Monday, February 23, 2015

Reading List

With millions of books out there, I thought I'd share the first three I've read this year:

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.  I've heard about this book for a long, or references to it and thought I'd take a stab at seeing what it was about.  Long.  It was long.  The back-drop of her economic policy being a railroad/industrial setting did keep me entertained, but I think she could have cut out about half of the book and still had the same effect.  I generally found it entertaining, though I can't see how some politicians have taken it to be such an earth-shattering thesis.

Iron War, by Matt Fitzgerald.  This was a very entertaining, much more length-conscious book than the previous one I read.  This story documented the race Mark Allen and Dave Scott put on during Ironman 1989, and all the lead-up and post-script involved.  The actual race description kept me engaged and the research studies included were also very interesting.  

Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman.  This is a "fantasy" type of quick-read novel that quickly pulled me in and caused me to miss a little sleep (because I stayed up too late) while reading it.  Andrea brought it home for me from her library.  This was a very nice break after the two previous books.

Currently reading Duty, by Robert Gates, a memoir of his time as Secretary of Defense from 2006 through 2010.  A fascinating, insightful book so far...

Next up, on my night-stand, is One Summer in America: 1927, by Bill Bryson.  I've started this one before, but put it down for a bit.  I'll begin again upon completion of Duty.

So, that's the stuff I've read this year.  Always looking for good suggestions...

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

First two test runs

After a complete 26.5 (just over marathon length; hat was unintentional, I promise) days off from running and one more massage therapy appointment, I ventured out on Sunday afternoon for an easy lap around Shelley Lake.  I felt slow, bulky, and out of shape, but that's the worst of it.  After 17 minutes, I was done and walked back to my car.  Mission accomplished.

After consulting with my better half in regards to what I could do that she wouldn't berate me for, we decided that I could do easy, short runs 3 days the first week and re-evaluate after that.  We decided Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 2-3 miles.

So, run 2 went down Monday evening after the boys were in bed and consisted of an easy shuffle from the house.  I still felt slow, bulky, and out of shape, but again, that's the worst of it.  No sensations in my hamstring at all, so I'm considering both runs successes.

I now have a rest day today, before run number 3 tomorrow.  I'm being very cautious, so goes for me, in hopes that starting slow will work to allow a full recovery.  No goals for now, just want to be healthy and move how I want.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Famous now

Kevin wrote a nice article on my measuring the Hinson Lake Course back in can find it HERE.

Photo by Kevin Spradlin of the Pee Dee Post

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Not quite the magic I was hoping for

The massage appointment went well last week, but it unfortunately, wasn't the magic I was hoping for.  He did a fair amount of work on my hamstring and back and "fixed" some things, but 10 minutes into an easy run on Monday it pulled again so I walked 20 minutes back.  More time off.  Oh, and I broke a toe (or really really bruised it), so there's that too.

I can, however, ride my bike with minimal discomfort which is a good thing.  I guess I'm going to not run for another four weeks to let it heal and get stronger.  In the meantime, I think I'll put some more miles on the bike to try to keep sane. That, and work on the pull-up challenge at the State Fair next month.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

1st step

My first step in the process is to fix what's broken.  I have an appointment at Stiner Massage on Friday to get some work done on my hamstring, but also to investigate some possible issue that may be causing my "chronic" knee issues.  I predict some ongoing maintenance will be needed once I get fixed and into hard running.

The next three weeks (prior to Oct. 1) will see some easy biking and stretching before easing back into some light running.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014


I've been struggling a lot over the last few years with what I want to do physical fitness wise.  I took almost a full year off of running last year and "bulked up" lifting weights, but it didn't give me what I was looking for.  I started running again last December, and while I worked back into a few marathons, injuries have again side-lined me (old knee type stuff and new acute hamstring).  Naturally, I'm still a bit bulkier than in my "best" ultra-running years, but not grotesquely so (at least I don't think so?).

Still, I feel pulled in several directions and the "drifting aimlessly" without a concrete goal, is killing me.  I'm the type of personality where I need a goal to work towards, to the point where "just exercise" isn't really cutting it anymore.  The trouble I've had is, well, what's a good goal?  I've thought through them all, believe me.  I've had plenty of time to think.

I've decided I want to go back and run the Boston Marathon.  It's been since 2008, and will require a LOT of hard work, since I'm basically starting with scratch.  I put some time into the following timeline to figure out how to make it work:

  • October 1, 2014 - anticipated date to return to running (tentative, based on hamstring)
  • Spring, 2015 - marathon to get a sense of what I've put in since October
  • Fall, 2015 - serious attempt at fast BQ
  • Winter, 2016 - second serious attempt at fast BQ
  • Spring, 2016 - third and final serious attempt at fast BQ
  • September 2016 - register for Boston
  • April 2017 - run Boston Marathon
It's crazy to think that my first realistic chance to run is in 2017...that's 2.5 years away, but it is, so at least it gives me lots of time to prepare.  I'm going to morph this blog into sort of a training diary, of sorts, to track my progress toward this goal.  Who knows how long I'll keep up with it...

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Temporarily out of commission and an Update

The two-a-days for Grandfather Mountain never made it past day 2.  Predictably, GMM was a challenging, limping event, but completed in the midst of an awesome vacation week in Boone.

Post GMM, I was working my way back into some sort of shape focused on the Mag mile race, when on the last planned rep of a speed/track workout, I pulled a hamstring.  Two weeks off turned into four which is where we're at now.  I had a few test runs last week of 2, 3 and 5 miles that went slowly, but otherwise pain-free.  After a nice, active Labor Day weekend, I started my new training plan but towards the end of my first 5 mile run Tuesday morning, it the hamstring started to get sore again.  I did a slow, tentative second run at lunch, where it was sore, but not painful.  A similar feeling accompanied me Wednesday morning, so I decided to take today off to rest it.

I'm going to look into some massage therapy to see if I can straighten it out and perhaps, fix some other things.

I'm not really sure what my racing plans entail; they sort of hinge on when I can get back in shape, but the motivation and fire has returned, so I'm excited.  I would really like to do well at the Uwharrie 40 miler in February, so that's the goal, assuming I can overcome these issues.  I'd also like to get back up to Boston, so a fast marathon is also part of the long-term plan.

I've come up with what I think could be a really effective training plan, but will require a lot of effort on my part.  You're welcome to use the plan, but if you do something awesome, let me know!

My plan is a 7 day cycle and breaks down as follows:

  • Marathon Monday - warm-up for 10 minutes, followed by a steady run at marathon pace, building up to 13 miles.
  • Two for Tuesday - two easy runs, once before work and once at lunch working up to a total of 13 miles.
  • Once on Wednesday - one easy run, building up to 10 miles before work
  • Three for Thursday - similar to Tuesday but adding a third run at night, working up to 20 miles
  • Fast Friday - short and fast session of up to 20 minutes of hard tempo work
  • Off Saturday - while I'm timing races
  • Runday Sunday - traditional long run, working up to 20-24 miles (will move to Saturday when not timing a race)

So, that's what it is and I know I'll have some success if I could actually get healthy and be consistent.