Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Well, chalk another one up to old age. Over the weekend, I hurt my back. I was standing for several hours, and the muscles in my lower back did not like that. Now I am having a little bit of trouble with them. I'm taking it fairly easy rght now, since backs are easy to injure seriously, and I don't want that. This just isn';t my year, I guess.

Monday, July 09, 2007

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Actually, how I came to have a several-month-long layoff from running.

It was over the winter, and there was just a little bit of snow falling. About an inch had already accumulated, and we were expecting a little more during the day. I had just finished my morning run and was about a quarter-mile from home. As I began my cooldown jog, I stepped on the edge of the sidewalk, with the outer half of my foot unsupported by the concrete. The ankle twisted over, hard, and I went down onto the ground. I jumped back up, quickly, to test the ankle, because it already hurt quite a bit, and this was the ankle I'd injured in College Cross-Country. It wasn't up to the task of supporting any weight at all--I had to hold on to a street sign in order to remain upright. A snowplow driver, working in the school parking lot across the street spotted me and drove over, to offer me a ride back home. I thanked him as he dropped me off and I hobbled up the driveway to my door. Later on, I wished (and I still do) that I'd done something for him, or at least offered him something--even a cup of coffee, but at the time, my ankle, in which the pain had ebbed from white-hot knives to only red-hot knives, was causing me so much difficulty, that all I could think about was getting into the house and getting some ice on it. Rest, Ice, Elevation, Ibuprofen. Well, when you work at a desk 8 to 5, 5 days a week the first three are difficult to maintain. When your wife works from 7:30 to 10:30 every night (we need her orthodontic insurance) it makes it difficult to maintain the regimen of rest, ice and elevation while you are making sure the kids are dong their homework and washing the dishes. If I had, say, a servant, who could do these things for me, I might have been back up and around in a few weeks. But as it was, I have had a great deal of difficulty healing.

On another note, I didn't run today. I got up at 4:40 and started to get dressed, and then I noticed that I was feeling a little bit lightheaded. I remembered going to see a movie with my wife the night before (date night!) and realized that we'd gotten home right around midnight. I was operating on 4 hours of sleep. Now, when I was in my 20s, I used to do that regularly, but now I'm an old man, and I hate everything but Matlock.

I couldn't get out for a run this afternoon, because Declan had a soccer game, and I had to get him to it. Only nine kids on his team made it for the beginning of the game, with a tenth showing up partway through the game. The other team had a full complement, with a couple of substitutions available. Declan's team (the Lancers) lost 2-1, but they put up a good fight. I did get in a little bit of running, as I had to be the linesman. So, maybe 4 or 5 hundred yards today, varying between a sprint and a lope.

(Obviously, I've fixed my margin problems)

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I've heard lots of people disparaging running (and exercise in general for that matter) saying that they've "never seen a runner who looked happy."

Here's one:

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OK, not everybody is a winner of the World Cross-Country Championships, but we can all know the feeling of triumph at the end of a particularly good run. Here's a picture of me back in college at the end of a particularly good race:

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I don't think I look particularly happy, but in the immortal words of David Byrne: "People in ecstasy look stupid."

Hot weather

When I left on my run this morning, the temperature was about 68°. It was nice, not too much humidity, and the sun was shining. but not too intense.

By the time I finished, the sun was intense and the temperature was almost 75°. It took only 36 minutes for that to happen.

I'll have to get up earlier tomorrow and see if I can get out before the heat starts. Lots of people out today, including a contingent from the local high school cross-country team. About 5 or 6 of them were finishing up at the same time I was.

My ankle feels good today, no pain, even after the run. The swelling has gone down (although I've always had puffy feet).

I was almost killed out there. Well, maybe not almost killed, but there was a bit of a hazard. I was crossing an intersection, the light was green for me, and some guy turning right on red didn't bother looking right, or even coming to a complete stop, before going. I had to dodge his car and I yelled "Watch out!" at which point he slammed on the brakes and apologized.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A race

I entered a race this morning. I couldn't help it--the start was 200m from my house, and the finish was across the street. I strapped on the ankle brace and lined up with the others.

I had a pretty good day -- I finished in 20:39 for a 5k, which is around 6:40 pace. I still think I can take off a minute or a minute and a half this year from that 5k time. I finished 53rd overall, out of what looked to be around 250 or 300 entrants, and I was the 6th in my age group. The 5th finished just about :30 ahead of me.

At about 2 miles, I had a college flashback. I was passed by a young man whose form was identical to my friend Andy's. He was also built like Andy, tall and thin. He edged me in the last 100 meters.

The ankle felt pretty good, no paid during the race and only a little bit before and after. I think I'm on the road to recovery.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I hate indoor workouts

I'd rather be outside in subzero weather than doing what I did today. I spent 40 minutes on the elliptical trainer. My gym doesn't have any fans on the workout floor. When you're outside, you create a nice breeze blowing past you simply due to the fact that you're moving. In the gym, the air is dead calm. I was sweating like crazy --it was like the Robert Hays sweating scene in Airplane. The room is also pretty warm, probably warmer than it should be--I'd say around 70-72 degrees. It would be much more comfortable if the room was about 60-65°, with the exercise serving to warm up the execricers.