I have something in common with Lance Armstrong

Shinsplints.

Or, a shinsplint? It’s just on one side. I’ve had it to varying degrees since my race-o-rama period earlier in the fall, in which I ran three hard races over three successive weekends. The shinsplint has gone away, but usually comes back.

It was back yesterday morning with a raging vengeance. I had to cut my planned 5 mile run short at 2.5 miles, much of that time spent walking and whimpering softly.

So I’m resting today and doing R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation). And, of course, this was an excuse to buy more running crap: a SnowPack synthetic ice thingie and a shinsplint compressor. Arriving shortly thanks to Road Runner Sports.

Maybe this is all mental, as this was to be my first week of the speed training phase of my marathon training. I don’t like speed training.

Tomorrow registration opens for the More Marathon. It’s odd to be registering for a marathon when I’m sitting here with a shinsplint. But register I will. I have four months to get over it.

"It takes too much time and is no fun."

Sometimes it’s fun to look in on the ramblings of someone with a viewpoint that is the polar opposite of one’s own.

Here’s just one such web site, Arthur De Vany’s blog. Be sure to check out the category called “Endurance Training: Death, Injury, and Risk.”

I could give him several demerits for use of the serial comma in his titles alone. But I’ll reserve my ire for his posts, which demonize running by cherry-picking anecdotal or limited research findings to revel in the bad luck that befalls some runners.

Here’s a quote from one recent post, in response to a query from a reader concerning whether or not his daughter should continue to race 10Ks…

“The pretty, happy, and athletic young woman that is your daughter will become a fat, skinny [sic], compulsive, overtrained and prematurely aged woman with a slight scowl on her face in place of that smile if she becomes a chronic runner.”

Enjoy!

Running. Movies. Together at last.

Came across this in my couch surfing this morning: www.runningmovies.com.

The site is an actively maintained (and, from the looks of it, quite comprehensive) compendium of running-related movies: from Olympic highlights, to dramas, to instructional films — and more.

Too bad most of these aren’t available on Netflix.

Turkeys #2 and #3

Yesterday we ran in the Rockland Road Runners Turkey Trot 5 Miler in Congers, NY. The weather was so bad that it was comical. And the best part? Over 900 people showed up to slog through driving rain, high winds and a wind chill below freezing.

Yesterday’s race really made me appreciate whoever invented Gore-Tex. And I learned the difference between water “resistant” and water “proof.”

I wore my Gore-Tex rain pants, a Gore-Tex baseball cap and my Gore-Tex shoes. Since I don’t like my Gore-Tex rain jacket (it’s way too big and has no vents), I opted instead to wear a new jacket I bought recently. I didn’t know when I bought it if it was “resistant” or “proof.” Within about 4 minues of the race, I had my answer. :) I was soaked to the bone, through three layers of jacket, midlayer and tech tee…down to the bra.

Fortunately, I brought a change of clothes, and since the windows of the car were completely steamed up, I could change in complete privacy.

Runners really are nuts. Why else would we elect to get up at 6:00AM on Thanksgiving to run in the rain, wind and cold? And pay to do so?

No age awards, but I did run a 41:09 race, which sort of amazed me given the conditions. 11th in my group, out of 49, so I’m still holding onto my usual goal of being in the top 20% (give or take) in larger races. And I again ran evenish splits, with faster ones toward the finish. Hoozah.

Oh, and I spotted a sodden Elvis impersonator standing along the side of the course in the last mile, cheering (and I use the term loosely) us on, and trying to drum up business.

I came home and ate a heaping plate of turkey and the usual Thanksgiving fare, guilt free (no pumpkin pie, though), along with copious amounts of Chardonnay. Then collapsed early. Today is a 10 mile recovery run. Naturally, the weather is perfect today! Then tomorrow off (for errands, a movie and some rest for my legs) — and then hiking (probably over to Rockland again) on Sunday.

I’ve also been tweaking my marathon training plan. I realized that I had too many very long runs scheduled too close to the event, so I cut those down. I also added in some longish “marathon pace” runs. But the training is going well. I’m out of my mileage building phase (up from 30 to 45+ MPW) and now in the speed phase, with some progressively longer runs also happening. No problems so far, knock wood.

The other big news is that we’ll be doing the Sedona Half Marathon in February. We’ll be visiting family there, with the trip capped by the race. I’m excited not only to visit family (in a beatiful place to boot), but to also get the hell out of the NY winter weather for a bit and to get a gauge of how the training is going. The half is about six weeks before the marathon. Of course, if it turns out the training hasn’t gone as well as I’d thought, it will be too late to do much about it. But at least I can adjust my expectations for March accordingly.

Bloody cold today

What happened to the 80 degree weather?

Oh, right. It’s late November.

Went for a run this morning. Wind chill of 32. My eyes were watering like crazy, but I did get to try out the new cold running gear purchased recently, which makes me look like a ninja runner. Except for the silly beanie.

If it gets much colder, I’m just going to have to buy more fancy running clothes…

One turkey down, two to go

I ran in the first of two turkey trots this week: the Mamaroneck Turkey Trot 5 Miler. And, I’m happy to report, it was (relatively speaking) my best race ever. I’m told the clock said 39:57. Since my goal was “under 40,” I’m quite happy with that.

Which just goes to show you that race times are unpredictable. I had three “problems” going into this race:
1. My left shin was hurting a bit during warmup. It bothered me quite a bit during yesterday’s easy 4 mile run, although I ran a fast 9 miles on Friday morning with no pain whatsoever. Go figure.
2. My watch was malfunctioning. The distance calculations were way, way off, so I had no idea what my real pace was.
3. The wind it was a blowin’. Right in my face for two of the five miles. Sometimes I had a small hills to go along with the brisk headwind. Whee!

And yet, I had my best race time — in a race I’d decided while standing at the start line that I shouldn’t get my hopes up for.

The best part of the race is that I’m getting a sense of how much speed endurance the last five weeks of easy running has helped to build. I’ve built my mileage up from 30 to 45 miles per week in that time, and my pace has increased on easy runs, helped by the fact that I’ve been finishing some of them a marathon pace for the last couple of miles. I was running a fast pace (for me) in today’s race — 7:59 — and my last two miles were much quicker than my first three.

Jonathan won 2nd in his age group (he always seems shocked by this) — a lovely silver-plated memo-pad holder — and the awards ceremony was fun to watch. It was a well-organized race and I’ll probably do it again next year.

Next turkey: the Rockland Road Runners 15th Annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 5 Miler.

And after that, the 14 pounder thawing in the fridge downstairs.

Road tested: The biggest running bra in the universe

This one’s for the ladies.

(Or guys. If you’re really into reading about bras.)

I am always in search of the perfect running bra. What would the perfect bra feature?

Well, that’s easy:

  • The straps wouldn’t fall down during speedwork and races
  • The straps would be nice and wide over the shoulder (preferably padded)
  • It should be designed to prevent “under the boob chafing” — this is a real problem, and I have the scars to prove it.

I’ve found a bra that is close, but not perfect. But it is the biggest f***ing bra you’ve seen in your life. My boobs could probably survive nuclear or chemical attack in this thing. And it seats five comfortably.

It’s sold by one of my favorite women’s clothing retailers, Title 9 Sports, to whom I willingly give a significant portion of my income every year.

This bra is a solid B. Not the cup. The grade I give it. The design helps ensure that the straps stay on the shoulders where they belong. It does have nice wide (and padded) straps, and it fastens in front (which is handy). It also solves the dreaded chafing problem. Although using a heart rate monitor strap is challenging; you need to position it in place, then fasten the bra over the monitor. At least the HRM won’t slip down anymore and end up being a useless belt, ha ha.

My biggest complaint is what this bra does to my boobs in terms of appearance. Because of the design, which has a bit of padding shaped sort of like a quarter moon lying on its back and positioned under each boob, said boob is squashed upward. This has the effect of giving the wearer 1957-style boobs.

I don’t know. Maybe this retro look will take the women’s running community by storm, but I’m not entirely thrilled by it. I’m hoping the cups will relax a bit after a few wearings and washings. If they don’t, I’ll just have to go out there looking like Eve Arden.

The elephant is dead

I started subscribing to Rhapsody’s “To Go” service recently (which I had to buy a fancy new MP3 player in order to use — a review of that coming eventually). Suffice it to say that I love the service. For fifteen bucks a month I can download to my player 95% of the tracks on Rhapsody. Whee!

Anyway, in addition to music they also offer comedy downloads. I downloaded a couple of albums by the late, great Bill Hicks and came across this gem this morning. Although it was recorded after the 1992 presidential elections, it’s strangely resonant of what’s happened over the past couple of days. Made me laugh, anyway.

powered by ODEO

Faster easy runs

Woo hoo! I’ve been tracking my pace for various different training runs. Since I started tracking things in April, my easy run pace has finally averaged well below 10:00 per mile. It’s at 9:50 now, down from 10:50 last month.

Again, woo hoo!

Salomon shoe follow up

I went running today (in some of the wettest weather I’ve ever run in, actually) wearing the Salomon shoes I reviewed earlier today. I’m talking floods — I saw idiots who’d driven their cars into waist-high water being rescued.

The water I was in, however, was only just shy of my ankle bones. I can now confirm that the shoes are indeed waterproof. After 10 miles of wading through puddles, sloshing through mud and being pelted with rain, my feet were dry.

And whatever was causing my little toe blister yesterday has ceased to be a problem…probably just needed a little more breaking in. The shoes. Not the toe.

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