Friday, July 30, 2010

Revising my goals

For the past few weeks, the thought of revising my fall marathon goal has been on my mind a lot lately.

It all started although probably not immediately, but with a week or so of having my bike accident and cracking my ribs. This is when the realization really started to hit home that I was losing valuable training time for Twin Cities.

All runners know that it is the hard work done months before marathon and dictates how well you do on marathon day.

In my case, I have been putting in miles and cringing with every stride. But those miles have not been with the quality that I would have liked them to be.

Which bring me to my topic for this post, my goal for Twin Cities needs to be revised.

So rather than shoot for sub 2:40, my revised goal is to try for a sub 2:50.

Sometimes, it is better to be realistic with your goals. Recognizing this can be the hardest part, but once accepted then it is easier to move forward.



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner




Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rock Hill Bike Club TT 7.28.2010 – flat course

Last night, I was in Rock Hill for the Rock Hill Bike Club – flat course – 10 mile time trial.

I had completed their hill course back in May and had it on my todo list to get back for the flat course.

This happened last night.

They kick things off starting at 6:30 so I made sure to get there in time so that I could preride the course. This was something that I didn't do on their other course.

They do really good job with plenty of signs and help along the course. This is even with it being on the open roads.

As people arrive, they sign in for the event and provide an estimated TT time.

I was about the 10th or so person to head out on to the course. Typically, there is about 1 minute between riders, but it could be more depending on traffic. We always wait until it is clear before starting the next rider.

The TT starts and ends in the same place. The first and last few miles are the same with a big loop in the middle.

The roads are not perfectly flat; there are some small rolling hills along the course.

The temps were in the 90s and even thou, I had ridden about 15+ for a warm-up, I was not feeling comfortable on the bike. I kept searching around for the right gear that felt good. Finally about 4 miles into the TT, I found it.

Along the back half to the course, I started catching other riders. First, it was just one. Then it was 2 more a few miles later. I passed 1 last rider just before the finishing stretch. Honestly, I felt good enough that I could have going another 20 miles at that effort.

I finished with a few more miles warm down before calling it an evening.

My time was 23:54 for 9.25 miles (By the Garmin) with equates for 23.34 mph. Click here for the full results. I am crossing my fingers that I will be even faster next week's TT.

Normally, I would have skipped a 2nd hard effort on the same day as 12 mile fartlek, but I had recently purchased a new disc rear wheel. Like a kid with a new toy, I wanted to get some time in on it before going out to the speedway next Wednesday night.

One interesting note, My 404 zipp wheels catch a lot of wind, but having a rear solid disc really moves me around. When it is a head wind, the wheel works great, but if you are in a cross wind, you can literally be pushed across the road. Riding a bike is not like running, there is no opportunity for a lapse in concentration.


Some additional Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner



Rainy Fartlek workout

Yesterday morning I attempted my 2nd fartlek workout in 7 days. Last week, the temperature was so hot that I felt like I was melting and that was while running on the trail. This week it was a total shift. Instead of being unbearably hot, it was extremely humid and at several times a steady rain.

Starting the run with a 2 mile warm up, I next headed on to the trail. Then, it was push hard on the flats and uphills while cruising on the downhills and rocky sections. I use a 2 lap system on the North Meck trails. A single loop is somewhere between 3.5 and 4 miles.

My first loop was 29 minutes even. I then took a 2 minute recovery before heading back on to the trail in the reverse direction. This time I covered the same distance in 29:05. My first loop was slower than last week by 50 seconds but the 2nd loop was over 2 minutes faster than the 2nd loop from last week.

Both times were a far cry from my best times which are in the 24 minute range, but the season is early and I am just getting rolling. My injuries will soon pass and the strength and speed will come.

I finished off the workout with 3 easy recovery miles on the little ½ mile loop in the back of the park.


All in all, it was solid effort and no advil today.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Running Shoe Wear Tester

In the spring I was sent a email asking if I wanted to be a wear tester for Brooks. Basically, I had to fill out a bunch of details about myself: age, mileage, types of runs, etc. You get the picture. Then, they ask the types of Brooks shoes that I wear.

I went through a list and checked off the shoes that I liked.

At this point, I basically became a candidate wear tester. If one of the shoes that needed testing was chosen, they would reach out to me to see if I was interested in testing them.

Well, several months went by. In the latter part of May, I got an email asking if I was willing to be a wear tester for the Brooks Glycerin 8.

Heck, I couldn't think of one good reason to turn down a free pair of running shoes.

Then about 2 weeks later, the Glycerin 8 arrived in the mail.

As a wear tester, I had to log my feedback to their web site. This included my mileage and days run in them. Also there was a ranking section – basically like to dislike 1-5 type of stuff. Each entry was finished off with an area for comments.

For 4 weeks in June, I provided my feedback.

Here's a little of what I shared with them.

I received the shoes the first week in June and after a short break-in (basically walking around in them) period, I started wearing the shoes every other day. This was done to give the shoes time to recover after each workout.

I used the shoes for daily runs, speed work, and long runs. For speed work, they were a little heavy in my opinion. But otherwise, they worked just fine.

For long runs, they had adequate cushioning and support. The one thing that I noted to them; the cushioning did break down when the temperature pushed above 90 degrees on runs over 2 hours.

Interestingly, I did notice is that outer wear held up very well for both uppers of the shoe and sole of the shoe. Most shoes start to show wear pretty quickly, but these didn't.

I considered this to be a pretty good sign since I averaged between 30 and 40 miles per week in these shoes.


To summarize, this was the first time that I have ever been a wear tester. But getting a new pair of shoes with the only cost being that I provide feedback on my likes and dislikes about the shoe, I would take the opportunity any time.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Banged up be still moving forward

Being banged up is no fun let me assure you, but being banged should never be held-up as an excuse for not moving forward. Today, the weather was hot, my legs were tried, and my knee is still oozing from the scrapes from my fall yesterday. My ribs are getting better but had a rough going yesterday. When I fell, I landed on the same side as my cracked ribs.

Add all this stuff up and I had a very good reason just to take today off.

But no, I was back out on the trails for more miles and even finished off my workout with a Tabata workout. This was my first attempt at doing a Tabata since I started my marathon training July 1st. Up until now, my ribs just hurt too much.

And, no, they were not my fastest Tabata sprints, but like last Saturday night at Beat the Heat 5k, it was a place to draw the starting line and begin the work on improvement.

It is all too easy to take the simple path. But some of us don't except that anything is simple and strive to take the difficult path. Only by challenging our self do we ultimately enjoy the fruits of labors.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is the Month of July over yet?

Is the month of July over yet? I certainly hope so. I don't know normally wish for a particular month to pass quickly. This is especially true when it is one of the summer months. However, the month of July has been particularly hard on me so I am ready to start August right now.

Just when things were starting to feel normal again, yesterday ride and run were the best they have been in 3 weeks; I was cruising easily long on the North Meck Trail. Suddenly, a momentary lapse in concentration occurred. I caught my shoe on a root that was sticking up and down I went.

Both of my palms got a good sanding as did my right elbow – same place as the bike crash. My right knee lost some extra skin and was bleeding down my leg. But worst of all, I went down on my right side which has the recovering cracked ribs. I got a small cut on my back and some abrasions.

It was just one stupid moment where I wasn't paying attention.

I don't think it did too much damage to my ribs. The truth will come out as the recovery and healing starts.



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sub 9 minute

Too many times, I take for granted the fact that I can go out the door and run. Only when an injury occurs does reality hit home. That happened to me almost 3 weeks ago when I was involved in my bike accident.

With 3 cracked ribs, abrasions, and bruises my running was regulated to a little more than a slow crawl. My Garmin confirmed this was the case when I finished a run at 10 minute pace.

But body is a wonderful thing and heals quickly.

Last week, I was running along at 9:45 pace. This morning, I knocked down 18 miles at around 8:45. Clearly, I am not a hare more like the fast turtle but progress is progress.

Maybe soon, my Sunday and Tuesday morning's will be filled with the chance to join my Charlotte Running Club friends for their runs.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sunday Group Ride

The best way to move on after a tough race is to go back out the door for a workout. Getting-in a good workout helps remove the taste of a bad race.

Yesterday, I joined up with a new group that rides from Starbucks Coffee in the Huntersville Business Park to the White Water Center.

Several guys were in the Lake Norman Excursion on Saturday so they were looking for a nice leisurely ride. This was perfect for my needs.

We rode down McCoy, down 16, cut over through Coulwood development, cut through another development, and came out a few miles from the White Water Center.

This group was little more talkative group than most of my other rides. Maybe this was just an off weekend for them since several guys and women rode longer on Saturday.

I would like to join them for another ride on Sunday maybe in a couple of weeks.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner





Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beat the Heat 5k Race Recap 7.17.10

Last night, I was in Winston Salem at Wake Forest University for the Beat the Heat 5k. Rain was the main concern on everyone's mind.

The rain started falling on me as I was leaving Charlotte and pretty much rained all the way to Winston Salem. Even when Caitlin and I were out for our warm up there were still light sprinkles.

As race time neared, there was plenty of cloud cover keeping the sun away but with the humidity at near 100%. There wasn't much work needed to work up a good sweat.

Race time was 7pm and everyone was already gathering by 6:50. With a field at close to 600 runners squeezed into a small area, it was tight start and made even hotter with everyone bunched in together.

Following a few last minute instructions and the gun sounded. There was plenty of pushing and elbowing during the first mile. I caught a couple of shots in the ribs which didn't make me any too happy. And, believe it or not I returned the favor to make some room for myself and to protect my ribs. They certainly didn't like it.

We charged up the first hill and Caitlin was running a few yards in front of me. I made a small push to join her around a mile. But I was struggling and my breathing was really labored. My ribs were hurting and I was taking shallow breathes to minimize pain. I think we were about 5:21 for the mile. Caitlin then opened up a gap on me. Clearly, it is very easy to see why she is running so well. She looked smooth and relaxed with each stride.

Mile 2 had a nice downhill before turning up hill again. By the time reached top, Caitlin had a good gap on me. My brain, my ribs, and my legs were all telling me it was time to stop. Mile 2 was covered in 11:20.

Mile 3 had some flat and downhill which I actually think made things worse for my ribs. The jointing of each foot strike sent ripples of force up through my ribs. Sometime, you have to grin and bear it.

Crossing the finish line my time was 17:52. I was disappointed in the time, but what can I say. I don't like making excuses even if I have a good reason.

Caitlin, Billy Shue and I did the course backwards for a nice little 3 mile cool down. Billy was running polo shirt and dress shorts. I give him credit for joining us because it was hot.

Bobby Mack certainly made it look easy. He finished in just over 14 minutes.

John Hinton and Ulf made things look fast for the masters group with 16 minute times. Somehow, I need to find my way back to those times again.

The Beat the Heat race uses a different awards system which is age graded. I think more races should take a peek at this system. Giving more people a shot at finishing well up in the standings is what we all strive for. By the way, it didn't help me much, but I did get a mug for my efforts. I was a little embarrassed to accept it.

One area where this race really excels is in the post race perks. Even with 600+ runners, there were plenty of subs and pizza, water, soft drinks, energy water, and beer for those who like it.

The race shirt was Cool Max Running T with a small logo on the right chest area.

Honestly, other than the tight starting area and maybe the chip timing, I didn't see anything wrong with this race. They do an excellent job.

One point about the chip timing, they didn't use chips but the results and awards came out in a timely matter. So I give them major kudos for their speedy efforts.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Beat the Heat 5k tomorrow evening

Cracked ribs are leaving me with a lot of self doubt about running the Beat the Heat 5k tomorrow evening. Breathing while running easily remains very painful so I can only imagine what it will feel like when I try to race tomorrow evening. If there is any good news here, it is that Beat the Heat is an evening race and it will be hot. My ribs tend to be much stiffer in the morning and loosen up during day and feel better with the heat.

All things given, I don't have any set goals for tomorrow evening. I will just go out and test how it feels and see much pain that I can endure.

In the end, Beat the Heat is just a 5k so the pain will not last too long anyway.

Good Luck to every one racing this weekend.

-btw Stan – I hope your 50k goes well. We need to do another one in future.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Monday, July 12, 2010

Tour De Y Century Recap 7.10.2010

On Saturday morning just around 8 AM we rolled away from Weddington High School in what I hoped would be another opportunity to check an item off my bucket list.

Yes, I had signed up for a 100 mile bike ride. Actually, the course queue stated that the course was 101 miles rather than 100 miles. I guess nothing comes out just right, but that is okay. An anyway what is an extra mile after you have already ridden 100 miles.

Since last year when I did a metric century, I had been looking for a 100 miler taking place over this summer which was not too far from home. When I spotted the Tour De Y several weeks ago, I jumped at the chance.

I left home around 6:45 for the drive down to Weddington and arrived at the school about 7:30. A large number of cyclists were already getting ready. The check-in area was little busy but the line went pretty fast. They didn't give out numbers or any type of T-shirt so other than saying that you checked-in, there was nothing else to do.

After a quick nature break at the usual area, I headed back to car to finish my final preparations. Certain items needed to be checked before every ride: Tire pressures, water bottles, gels, phone, patch kits, etc.

Looking over the course handout, there was one concern that I did have. This was with the time limit. They had set the time limit at 7 hours and anyone not finished by 7 hours had to abandon the course. Actually, I guess this was a big concern for me since my goal was to ride between 6 and 7 hours.

We rolled out in groups with the century riders heading out first. I thought this was relatively a large group with probably 75 to 100 riders. I nestled myself right in the middle of group. The longer that I could stay in the middle of this group the better my chances were of finishing with in the time limits. And, I suspected at some point; it would splinter into smaller groups. How small of a group and where I didn't know.

We hit the first mile and my Garmin flashed that we were averaging 17 mph. By mile 3 we were averaging 18.5. The pace just continued to get faster. By 20 miles we were averaging 22 mph.

My concern was starting to shift from finishing in 6 to 7 hours to just finishing. I know what it is like to go out too fast running and bonk. Those last miles can seem like an eternity. So bonking with 40 or 50 miles left could get really ugly.

At the 32 miles we came to the first support area where they had food and water and this is where the group splintered. Many riders decided to stop while others pushed on. Many of the faster guys were pushing on.

I had planned on 2 stops around 50 and 70 miles. Unfortunately, when the group splintered, I found myself in no-mans land. I tried to bridge up to the group in front of me, but I could never make it across. Bridging only works if you are riding faster than the guys in front of you. In this case I was not.

So I tried to settle in to a comfortable cadence and click off some miles.

There must be a lot rides in southern Charlotte because there were multiple marks on the road. There were enough extra marks that some riders on the full century took some wrong turns.

From my perspective, the course was well marked and I didn't have any issues or even need to use the queue sheet.

At 42.5 miles, I saw the marks on the road for the metric and full century to split. I was seriously tempted to do just the 62 mile ride.

But that wasn't what I signed up for and cracked ribs or not my goal was 100 miles.

Around 48 miles, another rider came up behind me and we rode together until the next rest area. We both stopped to refuel on water, Gatorade, and banana. It just so happens that we were starting to roll out together so I asked if he was interested in working together for the next 50 miles.

For the next 20 miles we would take turns exchanging pulls every 2 or 3 miles. Then, just before the next support stop, I finally introduced myself. I learned that his name was Wade and we were roughly the same age.

As the miles churned passed we caught a few other riders. A couple of guys on tri bikes rode with us for a while, but with all of the climbing they dropped away after about 5 miles.

Next, we passed a guy on a recumbent bike. Recumbent bikes are an Interesting bikes, but I am not sure that I want to give up my road bike.

At about 85 miles we were pulling this hill up Waxhaw when my legs suddenly went over the line. They were totally spent. Setting or standing, I wasn't making much progress. Pulling over to let Wade pass through, I told him my legs were spent.

He laughed. He said his legs were spent as well.

After a little detour through the town of Waxhaw we passed by the last support area without stopping. I finally shifted out of the big chain after some 90 miles of riding. My legs loved it.

I probably should have done it a long time ago.

Over the last 10 miles we caught several other riders finishing either the metric or ½ metric century.

Finally, we were cruising down the hill back into the parking lot at Weddington High School. For the first time since I started riding my bike; I was ready to climb off it.

Based off the activity history from my Garmin, we rode 101 miles in 5 hours 7 minutes and 1 second and averaged roughly 19.7 mph.

During the ride, I drank 3 x 24 oz bottles of water and 2 x 24 oz bottles of Gatorade, consumed, 1 Power Gel, 2 Clif Bars, 1 Banana, and an Oreo cookie.

At 50 miles we were still averaging around 21 mph, but there were numerous climbs over the 2nd half of the course. With only 2 of us doing the work, we could not maintain that kind of pace. And, I wasn't really expecting to.

Before we started the ride, I asked some of the other riders about the course and they thought was relatively flat. All I can say is after about 50 miles there was a lot more climbing one might expect. On 521 it may have been some of the worst because we just kept going up and up and up.

Finishing bike rides is a little different than running. All of the excitement is at the start. By the time you finish much of the crowd has already left. There isn't much left in the start finish area.

On side note, actually, a T-Shirt would have been kind of nice. A T-Shirt gives us something to remember the event by.

Getting back to my car, I was hot and tired but extremely happy. I finished well within the time limit and rode much faster than I ever expected. My cracked ribs hurt a lot on the bumpy South Carolina roads but the two Advil before the ride and the heat of the day really helped. Also let me throw a shout out to Wade. Thanks for help along the way. Certainly, having someone to share the work made all the difference for both of us.

My body is still in recovery mode so it is really too soon to tell if I will ever try another Full century ride again. For now, I have accomplished my primary goal and that was to ride 100 miles in day.



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Cool Rain

After weeks of heat and humidity making almost every run unbearable, the clouds opened up on me while I was running on the North Meck Trail.

Normally, I am not a fan of running in the rain, but this time, the lightness and coolness of the rain were perfect. Each drop helped wash away the heat and sweat of 50 minutes of running leaving my tired body wanting to step it up just a bit. That is right up to the point where my ribs started saying – no, no, no.

But that is just about the time when the rain started to intensify and the trails flooded. I was wading through water up to my ankles. In the back ground, I could hear the thunder clattering in the distance and see the lightening brighten the trail ahead. Actually, the lightening was good thing, I guess. Because the dark clouds combined with the tree foliage left very little light, it gave the appearance of a twilight run.

Later back at my car, my legs were covered in dirt but my trail shoes are now the cleanest that they have been in months.


Thoughts from a rain soaked Cool Down Runner


Friday, July 9, 2010

Century Ride Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning, I will be checking one more thing off my bucket list. At 8 AM I will join numerous other riders heading out from Weddington High School for a 100 mile ride. We are all taking part in the Tour De Y which is comprised of three different rides: ½ metric century, metric century, and full century.

My normal rides usually are in the ½ metric century range. While lately, I have been riding some metric century rides in preparation for the full century, but this ride will still be 30 more miles than I have ever ridden and 38 more miles than I have ridden this year.

My number one goal going is just to finish. If my ribs hold up well, I would like to be within the 6 to 7 hour time frame. That means averaging between 16 and 18 mph for the entire ride.

Normally, when I go into a marathon race, I have some butterflies because I always have a fast target time that I am shooting to achieve. However, here in this event, I am just want to go out and enjoy the day. Getting tired is okay and it is okay to slow down.

From what I understand from others, the course will take me well down into South Carolina before running back Weddington High School and consist of a lot of flat roads and a few rolling hills.

Hopefully, tomorrow night I can pull out that Sharpie and mark one more item off my list.

So wish me luck



Thoughts of the Cool Down Runner

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Carolina Cycling Time Trial 7.7.10 Recap

Going into last night I didn't have high expectations for doing well. The temperature was in the upper 90s. I was feeling pretty tired from the training miles and oh, yeah, my cracked ribs and abrasions were still hurting from my bike accident. How could it forget those? LOL.

Usually, I like to arrive early to bank some extra miles on track before the TT starts, but last night I opted to arrive later and just do a small warm up.

After about 7 miles, I rolled over to the starting area. My starting time was 7:33 pm. The yellow group was pretty much out of on the track so I was able to roll right up to the starting blocks.

A quick count down was given to me, and I was off.

The legs felt heavy and tired. I tried finding the right gear to help smooth out the effort, but nothing seemed to be helping.

A quick check of my Garmin at 5 miles told me that I was running a little slower than my PR. My legs continued to feel stiff, heavy, and tired, but I was at least starting to feel like I was finding my rhythm. My avg. mph. started to climb to 24.1 and then 24.2.

Coming around for the final mile, I thought I might just be close enough for a run at my PR so I started shifting down through the gears. My last mile was covered in 2:19 at 25+ mph.

Crossing the finish line I stopped my Garmin and looked at the elapse time. 24:45 for 10 miles which was a PR by 7 seconds. If I hadn't pushed hard the last mile, I would have ridden pretty my PR time.

Considering everything that has happened especially in the last week, I couldn't imagine coming out and riding a new PR.

My breathing was labored the entire time and my ribs hurt with every bump in the road. Thinking back to previous rides, I don't remember the speedway having that many bumps. But then, I was probably a little sensitive and much more aware of the bumps last night than on previous nights.

I finished off the evening with a few more cool down miles. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to watch any of the other riders. By going off late and then doing a warm down ride, everyone was finishing up and starting to head out.

In hindsight, I have to say that these Group Rides are starting to have an effect on me. I walked away feeling that I hadn't give my max effort but still came away with a PR. I just have to get these ribs healed so I can use both lungs instead of one. LOL


Thoughts from the Cool Down Rider



Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Time Trial later tonight

There is no rest for the riding wounded for later tonight I am entered in the CCTT at Charlotte Motor Speedway. My best time is 24:52 last year and I rode 25:05 in May of this year.

But I am not sure that my body is up to the challenge tonight. My ribs are "smarting" pretty good. Both quads are still pretty sore and I have a big road rash on my right arm that sets almost exactly on the arm rest in the aero bars.

Otherwise I am doing great and ready to go. LOL. Be that as it is, it is just one of those night where I just happy to get in a decent workout. Lick my wounds and hope that the Aug and Sept. TTs are better.

Hope to see everyone out there tonight.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner.


By definition a hematoma is a collection blood outside the blood vessels. It is commonly called a bruise.

After last week's bike accident, I still have a hematoma on both quads. I feel it much more when I am running than cycling, but darn thing is still pretty sore.

I am working through some hot and cold treatments. My hope is that some of this stuff will help me recovery faster.

My advice to everyone is to avoid all accidents if at all possible. The after effects are really a "pain" both figuratively and literally.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Running with Cracked Ribs

First of all, I want to make something absolutely clear. I don't recommend running with cracked ribs. All information that has come my way since cracking my ribs suggests rest and limited physical activity.

But if your heart is set on going out the door for a run, the least I can do is share with you what I have been experiencing.

Well, first if you don't already know it, running with cracked ribs is going hurt. And, it will not hurt just a little; it is going to hurt a lot.

Each morning before my run, I take a 200mg Advil. It doesn't really temper the pain, but mentally I want to believe it does.

With the first few steps, the whole right side of my chest feels like it is seizing up. You may have noticed that I said steps rather than strides. This wasn't by accident. Those first few steps are really ugly as the body starts to impact ground. If I had to describe how it feels, I would say it is something like having someone grabbing hold of your rib cage and pulling on it with every breath. The deeper the breath, the harder the pull feels.

I often wonder what people who see me think. Grimacing with each stride, I am probably giving impression that running is the most painful sport on the planet.

If you can endure the first couple of miles, I would like to say that things improve. But mostly, they just remain the same. Running up hill feels a little easier. Running downhill is pretty much the other way and running on the flats just hurts.

If you are interested, I tried wrapping my ribs but with the sweat running down and not much of a stomach to hold it up, everything I have tried starts to slip down around 7 miles if not sooner. Thus, I just gave up on any kind of wrapping while running.

If there is any positive take away from running with cracked ribs, it is that when you finish and walk into your house, the pain no longer seems that bad while walking around.

On a side note, it doesn't hurt nearly as bad as when I try to get out of bed in the morning. Now, that is some really bad pain.

The doctor says 3 to 6 weeks if I take it easy. Well, I am trying J LOL


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

CLIF Crunch Bar – Chocolate Chip

I am behind on a couple of reviews so I have to spend some time and catch up.

Last week, the guys from Clif Bar sent me a free sample of the Cliff Crunch Granola Bar – Chocolate Chip.

And when it comes to food, I am always like free samples.

On a whole, the CLIF Crunch Bar was okay. I am not rushing out to buy 100 of them. In my opinion, the bar is closer to be a cracker than your normal energy bar. The bar is easily broken and comes with a ton of crumbs. As a pre or post workout energy bar, it would probably be okay. I certainly would not recommend taking it on a ride or run.

Personally, I am staying with the regular Clif Bars. They work better – especially when I need an energy bar during a ride.

If you have tried the CLIF Crunch Bar, let me know your thoughts on it.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Cracked Ribs

The official report is "yes" I have some cracked ribs. Best guess is 3 to 6 weeks for recovery and I should be taking it easy during that time.

So let's define the word "easy". Okay, maybe before we defined the word "easy", we should define what it means to be "normal". My definition of "normal" is the carrying out of one's ordinary daily activities at their expected levels of effort.

Therefore, for me "normal" means usually running anywhere from 7 to 20 miles in the morning followed by bike ride or swim in the evening. The run miles could be hills, intervals, fartlek, or tempo. The bike miles are usually with a group and almost always are considered intervals for anywhere from 30 to 60 miles. On the swim days it is usually in the pool with my daughters. They almost always want to race across the pool. This is what "normal" means to me

Now that we have a working definition of "normal" what is the definition of "easy" mean.

Well, "easy" means that I still run just a lot slower. Since I cannot draw those deep breathes, the hard running is out so there are no intervals, tempos, or fartlek running

Ironically, the bike is the least affected by my cracked ribs. As long as I don't stand while riding or hit a lot of bumps in the road, the ribs don't hurt. Now, I cannot ride as hard because it still hurts to draw those deep breathes but at least I can still get in a pretty decent workout.

My daughter tells me that is always a positive side to every situation. The positives that I am drawing from this situation are that it is making focus on keeping my upper body more relaxed. Because of the pain, I would tend to tighten up in the upper body. Now, I focus the start of every run on keeping my head, shoulders, and chest as relaxed as possible. And, in all honesty I really didn't want to start my marathon training until sometime in August anyway. This gives me a good reason to make that happen. The other positive is since I cannot run hard or ride hard, I should not be as tired when I near the middle of my Twin Cities Marathon training.

Well there you have it what "normal" and "easy" means to me. Every person has their own definition of "normal" and "easy" and I suspect like myself it has a lot to do with how much pain that they are willing to endure. In the end, however, I suspect is all about how much you love doing something that determines how much pain is acceptable.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Monday, July 5, 2010

An irresponsible dog owner

Guys, this is one story that I had to relay.

On Sunday morning, I was putting a few miles on the North Meck Park trail. When on the back side of the trail, I was coming around a bend in the trail and a dog was standing right in the middle of the trail. His owner was standing about 5 meters behind him. The owner was carrying the dog's leash in his hand but not attached to the dog.

The guy tells me that his dog is friendly, but looking at the dog, I am thinking otherwise. The dog's tail wasn't wiggling. The hair on his back was standing up and the dog was growling at me. Clearly too any sane person these are not the signs of a friendly dog. The owner looks me straight in the face and tells me that I must have spooked his dog. Me spook his dog? I mean, I make a ton of noise running on a trail. There couldn't be any way that I could slip up on his dog. Then, he proceeds to walk right by the dog and me as if nothing has happened. At this point, I guess my mouth must have been standing open in disbelief. He was leaving me facing his growling dog.

I looked around at him. At this point, I am assuming that he is not going to do anything. I mean "GGGGGG" as a dog owner I would have at least expected him to control his dog.

At this moment my awe changed over to frustration and probably a little bit angry. I probably should not have said this but I looked around and told him "You had better put a leash on your dog before one of us gets hurts".

He doesn't even look at me but calls to the dog. A few seconds later, the dog bolts over to the adjoining trail to catch up with his owner.

I run many times on this trail and more often than I care to admit have encountered owners who don't have their dogs on a leash. I have to say in most instances, the owner steps in and take control of their dog.

In this case, I have no idea what this owner was thinking. I just hope that some child doesn't have to find out the hard way of this owner's irresponsibility.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Friday, July 2, 2010

One Big Crash

Setting here now, I am just trying to figure out what doesn't hurt: legs, arms, head, or ribs. Of everything, the ribs are probably hurt the worst. Moving any direction utilizes the ribs and with a deep bruise every movement sends a big pain signal to my brain. I guess I should count myself lucky. Other than my ribs the rest of my injuries are on the minor side. I tore some skin off my elbow and arm. I lost some skin my right shoulder in 3 places. I have a change abrasion across my right thigh. There a couple of scraps on my knees. Oh, my face got some too. When I got home last night I looked in my mirror, there was huge grease chain mark running from the corner of my mouth up and over my ear. Luckily, there were only a few actual scraps on my face.

A little soap and antibacterial gel helped clean me up quite nicely.

Truth, I don't remember the pile up.

We had just finished riding up this hill pretty hard which spreads everyone out. There's a flat section just after the hill where we normally regroups. There were about 8 of us soft pedaling waiting on the rest to catch up.

I was about 4th or 5th in line at the time.

I remember hearing tires screech and looking up to see this white car crossing the center line coming toward us. The guys in front of me started coming together and there was no place for me to go. I grabbed for the brakes and closed my eyes. The car never hit us. My guess they were just driving too fast at the time.

I remember rolling and being pushed around as other guys piled into the crash.

Then, I opened my eyes to see the sun and one of the guys was asking if I was alright. To which I responded, give me a second. I got the wind knocked out of me. I laid there for a few minutes before getting up to walk around. Oh, the ribs were already hurting, but I could take a deep breath so nothing appeared to be broken.

After few more minutes of getting my wits about me, I looked around for my bike. Someone had moved it to the side of the road. The brakehoods had been pushed inward and bar tape was torn but the rest of the bike looked intact. In true, Billy Shue fashion, I climbed back on the bike. I still had to ride home.

Bikewise, I guess that I was lucky. Two guys had to have someone come pick them up. Their bikes were totaled.

No one got the plate number on the car, but that was the least of my worries. I was just glad to be able to ride home.

Group rides are a lot of fun, but the crashes are the worst. I will not be deterred, however. I hope to be out on my bike later today.

-btw I was glad that I was wearing a helmet and gloves. Everyone should do the same.



Crash recap from the Cool Down Runner