Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Consider me kicked

I asked for a kick in the pants to get my lazy butt out of bed. Consider me kicked.

I'm doing a vaguely-FIRST-like training for a couple of weeks before a 10k. I based the times off a good (for me) training run, one that would have had me running a 33-ish minute 5k, with the idea that after the 10k I will re-evaluate (or maybe just continue with these training paces) for another 10k (probably the Hampstead Midsummer 10k on June 22) (can I get another parenthetical into this sentence?). Then a fall half marathon. I got a golden bond place to Run to the Beat (expect to see me begging for donations soon) on October 5, and I'll be on holiday for 2 weeks at the end of June/beginning of July, so this schedule would give me something to train for during the next month, a couple weeks without plan while on holiday, then basically return home in time for a 12-week training program to begin.

Anyway, so today I did Key Run #1 - intervals. I cut the warmup and cooldown a little short, mostly because I didn't get up in time to run the full 6 miles on the schedule. I did all 8 intervals (program says 400s, I find it easier to do quarter-miles because Garmin is set up in miles) and managed to keep the splits pretty consistent; my recovery intervals actually got faster - I started out by walking them but was getting bored so started jogging most of them to no ill effect. I struggled a bit with feeling a little crampy during the recoveries, but felt great when actually running. Guess I shouldn't take recoveries!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


I went out for my first hash last night. It was really fun, and the people were so welcoming. They tried to get me to come out for another one tonight, but the one I went to last night is supposed to be a "social" hash and and I was middle-to-back of the pack. Tonight's is a "runners" hash so I think I'll wait until I improve a bit before I join them. In any case, I'll totally be back, though I perhaps could have chosen better as a first-after-the-marathon-and-three-weeks-on-the-couch run. Wow am I stiff this morning though. And the welcome beers meant that Morning Brain was joined by Hangover Brain so I did not do the planned 6 miles this morning. Luckily I have a mid-morning dr's appt tomorrow so I can do them tomorrow without having to wake up extra early - that seems like a good way to ease back into it!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

My next run

Bill raises a good point - the way to get over the post marathon dithering is to have the next one lined up. So I picked one. It's about 3 weeks from now, so my training certainly won't make me peak, but the price is right (free!), the location is right (in London), and it's a distance I can feel confident in (anywhere between 1.25 and 10k, completely up to you on the day).

I'm planning for 10k, on the first 3 weeks of the FIRST 10k program. Any London bloggers want to meet up for this event?

After that, I may do the Heathside 10k or the Great Capital 10k. I've applied for a charity place for Run to the Beat half marathon in October.

Here's to getting back on the roads.

One step closer

I know, I know, this is a running blog. This post has absolutely to do with running, and may generate strong feeling in the comments, but it's about something too near and dear to me not to comment on.

As of May 15, same-sex couples in California have access to the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of marriage. NY state recognizes such marriages performed in other states. It's a happy day for us.

Meg and I will be getting a legal marriage the next time we're in California (likely later this year). We had our "real" wedding, in front of friends and family, a year and a half ago. We've owned real estate together for nearly 5 years. We're clearly committed to one another without the need for a state - not even our own - to tell us so. So why do it again?

Let me start by repeating what I said above - we consider the day we stood up in front of our loved ones and publically promised our lives to each other to be our real wedding day. But the protections offered by the law are either not available at all (the right to inherit from one another without paying taxes) or only available by explicit additional legal paperwork (the right to visit one another in hospital and be considered next of kin).

I actually believe that marriage is a religious rite that should be separated from the civil benefits of committed partnerships. If your church says not to recognize same-sex partnerships, more power to you - that's the beauty of separation of church and state. But the state should not be in the business of providing rights and priviledges to one group of people and denying them to another. And as long as these civil benefits are conferred via the religious rite, they should be equally accessible to all people. So, if you don't support same-sex marriage, work to separate the civil benefits from the teachings of your church. Because regardless of what your god tells you, the Constitution prohibits discrimination.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Morning Brain vs Afternoon Brain

Why haven't I been running lately? It's all to do with the conflict between Morning Brain and Afternoon Brain.

Afternoon Brain says, "Let's work out."
Morning Brain says, "I'm sleepy. I'll go with Afternoon Brain (AB)."
AB: Remember, we don't generally get home before 7:30 or 8. The job that gets going about 11 (even though we've been there since 9) plus the hour commute and a need to eat at a normal hour and go to sleep at a normal hour mean that a post-work workout just doesn't work for us.
MB: I'm sleepy.
AB: You feel great when you work out. Just get up. Start tomorrow.
MB: I'm sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeepy.

What I would like to do:
M: Yoga in the morning. Hash in the evening.
T: FIRST key run #1.
W: Swim (or yoga until I get my pool pass in order)
Th: FIRST key run #2. Play volleyball with the wife in the evening.
F: Yoga.
Sa: FIRST key run #3.
Su: Swim if at home. Rest if busy.
Add a random tennis match with the wife in there once in a while.

What I have done since the marathon:
M: sleep
T: sleep
W: sleep
Th: sleep
F: sleep
Sa: yoga
Su: sleep

Does anyone else see the problem here? I've been wanting to go to bed at like 10pm and barely dragging myself out of bed at 7:30. I suspect that I need to just get up and that will help me not feel so sleepy. But I haven't been able to overrule MB yet.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Updated review: Bendon Sports Max

Here's a little something for all you Googlers who are looking for a review of the Bendon Sports Max bra I reviewed in my most popular post.

As I mentioned in that post, this bra quickly became my new favourite. It had a good squish/bounce-control factor but was still comfortable enough that I was willing to overlook the fact that I had to get help to get it off after every run. (Though that may say something more about my flexibility than about the bra itself.)

I bought this bra in mid-February. I washed it - and dried it - roughly once a week. I packed it for the marathon. I brought backups of just about everything else, but I was so confident in my choice of chin protector that I didn't bring a backup bra. The night before the marathon, I realised the underwire was poking out a bit, but it was easy enough to push it back into the casing and I didn't worry about it.

26.2 miles later. I have minor gouges on the sternum side of both breasts, presumably because the underwires escaped from the casing again or else were rubbing away even inside their casings. I have a moderate bit of chafing underneath where the band rubbed on my ribs. But the worst is the 2 spots on my back where the hooks and eyes are. These are scar-inducing chafages.

So, while we've had a good run, I think this bra may be relegated to the minor leagues of the short weekday run, and it won't be long before it will have to go to the big playground of the small-breasted in the sky.

Pros: Good while it lasted
Cons: See above
Updated rating: 1 cup.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Is marathoning an addiction?

I just entered the ballot for the 2009 London Marathon. Is it an addiction? Can running 12 marathons be the 12 steps?

Saturday, 3 May 2008

The worst race map ever

I was so confused by the race map that came with my race packet. I walked all over Blackpool the day before the marathon, and felt more equipped to read and understand it, but I still got it wrong. Here's the actual race path I ran - starting from red and ending with purple (ROYGP, with apologies to my first grade teacher). Water stops, as best I can remember them, in blue.

Thursday, 1 May 2008


I realised that my race report may have given a rather dejected impression of my race. I'm still working on an objective Blackpool Marathon review, but in the meantime I thought it would be good to reiterate how extraordinarily pleased I am about my marathon.

In some ways, even, the hurdles that Blackpool (or Crappool as Bill has christened it!) threw at me make me even more proud of myself. It would have been great to have cheering throngs spurring me on for 5 hours - and the marathon would be no less of an accomplishment had they been there. But...

One of the reasons I decided to run a marathon was to strengthen my inner resolve. And the stretch of the race where I was running past chip shops and drunken stags and holiday-making families, weaving around them on the pavement, completely alone in the race - at that moment, the only thing moving me forward was that inner resolve.

Another reason I wanted to run a marathon was that I'm a starter, not really a finisher. I get excited about new things, new projects, new hobbies, new obsessions rather easily. But seeing them through to the end - that's something I wish I did better. My training log exemplifies this pattern. But I'd committed myself to this marathon. Everyone I knew, and everyone on the internet, knew I was doing it. I had to get myself to the starting line. And once there, and moving forward, no matter how much I wanted to stop and how loud the refrain in my head saying "you don't have to do this," there was the feeling that I'd be letting down myself and everyone who cheered me to the starting line if I stopped for no reason, so I kept asking myself "why are you going to quit? Just because you're tired? That's no reason. Tired goes away but imagine how good you'll feel at the end." And I kept going until I finished.

Dick Beardsley once said that when you cross the finish line of the marathon, it will change your life forever. I didn't believe it when I was on the pre-crossing side - it's just a race, it isn't as if I'm getting shot at or delivering babies in war-torn countries or even sitting down to lunch with the homeless guys on my block. I believe it now. I'm not about to become one of those "sunshine and butterflies" unrealistically optimistic/annoying people. I'm not going to stop dropping the f-bomb in polite company. I'll probably still have trouble finishing things that I start. But I've proven that I can do something incredibly difficult all on my own, and the next time, when I run a marathon with screaming hordes of cheering fans and 50,000 of my closest friends, and it's still tough, I'll always know that I did it once without those things, and I can dig within myself to improve.