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Tag Archives: Running

I Did A Dangerous Thing

Regular readers will know that I’ve been struggling with remaining physically active since tearing a groin muscle four or five years ago.  After about five years of running regularly, including running four half marathons, my running ground to a halt while I tried to rehab the muscle tear.  The rehab never really took, and I’ve tried off and on to start running again.  Each time I do so I tell myself that my objective is to be able to run three to five miles three or four times a week.  And nothing more.  I’ve been doing better at that over the past six months, but I went through a lull for a few months.  Until about a month ago.  I decided I had to get back to running.  For several reasons.  First, just for the overall health benefits.  Second, because I’m going on my first backpacking trip next month and I need to have some level of fitness to do that.

So, I started running regularly again a couple of weeks ago.  Just three to five miles several times a week.  That’s all.  Nothing more.  There is no half marathon in my future, so longer distances are unnecessary.  I’m just doing this for the general health benefits.  Right?  Right.

This weekend, I did this.  On Saturday, I went for a three or four mile hike near Auburn.  I was breaking in my new hiking boots and exploring the confluence of the North Fork and Middle Fork of the American River.  On Sunday, I went for a run.  Five miles.  As I approached the end, I was itching for more because things were feeling good.  This is the thing I have noticed about running.  The first couple of miles are always difficult.  My calves are typically tight and a joint here or a muscle there complains.  But then things start to loosen up, the endorphins kick in, my breathing evens out, and I get in a rhythm.  The tightness and discomfort of those first couple of miles go away and the next few miles are almost … enjoyable.  Which leads me to consider more miles.

I didn’t do that on Sunday because I figured with the day off on Monday, I could go for another run.  Which I did.  7.5 miles and when I stopped I was still in that “I could run further” zone.

Which all leads to why this is a dangerous thing.  If I can run 7.5 miles relatively comfortably, can I run 13.1?

I’ve told myself that I’ll never run that distance again.

Yes, I’ve told myself that.

But…

The Reconstruction Continues

According to Running World’s readers, this is the second best running song there is:

 

The song that came in first was by Eminem and since I simply cannot stand him, I couldn’t go there.  Okay, fine, I should have an open mind.  I just listened to it.  Here it is:

 

Relevance, you ask.  I think I’m officially a runner again.  After a couple of months of working up to it, I went for a 7.5 mile run yesterday.  I was hoping for 6 miles, but felt good and kept going.  And then … and then … this morning, I went out again, with the idea I would go for a shorter, easier run.  Maybe 3.5 or 4 miles.  6.5 miles later I was done.  I’m slower than I was a few years ago.  Back then, I could run at a 9 minute per mile pace for longer runs and a bit faster for shorter runs.  When I started up a couple of months ago, I was slower than 11 minutes per mile.  Both runs this weekend were closer to 10 minutes per mile.  Which is good.  But it also shouldn’t matter.  I’m trying to kill the internal competitor (maybe it needs to go to the same place as the ol’ internal editor) and be more concerned about time spent running rather than how fast I’m running.  When I accomplish that I will have officially achieved peace.

Anyway, 14 miles of running … no, wait, I don’t run, I jog … this weekend.  And things worked the way they were supposed to.  Nothing more than the usual aches and pains.  Yes, the ol’ groin gets tight and I have weakness in my right leg stretching from my groin to the knee, but it’s not slowing me down and it’s not interfering with things after a run.

My running life is back.  And it feels good.

It’s All About the Running

I have gone for a run five times in the last eight days.  Each run was between three and four miles in length, and while I’m running about two minutes per mile slower than I was a few years ago, I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to do this.  And, so far, my groin isn’t a problem.

So, why’s it all about the running?  It’s amazing how much my mood has improved this week.  In so many ways, just being able to exercise, and making the commitment to it, has done wonders for me.  So, now I just need to keep it up.  Running at a distance and pace that won’t overdo it, keep doing the exercises to strengthen things, and enjoy the benefits.

This and That

Back when I was running regularly, which is now three years ago, the barefoot running craze was starting to explode.  Both running truly barefoot and running in very lightweight shoes that had very little padding were the trendy thing to do.  Being somebody who would love to be able to live barefoot, the craze fascinated me and I was dedicated to giving it a try.  My groin injury ended running and I have yet to recover from the muscle tear enough to run.  (I know, I know.  As soon as we get back from Cabo next month, I’m going back to the sports doc.)

A couple of months ago. Running to Her Dreams  posted a piece about Be Real Shoes — a new entry into the minimal shoe category.  I signed up on their website and got a discount offer.  A couple of weeks I ordered a pair of their shoes.  Here they are on my little toesies…

IMG_0487

 

 

Back when I ran my last half marathon — the one in which I spent the last six miles dragging my right leg along because of the aforementioned groin injury — I participated in a training program for the first time.  The leaders spoke regularly about the importance of eliminating heel strike in your stride.  Of trying to land as much as possible on the pads of your feet.  Heel strikes slow a runner down and send more of the pounding and shock of the foot strike into your legs and joints than a pad strike.  Or so the theory goes.  As long as I’ve run in traditional running shoes, I’ve struggled with putting the theory into practice.  It’s just too easy to fall into the stride that has been ingrained into my muscles for years.

So, I got these shoes.  This morning I went for my first walk in them.  They are incredible — the closest thing to walking barefoot without actually walking barefoot.  So lightweight and comfortable it doesn’t feel like there’s anything on my feet.  And with almost no padding on the bottom it’s just like walking barefoot.  Because I can’t help it, even though my groin tear is still a problem, I tried small amounts of jogging during the walk.  And almost immediately was able to switch to pad strikes instead of heel strikes.  Back when I was running, people who had made the switch wrote and talked about how it’s pretty much inevitable that these shoes will pretty much force you to change your stride.  I’m a believer now.

Thing is … it’s a different stride that puts much more of the effort into the calves.  I probably only jogged about a mile in my walk of almost four miles.  But my calves were burning at the end.  If I keep this up, I will have calves that will be able to kill a person.  I also think they may just make it possible for me to run reasonable distances without aggravating my groin tear because the stride puts so much into the calves and takes off some of the pressure and effort from other parts of my legs.  Or maybe I’m just dreaming.

Anyway, love the shoes.

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I de-activated my FB account this morning.  Spur of the moment decision built upon months if not years of recognizing that it’s a complete waste of time.  At least for me it is.

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I’m in the midst of reading a self-published book.  It’s a well-packaged book with a great attention- grabbing blurb.  Problem is the story is bordering on complete crap.  I’ll never claim that my self-published works are great literature and I certainly have made mistakes in the self-publishing process, but there are so many fundamental flaws in this story I’ve had enough of it.  My bigger problem with the book is that I’ve seen fellow bloggers/self-published writers assist in the PR campaign for this book by reblogging posts about it, etc.  When I see those reblogged posts I always wonder if the bloggers doing the reblogging have even read the book and if they haven’t, why are they doing that?  See, my belief is that pushing all self-published writers, regardless of the quality, hurts all of us.  I don’t understand how you can support a book or author you haven’t read.  And I don’t know how you could support this book, even if you’ve read it.  I’d love to see us self-published writers rally around quality rather than supporting anybody who self-publishes.

That’s my two cents.

Weekend Update

Maybe I’ll head to a once a week post that wraps things up for me for the week.  Who knows.  At least for this week, that’s what I’m doing.

In one 24-hour period, I got three more reviews on Amazon for One Night in Bridgeport.  All four stars and all good comments.  That brings the tally to 49 reviews (do I have a party when I get to 50?), 28 are five stars, 16 are four stars, 4 are three stars, and 1 is two stars.  I can definitely live with that mix.  Meanwhile, I’ve got five reviews for Weed Therapy.  Need to get at least five more.

I’ve done a really stupid and petulant thing with Weed Therapy.  I’ve moved the Kindle price to $4.99.  Why?  Because nobody was buying it, even at .99.  If nobody is going to buy the book at that price, why not increase the price and not have anybody buy it.  Yes, it makes no sense.  But I was peeved at what was happening.  None of the promotional efforts I tried produced any sales.  So, $4.99 is it for the time being.  Of course, if I get ten reviews and get it featured on ereadernewstoday, the price will be coming down.  But not until then.

Speaking of reviews of Weed Therapy, I don’t think I will ever again conduct a Goodreads giveaway.  I offered three autographed copies.  After the giveaway, I got an email from a Goodreads member who did not win one of the giveaway books.  She begged me to send her one anyway.  She and her husband are poor, you know.  He’s a veteran, you know.  She reads books to him, you know.  The book sounds so wonderful, you know.  We’ll provide two reviews, you know.  Two months later.  No reviews, no comments.  Nothing.  From any of the people who got a free copy through the giveaway.

Sales of Bridgeport have definitely slowed down.  Two-thirds of the way through the month, I’m at 38 for September.  Not bad, but not as well as I was doing for the four months prior.  I’m not sure if the book has simply run its course or there’s more I could and should be doing to promote it again.

As I wrote a while back, Deviation is complete.  Northville Five and Dime is about half way there.  Carlota awaits her future as the third in my series of three longer short stories.

That’s where I’m at when it comes to writing.  Where are you at?

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I look at what the House Republicans are doing with funding government and trying to defund Obamacare and wonder if they’ll ever have a clue.  Ever.  Their grip on sanity seems to get weaker and weaker with each year.  I can’t imagine their hoped for shutdown of the government being a successful strategy for them, just like it failed in the mid-90’s.  What the people want is a functioning government, Republicans and Democrats compromising and moving the country forward.  What they’re getting is dysfunction and disaster.

And for my readers who claim that Democrats and Obama aren’t willing to compromise by agreeing to scrap Obamacare, let’s be serious.  This is the President’s signature achievement.  Something that much of the country has aspired to for decades.  Even Richard Nixon supported universal health care.  Demanding that Obama end it before there has been any opportunity to see if it will work is extortion not compromise.  Worse than that, it’s extortion based on a complete misunderstanding of what the law does.

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I’ve started running again.  A month before I planned on doing so.  I couldn’t help it.  The bad news is that I’m much slower than I was a couple of years ago.  About two minutes per mile slower.  The good news is that I’ve “run” five times in the last seven days.  Friday night’s run lasted for four miles without needing a walk break.  The ol’ groin seems to be stable, although there is soreness in spots I never had soreness before.  Soreness is OK, it’s when the whole thing collapses and I can barely walk that is problematic.  No collapse yet.  If I can run four miles three or four times a week, I’ll be incredibly happy.

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I’ve become addicted to Breaking Bad.  After months of people telling me I look like Heizinger, I started watching season one on Netflix.  I’m now halfway through season two, watching three episodes Friday night.  It’s a story that strains the limits of credibility, but it is definitely a fascinating and intense look at how far a man could go down a very dark path.

Here’s another thing I learned last night when I logged into Netflix to watch Breaking Bad.  Never, ever give your kids your account and password information.  What they do with it is provide it to their girlfriend and her family so they can use your Netflix account to watch movies and TV shows.  When I realized this was happening I changed my password.  I am monumentally disappointed with my son and with her family for doing this.  I realize it doesn’t cost me anymore, but it feels like theft, like being taken advantage of.  How many movies and shows have they watched on my account over the past week?  Sixty-seven.  In one week.  I didn’t go back any further in my viewing history.  That was enough.

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I’m spending my Sunday running, writing, doing laundry, watching football, and baking bread.  I have this incredible bread book called Artisan Baking Across America.  It’s more like a coffee table book than an actual cook book.  It’s filled with incredible pictures of bakeries and dough and bread.  Fortunately, it’s got a lot of recipes as well.  As the title should make clear, this is about making bread in a very old fashioned way.  Mix a bit of flour and water and yeast together Saturday night.  Let it sit over night.  The amount of yeast, however, is so tiny as to be almost non-existent.  In the morning, mix that (it’s called a poolash) with more flour and water and maybe some honey and a few other things.  And let it rise.  Because of the small amount of yeast, the rise is 3-4 hours long.  Then you shape the bread and let it rise for a couple more hours before baking.

The end product is this incredible, crusty, airy, bubbly bread with more flavor than you know what to do with.  I’m making two loaves of tortano and two loaves of semolina fiolene.  Pictures later.

What are you doing with your Sunday?

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Almost forgot … if you’re looking for a little writing challenge, head over here for the second installment of the We Drink Because We’re Poets Seven Day Story Challenge, sponsored by yours truly.

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