Monday, November 19, 2012

Snot Rockets

I failed at my weekly run update which should have happened on Friday.  Instead you got an entertaining post about hills.  Here's the recap of last week:

Mileage total for last week (Sunday - Saturday) = 25miles
Mileage total from the week before = 29.5miles
Total Miles since Ultimate season ended = 72.5miles

My mileage totals from last week were less because I mixed in a day of hill repeats.  I don't know what to count that as mileage so I just wrote down hill repeats on my calendar and that's that.

With that out of the way a note on snot rockets. If you have never heard of a snot rocket then you are either blessed with a mucus free life or you don't know any runners. I am more than blessed in the mucus producing department and that production line goes into overdrive when I do anything athletic, especially running. I've been dealing with it pretty well since I normally run outside so I just spit wherever I want. However, the whole snot rocket thing is hit or miss.  And by hit or miss I mean sometimes I miss myself, sometimes I hit my leg with snot. Yes, I'm aware that is gross, but it's helps to get it out that way rather than wait for it to run down your throat. To be honest, my running gloves and sleeves of my shirts are pretty much covered in snot anyways so it all ends up in the wash covered in snot.

My recent issues with snot rockets are my ears. I've always had sensitive ears. Growing up in Duluth my ears would get plugged and pop going up and down the hill. I also have had some pretty horrible plane take-offs and landings due to my ears.  As of late when I do a snot rocket, my opposite ear gets plugged. It doesn't hurt, but it is annoying. I spend about a minute "yawning" to open it up. I end up having to do this a lot during runs because of the above mentioned mucus production issue. Does anyone else have this problem?

Friday, November 16, 2012


When I first started running I lived in Breckenridge, CO. There are very limited places in Breckenridge where you can run without going up hill or down hill unless you run inside on a treadmill. I will admit, my first training runs were inside on the treadmill or around the mini track (13 times around = a mile). Part of that was due to the weather and the mounds of snow on the ground. I was also scared to run uphill.

The year I started to train for my first marathon I had just finished my second summer doing the Summit Trail Running Series. This is a great event, and if you spend a summer in Breckenridge I would sign up for the series. There are, I think, 5 races over the summer on different trails around Breckenridge. If you sign up for all 5 you get a cool shirt and a deal on the race fee. You also get drink tickets, half priced appetizers, and a raffle after each race at a bar in town. The raffle is great because you are pretty much guaranteed to win at least once over the summer. They have a short course and a long course you can run. I always signed up for the short course because in my head I was terrible at trail running and there was no way I could do the long course.(I have a great story about the short course/long course experience that I will save for a later date).

I thought I was terrible at trail running because I couldn't run up hill. Hindsight is 20/20 and I can see now what my problem was, but in that moment I just thought I was physically incapable of running uphill. I would start out running, but I would always end up walking most of the uphill. In case you are wondering, no it didn't occur to me at the time the only way to get better at going uphill was to practice going uphill. So I wouldn't really "train" at all and then get frustrated that I couldn't run uphill. However, my second year doing the races I started to feel a little more comfortable and could piece together more running uphill despite never really working at it.

When the training runs got longer, Jeremiah and I actually put together longer runs that did not involve going uphill up a mountain. We'd run to Frisco and back, or up a dirt road towards the Dredge. When the time came to do the really long training run (18miles), we were actually in the Midwest and did the run in Bentonville Arkansas while visiting my sister for my nephews baptism. I am sad that I left Breckenridge before I really learned to like hills.

How did I come to like hills? It finally dawned on me to get better at running uphill, I actually needed to practice running uphill. I made it my goal to get better at running uphill and I made myself practice running uphill. I think the one thing that really pushed me into it was I signed up for a trail race. Jeremiah and I didn't get into the Moab Half Marathon one year and he found a different race in Salida. It was a trail half marathon and full marathon. I signed up for it and I knew I had to get comfortable running uphill.

The best thing I learned in practice was how to find a pace I was comfortable running at uphill. In the past I just tried to run like I did on flat land and I would tire myself out pretty quickly which would result in my walking. I also learned how to take smaller quicker steps (hence the name of the blog tiny footing). I might not be the fastest uphill runner, but I can go at my pace for a long time. True, I still walk sometimes, like on really long steep sections. But I am able to "run" uphill and feel comfortable doing it. It's not the prettiest, but it allows me to keep energy for flat/downhill sections.

In short, if there is something you are struggling with in running, the only way to get better is to practice. For me, it was sucking it up and running hills and be okay with being a little slow, especially at first. If you want to go faster, you need to practice running faster. If you want to go further, you need to practice going further. A lot of race training programs include tempo or speed workouts. I usually just ignored that and did the mileage required for that run without paying attention to speed. But really the only way to get better is to practice the thing your scared of and pretty soon you'll be tiny footing it up a mountain too.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Running Motivation

Mileage total this week (Sunday-Friday) = 22.5miles
Total Miles since Ultimate Season ended = 35.5miles
I skipped Sunday and Wednesday.
Last week I only really count as half a week since I was in Florida I got 13miles in (Running Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday).

I've had a pretty successful running week thus far and I'm happy to report that I think of gotten back in to the rhythm of running which is not easy to do. A lot of people have a hard time getting into running because in all honestly it's not that much fun to do on a consistent basis when you first get started. Sure that first run is invigorating, you feel awesome cause you just did a run. Then the next day comes and you realize you have to do it again because the run yesterday only counted for yesterday. I've always found it easier to run with a schedule that is usually tied to a race. For example it's easier to say "I'll run those 10 miles because I don't want to die during the marathon" than it is to say "Oh hey, it's -20 out I think I'll run 10 miles". So obviously a good way to get in to running is to get yourself committed (monetarily) to a race and tell everyone you know you're doing it.  Why tell everyone you're doing it? Because of a few things: they won't get mad at you when you're busy and can't hangout because you're on a run, they don't judge you when you eat a 10" pizza* by yourself because you'll probably run it off, and they will ask about it and your training. People will ask you how your training is going, so you can't be a liar liar pants on fire and say you've been running when you haven't. So go on that training run because nobody likes a liar. But beware, that doesn't mean they want to hear you talk about your training, they are just confirming that you are still their weird friend who pays money to run races.

But what do you do when you don't have a race to set up a training schedule for? Like I do right now. Which is not totally true since I have some races in the queue I just haven't paid my entry fee yet. When you get in to running you're sort of always training because you are trying to get faster so you can get a certain time. However, it's still not easy to get yourself excited to go out multiple days in a row. I was finding this really hard right after Ultimate ended. I wanted to give myself a fat week to just laze around, but I couldn't. I needed to jump in or I would continue to find a reason to not go for a run. So I just did it, I went on a short 3mile run and set myself up for miles of fun in the coming months. I was jazzed on Wednesday, so proud of myself as I wrote a three next to the date on the calendar, imagining all the mileage totals I'd be racking up. How pumped I'd be to tell the world in this blog how much I've been running. Then Thursday came and I realized that three I wrote can't also count for today. Thus I had the fight in my head, "do I really need to go running". If you've run you've probably had this same internal conversation; "you did run yesterday, and your body is still recovering from ultimate, and you deserve to ease into it....etc". No I had to ignore it. I needed something to out shout the voices in my head. Would it be rock and roll? Hip Hop? Could I blast it out with some Thrift Shop echoing into my head from my ear buds? No I needed something more. Something that would block those thoughts out for good so what did I choose? What was my secret weapon?

You guessed right! Peter Sagal and the crew of "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" the NPR news quiz. A couple things to quell you naysayers. First of all Peter Sagal is a runner. He actually had a great article in Runners World about training for the Chicago Marathon to beat his PR. He's run a lot of races and he chronicled his journey along with some great pictures. There was one of him peeking out from a port-o-potty but I couldn't find it so you get some nice white thighs instead. I also knew that I had a buttload of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me podcasts on my ipod that were begging to be listened to. I wanted to listen to them so I made a deal with myself - you can listen to the podcast, but you have to go on a run. It was prefect because podcasts are about 45minutes long and I needed to go on a 5 mile run. So that has been my secret weapon all week. Listening to NPR. The most obvious choice to inspire any athletic endeavor. I'm sure it also amuses those I see while on my run as a blond haired runner hops by giggling to herself about something Mo Rocca just said.

But really if you need to find motivation to get yourself out there maybe you need to give yourself another incentive not a punishment for not running. For me it was getting to listen to a great podcast. For you it could be a book on tape, or maybe you love sour gummy worms and you stash them in your pocket and you get to eat one every half mile, or maybe you want to look at Christmas lights in your neighborhood. Running is fun, and after you get into your routine it's pretty easy to want to go out for a run because it just becomes a thing you do. But there's nothing wrong with combining it with something else fun.

*who am I kidding, I can't finish a 10" pizza by myself. Although the guy at Hops and Pie last night did say when I ordered it "is that all you want?".

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Posting schedule

I am going to attempt to create a posting schedule that will be loosely followed.  Basically on Friday's I'll try and always post some sort of running/training update. This is more for me to keep track of what I ran over the past week. It's going to be weird because I usually do long runs on Saturdays or Sundays, but whatever I'll make it work. I will also try and do at least one other post during the week.

So the election is today. Thank god. This election has really ruined my attempt at caring about football. I care because I paid (or will pay since I haven't sent in the money yet) $10 to join a fantasy football league, therefore I paid $10 to care. Here is what $10 got me:

  • Hilarious recap emails from Anna about the week and about how I should bench certain players.
  • Funny trash talk emails from everyone else on the league usually directed at Sally and why she hasn't subbed out her bye week players
  • Frustration when I finally start moving players around and they always have amazing weeks right after I get rid of them (or start sucking as soon as I start to play them). Not that RGIII is sucking, it's just when I didn't play him he was scoring like 30pts and when I do play him he gets 17.
  • Delight in finding a game that comes in on our TV (which works better with the new antenna, thanks DOD)
  • Anger at having this delight ruined by political ads.
I would recommend fantasy football because it's been fun to care about a sport I know very little about. But I really wish I had liked this last year when I didn't have to sit through election commercials. I'm looking at all of you too, not just one side or the other. I can't imagine it does much to swing people. First of all if you agree with one party you are going to cheer for your team and make snarky comments about the other team when their commercial comes up. The only thing I can say is it does get me fired up to vote, so if these commercials are GOTV motivated then good job because both sides inspire me to fill in my ballot. I would be interested in knowing how an undecided voter views these commercials. My first instinct is an undecided voter would either turn off their TV, mute it (like I do), or sigh loudly and decide they hate everyone and not vote. Which is the opposite of what the people putting on the commercials would want if they are GOTV motivated.

Anyways, after today at least the commercials will be done. But I am not ignorant to the fact that the news people will continue to talk about the election, election results, hanging chads, voter disenfranchisement, voter fraud, and the like for weeks following the election. That is fine, just as long as they don't do it while I'm watching Redman pick up a lot of yards the week after I took him out of my lineup because someone on ESPN noted that he was injured and might not play....

RGIII you've been warned...Christian Ponder is ready to sweep in as soon as I give up all hope and put all my eggs in the vikings basket.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Back from hiatus

So, hey, yeah nothing much happened since March...moving on... Ok, I won't ignore the elephant in the blogosphere, I haven't written in a long time. No race updates, no legislative updates nothing. Shit happens, you get busy, and I forget to write. But I am starting anew and will hopefully keep things more up to date for the three people who may read this periodically. In general here are some updates:

Work - as of the middle of May I've been without a job. Which is good/bad. I'm collecting unemployment so that is allowing me to look for a job I really want as opposed to a job to just keep tofu on the table. I've had some interviews, but no job offers yet. I'm holding out that after the election people will remember they want to hire people beyond campaign canvassers.

Ultimate - Molly Brown is amazing. (Here's our website: Molly Brown ) We went to Nationals and got 5th. USA ultimate is doing a new format next year so by placing in the top 8 we are now in the Pro Flight (the top flight). You may be asking yourself "doesn't being a Pro fix the whole unemployed piece?" Great question, and yes it would if being Pro actually meant we got paid. But we don't. It just means we get to go to the Pro tournaments and play against the other top 8 teams. According to USA ultimate it is supposed to build a stronger tie between the community in the teams. Which may in turn mean we'll have fans, so we can charge money for people to watch us, and maybe get paid? I think the paying part will happen long after my knees give out.

Running - Running? What's running? No joke, during ultimate season I take time off from doing much distance running. It is just to hard for my body to accommodate sprint workouts, cleats, and distance running. Ideally I'd be able to mix the two, but I have yet to figure it out without the fear of injury. But this blog is supposed to include a lot about running and my journey towards Leadville so I'll focus a bit more on that now that ultimate season is in the off season. Since I last wrote I ran a couple races.  

Moab Half Marathon (March) Time: 2:01:04 This is always a fun race. You run through the canyon into town and for most of the race you're surrounded by beautiful canyon walls with the sun just coming through and the Colorado River rushing past. Then you get to run down a highway with cars choking exhaust at you and a head wind enough to blow your contacts out. It was not my best half marathon and I sort of bonked when I hit the road. It seems that bonking is becoming a more popular thing for me and roads. I'll probably put my name in for the lottery again. Goal time for 2013: 1:55  

Salida Run Through time Half Marathon
Race Website
Time: 2:35:15
I love this race. Seriously, if you want to get into trail racing, this is a great place to start. It is challenging enough that you need to work on trail racing, but not so challenging that you won't have fun. We've been blessed with wonderful weather the last two years so I'm sure next year we'll be running through feets of snow. But I'll still run it. Actually I'm going to do the full marathon. I felt pretty good the whole race, but couldn't quite give it enough juice to finish in under 2 1/2 hours which was my goal. I did shave 3min off my time.
Goal time for 2013 marathon: 5hrs  

Quad Rock 25miler
Race Website
Location: Fort Collins Colorado
Time: 6:23:19
This was the first year for this race. There was a 25miler and a 50miler. I opted for the 25er and was on the wait list for awhile before being bumped up. This was a super challenging race. It had 5500ft of elevation gain which was broken into about 3 big climbs throughout the race. I had no idea what my time could be so I set out to break 7 hours. I was so psyched when I was coming down the last 3 miles well under that time. It was a great race and there were awesome people all along the race course (runners and volunteers). I never once felt like I could get lost and the fellowship between the 25milers and 50milers was awesome. I am definitely going to do this race again, but I think I'm still a year off from taking on the 50miler.
Goal time for 2013: 6:15  

Grandma's Marathon
Race Website
Location: Duluth, Minnesota
Time: 4:06:17
I had high hopes for this race. This would be my 4th time running it and I was dead set on breaking 4 hours. And I was well on my way to break 4 hours until about mile 20 where I bonked. My body literally felt like it had shut down. Here's what my brain said "Only 6.2 miles left to go, it's like a 10K and you're golden, just stick with the pacer". Here's what my body said "Go ahead, but I'm just going to make your legs stop working". I knew I couldn't change what my legs would do so I took a moment to feel bummed that I wasn't going to make my goal time. Then I decided that I was going to have fun the last 6 miles. I ate candy that was being passed out, I waved, I encouraged other runners, I drank a beer offered by some college kids. I finished at about the same time I finished last year, but had a lot more fun doing it which gives me hope for future races. I'm not sure if I'll sign up again or not, my sister might sign up and if she does then I am definitely in.
Goal time for 2013: 3:59:59

In addition to the above races I've signed up for a snow shoe race in January in Nederland. It's 11.4 miles and it will kick my butt. I'm hoping to finish it in 4 hours. 4 hours would put me at the winning time for the 30K. Winning times last year for the 11.4miles were around 2hours. I think I'm going to look for a 50K. It sort of depends on how early in the season it is and if I do Grandma's marathon. I want to start upping the mileage on races I do so I can still meet my goal of running Leadville by 2016.

 I'll end this post on a quote I dug out from my box of randomness. It's from Dave Eggers "You Shall Know our Velocity". In addition to the work struggles, I still feel struggles as an athlete wanting to go faster and farther. My family also recently lost someone suddenly so I feel like this quote encompasses what we all feel as we move through life. It may help put life's challenges into perspective:  
"The density is desirable. Apparently they see the soul the opposite as we do, where it's the lightest thing. This wispy ghost thing. They think of it like a mountain. Like a mountain each of us carries around, and you want your mountain strong and dense because that means your family has lived lives of great experience. But the trick I guess is to find a way to move around"

Monday, March 19, 2012

Race updates

It has been awhile since I've written and since that time I've run in two races; Salida runthrough time half marathon and canyonlands half marathon. While both races were half marathons, they could not have been more different.

Salida run through time
Length: 13.1 miles
Elevation gain/loss: 2200ft gain/loss overall
Weather: sunny, 60 degrees maybe more, no wind
Final time: 2hrs 35minute

I ate fruity pebbles and a bagel for breakfast. The race went well. I continue to battle being a better uphill runner. This is something I have struggled with since becoming a runner. Last year I decided I was going to become a better uphill runner and for the most part I have. I no longer feel scared about the challenge and have adapted a mental strategy to be comfortable with my run no matter how slow my pace is. I feel like I made some strides this year and managed to cut my time down by 3 min. That may be because I didn't fall on my face this year, but I also feel like I ran a little faster.

Despite the slow time, being a trail run I feel like that is a good time. I don't expect to run as fast as I do on flat pavement courses. I also had a great time and felt pretty great at the end of the race.

Canyonlands half marathon
Length: 13.1miles
Elevation gain/loss: neglegable but mostly downhill
Weather: sunny, 65-70 degrees, 20mph winds
Final time: 2hrs 01minutes

I ate oatmeal and a honey stinger. The race started at ten, which seemed late for a race. I didn't feel like this race went well and I am struggling with how to reconcile my frustration. True the strong winds impacted most runners and everyone seemed to agree. I believe bad weather is not always a negative and it helps you practice running strong in various situations. However I truly fell apart at the race. I started out feeling tired and that running was laborious, but felt much better by about mile 4. The mid point in the race went well but after the hill at mile 9/10 is lowed down and continued to, especially at the highway. My goal for the race was 1:50 so I missed the mark by almost a minute a mile. I timed my miles and was sub 9min for most of the end average time was 9:13 so I lost a lot the last three miles.

Despite my time being faster than Salida, I feel like this was just a really crappy race for me and Salida was a much better race. Canyonlands was exactly a week after Salida so I may still be struggling with "back to back" races. I am tempted to blame the race on the wind, but I still feel like I had a better time in me for this race.

I would love to hear from other runners how they recover after bad races and how they manage to break through the next level in running faster.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Post New Post!

I'm finally getting around to writing a new post, which is super exciting! The Legislative Session started 2 weeks ago and things are pretty much in "attack mode" in the office. Although sometimes attack mode better describes what we do to the snacks in the kitchen rather than pieces of legislation. There are some pretty exciting things cooking under the Gold Dome so here's a synopsis:

1. Frenemies

This year started as any year starts with a bunch of "we'll work together, we will work for Colorado, we won't fight, we will find solutions...blah blah blah". It is great sounding rhetoric on opening day speeches, but in practicality there is still a very strong election year vibe of hatred going on down here. Some of you might ask why, why don't they just suck it up and work together. The answer is complicated, but in the short of it elections matter, who controls the House/Senate matters, and this is decided by what you do during the year because the Corporate Personhood People will run ads this summer about who voted for what and why they are bad. The House spent a good chunk of their time last week discussion a House Resolution to hold a Constitutional Convention to repeal the Federal Healthcare law. Pundits are in agreement that this was largely done because two House Democrats are running for federal office and they wanted them "on the record" voting for Federal Healthcare. The resolution is: HR12-1003, it is nonbinding and the Senate won't even bring it up or discuss it. This is coupled onto some fighting within the same party which makes for a really joyous lovable attitude down at the Capitol.

2. Screw you Feds we're going home

There are a lot of bills this session that have to do with repealing federal requirements, asking for waivers from federal requirements, and overall anger over "big brother" telling us what to do. There are several bills that look at health care, the federal healthcare law, and one that deals with assessment testing in education.

3. Jobs jobs jobs

Jobs, that's the theme, and by golly we are going to create jobs in Colorado. The Democrats and Republican's both released their "jobs package" on the first day. Republicans are looking at it from removing red tape and regulations, Democrats are looking at it from creating opportunities for employment. The real interesting part of the story will be what happens to these bills when they go over to the other house.

I'd love to write more, but I'm about drained for the day. Hopefully I'll be able to update on more specific bills that I'm interested in and keep tabs on as they move through the process. If you don't understand how a bill watch this:

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Training: Day 1

So training Day 1 actually happened on Sunday, but I'm just getting around to writing it...

My good friend Ryan (who also writes a great running blog called feets of pedestrianism) let me know that sadly Leadville has filled up for this year. All I can say is, "lucky for you runners because I just ran 6 miles". The race is in August so let's just say that Training Day 1 does not mean I'm racing this August.

I am doing a couple races this year with the potential to do more. It sort of depends on the frisbee season. If I play I usually cut off my running in June so I don't get hurt and that means all my races have to happen from March to June. Which seems like a lot of time, but not a lot when you look at weekends and recovery. Here's my race list so far:

Salida Run Through Time Half Marathon - March 10th
Canyonlands Half Marathon (Moab) - March 17th
Grandma's Marathon (Duluth) - June 16th

I am looking into more races and it sort of depends on how I feel. There are a couple I've done in the past that I literally signed up for the week (or a couple days) before. Those include:

Platte River Half Marathon - April 15th
Bentonville Running Festival - March 31st (I did this one on a whim because I was visiting Arkansas at the time for my nephews baptism, it was a fun race and I got a full size bottle of mustard in my race packet).

I'd like to get in another full marathon so if anyone has an idea shoot it my way. The Salida race has a full marathon component, however it is a trail race so I am still working up to doing a full on trail. I also don't think I can get enough training in before then to feel good about it.

So anyways, training day 1...
Sunday was nice out, cold but really sunny so it was warm to run. We just got some snow so I wore my trail running shoes in case I encountered any ice. I ran the "Sloan's Lake" route, which is about 6 miles. Here are the details:

Length : ~6miles
Time: 1hr 5min

Not really a fast pace by any means (over a 10min mile), but I'm trying to remind myself that right now I just need to rebuild my base for mileage and speed isn't a big factor right now. For training I'm using the guide Mileage Buildup Schedule. I hope to move into the actual marathon training schedule for marathon training and beyond. Jeremiah used this and he got second one time so I'm pretty hopeful this will slingshot me into the olympics.

My goals for this month of running are as follows:

1. Run at least 4 days per week (one of those runs a morning run)
2. Go to either crossfit or yoga one day a week
3. Lift at least 2 days a week
4. Run a total of 75 miles.

Wish me luck! Yesterday was a "rest" day so today I need to run 3 miles. The way this training guide works, the runs during the week are not so long that I can't fit them in because of my work schedule which is awesome.

Oh yeah, the Colorado General Assembly starts tomorrow. I'm going to try really hard to post something about the first day and what to expect for the next 120 days.