Posted on 29-06-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Fit moms RunDMT and Running Betty have thrown down the gauntlet.  They’ve put together the Julyathon challenge:

Do 100 pushups by July 31st.  I think I can do it.  Actually, I thought I could do it today, but I only got out 30 before I decided I wasn’t going to get to 100 and quit.  Check out the challenge and sign up if you’re up to it:


(8) Comments   
Posted on 28-06-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Another pretty solid week is in the books.  It included a drunken nighttime run and an epic 11 mile quest for a restroom.  Who says running is boring?

Monday AM: 2 miles 8:23 pace on treadmill + full body strength training

Monday PM: 2 miles at 6:50 pace in the dark, all alone

Tuesday PM: 5 miles with Alice at 10:37 pace

Wednesday AM: 2 miles 8:23 pace on treadmill + full body strength training

Wednesday PM: 6×400 m with Alice.  Total 4 miles. Avg pace 10:41

Thursday AM: 6 miles with Richie at 8:23 pace

Thursday PM: 4 miles with Alice at 10:14 pace

Friday AM: 5 miles with Alice at 9:51 pace

Saturday AM: 10.9 miles with Richie and Justin at 9:20 pace (includes restroom stops)

Sunday AM: 6 miles with Alice at 11:02 pace

Total: 46.9

Next week is my last week of only easy pace runs.  Where has the time gone?  I’ll be cutting the mileage back just slightly (no long run) and running a midnight 5K at the end of the week!  I don’t mind staying up late since I’ll actually get to sleep in both days of the weekend (maybe even three since it’s a holiday weekend).

(6) Comments   
Posted on 27-06-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Drew got conscripted into helping his sister in law move, so he was not able to make the 11 miler this morning.  Instead, we were joined by Richie’s friend, Justin.  We started out at a pretty solid pace, averaging low 8’s per mile through the first 5 miles.  When we stopped for water about halfway through, the execution of the day’s plan rapidly started to deteriorate.

In retrospect, I should have seen it coming when Richie retrieved a bag of “wipes” from his car and ran with those in his right hand.  Certainly, the need to “go” is always a danger on a long run.  I was a little worried myself.  After my experience in the 2008 Walt Disney World marathon, I’ve learned to make a definite point of getting in a little morning activity to loosen the bowels before a long run.  My time on the toilet was not as “productive” as I would have liked before the run this morning.  So, I showed up at the park hoping the intestines would behave themselves.

As it turned out, I was fine.  Richie?  Not so much.  Shortly after our brief water break, he ran ahead to a restroom.  Justin and I continued along planning to meet up with him at the restroom.  In the distance, I saw him disappear into the restroom building.  I glanced at my watch and made note of the time, so we could measure his pit stop.  Hey, you’ve gotta keep yourself entertained on a long run.  A few seconds later, he popped back out.

“Damn, that was quick!” I thought.

He shrugged.  The bathroom was closed.  We were at the base of St. Petersburg’s iconic pier.  We knew of another restroom at the end.  It would add another mile to our route.

“Go for it,” I said, “We’ll run with you and we’ll just cut the loop around the park off the end of the run”.

“No problem,” I was thinking.  “It’ll all come out okay in the end.”  I giggled at my own pun.  Richie ran ahead again, as Justin and I covered the distance to the end of the pier at just under 8 minute/mile pace.  The men’s restroom was closed for renovation and Richie had just seen two women walk into the women’s room.  So, we waited outside for them to exit.  Just as the second woman exited, another woman dressed in a rather expensive print sweatsuit walked up.

“Hey, can I get in there?” Richie asked with fairly clear urgency.

“After I come out,” the lady replied rather tartly as she continued her prim arm swinging power walk right into the restroom.

Richie had a few choice words for the woman and decided not to wait.  The grin on Justin’s face (and I suspect mine too) was rather priceless.  Richie took off running toward the end of the pier.  In frustration, he threw his bag of wipes at the seawall.  Justin and I worked hard to keep up with him down the length of the pier as we endured an impromptu, adrenaline (Richie’s, not ours) induced fartlek.

We continued on our route for another mile and then made another detour into a marina.  We located the restroom which was, of course, locked.  Richie checked with a city employee who had no key.  We continued for a few hundred meters to another restroom, marked “boat owners only”.  This was also locked.

Hope, however, springs eternal.  The city employee turned his truck around and got on the horn with a marina employee.  The marina employee with the key walked over.  Obviously relieved, Richie told Justin and I to continue along, then loop back around and meet him.  We only got about 50 yards before we heard Richie shouting obscenities at us.

“I can’t f-ing believe this!  26 years of running and I have never, ever been “o” for f-ing four in finding a restroom!  I’m standing there, watching the guy walk over with the key in his hand.  My blood vessels are dilating.  I’m getting all relaxed.  I’m ready to go and he tells me he can’t open the door because the restroom is for f-ing boat owners only!  F-it.  I’m over it.  I’ll just pull a ‘grete waitz’ on the way back”.

“I’ll just run in front of you then,” I replied, pretty sure he was only joking.

We made our way back to the park, finishing 10.88 miles in 1:41:32 – roughly 9:20 min/mile.  That includes all the stops.  I never stopped my watch.  It was a pretty good run, restroom stops notwithstanding.  Richie pulled some energy chews out of a pocket in the rear of his shorts and offered them to Justin and I.  We politely declined.

(5) Comments   
Posted on 25-06-2009
Filed Under (Inspiration) by Brian

Yesterday, Jess had an interesting post daydreaming about life as an independently wealthy runner.  She laid out her typical day.  I’ll confess that I think about this very thing from time to time.  Here’s what I’d do:

1)  Wake up and start a run before sunrise

2)  Stretch

3)  Eat breakfast

4)  Shower

5)  Go back to bed

6)  Have a leisurely lunch

7)  Spend the afternoon reading or working on a pet project and snacking

8)  Run an easy afternoon run

9)  Shower

10)  Have a relaxing dinner with moderate amounts of whiskey

11)  Relax, read, work on pet project some more

12)  Sleep

That would be kind of nice.  We’ll see where life takes me.

(6) Comments   
Posted on 23-06-2009
Filed Under (Inspiration) by Brian

Yesterday was hot, but I didn’t have any outdoor workouts scheduled.  Still, I had a lot of meetings around town and I ended up doing a lot of walking around in the heat.  The rest of family was out for the evening doing various things, so I had the place to myself.  After running many errands in the heat, I decided that a nice cold rum punch sounded pretty good.  So, I picked up a bottle of Appleton White Jamaican rum.

At home, I tunneled to the back of the cabinet and dug out the big souvenir glass I got from T-Rex after the Disney half marathon.  I filled it with ice, grabbed my shaker and mixed my favorite citrus rum punch:

1 & 1/3 oz Jamaican rum

2/3 oz triple sec

1 & 2/3 oz orange juice

2/3 oz lime juice

I shook the mixture, poured it into the glass and then topped it off with 7-up.  It was cold and refreshing.

Now, I normally do most of the cooking in the house, but when nobody’s around I find it difficult to go through the trouble of making a real meal.  So, I popped 40 pizza rolls in the oven and relaxed with my rum punch.  I ate all 40 pizza rolls (1470 calories if you believe the package) and then made myself another rum punch.  I now had a full belly and was feeling pretty good really buzzed.  I relaxed for a while, read a few blogs, wrote a blog post of my own and then decided to settle down with Again to Carthage by John L. Parker Jr.

It was 10:30 PM.  The sugar and the alcohol were playing conflicting games in my bloodstream.  Before I even opened the book, I was off the couch.  I was dying to try out my new racing shoes.  Foregoing a shirt in the dark night, I threw on some running shorts and my lightest running socks.  I laced up the new racing shoes and headed out the door with a very specific two mile route in mind.  I walked quickly through the dark, soupy humidity like a man on a mission.

When I arrived at the route’s starting point, I quickly went from walk to brisk run.  My legs were fresh and unencumbered by the weight of my trainers.  I charged through the first quarter mile feeling like a high speed hovercraft floating over the pavement.  I couldn’t see my Garmin.  I had no idea how fast I was going, but I knew I was moving at a pretty good clip and I felt like I wasn’t putting any effort into it at all.  I came to a point where uneven pavers make the sidewalk treacherous.  In the dark, I couldn’t pick my through like I normally do in the daylight.  I didn’t slow down.  I just high stepped my way through that block so I wouldn’t trip.

When I arrived at the park – the one mile mark and the site of so many painful interval sessions – I stopped briefly  to turn around.  I was dripping with sweat from the humid evening, but I didn’t feel one ounce of tired.  I looked over the moonlit lake and started to laugh.  I don’t know why.  I couldn’t stop.  I was a shirtless guy with bright orange shoes standing alone and laughing on a street corner in the middle of the night.  I looked at my Garmin only to find the battery drained.  Somehow, this made the whole thing even more humorous.

I decided I better get moving before people started calling the cops to come remove this crazy man from their neighborhood.  Fortunately, I was feeling fast.  I zipped home again with that incredible floating feeling in my legs.  I returned to my starting point with a huge grin on my face.  I was in love.

I don’t know exactly how fast I went but it wasn’t all out.  The Garmin died at 0.94 miles and registered an average pace of 6:50 min/mile up to that point.  I didn’t slow down after that, so I figure I was sub 14 minutes for the two miles.  It’s not lightning quick, but considering I finished feeling almost as fresh as when I started, I was giddy with the possibilities.  I think there’s a good chance I’ll be running that midnight 5K on the 4th of July.

(8) Comments   
Posted on 22-06-2009
Filed Under (Gear) by Brian

Lately, I’ve been toying around with the idea of purchasing some racing shoes.  It may surprise some to know that every race I’ve ever run was run in my trainers.  Actually, I ran my first three races in cross trainers before I even considered buying real running shoes.  Usually, I’d try to buy a new pair of trainers before a race and put about 15-20 miles on them.  New shoes are always a little “bouncier” than older shoes.  I figured that if I’m going to break 18 minutes in the 5K in the near future that I may as well at least pretend I’m that fast and get some racing shoes.

My eyes were initially set on the Adidas Adizero Ace and the Adizero Adios.  The word on the street is that Haile Gebrselassie set the marathon world record in the Adios.  My reasons for choosing these shoes were that my trainers are Adidas and I felt a little bit of brand loyalty, the bright yellow and black color schemes  match very well a certain logo for a certain project I’m working on, and finally Haile Gebrselassie set the world record in the Adios so clearly if I wear the Adios, I’ll run a sub 2:10 marathon.

I bypassed my usual St. Petersburg Feet First running store and headed to the fit2run store in Tampa.  As I suspected, they had a much better selection of racing shoes.  They did not have the Adizero Ace and they were out of the Adizero Pro in my size.  I did get to try on the Adizero Adios.  These shoes fit like a glove.  At 6.8 ounces, they were roughly half the weight of my trainers and lighter even than my bedroom slippers.  I’ve never felt a shoe that so completely conformed to my foot than these.  They were comfortable, but lacked much cushioning.  I felt they might have worked for a 5K, but unlike Haile, I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be happy getting through a longer race wearing these.

When I mentioned to the sales guy that I wore the Adidas Supernove Sequence as a trainer, he mentioned that he had some racing shoes that had some stability.  I honestly thought all racers were neutral cushioned, so I enthusiastically agreed to try on some others.  He brought out something by Nike, Mizuno, Asics and Saucony.  The Nike shoes were surprisingly cushioned for a racing flat, but it felt like all the cushion was on the outer part of my foot and I could definitely feel my ankles collapsing inward even as I walked in them.  I think they’d be great for a major suppinator, but not for a slight overpronator like me.  The Asics shoes felt okay, but they slipped in the back.  The Mizunos were nice and were the racing shoe of choice for the sales clerk.  They fit well, but I ultimately went with the Saucony Grid Fastwitch 3:

Saucony Grid Fastwitch 3

At 8.1 ounces, these are still 5 ounces lighter than my trainers.  They fit very well, and are a true stability racer.  Maybe someday I’ll graduate to the lighter shoes, but I think this is a great starting point.  Now, I’m very motivated to register for the midnight run on the 4th of July just to try these babies out.

(6) Comments   
Posted on 21-06-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Another solid week is in the books.  It marked a couple of firsts.  One was my first “group run”.  I met two great guys (Richie and Drew) on Saturday morning.  Though I messed up the route and we ran a little slow due to animated conversation, a good time was had by all.  I’m definitely looking forward to running with these guys again.  I think it will make those long marathon training runs bearable.  Second, Alice hit a 6 mile run this morning.  She was also a little slow, but certainly not bad at all for her first 6 mile run.  My routing blunder on Saturday left me a half mile short of my planned mileage, but it was still a pretty solid week:

Monday AM: 2 miles treadmill at 8:28 pace + upper and lower strength training

Monday PM: 4 miles at 7:48 pace

Tuesday PM: 4 miles with Alice at 11:04 pace

Wednesday AM: 2 miles treadmill at 8:28 pace + full body strength training

Wednesday PM: 3 miles of intervals with Alice at avg pace of 10:23

Thursday AM: 6 miles Easy at 8:16 pace

Thursday PM: 4 miles with Alice at 9:30 pace

Friday PM: 4 miles with Alice at 10:10 pace

Saturday AM: 10.5 miles with Richie and Drew at 9:09 pace

Sunday AM: 6 miles with Alice at 11:26 pace

Total: 45.5 miles

Next week is another 46 mile week, though it’s going to more hectic than this week was.  I’m still basically in easy run mode, but I’m toying with running a 4th of July midnight 5K.

(5) Comments   
Posted on 19-06-2009
Filed Under (It's all about me) by Brian

A few weeks ago, I blogged about a photo shoot I was doing in the morning.  I thought since it’s Friday (and some people do a photo Friday) that I’d share the results:




The photo shoot was conducted in downtown St. Petersburg for a redesign of our own company website.  The top photo has become my official company mugshot.  Occasionally, potential clients ask for resumes and bios of the company principals, so that photo goes out with our little kit.  We didn’t end up using the middle shot because of the huge glare in my glasses (though it could have been removed with Photoshop – that is something our company does), but we all decided the first one was better anyway.  The third pic is (obviously) the whole company (all three of us).

The photos were taken by Tanya Sharkey, a St. Petersburg photographer who just opened a new studio.  Her studio is cool, but we preferred the outdoor city location (and yes we did have to postpone the shoot for a week due to rain).  Our company website used to be comic book themed, so our official pictures were actually caricatures.  We decided to redesign the site and finally look like real people.

It occurs to me now that a lot of my loyal readers have gotten tidbits of my rather convoluted employment situation and that must be a little confusing.  Here’s the 30 second version for those who care:

I have a Ph.D. in oceanography.  I work full time for a local university programming three dimensional numerical models of continental shelf ecosystems (they’re like hurricane models, only with biology).  While I was still in grad school, my wife started R-Design, a graphic design company that quickly turned into a full service creative studio.  I serve as the development director, overseeing the books, the programming and the SEO (search engine optimization).  Aside from that, I work on several other web based projects that are just for fun now, but could be profitable at some point.  One of those is running related.  Oh, and I run a whole lot (but you knew that).

(6) Comments   
Posted on 14-06-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Back in the swing of things and on a regimented training plan again, the week didn’t start out so hot.  I woke Monday morning with the kind of clogged sore throat that always seems to be the prelude to a cold for me.  I was determined to get my 40 miles in, though so I just took it day by day:

Monday AM: 2 miles treadmill (8:28 avg pace), upper and lower strength training

Monday PM: 4 miles Easy (7:46 avg pace)

Tuesday AM: 6 miles Easy (8:04 avg pace)

Tuesday PM: 4 miles Easy (7:55 avg pace)

Wednesday AM: 2 miles treadmill (8:28 avg pace), upper and lower strength training

Thursday AM: 6 miles Easy (8:16 avg pace)

Thursday PM: 4 miles Easy (7:52 avg pace)

Friday AM: 2 miles treadmill (7:15 avg pace)

Saturday AM: 10 mile long run (8:25 avg pace)

Total: 40 miles

On Saturday I got out of bed at 5:30.  I had forgotten how much I love running before sunrise.  I was really worried about Saturday’s run because my endurance has been pretty bad lately and I haven’t done anything more than 8 miles in a single workout for a couple of months.  The  air was cool and peaceful and I was relaxed.  I took the first 2 miles relatively slow (9:15 pace), then stayed steady at my prescribed easy pace until about mile 6 when I sped up.  I gained back most of my time during miles 7 and 8, then finished off the last two miles slightly faster than my easy pace.  I was very happy with it.

I’ve still got the cold.  It’s just migrated from throat to nose to chest.  It’s pretty mild, though.  Hopefully I’m on the mend and next week will be another good week.  It’s onward and upward to 46 miles!  My afternoon runs will probably be slower, though since Alice is returning from 2 weeks in St. Louis and I’ll be running with her again.

(5) Comments   
Posted on 10-06-2009
Filed Under (Training) by Brian

Today was a pretty good day.  The oceanographic research group I’m a part of received a grant from NASA to continue our work in the development of numerical models to predict Red Tides.  We’ll be assimilating some of NASA’s satellite data into our models.  That will (in theory) make their predictions more accurate.  Anyway, this means I’m employed in the oceanographic field for another two years.  It’s certainly a big financial relief, but it will take away from the time I have to work on other (more fun) pet projects.

On the running front, my first week back to regimented training didn’t get off to a great start.  I woke up Monday morning with a sore throat.  It wasn’t bad – just one of those things that feels like the precursor to a full blown cold.  I went to the gym anyway and ran my two miles on the treadmill followed by a full body strength workout.  That afternoon, I went out for a 4 mile run.  As J is finding out, running in Florida this time of year can be like having a mild fever.  I think this has actually helped me.  I ran my 4 miles at an average pace of 7:45 min/mile.  Tuesday morning I ran a hot and humid six miles and then another 90+ degree 4 miles that afternoon.  This morning, I was back on the treadmill for 2 before another full body strength session.

Thus far, I’ve hit my goal mileage.  The cold hasn’t progressed past my throat.  I think the virus is starting to think my body isn’t so hospitible.  Tomorrow is another 10 mile day with 6 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon, so I’ll try to drive that point home again.  Assuming things don’t get any worse, I’m still looking good to hit 40 miles this week.

(6) Comments   
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