Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 1,642: Breaking in some new shoes

Today I decided to wear my new pair of Nike Air Pegasus+ 27s, since my current pair has more than 275 miles on it.

After the first mile I had a little bit of pain under the arch of my right foot but it went away. The shoes felt pretty good.

Maybe a decade ago, it used to take me about 70 miles before my feet got used to a new pair of shoes. They'd be in a lot of pain until the shoes were broken in.

These days it must be the manufacturing process. It's nice to wear them right out of the box.


I procrastinated to get out of the door and the difference was about 10 degrees -- from 75 degrees to 85 degrees during my run.

Still, I felt pretty good. I crossed into Piedmont Park and it looks like preparations for the Peachtree are underway with two huge rows of porta-potties already in the bowl.

Anyway, I feel good about the upcoming race and am looking forward to peaches, ice cream and a Diet Coke at the finish line.

Time: 9:35 a.m.
Temp: 75 degrees to 85 degrees (82 percent humidity)
Gear: Tech T short (Publix Georgia Half Marathon '11), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27/A.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 1,638: m's route

Three days ago I was in a pretty good mood and wanted to do a 6+ mile route to try to trim off the week at about 30 miles.

But then I got stung by yellow jackets and it didn't happen. Today I had a couple errands to do taking care of my geocaches, so I decided to combine them into one trick, using my wife's great Piedmont Park route.

I've been reading the book Born to Run about ultramarathoners and it's really inspired me to think about how I run and to run how I feel like it. I've even thought about what it would be like to run in those shoes designed to be like barefoot runners.

Today I really felt like I was running for fun, carrying various geocache containers to three cache sites and having a good time. It was hot but I felt like I had a pretty good focus. I drank some water at the Piedmont Park fountain before the bowl at about 6 miles.

Time: 9:44 a.m.
Temp: 88 degrees (57 percent humidity)
Gear: Tech T short (Doug Kessler 10K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

My Forerunner 205 is dead! (again)

Today I got up and early to hunt a geocache at Mason Mill Park. I noticed my Forerunner 205 finally had charged after a few days and I set out with it.

But it would not turn on. I think it quickly loses its charge after being out of the charger.

Luckily I still have my Forerunner 405, which I've mainly used for races and out of town stints. But I might have to go to the more reliable watch now.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 1,636: The Day After

Today's run was 1,000 times better than yesterday's, particularly in that I did not have to walk home two miles. Walking sucks!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 1,635: Anaphylaxis

This morning I maybe had run about 50 feet when I felt an annoying stinging sensation in my leg.

I looked down. It was a yellow jacket. There were a couple of others further down the leg, all stinging me.

Then I looked down and saw there were three more each on the tongue of each shoe.

I tried to brush the one on my leg away and then decided to dart back to my driveway where the garden hose was.

That didn't seem to get them off of me so I decided to scrape them off with a piece of bark. One of them flew up and stung me again before I decided to just mash the ones on my shoes into little pieces.

By this time the wife had come outside. Everything seemed ok -- I felt fine and the stings hadn't even swelled up.

So I continued on what I thought was going to be a 6.5-mile run. During the run, I felt crazy itchy on my head. And my right hand looked white for no reason.

I kept running. After more than a mile, I stopped for a second and realized that I couldn't really hear very well out of my ears.

I continued on and tackled the huge hill on Rock Springs Road. I had to stop at the top because I felt tired.

At this point I noticed it was getting hard to see. Things on white backgrounds were very bright and it looked like some kind of Technicolor video gone awry.

I walked down the hill and then turned back on Morningside to walk home the same way I came -- about 2 miles.

I didn't have my cell phone on me so I hoped for the best. I didn't feel dizzy, just a little itchy and there was that thing with the vision.

By the time I got home my vision was a lot better. But the only thing I could do was to just lie down -- every time I got up I felt woozy and it was impossible to really eat anything.

Unwittingly, I'd just suffered from an anaphylactic reaction from the stings.

I'd received nature's version of "a foul to give" -- a sting with no penalty -- in my summer after my sophomore season of college. While working on a landscaping crew, on my last day of my job there I'd been stung on the nose by a yellow jacket. It hurt like crazy but I'd only suffered a swollen nose.

Nearly 20 years later, this came back to haunt me, as it turned out my immune system had been waiting and ready with a vengeance for the next time this toxin came around.

I consider myself pretty lucky, as some people lose the ability to breathe and can die from this kind of anaphylactic reaction.

Hours later I feel better but still can see the hives from earlier in the day and also feel like my innards are all jumbled up.

My future likely will include carrying an epi-pen around just in case and being wary of insects with stingers.

It's pretty surreal this happened, but again I'm just glad since it could have been much worse.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 1,631: First really humid day of June

Today I got an early start out for a run around Piedmont Park. And it felt muggy, more so than any day so far this year.

I guess this will be how it is from now on. If it's anything like the past, I'll have to bring extra T-shirts along with me on runs as well as water.

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 71 degrees
Gear: Tech T, short, shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 1,630: Father's Day 4-miler

I'm not sure why I have a sluggish response to race days. This morning I really didn't want to get up and was thinking that I could have used the extra time in bed.

But I ambled out of my place and drove down to Turner Field to participate in the Atlanta Track Club's Father's Day 4-Miler. It's the first time I ran in the race.

I don't think I've ever run in a four-mile race before, even after 22 years of running. I've run a 6K (3.6 miles) and an 8K (4.8 miles) but no distance in between.

When I checked in for the race, I was given a bib and a D-Tag chip timer, which was nice.

About 15 minutes later, the race started on Hank Aaron Drive really without warning - you could just see all the heads in front of you leaving.

The start was extremely crowded. I made my way around lots of people and thought this was a pretty slow start. No matter, since when am I ever going to use the results of a four-mile race for anything? So I was surprised after the race when I saw my first mile was 7:40.

After the first turn onto Fulton Street, it goes downhill pretty quickly. Like many other races I had people flying by me, only to get passed on the hills later on. But pretty quickly, the hill starts going up and I had really good acceleration on this hill.

The rest of the way I basically settled into a good pace. I'd run around Grant Park before but was unsure of how the course went. I think familiarity with a course is a big advantage in how well you'll do.

Case in point when we turned from Georgia Avenue to Hank Aaron Drive along the side of the stadium. Unsure of exactly how far the run would be inside the stadium, I waited until just before we entered the outfield. I know now that I should have started to kick maybe as soon as we turned onto Hank Aaron.

That's because the final bit after turning onto the outfield was extremely short. Instead of ending at home plate as the race description advertised, the finish really was just a little past first base.

No matter, it still was a really fun race that I look forward to participating in again!

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 71 degrees (humid)
Gear: Tech T, short (Big Peach Sizzler 10K 2009), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 1,629: The proposal, a year later

A year ago today I proposed to my then-girlfriend after we ran to the top of one of the hardest hills in the city.

It's one of those unforgettable life experiences that has led to even better things, including our marriage last month.

A few weeks later it led to my fastest Peachtree 10K time, 48:14. In October, I ran a marathon PR, 4:06:23, in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

In November, I set a 5K PR of 22:20 at the Race2Recycle in Piedmont Park and this past February I set a 10K PR of 46:34 at the Charles Harris Run in Tucker.

We've done races on the road -- the Rock'n'Roll half marathons in Chicago, Las Vegas and San Diego. And twice we've done the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in Washington.

From year to year it's difficult to say what kind of running you'll be able to put forth. I know this from being a mid-pack runner to no runner at all to a runner again. But I'm thankful for my sweetie for keeping my running enthusiasm going.


If I ran right when I woke up I could have taken advantage of temperatures similar to last year when I proposed -- a nice and crisp 71 degrees. When I ended up running, about 8 a.m., it already had climbed to 76 degrees but was still ok for running.

With the Father's Day 4 Mile run tomorrow, I didn't want to push too hard but I still wanted to make sure I got my miles for the week.

So it was an easy route to Whole Foods and then another loop to Freedom Parkway to get the job done.

Time: 8:06 a.m.
Temp: 76 degrees
Gear: Tech T, short (CS yellow), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus 27.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 1,623: Signed up for Father's Day 4-miler

I've signed up for the Atlanta Track Club's Father's Day 4-miler. The race on Sunday starts and ends at Turner Field, including a sprint to home plate.

I think in past years, laziness has had something to do with me not jumping in this race. This year, there was a bit of momentum, especially because the event is free for track club members and I re-joined the club this year to not have to go into the lottery for the July 4th Peachtree 10K.

It seems each baseball club in MLB has their own 5K race and this must be the one for the Atlanta Braves, as you register through their website.

For track club members, it looks like you get a $10 value as they only charge you if you want the extras -- $10 for a performance shirt and $12 for an Upper Box seat for the Rangers-Braves game later in the afternoon. (That combo costs $32 total for non-members). There's a $3 online charge, which isn't great but it is what it is.

The race goes into and around Grant Park, which I've never run in for a race. My friend Sham had mentioned the race and I finally decided it should be something I should do.

So here's to this Sunday!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 1,622: Snakes on the Trail

MABLETON, Ga. -- I was running along the Silver Comet Trail today when I saw a couple of older ladies veer out of the way of what looked like a stick in the middle of the path.

Then one of them turned to the stick, which was wriggling its way across the path, and said, "Go on. You know there are bicyclists coming, don't you?"

In nearly half a year of geocaching and being in the thickest brush imaginable and turning over rocks and logs, this was the first snake I'd seen. And this one out in the open.

We gathered that it was a brown snake. Still it had an asp-like face that would have made me think twice if I saw it in the woods.

Although I came out here in March and found a few 'caches, I hadn't really found caches on the trail in any organized manner.

So last night I looked up where a bunch of caches would be and decided on the first segment from the trailhead to Floyd Road. I decided to park at Floyd Road and run in.

Going out was easy -- there was usually a geocache every .2 or .3 miles or so, with the max .8.

Coming back was interesting -- that meant I had to run about four miles straight, after having run four miles out.

It wasn't bad, the 'Comet has a gradual incline. It was a lot warmer than when I started out so I just had to pace myself. I was happy for a cooler of cold Diet Cokes waiting for me at the end!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 1,615: Time to unwind (Oh, man!)

This morning I decided I'd do a short route and started down the street.

That's when I forgot I'd just run a half marathon the day before with less preparation than what I'm used to.

My muscles were so tight that I only went two-tenths of a mile and then turned around, knowing that even the short route I had planned would be too much.

Yet I still ended the day with nearly four miles run.

I decided after that to turn my run into a geocaching run and so I went to Decatur and Tucker, where my legs started to unwind with that start-again, stop-again pitter patter of the cache hunt.

My last run of the day (five different runs on the watch) was a there-and-back jaunt to the post office to pick up a package. On the way there, this old man says, "A mighty hot day to be running."

I thought of a lot of smart-ass things I could have said but only now know the truth: It's a mighty hot day when you're not prepared.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 1,614: Rock'n'Roll San Diego Half Marathon

SAN DIEGO -- When I don't run very much and then find myself before a big race, I always think of the Centralia Half Marathon.

I jumped into that race in Washington state in November 1999 as a way to tune up for the Suzuki Seattle Half Marathon later that month.

My longest training run for it was 4 miles. Basically I did pretty well until mile 10 and then seriously hit the wall and eked out 3 painful miles.

In the 62 days in between the April 3 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in Washington, D.C. and this race, I'd run more than 5 miles on two occasions -- I ran 6 miles on the morning of my wedding on May 7 and I managed a 7.75-mile run on June 1, 4 days before the race.

So I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out.

To my surprise, everything was perfect for this race. We stayed at a hotel just two blocks from the start, right across the street from Balboa Park.

The course was pretty gentle, with only a small amount of hills but very generous downhill slopes.

It was cool, about 61 degrees at the start and not humid. It got even better around Mile 4 when we ran on a deserted (closed-off) Highway 163. Later on, on the plane ride back, I heard a woman behind me say she didn't like this part of the race. But it gave me a post-apocalyptic feeling, running on a highway that anytime else you would never want to be here.

Plus being in a valley and shaded, it was even cooler than the start. I could see people's breaths as we ran down the highway.

The music was amazing in this race. In the two Rock'n'Roll races (Chicago, Las Vegas) that we've run in, the music has been forgetful at best. There was at least one band I did a double take thinking they sounded so good I wouldn't be surprised to hear them playing before big stages in the future.

Another nice West Coast element was a Japanese taiko drum group playing near one of the cloverleafs we had to negotiate. That was helpful, since it was easy for me to pace myself to each beat of the drums.

Coming from Atlanta's oppressive humidity, I think I was heat acclimated in ways that would not be possible for locals. I had water just twice, starting at Mile 6 and another around Mile 9. The sunny day did not seem hot to me at all and this June race in many ways reminded me of the ING/Publix half marathon series in Atlanta.

So all in all, with a race both of us thought might be difficult for us, we both did very well in. Like all of the Rock'n'Roll races, it was very well put together and it went even farther to be one of my favorite halfs that I've done.

Time: 6:21 a.m.
Temp: 61 degrees
Gear: Tech T, short (CS yellow), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus 27.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 1,610: Happy National Running Day

For me many times I think of a particular route and it gnaws on me until I finally do it.

Today that route was the run to Atlantic Station, which was part of my training strategy for the Chicago Marathon last year.

Today it was pretty hot (90.8 degrees, 55 percent humidity). It was bright so I wore sunglasses.

I didn't bring any water, although I thought about it a lot. But I knew that if I needed to, I could stop by the Publix at Atlantic Station and there are water fountains in Piedmont Park and John Howell Park.

So everything went pretty much as planned. Near the end, after mile 7 or so I could have used water but I was happy that I made it back. I wasn't totally soaked like I will get later on in the summer, so no need to carry two T-shirts for now.

Time: 9:22 a.m.
Temp: 90.8 degrees (55 percent humidity)
Gear: Tech T, short (Chicago Marathon), shorts, Adidas running shoes.