Thursday, May 19, 2016

Running Phrases I Hate

I'm not one for euphemisms or cliches. They really annoy me and are generally overused.  However, they are even less enjoyable when they are centered around running.

In my recent block of "training"(flab doubling, alcohol poisoning and general sloth malaise), I've had time to ponder these and reflect upon how much I truly cannot stand them. Don't be annoyed by my pettiness and my complaining.  Don't read it if you don't like it.

"The hay is in the barn."

The Intent:
Friends and training partners mean well and imply that you've done all of the hard work in training, everything is stored up and ready to go.  The fitness is there. Just run the race and be a champion.

Real Life:
Come on, man! As a child into my late teenage years, I often had to help out on/around a small family farm.  Every June, as things get hot and humid, hay fields made life miserable.  Indeed it is hard work and torture.  Once the hay is loaded from the baler, onto the truck and (finally!) into the barn, the hard part seems like it is over.  But really, that is a lie.  Anyone that has ever had to climb up into a brutally hot and dusty hay loft in the summer and schlep down 70 lb bales of itchy hay knows that the above statement is sh*t! The hay may be in the barn but you still have to climb around and work your tail off getting it back out and where it needs to be.  In other words, yes, the training was difficult.  However, you still have to push yourself to the absolute limit and red-line in a race.  Racing hurts the most.  Please don't imply that it is easy and all the hard work is over. The statement is silly and I hate it.

".....(blah, blah, blah)....steel cut oats...."

The Intent:
I'm a disgusting pig usually when it comes to eating.  I eat healthy but I also eat unhealthy foods...A LOT. Although the above isn't a full statement, it is usually part of a written or spoken statement such as "Oh I love having a post-run recovery meal of steel cut oats and...(some other uncommon food)".

Real Life:
Seriously?! All that steel cut oats are is slightly less "crushed" grain product.  Steel cut have just not been rolled out flat, like most oats we eat.  In fact, I've done some research. They have a very "toothy" uncooked rice-like texture.  They take longer to cook.  And they offer ZERO additional further nutritional value.  Hmmmmm, just seems like a pretentious thing to me.  I would apologize if you eat them all of the time but I'm not going to because I don't see why you do go out of your way to eat them. Same taste. Tougher to cook and tougher to eat/chew. Same FDA value.  Sorry, but this is just silly and I hate it.

"Run like you stole something."

The Intent:
Positive people/race watchers who are trying to simply encourage you to run faster and harder.  These are almost always found on  homemade roadside signs at races. The longer the race, the greater the number of signs.

Real Life:
This annoys me on two fronts: 1.) this is not good advice if you're heavy and slow. Or if you're a minority in an inner city. Or if you are generally speaking, recently out on parole   2.) Why would anyone that stole something keep running in the middle of a road, in front of hundreds to thousands of eye witnesses? I'm being a bit of a baby here but most signs, especially at the marathon distance, do not encourage me at all.  They usually make me dislike the people that are not running.  There they are just relaxing, drinking beers, laughing, hanging out on the side of the road. Enjoying themselves.  Not suffering.  Man, I hate those do gooders and supportive, nice well-wishers. *To clarify, I don't hate them.  I really appreciate them and their supportive enthusiasm.  It's during a near death race experience that I hate them and everyone else on the planet.  Please make a better sign though.

"I really regret that workout said no one....ever."

The Intent:
I actually wholeheartedly agree with the premise of this one. We've all had those days where we just don't feel like running. But once you lace them up and get out the door, you never regret running. You feel better, at least mentally, afterward.

Real Life:
This is only slightly annoying because, although it holds a great amount of truth, I've heard people regret workouts.  I've even regretted a few.  How about that one where you aren't properly warmed up and pull a muscle? Or those trail tempo intervals where you were running your balls off and wiped out and tore something, strained something, or ripped something open? The famous (deceased) running author Jim Fixx, might have something to say about this too. Bottom line, although I'm conflicted here due to the "truthiness" of the statement, it still annoys me due to its lack of specificity. On a side note, if I actually believed in a God or heaven and hell, I wonder if I'd be dead now for the Jim Fixx mention. Maybe that is how I'm going to go out in a few years....  Running along, feeling good -- BANG! Dead. Heart exploded.

God: "Shouldn't have made those Jim Fixx jokes, Muddy. I had to go back and change my divine plan that I already had laid out ahead of time and kill you at 52 years old. I forgive you and love you. Just had to kill you because, well, you know.  I'm God."

"Pain is weakness leaving the body."

The Intent:
As a competitive athlete, it's implied that you're supposed to train so hard that it hurts.  This shows signs of true effort which will yield benefits, fitness, and make you a champion someday.  This is akin to the older but nearly as ubiquitous, "No pain. No gain."

Real Life:
The only thing wrong with this one is that it is just plain wrong.  And it is stupid.  Pain is a sign  that you're hurt.  Your body is telling you: "Hey asshole! This is not a good idea.  you've done something incorrectly and now there is inflammation, swelling, torn fibers, fractures, etc. Stop it! Don't be stupid!" Listen to your body, not the corny people who say it. There's a difference between severe discomfort/pushing yourself to the limit and actual pain. I've tried to do things incorrectly or at incorrect times (i.e. workout too soon after a previous hard workout or race) and do you know what it got me? Injured! Pain is intelligence leaving the body.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Catching Up -- Rambling Musings, Admissions, and Some Pictures

I'm a slacker.

While  all  most of my running brethren have been updating their blogs religiously with weekly training, pictures, beer EVERYWHERE, and summaries of their racing triumphs, I've been over here just doing.....things?

I believe I have run four races now without a race recap (Resolution Beach & Trail 5K, Belleville Trail 10K, Oceans Run 1/2/ (13.4 miles) Marathon, and Boston).  Honestly, I doubt I'll ever write recaps on them at this point. I just lack the time, focus, will power and overall enthusiasm to bore everyone with the now old and defunct details.  Instead, I thought it would be better to post what has been going on in my mind as well as on my feet since my last post (two weeks prior to Boston--it's been awhile).

So, with apologies on format, flow, continuity, or lack of logic and reason, here is my free form/free-write literary mental deluge.....

Boston Marathon
It went well I guess. Although I ran 3:00-4:00 minutes slower than I wanted to/than what I know I was capable of, I still ran well. I forced myself to run the first 6.2 miles at a pretty conservative pace (6:30ish) then went to work.  Unfortunately, it was warmer than most wanted (60-65 degrees) and a substantial headwind from the ENE.  This caused nearly everyone I know to struggle.  In fact, I managed to be several acquaintances that are much faster than I am.  They really blew up.  So overall, no PR.  I felt much worse this year for the final 5-6 miles than I did last year.  But, I didn't die and I was second Rhode Islander overall (behind the newly engaged Bronson Venable)

Post marathon
I took the first day off after the marathon and just walked/hiked.  I then got back into slow and easy, short recoveries.  However, I felt really beat up and had a harder time bouncing back this year compared with my recovery in 2015.  A quick overview:

Week 1 - post race:  46 miles
 (marathon included)

Week 2 - post race:11 miles (yikes!)

Week 3 - post race: 38 miles (no running on the weekend!)

Week 4 - post race: 43 miles (again, no running Sat. or Sun.!)

Yeah. So those numbers are breath-taking aren't they?

Still feel like I'm trying to claw my way back.  I even did a light track workout last week!  Maybe underneath the hydrolyzed alcohol in my system and the accumulating adipose, there is still a glimmer of fitness? I'm just so disgusted with myself right now that I had an internal mental breakdown this weekend.  I NEED to start making better choices and taking running more seriously.  I had a month "off".  Time to get back to what I enjoy, and need, once again.   Hope it happens.

But why haven't I been running you ask.  Well, marathon training burns me out a bit.  I love it but it does wear on you.  That coupled with the fact that life gets in the way and I have a recipe for disappointment and corpulence.  I swear that every single year, the months of May and June are difficult for me.  I have so many things I want to be doing that running takes a backseat.  This year is no different and then some.  My wife is in school full time so I've become a single parent of sorts.  I can't believe I'm keeping my shit together (am I?) and holding down the fort.  The frayed ends of sanity, hear them calling me.

So the running has been way down, but so has nearly everything else.  School is a beast and totally overwhelming, but I get paid for that so I'll can't bitch about that (too much). I really haven't been fishing.  Boat has only been taken out twice.  Gardening has been somewhat haphazard. And the icing on the cake has been typical mechanical/infrastructure/life issues that we all endure (see pics below).

I have a million more excuses if you want them.

Anyhow, hopefully I can stick to my End of Spring Resolutions.  Most people make them in January. That's dumb.  I prefer to make them when everything falls apart in May and June near the midpoint of the year.

1. Without specific race training (do I even run races?), I'd like to get back to consistent 50-60 miles per week, maintenance fitness mode, with two harder runs/workouts per week.

2. Find some money and rebuild the upstairs bathroom that needs to be completely gutted. At least there's a shittah' and a showah' in the downstairs bathroom.

3. Tone down the chicken enthusiasm and focus on other things.  Seriously.  It's like I'm somewhere on the spectrum of autism when it comes to chickens, breeds, feathering, behaviors, etc.  Stop it, Muddy! But if any of you wish to talk chicken, I'm available.

4. Spend more time with my kids. That is, above and beyond the typical parental,scheduled time (feeding, practice, cleaning up, yelling, etc.)

5. Stop whining and start laughing more.

6. Update this damn blog again (at least weekly would be nice).  It's become embarrassing.

Enjoy the random pictures as I free up space on my phone. I'm usually too lazy to put them on my blog.

So it starts with a leak in upstairs shower down into girls' bedroom....

Hate this 1980 bathroom. Rip out stupid whirlpool tub to get at leak....

Might as well rip up the rest of the flooring and ugly shower  tiles too...

Looks wet/soft along that edge.  What's behind that sheet rock?

Awesome. Mold, mildew and water damage. The hits keep coming. 

At least there are chickens to soothe the pain....

I wish I was half as handsome as this guy. The feathering is called Crele.
If I lived alone, I'd have dozens upon dozens of Gallus domesticus.

The biology never stops! Eastern Gray Tree Frog in my front yard. 

Still finding time to cut down oak trees. The kids were
NOT in the tree top prior to felling.