Wednesday, January 31, 2007

OKAY . . . Who did it?

That's what I want to know . . . Who did it?

It is a head cold. Sore throat. Sniffles.

I feel fine but it always a pain having to deal with this kind of stuff. I'm doubling up on my vitamin C, doubling up on my hand washing, and I am not drinking out of my dogs bowl anymore!

Monday night I went out after dark and ran a nice hard 5 miler. No calf pain-Yippeee! Also did a light workout. Have to get back into my pattern of lifting on Mondays and Thursdays. I am also going to have to start using my trainer to start getting ready for biking season. I would really be set if I could just get my employer to pay me to train instead of work. Doubt that is going to happen!

BTW . . . did you notice that I am posting at 5:30 am? I've been in the office for about 45 minutes already. I got a call at 4:00 am from the plant with some questions so I decided to come on in. I love my job.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

two weeks away

Yep . . . two weeks until Mercedes marathon. Or half-marathong for Susan and me.

The weekend is over and I am about to head to bed. It's been a somewhat busy weekend and I am ready to crash.

I didn't get in the miles that I wanted to this weekend but I did get in a little bit. Saturday morning I got in 4 miles. I had wanted to do 5 but I sort of slept in and was running behind schedule. I know that 8 1/2 or 9 minutes shouldn't make that big a difference but I really did cut it that close. I ran sans watch . . . a practice that I am starting to find liberating. I have so many old timers tell me to run just to run. I think that I may be starting to understand. I still want to quantify and measure stuff but I am slowly learning to loosen my grip up a little bit.

After the morning run, I went to MA's soccer game and then on to E's basketball game. Afterwards, I came home for a little bit to do some chores and then headed back over to Susan's to try to get in a 10 miler. We were meeting some friends for dinner and canasta so we were working against the clock. We got a later start than we wanted and weather was moving in so we decided to do a hard, hilly 6 miler instead. We ran an old loop that I used to run years ago and it is always a good test of stamina since it is very hilly. We started off the first mile on a nice flat wooded trail. After the first mile, we had a gradually continuous climb of about a mile. The third mile are some nice rollers that took us into one of the local villages. Mile 3 was sort of bizarre . . . Susan was sort of chatty. Nothing wrong with it and I enjoy talking with her but she was wound up. I could tell that she was concentrating more on talking than running and our pace was bouncing all over the place. I mentioned it to her and told her that she would have to focus when we were running the half in a couple of weeks. At the end of 3 miles, there is a Shell station that always keeps the restrooms very clean and keeps out several coolers of fresh water and cups for runners. If you're ever in Birmingham and need gas, go to the Shell station in Cresline Village and support the owner. He has done this for the running community for years and we try to support him when we can. After a brief water stop, we started on the backside of the loop back to the car. I had started a very light sprinkling . . . not enough to get wet but enough to let us know that it was coming. Susan again was very chatty on mile 4. Mile 4 is sort of tough . . . it is rollers but a net climb overall. I was holding a steady pace and she would fall back and catch up and then move in front and then fall back again . . . you know . . . . just not focusing on the running, which is okay. I mentioned her attention to detail (hoping not to hurt her feelings) and that she could not do this during the race. She seemed to settle down and focus after that. Mile 5 has one BIG hill and then is all down hill into the next village. Susan did very well with the hill. The last time we ran this loop she walked THE HILL. This time around, we had a nice slow climbing pace and never broke our running stride. Yeah, Susan! Either I peed her off or she really got focused because on the down hill side, she took off. I told her that we still had over a mile to go but she was already 30 feet in front of me. I let her set the pace and tried to stay off her shoulder and behind to let her do her thing. My guess is we turned a half mile in under 4:30. Very fast for Susan. Once in the village, it is about a mile back to the car. By this time it was a little heavier rain and we were starting to feel the urgency to get back to the car before the bottom fell out. The great thing about this last mile is that the majority of it is on a trail and is close to level. The footing isn't great since it runs right along a creek bank and the slippery dirt and rocks didn't help. Fortunately, neither of us fell as Susan felt the need to try to race me back to the car. My guess is that we turned about 8:30 in the last mile. The girl has been holding out on me! I'd speed up and just get beside her and she'd pull ahead a little bit more. We did this four or five times and ended the mile with a nice hard push! We made it back to the car with the rain just starting to really set in. Perfect run, perfect weather, perfect company! Thanks, Susan!

Friday, January 26, 2007


Another quick post. We are working like one armed paper hangers at work and it will be that way the next couple of weeks. Going in early and staying late . . . that kind of thing. Not conducive to a good attitude or running, but run I must!

Thursday night I went over to Susan's to get in a run. We ran 3 miles together and she decided to stop since she had run the night before and will be running 10 miles on Saturday. We don't want her to build too quickly because we all know that leads to injury. I ran one additional mile and I pushed it really hard. It was a crystal clear evening and brisk. Perfect for running. The last mile was almost magical. I felt like I was continuously picking up speed. I was wearing my Tikka headlamp and it was funny/wierd to be plowing through the night air, blowing my steamy breath into the beam. A person out walking their dog said they thought I was a locamotive coming around the corner. Not sure it that is good or bad but I thought it was funny.

I am planning on running 5 hard miles Saturday morning and then running an easy 10 with Susan on Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

just business

A quick post this a.m.

5 miles last night. About 50 degrees. Decent run, no watch.

My mind is spinning . . . work is nuts. Multiple deadlines, unrealistic expectations, all the things that make work a four letter word. I have come to the realization that I am Dilbert.

Monday, January 22, 2007

What a weekend

Hey all. As the title says, it was a busy weekend. Or at least a busy Saturday. Sunday was more about recovering, but more about that in a minute.

Saturday morning was cold and windy and mostly overcast. Susan and I had planned on a 10 miler. This is strengthening for her since she is doing the Mercedes Half a month from now. I was using it as a recovery run from this stupid calf injury that had kept me down for a couple of weeks. We decided to get a relatively early start since the day was full of activities. We started our run around 8:30. Early enough to fit the plans to the day but late enough to let the temp get into the 30s. As usual when I run with Susan, I let her set the pace. She had not done this distance in several years so she was a little nervous about it but she did about 8 1/2 last week so I knew it shouldn't be too much a problem. Regardless, she picked a pace a little slower than normal just to make sure she could do it. I've done it myself so I completely understood. She wants to run the half marathon at about a 11 minute pace. I told her that I would help her hit that pace. I know that you need to run slower in your training runs, but I wanted her know what the pace feels like since she really doesn't judge her pace that well. The plan was to run a little at a 11 minute pace but to leave some slop in there to allow her to slow to a 12 minute pace. That's what I told . . . we want to finish between 1:50 and 2 hours. We ran the lakshore greenway. 2 1/2 miles out with the wind at our back and we were running a little slower than 11 minute pace. We were feeling good and Susan had taken off her gloves and ear cover. We turned back to the car and realized that we were running into about a 10-15 mph wind. OMG. I was running in shorts and a single coolmax long sleeve and was feeling fine until the wind started whipping my sweaty shirt. Susan put the glove and ear covers back on. To be honest, I could have used some gloves running into the wind. I noticed that our pace had slowed considerably. I checked our split at a half mile marker and told Susan that we had slowed to almost a 13 minute pace. She wasn't crazy about me telling her this but I just wanted her know. She said she was doing her best going into the wind and I just let her set the pace (though I did secretly step it up just a smidge). We got back to the car for water and another 5 mile loop. We decided to head the opposite direction on another trail called Jemison Trail. The reasoning being that we would run another 2 1/2 miles into the wind and then have a tail wind coming home. Susan was up for the change. By the time we finished the first five, the temp had dropped. I grabbed my Asics wind vest and Susan grabbed a windbreaker and off we went for our second five miles. It was pretty uneventful and thankfully the trail is so deep into the trees, the wind really was not a factor. We turned around at 2 1/2 and I told Susan that with 1 mile left we were going to pick it up. She just sort of grunted and looked at me. Not a good sign. However, when I told her it was time to go, she was all game and off we went. Her first 10 miler in years and she turned it in under 2 hours. Bravo to Susan!

After the run, we went back to her house and I split firewood for a couple of hours. Afterwards, we spent the afternoon going to her two girls' basketball games. MA had a really good game. Her team won 25-8 and she had 4 points. She played good defense and a couple of steals. She also did a good job passing the ball and had several assists. MA takes practice serious and it is such a great joy to practice with her. I've been doing passing drills with her and trying to get her to shoot without putting the ball on the floor. Both her goals were shot like that so I sort of gloated! E's game (first and second graders) is a little more lax. They go light on the traveling and double dribbling thing and the kids have fun more than anything else. That age group doesn't quite seem to understand the competitive nature of the game so it is fun watching them run around trying to figure out where to go and what to do. All that being said, E always seems to be having fun and smiling. She took several shots and made 1. She's one of those that practices better than she plays. I'm sure that in a couple of years she's going to be a terror on the court since she is in the first grade and taller than all the second graders.

After that, Susan and I went to dinner with some of her Bunko friends at one of the nicer hotel/conference centers in town . . . Ross Bridge We met early for cocktails and then had a very nice dinner. I didn't want to horn in since it was all girls but they all insisted that I eat with them. They were celebrating birthdays (5 ladies with birthdays within 30 days of each other) so we turned it into a party. The restaurant was very nice, giving us desserts and allowing us to hog the table for 3 hours. Without going into too much detail, we'll just say that we had fun but we overdid it . . . just a little bit.

Sunday was spent sitting around watching TV. We were supposed to go to my parents but neither of us were up for the visit. It was pouring down rain, cold and we were nursing our "party". We layed on the sofa and watched TV most of the day. We had planned to run 4 or 5 miles but blew it off because of the rain and the headaches (ouch!). I left her house around 4 and spent the rest of the evening washing clothes, napping, and watching the football games.

The good news is that I feel better today and will be trying to get a 6 miler tonight.

Friday, January 19, 2007

not quite

wondering about the title. Simple. I fagged out and only ran 4 miles Thursday night. Was planning on 5 but for no particular reason I decided to stop at 4. Well maybe several reasons to be honest. I was over at Susan's and she ran first while I stayed with the girls. I went for my run after she got back. It was just starting to get dark, it was cool and misty, Susan was starting dinner (and I was hungry). I guess the biggest reason I quit was the fact that when I came back by Susan's house (remember, this is a one mile loop) with one left to go, I noticed the smell of smoke . . . not that scary smell of a fire out of control, but the pleasant smell of a fire being started in the fireplace . . . the smell of warmth . . . the smell of home. It just made me stop dead in my tracks and evaluate the next 8 1/2 minutes of my future. Should I run another mile (I can always run) or spend the extra time with Susan and possibility of special moments. In the big scheme of things I think the fire in the fireplace is more important.

Planning on 10 miles Saturday. Talk to you later! Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

climbing out of a hole

Hey all. Just got in from an easy 4 miler. Wanted to do more but as I had mentioned in earlier posts, I am using this week as an easy transition week. I am transitioning from almost no running over the last two weeks (calf strain) to getting back on schedule. No sense in going from 0 miles to 30 miles in one week. I figured I'll get in between 15 and 20 this week and then go up from there. Tonight it was cool. Check that. It was cool but felt cold. Temp was in high 30s when I got started and it was slightly windy and cloudy. It wasn't cold enough to stick, but it was sleeting while I was running. Honest. No need to go to the store to buy milk and bread (or beer and chips as I prefer)-it will not be cold enough to do any damage around here. It was nice listening to it in the trees and having the tiny ice pellets slap me in the face. Very enjoyable.

I am planning on doing a 5 miler tomorrow afternoon. The calf feels fine but the spirit is wavering. Why is it that I always have such a hard time bouncing back after a little setback? What is the psychology behind that? Yes, I am excited to get back out here and even more excited that my injury seems to have subsided. It is sort of like when I play golf . . . if I hit a bad shot, it takes a couple of holes for me get the ship straightened out. You know what I mean?

Anyway, barring pain, I will do 5 Thursday and 10 on Saturday. If that goes well, then I will get back to a little more serious stuff next week.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Back in the saddle . . . maybe

Hi all. Sorry that I have not been keeping you up to date on my goings on and musings. Up until yesterday (Sunday), I had only run once in close to 2 weeks and that one run was a slow run with Shelly and was painful. I guess I did something to strain my left calf. I have never had pain in that area of my body before (not counting cramps which I have not had in years, BTW). Of course it makes sense that the older I get the greater the chances of pains in different body parts. Anway . . . at first I was concerned that it might be a high achilles strain but after pinpointing the pain and doing a little research and self diagnosis (we runners are VERY good doctors!), I determined that it was indeed my calf. Densest muscle in the body. Tough to hurt and tough to heal. As discussed with Phil, I was trying to keep it iced on a regular schedule. Unfortunately for me, my stomach (and GI Dr.) does not like NSAIDs so I am stuck just taking Tylenol for pain. Cannot take anti-inflammatories. Bummer. One of my buddies is a High School football coach here in Alabama and he swears by something that I have never tried . . . are you familiar with DMSO?
It's a solvent that is used as a horse linament. FDA has not approved it for use as a linament but it has been shown to work on humans in other parts of the world. No suprise . . . FDA is a government agency and in typical fashion, they are very progressive (yeah, right). So I decided to give it a try. There are varying strengths in gel and liquid forms. My dad had also tried it and some left over so he just gave me what he had. I am not sure if it was the rest, the ice, the DMSO or a combination but my calf started feeling better by this past weekend.

I had decided to sideline myself until today (Monday) but I was feeling pretty good and was going absolutely crazy. To top things off, Susan had done 8+ miles on Saturday and was wanting do to more on Sunday after church. With much caution and reservation I pulled 'em on, laced 'em up, and went for a jog with Susan. The first mile I was sort of gingerly tiptoeing through my run expecting to pull up lame at any time. However, after a mile, my leg felt fine. hmmmmm . . . . maybe it's healed? second mile . . no problems. Third, fouth and fifth miles went by with no problems. SUPER. No pain. Let's double check it . . . Susan and I shot basketball after our run. This also included me jumping for rebounds, trying to dunk (don't laugh), and just doing a lot of lateral, forward and backward movement. NO PROBLEMS (except that I could not dunk!). The plan is now to ease into this week. No hills. No speed work. Just work on base miles with maybe a 10 or 12 miler on Saturday. We'll see how it goes.

Susan came over for dinner on Sunday night and I fixed a ham, onion, cheddar-jack cheese fritata. Actually, it was a crustless quiche but does it really matter? I introduced her to perhaps the best TV show . . . 24. I didn't think that she would like since she's not much of a TV watcher but I think that she might be hooked. Give it a try if you haven't seen it.

Oh yeah . . . I'm blogging during a break at work. Today if MLK JR day and we get today off as a holiday but I decided to work. Only a handfull of folks here and I can get a lot done with no interruptions. It is like I can do 12 hours worth of work in an 8 hour day.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

It has been a while-Can you stand an update?

Good evening to all. Yes, it has been almost a week since my last post. Of course there are some of you who have gone a lot longer than that so don't crucify me yet!

Let me see . . . . what have I been doing over the last week?

After I finished lame on my last run, I decided to take a day or two of rest. I was heading to Vidalia, GA for work so as usual, I packed my running clothes. Before heading to Vidalia, I contacted Amy (her blog is linked to the right) and told her that I would be passing through Macon. She said that she'd love to get together so we arranged it on my return back to B'ham.

I traveled to Vidalia on Thursday. My buddy Larry Turner went with me. This is always fun, though not necessarilly a good thing. You see, Larry can be a bad influence on the FATMAN. On the way to Vidalia, we stopped off in McDonough, GA and played golf. I have not played in over a month and I have played terrible the last year or so. I mean REALLY terrible . . . mid 90s would be a great score. Anyway, we teed them up and before I knew it, I was striking the ball like a madman. I was hitting long drives . . . three of them over 300 yards. My irons were crisp but just a tad errant, and my putting was unbelievable-it seemed that the hole was the size of a garbage can. Bottom line was that I shot a 43-38 for an 81. Wow . . . I won't do that again for a long time!

Worked all day Friday and was wanting to run but after a full day at the plant on my feet in safety shoes on the concrete, it felt good just to go back to the hotel, have a beverage and take my boots off. Of course my buddy Larry encouraged me to run for about 2 minutes. After that, he was encouraging the beverages! It was good to just be a slug and sit around and complain about work, bosses, life, etc.

We worked Saturday for a half day. We had to go into the plant to go into some areas that are normally inaccessible during full power (Nuclear facility) but the dose rates go down during a down power (like this weekend). So we took advantage of it to go look at some things we needed to see. We picked up a few zoomies but not too bad and we were done by lunchtime. Of course, I needed to run but guess what? Larry wanted a rematch on the golf course since I had beaten him SO BADLY on Thursday. So we went to the golf course and met a friend of ours that lives down there. He's pipefitter foreman named Joby Toole and he's a decent golfer. We had a great time on Saturday afternoon just banging the ball around and stinking up the golf course. I AM NOT telling my score for that day!

Sunday we got up and started rolling toward Macon around 8 ish. I had spoken with Amy a couple of times while in Vidalia and we fine tuned our meeting. We were to meet with her and Troy at Cracker Barrel in Macon at 9:30 for breakfast. Needless to say, I was not sure what to expect but she was fun enough to talk to on the phone so I figured we could have breakfast. I had told her to bring Troy and we'd have a good time. Larry and I got to Cracker Barrel first and were sitting in the rockers, watching every couple come in, wondering if that was going to be them. However, I knew them in an instant. Strange . . . other than a picture I had nothing to go other than our blogs and emails but they felt like old friends. We went inside, ordered breakfast and chatted up a storm. An hour passed before we knew it and they were needing to head to church and we were needing to head to B'ham. I have to say that they are a very cute couple . . . high energy and they really seemed to get along great. I have invited them to come to B'ham as my guest to run in the Mercedes half-marathon Feb. 11. I hope you guys can make it! It was a great pleasure to finally meet you and I look forward to visiting with you whenever I come back through Macon!

Sometime Sunday night, I managed to screw up my back. Not the normal pain down low but up in between my shoulder blades near my neck. I could not turn my head or bend my neck forward or backward so I skipped my run on Monday.

Tonight I decided to run, regardless. First run since last Wednesday. Man do I feel like a fatty! I strapped on the MP3 player, put on the wind vest and took off. It felt good to be out there-at least for the first mile. Then my left calf started hurting. Not enough to make me quit running but enough to make me notice it and alter my stride. WHAT IS THE DEAL?!!! Anyway, I ran into Shelly and decided that I'd just run easy and try to run through or around the pain. It hurt but not enough to make me stop. Shelly and I ran together for about 3 1/2 miles. It was fun to catch up with her since we haven't spoken for a couple of weeks. We shared stories about the holidays and of course she's curious about how things are going with Susan and me. Basically, we "girl talked" for around 30 minutes which was fine with me. It is always fun and interesting to run with Shelly. She and Keith have about the same age difference as Susan and I, and I like to get her perspective on things sometimes. We still have not gotten together as couples but we want to and we're planning on something over the next few weeks.

I hope that this hasn't been to blabby or girlie but I just didn't have that much running going on. I hope that I get the calf thing figured out soon. I am going to concentrate more on my stretching. I am also going to ice and use Blue Emu.

BTW . . . Susan appreciates the encouragement and it is making her run more! Good job Susan!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Do I have the guts?

Hey all. Don't forget to check out Susan's new blog (

I have decided to "upgrade" to the new blogger after this post. If I disappear, you know it will be because I had problems with the switch.

I ran 6 miles last night. The first mile was a warm up mile around 9 minute pace. The next 4 miles I ran pretty hard . . . . around 8:15s to 8:20s. The last mile was a cool down mile and was in the 9:00 range. I did have something strange happen last night that have NEVER happened to me while I was running-I got a cramp in my left calf. I was just a few hundred yards from finishing up and the leg just locked up. I might occassionally get a cramp when my miles are higher and I normally get them in the middle of the night-you know the kind of cramp that wakes you up and makes you bite your pillow? Can't figure out where this running cramp came from. The bad thing is that the calf is still a little sore. The good thing is that today is a rest day.

I will be heading to Vidalia, GA for a couple of days. Leaving here on Thursday and should be heading back to B'ham on Sunday. Who knows, it might be time for an RBFer lunch in Macon?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year

It's Tuesday and the first day of work in the new year. Fortunately for me I only took off the time I was given as holidays. That means that I was one of the reliable ones that was in the office last week after Christmas, unlike most of the other slugs in my office. It is so funny watching some of these guys coming in after being off for two weeks . . . . they walk in the door and they're already dragging. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed your holidays, whether you took off or stayed in your routine.

Saturday was a pretty nice day. The temperature was very moderate . . . mid to high 60s. A little warm for a long run but since I ran on the Lakeshore Greenway, it was a little shady and in the woods. Plus there was a little breeze that kept things a little cool. I did 15 miles and enjoyed it! The portion of the trail that I run is between a parking lot and a water fountain. The section is 2 1/2 miles long and works out nicely for 5 mile round trips.
Here's my 2 1/2 mile times . . .
0-2.5=22:09 (8:51 pace)
2.5-5=22:10 (8:51 pace)
5-7.5=22:09 (8:51 pace)
7.5-10=22:07 (8:50 pace)

* I didn't crash the last 5 miles-Susan joined me and we ran at her pace. I was feeling really strong and felt that I could have kept up the sub 9 minute pace. I am finally starting to feel a little stronger in my runs. Oh yeah, I wish I could catch the SOB that stole my water bottles that I had under my car. The area I park in an area where a bunch of runners and bikers park along the trail so whoever stole my water bottles had to be a runner or biker. I've been parking in this area for months and doing the same thing-leaving my water bottle under the bumper . . . . just like everyone else does. Whoever it was, I hope that they choked on it!

Monday (New Year's Day). After watching my Auburn Tigers win (but stinking it up) over the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Susan and I went for a run. It was cool and cloudy . . . a slight feel of winter but very nice once we got warmed up. It was a recovery run for me so I didn't wear a watch. Susan ran the first 3 miles with me and then she bailed out to walk my dog (Kelsey). I ran another faster mile and was starting my 5th mile when I caught Susan and Kelsey. Surprisingly, they started running with me and Susan actually ran a faster pace with the dog than with me . . . go figure. All said and done, I got in 5 nice miles.

On another note, we finally got Susan set up with a blog. She's still working with it and is a little bashful about sharing her life with folks like us, so be sure to stop by and welcome her. I will be adding her to my links on the right hand side but for right now here it is .