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)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gearing up again

I feel that I am starting to gear up for the race in less than a month but imagine my time will be a little slower than last year because of the time I took off with marathon-related injuries. I ran the longest run so far this year: an 8-miler on a brisk, windy early Sunday morning.

I actually felt GREAT toward the end of the run and felt I had a lot left in the tank as I finished. I think the cycling has helped me a little running up hills because I noticed that they did not take quite as much out of me as they normally do. I zoned out a few times listening to the Relevant Magazine podcast and didn’t realize until after the fact that I had crested a few of the annoying hills on the route.

However, my left foot really started hurting late Sunday afternoon, bringing back some of the memories of why I had taken off so much time to begin with. It was disappointing because I felt good during the run so the soreness was unexpected. I iced the area for about 20 minutes and then took a hot bath and it was a lot better Monday morning.

Yesterday was my birthday and I completed a 5-miler to begin the day and then ate horribly from then on out. One of my departments took me out for lunch and then my parents took me out for dinner at Olive Garden. Despite my best efforts at willpower, I cannot escape from ordering the Steak Gorzongola whenever I eat there and a few bread sticks don’t help anything either. To top it off, I had TWO birthday cakes and, of course, must eat an obligatory slice of each one! So - it was not a good diet day to say the least! Rolling out of bed this morning was a bit more than just a figure of speech!

This morning I had a meeting with my 3rd shift staff so I had to forgo my morning workout. I hope to get a run in some time today but it is not looking too promising. I may ride the bike late this evening instead and add a few easy miles on Friday instead.

I feel I am getting back on track but still having those intermittent conflicts that nag at me and attempt to mess things up. Hopefully, I can stay on track with all my exercising because, starting in mid-May I plan to begin hitting the pool to prepare for my first ever triathlon this fall! For those who have trained for a triathlon before, you know what that will eventually mean: brick workouts. Won’t that be fun! More on that later – I hope you are having a great week!

Friday, April 06, 2007

New Shoes!

My birthday present came a couple weeks early this year. That’s because I got a bonus from work that burned a hole in my pocket! But I’ve wanted some cycling shoes and clipless pedals for my road bike so I just got them for my birthday – a few weeks early.

I have read in magazines that clipless pedals and shoes on a bike can help you be as much as 30 % more efficient. I need all the efficiency I can get so I was sold! But it was odd for me that the pedals are referred to as “clipless” pedals when you actually clip your shoe directly to the pedal. Of course, my inquisitive mind wanted to know so I researched the shoes over the internet.

It turns out that, in the olden day, cyclists only had straps to attach their shoes to the pedals on bikes, but the straps were mostly referred to as “clips”. When a new style of pedals was invented that allowed you to mechanically attach your shoe to the pedal, they ingeniously referred to them as “clipless” pedals. The brilliant name apparently stuck because they are still referred to as “clipless” pedals, although you do actually clip your shoe into them.

However, clipless pedals are also known for something else – they can be difficult to get used to. Those cyclists that convert to clipless pedals are known to suddenly fall over to the ground, even though they are at a complete stop. Obviously, this is because they can be hard to get out of. Thus, there was a little hesitation on my part; but, with the efficiency in mind, I bit the bullet anyway.

Being as mechanically inclined as I am, it only took me about 3 hours to install the pedals. I think they usually take others about 15 minutes. But when I finally got them on my bike I thought they looked really cool. I put the cleats that came with the pedals on my new shoes. They enable me to do the clipping part into the pedal. I put the bike in the stand, velcroed my new bike shoes on my foot, and I got ready for a spin. This was it. I was now official!
I had told my wife of the pedals’ notoriety for spills and I think she had a little fun in her head as she watched me mount my bike. Of course, the bike was in a trainer so there was no danger of me falling over, but I was less than graceful as I tried to clip in for the first time. I stumbled a bit but caught myself quickly, looking over at my wife and catching her rolling her eyes. “What?”I asked. She attempted to conceal her smile, “Oh, nothing. I can just see that you are probably going to hurt yourself with those.” I knew she secretly wanted to be there when I do but I would deny her the joy at least on this day.

I will try my shoes on the trainer a few times before I hit the roads. Hopefully, no one will be following me with a camera. Then again, if I were to fall, at least it would be worth something!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Looking at men's backsides

I have taken up cycling lately. I have a group of friends at church and we try to go every Saturday morning in groups of 4 to 8 different men. None of them are "newbies"like myself so I find myself watching backsides alot, especially on the "hills" we have around here in Mississippi.

It is not like I enjoy the view by any means, but, unfortunately, I have little choice whenever we turn a corner and stare down a few hundred yards of upward real estate. Although its early in the cycling season, they have the power to spin up the hills where my running legs feel the burn every time.

I have been trying to bike on the trainer a few days a week to build up some power and I took in some hills on my long run Sunday morning, but it is coming slow. I know that the extra pounds I am carrying around don't help either. Although I have gotten back in the swing of exercising, it is difficult taking on the battle of the bulge. The BBQ tonight sure didn't help matters but MAN was it good!

But I am enjoying the weeking bike rides a whole lot despite the marks against my manhood as I watch these guys from a, ahem, less than pleasant view. I just hope I am able to stay up with them throughout the season and, perhaps, become a better runner in the process!

Thought of the day:

"The future is that time when you'll wish you had done what you're not doing right now" - John Maxwell