Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Go North, Old Man!

A couple of things...

I decided this week to run the Long Beach Marathon in October. Looks flat and fast.

My iMac suffered a catastrophic failure of its hard-drive and it crashed and burned in spectacular fashion. Thank the Lord for back-ups... But ten days to do warranty work, Apple? To replace a simple hard-drive? Scandalous customer service!

Did 30K on Sunday on a beautiful summer Sunday morning. A great run.

Heading for the Queen Charlotte Islands at the crack of dawn tomorrow to run another Totem to Totem Marathon.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Run in the Sun

After my epic little weekend - 17 and 23 miles on back to back days - I rested on Monday and went for a very easy 10K on Tuesday.  I was working like a dog all day and after twelve hours, mostly just wanted to make sure I had some circulation.

Vancouver is in the throes of a week of utterly splendid weather, the kind of days that make all memories of winter rain and damp seem faint and distant.  Yesterday was hot and clear and the sun beat down on beach-goers and runners alike.  At six in the evening it was still 76 degrees - at least according to the Molson Brewery thermostat as I drove across the Burrard Street Bridge - and the pavement on the Seawall around the perimeter of Stanley Park had been well-baked by early evening.

This Marathon Clinics group of diehards is keen to qualify for the Boston Marathon or set personal bests this Fall, so they can reliably be counted upon to chomp at the bit during every training run.  We set out to do a 10K at a 3:30 marathon pace, and we even discussed adjusting our time for the heat.  But once we were underway all such considerations vanished like water evaporating on the pavement.  We maintained a pace of 7:50 and banged off the 10K in a hair over 47 minutes.

Interestingly, there was much complaining during the run about the pace, the heat and the lack of shade but not a single person backed off...  No competitive juices in this group, no Siree!   A number of runners commented afterwards that last night's run was one of their best workouts of the Clinic, myself included, and I usually do not fair very well in that kind of heat.

My weight had jumped up over two hundred pounds over the weekend, but this morning I hit the scales at 198.  Fruit and vegetables, fruit and vegetables! 

Monday, July 14, 2008

Strange and Beautiful are the Stars Tonight...

I woke up Friday and, almost miraculously, was nearly completely pain free.  My neck was a little stiff but my back was nearly back to normal, normal of course being an entirely subjective state of being...

So I ran an easy 10K after a four day lay-off.  Then on Saturday and Sunday I did 17 miles and 22 miles back to back.

I am still thinking I'll maybe do the Stormy 50 Mile Ultra Trail Race, so I figured I should pound out a little mileage.  The Totem To Totem Marathon on July 26 and a 30 miler should give me a reasonable mileage base, but we'll see how I feel.

My weight popped back up over 200 pounds, but I'm not to surprised given my summer social calendar.  I'll just have to be disciplined again and start keeping a food diary.  And try not to eat and drink as a response to stress...

It was a glorious weekend in Vancouver, and even with sunblock I managed to get some colour. I wonder sometimes about the efficacy of sunscreens when you are sweating for hours on end, and I ended up being a little pink in a few spots where I either missed with the lotion, or I simply sweated it off...

But I almost never run without a hat, and never when I know it is going to be sunny outside, so I feel pretty safe in regards to protecting my face and my beak.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Aches and Pains

After doing the 10K race on Tuesday, July 1st, I followed it up with a couple of easy 'recovery' runs on Thursday and Friday.  I did 26K on Sunday and was glad to see myself at 199 pounds on the bathroom scale.  Eureka, progress in the poundage department!  But I have been quite stiff now for a week.

I passed on my 8K tempo last night because it was such a hot day, and because I spent several hours stranded in my car at the border, waiting as patiently as I am able for the guards to get their act together, and my back and neck were acting up.

I'm in a bit of a quandary, because I have a long history of neck and back problems, including but not limited to surgery, car crashes, trauma, traction and assorted broken bones and too many bruises to catalogue.  The end result is chronic neck and back pain that I manage with varying degrees of success.  Running, believe it or not, even high mileage, actually seems to help, as does staying lean.  Stress does not.  

My neck has been stiff for over two weeks and I have no idea what started it.  This morning I could hardly get out of bed.  Sitting in a chair too long is one of the worst things for my back, and I have been doing a lot of that lately.  Oh well.  Such is life.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

All Hot ands Bothered

During Tuesday's Bank of Hong Kong Canada Day 10K Race, a number of the runners, myself included, were all whinging about their race results.  It was hot, humid day on the morning of the race, and even at 8 AM, the early rays of the sun hitting as we rounded the Stanley Park Sea Wall were enough to make us all break out into a hard sweat.

My 10K time was a full minute slower than just six days earlier and the effort required was significantly higher.  I wrote it off to tired legs and too many 'fast' miles in the last two weeks. This New York Times Personal Best article made me reconsider just a trifle and recognize that the heat on Canada may have been more of a contributing factor than I had realized.  Well worth the read.  And a reason to be doubly careful as we - hopefully - head into the heat of the summer months...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Even Perfection Has Its Limitations

Last Fall I was absolutely and utterly convinced - by the best-meaning friends in the world, I am sure - that after twenty years of cursing Bill Gates and my endlessly crashing PC, that if I had an ounce of common sense and and any aesthetic taste at all, I simply must switch to an Apple.  

Appealing to my artistic vanity nearly always works, so I soon found myself in possession of a brand spanking new iMac 24.  A thing of rare beauty.   My brain still hurts on a regular basis from attempting to decipher a new operating system.  I am after all, a dog that is getting increasingly longer in the tooth. Or is that a horse?  My memory is starting to go as well... And now the new operating system doesn't operate worth a damn. Yes, those primal screams emanating from the heart of Kitsilano belong to yours truly.

My state of the art, supposedly super-fast Apple is moving like a six hour pace group or molasses in January.  I am endlessly confronted by Apple's not so cute, mushroom inhaling, psychedelically coloured, spinning basketball of doom.  I want to heave the sleek, designed to give geeks an erection, 24 inch screen through my office window.

But enough about my crappy Apple...  ARRRGGGH!

Last Wednesday I ran a great 10K in 48:15 at an average heart rate of 158.  A beautiful run. But after a week and a half of running more than my fair share of fast miles, my legs were not co-operating in yesterday's Bank of Hong Kong Canada Day 10K Race.  On an admittedly hot morning, but still only 8:00 AM, I ran the race in a chip time of 49:10. And my average heart rate was 167, nearly ten beats higher than six days ago.  I crossed the Finish Line at 188!

Okay, time to figure out what to do with this beautiful beast sitting on top of my desk....