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June 17, 2008


We went out to a show Saturday night, very rare for us. We ran into a friend who lives in Washington DC; she talked about how Bob Mould is "all out n proud" and looking very fit these days, way different from the big-ol'-fat-ol' young Bob Mould of Husker Du.

Last night at band practice, the singer presented me with a crystal that's supposed to be affixed to a shrine to my friend that died. The shrine was created by a local woman who fancies herself the living incarnation of Frida Kahlo. I used to work for her when she owned a restaurant. She made the shrine and donated it to the community radio station where the singer in my band works. The shrine is about 4 feet tall, made of 2x4s and has a lot of stuff painted on it, as well as photos, newspaper clippings, and little tiny seashells glued to it. The station felt that they couldn't keep the shrine because it was covered with shards of broken glass, and sometimes schoolchildren tour the station, and, well, it would be something of a liability. So the singer in my band offered me the shrine. At first I thought the right of first refusal should go to a few other people, but then I decided fuck this, I think I would like something tangible, so I loaded the thing into the mini cooper and took it home, and now it sits in a place we can look at it if we want, but we don't have to look at it if we don't want to.

Last night I dreamed about my friend all night long, in all kinds of different contexts: my band was supposed to play somewhere, but we hadn't done any promotion (and neither had the club); an acquaintance took us to task for being so negligent about promotion; my friend (who wasn't in the band) was there just to be nice and help carry our equipment, and he had a very stylish new haircut and muttonchops or something, and I complimented him on it, even though I hate muttonchops and my friend wouldn't be caught dead sporting them anyway; then my friend was in the band and we were hanging around the (gay) club dancefloor waiting for the DJ to stop, and some of the patrons were acting kind of hostile because we weren't gay (or maybe just because we weren't dancing), and some of the guys had these bodybuilder-type bodies and were threatening to beat me up, and I noticed that my friend also had developed a bodybuilder-type body (something he wouldn't be caught dead sporting) so I knew he'd be able to protect me. And then I dreamed I had woken up from this dream, and was in my kitchen getting a glass out of the cupboard, and I realized I'd dreamed about my friend all night and I said, to him, to the cupboard, "I dreamed about you all night long," and I started to cry. And then I woke up for real.

This morning I went out for 8 miles, which were supposed to be gentle and easy after the sorta-hard run yesterday. But given Dror's recent comments about easy pace, I didn't want to drag ass the whole time, so I pushed just a bit in the first mile, just enough to get uncomfortable. As the discomfort leveled out I found myself settled nicely into an 8-minute pace, which felt good without being hard, whatta neat trick. I hope I don't pay for this at track tomorrow.

After the run, waiting to see if work will call, I found this and thought about how wonderful life is, and wondered how anyone can be so self-centered as to throw it away.

Posted by joe positive at 10:59 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

June 16, 2008

optimism vs delusion

Su: 5 miles (8:52), surprisingly not-awful after a very long/late Saturday
M: 8.25 miles (7:50), incl 4 easy, 4 under 7:30, .25 trot

I sent coach a weekly training email - here's what you said to do, and here's what I did - and he commented that my easy runs are looking a bit too easy lately. He's absolutely right. When I was rebuilding my base after the injury, I kept telling myself that mileage mattered more than pace, and I'd attend to pace later once I had an OK base. Well, later is now, but I guess I'd forgotten. I'm glad Dror is here to remind me.

Looking back at my log for this time last year I see average weekly mileage of 75-85, easy-run paces in the 8:20s and long runs ranging from 7:20-7:45. I am more than a little dismayed, because I am nowhere near that now. In March, before the injury, I daresay I was in the best shape of my life, but a 3-week break from running plus a long sane recovery has washed all that away, and I realized today that I am probably not training for a PR in Akron. I'd be happy with a course PR, but I'm not even sure that's possible. Still, there's 3 months or so to go. We'll just have to see.

Posted by joe positive at 10:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 14, 2008

joe positive's first long run of the year, by joe positive

Or: the Bonk That Took All Day.

According to Pfitzinger, long runs are longer than 18 miles. Before this morning, I hadn't run longer than 18 since, oh, before the Jacksonville Marathon last December. I did run that 18-mile Big Workout in March, but since it really put my hip flexor in the crapper for 3 weeks I don't really count it. Today I ran 19 miles, and according to Dror it was supposed to go

5 easy
5 easy

I didn't think it would be too hard - certainly not a walk in the park, but since "easy" was totally at my discretion I was sure I could save enough to do the brisker stuff.

Wrong. I started out with some friends who were only doing 13 miles, and soon we were trading stories about stupid things we did when we were young and stupid. Now old and stupid, I realized we were trotting along mostly between 8:00 and 8:15 pace, which felt fine, but I knew I'd regret it later.

Accompanying us for the first time was a strapping young man who decided that my pace plans suited his, at least for 13 miles. At the 5-mile mark, he and I put our 7:50 brains on and pulled away. For a few miles I wasn't quite comfortable so I let him pull me, and then as the sun came up I started feeling fine, and I pulled him. Around 9 miles we ran into a storm of insects - probably termites, which swarm at sunrise this time of year - and ended up with an inadvertent snack, ewww. Such was our zeal to finish this section strong and fast that we passed up several water fountains (something else I'd regret later). At the 10-mile mark, we slowed to a trot and attempted some conversation. I was really kind of self-conscious because I could've been this guy's mother, had I decided to have a child when I was a high-school senior. But he was unfazed - or at least very polite - at having an old-lady running partner. It turns out he just joined the running club I just joined, so we'll be seeing more of each other at track and such.

At 13 miles we parted company and I began to psyche up for the last hard section, but I was beginning to have doubts. The sun had fully risen and it was hot. I hadn't eaten much the day before and my stomach was kind of rumbly, and I was thirsty (bad sign). I was moseying along at 9min pace and couldn't imagine going much faster. But at 15 miles I dutifully started turning my legs over and managed to achieve...8:16, christ, this is no good. I resolved to keep trying until I reached a certain water fountain - that fountain, I knew, would give me enough refreshment to get me through to the end. I got to the fountain, went to take a drink and ZAP it bit me. Hmmm. Touched it again and ZAP again; it had a short somewhere. Shit. Thoroughly pissed off, I managed 8:05 for that mile, but from then on it was like a cartoon of someone chopping down a tree and yelling timberrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!! for a very long time. Low 8s gave way to high 8s, almost-9s and finally 9:22.

Yowza. I met a friend for coffee and a muffin, came home and read a bit, then crashed out hard. Woke up about 45 minutes later, tiny little muscles twitching in my legs, completely hollowed-out. I'd been dreaming about food. I lay in bed too crapped-out even to walk 10 feet to the kitchen. Finally I ate a sandwich and thus starts my recovery. It's going to take all day, I think.

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

June 11, 2008

"I applaud your nothingness"

My body is starting to become predictable again, and I love it. At the moment I'm not being assailed by pains of unknown origin and duration; the aches arrive because of something, last long enough to make me take it easy when I should anyway, and magically recede in time for the next workout. Consider:

Sa: 5k race, better than expected. A leetle tired afterward.
Su: 17mi in the hills with fast people. Afterward, L quad is nice and sore.
M: 6mi incl 2 hard-ish at the end. L quad is certainly sore, but the hard part is just 2 miles so I resolve to get it over with. Afterward the L quad is pretty damn sore. Treat with epsom salt baths and capsaicin cream.
T: 8mi at 9:40 pace (yup); L quad is kinda sore before the run but warms up nicely. More capsaicin cream, please.
W: Track workout in the AM, and the L quad is no longer sore! Afterwards, I'm a tiny bit sore, but I don't have to run hard again until Saturday.

Magic, I'm sure of it.

Track this morning was 1x800, 2x400, 1x1200, 2x400, 1x800, 2x400 with less-than-runtime rests. I ran with a slightly faster group than last week, but the pace was still comfortably hard, with the emphasis on comfortable. This is perfectly fine with me; I don't have to work so hard, and I think the tempo-y pace is more beneficial for marathon training anyway.

I had lunch today with a friend I hadn't seen in years. He asked me about running marathons and what kind of times I ran. He doesn't know anything about distance running so he was awed by what I told him. I explained that the fastest women in the world run marathons about an hour faster than I do, and the qualifying time for the Olympic Trials marathon is quite a bit faster than I will ever run, and my times are nothing, really nothing. And he said, "I applaud your nothingness." That's the nicest thing I've heard in a while.

Posted by joe positive at 8:07 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 9, 2008

kittens, cranes, minarets

Su: 17mi (8:07) with friends in the hills
M: 6mi, last 2@tempo

Yesterday I went up to St Leo with some running pals. My schedule said 10 easy + 7@7:50, so I knew I had no hope of hanging with my (much faster) friends this time, but we did manage some good conversation and the hills did us all some good. About 5 miles in, it was just getting light and we could see something odd in the road up ahead - about the size of small wading birds, but with more legs and no wings. As our middle-aged eyes adjusted to the weirdness we realized that two small kittens had wandered into the (55mph, 2-lane, redneckville) road. My friend Albert insisted we take the kittens somewhere safer, so I ended up running about a mile carrying a kitten who was not pleased, to say the least. We turned off the main road onto a long private drive that ended at two McMansions, deposited the kittens into a cardboard box behind the cattle fence, and started back toward the main road. Someone made a joke about the residents possibly shooting at us for trespassing, and we turned to see both kittens following us back down the drive. Luckily we were able to outrun them, I think. I hope.

The rest of the run was uneventful. I did get my 7+ miles at 7:50-or-faster, but they didn't all come at the end; one hill in particular took the wind out of my sails both times around our loop. Still, I was happy with the overall pace this time. Near the end of the run I heard the whooping cranes I always seem to hear around the end of runs in St Leo, but this time I actually got to see them, about 7 or 8 of them just standing around in a pasture making whooping noises. Neat.

I did not get a nap yesterday, and I could feel Saturday's race and yesterday's foolishness catching up with me, so today I knew I would try to find excuses not to do 2 little measly 7:30 miles. TFB, I said to myself. You managed 2@7:30 yesterday in the middle of 17 in the hills, so you can damn well do it again today on the flat. I milked every bit of those first 4 miles, starting out at 10:05 pace and eking out an 8:55 by the 4th mile. The two hard miles were 7:34 and 7:14, and I was very glad to get it done. No hard running until track Wednesday morning, yay!

A propos of nothing but the title of this post: yesterday, during our most productive band-practice yet, we decided to name our band The Minarets.

Posted by joe positive at 9:47 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

June 7, 2008

here it is tomorrow

I've been so busy for so long that posting has become something that I'll do tomorrow, always tomorrow, not now, no time. This week things have changed once again, and suddenly I have a beautiful balance between having to be places at certain times and getting to do tomorrow-type things right here, today. Let's see how long this lasts :-)

Training week was won as follows:

Su: 6mi (9:39), yup
M: 13mi (8:53), meant to be a progression run but I stopped progressing at about mile 7
T: AM 4mi (9:15), PM 5.71mi incl 4x400 (descending rests), 1xmile, 4x400 (desc rests again)
W: 7mi (9:22)
R: 7.5mi (8:46), tiny little hills
F: 5mi (8:53) incl 6x100m strides 5th mile
Sa: 7.25mi incl 5k race (20:18, 3rd girl, 1st masters girl)

total: 55.6 miles running, 0 bike, 2 band practices, work, chores, and errands

You'll notice my recovery runs are still damn slow. But this entry from Bridget's blog makes me think I want to keep it this way for a while.

At Tuesday's track workout I hung with the same group I ran with last week. Our goals were 99 and 7min for the 400s and the mile, respectively. Despite the late-afternoon heat, those paces felt pretty tempo-y to me (rather than the 5k-ish hell I've come to associate with track) and I completed the workout hot and sweaty, but just pleasantly tired, which was, well, pleasant. I love running when it's pleasant.

Around midweek the running-club coach emailed me a schedule, so the Pfitzinger plan and I will have to keep our friendship on the down low for a while. Before Dror did the schedule I gave him an idea of what I'd been doing the past month, what's worked for me in the past, etc. We agree that tempo and MP stuff are very good things, but we will have to agree to disagree on the question of mileage. He's graciously (and somewhat grudgingly) letting me stay between 60 and 70 mpw, but there are some challenging workouts ahead, and if I have to give up some mileage to hit the workouts, I will.

This morning I ran a 5k just, well, for no reason except to see where I'm at. After the injury and the recovery, and the very-little miles and the hardly-any speedwork, and given that my recovery pace is around 9:30, I thought a 6:45 pace would be a stretch - doable, maybe, but still a stretch. Instead I was pleasantly surprised with 20:18 (6:33p), though the course was maybe a little short (GPS measured 3.05mi). A year ago I would've cried with disappointment, but today anything under 21 was ok by me. I did succumb to the Joe Positive 5k Fade, but this time it was less than 10s/mile, whoohoo!

Somewhat running-related, but not strictly about me: if anyone's looking for yet another place to talk about running, and if you think letsrun is too juvenile and kickrunners is too nice and/or busy and anzeigen has too many people you don't know and runningahead is too outraged about coolrunning refugees and coolrunning is dead (it is), you can come to the running forum at chrunners.net and yakk away.

Posted by joe positive at 12:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack