk!
Day 588 2.8 in 29:06 Lake Nanita here we come!
Day 587 1.0 in 13:14
Day 586 1.0 in 11:05
Day 585 1.0 in 10:45
Day 584 1.0 in 11:05
Day 583 2.35 in 25:14
Day 582 1.1 in 13:04
Day 581 2.0 in 22:14 Could they extend casino Air Conditioning to the 125 degree streets? Please?
Day 580 1.0 in 11:05
Day 579 1.6 in 18:12
Day 578 1.1 in 11:15
Day 577 1.8 20:12 100 degrees at 10:00 pm. Viva Las Vegas!
Day 576 1.4 16:15
Day 575 1.0 10:45
Day 574 3.3 36:19 The Ghost of Possums Past...
Day 573 1.0 12:04
Day 572 2.0 22:45
Day 571 1.1 12:04
Day 570 1.1 12:05
Day 569 1.0 10:00

Monday, August 3, 2009

It was a dark and stormy night...

...and I hadn't run yet. It was getting late. The familiar weight of that pressing voice with its repetitious question was getting heavier and heavier. "Have you run yet?" Time to go, my mind replied and I made preparations. It wasn't the common Colorado residential run that I would be taking in this evening. Instead I was temporarily relocated in the heartland of rural Iowa. Monroe County in July is not normally anyone's idea of a good time. The heat and humidity served as strange companions to myself and the rest of my family who had just left the high plains of the West. It was worth it however to make the trip, visit some of the rest of the clan, and seize the chance for a few more days out of the normal routine.

It was these circumstances which served as the backdrop for this evening's foray into exercise. I opened the front door and emerged from the dried, cooled air of the house and waded into the heat and wetness which was this summer midwestern night. It was nearing eleven o'clock and was dark, but immediately I knew there was something different going on. The sky was lighting up on a sporadic basis from bursts of lightning throughout the surrounding countryside. Black storm clouds embroiled the sky, and yet there was no threat of rain or other precipitation. This was good old fashioned summer-time heat lightning. Knowing this really meant that the lightning was just far enough away not to hear it, did not change the spectacular lighting effect that this natural fieworks show was producing. The intermittent cracks lit up the entire sky which then alternated to complete blackness due to the clouds blocking out the stars and moon, and of course the total absence of city lights. The random strobing of light created a very eerie mood as I stepped out on to the gravel driveway and started my watch.

I normally like to think I'm manly enough and experienced enough to deal with some creepy flashes of light and running in the dark in the middle of nowhere, and I reminded myself of this self-affirmation as I headed out. More than once. One time, out loud. As I turned out the front drive the wind started to blow. The appearance of wind commonly serves as a source of dread for me due to the extra strain of trying to run into it, however this time it was the wind's partner that elicited this sinking feeling. The wind was talking. More specifically it was howling. It wasn't like the howling of a hurricane or the 70 mile per hour wind of Eastern Colorado this sounded like a crazed animal. It sounded like a pack of wild monkeys were screaming from the bushes. My logical mind told me that the tunnel of the dirt road surrounded by immense trees and undergrowth was to blame, but together with the darkness and the lightning I was starting to feel a little bit on edge.

"You're not a city slicker!" I told myself. I've been out in the woods backpacking and hunting many, many times. This wasn't going to affect me! I've run in the dead of night many times. I've run past drug dealers in the park, and crazed semi-truck drivers, and stalkers and all sorts of craziness. "This is no big deal, just keep running, you wuss!" I plunged on, planning to try and cover a few miles as part of my progressive testing of the knee with increasing mileage. As the road curved and started to go up a hill I flicked on my headlamp to better guide where I was going. Normally I would just prefer to let my eyes adjust to the dark, but with the lightning flashes it was a no go. As the beam emerged I noticed out of my peripheral vision that it seemed a little bit dim. Upon closer examination I realized that instead of drained batteries, the light was being dimmed out by a swarm of tiny insects. I realized the strange sensation I had been feeling since the start of the run was the huge perpetual cloud of gnats and other critters smacking into my shirtless form. Strange. The other thing that accompanied the appearance of this air force of flying critters was the buzz. If you've ever lived in this area of the country you know the summer "buzz". The crickets and cicadas and who knows what else were putting out a cacophanous drone from all sides of me. As I ran durther down the road the combination of storms and darkness and wind and now bugs had put my mind into a strange cycle of imaginative dramas all working out an end of some fantastical horror.

I don't watch horror movies. But now I found myself in one. My current surroundings were acutely similar to many different films and other media forms that seemed to bear striking resemblances to my current surroundings. The flashing light made me think of some old Alfred Hitchcock film where the light reveals strange individuals emerging from the dark. My brain upon hearing the drone of insects and since I was running next to corn fields brought back some bizarre version of the first X-Files film and killer mutated bee attacks. The next film that had cause to rise from my subconcious was the Children of the Corn. At this point in my run I was strongly considering turning around and calling it a mile. I was already pulling an occasional 'Crazy Ivan' and doing a complete turn around every now and then to spot any strange individuals who might be stalking me in the dark. It was during one of these quick spins that the beam of my headlamp passing over the stalks of corn caused a quick flash from within the tall plants.

I froze.

(Not literally, just my heart, the rest of me kept running) There were two blue jewels floating in the corn, glowing with the reflection of my headlamp. These were eyes. Following me. I ran faster. The eyes followed me. My head was turned, and rotated to stay locked on those burning blue eyes. In the course of an instant I have instantly created and concluded a thousand different scenarios for what I would do when the crazed mutant beast charged me from the field. None of them really had a great ending. At the last second the eyes turned away and a large creature bounded away leaping through the corn field. I kept running. I've never actually seen the movie Children of the Corn but I have some strange memory of children with strange burning eyes emerging from large fields of corn wielding scythes and such. My logical mind said, "Coyote" since there are large numbers of them in that area. My feet said, lets try a new pace.

Following this I ran up a hill and saw a solitary structure in the distance through the trees and wind and lightning. It was a farmhouse. You know the farmhouse, with the crazed inhabitants waiting for shirtless runners to come by at 11:00 pm and perform all manner of strangeness upon? The strategy for this situation is obvious. I would run like a ninja! Silently my feet moved over the gravel and dirt. Never in the history of running has a 200+ lb man over 6'4" tall moved so quickly and quietly over such uneven ground. In my mind I was a whisper, and I knew I had to be. If any sound emerged and upset the horrific denizens of the farmhouse, only my freaked-out and ever imaginative mind could behold the outcome. I clicked off the headlamp (probably should have done that before I stared directly into the front window) and raced by. Through these epic skills of stealth, I narrowly escaped certain destruction at the hands of those maniacs in the farmhouse.

The mind is a funny thing. Its ability to imagine and visualize things, even imaginary things is immense. And at this point in time, my mind was motoring through bizarre stories and images like a runaway freight train. One of the ones that was stuck in my mind was related to an actual event that had happened a few years ago at this same house in Iowa. It had been Christmas and of all things my Mother said she needed help with a possum in back of her house. Perplexed I asked further and she said there was a rabid, half-starved possum right outside the back of her house and she was hoping I would go shoot it with a shotgun and put the creature out of its misery. I found this a little hard to believe, but being the dutiful son I loaded the shotgun and proceeded to the back door. Did I mention it was dark outside? Just as I went to open the glass, sliding door, the white face of a bedraggled, evil, sick looking possum pressed itself up against the glass. I did have the safety of the twelve gauge on, thankfully for the door. I wound up putting the creature down, it was clearly diseased and very sick, but it was a somewhat disturbing mental image of that face, looking at me, even in death seeming to say, "What have you done?"

The rapid rush of mental images and memories was interrupted at this point. Ahead of me along the road, I saw a very black shape. It was near the side of the road, and my logical mind said, "tire" and "log". The logical mind was soothing, calming, of course things appear on the road. This is what happens. Objects, nice simple things show up on roads all the time. This is normal. Then, as I ran closer the shape morphed. Then the shape moved. Then the shape moved towards me. The logical mind had no response. As I got closer (and started drifting to the other side of the road) I realized this was no longer in the norm of roadside experiences, (you know like a nice, pleasant hitchhiker with an axe in his backpack, or a driverles semi truck forcing you off the road)


It was at this point that the logical mind went off cowering in some deep dark corner of my brain. As I ran by, the possum stopped and stared. It turned its head quickly to keep up with my blazing speed as I ran past (right, you know what I mean) maintaining its burning glare, with its illuminated eyes of gleaming blue burning into my soul. It was clear what was happening to me now. I was being stalked by a ghost possum!

In my return to running I have not normally engaged in a lot of speed work, however at this point my motivation to sprint was at an all-time high. All-out exertion down the lonely dirt and gravel road seemed like an excellent training choice for the forseeable future. It wasn't until I had sprinted past the ghost-possum farther down the road, and could no longer see those terrible blue eyes and white, pale face (still sprinting backwards in the Crazy Ivan position) that I realized the true desperation of my current situation. Not only had the tormented form of this diseased animal I had killed come back from the grave to haunt and torment me, not only was I surrounded by all the elements of any freak-out horror movie, storm, darkness, strange sounds, crazed cicada singing, howling wind, coyotes or more likely children of the corn with farm implements stalking me, and farmhouses of doom, there was still one painful truth that I had only now realized.

I still had to turn around and go home.

I remember very little of that return. Of the fact that I set a PR for the distance covered there is little doubt. Mostly I remember pulling into the driveway, breathing heavily, foregoing any stretching which might prolong my time outside, and striding rapidly to the front door. For some reason I paused as I reached for the front door. There was an attempt to regather myself and prove my manliness. I reached down, put on my shirt, and intentionally stayed outside at least a full three seconds longer than I had to as I looked furtively about. As I gathered my thoughts and my manliness, my logical mind made one last comment as I strode powerfully and with purpose in through the front door.

"No one saw that, right?"