Sunday, February 25, 2007

Still Wiping the Tears From My Eyes...

God, I love a good laugh!

Are you gay?

You will never qualify for Boston with a half marathon time of
2:40-whatever. And never mind Boston, why don't you try Ironman - now,
there's a challenge!

PS I hope you don't wear that ridiculous skirt running.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Stuck on Standby

I have ventured out the past two days to see if I was fit enough to run, but it has become clear within ten or fifteen minutes, even going excruciatingly slow, that my long-term reovery is best served by taking it easy.

Within a couple of kilometres I am a bit wheezy and breaking out in a sweat all out of proportion to my effort. And my heart rate soars with the smallest exertion. So, I will err on the side of caution.

This weekend my Galloway plan calls for 45K, but I don't see that as particularly realistic. Another venture outside and I will try and realistically assess my condition.

Good news is, my weight has been stable at 190 pounds for most of this week. And I have had lots of time to make homemade chicken soup!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

24 Little Hours

What a difference a day makes.

After suffering through a week of hacking and coughing, chills and sweats, I thank the Gods or whomever that I had the humility to finally drag myself to the doctor.

I feel much, much better already. Feeling that you've turned the corner is always good for the spirit as well.

I know that most of my weight loss has been water, so I am being careful to stay rehydrated.

Diet-wise, I am not that enthused about food, but have been careful to eat as healthily as possible - lots of chicken soup, a little brown rice and oatmeal and steamed vegetables being about as adventuresome as I want to get.

Exercise-wise, dog walking is about it. So it is not like I have to stoke the furnace with calories as it is anyways!

Less than eight weeks until the Boston Marathon. Amazing how fast it creeps up on you.

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Care and Maintenance of an Aging Race Car

Well. I was almost too embarassed to call the doctor this morning, but with Boston a mere eight weeks off and feeling like I might never be able to run again, I put aside my pride and asked to see Dr. Boris. What with my father and all, it sometimes seems like I am seeing the good doctor more than his staff does.

Sitting in the examining room, Dr. Boris strolled in and greeted me with "That's quite the cough! How long have you had it?"

Off my look of amazement, Boris said he could hear me out in the waiting room way down the hall from his office. He pulled out his stethoscope and...

"I can't remember you sounding worse".

I have a respiratory tract infection. Brochial something or other, or maybe pneumonia. My brain is a little fuzzy and I just happily accepted the prescription I was given.

Long story short, I am taking the latest mega-antibiotic on the market, one of the new, take-one-a-day-for-five-days kill anything foreign that moves in your body and codeine for the kind the coughing that nearly doubles you over and let's not burst any blood vessels in that finely tuned cardio-vascular engine of yours. Oh yeah, and double your asthma medication...

Boris and I then went over all of my recent tests, blood and otherwise. His advice -

"Don't stop running," and in a tone that immediately caught my attention.

My good cholesterol was high and my bad cholesterol normal, or even low. All the other stuff was fabulous, great, couldn't be better...

But - for the first time in my life my fasting blood sugar was in the grey zone. Or as Dr. Boris put it, too high for a guy who runs as much as me. And different from the exact same blood tests I have been taking every year since I turned forty.

As Boris put it, a guy of my age, weight and body fat percentage, who exercises as much as I do, shouldn't have any resistance to insulin. But the shadow of my family's heart history and my father's genes loomed large.

Boris said that the only thing other than family history that would make my fasting blood sugar high was "stress". Should I laugh or cry? Might as well save that for later. Regardless of whether it was stress or genes, I just wanted to know what I could do. What could I do that would make a difference and allow me to be pro-active?

So Boris' advice, sound as always, was that the best cure by far, was prevention. I may not be able to control my genes - not yet - but I CAN control my lifestyle choices.

Boris and I went over the supplements I take. He urged me to double the fish oil I take, and said that by far the best Omega fatty acids come from steam distilled anchovies! Sardines have three times the good fish oil that salmon does! Hello, little fishies!

The aspirin a day, all the rest of my supplements were fine. But fish oil, twice a day, that was the ticket. Research has shown that the dosage of fish oil that Boris was suggesting could reduce inflamation, actually reverse damage and had the same effect as the medications used to treat early Type II Diabetes. Fish oil, and the omega fatty acids it contains, can reduce blood sugar, whether it was caused by stress OR genes, or just by my father genes AND stress.

We talked a little bit about my diet and drinking habits and lifestyle and Boris finally kicked me out with, "Just keep doing what you're doing, Vince. Keep running".

So rather than running away from bad news, I'm running towards a healthy lifestyle.

And given the stresses in my life, will take it a little easier in my training and on my aging chasis. Thank God for my heart rate monitor, Dr. Boris and Jeff Galloway.

The bug I picked up was probably given a foothold because of both the stress in my personal life and the over-training I have been pushing up against - another form of stress on the body which lowers the body's immune system's response.

All things in moderation. Except the fish oil...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Nice Plug

Skipped my run today as I am coughing up some pretty hideously-coloured stuff from my lungs. Will err on the side of caustion. Good news, dropped to 192 and 15% body fat, or so the scale says.

More good news, slept like a baby last night. And my legs feel good.

It's always nice to get noticed. Especially from another running site that you have a lot of respect for...

From Jesslyn Cummings,
Your Guide to Running & Jogging.
FREE Newsletter. Sign Up Now!
Looking for some motivation?
Sometimes you just need to know what other runners are up to. I love my running buddies and they are great, but occasionally I just want to know what runners-at-large are doing. I decided I could either run up to strangers while they are trying to finish their run or I could get into the running blog community.
Since running up to strangers can be hazardous (or at least annoying), here are some blogs that I'd like to share with you:

Boston or Bust
Journey of a lifetime
A Passion For Running
One Track Mind

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Cold and Flu Season

I am fighting off a cold. Have been all week.

May not run at all tomorrow, would hate to give anyone anything or get them sick...



Kind of hard to tell the difference...

I always pride myself on how healthy I am, but that mostly arrogance, vanity, and bullshit. I mean honestly, who really has any control over whether or not they get the fucking plague? Oops, Deadwood creeping in again.

Had weak lungs as a kid, the whole asthma thing. Grew out of it and it came back as a rusty old wheeze when my mileage got up there with endurance running.

Bailed out of two runs this week when I thought my lungs might still be fried from Saturday's mile repeats.

Now I just ache all over. But don't want to start hacking up bits of lung tissue.

Yeah, you're right, it is a little gross.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Post Weekend Stress Syndrome


Great to hear about your success on the 1600 meter runs. You are getting the job done.

During the week, the minimum you need is @45 minutes on Tuesday and 45 min on Thursday. You can run more than this if you wish, and you can reduce this to 30 minutes if you have time issues.

During each of these runs, it wouldn't hurt to run one to three 1600 meter segments at race pace, inserting a 30 second walk break at the half way point. If you are still tired from the weekend workout, just jog for 30-45 minutes.

Have a good week!


After feeling pretty good on Sunday morning - and exhausted by the end of Sunday evening - what with half marathons and birthday parties, I slept the sleep of the dead.

And will admit that Monday morning I was a little stiffer than usual.

I may postpone my Tuesday run until tomorrow and then go out again on Thursday and Friday, with some more speed work on Friday for sure.

Still very pleased with the way my mile repeats went on Saturday. Very much helped with my self-confidence.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My Two a Half Hour Half Marathon


Technically, today should have been a rest day. But I felt great the day after my mile repeats and did a very easy - I even hesite to use the word run - half marathon in 2:37:14.

Tomorrow is DEFINITELY a rest day... ! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Beautiful, Beautiful Miles


If I say it often enough - I may even believe it.

Oddly enough, ten one-mile repeats were easier than eight. Scarily though, at the end, I was having trouble keeping track and ALMOST did an extra one to be on the safe side...

The day was sunny and warm, the sky blue.

The track was even wetter than last time, with more puddles and surface water, and the mud thicker. A dry track would probably have been worth a few seconds.

After following Jeff's advice to ease off a little, it was much easier to maintain a faster pace. And the fifteen second breather at the 800 meter mark made a world of difference.

Heart rate at the end of the tenth mile was 185. Time to complete the miles, with breaks in between, over two hours.

It is a tough work out.

My respect for real marathoners has grown by leaps and bounds. Those men and women are physically and mentally tough to a degree I can scarcely imagine.

Simply incredible athletes. Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Deadwood Dare - Parental Guidance Suggested

Deadwood, the television series on HBO, has become my absolute favorite thing that can be seen on the little black box. I didn't think Tony Sporano could be supplanted, or Denny Crane on Boston Legal, or anything by Aaron Sorkin, but those fucking cocksuckers on Deadwood have done it. David Milch is a fucking writer and a half. Maybe two.

Of course it doesn't hurt that the History Channel runs back-to-back episodes, those Yankdom sonsofbitches who would soon as make a dollar as any whore dropping her drawers for a dollar to be found at the Gem, or that I generally drink whiskey - preferably Kentucky bourbon or perhaps a little Jameson's or Bushmill - while watching Al Swearengen and EB Farnum and Sheriff Seth Bullock scheme and connive and sweep aside any onerous cunt that impedes their life's pursuit of the simple pleasures of drinking, whoring, fighting, empire-building and finding true love. Or a gold nugget.

The profanity on the show is Homeric in its poetry, a linguistic melange of Oxford and Harvard English and dockside crudity. It is profanity that you can positively wallow in with joy at its unfettered elegance. It is beautiful excrement, fragrant feces, perfumed piss. Deadwood is the best fucking writing on fucking television. And you can take that to the fucking bank.

The mano a mano showdown between Al and Seth over the honour of Alma Garret may have been one of the finest set pieces ever seen on televsion, and was then topped by watching Doc Cochran attempt to discern if Al had bladder stones by inserting a metal rod up Al's urethra and listening for the click of metal on mineral. That is fucking genius. I nearly wept at the perfection of it...

However, I digress.

I was so tired on the morning that Deadwood came on a few nights ago, that I forgot to shave while in the shower. Then, as I watched the show late that night and sipped good Kentucky bourbon, I realized while scratching a chinful of stubble that I could have passed for most of the men on the screen, most of whom were rather hirsute. Facially speaking of course.

The number of Jack Daniel's I had quaffed made the next segue to the Phoenix Suns and their recent consecutive game winning streak, relatively easy. My mind has a tendency to jump around even when sober and when half-cut, well, I can hardly be held responsible for the erratic trail of my train of thought. The Suns had stopped shaving during their winning streak. They went seventeen games and set a new franchise record. I desperately NEED a winning streak. So I have stopped shaving. And drinking - well, maybe a little. At least until after the Boston Marathon.

Everything else in my life may be out of whack, off balance, and way off kilter, but of all the things I can actually control in this mad, mad universe, one of them is whether I have whiskers. And my resolve to get to one hundred and eighty blistering fast pounds.

Behold the Boston Barbarian!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Tightrope Called Life


On the high wire.

In life.

As we train for a marathon.

Balance is all that saves us from a nasty fall.

And balance can be a delicate creature, with gossamer wings.

It is neither easily summoned, because it obeys its own laws of physics.

Nor is balance easily grasped, being fragile in nature.

Nor controlled, because the very essence of balance contains an element of whimsey and chance.

And even when we might cup balance in our palms for a moment, it is as likely to slip through our fingers as wind through the leaves of a tree. Who controls a gust of breeze, let alone predicts a zephyr?

It is easy to fall for the notion that the key to balance is to spin faster and ever faster, mimicking the motion of a gyroscope.

The alternative is to stop, mistaking inertia and rest for balance.

The answer must lay somewhere in between.

I am not sure I am handling the high-wire act with any particular flair or aplomb these days. My runs seem to teeter back and forth between too fast and too slow. I seem to have no sense of ryhthm at home or at work or at play.

I can't tell when I am doing too much or too little, trying too hard or being too soft.

I have lost my groove and can't seem to get it back.

The good news is that a battery of tests, multiple ECGs and EKGs and Stress Tests and MAX VO2 Tests and enough blood drawn to feed a coven of vampires for a month has revealed that - at least in so far as it can be determined - there is nothing wrong with me. Not my heart anyways.

That doesn't mean I'm normal of course. My brain is probably another story altogether.

I still can't sleep at night and I still have moments of chest pain sharp enough to double me over.

For someone who has always displayed an affinity for coping with stress, indeed, even sought it out, I find that whatever talent I once had in that respect has abandoned me.

And for once I am at loss for words or ideas.

I hope someone remembered to put up the net...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Coach Is King

I was hoping to swap ten one-mile repeats with the First Half - Half Marathon this coming Sunday, but Coach Jeff Galloway was having none of it.

Plus, given my Polar S625X read-outs for the past ten days, he has told me to switch from ten and ones on my Sunday long runs to three and ones!

This will take some discipline on my part... Never my strong suit. Which has always been tenacity, the ability to absorb bizarre amounts of punishment and being as dumb as a sack of hammers...

Here, as follows is this weeks correspondance.


Thanks for your report. I appreciate your honesty.

You will lower the stress on your body and the fatigue if you drop to 3-1 on your long runs. Remember to use a 6:30/kilometer pace for these.

The 1600 meter repeats will provide you with a better conditioning effect for your time goal than the half marathon. By walking 5 min between each of these, you will also recover faster than a hard half marathon.

Have a good week, and give yourself enough down time.

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, February 05, 2007 11:58 AM
Subject: "ecoach Vince H"

Dear Jeff,

Thank you again for your advice and counsel.

These are my last two Sunday Long Runs - all ten and ones.

In between I ran very easy eight and ten kilometer runs a couple of times.

This was my last "hard" workout, Jeff.

This coming Sunday calls for ten mile repeats on your training schedule.

Feb 11--10 x 1600 -

There is a Half Marathon Race scheduled the same day. Could I substitute the half marathon for the ten mile repeats? What pace would you suggest I run at, if this is permissible? I will of course, follow your advice.

Best regards, Vince Hemingson

My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose

  Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 04, 2007

23 Skidoo


Coach Galloway called for a 37 K long run today, so out I went into the rain and drizzle - all four hours and twenty minutes of it - and ran 23 miles, the closest that my small imperial measure brain could figure out was approximately 37 K.

The run was nice, but I do so hate wet feet for hours on end...

And according to the Polar S625X, I burned 3,540 calories in the process. Not too shabby a number for Super Bowl Sunday!

Weighed in at 195 this morning, 17% body fat. Guess now I'm closer to 194.

Damn, forgot about brekfast!

23 Skidoo.

I wonder where on earth that expression came from? Any answers, folks? Posted by Picasa

The Big Easy

Back to back notes from my coach:


As long as the doctors believe that this is not a heart problem, and they have cleared you to run, I will support you all the way.

Chest pain like this is common among those who are under a lot of total stress in their lives. My suggestion to take an easy week is based upon two factors:

1. You won't lose any conditioning by taking an easy week.

2. You should help the legs rebound so that your key weekend workouts won't be so difficult.

Have a great week!



Thanks for your note, and the blog. You did the right thing. The stress test misses about 15% of cardiac problems, I'm told,so you must still be vigilant.

You are definitely over trained right now. Try to run very easily on your weekday runs, and take rest days from exercise between runs. Don't do any drills or fast running on the Tues and Thurs runs. Before long runs and mile repeats, you need to rest as much as you can.

We want running to relieve stress--not produce it.


So I took it easy this week. Never got over 70%.

Tried to include a little blance in my life. Have pulled back from my father - that is another Blog entirely.

I have been through an astonishing battery of tests. At 196 pounds, 46 years of age and 17% body fat, my usual resting heart rate in the low 40's is ten beats higher in the past 90 days. My blood pressure has shot of from 100 over 65 to 135-145 over 80-85.

None of these are good signs and indicative of very high stress responses.

I am running 40 k tomorrow (or 25 miles) - easy - but looking forward to it.

Actually weighed 193 this morning.

Will need to figure out to do with my father...