Saturday, February 27, 2010
In other news, I've got a great run to recap from yesterday!
Jenny and I are having a lazy Saturday here in Gainesville. She's writing Rockstar Energy drink right now about possibly sponsoring her relay team for the upcoming Sunset to Sunrise relay race across Florida and I'm monitoring the Hawaii situation. It was forecast to be rainy and cold this morning, which is was, but now it's turning out to be a beautiful day. We had planned our first official long run for Seattle Marathon training for this morning, but when we saw the forecast we opted to do it after work last night at dusk instead. It wasn't nearly as cold and since it was only a 6-miler it works perfectly for me (getting back into the swing of things) and Jenny (recovering from her kick ass finish at the Donna Half Marathon last weekend).
Jenny mapped out a route through the University of Florida campus and sent it to me via MapMyRun.com and I was instantly stoked! I graduated from UF in 1999 and while I've been back for football games (Go Gators), I haven't really explored the campus in more than a decade. This would be a great opportunity and to share memories with Jenny!
We met at the Publix on University and 34th and started our run just minutes before sunset. As we ran down 2nd and past the University Golf Course a walnut fell into the road right next to us missing a passing car only by inches. I looked on the road for the nut and was confused because I couldn't find it. Then Jenny realized it was a golf ball. Amazing. A stray golf ball missed us only by about 10 feet and a car by only inches! We continued on past the law school and toward Ben Hill Griffin Stadium; a.k.a. The Swamp.
This is the spot where I was T-boned by a short middle eastern man that wanted to kick my @ss until I got out of the car and he saw how tall I was back in 1998! Ahhh the memories!
This alligator was not built when I was a student, like so many things, but we had fun running past it as it stands sentinel to The Swamp!
After passing the stadium we kept going west through so many new and old parts of the campus. Between buildings, dorms and stores that I walked thousands of times back in the day. It's funny what you remember vividly and what memories are triggered by seeing your old college, or old band marching field or the hill on Newell Road that I used to charge on my bicycle. As we turned back west the sun was setting and the sky was on fire.
When we crossed North South Road (it's called something else today, but I'm going by what it was when I was a student) a group of about 20 students walked by all wearing bandannas on their heads. Another oddity. Then we saw a student running in the road barefoot. No frog feet, just plain old barefoot. That's hardcore. I'll run barefoot on the beach, but not on a road. As we arrived down at Lake Alice it was twilight and a beautiful site!
Then I noticed there are now TWO bat houses at UF! Those bats must have been breeding like mice! There were a few dozen people standing around watching the bats leave the house for the night just as I remembered it, but we didn't stick around. We had a run to finish! (Plus, I see more bats near my house along Riverside Drive in the summer).
From here on out it was a simple shot up 34th Street back to our cars. As we pass the famous wall on the hill near University I get goose bumps as we pass the memorial to the 1990 slayings of five students by a sick twisted douchebag serial killer. When I was a student this wall stood memorializing their memory and it still does today. I remember once that someone painted over the memorial and within hours it was painted back.
I'm happy to say how much fun this run was; laid back and relaxing. The weather was beautiful and I received no complaints from Mr. Achilles! Finally tally for the week:
15-miles down. . . 413 miles to run before Seattle RNR Marathon!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
After the Donna Half Marathon last weekend Jenny and I set down and registered for the June 26th Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon. It's official. No backing out now. TallGuySurfing is going to run another marathon and this time I intend to really "run" it unlike that frozen race last month called Disney.
This really sounds like a great race. For one, I love music. I was a music major my first couple of years in college. I'm a former marching band geek and I've played in a few rock bands back in the day as well so why not enjoy some good old rock 'n' roll while I run through one of my favorite cities; Seattle?!? Now I know what you might be thinking and I've been to Seattle three times and it's never rained once so hopefully my luck will hold out! Plus, can you say hills? Something tells me I'm going to be running the bridge many many times the next few months.
This week also marks the 18-week away point from the marathon, which means it's time to start training again. I've taken most of February off from long distance running and my Achilles tendon feels the best it has since my injury back in September. I really feel like I'm a smarter more-experienced runner now and hope that will help me this time around now that I've officially commenced training!
That training started Tuesday with a measly little 3 miles. Then there was another 3 miles on Wednesday and tonight I'll hash out another 3 miles. I'm following the Hal Higdon 18-week novice training schedule. The way I see it I'm 6 miles down with 422 miles to go! Bring on Seattle and all its Pike Place Farmer's Market (where I fully intend to eat everything in sight)!!!
I'm also stoked for the Redhead and B.oB. and wish them a speedy fast finish this weekend at the Gasparilla Marathon. Oh and good luck to Jamoosh who is running the Half. Go easy on that injury dude! And happy running to everyone else this weekend too!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
And spectate I did!
Jenny and her running friends signed up for the half-marathon part of the race months ago. I considered registering at the expo and running, but stuck to my guns and resisted the urge. Before I recap, I'll just say this race is held in Jacksonville Beach and out of all the races I've been involved with in the past year I think I actually like this one as one of my best and I didn't even run it. It's well organized, probably over-organized, plenty of bathrooms, good crowd support, not too crowded, great expo (although not much for guys), for a great cause (breast cancer research) and guys.... guys... there's at least a 2-1 girl/guy ratio!!! That means if you like to "chase the ponytail" as Jamoosh puts it you'll never be hurting for a lack of ponytails.
In my attempt to be a kickass spectator I acquired a "long distance" cowbell and a pink shirt. At the expo some friendly ladies gave us pink bandannas, pink rubber bracelets and even some temporary tattoos of the breast cancer awareness ribbon. Now TallGuySurfing never wears anything pink. It's just not cool if your a surfer guy like me, but this is the exception. To prove my spectator worthiness I wrote messages all over my $3 thrift store pink polo shirt and it was then at the hotel the night before the race that I realized just how many friends I knew in the race. A total of nine! Whoa!
The next morning the group opted to sleep in a little later and be dropped off by us spectators rather than venture into the unknown organization of the shuttle buses.* The plan was to drop off our runners between two cars, drive back to the hotel and take the shuttle bus back. The flaw we realized once getting back to the hotel was we weren't sure if we'd be able to get to other points of the race or be stuck only at the finish line. Plus, since we were running late there was no way we'd make it back by the start of the race. We decided to take one car back and go straight to the beach (part of the course runs down the hard packed sand on the beach) where the half marathon turns around just after mile 6. We made it there just in time to see Jenny run past. The cowbell was a fire! We screamed and yelled and she saw us! I ran back to the road to catch her coming back. After cheering her on we were also able to see two other friends run by, but then a new spectating dilemma; Jenny was going so fast that if we didn't make it back to the finish line we might not see her finish. My two spectating friends and I decided to head back rather than wait for all our friends to pass. Thinking we might be able to park near the start line we drove all the way up only to be denied. Since I wasn't driving I hopped out of the car and pretty much sprinted the rest of the way.
Sneaking around the designated viewing area, I worked my way down the final stretch of the race and with only about 2 minutes to spare I spotted Jenny bringing it home and looking stronger than ever! She flew by and I noticed how awesome her time was going to be... it's such an amazing feeling to see your girlfriend having a great race! I decided to be a little bad and sneak into the chute where I found her. I gave her the biggest longest hug ever! We walked through the chute together and there were very few runners finished yet (about 20 minutes later it would be super crowded) and all the volunteers were eager to do their jobs. Not long after we caught up with our other spectating friends who had walked a mile from where they parked and all wandered back to the finish line where the rest of Team Hot Legs were arriving.**
Later on in the family reunion area we found an information tent and got some unofficial times. Turns out that Jenny busted her half marathon PR by nearly 5 minutes! We were all so stoked for her! They also told us she was 3rd in her age group (although now I see the official results say 4th) and that was good enough to get a sweet "top finisher" backpack. It was a great race. From what I understand, at least 3 of the group PR'ed and everyone finished without injury. The weather was amazing. YES, FINALLY IT DECIDED TO WARM UP DOWN HERE IN FLORIDA LIKE IT SHOULD BE! And the people watching was great too...
I even ran into the Redhead and got to see her homemade pink tutu. She was taking it easy and doing a fun run with one of her blogger friends since she's running the Gasparilla Marathon this weekend. Good Luck Morgan!
If they run this race next year I might just have to find myself something pink and ridiculous to wear and run to save the tatas or as my favorite T-shirt I saw said, "Save Second Base!"
*There is no parking at the start/finish line of this race. Perhaps one of its only flaws. In fact, there's no parking within probably a mile so runners and spectators are at the mercy of the shuttle buses.
**Team Hot Legs is the name of the Sunset to Sunrise Relay team that Jenny participated on last year and plans to do again this year. They are all a great group of female runner/friends and a good portion of them were running this race.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
You thought wrong!
Of course I'm stoked and since this is my blog and it's technically still Thursday where I'm at, I'm marching to my own drum and posting the Thursday Stoke a little later than normal.
Today I am stoked about this totally radical "Long Distance Cow Bell" that came in the mail today (I ordered the dang thing two weeks ago)!
I thought I would need to use one of my drum sticks to provide "MORE COWBELL" but guess what? It has a little ringer thingy already built into it and is loud as hell. I might still need a drum stick to really provide the "fever" of the cow bell this weekend at an event I'm even more stoked about:
That's the race on the plate this weekend, although I'm not running it. I will be cheering on my girlfriend, Jenny, her friends and even the Redhead, who will all be running the Half Marathon. I even purchased a pink shirt today to wear in honor of "saving the ta tas!" Now TallGuy doesn't wear anything pink.... ever. Some say it takes a real man to wear something pink. TallGuy says it takes a real man not to wear something that makes you look feminine!
I'm making the exception this weekend. I will be sporting a pink polo and making a tremendous racket with my cow bell and taking pictures of course. I'm stoked for everyone I know that is running and wish them all the best of luck!
In other running news; Harrison and I ran hills tonight. Hills around these parts mean bridges and our little beach town has one large bridge that passes across the Intracoastal Waterway. One time over is about 1/2 mile and we ran over it six times for 3-miles. It was a good run and I plan to incorporate it into a weekly run for my Seattle Marathon training that begins next week (woohoo). More on that next week!
In surfing news; it remains flat here. And did I mention COLD. I don't even want to check to see what the water temperature is now, but the air temperature hasn't busted 60 degrees in weeks and it's usually in the 40s. Next week is supposed to be in the 70s so I might have to paddle out. It's been about 3 weeks and I'm getting stir crazy (TallGuy is NOT stoked about this) and who knows if my 3/2 wetsuit will be enough for whatever arctic temperature our Florida waters have no doubtingly dropped down to out there?
And that my readers is the Late Night Thursday Stoke!!!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I had the best Valentine's Day of my life last weekend. No pressure. No expectations. Just fun. In fact, Jenny and I have decided that from now on we will always run a race on the dreaded V-day.
This year was a last minute race. To help a marathon relay team Jenny and I decided to fill in for a couple of absentee members of a team in need; Team Lickety Splits.
Gainesville's Five Points of Life Marathon (a USATF Certified Boston Qualifier race) that consists of a half marathon, full marathon, marathon relay and a 5k. The health expo and packet pickup the day before was small and FUN. The race T-shirts are technical shirts (huge thumbs up there) and the overall coordination of the race including post race finisher area was excellent! It might go down as one of my favorite races to date.
Here's my recap!
Jenny and a bunch of her friends are running the Run with Donna Half Marathon in Jacksonville Beach next weekend and I'm still officially "taking a break" before beginning Seattle Marathon training so our goal for this race was simple: To Have FUN! No expectations of time or place. We meet up with our teammates at the expo and didn't even discuss strategy. It seems that everyone is just out to have fun, which equals perfect. The only drawback to this is being left wondering just how fast your teammates will be and when they will be showing up to hand off the microchip to you at the transition area. I've learned to never judge a runner based on appearance so we leave the expo not knowing what to expect. All Jenny and I know is I'm running miles 15-20 and I'll hand off to her to finish miles 20-26.2. She's the anchor and I'm the chain!
There are 19 relay teams with 5 members on each team. This is the first year for relay teams as part of the marathon. To prepare for this race Jenny and I did the following:
1.) prepare a light pasta dish with mushrooms and red sauce and eat a red bell pepper with humus all mixed down with a $3.99 bottle of pinot grigio labeled Promiscuous.
2.) Attend a private "martini party" at a country club with a "Prom" any decade dress code (yes, TallguySurfing wore his vintage 1996 Tuxedo) until the wee hours of the morning.
3.) Carb load with a mixture of Appletinis, Pomegranatinis and Cosmos until we felt and, unfortunately for viewers, acted like Rockstars!
4.) Made sure all of our muscles were in good racing order by dancing for extending periods of time.
5.) After approximately 3 or 4 hours of sleep (we can't actually remember) get up at 5:45 a.m. to head to the race starting area.
6.) and in retrospect I would not recommend this race preparation unless you plan to Chase Cows.
By the way, the temperature at this time of day is about 28 degrees. Seriously people? Have I mentioned that I live in Florida?!?!? As Jenny and I pull up to the parking area later than hell, we see the race start and hundreds of runners tear down 34th Street and Hull Road. Ironically, the race even started late at 7:10 a.m. instead of 7 a.m.
This is when I realized how glad I was NOT to be one of the first runners. At least it'll warm up just a bit before it's my turn. We find a race coordinator and make our way to the limo service that's busy transporting all the relay team members to their transition points. I load up with all the 4th leg runners. It's a full on party bus limo with two "stripper-like" poles in the aisle, flashing lights and dance music blaring. My head is pounding, my hands and feet are freezing numb and my body reminds me of the wonderful job I did preparing for this race last night. All 19 runners are sitting inside in silence. I think we're all thinking the same thing of not really knowing what to think.
Once we're dropped off at the transition point there is some confusion about "drop bags." The race volunteer on the limo does not know what will happen to our bags if we leave them at the transition point that is currently manned by nobody. The only concrete option she has for us is to leave our bags on the limo dropping us off so they can be transported back to the start/finish line. It's still below freezing and by my best estimate the elite runners leading the race probably won't be here for at least 30 minutes. Leaving my jacket right now sounds like suicide so a few fellow relay runners and I devise the brilliant plan of reminding our teammate's to bring our bags back for us as we're getting our chips handed off to us. Problem solved!
Now the waiting begins. On the limo nobody was talking. I try to be social and end up talking to a few runners. One girl ran the Disney Half Marathon last month so we compared notes on how we both froze our asses off in those races. Another runner is actually a physician at the hospital and knows Jenny. We have a friendly conversation as the lead runner approaches. He's moving at a strong clip and refuses water or Gatorade. He just blasts right through the aid station. What's even more amazing is he's got a minute and a half on the second and third position runners at mile 15. He would end up winning the race with a time of 2:25:34.3.
All in all I estimate waiting for about 45 minutes at the transition area. During this time I lose feeling in my toes, but manage to keep the rest of my body warm. The physician, who gets his hand off about 10 minutes before me, removed his long pants before leaving and said while he feels cold he believes he'll warm up at his 7-minute intended pace. This sparks an idea in my head... a leap of faith or an experience gaining event in my growing running education. It hasn't occurred to me to take off my Nike DryFit long pants and run the race in the shorts I'm wearing underneath. My personal time goal is anything under 43-minutes and as long as I run at that pace I think I'll warm up quickly. A few runners and I guess that it's warmed up to mid-30s and I nervously remove my pants and reveal my chicken legs. Yes, it's cold, very COLD, but almost catching me off guard I notice my teammate approaching mile 15. She's looking strong and this energy charges me even more as I'm stoked there are still at least half the relay people still waiting. She arrives and I quickly ask her to bring my bag back, grab the microchip and I'm off!
The volunteers are clapping and yelling as I blow through the aid station and head east toward downtown. There are no other runners around me, but I'm energized! I have to tell myself to slow it down a bit after a half mile or so. The course map shows some hills in the first two miles or so of my leg and then a lot of downhill action the last half. The air is really cold and actually hurting my lungs. I look at my watch and it reads 9-minutes. I'm somewhere in downtown Gainesville, but I haven't been paying attention. I never saw a mile-16 sign, but I know I've gone at least a mile. Finally I spot the mile 17 sign and check my watch - 14-minutes. Kickass! I'm feeling great. And bonus... I can feel my toes again!
I start to pass a few runners. I actually slow down behind the first one because I feel bad about passing him and decide to think about whether I should say anything to him as I pass. He is running the full marathon and I don't want him to feel bad when I blow past him near the infamous 18-mile mark. What should I say? "Excuse me, don't mind me, I'm just a lowly marathon relay runner," or "It's OK I'm a relay runner, but I ran the full Disney last month and I feel your pain dude... you're doing great by the way... tallyho?"
I decide not to say anything, not to make eye-contact or anything. I just pretend they aren't there and run on by minding my own business. Thinking back I probably should have said some kind of words of encouragement. Oh well, I've got a relay to run!
Right around mile 18 when I'm expecting a lot of downhill running I run around a slow curve only to see a giant hill in front of me. "What the eff?" This is not a big deal, but when you are expecting to go downhill and you see a giant uphill half mile in front of you it kind of blows your mind. I had to laugh about how angry I'd be if I was running the full marathon. "Congratulations! You've made it to mile 18! Here's a wonderful hill for you!"
The last two miles are up and down with several large hills. I feel them slowing me down and I try and make up time as I run down each hill, but going down just sucks for me. It actually hurts my legs more than going up. I need to run more bridges! What's worse is last night's martini-drinking carb loading debauchery seems to be catching up with me. For some strange reason my body has decided it will be useful to burp... A LOT. At one point it seems like I'm burping every other step. I'm sure things could be way worse in the world of runners and embarrassing body "functions" but this is very odd and amusing to me.
Burp burp burp....
It's a good thing that nobody is within 100-yards of me. If it were Disney I'd surely be getting a few stares by other runners hearing my burping. Stupid martinis!
Soon I see the mile-20 marker. Then I see Jenny waiting for me. Then I dramatically drop the microchip as I try and undo the strap a few hundred feet before the transition area, which I'm sure was some cheap entertainment for all the relay runners freezing their butts off to watch while waiting. As I make it to Jenny I stop my watch, hand her the chip and manage to tell her good luck, remember not to over do it, fun run is the goal and give her a kiss! She tears off down Williston Road to finish out the remaining 6.2 miles.
After at least a 30 minute wait the limo service picks up about 10 of us relay runners and takes us to the finish line where we arrive just as Jenny is crossing the finish line.
Team Lickety Splits official time: 3:39:34.1
Not to shabby!
My 5-mile leg time (according to my watch as there were no split timers): 40:15
I was so stoked to have beat my goal. I think without the hills and burping I probably could have sustained that early 7-minute pace, but that's for a different race. I'm glad I ran it in short pants as opposed to the long pants and I felt strong the entire time. I also absolutely LOVE my Brooks Adrenaline shoes!
This was a great race for a great cause. Everything was run smoothly and the only minor confusion in the relay portion was the deal with the drop bags and having to wait an extending amount of time in the cold after running for a shuttle back to the finish/start line. I'm sure they'll get the kinks worked out of the relay next year. Now if only Mother Nature would warm up Florida a bit, provide a good swell and longer days. I am way over due for a surfing post!
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
1.) This workout will kick your arse the first time you do it. You might not even be able to finish it. Plan on being sore the next day so don't do it the first time the day or two before a long run!
2.) I found this workout in the July/August 2007 issue of Men's Health Magazine. All credit goes to Men's Health. I couldn't find it online so I'm just going to describe it the best I can...
This workout is super fast. You should be done with each circuit in 6 minutes or less. The key is doing it quickly and being as stubborn as a southern gentleman's pride. It's going to be painful, but each time you do it you'll be able to do more with less pain. It builds explosiveness in your muscles and really REALLY works your legs. Men's Health says the key is mental toughness. I say the key is being downright stubborn with a pinch of masochism. Here we go!
First make sure you have enough room around you and above you. If you're 6'6" like me, which you are probably not, but if you are you will want to have a high ceiling for the last exercise in the circuit. Do this workout twice a week for 2 weeks, if able. Then do it once a week for 4 weeks.
Week 1 - Do 2 circuits with 60 seconds rest between exercises and 3 minutes between circuits.
Week 2 - Do 3 circuits with 45 seconds rest between exercises and 3 minutes between circuits.
Week 3 - Do 4 circuits with 45 seconds rest between exercises and 90 seconds between circuits.
Week 4 - Do 5 circuits with 30 seconds rest between exercises and 60 seconds between circuits.
Week 5 - Do 5 circuits with 30 seconds rest between exercises and no rest between circuits.
Week 6 - Do 6 circuits with no rest between exercises and no rest between circuits.
1.) SPEED SQUAT:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands behind your head. Bend at the hips and knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor (keeping your back straight), then quickly push back up. Move smoothly and quickly. Aim for 24 repetitions in 24 seconds.
2.) ALTERNATING LUNGE
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands behind your head. Take a step forward with your right foot, and lower your body until your thigh is parallel to the floor. That's one rep. Push back and repeat with your left leg. Continue for a total of 24 reps.
3.) SPLIT JUMP
Start the lunge position, with your knees bent. Clasp your hands behind your head. Jump up and switch legs in the air. That's one rep. Allow your body to descend into the next lunge, and immediately repeat the jump, , minimizing your time on the ground. Do a total of 24 reps.
4.) SQUAT JUMP
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands behind your head. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then push up fast so your feet leave the floor. Land with your knees flexed, and immediately sink down into your next squat. Do 12 reps.
And that's it. Simple as simple does. I'll be the first to admit that this is a HARD workout. I have not been able to follow it to the tee. Instead I have only gone as far as I feel is safe for me and you should do the same. The last thing you want to do is injury yourself trying to make yourself stronger to improve performance and avoid injury. This workout will make your legs so sore that you won't want to do it again. If you run or surf regularly like me you really won't want to do it again because you'll feel like your legs are so sore you won't be able to run, but if you want to strengthen your legs NOTHING works like squats and whether your a surfer or a running it never hurts to have stronger legs. I give all credit for this workout to Men's Health. If they have a problem with me reproducing it then I'll remove it, but let's see if they balk first.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
Normally, I don't give this highly commercialized holiday much recognition on the general principal that I don't need a holiday to be romantic. However, this Valentine's Day is a little different. There is someone special in my life right now; more special than anyone in many.... many years. And to celebrate this made-for-Florists and Halmark-cards Holiday Jenny and I decided what would be more fitting than to run a race. Yeah... that's right. It's our first Valentine's Day and we're running a race together! Who needs long waits for dinner and expensive restaurant bills when you can just go running?
At the time this post automatically posts itself (I love the post date and time feature) we'll be in the midst of running the Five Points of Life Marathon in Gainesville. We are running as part of a 5-person c0-ed (I'm the only guy) relay team. Four runners run 5-miles and the anchor runs 6.2-miles. Sounds fun! Plus, I get to go to another running expo the day before! Yeehaw!
I'll leave you with the lyrics of a song that comes to mind as I reflect upon finding Jenny and having her in my life! It's by Alexi Murdoch and the song is titled "All of My Days." Click the song title if you want to listen to it. It's a good song, promise! :-)
Well I have been searching
All of my days
Many a road, you know I've been walking on
All of my days
And I've been trying to find
What's been in my mind
As the days keep turning into night
Well I have been quietly standing in the shade
All of my days
Watch the sky breaking on the promise that we made
All of this rain
And I've been trying to find
What's been in my mind
As the days keep turning into night
Well many a night
I found myself with no friends standing near
All of my days
I cried aloud I shook my hands
What am I doing here
All of these days
For I look around me
And my eyes confound me
And it's just too bright
As the days keep turning into night
Now I see clearly
It's you I'm looking for
All of my days
So I'll smile I know
I'll feel this loneliness no more
All of my days
For I look around me
And it seems you found me
And it's coming into sight
As the days keep turning into night
As the days keep turning into night
And even breathing feels all right
Yes, even breathing feels all right
Now even breathing feels all right
Yes even breathing Feels all right
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Here's how it went down:
Woke up bright and early with the goal of doing a short and easy run (it's February and this is my recovery month before starting to train for Seattle Marathon) only to discover it's 42-freaking-degrees and windy outside! Ok, ok, I know I have no right to complain, especially after reading blogs like Running Spike's race recap from last weekend, but seriously.... seriously!?! This is Florida! I like it hot folks! I'll take 90 degrees and 100 percent humidity any day over this 42-degree-crap with a strong north wind. So I decided to call off the run, take a shower and go to work with the justification that perhaps I'll workout this afternoon.
Just before getting into the shower I sit down on my morning throne, you know... that regular thing you do everyday, ideally before you start to run? I see a Runner's World magazine and very briefly look at it. My mood suddenly changes and I develop a bit of an attitude toward the cold weather. You know what? Screw you cold weather; I'm going to run anyways!
I don't have any morning appointments so it's not a big deal if I'm a little late getting to work. I throw on some warm running clothes, strap on my iPod and lace up my Brooks Adrenalines.
To get warmed up I do a series of squats, jumps and lunges that is a killer workout I found in an old Men's Health magazine a while back. I'm doing it each week this month to try and strengthen my legs. It all adds up to about 55 reps in less than 5 minutes. I haven't had breakfast yet so I gobble down a handful of almonds, a dark chocolate square and slam full glass of ice water.
Not 10 steps out of my door and after having my breath sucked out of me from the shock of coldness I waste no time and start running. The plan is an easy 5k route that I've probably run 100 times. At least it's sunny, but I run fast to try and get warm fast (probably not super smart, but I hate the cold and this is a short run).
At the 1-mile mark I look at my watch for the first time. It reads 7:15.
"Holy Sh*t," I yell between gasps for air!
An old lady tending to her yard gives me a bad look.
I knew I was running fast, but not that fast.
I'm feeling good so screw the original plan. I keep running at a whatever feels good pace.
The wind is at my back and when I turn around it takes vengeance upon me. It's hard to even breath and it's surely slowing me down so I alter my route and cut back a block inland from the river where there are more trees and homes to block the wind. Less sun, but no wind. I compromise.
I feel myself slowing down at the middle point of the run and my legs feel heavy due to all those speed squats and lunges. After a bit of a slower pace I pick it back up for the last half mile or so not allowing myself to see my watch (we can't have anymore belligerent outbursts).
As I finish I feel good, really good. There's a bit of pain in my lungs from the cold air so I hack up some spit and walk it off. It's now that I look at my watch. It reads 21:50.
Realizing I altered my route, I go home and log out the diverted route on Mapmyrun.com. The result?
An even 3 miles... just shy of that 5k. The average pace: 7:16.
And that my friends was my accidental tempo run!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Jenny has never surfed. As to my knowledge the closest she's come to surfing is body boarding in small waves. She's athletic and in shape with a strong core. In other words, she's a runner, and you've probably read about her in some of my running stories. She's a strong swimmer and loves the ocean. In my mind this is a perfect combination for teaching someone the "stoke" of surfing. About a month ago we booked a trip to Puerto Rico (super cheap $59 each way flights from Jet Blue). This is my fourth trip to Rincon in the past year so I feel like I've got a great layout of the land. I talk about surfing so much that Jenny has generated a strong interest in the sport and fascination for it. Since she doesn't own a wetsuit and the water in Central Florida is too cold to skin it in the winter, we decided the 80-degree winter time water of Puerto Rico would be an excellent opportunity for a surf lesson.
Puerto Rico is tricky for beginning surfers when compared to Florida beaches, which for the most part have a forgiving sand bottom. In Puerto Rico you have a little bit of everything; rocky slab, coral reefs, grass and sand bottoms. Obviously, I was not going to put Jenny in the water over shallow coral reef or in any area with spots of large rocks and sea urchins (ouch!). Getting in and out of the water in Puerto Rico is also sometimes the hardest and most technical thing about a session. Often times the shoreline is clustered with rocks and with powerful waves at your back you can easily get bashed into them if you're too tired or don't have a plan and location to exit the water.
My friend John, his wife Julie and I devised a plan for Jenny's surf lesson. Jobos Beach (see satellite picture) is an area near Isabela, about a hour drive from Rincon depending on traffic. It is one of my favorite beaches because the water is usually beautiful and the beach curves around almost 180 degrees into a giant rock bluff. Inside this rock bluff is an area of sand and grass bottom that is very forgiving. There are no sea urchins and you can see everywhere you step. The rocks create a natural barrier to the open ocean and a shelter from wind if it's an onshore day. At the point of the rocks there is a distinctive right point break that forms and sometime a short peaky left. The curve of the landscape creates a natural rip current that will take you directly to the beginning of the point break if you get caught on the inside too far to the west or upon initially paddling out. For someone that doesn't want to paddle it's a dream come true. Between the inside circular rip current and the outside break there's a shallow sand bar where the white wash of the waves rolls across quite consistently providing the perfect spot for a beginning surf lesson. I chose a 9'1" performance epoxy longboard for Jenny to learn on with the idea that it's light weight and has lots of flotation to give her extra time while learning to stand up.
First Jenny got on top of the board in shallow water. Laying down on the board she balanced easily with no problems. I swam out to the sandbar while she paddled. No balance issues with the paddling; we were off to a great start. Before getting into the water we had several long discussions about "how to" surf and even practiced hopping up on imaginary surfboards on the ground. The last instruction I left Jenny with right before beginning the paddle out was something like this: "One thing I want you to be aware of is how powerful these waves can be although they look small. It's still hundreds of pounds of sea water moving toward you. If at any time you fall off the board and find the board between you and a broken wave without enough time to get control of the surfboard then you have to dive down because the one place the surfboard is not going to be is on the bottom. Get away from the board at all cost because believe me, you don't want that board being pushed into you with all the weight of the ocean behind it!"
Jenny was nodding at this advise like it made perfect sense. We paddled out, made it to the sandbar and I positioned her for her first wave. We passed up a few waves and then a medium size wall of white wash quickly approached.
"This wave has your name all over it Jenny, are you ready," I asked!
She said "yes," and I placed my hand on the squashtail and shoved with all my mite right as the wave hit us.
The first wave took her and she rode it out just like a body boarder getting a feeling for the ride, just as I said she might want to do on the first few.
Eventually Jenny decided it was time to stand up and surf a wave. This she did with very little trouble. As I watched her glide away from me on the wave I could imagine the smile on her face. About 30 yards or so away from me she fell off the board. Not a big deal. I trudged backwards up onto the sandbar and began waiting for her to paddle back (which, by the way, she is an amazingly strong paddler for a beginner) just as I had been doing the previous few times. I didn't seen anything out of the ordinary. She was back on the board, paddling back my way and I could make out her white teeth as she was smiling ear to ear! Being super stoked for her, I put both my hands high in the air and screamed "woohooo!"
As she neared I could tell something was different about her. Her smile was huge and I think she even screamed something back, but her face looked different. It took me a second to realize the crimson hue covering the right side of her face almost like a window-lit shadow at dusk. She was still smiling as my smile faded into a look of horror. John and Julie were only a few yards away from me and their faces turned to similar expressions. Jenny's face was covered in blood. Jenny reaches the sandbar and I grab the nose of the surfboard to hold her in place.
"I want to do it again," she yells with playful excitement!
"Did you hit your face," I ask with curiosity?
"Yes," she says.
"Does it hurt," I ask as I get closer to her for a better look?
"Yes, a little, but I want to do it again," Jenny says.
"Because your eyebrow is swollen up something horrible and you're bleeding all over the place," I tell her.
Jenny wipes her hand across the small, but largely swollen, gash on the outer edge of her eyebrow and sees her hand covered in blood. She then tells me she did exactly what I told her not to do; she fell in front of the board placing the board between her and the wave and instead of diving down only one thing came to mind: AIR!
When she came up for air the board was pushed into her face! Despite several objections on her part and "wanting to do it again," we all decided that we should go in and tend to the wound and then come back out later for round two of surfing.
Jobos is a beautiful beach, but there are not any drug stores nearby. It's all run down beach bars and a few condos and apartments. Neither John nor I thought to bring a first aid kit (not one of our more brilliant decisions).
The Hardcore Aftermath:
John and Julie stayed with the surfboards at the car (Jobos is somewhat localized and you can't leave anything unattended) and Jenny and I walked over to a bar that was just opening (it was late morning).
"Hola. Taza de hielo por favor," I ask with my crappy Spanish?
The bar tender gives us both a quizzical look and hands over a paper cup of ice and a few paper napkins. She sees Jenny's face and says some Spanish really fast at which Jenny and I look at each other in confusion. All I heard is "ron blanco," which means "white rum."
She hands over a shot of un-spiced Bacardi rum and as so many Puerto Ricans will do when you try and speak Spanish to them, abruptly changes to English and says something like, "white rum for the eye." At first I'll have to admit I thought the rum was to drink as some kind of pain killer, but then Jenny and I both realized it was to sterilize the wound.
I said "sterilize" and the bartender smiled and nodded her head realizing the word she could not think of in English. So what does Jenny do?
Hell yeah, she does!
She takes the napkin, dips it in the shot of rum and applies it directly to her eyebrow. How hardcore is that?!?! All I could do is think about what a killer first time surfing story this is turning out to be. Never once did Jenny complain. I didn't even hear a sarcastic "ouch." She is truly stoked about her first surfing experience and if we weren't there she probably would have continued surfing.
Upon looking at the injury in the side mirror of a parked car I think she starts to realize how much it is swelling up so it's a good thing we got the ice. So in a nutshell; Jenny goes to Puerto Rico with her boyfriend, whom gives her her first surfing lesson at which time she takes the surfboard directly in the face like a blow from Mike Tyson and is so stoked about the ride she fails to notice the Niagara Falls of blood gushing down her face to the horror of Boyfriend, whom then forces her to paddle in, go to a bar for ice, and sterilize the wound with rum!
Now while this might sound like I'm getting the capital FAIL on this adventure there is a happy ending. Simply put - Jenny surfed and she loved it! She accomplished the main goal of surfing. The only thing that matters at the end of the day. . . to have fun!
It will be interesting to see what she writes from her perspective and we might even have to tell you the rest of the story (i.e. the second session lesson a few days later that went mucho gusto better) in the same format in a later post.
I'll end my story with another funny note. The swelling stopped thanks to the ice. There was no infection thanks to the rum. There was, however, a very "black eye," "shiner," "periorbital hematoma," or whatever you want to call it for the week following. After Puerto Rico Jenny went home and I went home. Jenny went back to work (in a hospital of all places) amongst her friends with a black eye after being gone for a week with her boyfriend. Talk about sending a good impression toward your girlfriend's friends? Man, was I concerned. One of Jenny's good friends actually boxes competitively and while she is female I still wouldn't want her taking a swing at me. I told Jenny she "had" to convince this friend the truth. In perspective, I think I was more worried about what friends and co-workers may think than Jenny, but it's all good now and we're both looking forward for the water to warm up and to go surfing again as soon as possible!
Sylvan and I were visiting with John and Julie, who currently live in Rincon. Julie, John’s wife, is a kindred spirit, and also relatively new to surfing. She is by far more experienced in surfing, and was very helpful and encouraging about getting myself set up to surf. It was nice to know that she would be in the water, learning, too. Sylvan, of course, had been, and continues to be very supportive in getting me on the board. Just listening to him talk about surfing is motivation!
Jobos Beach, Wednesday, day 1 in Puerto Rico, Sylvan, John, Julie and I head out to the beach, first thing in the morning. Along the way, we stop at a gas station for snack, energy drink and restroom break before proceeding to the beach. It’s a beautiful morning, warm, blue, sunny, much better than the unusually cool/cold winter that has invaded Florida these past couple months. I freely admit that I am putting shame to my home state of Virginia, in how wimpy I am when it comes to the cold. We parked along the road, and I put on the rash guard that Sylvan had surprised me with a couple nights before this day : )
I was kind of nervous, didn’t want to disappoint anybody, or embarrass myself, but mostly excited and happy to be sharing this time with Sylvan and new friends. Sylvan and John let Julie and me carry the boards to the beach.
We pass by two beach bars, a dead bloated puffer fish, and alas are on the beautiful, sandy beach that is Jobos. I looked out and to the right there was a somewhat long expanse of rocks that kind of looked like a natural pier. Waves were crashing behind it and it looked like a fun place to stand and cool off with water jetting on you from the blow hole.
What looked terrifying were the enormous waves that grew toward the end of the rocky “pier.” Sylvan reassured me we would not be going near those waves. We were to stay closer to shore, and more to the left, far away from anything even near the size of a one-story building. Someday though that would be really cool!
Julie and I got on the boards and started paddling out, while John and Sylvan swam out along side us. It felt fairly easy. I liked gliding along using my arms and being able to look out onto the water. I swim and have had a love of all-things marine since I was a little girl. I truly wanted to be a mermaid when I was little, but soon learned I’d sooner become a prune than a fish if I stayed in the water for any prolong period of time. So, I’ll take snorkeling, swimming and surfing as an alternative any day.
When we got out to a spot shallow enough for John and Sylvan to stand and good for Julie and I to surf, Sylvan reviewed what we were about to do. I was to stay flat on the board for the first few waves and he was going to push me into them. This would be my first introduction into what it feels like to catch and ride along a wave. We did this a few times and then it was time for me to try to get up. I was a little wary of the idea not being sure if I was ready, but then again, was sure I was ready. It was time to just try, try and remember all Sylvan, John, and Julie told me and stand up!
One thing Sylvan told me about potentially falling off the board, well more like, when you fall off the board, was “whatever you do, if you fall in front of the board, dive DOWN, do not swim up until you are sure the board is away from you.” I will forever remember these scholarly words of advice.
My goal initially, was to get on my knees. Done! Super fun. Next time - on knee with one knee up. Done! Again, super fun. And then, up, up! Up, up, I went! A millisecond of pure joy and splash (in front of the board)! Excitement, adrenaline, happiness poured through me as I immediately swam up, not down, searching for the sky so that I may get on the board and paddle out to Sylvan and share my joy with him as fast as possible.
Blunt force to right eyebrow. . . moment of shock. . . passing thought, “this must be what it feels like to be punched in the face.”
I was so excited I just got on the board, ignored the pain and paddled back to Sylvan. When I first got on the board I saw him smiling, arm raised up and as I got closer his smile became a half-smile and his eyes looked more concerning.
“Are you OK,” he asks?
Of course I was OK. Did he not see my millisecond of glory?
“You’re bleeding,” he says.
So there went my idea of skirting around the fact that I had done exactly what he told me not to do and swam up instead of diving down when the board is behind you. John and Julie had similar looks of support combined with horror. They told me it was swelling up and I could tell it probably wasn’t pretty. Still, I really didn’t think it was a big deal. It did not feel like I had a concussion or anything and it’d be a shame to stop playing now when I had such potential for standing up for maybe 2 milliseconds, or even 5! Sylvan said it didn’t look like I’d need a stitch or anything and so we agreed to keep at it for a few more waves before going back to the beach. Sylvan pushed me into a few more waves and I was able to get to my knees or one knee up and one knee down a couple times. It wouldn’t be until my second surfing lesson that I’d get to my feet and achieve my goal of standing for a few seconds.
Sylvan looked pretty concerned and I didn’t want him or John or Julie to worry. Also, he’d been out in the water standing in the current for a long time and I didn’t want him getting worn out. Sylvan and John were going to get their surfing in later, at Wilderness.
Sylvan and I made it to the beach, carried the board to the car with John and Julie and made for the closest bar to find ice. Before heading to the bar, I’d looked in the side rearview mirror of John’s car and saw the swollen bobble. It looked like a large marble had embedded itself underneath my eyebrow and nested there. It was mobile too, which was kind of fun. I could push it around, though it kind of hurt. The cut didn’t look bad. It was about a 2 centimeters in length and not deep.
Lydia, the bartender, at the beach bar was to be my nurse for the moment. She is a shorter Hispanic woman appearing to be in her forties/fifties, probably street-smart, caring and motherly tough. She gave me some ice and let me stand next to the bar as I bleed onto the napkin and ice she had gave me. Lydia asked me if I’d like some rum, gold or white? I agreed with the passing thought of maybe saving some to drink. I chose white rum. Sylvan offered to pay for the ice and she declined as she said she would charge $100 but it’s free if he didn’t have it. I think Lydia got a kick out of our visit. It at least, maybe, provided her with some comic-relief for the morning. We liked Lydia anyway, and next time I’m in Jobos, I’ll be looking to get my rum from her, para un bebido, and not for my eyebrow : )
Sylvan and I found our way back to John and Julie at the bar next door and relaxed a bit before heading out for the rest of the day’s adventure. Sylvan and John got to surf at Wilderness while Julie and I took a walk along the beach and explored some ruins. I had so much fun that day and throughout the rest of the week.
My next surf lesson came without injury. Sylvan is a great teacher. He has a strong passion for surfing and an incredible way of harnessing that passion into a lifelong learning experience in and out of the water. I am so grateful for having him in my life and for him sharing his passions with me. Thank you for having me on your blog Sylvan! The experience I had surfing in Puerto Rico this January was fuel for the fire. I can see how easily addictive it is and why Sylvan is on his board as much as possible. I love the water, love finding peace in activity (if that makes any sense) and love sharing experiences with people I care about. Surfing incorporates all these things and I’m looking forward to learning more about it and getting on the board again soon, sans injury, and sans cold weather. In the mean time, happy running! ; ) Jenny
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
What to do.... what to do???
"There's got to be some way to clean these suckers," I tell myself.
I started out by researching a bit online for things like "running shoe care and maintenance." Eventually I find a forum on the Runner's World website. After reading a few dozen comments and suggestions on the topic I devise a plan. Here's what I did and I'll tell you it worked quite well.
1.) Pull the inserts out of the shoes. Do not wash these.
2.) Place the shoes together or individually inside pillowcase(s) and wash inside a washing machine on normal cycle with normal detergent. The pillowcase prevents scuffing of the shoes and also keeps the laces from becoming tangled. For added cushioning wash with towels or sheets. (Don't laugh at my "beachy" pillowcase; I'm a surfer living in a beach town!)
3.) Remove from the washing machine and let air dry. No need to tumble dry. The shoes will dry out just the same as if you ran a 20-miler and perspired like an animal. If you live in a high humidity environment such as Florida, you might consider using a small fan to produce airflow across the shoes as I did. By the next morning my shoes were dry and ready to wear.
4.) Now you can wear your clean running shoes for casual wear and walking without feeling like a bum. My shoes are so clean now they almost look new enough to go for a run.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
First off, upon my return from Puerto Rico, I checked my mail to find these two magazines waiting for me!Jenny got me the subscription for Christmas and they just are now arriving. Looks like I've got some reading to catch up on!
Secondly, how cool is this?
Yup, that's the official Muddy Buddy registration confirmation for Jenny and I for the Orlando race in May. Finally, I'm going to get to experience what so many of my friends have done and all had a blast doing; and best of all I get to do it with someone super special! We're registered as Team Rockstar so watch out! Who else is doing Muddy Buddy???
Monday, February 1, 2010
To answer that question simply: ANOTHER MARATHON!
Yes, I know... I know... TallGuySurfing has said in the past that running a marathon was a one time thing to scratch off the bucket list and then I'd just do shorter distance runs for fun after the marathon. If you read my recaps here and here you might gather that I wasn't all that happy with how the training experience went nor the actual race and was just happy to finish without injury along side my friend Harrison. After many fun conversations with Jenny about it and also learning more and more about this "running" world I've decided I WANT that uninjured training experience and I WANT to see what I can accomplish in a serious marathon race situation.
So without further adieu here's the plan!
We'll call it the Road to Seattle! With the end result being June 26th, the date of the Rock n Roll Seattle Marathon. This is a race that Jenny really wants to do and we both love the idea of a vacation to the Pacific Northwest!
No races are planned. I've made a promise to myself to only run short distances to limit the abuse to my Achilles. I will use this time to cross train in an effort to strengthen my legs (squats.... lots of squats) and do physical therapy exercises to strengthen both my Achilles tendons. I'll probably also surf as much as possible and spectate a few races. Jenny is running the Donna Half on Feb. 21 along with some of her friends and I plan to be there to rock the cowbell and also cheer on the Redhead too!
Commence Seattle Training. The goal is to go lightly almost as I'm a novice to not injure myself. I'll be using one of Hal Higdon's plans. Yes, I bought his book, Marathon The Ultimate Training Guide, and this shall be my bible. March also has some other exciting adventures in the works including being a van driver for Team Hot Legs in the Sunset2Sunrise Relay, an open window for a quick "swell chasing" trip to Puerto Rico and most certainly a yet-to-be-named celebration for Jenny's Birthday!
Mileage will increase and this month will probably be key in determining if I can increase weekly mileage without re-aggravating the Achilles injury. There might also be a trip to North Carolina in the works with some possible "hills" to train for the next month's exciting activities!
Can you say Muddy Buddy?!?!? Jenny and I will rock the course in our first ever Muddy Buddy race in Orlando. Then on May 16th I'm off to California for the ING Bay to Breakers 12k. I've convinced my Cousin in Portland to take on a serious training plan and run that race with me as well as my good friend in Sacramento. It will be a great chance to see some friends and family and get a little crazy at the same time and conquer the giant hill of San Fransisco!
Well, June will be "go time" and hopefully another successful Marathon. I know some other bloggers are running Seattle as well and can't wait to follow along!
That's the plan so stay tuned for all the wacky stories that will surely follow in the wake of the swell!