Thursday, March 26, 2009

Takes a lick

And keeps on ticking. I finally feel that I kicked the core muscle pulls. It is time to round the corner. After several false starts back into running, I finally feel like this one is going to stick. running feels good, the legs are tired but they keep going. I can tell that I'll hit a big upswing in April. During that time, skinny boy is going to show up. It's really all I can think about right now. I need to be mindful and balance my life. Yoga needs to happen soon. I should not take this good luck and good health for granted. I also need to get some meditation in. I will need my mind and body to be tip top as summer comes on, my workload gets heavier and my running weekly mileage hits 90.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shadows to substantiate

For the first time since 2006 I raced locally. Last fall I did a race in complete anonymity down in Beaufort SC. It was a night time 5K and I ran a modest 19:19, I was 9th of 200. Dead flat short races are my forte however, downhills? even better. A hilly 12K on trails is far more challenging for my skill set.

I became hurt playing soccer (again) after that race and had to shut down till January. I have done a few races in the past few years, the Blue ridge Relay twice... playing the role of the fat kid on a winning relay. I am now in better shape than I was for anything since 2006 but that is not saying much. Starting in July of 2006 I went on a tear PR'ing every distance from the 800 meters out to the marathon.
That man, is a shadow of my current self. He weighed 157 pounds, had a resting heart rate of 34, and ran 90 miles a week and did the occasional bike ride as well. That man would have completed today's 12k in 48 minutes or less. This man, the 180 pound 45 mile a week guy, ran it in the upper part of 55 minutes. There were 207 people racing. This man was 29th, that man would have been top 10 easy. This past few weeks I have started to build into the 40 mile a week range, it is just enough to start the transition. Muscle for fat. It causes my weight to drift subtly downward if at all but there is the blessed trade off. More power, less weight. My belt buckle comes in another notch every few weeks, easy runs are fun, faster and take less effort. The Engine is sputtering to life. Actually as my friend Jay Curwen might put it, the furnace is lit. And if the Furnace is hot enough, anything will burn, sugar, fat, everything. Beer, Pizza, ice cream, whatever. Once I get above 60 miles a week, caloric intake is a concern only insofar as I must eat to fuel the effort. Hungry? then eat, eat till it hurts, I'll need to.
It was a simple and humble beginning, 77 minutes of jogging during the first week of January. This week I am looking at 340 minutes which included my first track workout since 2006 and a tough but fun race.
That is about halfway for this portion of the plan. by June 600 minute weeks are planned, and by then, speed and fitness should see all runs paced at 8 minutes per mile or below. Today's pace during the race was 7:29 per mile. Which is the pace I will be training at for rolling hill trail runs this summer.
Why? I love the way it feels to be able to run that fast on basically no effort.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Good bye my fuzzy friend

I suppose this is my break up letter with my beard. And Beard, it's not you, it's me. It's been fun, you kept me warm, especially at Snow Shoe last week when it was 1 degree F and 30 mile per hour winds. That F of course stands for fugginheight. My cheeks were cold, but you, my beard, kept the rest of my face reasonably comfortable, and then used my breath and the snow that was falling to create nifty ice fangs. Long had I wished to be "that guy" on the slopes at least just once. YOU made that dream a reality. Young guys who were really good riders just came up and asked me how the western territory runs were holding up. They came to me because, I was the guy. Beard you lent me credence and approachability. At the Acoustic Syndicate show you got me blended right in. These nice married girls who were very attractive approached me for protection from sketchy drunk guys because they saw strength and kindness in you oh beard. I have grown comfortable with you Senoir Barba. You don't really itch anymore, I am not getting nearly as much food in you as I once speculated.

I know you must be hurt, confused, and betrayed by this, but it is just a change of seasons, and well, they got this depression on....

If it is any consolation, I'll always remember you, but I don't think I can have you in my life to this extent any more. If I ever get trapped on an island, well of course you can come back, I'll need you for companionship then. Yes, I know that many of our friends are saying that they like us together and that I shouldn't break up with you... But, ultimately the decision is mine. I'm sorry beard, I'm sorry.
Sarah recently made mention of Boyz II Men in her blog. So this one's going out to you beard, my beard. Te amo Siempre. By the way, the guy with the cane cracks me the hell up.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Michael Franti Workout program

I have made no secret about the fact that the Franti and Spearhead show in the Orange Peel this Late Feb 2009 is the best show I have ever been to in my life. I have seen all manners of show. Crazy huge rockin shows, quite small introspective listen and appreciate it shows. All points in between. And I rate each one of them for what they are. I don't just rate the big time noisy shows as tops. Any show is up for grabs for top honors. If sitting and listening is the order of the day then I look and see how amazing it is. A dead quiet audience that does not make a peep and then erupts in applause between songs can be what is called for.
This show that I went to was amazing for 3 reasons.
1. The band was on and expected Asheville to really bring it.
2. The audience knew that they knew they were in Asheville and brought more energy.
3. The interaction between the two was unprecedented in my experience and they built on each other.

The Band asked us to jump, we jumped. Hands in the air? Done. Clap? done. Sometimes just clap even when nobody told us to. Sing the song for the band, done well, done LOUDY LOUDY LOUDER.

So, here is what I learned about such a show. In order to fully prepare for it, you need to train. I consider myself in roughly average fitness for myself all time which puts me top 95th percentile of all Americans my age. My friend Charley was at the show with me and she too is of similar fitness. But I must admit, the show was physically taxing for us.

So if you wanna see what it's like to be at this show do the following things.
1. Set a timer for 120 minutes.
2. Once every 12 minutes, jump up and down for 4 minutes.
3. Once every 6 minutes put your hands up in the air, wave them, swing a towel or a shirt around. Something, or another, for 3 minutes.
Note that sometimes these things over lap.
4. During the times when you might not be jumping. You are probably going to be shaking your ass and dancing pretty hard. So do that in between. 3 times during the show... tops, keep standing and just sway for 3 or 4 minutes.
5. During all of this, be prepared to scream really loud, or sing some song lyrics as loud as you can quite often.
What I learned,
You need to come to the show with the following.
1. not much clothes.
2. a hand towel to wipe sweat and to swing around in the air.
3. it. Bring "IT"
The audience did all of this together for two hours plus. The show ended around midnight.
I noticed some odd and amazing things.
1. Not much beer being bought because the show is so intense, the front is packed and you really don't want to leave to buy beer or then the peeing that follows. I left the front once I think.
I saw this show with 2 glasses of wine and a beer and a half in me total. Which means hardly buzzed. Which only enforces how good the show was.
I could go on and on about amazing moments during the show. All of the fun interactions and give and take of the band and the crowd but words would not do. But it was really special.
I'll close the reasons that this was the best show with the following.
1. After the encore, curtain calls, and bows. Mr. Franti hopped down into the pit and then walked across the front and touched hands, high 5's, clasps, the occasional word he took a solid 7-10 minutes to get from one edge to the other.
2. It was midnight, and Charley had to get up in six hours and go to work. We had to leave after Michael came by where we were. But as we left we saw something else amazing. Even after that 2 hour workout, nearly everyone was staying and music (Franti songs that we had not heard live) were playing on the PA system, AND everyone was dancing their ass off. House lights up and all. We danced our way through the crowd and had to go home. I wonder how many more songs were played and how long everyone stayed and danced. It was amazing and we hated to leave.

It was an amazing show. I just got a total since of truth and purpose from Michael. At one point I leaned into Charley's ear and yelled, "This must be what the crazy Jesus people feel when they are jumping up and down and singing!" I totally get it. Because Michael is just a man and he'd be the first to tell you that i bet despite how amazing he is. Imagine you are jumpin around like that for someone that you really feel is saving your eternal soul. That must really be something.