Thursday, October 30, 2008

Better or not?

As a runner, I've often asked myself precisely that question when injured. I've been running around 30mpw for the past couple of weeks, but my legs don't feel much different from how they were a month ago.

Should I take some time off? Sure. But not running is hard for me since I don't have exercise equipment here other than a treadmill. It's too cold for biking, and walking doesn't seem any easier on my body than running at an easy pace. So I plod along at 8:30 pace on the treadmill, speeding up the last couple of miles, but never going really fast.

What I AM doing is strengthening the back and shoulders. I do a lot of new exercises. Also one of the oldest: I'm up to 50 push-ups at a time. It reminds me of my years at AE Wright Middle School. We used to do so many push-ups during PE class, they became second nature. But now, they're a new challenge. Marathoning can really weaken other non-running parts of the body. It's part of why I'm losing interest in running them: I want to be more fit, not the walking wounded.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I love jelly beans. They come in pure, bright colors, just like the old Christmas lights we had before electrical shorts and indoor fires became a concern to homeowners. Orange, white, green, red, black...nothing nondescript.

Jelly beans have no fat and around 9 calories each, for your standard size. Eat 12 and you've got less than half of a candy bar. They are neat and easy to eat. You can put them in your pocket, in your running shorts, leave them in a candy dish for months and still get a burst of sweetness that never disappoints.

A friend of the family's once sailed his boat from LA to Hawaii and was caught in a gale. For some ungodly number of days, he had to stay at the tiller. What he said got him through the endless ordeal guessed it, jelly beans. It seems he had around 50 in his bag, and allowed himself to eat one every half-hour.

We marathoners often take them on long runs. Carb magic. Some are fortified with electrolytes. They're all good. I buy the generic beans which are dirt cheap yet good as gold when the sweets craving hits. And if you drop one, pick it up and enjoy; the 10-second rule must have been invented for jelly beans. Nothing sticks to them.

In the Halloween spirit, grab a bag. You don't have to be president to enjoy them. So I celibrate the jelly bean! As the teeth penetrate the shell and the flavor sings to the taste buds, you've got a simple pleasure that is fat free. Just remember to brush your teeth!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween's approaching. I don't know about you, but I'm getting stressed over it. You see, it's been 5 years since I lived in a house on Halloween (having been overseas for 2 years and in an apartment for the other two).

We live in a popular "kids" neighborhood, and have been told that there will be over 100 callers on Friday night. That's a lot more than we had back in my Minnesota years. Now if all of the kids were chaperoned by parents I'd be fine. But it's those teens that concern me. Around here, they appear a little rambunctious.

I've never been comfortable around groups of kids; a strange admission for a former teacher. But that explains why the word former is there. It also explains, in part, why I never married and am childless.

This isn't new. I didn't like being around lots of kids even when I was a kid. No, I wasn't one of those kids who thinks he's a grownup and usurps an adult conversation at a get-together. They annoy me. No, I would find a friend and go off and play. Or be by myself.

My life would have been much easier were I different. In college, we would have raucous dorm parties and the only way to handle the chaos and cacaphony was to get inebriated to the hilt. Even then, I'd often go to my dorm room and listen to music with headphones, waiting for the roudiness to stop.

People often consider me snobbish, antisocial and/or unpredictable, since I tend to dissapear from gatherings. If I can get someone interesting onto a semi-private conversation I'm OK. But that's not common when one is as peripatetic as I. I'm the new guy. People don't often approach me since my body language says no. Now, if I'm with a large group of runners or collegues that's not the case. Many would be surprised to read this. But that's how it has always been.

It really hurts your career as a composer, musician, or aspiring anything if you have social phobia, and it really decimated my career. I've tried every med in the book and all courses of therapy, but I have to accept that I am the way I am.

Maybe it's an "artists temperment," but I wasn't an artist at six years of age. Other kids scared me in 1966 and they do in 2008. By the way, I still feel like a kid myself. So we'll stock up on bulk candy and I'll face the noise and chaos of the kids of today.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thought for the day:

I'm not much interested in matters political, but Heather is, and she has the remote. So on CNN they're making a fuss over Sarah Palin's wardrobe that allegedly costs $150,000. I find it hard to imagine any clothes costing THAT much, but if it does, it does. But why should she have to pay for it? As I understand, the makers of her glasses and accessories are seeing huge profits since she hit the airwaves. Whatever happened to freebies? I doubt that Venus Williams or Maria Sharapova pay a dime for their cloths--just the opposite, they get paid like a queen to wear them.

So I say, Obama and Palin look great in their cloths so comp 'em. Heck after a few of my best races, some other runners asked me about my shoes when I got off the victory stand. Adidas should comp ME as well for my effusive praise. Fair's fair, right?

Now McCain needs to foot the bill for his shoes. Sorry John, but you don't have the glam thing going.

Vote for someone on the 4th!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

An update...

I'm running three times a week these days. Just 5 miles per run if I feel up to it. Without a marathon or target race, it's hard to get too motivated to run, especially with pain all over. But I'm OK with it. I need the rest...emotionally. I guess I've become a running addict and need to rest up for a while. I suppose it's for the greater good.

I must say it's a little sad, though. Here I have a brand new pair of Supernovas that I was saving for my Toronto Waterfront marathon this year, and in the box they sit. Nearly every runner I ran with back in 2003 has slowed down more than I have. But they are still running, unlike me. They haven't fought father time with the intensity ...running more miles than ever before, with disastrous results. Well, I'll wear the new shoes sometime soon.

This winter, I will X-country ski. When in Rome, right?

Readers...Enjoy each run! It's a gift to be so healthy...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

2008 Season RIP

I won't be racing any more in 2008. It's discouraging. But I went for it and failed. I trained 2,000 mostly painful miles in the first eight months of the year... I should have had my back treated. Rather, I ran on legs that were connected to a badly alligned body, and paid the price. I went in to this year with the mantra of ONE MORE SEASON.

Willing to beat myself up to be in race shape, I ran lots of miles and became lighter than I've been since I was 13, to get near three hours in the marathon. But it's a no-go.

After this year, I wanted decide where to take my running. But something was wrong from the start. I was sore, slow to recover, and in constant fear that the minor pains in my IT band, periformis, shin, and most of all, knee, would intensify and sideline me. I wasn't enjoying my running.

But the first week of my taper, my back pain turned serious, replete with spasms and shooting pain when sitting(which I do a lot of)and a frame that looked cubist in the mirror; dislocated, curved and a little scary. I finally whent to my doctor; he was agahst. From that point on, I knew my chances of running any more races this year were remote.

So it's been a month of anti-everything meds, Physio, getting MRIs and X-rays; I'm trying to keep my chin up through this. But I fought the law of nature by running hurt and running too much. The jury's in. The law won.