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December 26, 2007

boxing day

Today I neither boxed nor received boxes of anything. Instead, I ran a Big Fifty, deliberately slower than yesterday's Big Forty. The achy foot is less achy, and I've got more of a got-my-legs-under-me feeling, so all is well for now. Bring on Big Sixty!

You may ask, "hey joe positive, how are you getting through these weeks of reduced mileage and increased holiday foodiness without packing on the pounds?" My answer: dental surgery. I had a whole bunch of it 10 days ago, and now my mouth hurts every second of every day while the surgery heals. It takes hours to eat half a plate of soft food that's been cut up in little tiny baby pieces, and I don't often have hours at a time to spare. The dentist wrote me a prescription for vicodin, but I don't like it, and can't take it during work anyhow. So I down a few advil every 4 hours, eat werther's candy to keep my energy up through the day, and take comfort in the fact that I'll get through this holiday season (and back into training) a couple of pounds lighter. Which would not be a bad thing.

Posted by joe positive at 7:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 25, 2007


The last week has been so action-packed that I haven't had time to post and now I don't know where to start. Somewhere.

Last week I didn't run at all, per (new) coach's orders, until Saturday. This was a lot easier than I thought it would be, partly because some major oral surgery Tuesday (and subsequent pain drugs) knocked me back for a couple of days; I just wasn't into bouncing around yet. Each day I walked 2-4 miles, and my lower legs started working again, and I realized this was the longest (uninjured) time I'd taken off since I started running in 2002.

So Saturday morning I set out for my Big Twenty Minutes of running. It felt good - not great - but I sneaked a peek at the watch and realized I was going slower than 9min pace, and I had to remind myself that it didn't matter and we were not going to think about it anymore today, no. Towards the end of this exercise I realized that my left calf was still a little sore from the marathon, crap, how could this happen after five days off? But the soreness faded after a couple of hours, and the next day I ran another Big Twenty Minutes, a little faster and feeling a little better.

Yesterday was Big Thirty Minutes and today was Big Forty, merry xmas. Yesterday I had neither aches nor pains; today I had a new one, in the arch of one foot. My hope is that if I'm patient enough, all the residual marathon crap will work itself to the surface, like a splinter. New Coach said to add 10min/day until I hit an hour, and we'll start working from a schedule next week. I can't wait. I've been reading the blog of another runner this guy coaches, and I think I can kind of see a progression (attitude and execution) that I hope will happen for me too.

I've thought about the next marathon a lot, and I'm 97% sure it will be Bayshore and not Boston this time. I thought it would be really neat to watch the women's Trials race, but there's not enough time for me to train for a good marathon there, and I don't like that race (or the course) anyway. And the trip would be so damned expensive. Anyway, Bayshore has a lot going for it so I'll probably register as soon as I'm back running more than Big Sixty again.

Posted by joe positive at 3:19 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 17, 2007

more about the marathon

I am really, really sore, so sore I kept waking up last night from the pain. My hip joints feel full of ground glass; my calves range from very sore to nonfunctional, and I get around by moving my upper legs and letting my feet slide along. I called out from work today because there's no way I could get around well enough to give a massage.

But enough about today; here are some more factoids about yesterday.

weather: 68F/94%RH/winds W7mph at the start; 62F/77%RH/winds NW 21mph just before I finished. Unfortunately a lot of the last 13.1 went north and west. Still, this was loads better than the weather at Twin Cities.

Even though the marathon and the half started together, no women passed me the entire time. Around the 18-mile mark, a woman I'd been tailing pulled up at a water stop; I went on and never saw her again. Around 21 miles, a guy I'd been tailing by 5 seconds or so began pulling away, and I couldn't do anything but watch him go. After that, no humans of any gender passed me except the two 30something guys who sprinted to the finish 1 second ahead of me.

I had set a plan for pace and was very very diligent about following it, at least for the first 15 miles. It was a little warm but mostly I felt great. I kept reminding myself the temps were supposed to drop during the race, and tried to imagine what it would feel like about 5 degrees cooler.

I'd also set a plan for eating (clif shot bloks) and drinking and was mostly diligent about following it, but I think the organizers forgot to set up one water stop and unfortunately that was one I was really counting on; at any rate I got both thirsty and queasy, not a good combo. Sometime around 18 miles I started envisioning the finish followed immediately by dry heaves or a full-blown puke. Luckily that didn't happen, but I couldn't eat anything for about 5 hours after the race.

The course thinned out a bunch after the halfers turned off, and even more after the halfway mark. I ran much of the second half alone. The course followed a lot of curlicue suburban roads, so after that guy pulled away at 21, I couldn't see anyone in front of me at all except the very occasional 3+ hour half-marathoner.

I think all marathons hurt a lot at the end, but the last 3 miles of the course was really annoying: into the wind up a commercial road with cars coming at you, quick turn into yet another residential neighborhood, back onto commercial road, into the wind again down the length of a soccer field (on the grass), then into some woods with a narrow dirt path full of tree roots, bellow incoherently blarrrggghhhh! at the half-marathoner pushing the stroller through the dirt so she'll get out of the way, back onto grass and then 200m around a highschool track. My husband said that a little girl wandered into lane 1 to "finish" with her half-marathoning mom just as the lead marathon male was finishing a very close race.

Back to today: As might be expected, I've spent much of the past 24 hours wondering what went wrong, and I still don't know. Did I train too hard? Did I not taper enough? Did I avoid pain I should have embraced? A week ago I ran 13@7:20 and felt wonderful, coulddn't wait to do it again; yesterday I ran over twice as far, 5s slower per mile and it really, really hurt. My uncommonly aching throbbing nonfunctional legs are almost a comfort to me, because I wouldn't be this sore if I hadn't run as hard as I could, right? Still, I am not happy. I trained a long time and didn't get the result I'd hoped for. I'm not sure what to try next, or when I'll be recovered enough to try it. It's not a good day, not at all.

Posted by joe positive at 1:37 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 16, 2007


the long and the short of it, for now: 3:15:13 (gun), not what I wanted and not what I thought I could do. I went out according to plan and felt great, but started losing ground around 17 or 18 and just couldn't respond. The weather was warm at the start and very windy but a little cooler at the finish; maybe I should have been a bit more conservative the first half given the temps.

I may write more about this later or I may not. But the summary: 4th female overall, and depending on whom you ask, 1st masters or 1st AG. This race gives awards to the first 3 overall and first masters finishers, but since the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place women were all masters, things got confusing. They awarded the 2nd-place woman 2nd-place money plus masters money, and gave me the 1st masters "title" and a plaque. But the official results page lists the 2nd-place woman as 2nd overall and 1st masters, while I've been demoted to 1st AG. I may write the folks at 1st Place Sports to see if they want me to send the plaque back so they can give it to the 2nd-place woman.

update: the website with official results now shows me as masters winner, yeehaw.

Posted by joe positive at 6:27 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

December 14, 2007

more candy, please

The weather forecast (according to 3 different websites) is changing so much I can't bring myself to worry anymore. It will be really, really cold. It will be raining and thundering. It'll be windy, but more a crosswind than a headwind. It'll be less windy, but not as cold. It will be sunny. The wind will be from the south (tailwind coming home!), no, west, no, northwest, but not until noon, when I hope to be in the rental car driving back home listening to tall dwarfs cds. I don't care. I just want to get on that starting line and go, because it sucks having an elevated heart rate just sitting here doing nothing.

I've been running little 6-milers all week, but today I didn't run, because it is Two Days Before the Race and that's the day you don't run. I was all discombobulated at work, too hyper and scattered to be still and let gravity help me, just trying to muscle my way into my clients using my nonexistent arm/hand/thumb muscles. After 3 massages, I hurt and I'm sure they did too. Sorry, people.

Posted by joe positive at 3:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 13, 2007

a very bad day for any kind of communication, especially wireless

For the last several hours, I've been unable to reach certain websites, including this one. The problem seems to be over, so now I can rant and complain about whatever I like.

The weekend weather still calls for stiff headwind over the entire last half of the course. This makes the prospect of a negative split even scarier, but in the middle of the night last night it occurred to me that a good tailwind might let me go out conservatively and expend even less energy than I normally would, leaving more energy for the headwind in the second half. Yeah, that sounds good, right.

More little crap to worry about: the person we were going to ride with to Jacksonville sent a bail-out email yesterday: instead of driving he's going to ride with someone else, could we possibly find a way to get to Jax ourselves? I wouldn't mind much except 1) we don't have a reliable car and he knows it, and 2) we're sharing our hotel room with him, so this is a real putzy move on his part. So we drop what we're doing and rent a car. It's not that big a deal, just annoying.

Meanwhile, during these little six-milers this week, my easy pace has been going down and down, even in warmish weather and no company and little in my head other than Tall Dwarfs' "Senile Dementia," which isn't all that fast of a song. I try to put all this crap like weather and other people right out of my head, leaving lots of room for the now.

Posted by joe positive at 11:09 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 11, 2007

I have found something else to worry about

wind! North winds about 20mph!

The course is an out-n-back: 13.1 south, then 13.1 north. Joy.

Posted by joe positive at 2:36 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

there is nothing left to prove

Today's schedule said 5 miles w/3@7:00 (coach's dream end-race pace for me, I guess). Didn't happen. I warmed up a mile, then went

7:06, 6:49 (damn), 6:48 (damn. ok, you're gonna do it again until you get it right), 6:46 (damn it all to hell)

cooled down a mile.

This didn't feel terribly taxing. Of course, I was wearing flats, which is a little like cheating.

There are no more workouts. The remaining miles this week are just to keep myself from going crazy. Besides getting decent food and rest, there's nothing else I can do to prepare my body for the race.

What I need to do is remember that I can drop to around 7min pace or faster after running for a fairly long time. I've done this a few times in the last several weeks, so I know I can. There is no reason to go out at goal pace; I don't need to prove I can. I am not strong enough mentally to run even all the way, so a negative split is the best I can hope for.

A very fast woman in my club (the one I ran with on the bridge last month) is running this race Sunday too. I know she's shooting for at least 5min faster than my goal time, but she told me she's going to start behind me because she knows I start out fast. I told her I intend to start so slow she won't want to stay behind me for long :)

Posted by joe positive at 10:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 9, 2007

no soy bandito

M: 8mi (8:22)
T: AM 10.2mi incl 12x300@1:05; PM 4.3mi (8:52)
W: AM 7.1mi (9:17); PM 3.5mi (8:45)
R: 9.25mi incl miles 8-9 @6:48, 6:55
F: 8mi (8:10)
Sa: 8mi (8:05)
Su: 13mi (7:20), last mile 6:48

total: 71.3 miles

This does not look like a taper week, but really, it is. The week before got screwed up, so some of the miles ended up in this week. Anyway, this 2nd week of taper started out bleh and got better.

Highlights, such as they are: Tuesday's workout was ok, but not as fast as when I ran it in May. Thursday's "tempo" got cut in half for no other reason than sheer moodiness. Every morning I'd whine about my tight heavy legs, yet my easy pace continued to creep down. Today's 13 was mostly alone, but I still couldn't hold to the intended 7:30 pace.

This taper thing is starting to work; this morning's 13 took hardly anything out of me, and I feel like I could run another 13 right now (stop me, please!). This coming week will be around 30mi + the marathon, and I expect to be jumping out of my skin shortly.

Besides racing smart next Sunday, my main worry is - once again - the weather. A cold front is predicted for sometime next weekend, but they're not sure exactly when, and have already pushed it back a day. Low temps ahead of the front are upper 50s, which is still much better than what we had for Twin Cities. But oh! upper 40s would be so nice.

And then there's still that "racing smart" thing to worry about, oh lord.

Posted by joe positive at 10:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 7, 2007


In some of the running-forums I'm addicted to, people - full-grown adults, mind you - sometimes post threads that are nothing but song lyrics. I avoid these like the plague. To me, it seems like such a highschool thing to post song lyrics as if to say, "this here songwriter knows exactly how I feel right now, and this is how I feel. Right now. Read it. Listen."

On the other hand, some people really do feel what's in some song lyrics, so they also feel justified in scrawling them on the internetwall. I guess it bothers me most because there's often no attribution - people often just post-n-run, leaving you to wonder who composed that thing, or if the poster himself did.

On the other other hand, a source of rare joy is when a song makes me feel something I couldn't possibly have ever felt. Tall Dwarfs' "Kidstuff" is like that; it's a beautiful love song, to a child. I don't have children and never will. I will never know what it is to love a child and want to protect it, yet see it grow up happy and strong. But "Kidstuff" gives me a hint what that's like.

Posted by joe positive at 5:38 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 6, 2007

taper sadness

aaarrrggghhh, this isn't going well. If I didn't know better, I'd call this...but I know better.

My training schedule gave me a 2-week taper, but a weekend-long conference screwed up last week's running a little and I just decided to start taper a little early, with 67 or so miles. You'd think that light week would set me up for a wonderful high-energy bunch of runs this week, huh? Not happening; instead, it's like the start of a 2-week-long bout of PMS. Well, let's hope it stops at 2 weeks, anyway...Let's whine about everything that's wrong:

My legs are sore and tight, every day. Especially tight are tib anterior and peroneals in the left leg, though the right heel is sore too. Oh, and hamstrings on both sides feel tight when I try to run fast.

Which I can't, or I won't, or I don't want to. Tuesday's speedwork included 12x300 with a goal of 1:05. Back in May I did this workout (on a track, with people) and got under 60s for a lot of it. This week we had perfect chilly weather but I barely got 64s, not sure why. Today I'd planned 12 with 4 or 5 @6:55. Cake, right? Certainly less difficult than some of the other Thursday runs I've done lately. But after a 7-mile warmup fending off loose dogs, dodging drivers, and thinking about work (more about that in a minute), I was in a poisonous frame of mind. Mike offered to pace me on his bike, and we did 2 miles (6:47, 6:55) and I decided to stop. Not because I had to but because I felt like it, or rather I didn't feel like running fast anymore.

This is not a good time to lose my nerve.

Work has been extremely slow. I average 1 or 2 appointments per 6-hour shift, and since I don't get paid for the time I'm sitting around waiting to be booked for an appointment, this kind of sucks. Money aside, I'm not gaining any experience either. Work is slow right now for everyone but the most longtimer therapists (those with the extensive, rabidly loyal clientèle), but I can't help but wonder if maybe I just truly suck as a massage therapist and no one wants to tell me.

In a few minutes I have an interview with a chiropractor who's opening an office about 4 miles from my house and needs a massage therapist a couple days a week. I need to shake this frame of mind!

It is not for nothing that I am called joe positive.

Posted by joe positive at 10:34 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

December 5, 2007

People of Seminole Heights, I Implore You!

Please keep your dogs in your house, or in your fenced yard, or otherwise under control.

Please don't allow them to chase me snarling down the street or shit in my yard or dig in my trash or kill my neighbor's cats.

Don't tell me "aww, he don't bite" - dogs bite. That's what they do. The only dog that never ever bites is a dog that has no mouth.

Don't tell me you just don't know how he got out when I just saw you open the door to let him out. Or we both just saw him knock over the piece of cardboard you'd set up to block the hole in your fence.

I love dogs. I have two of my own. One of them would like nothing better than to roam the neighborhood, but there's a law against it and it's for his own good anyway so I don't allow him out of my fenced yard. When I didn't have a fenced yard I walked the dogs on a leash. I love dogs, and I am happy with my two. I don't want to have to deal with yours.


the crazy lady who runs 70 - 100 miles per week through your neighborhood

Posted by joe positive at 8:06 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack