Wednesday, November 17, 2004

95% pain free... and rainy

Ok, so the pain is just about all gone.
The online trainer tells me that I need to run 4 miles today... and I'm fat. I think the fat crack is it's way of motivating me.
So, the plan was to run 4.5m today, 6.5 tomorrow or Friday, and 8-10 on Saturday or Sunday. We're moving next week so it may be a little tough to run, but I'll do just about anything to get out of packing. Hopefully tonight's run will be pain free. Hopefully it'll not be raining. But I'm going out rain or no. I've ridden my bike in worse conditions... bring it on.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Friday I ran in hopes of tuning up for the 25k on Sunday. It was around 60 degrees outside. Cold for Houston standards.
I made it out to the turnaround point for the 3.5m and all was well. I make it to the 4.5m turnaround and feel a funny twinge in my left shin. I stretch it out and get going. I make it to the 6.5m turnaround--last stop on the trail--and that twinge is back, except it's worse. I stretch it out and get going again. I make it all the way back to the 3.5m turnaround point and I have to stop and stretch again. Now it's not just a twinge, but an actual "ow" kind of pain.
I make the decision at this point to bypass the 8+mile option and head home (that's the left turn versus go straight decision I talked about last time).
I get home and can't really walk because of the pain. This isn't good. Not good at all.
I don't know if it's mechanical, physical, or simply an issue of conditioning. If it's mechanical, I can probably fix it pretty quick. If it's conditioning, I can fix it pretty quick and I'm simply not ready for a 25k yet. If it's physical, then we have another issue entirely.
I went the cautious route and skipped the 25k since there was still pain on Saturday. If the 25k would have helped my conditioning and gotten me a 4:30 marathon versus a 5:00 marathon, I'm willing to drop the 30 minutes to ensure I'm healthy enough to run the whole thing. I haven't come this far just to get hurt.

Next run: 4.5m (I'm dropping the 3.5m runs, I think) either today (Monday) or Wednesday. Then 6.5 and 8+. Also, a shameless plea for money!!!

Friday, November 12, 2004

Raising the bar

I didn't run last night. I got home late and Saving Private Ryan was on so I spent the evening thinking of the friends I have in Iraq and those close to me (and those close to those close to me) who have already been lost over there. I didn't feel much like running.
Come home soon and come home safe soldiers. We miss you. We're proud of you. We're so very proud of you. Good work, one and all.

This evening I'm running either 6.5 or 8.something. I'm not sure yet. It depends on what I do at that last left turn... I have the option to take the 6.5 and turn left, or grasp the higher ring and go straight. I hope I choose to go straight. I hope my body is holding up well enough to allow me to make that decision. I plan on going straight... stay tuned.
Sunday is a 25k (that's 15.5 miles for those of us who speak English). 3:30 time limit. I'm a little nervous, but I'm almost certain I can do it.

Next installment: running update and a shameless plea for money!!! Whee!!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Starry, starry night

Took in an evening run last night. 2 things I learned.
1. Use the bathroom before you run. Running's already uncomfortable enough as it is, you don't have to do stuff to make it more so. You may think it's great motivation to hurry up and finish, but it really isn't.
2. Darkness is great cover if you forgot to use the bathroom before you run.

Took in 3.5 miles again last night. 38:52 was the time. 2 minutes better than the last time I ran the same route. If I factor in the time required for a pit-stop the pace was probably right on the mark.
This time change makes it nearly impossible to get in a daylight run after work. The good part, though, is that it's almost always cooler at night. Around 7 or so it started getting cool so I had a good final mile or so.
This Sunday is a 25k tuneup run. I've been shamed into running it by one of the volunteers at Child Advocates... a tiny little wafish thing who has threatened to challenge my manhood if I skip the run. I can't back out of it. Stupid macho pride. Time limit on the run is 3:30:00. I should be able to make it. It'll be the longest run of my life by a long shot, but I really need to start working out longer runs, so I'm in.
No shamless appeal for money this time. But I need to mention the website, just for good measure
Tonight will likely be a 4.5 or 6.5 miler. Depends on how quickly I get out of the office.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Inching the bar higher

Today I ran 6.5 miles. The farthest I've ever run... and the fastest, too.
Pace was 11.1 minutes per mile. The previous fastest was 11.9 (not counting the uncertain distance at Bayland). The previous longest distance was 4.5m. I blew that out of the water. Plus, I didn't walk a single step of the route. This week I'll run 4.5 as my shortest run and try and pack in a 10 miler over the weekend. Ideally I'll run at least 2 times during the week and at least 1 time over the weekend. If I hit my distance marks it'll count for about 20 miles. In the next few weeks it'll be 2 times at 6.5 and a much longer run on the weekend... 13+. We'll jump off that bridge in due time. I'm finally at the point where I really believe I can do this, rather than just repeating it so that I'll eventually believe it. Now, can I do it in 5 hours? We'll have to see.

The route I go isn't a loop. It's an "out and back" route where I go to a point, turn around, and follow the same route home. Along the route there are points where I know the distances... the foot bridge, cross streets, etc. These are the turn around points. The hardest part is the psychological points that are "natural pauses" on the route... where it turns, a water fountain, the park bench. Places where it's easy just to stop and quit. When I passed the turn around for the 4.5 mile route today it was a big accomplishment to push on to the 6.5m point. It was uncharted land. Of course, once I got to the 6.5m turn around, the realization that I had to go all the way back also hit me. I was farther away from home than I'd ever been while running.
So that got me to thinking about the kiddos--I think about them a lot when I run. I guess there comes a time in their lives when they pass a point that it's never been worse. The point where punishment becomes abuse. Where the abuse becomes life threatening. Where the safe haven is no longer safe. What happens then? Well, they go on until someone notices and they hit that turn around point where they realize they're farther away from home than they've ever been. That point is probably in protective custody of some kind.
It's at that point a Child Advocates volunteer steps into the picture. That volunteer serves as the guide to help that child get back home. They don't usually have a path to follow. They don't usually know how they got to where they are. They just know they're there and they're alone.
Help me help those children have a guide.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Welcome to the cooler weather!

Ok, I'm no longer numbering the days because it's ever so hard to keep track of them.
Anyway, the temp outside was in the mid 50's to lower 60's when I ran this morning. 3.5 miles, solid pace. I actually feel good about running. Don't enjoy it. Still force myself to do it. But I'm not out there pounding the pavement and pondering how much better I'd feel if a car came off the road, over the grass, between the trees, and plastered me. So, it's getting progressively better. I no longer see getting hit by a car as a favorable alternative to running. Yay!

I ran the route again today that brought me past the "numb" on the footbridge (see day 9 back in October) roadblock. I was wondering about this the other day and proved my suspicion that it's only on 1 side of the roadblock. That is, I can read it on my way out, but not on the way back in.
I mentioned before that numb was, at this point, my goal when running. To feel no pain, no anything really. The first time I noticed that little tag it served somewhat as a reminder. It also served as a reminder of what the kiddos I'm running for get into feeling. They go numb. The abuse in their life becomes part of the background noise and they just go numb to the constant pain and consequently numb to feelings of joy or happiness. Their lives become just... numb.
When it occured to me that "numb" can only be read on the way out and not the way in I began to ponder (I ponder a lot while running... not much else to do, really). The numbness is really temporary. Eventually, I've learned, that the numbness while running gives way to real excitement (I got a taste of that at Bayland the other day--see day 25, also in October). The numbness that gets a runner through the first 3 or 26 miles gives way to actual feeling (allegedly) in the final sprint or last .2 miles in the marathon. There's joy again. There's a feeling of accomplishment. There's pride. There's a sudden rush.
I can't say that's exactly what happens for these kids, but if the Child Advocates do their jobs, the numbness gives way to feeling. It gives way to a feeling of personhood. It gives way to joy, and love, and eventually when a child can look back and see how far they've come from where they were a feeling of true accomplishment. They're no longer victims. They're survivors. They're winners. They're... someone. And that's what constant abuse can take from a child. A sense that they're someone who deserves to feel something. A sense that life doesn't have to be numb.

Please help me support Child Advocates and visit their web site at Explore, browse around. Check out the volunteer opportunities, the events, and yes, please contribute. Thank you.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Day 29

Ok, it rained a lot this weekend. And my lovely wife was sick Thursday night and Friday which waranted me staying up all night tending to her. So, I didn't run. Yea, I know, I could have run. I went to a movie, I could have run. But I didn't, so there. I got a lot of crap going on right now. Don't make me come over there and fight you!
Just kidding... you don't want to fight me, I'll probably out run you anyway. I have been training some, you know.

Today's out. Tomorrow's probably out. 4.5 Wednesday. 6 Thursday. 6 again on Friday. Depending on how I feel after the 6 on Friday I'll pump out 8 or 10 on Saturday or Sunday or I'll just go for another 6. Rain or shine I'm getting in at least 22 miles this week. It'll be the most productive week since I began training (which means next week I'll probably eat a bunch of garbage and not run at all).

I'll be back Wednesday (if I run in the AM) or Thursday with an update and another shameless appeal for money!!! Wheeeee!!!!!