Saturday, July 29, 2006
That's it for tonight. Take it easy out there in blogland.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Over time, however, the girl grows on you and a bond develops, which eventually strengthens and before you know it, you fall in love with her. Some days you find yourself on Cloud 9 - daydreaming of your future together and all of the special things you're going to do, see and accomplish. It's euphoric, and you lose yourself in these thoughts. Not a moment goes by you aren't thinking of your new love and all the things you're eventually going to do together. As in any relationship, you'll encounter your bumps along the road, but usually these issues are relatively minor, linger for a day or two like a set of sore quads and are forgotten about as quickly as they surfaced. Above everything, you're having fun with the girl and everything just seems to be clicking between the two of you and it seems as if nothing's ever gonna stop you. Kinda like running off a string of PR's, setting a few school records and winning races with relative ease. There are moments of joy and sadness, confusion and anger and everything in between, but this is part of any worthwhile relationship. You learn to take the good with the bad and the highs with the lows and eventually you don't get too excited or upset over either. Sound familiar?
Every so often, however, some big conflict arises between the two of you and inevitably leads to a long break. Trouble was probably brewing beneath the surface for a while, but you chose to ignore it, hoping it would just go away. Think nagging running injuries. One day, however, the issues explode through the surface like a volcano and it's obvious that it's probably gonna take a while to resolve the new, bigger problem at hand. This can be quite painful to accept - not to mention lengthy - and will likely leave you with a feeling of emptiness and withdrawal. You do whatever you can to fix the problem as quickly as possible, talk to anyone and everyone who you think might be able to help you but eventually just drive yourself crazy with your lack of success. She just wants to be left alone but you have trouble accepting that fact.
Eventually, you're forced to teach yourself a lesson in patience and you might back off for a while. Or you might not, and out of haste go find some new girl to occupy the time you once spent with your true love before realizing she just isn't the same, not to mention not nearly as fun to be with. Unsatisfied with the lack of fulfillment the new girl provides, you quit calling her and hope she gets the message loud and clear. In the meantime, you return to feeling sorry for yourself and wallow in your own sadness. Kinda like pool running. It can be downright depressing. The days - sometimes weeks and months - pass, and then one day, seemingly out of the blue, the original girl comes comes crawling back without warning and everything is as beautiful and perfect as it once was. Some awkwardness for sure, but eventually it's like you haven't even missed a step. A return to the good 'ol days, or so it seems.
For a while, there are no issues to speak of. Life is lovey dovey again and seemingly goes off without a hitch. Everything is agreeable between the two of you, and for a while this is comforting. You might even be feeling good enough about how things are going to commit to something momentous and possibly life changing, like marriage or the Chicago Marathon, the ultimate symbols of a beautiful relationship that can only lead to bigger and better things such as children or an Olympic Trials qualifying time. As time goes on, however, you realize that you aren't where you once were and might get the sense that something is missing in the relationship. You freak out. Almost if you're second guessing yourself because you haven't PR'd in three or so years. As a result, you try do everything in your power to find that something again as quickly as possible, even if you don't know what it is exactly. You jump into things too quickly and fail to let nature, or a well-thought out training plan, take its proper course. If anything, you overdo it.
Inevitably, it just leads to another major conflict. Your girl feels you aren't trusting her, maybe even rushing her, and one day she just walks out on you. Just like that. No warning, just one big, decisive blow that's not easy to recover from. It hurts. A lot. You're confused, more so than ever before because everything seemed to be going so good just a few weeks ago. Kinda like the pain in my ass that resurfaces any time I attempt to run these days. Eventually, you start questioning if the relationship is even worth it. You go back to consulting different people, like psychologists or relationship experts - or chiropractors, PTs and massage therapists - but aren't satisfied with anything that you're hearing. Not to mention you're out a down payment on a church and reception hall, or an entry fee and a non-refundable plane ticket to Chicago. Eventually you take matters into your own hands. You quit feeling sorry for yourself and decide to do something about it. Life's too short not to live, right?
Maybe you start seeing new people, like a road bicycle or a swimming pool. The latter you know you don't like, but she's a cheap date, gives you something to do and doesn't take much offense if you blow her off without warning. The former, well, she's all new to you. She's nice to look at, fun to spend time with, keeps you on your toes, and forces you to consider future possibilities. Sure, she's more expensive than the old girl, but when you're with her, you become overrun with an excitement and joy that you haven't experienced in years. You're not even sure if you really like her or not, or if you're ready to make the kind of commitment necessary for something worthwhile and long-lasting to develop, but she gives you that rush you're looking for and for now that's good enough. It seems like a fair trade-off. In the back of your mind, however, you're holding out hope that eventually the old girl might return and everything will be fine and dandy again. Some flames just refuse to die out.
When you talk to some old friends in similar situations, a few think it's great that you're finally seeing other people, a couple consider you a cheater for supposedly taking the easy way out, and others advise you to keep seeing the new girl because the old one will eventually come crawling back and if you're careful about it, you can see a little of both without the other one knowing. It's downright scandalous, but you keep your options open anyway.
This just leaves you in a world of mental turmoil. Your true love, who deep down means the world to you, has broken your heart - in my case, she broke my ass. You still love her to death but just don't want to talk to her right now. It hurts too much. You need your space, she needs hers. After the last big flare-up, everything appeared fine and dandy for a while but the two of you never really took care of the true issue and it just found it's way to the forefront yet again. It's a vicious cycle, which doesn't make for a healthy relationship. In fact, it makes for a rocky, often times frustrating and unfulfilling one. If you try to force the issue, it just makes things that much worse. Sometimes, I've found, you just have to let go - whether you like it or not - and give her the space she needs and let time heal the wounds. If things were truly meant to be, you have to trust that eventually she'll find her way back to you.
As they say, sometimes love hurts.
Monday, July 24, 2006
MON - AM: 23:15, 3 miles. Plan was to go 7 again but a shooting pain from my ass through my hamstring forced me to turn around early and start limping home. Eventually, even that became futile and I was forced to walk the last 1/2 mile, which is a first for me. Not too fucking happy right now.
TUE - OFF. After yesterday's shit show and a sore ass upon waking this morning I decided that it would probably be best not to run today. Lots of ibuprofen, ice, heat, stretching and all that core strengthening B.S. I've been foolishly neglecting.
WED - 16 minutes, 2 miles. Feeling good after a day off, icing, exercises and all that preventative junk, but once I started running my ass started hurting almost immediately and my leg locked up shortly after. Hobbled back to the car in a world of pain. Called Dr. Sjogren, who squeezed me in this afternoon, where he did some more work but was basically dumbfounded by my relative lack of progress. He referred me to Dr. Ken Harling for a second opinion, whom I will see on Monday. Joan Benoit used to drive down from Maine in the early 80's to see him on a regular basis, so hopefully he can help fix my gimpy ass.
THURS - OFF. No running, but walked four miles after dinner which didn't seem to cause any further aggravation.
FRI - OFF. Walked three miles this morning, then drove to Connecticut and joined Driscoll for a 30-minute bike ride before going to donate my money to the Indians. Biking didn't give my tail any trouble.
SAT - OFF. 30-minute bike ride with Driscoll after a long night at the reservation, a net loss of 50 bucks and a few measly hours of sleep. Backside doesn't give me any trouble on the bike but doesn't feel any better, or worse for that matter, walking around and during normal activities. Soon as I try running, however, the pain starts in my ass and makes its way down my leg in a matter of seconds. It's a cruel existance.
WEEK TOTALS: 12 miles, 3 runs. OK, I've just about hit rock bottom with this thing and any remaining specks of light are slowly escaping from my view. This blog has been a sad sight of late, so to anyone who still checks in regularly, I sincerely apologize. As of today (Monday, 7/24), I haven't run a meaningful step in 5 days and I've run the gamut on doctors/chiropractors/PT/massage with no definite answers nor any real progress to report. Cross training, whether I like it or not, starts tomorrow while I get to the bottom of this. Pissed off would be an understatement right about now.
Quote of the day:
I see that I'm dealing with a whole different animal than I originally anticipated.
- Dr. Harling, after filling him in on the specifics of my normal training routine this afternoon
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Upon rolling out of bed this morning and habitually parking my ass in front of the computer, I didn't even bother to turn on the 'ol idiot box after yesterday's heartbreaking stage, but Adam Ten promptly informed me via the all-too-convenient AIM that I'd be well served to hit the power button. Well, I took my redheaded friend's advice and the other redhead named Floyd took care of the rest.
What an un-fucking-believable ride! I'm not a cycling guru by any means, but I do consider myself an astute observer of human condition and what this guy did today has to go down as one of the single most impressive displays of athleticism, determination and flat-out guts that I've ever seen. Just look at his face in the above photo - he wasn't taking no for an answer. Yesterday, Landis was all but out of the race - hell, he didn't even give himself much of a chance after losing the yellow jersey, not to mention over 30 minutes to the lead riders - but the competitor in him took over and put a hurtin' on everyone who counted him out, including himself. As OLN's Bob Roll - who rarely has anything insightful to say but hit this one right on the head - put it: "He's been riding the pendulum of pain since he started pedaling earlier today, but somehow he managed to put himself back in contention to win this race. ... I never thought I would say it in this Tour, after yesterday, but the truth is, Floyd Landis can win the Tour de France now, and it’s close enough to be tasted."
Now, I fully understand this race is far from over and Floyd very well may not be on top of the podium in Paris come Sunday, but whatever happens, the fact of the matter is this: Landis' ride today not only made an already unpredictable Tour that much more interesting - it made the race.
Quote of the day:
Everybody wants to say, 'I couldn't win because of this or that. To my way of thinking, it doesn't matter if your goddamn head fell off or your legs exploded. If you didn't make it, you didn't make it. One excuse is as good as another.
- Floyd Landis
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
That's it for now. I'm gonna wise up and go swimming before I set myself back even more. Take it easy.
Quote of the day:
The more difficulties you have on the way, the more you will enjoy your success.
- Juha "The Cruel" Vaatainen
Sunday, July 16, 2006
MON - OFF. Another goose egg but some good news to report. Called Dr. Sjogren at 8 this morning and he got me in right at 9 which was fantastic. 30 minutes of testing this and that, a couple awkward contortions and a few pops later I could walk again without a limp. This guy is the man!
Bad news is my alignment was way off, particularly on my right side, which caused my SI joint to jam. This caused me to overcompensate when I was running and resulted in an eventual strain in my lower back/top of glutes, which 'flared up like a forest fire' and is likely pinching my sciatic nerve and putting me in a world of pain. Prescription is a couple days off from running, ice, heat, ibuprofen and a few specific targeted stretches. Hopefully this clears things up relatively quickly.
TUES - OFF. Day 3 on the shelf. Walking normally but tried jogging to my car this afternoon and felt like someone was stabbing me in the ass with a machete. Needless to say, I'm not feeling all that encouraged right now.
WEDS - OFF. Ultrasound/massage on my busted ass this morning, then went for a 4-mile walk/jog later in the afternoon. Going uphill, both walking and running, felt a lot better than going downhill. Going down, my right leg feels dead and sharp pain radiates from my butt through the hamstring. Quite sore afterward but not too much trouble walking around. One day at a time.
THURS - 28 minutes, 4 miles. Sterling Rail Trail solo. Painfully bearable is how I would best describe this run. Whole right side is incredibly locked up and butt is still sore but heat, stretch, ibuprofen seem to be helping matters. I'll try again tomorrow.
FRI - 36:20, 5 miles. Round 3 w/Dr.Sjogren this afternoon; ultrasound on my can, a few more adjustments to loosen up my back, and an elbow firmly planted into the middle of my ass seemed to help quite a bit.
Doc told me not to run for at least two hours after seeing him, not to mention it was still 90 degrees at 6 p.m., so I got kind of a late start tonight around 8:40. Right leg is locked up pretty tight and lower back still a bit off but my ass didn't seem to hurt as much today. Going downhill royally sucks but the flats and uphills are tolerable. Maybe I should just find a mountain to run up till this sucker calms down.
SAT - 44 minutes, 6 miles. Sterling Rail Trail w/Hodgie. Back/butt seem to be improving but right leg still very tight. Stride is almost back to normal. If Floyd Landis can ride his bike with a broken hip, then I guess I can run with a busted ass.
WEEK TOTALS: 15 miles, 3 runs. A shitty, shitty week all around - basically a week off. This recent calamity really took the wind out of my sails but I'm taking it as a sign to smarten up over the coming weeks. Based on the circumstances, Stowe was an obvious no-go this past weekend but Dr. Sjogren has been a huge help and hopefully I'm over the hump with this bastard. I'll take this week one day at a time and hopefully I'll be ready to get back to some real training by next week. Just gotta be patient and use my head.
Quote of the day:
"We are all of us very arrogant and conceited about running down other people's ghosts but just as ignorant and barbaric and superstitious abour our own."
"Why does everybody believe in the law of gravity then?"
"Mass hypnosis. In a very orthodox form known as 'education'."
- Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
But anyway, I digress...Still not running, but slowly making progress, or at least I'm trying to convince myself that I am. I saw Dr. Sjogren again this morning, who says structurally I'm back in good shape but mechanically I'm a mess. He attributes a lot of my problems to a weak right side, particularly the hip area, and believes this has caused various degrees of overcompensation which likely led to my past Achilles problems and current dilemma involving a strained muscle or two in my arse - specifically the gluteus medius and/or piriformis. This most recent calamity may also be contributing to a pinching of the sciatic nerve, which would explain the stabbing pain in my right cheek which radiates down through my hamstring. Doc performed some ultrasound today and more of the same is in order for Friday. Hopefully we've nipped the problem in the bud early enough that I can return to normal forward progress by this weekend.
Speaking of progress, I made some today by going for a walk this afternoon before work. Of course, I got a little testy and supplemented my leisurely strolling with some light running and was puzzled by how much less it hurts to run and walk uphill as opposed to going down. Descending proved a horrific affair complete with shooting pains down my legs but the ups were surprisingly, but uncomfortably bearable. The leg itself feels pretty much dead, so I was more or less just dragging it behind me anyway. Walking around afterward wasn't too bad but I popped a few ibuprofen with dinner just to be safe. Like I wrote yesterday, one day at a time right now, so I guess we'll just have to see what tomorrow brings.
And that'll do it for tonight. John's done grumbling so I'm taking that as my cue to go home. Take it easy.
Quote of the day:
It seems that people's pain thresholds aren't very big and if they're pushing (limits), they feel like the pushing is bad. But the pushing is actually good. But then you get the crazy runners that push too hard. I feel like I'm pretty smart about resting. I don't think that a lot of people are very good about resting. I think a lot of people who say that they've overtrained or thinking that they're overtraining are just underrested. If you rested a little more, your body can handle a huge amount of work — a high level of quality, and a lot of mileage, once you can adapt.
- Deena Kastor
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
SUN - AM: 93 minutes, 13 miles. On the trails in Hudson with Ryan, Christy, Hodge, Driscoll and about 500 deer flys. PM: 34:10, 5 miles. Quick run before work, finishing with 6 Driscoll strides once I was able to shake-off the post-nap/pre-work sluggishness around mile 3 or so.
MON - AM: 62:30, 8 miles. Easy does it with Hodgie at the Rail Trail. Slow but sluggish. PM: 27:20, 4 miles. Some more of that pre-work sluggishness thing going on.
TUES - AM: 8 miles. John Carson 2-Mile in Chelmsford. Ugly. You can read about it here. PM: 65:45, 10 miles. Rail Trail solo after spending the afternoon lounging in the Carrara's pool. Got pissed at this morning's case of pussyitis and started hammering on my way back down the trail. Clocked a 5:13 last mile on the trail before wisely pulling the rip cord. Very tired, need to get some good sleep tonight.
WEDS - AM: 60 minutes, 8 miles. Solo and slow at West Hill. Not feeling too peppy this morning. PM: 28:30, 4 miles. Legs are flatlining.
THURS - AM: 2:09, 20 miles. Solo from the Stone Church, started off with an easy mile on the roads (7:39), then Rail Trail 10 (64:14 - 6:52, 6:36, 6:23, 5:58, 5:47, 6:09 on the marked miles), right into 8-mile loop (50:17 - hilly), then slowed it down and finished with the same road mile I started off with (6:50). Fastest I've run either of these loops in almost two years, nevermind both on a single run. Felt like a million bucks after about a week of Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It's amazing what a couple good nights of sleep and under 70% humidity can do for your body.
FRI - AM: 46:25, 7 miles. Solo on the roads from home, finishing with 5 Driscoll strides. Legs feeling a bit heavy 1/2-way through. Right hip a bit out of whack. Stupid roads. PM: 60 minutes, 9 miles. Ran with Old Man Willy on the bike path/roads in humid Hudson. Finished up with 4 strides; hip/back still annoying.
SAT - AM: 40:25, 6 miles. Sterling Rail Trail; first 4 miles easy with Hodge, last 2 miles solo progressing down to 5:20-30 pace. Felt flat, couldn't open up my stride. AM: 53:30, 8 miles. First 1-1/2 miles real easy on the roads, next 5 progression on the trail (6:37, 6:14, 6:00, 5:48, 5:12), last 1-1/2 miles real easy back to the car. Felt quite good considering the quick turnaround, not to mention breakfast, between runs. Hip/back flared up pretty bad the last mile, forcing me to shorten my stride and crawl back to the car. Not good. Limped around all afternoon and almost called into work but sucked it up and went in anyway. Really hope this isn't anything serious.
WEEK TOTALS: 110 miles, 13 runs. In all honesty, this wasn't a good week. On one hand, the volume was where I wanted it to be but on the other I...1. raced like a chump, 2. didn't get nearly enough rest and to top it off 3. injured myself to an unknown extent. I'm not sure the direct catalyst of said injury but I'm willing to bet that it has more than a little something to do with my own stupidity (Tuesday-Saturday, failing to recover properly, etc.) than anything else. I was due for a down week heading into Stowe this coming weekend but as of right now it's probably gonna be a lot lower than originally planned. The race itself is still very much up in the air right now depending on how the next couple days play out. That's it for now. Take it easy (perhaps I should learn to take my own advice sometime).
Quote of the day:
Man, when you hurt yourself, you don't mess around.
Friday, July 07, 2006
* Dick Beardsley's 1982 Boston Marathon Training Log. Wanna know what it takes to run 2:08? Click here to find out.
* Fernando Cabada's Training Log. Leave it to me to find this shit.
* Alistair Cragg interview with mensracing.com, which can conveniently be found here. I know the author pretty well - a fine bloke if I do say so myself.
* Floyd Landis feature from Outside magazine, which was brought to my attention by this fine fella from Minnesota. Don't wanna spend the 5 bucks for the print version? Well, today's your lucky day. You can access it here for free.
* Lowell Sun recap of this past Tuesday's John Carson 2-mile in Chelmsfuhd. This temporarily-not-in-training teammate of mine even managed to get a little ink for his noble efforts.
And that's gonna do it for now. Take it easy.
Quote of the day:
Floyd Landis: There's only one rule: The guy who trains the hardest, the most, wins. Period. Because you won't die. Even though you feel like you'll die, you don't actually die. Like when you're training, you can always do one more. Always. As tired as you might think you are, you can always, always do one more.
Dave Zabriskie: I hope some 16-year-old doesn't read this and then go kill himself on the bike.
Landis: That was what I did. I read something like that, and I trained like that, and, yeah, I was pretty damn depressed for a while. Then it got better.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
I finished a disappointing 8th in 9:52 behind a quality crew that included Nephi Tyler, Casey Moulton, a few token Kenyans, teammate Ryan Carrara, former teammate Chris Volante and a host of others. The race went out hard as it always does and I failed to commit from the get-go, which is a mistake when the finish line is a scant two miles away. I settled into a small chase group, came through the mile in a slow 4:55 feeling like garbage, packed it in for 3/4 mile and mustered enough of a pathetic pretty-boy kick to hold off an out-of-shape Pat Morasse and two guys who are old enough to be my dad. No excuses, basically gave up like a heartless chump. This sort of shit is unacceptable. I will be going up to Stowe with a vengeance.
Quote of the day:
If you think you're beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don't;
If you'd like to win, but think, you can't
It's almost a cinch you won't.
If you think you will lose, you're lost;
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow's will,
It's all in the state of mind.
If you think you're outclassed, you are;
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to hustle before
You can ever win a prize.
Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.
-Walter D. Wintle, "The Man Who Thinks He Can"
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
MON - AM: 72 minutes, 10 miles. With a beat-up Adam & a gimpy McKay @ West Hill. Easiest I've ever run with these guys, which is a good thing cause I felt like dog shit.
TUES - AM: 36 minutes, 5 miles. Sunday's run apparently kicked my ass. PM: 12 miles. Track workout @ Bentley solo. 2K in 6:08 (3:30 recovery), 1200 in 3:35 (3:00 recovery), 2 x 800 in 2:21, 2:20 (2:15 recovery), 4 x 400 in 69, 67, 68, 66 (1:30 recovery). Very windy and very tired. No pop in the old legs.
WEDS - AM: 63:30, 10 miles. Hilly road run in Lowell with Nate and Jay Beausoleil. Felt better once it started raining. PM: 36:40, 5 miles. Awful tired now boss. Dog tired.
THURS - AM: 1:31:20, 14 miles. Ran into ex-UNH/Georgetown guy Steve Meinelt mid-run and joined him for two quick miles back to the lot. Progressed the last mile of the run in 5:35 (2:55/2:40). Solid effort after having trouble getting out of bed this morning.
FRI - AM: 59 minutes, 8 miles. Solo and slow at West Hill. PM: 43 minutes, 6 miles. A little quicker than this morning, but not by much. Legs aren't happy.
SAT - AM: 13 miles. Almost-10K tempo run w/Greg Ward @ Worcester State in 32:20. Official measurement clocked in at 6.1 miles, so 5:18 avg./mile. First loop (3.05 miles) in 16:18 (5:20 pace), second loop in 16:02 (5:15 pace). Goal was to start at 5:30 pace and work down to 5:15s on the second loop. Opened up with a 5:20 and it felt easy so kept that rhythm. Having Greg to share the load with for 4 miles was a huge help. Solid workout.
WEEK TOTALS: 103 miles, 11 runs. Good week although very tired for most of it. I'm sure the intensity/volume of this current training cycle has something to do with that, combined with the fact I've been very busy at work of late and will be until sometime in mid-July. No complaints - I just need to focus on getting better quality sleep at night and resting when the opportunities present themselves. I may also scale things back a bit more before Stowe than originally planned and really try to nail down a good race there before segueing into the marathon-specific cycle. On the whole, I'm happy with how things are going and am confident the hard work will pay off at the right time.