Wednesday, February 22, 2006

getting stronger

Had a decent run last night. When I woke up yesterday morning though, I didn't think I'd be doing any workouts. Since last Friday, I've been fighting off the crud. Haven't come down with anything full on yet, but it's been trying to overtake me. Yesterday morning, I felt the worst I have so far with fever and coughing with junk in my sinuses and chest. Did a hot shower and some Zycam with EmergenC and hot Green Ginger Tea and felt somewhat better. Time has not been on my side with training so after work, I decided to head out to the park to get in a short ride before the run. I didn't have to knock over any newbies on the trail this week and I was able to get in a good short loop in which helped loosen up the legs a little. Some of the sounds my bike is making tells me it needs a LOT of maintenance. Got back in time to stow the bike and meet the trail nerds for our Tuesday night ritual. 8 others showed up (including 2 newbies) and Bad Ben lead the pace as usual. The first loop went smoothly with a slightly faster than normal first loop pace. Finished that one in 42 mins. One new guy headed back to his car and the rest of us soon continued on the second one. Some of us were still talking at the trailhead when Bad Ben quietly took off on the second loop. Caleb jumped on his heels and I followed in line and the rest got the hint quickly. We smoked through the first three quarters of a rocky mile before settling into a more regular fast pace. The last 2 miles, I felt my energy draining fast and I knew it was the germs in my body gobbling up all my reserves. I was able to hold on and finish strong for that 34 minute lap. Within 120 seconds of finishing, as my breathing subsided and my heartrate returned to normal, I started feeling terrible. The coughing (which was absent during the run) returned as did an immediate headache and I started shivering uncontrollably. Couldn't get warm even though I drove home with the heat cranked up all the way and it was only 43 degrees outside. Once home, I sat in the shower until the water heater had given me all it had. Then downed some Nyquil and went to sleep a little earlier than normal. Today I feel a little better, but am still hitting the Zycam and EmergenC in the hopes of mitigating this crap before it gets worse.
In summary, I'm not sure if running while sick is good for the muscles or not. I felt great during most of the run and I know my legs needed the workout. Can you really make progress in training if your body is fighting off sickness?

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Somewhere along the line, some Americans seem to have lost what equality among people means. This does NOT mean that individuals are completely equal human beings. As should be VERY obvious, people are not physically equal. Nor are they mentally, emotionally, or intellectually equal. The simple fact in life is that some people are taller than others, smarter than others, skinnier or faster than other people, and the list of physical differences can go on and on. This obvious inequality is lost on many inDUHviduals who think that they are equal to allothers in every way. In our society, what equality means is everyone has EQUAL protection under the law regardless of physical traits. People have EQUAL opportunities regardless of intellectual capabilities and people (should) have EQUAL rights under the law as well. Many seem to ignore the fact that with rights come responsibilities. People with equal rights also have equal responsibilities regardless of physical characteristics. 1=1. green = green. easy = easy and injustice = injustice regardless of how you justify it. Does one injustice cancel out or make right another injustice current or past? Again, I refer you to mathematics. 1 = 1. 1 does not equal 2+5-4x15 plus or minus a few concessions here and there. IF it's not the SAME then it's not equal. Brown vs the Board of Education established the precedent that Seperate is INHERENTLY INEQUAL and therefore segregation was wrong. The equality issue transcends race. This pertains to intellectual ability, physical abilities or lack thereof, and work ethics which encompass many of the aforementioned traits. Our country is great because of the ability of the people (who run the gammut of inequalities) to exercise equal voices in deciding the future of the country and it's laws. Our country is also a laughing stock to the rest of the world because of our OBVIOUS lack of understanding and lack of ability to put equality into practical application. If a job requires X, then all applicants, short, tall, fat, skinny, black, brown, pasty white, and everything in between have equal opportunity to apply/try out for the job. If the job requires picking apples from tall trees, I would expect to lose out to a taller person because I am short and couldn't do the job on my own as well as someone taller. I most certainly WOULD NOT expect the employer to make the playing field easier for me by providing a ladder. That would cost him more money, making me less valuable. So why is it that when people are up against others with whom they are not physically or mentally not equal to, they expect special treatment to make things "equal" for them. Once again people, equal = THE SAME. Not the same with special circumstances. I wouldn't expect to be hired over an attractive girl with for a job at Hooters. Hooters is a business with a theme and they know what makes money for them and the employees are a large part of that so why can't Hooters decide who they hire and how they employ them? Why must that be legislated? If people live in the same community, go to the same school, have the same teachers, then why should they take seperate tests? Our country is perpetuating differentiation and subsequent dissention among the masses with it's application of injustice under the guise of "equality".

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Smokin night run!

Yesterday morning, I FINALLY got my lazy butt out of bed in time to go to the gym at 6 am for some weights. While lifting, I pulled something in my neck and had painfully limited movement the rest of the day. Got to Shawnee Mission Park around 5 pm and was able to hit the trails on the bicycle for a loop and a half. Had to knock some guy over on the trails who wouldn't move over and couldn't hear my three requests for him to yield because he was riding with his iPod cranked WAY up. He was pissed when I knocked him over, but it wasn't intentional and it was tight single track. Maybe he learned something from it. Ride faster or turn the music down. Anyway, I went down pretty hard during the second loop and had to cut the ride a bit short so I could make the run with the guys and not make them late. Plus, my hand was killing me from the fall in which I caught myself on some rocks. Nothing broken I don't think, but the bruising and swelling tells me that the tissue bruise is deep. Once I got back and stowed the bike, some of the trail nerds had already gathered and were ready to go at the appointed time. My legs were somewhat warmed up by the ride, but I needed to work on the transition muscles so I pushed more than we normally do on the first loop. Since I led the way, the pace was mine to set and we blew through the first 4.7 mile loop in 35 mins on the hilly, rocky, and rooty single track. I heard a few protests and we waited for recovery confirmation every time someone fell, but they're tough runners and held with me. At the end of the first loop only one runer dropped off claiming he was about to puke. We waited about 3 or 4 mins for everyone to catch their breath and get their heartrate down before continuing on the second loop. The second time around one of the runners went down pretty hard and we slowed a bit more after that so as not to let him fall behind. Still, we finished that second one in 38 mins. All in all, a good day training for me minus the two injuries. I guess that's part of conditioning.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Building Endurance and tolerance!

For the 2006 Psycho Wyco, I got at least one of my wishes. It snowed and the normally muddy course stayed somewhat frozen for much of the race. There were over 200 participants in the race with over 100 of them doing the 10 mile portion. AS USUAL, I went out WAY too fast (I have a bad habit of doing that) and ran the first loop in 1 hr and 45 mins because I paced off some of the 10 milers and ran some of the hills that I SHOULD’VE walked. For the first loop it was still snowing pretty hard and we had a decent ground cover. I stayed near the front (top 15 or so) for most of the 1st loop and enjoyed the soft beautiful snow. Others behind us didn’t enjoy it as much in the tight, twisty, single track portions once it became packed and much more slippery. At one point, a deer came crashing through the woods between myself and the runner in front of me missing me by only 15 feet or so. It looked to be about 150 lbs and a collision with that could’ve been bad. Pretty exciting! I should’ve tried to keep the first lap closer to 2 hours so that I’d know what kind of time I had to play with at the end AND I would’ve had more energy. On the second lap, I paid for not holding back more. I bonked hard for MOST of the second loop. In what Bad Ben affectionately called the Wyandotte triangle, I walked the last third of it (a one mile narrow twisty single track section)getting passed quite a bit and seeing some familiar faces. Shane Jones caught up with me and I decided to try to push a little and keep pace with him. He was looking strong and running pretty well and we ran together for about 4 miles until I lost sight of him toward the end of the second portion of tight single track that us Trail Nerds had built. My mind and legs were out of it for almost 10 full miles. I’ve bonked before, but never for that long. Even though I suffered through it, I never considered quitting the race, but I definitely need to evaluate why it took me so long to recover from it. That second lap took me just over 2hrs and 20 mins! As I struggled into the third loop and hit the first part of the tight single track section, (Wyandotte triangle) I began to feel better mentally and physically and was able to push a little more. The 2 Motrin I downed at the starting line going into the third loop began to kick in and helped ease some of the pain. Unfortunately, the snow had begun to melt and the familiar Wyco mud was back! Even WITH the mud, the trail was a LOT more fun to me for the third loop, but I’d already lost so much ground that I was still disappointed in my overall performance upon finishing. Still, the trail was VERY well marked and the aid stations were so well manned and organized that even though I knew a lot of what went into putting this race on, I was still impressed with it.
Allison also did this run. She did the 10 miler in a little over 2 and a half hours. This was the longest race she's ever done and her first trail run! I'm so proud of her! She had run this course with us Trail Nerds twice before in training so she knew what she was getting into and still did it anyway.
There were a few road runner weenies that whined a little here and there, but since the race, I’ve heard nothing but praise for it and have even seen emails declaring some trail converts! For my second 50k, my time was a little better than the first one on a MUCH harder course. The next one I do, I will have a better strategy and I hope my time will reflect some tough lessons I’m learning! One thing about this race that I forgot to mention is that I committed the cardinal sin by racing in brand new shoes that I had not run/trained in before nor had I really even broken in! Luck was on my side though as my new Vasque Velocity shoes performed flawlessly. They were very comfortable except for the top of the left shoe leaving a bruise on my instep where it was tied. The down hills forced it onto my foot and I’m thinking it may have been tied a little too tight. One thing I noticed about them was that after about mile 16 or so, I began to feel more of the trail through the soles so I think the Montrail Hardrocks have thicker soles than the Vasque, but overall, the Vasque’s are much more comfortable even if they are a tad on the heavy side.

Saturday’s and Sunday’s post race parties mostly included eating and drinking and recalling personal race stories, and drinking, and telling past race stories and drinking, and some more eating while thanking Ben for putting on the race and drinking some more. BTW, Ben makes some awesome beer!

So for now, I’m taking today off taking today off to continue to recover but will hit the weights tomorrow and begin replacing some of the running miles with biking mileage. I have a week and a half to train before heading off to ski for a week in UT and then a week after that before my first duathlon of the season so I have to continue training hard. Some dietary changes are still in order for me, but adding some glucosamine is definitely in order.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Here goes!

Well, tomorrow is the Psycho Wyco and I'm not sure I'm completely prepared for it. In fact, I'm debating on whether or not I should wear a pair of shoes OTHER than what I've been training in. Until now, I've been doing all my trail running in my Montrail Hardrocks, but I just got a pair of Vasque Velocity and LOVE them so far. Haven't run in them yet though so I'm not sure how my feet will respond to them on the trails. I want to do well, but I also have to protect my body from any long term injury because of the upcoming Adv Race season in which I hope to be competitive. This time, I can't go all out and psychotically drive myself through whatever pain I have to achieve a decent finish. I can only hope that my training thusfar will help me do satisfactorily. Either that or hope that I'm racing against some poor slobs who are less prepared than myself.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

"Modern" medicine

Had a decent run last night. After twisting the ankle twice in the first loop, I decided not to do a second one. Gotta make sure I feel as good as possible this weekend for the Psycho Wyco. We also had some young newbies. College kids really have a knack for irritating me these days. Maybe it's because people who think they know it all really bother those of us who do!

My mom also called last night and told me the latest news on her husband Frank's health. Frank has a LARGE tumor (benign) in his throat and has a few arteries blocked. They're in Atlanta getting treatment from a specialist in all the procedures he has to have done. Frank has had a few panic attacks that cause him breathing problems. These are very REAL breathing problems even if they are brought on by self-induced emotional/mental trauma. The mind has such a profound effect on our physiological state, that pumping chemicals into our bodies to counteract some effects seems to be how our doctors prefer to treat it. She wanted the doctors to give him something to calm him down. I would want him to have a counselor to help him deal with the psychological root of the physiological symptoms. She wants them to give him a quick fix and that's what makes the drug companies rich and the doctor's jobs easier. We commonly refer to this type of treatment as treating the symptom not the cause. When we visit a doctor for aches and pains, they normally prescribe the drug of the month whether it be a muscle relaxer or the latest anti-inflamatory and this has the effect of making some of the pain go away temporarily. They're giving things that mask the pain while the body heals itself instead of getting to the root of the matter and trying to find out what caused/causes the problems to begin with. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself from most injuries/problems if it is in balance. Broken bones, scar tissue, and foreign things in our bodies, (Cholesterol, pins, artificial things) can prevent our body from being able to function correctly in its recouperative/rehabilitative efforts. For a light-hearted view on the drug industry's impact on our lives, see and click on the animation titled "Drugs I Need."

Monday, February 06, 2006


Raise your hand if you like music. Ok now the other one. Now wave them back and forth and move your hips like you're having a seizure or until someone thinks you've been doused with the Holy Spirit! Of course everyone loves music and the only thing better than hearing your favorite music is hearing it for free. Shoutcast is awesome! There are thousands of online radio stations broadcasting ALL TYPES of music for your listening pleasure. Here are a few of my favorite stations that I listen to regularly.
Groove Salad
Smooth Jazz
Vocal Trance
Chillout Ambient

You'll need some type of media player that is capable of receiving media streams/playlists and Windoze Media Player wont cut it. I HIGHLY recommend Winamp, but Realplayer, MusicMatch, and a few others will do the job.

Super Bowl Weekend!

Only 2 of us showed up at SMP on Saaturday morning, but Trail Running Newbie Sue Robinette and I had a great time. She's a quick learner and the smile on her face told me she enjoyed the 9.5-10 miles on the rough stuff.
Later that afternoon, several of us trail nerds headed out to Wyco to do some cleanup, trim work, and marking of the course for the Psycho Wyco next Saturday. We did half of the trail in about 4 hours and picked up several bags of trash. I rode my bike while everyone else walked the trails. The hills were a little challenge, but since I wanted to stay with everyone, I did't get to ride fast enough to make it much of a workout until we got to a new section of trail. This is a singletrack section that's VERY tight and twisty and with the ups and downs, you can get anaerobic quickly! While everyone walked though it marking as they went along, I surrendered my marking tape to have a little fun. Did 2 quick loops on that 1 mile section and it was enough for me to consider it a decent workout. Of course that wasn't the end of it for me. When we ran out of tape, I had to ride around the park to go back to the cars to get some more. After riding the roads, I now know that I like running the trails MUCH better than driving or biking the roads. Think BIG HILLS! It hurt, but it was still a good workout that I really needed. It would've been easier if I'd had some food in me. I nearly bonked before we made it to the pub!
For the Sunday morning run out at Wyco, there were 11 runners eager to tackle the almost 11 mile loop in the hills including 3 more newbies! The 5 girls and 6 guys braved temperatures in the teens to get served a healthy dose of fun and punishment on the trails. I was happy to see that Sue came out for this run too. She's a great runner and is just starting out on the trails. I think she's in her late 50s, maybe 60, but she is a strong runner and she's pushed me on more than a few road runs with the KC Track club. I like running with her. She's a very sweet woman and always has a great attitude.
After that run, Markos, his friend Mark, and myself joined Kyle, Stacey, and Shane for finishing the course marking and cleanup. Picked several MORE bags of trash and developed a new appreciation for the hills on the trails. We got a lot of work done and had a great time doing it.

So as far as the workouts went this weekend, I guess I got in about 23 miles running and about 18 biking a mixture of road and trails. Also got in another 8 or so of hiking the hills with the cleanup and marking efforts. I think this week, I'm just going to do some gym work (legs today) and take it easy after Wednesday to rest up in preparation for the ass kicking I'm gonna get in the 50k on Saturday. I'm a little scared about what it's gonna do to me physically, but I'm also excited to get it under my belt! Pain is mandatory, suffering is optional!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Which Superhero are you?

Your results:
You are The Flash
The Flash
Iron Man
Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
Fast, athletic and flirtatious.
Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

We had a good run last night at Wyco. I only did one loop thinking I'll need to save the legs for more gym work as well as running and riding this weekend. We had 8 of us Trail Nerds show up for a couple of 6 mile loops in the rocky, hilly, and often muddy trails of Wyandotte County lake park. I sure didn't feel like The Flash last night, but as I get more speedwork, more gym time, and more cross-training in, the speed will come back hopefully.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

"Common sense is not so common"

Some of you may have seen the recent news story pertaining to the lawsuit filed by a man claiming that iPods cause hearing loss. I don't own an iPod, but like most other mp3/audio players, I'm sure they have a volume control on them. Once again, where is the personal responsibility? Will we need to stick warning labels on knives because they might cut something? We already have to warn people that coffee MAY BE HOT! This is horseshit. When are people going to start accepting responsibility for their own actions?
It must be hard to be a judge these days in our judicial system. Deciding what is truely manufacturer culpability and what is negligence in using common sense might not be all that easy. Voltaire said that "common sense is not so common" but deciding just what constitutes "common sense" may be the hard part. Thanks in part to Micro$oft, the media, and many other things, the dumbing down of America continues. People should have to be responsible for their own actions and the resulting outcomes unless there is blatant and willful disregard for safety on the part of a manufacturer. Even then, it should be "consumer beware"! I have no problem whatsoever with people being removed from the gene pool if they ignorantly use a hairdryer in the tub or if injured or killed while doing something else just as stupid which is why we have so many ridiculous warning labels now. Thoughts or opinions?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Needs, wants and personal responsibility.

Occasionally I have a light-hearted conversation with a friend about what we really NEED in life. That conversation is usually precipitated by either he or I fantasizing or drooling over the latest hi tech gadget or automobile that neither of us should buy. After consideration of our place in the world (our being comparatively wealthy Americans) do we have a responsibility to others in the world who are less fortunate including those who can't or wont help themselves? Humanitarians immediately say YES while utilitarians might not always agree. The followers of Neitzche say of course not, but we know that in practice, we have a system that falls somewhere in the middle. When asked, most people would probably describe their self as being a reasonably generous person. Those same people however will walk right past a beggar on the streets with a distasteful look on his or her face. This person representing the general public may occasionally contribute to a charity or program benefitting a hunger cause in a third world country or may give offerings in their local church, but is that enough? How much are we required to do for others if at all? Obviously this is based on opinion which is guided by perspective, but what responsibility do we really have? Why can't we just live and let live and enjoy the fruits of our own labors? Why should we help those who won't help themselves either due to ignorance or apathy? If we do live solely for ourselves and our own interests, then at what point does it become irresponsible? When we're in DEEP debt or when we become a burden to "the system"? There are arguments to be made here for many points of view, but my personal perspective is that we shouldn't protect people from themselves. Whether it be drugs, alcohol, gambling, or other addictions, I don't think they should be outlawed as long as it's legalization doesn't pose a threat to the physical well being of the public.
I dont' agree with smoking, but I don't think it should be outlawed completely. I think people with drug addictions need to treat the root cause of the drug use not the symptom as modern western medicine attempts to do. (usually with drugs) I don't think we should let people starve when we can help them, but I also don't believe we should support entire generations of people who will not help themselves by learning to support themsleves and their own societies by limiting the birth rates. We all know that there are benefits to being disciplined. Benefits of not eating too much or the positive effects of sticking to a disciplined work out routine, or the benefits of saving money for whatever reason. At what point does discipline become too much? At what point does self gratification become too much? Of course some of these points/questions are at the center of our core philosophies, but I'm interested in hearing others opinions on one or more of these matters and why you think that way. Let me know!