Random Rantings and Ravings from a Slow-Poke Runner in the Heart of the South. (A Weeekly (sort of) Blog about running and just about anything else)

Saturday, April 29, 2006


This week marked the first real setback I have experienced since blogging about my running. I occasionally have to deal with sore muscles and "catches" here and there. I am, after all, still a bit heavy for a runner. So I can't really say exactly when my left calf began to give me problems this week but I assume it was after my Monday workout, which consisted of a 6.3 mile run with about 9 minutes of hill running.

I remember feeling tight the next morning but it did not go away. It has gotten nothing but worse throughout the week so I skipped Friday's run, hoping the TWO-day rest would solve things. I tried ibuprofuin, stretching, icing, hot baths, icing and hot baths; but nothing seemed to help.

So when I woke up this morning and felt the all too familiar pain, I knew I didn't need to do my long run. That's right. With two skipped runs this week, my mileage totals only 14.5 miles.

Only 14.5 miles with the 10k coming up in TWO WEEKS!!!

So I am a bit worried. The pain is a little different that just soreness. It feels like I injured it somehow. When I walk on it, I occasionally feel pain shoot further down my leg, sometimes into the bottom of my foot.

My wife tried messaging it and she and I could both feel knots down the outside-middle of the calf. She tried to message them out but it was VERY painful! It helped for a few minutes but it went back to normal after a while.

So I will give it a go Monday regardless. I will have to say it is a bit better today and maybe it IS something I just need to run through. With the 10K in only 2 weeks, I don't have much of a choice! :-(

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

New Running Log?

Since October of last year, I have been keeping an online running log to keep track of my progress. If you exercise, I highly recommend you finding some way to log your efforts. It can be tedious at times, but I have found it very motivational to look back and see the progress.

I have been keeping my log on a free site called coolrunning.com and it has worked pretty well. However, recently I found another site called runningahead.com and eric, the guy who runs the site, was helpful enough to transfer all of my info over from coolrunning. It's free as well and has a few extra features like nicer graphs and calorie estimates for workouts.

I haven't decided to switch for sure but check out my current running log at runningahead and tell me what you think!

Houston: We have a problem.

I am sorry I haven't blogged in a while. I haven't even summarized my last few weeks of running, but I am actually progressing on my 10K running strategy pretty close to the plan. I have missed a couple of runs the last two weeks. Last week I missed Friday's run because of stormy weather but the week before I did the big no-no: missed my long run! But most recently I seem to have refound my motivation and may actually achieve 30 miles this week!

HOWEVER, I have been having a little bit of a problem lately. My calves have been REALLY sore! I don't know if its my legs getting used to the new shoes or what but when I say sore, I mean limping around the office sore!

I tried extra stretching but it hasn't really helped. I could try taking Ibuprofin more but the bit I have taken didn't seem to help. I haven't tried icing yet but I will try it some and see how it goes. Any suggestions out there? I can't imagine that it is overuse because I haven't dramatically increased my mileage. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to my rest day tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Here's a really funny story.

When I was in my first year of college, I attended a 2-year community college in the area. It was a pretty large campus and we inevitably had to park a tremendous distance from our classes. This meant that I had to tote around a huge backpack FULL of textbooks. Sure, it was pretty dorky, but just about everyone had to do it so I didn't feel too awful bad. (Just a bit sore at times).

I was still 18 and always tried to play it cool, just like most 18-year-olds typically do. I remember one particular morning when I pulled into the campus for class and, although I was still early, I had to park in one of the last row of cars. There was an empty space beside me and I sat in my car, finishing my breakfast, listened to the morning radio show, and waited until it was just the right time to head to class.

Suddenly a car pulled into the empty space beside me and I looked over to see two nice looking girls sitting right there in the car beside me! I smiled and they smiled back and I thought, "Cool. Must be my lucky day!"

Now I knew it was just about time to head for class and figured they would be bounding out of their car as well. I reached over and grabbed my backpack and, in one move, turned to open my car door, trying to time my exit just right.

That is when it happened.

I pulled my big ol' backpack in between me and the steering wheel and, yes...I got stuck. Not a little bit stuck - REALLY STUCK! My backpack strap was caught on the steering wheel and as hard as I tried, I couldn't move it to the left OR the right! But to make matters worse, my backpack, with its assorted stack of Chemistry, American History, and Physics textbooks crammed all inside, was pushing HARD against my carhorn, announcing my predicament to those girls beside me I had thought so hard of impressing just moments before!!!

Suddenly I began to panic in my mind! As my carhorn blared on, I quickly glanced over at the girls beside me and I could see them looking over - giggling! I began to squirm restlessly, like a worm on a fish hook, trying to escape my predicament. What seemed like an eternity probably only lasted a few seconds, but the thought crossed my mind, "Can I get unstuck?". The carhorn blew all the more.

Finally, with one final push I pushed my backpack to the passenger seat, turning on my blinker light and windshield wipers in the process. I quickly looked over to see the two girls shutting their car doors and walking to class.

I thought of cranking my car and going back home. I was pretty embarrassed! I finally swallowed my pride and stepped out of the car to head on to class.

--Flash Forward to the Present--

This morning I stepped on the electronic scale at the gym and watched the digits come to a rest: 193 pounds.


Sure, I know I am partly to blame. After all, it was me that consumed the bar-b-q nachoes Friday night, the bacon and eggs Saturday morning. No one force-fed me at the family luncheon on Easter Sunday and it was me who asked for the big birthday-cookie-cake for Monday night.

But am I wrong that most people eat like this all the time and, with a little bit of exercise, keep the pounds off? Will a few splurge meals on a holiday/birthday weekend ALWAYS mean 4 extra pounds?!?

Don't get me wrong, although I get a little impatient at times with my running progress, I am still seeing the result of sticking to the two plans I have been following the last couple of months. But it seems that my weight is just plain going nowhere away from that 190 pound threshold! And now I am getting so frustrated and feeling so stuck I decided to write about it: get it off my chest!

I can explain why I gained a few extra pounds form the weekend but I can't really understand why my weight is so constant. I exercise - run, lift weights, run some more. I watch what I eat pretty closely. I struggled with my weight off and on for years so I KNOW the caloric estimates of what I put in my mouth. I also know that my family's metabolic rate resembles the two turtles on the local commercial for comcast broadband: SLOWWWWW.

So it is frustrating to be stuck. And my tendency is to go with my first response of many years ago when I basically wanted to flee the embarrassment of wrestling with my bookbag in a true "Chris Farley" moment (no I wasn't fat then).

It makes me want to give up. (On the weight loss thing that is, not on the running thing. That has become an addiction I can't give up if I tried).

But I will keep trudging on, keep trying to watch the calories and fat, keep racheting the miles up, and keep hoping the metabolism somehow catches up.

Until then, I will resemble the famous phrase coined by a famous runner - "waddle on"!

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Matthew 28 (The Message)

1After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. 2Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God's angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. 3Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. 4The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn't move.
5The angel spoke to the women: "There is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. 6He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.
7"Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, "He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.' That's the message."
8The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. 9Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. "Good morning!" he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him. 10Jesus said, "You're holding on to me for dear life! Don't be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I'll meet them there."
11Meanwhile, the guards had scattered, but a few of them went into the city and told the high priests everything that had happened. 12They called a meeting of the religious leaders and came up with a plan: They took a large sum of money and gave it to the soldiers, 13bribing them to say, "His disciples came in the night and stole the body while we were sleeping." 14They assured them, "If the governor hears about your sleeping on duty, we will make sure you don't get blamed." 15The soldiers took the bribe and did as they were told. That story, cooked up in the Jewish High Council, is still going around. 16Meanwhile, the eleven disciples were on their way to Galilee, headed for the mountain Jesus had set for their reunion. 17The moment they saw him they worshiped him. Some, though, held back, not sure about worship, about risking themselves totally.
18Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: 19Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 20Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."

Saturday, April 15, 2006

End of an Era

Today marks the end of an era in my short re-lived running career: the end of my Nike Shox 2:40 running shoes.

Yep, it was time for retirement after 418.3 running miles. I didn't need my online running log to tell me; I could feel it in my calves and shins! I will have to say that the shoes worked great for me. They saw me through the greatest increase in miles in my lifetime and I had NO injuries while using them. They will now be my "kick-around shoes" for walking in the mall or whatever.
They are officially retired!

It kinda gives me that feeling when I watched Ol' Yeller as a kid.

Naaah, not really.

My awesome wifey took me to Memphis for my birthday weekend (my birthday is actually Monday). We stayed at the French Quarter and went to see the Redbirds play. We LOVE Autozone Park and even though it is only AAA, it has a big league atmosphere. We scored GREAT seats, just 11 rows behind home plate. Here is a picture from our seats of Chris Duncan just before he hit a home run to left center.

The 'birds got creamed but I still won because I had the Redbirds specialty - Bar-B-Q nachos! They pile Rendezvous pulled pork onto nacho chips, sprinkle with dry rub, then pour on the sauce and cheese! I scarfed down all of mine and half of my wife's!

Part of the trip included going to Fleet Feet in Memphis since we don't have a specialty running store in Tupelo. They watched me run up and down the sidewalk to see what kind of shoes I would need. I thought it would have been funny to hit the button on my watch like I was timing my sidewalk splits but I restrained myself. They told me I was only a mild overpronater and I bought a pair of Brooks Axiom 2's that seemed made for my feet! The folks there were very knowledgeable and helpful. I decided to go there from here on out for my running shoes. They were actually $24 cheaper than the Nike's were so I went to a nearby Target and bought another running shirt. I will run about 8 miles tonight so I'll get a chance to try em' out! I'm sure that with my increasing mileage, I will wear these out much sooner than the Nike's I had. Nevertheless............

.............a new era begins:

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Random Running Musings

I skipped my daily run today. I had run three days in a row so far and didn't want to add a hard interval day on top of that! Therefore, I will do my interval workout tomorrow. My birthday is this weekend and we are going to Memphis to celebrate! I see my long run getting seriously cramped.........anyway..........

I had an interesting occurrence just yesterday. I was on a 4 mile run when, after 2.4 miles, my ipod suddenly died. I have been having problems with the ipod recently that seems to be battery related. I didn't know this when I purchased it, but apparently the folks at Apple have some kind of signal they send to ipods approximately 2 - 3 months after the manufacturers warranty runs out. (They wait an additional 12 months if you purchase the warranty extension unless some dufus employee accidentally sends it out at the standard 13 to 14 months.) The signal causes abrupt battery loss that is eventually terminal in nature.

Now don't get me wrong. I LOVE my ipod and will probably shell out another $250 for another one when this one finally and completely goes coput. (And when I can find at least $250 worth of junk to unload in a garage sale.) But with all the technology crammed into those tiny boxes, you sure think they could come up with a way to build a better battery!

This got me thinking, however. I felt like I had to stop the run with the loss of tunes. Actually, I stopped more out of frustration than anything. But I got to thinking, CAN I run without my ipod? I know runners do it all the time but I am pretty much addicted to it. I gotta think I would die from the boredom!

I tested it out last night by running another 2.4 miles with my wife and I let HER have the ipod. It wasn't all that bad but I ran with her the entire time and it was a short run. I can't even imagine running a 10-miler without a single song or podcast!!! We'll have to see, but until then, please add my ipod to your daily prayer list!

Friday, April 07, 2006

10-K Race Plan

Following is my 10-K Plan for the Gum Tree 10-K Run here in Tupelo, Mississippi on May 13th. This will be the longest race I have ever attempted, with a previous longest of 4 miles. I grew up here in Tupelo and always wanted to run the Gum Tree, but never got around to putting in the miles to run.

If you are close to this area, the Gum Tree is a great race to run. I think it is still the largest 10-K run in Mississippi and is described as a “traditional fast, flat USATF certified course (MS96-002-RH), with excellent traffic control and experienced teams of organizers”. It is recognized by Runner’s World magazine as one of the top 75 runs in the nation and uses the ChampionChip timing system. It benefits a great cause –the Northeast Mississippi Habitat for Humanity and there is a great post-race arts festival to enjoy on the lawn of the historic Lee County courthouse.

As a New Year’s Resolution this December, I set a goal time of under 55 minutes. After the run last Saturday, I have a time a little bit quicker but I’m not going to say it so I won’t put additional pressure on myself! I may let you know after the race, depending on how I do. But my main priority is just to enjoy the experience and earn a finisher’s medallion. Here is the plan:

Here is an explanation of some of the terms in case you are not familiar with them:

PI: Pace Intervals – Running at the pace I hope to run the race in. I usually run these a little fast on the treadmill since it is easier.

SI: Speed Intervals – Running at a pace approximately 30 seconds faster than I plan to run the race. Again, I run a bit faster if it is on the treadmill.

10-10s - 10-minute tempo repeats at 30 seconds per mile slower than 10-K goal pace; 3- to 5-minute slow jog after each.

Total Uphill Time (TUT) - Run repetitions up the same hill, or work the uphill sections of a road or trail course.Strides (S) - Over 100 meters, gradually accelerate to about 90 percent of all-out, hold it there for 5 seconds, then smoothly decelerate. Walk to full recovery after each.

One thing I know I need to do with my training is more miles on the streets. I know that doing most of the miles on the treadmill may have hurt me a little in the 5K I just ran. One thing I am looking forward to is the anticipated hydration stations. The 5K run I just completed had NO hydration stations. Now I know it was just a 5K, but I have a condition called Atrial Fibrillation so it’s important that I stay well hydrated, even in a run under 26 minutes!

If you want to follow my progress more closely, be sure to check out my online training log on CoolRunnings. Let me hear from you if you have any comments or suggestions!

Confession Time


That’s what my running seems to go in: cycles. Just to admit it, I was a little burned out even before the race last Saturday. I have not gone through 6 weeks of this much consistent running IN MY LIFE! But you would have thought that meeting my goal for the race would have really pumped me up and put me on a runner’s high this week. It did…for about a day ….day and a half max.

Maybe I am feeling the low AFTER the race, kinda like the, “O.k., now what?”. Some of you may relate. All I know is getting my lazy rear out of the house this week to run has been more of a chore! That’s why there were no blogs posted this week talking about the ambitious 10K plan I started on Monday.

And not only did it, at least emotionally, affect my running. I found myself cheating a little here and there on my low-fat healthy way of eating. I guess I am an all-or-nothing kind of guy and the eating is just something that goes along with the running and vice versa.

Despite the struggle this week, I was still able to manage to get myself out of the door and out running on each of the planned days this week. And I hit pretty close to my goals too, which is quite an accomplishment considering!

So I have the long run planned tomorrow and, according to schedule, plan to go about 6 ½ miles. Now, as I write this, it is storming here in Tupelo and I can’t say I will be all that disappointed if I get stormed out in the morning. There is always early Sunday morning, or a fresh start next week! J

Yes, I guess I am still wavering. After all, I am going to the Amory Railroad Festival tomorrow with the fam’; and I think I already hear a pronto pup and funnel cake calling my name!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Race Results

Today I ran the Trails and Treads 5K Run in Tupelo, Mississippi. I have been posting about this race for the last several weeks and followed a 6-week plan to try to run the race under 26 minutes. I had my wife take a picture this morning right before I left. Notice I had my "game face" on:

I was wearing my Nike Shox 2:40's that now have over 375 running miles on them. The Brooks running shorts and Brooks shirt are both pretty new. I got the shorts at Trails and Treads and paid the premium price. I scored the shirt from Marshalls for under $10!

I set up a definitely diverse "Race Mix" for my ipod this morning consisting of the following songs:

  • The Slam -- T-Bone & Tobymac
  • Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me -- U2
  • Catchafire (Whoopsie-Daisy) -- Tobymac/Moc/Papa San
  • Saturday -- Paul Wright
  • Gold Digger -- Kanye West
  • Mission Impossible Movie Theme Song
  • Lose Yourself -- Eminem

I ate a bowl of Grape Nuts Trail Mix Cereal this morning about 2 hours before race time and had a cup of coffee about an hour before. I drank water after that. I arrived at the Wellness Center 30 minutes before the race started and talked with Alex, who I work with. I peed once I arrived but felt like I needed to pee again when we started to line up for the run. I may have drank a little too much water but I think I was just nervous.

I felt a lot of pressure with this run, maybe because I have been blogging so much about my desire to break 26 minutes. I was more nervous before the start than in any race I can remember. I found out a few minutes before the start that I had failed to download the race mix correctly from my computer this morning. Fortunately, ipods have an "On the Go" feature and I was able to recreate it in time.

They started the run with a camouflage 12-gauge shotgun. Just one example of how we DO live up to our reputation in Mississippi at times! I was lined up near the front and felt like everyone left me in the dust once the gun went off. My plan was to try to run the first two miles in 16 minutes, then try to hold on to break 26 minutes for the 3.13 mile run. I felt like I was running SOOO slow at the start because everyone was taking off so fast. I was then surprised I wasn't catching up to anybody in the first several minutes. I felt like I was running too slow, but I was definitely feeling it! I probably should have warmed up before the race. I stretched a little but did nothing else other than walking the 1/4 mile down to the start line.

I was relieved when I finally reached the first mile marker - I had ran the first mile faster than I had thought - at about 7:32. I felt a little better and settled into a pretty good pace. The second mile marker seemed to come longer than I expected but when I looked down at my watch, I was just slower than my goal pace at 16:03. I felt pretty good at this point, knowing that all I had to do was run about a 9 min/mile pace to reach my goal.

That's when it hit me.

The sun had come out, the temperatures were heading to the high 70's, and the humidity was up to about 70 %. At about 2.5 miles, I was beginning to wonder if I could hold on! I am accustomed to running when it is about 20 degrees cooler than this and I could feel the difference!!!

I felt like walking but continued to hold a pretty steady pace, even though I knew I was slowing down. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to make it. I had one more turn before the finish line, a point that's just a little bit from the end. I looked down at my watch when I reached this point and saw there were only a few seconds over 24 minutes. I finally knew I was going to make it!

There was a slight hill before the final straightaway and I wondered if I should try to sprint at this point. I decided to enjoy the finish since I could see the clock and knew, as long as I could finish within a minute's time, that I would reach my goal. I then saw my cheering wife and kids and felt a surge of energy to get over the finish line. My time: 25:39. I met my goal!!!! Here are some pictures from the end:

Here's me trying to keep up with a high school cross country runner. Thankfully, it doesn't show the guy with the baby jogger that zoomed by me a few seconds earlier! The slight wedgie I had shows I have a few more pounds to lose! :-)

Here I am zooming my slow rear over the finish. The guy clapping on the right works at the Wellness Center in the morning when I work out. He's a really nice guy.

Here is me and the "fam"! We took separate cars and my wife left early since I wanted to stay to see if I won a door prize. I did! I won a small cookbook called, "Southern Delicious Irresistible Cooking". It was put together by a local manufacturing company as a United Way fundraiser.

My wife said that on the way home, my 2-year-old Ethan all of a sudden said, "Daddy run fast! Daddy run fast!"

Makes daddy proud!

All-in-all, it was a great race! Now.....on to finding my 6-week 10k plan!