Wednesday, October 30, 2013

McDonald's on the mind

My usual routine is to bring my workout clothes to school with me, then run right afterwards.  If I come home first, then I'll be tempted to lie down on the couch, check the internet, check the fridge, etc...  If I just treat the run as an extension of my workday, then I'll be much more successful.

So I run starting at the school.  My school is right next to a McDonald's, Wendy's, a liquor store, and a 24 hour diner.  So this past fall I've been hit with the aroma of fast food every time I start and finish a run.

Strangely, though, I've been really good about what I've eaten, which I usually am during marathon training. Most people say they gain weight when training for a marathon because they end up overcompensating on their food to make up for all of the calories burned.  I say that's bushleague, son.  Stop being a damn amateur and start thinking of food as fuel.  If you want to perform well on race day, you need to use the high octane stuff.

I've never had trouble losing weight during marathon training, because it forces me to really concentrate on what I'm putting in my body.  Constant exercise coupled with a healthy diet - it's a no brainer.

But as I've mentioned before, this way of living isn't sustainable.  Let's face it, I could never give up alcohol permanently, and the amount of cooking and juicing I've been doing is just goddamn exhausting.

So I'm looking forward to the week after the marathon when I can finally eat all the crap I've been denying myself lately, without gaining 20 pounds in a week, hopefully.

While running today, I started thinking about all of the things I'm going to eat in that week before hopefully finding moderation again.  Here is a brief list of what that week is going to look like.

  • Reese's cereal.

  • Anything the cafeteria at my school sells.

  • McDonald's Big Mac, fries and Coke.
  • Wednesday night buffet at the local Indian restaurant.
  • Greasy pepperoni pizza from the pizza shop on my street.
  • BEER.
  • KFC fully loaded box meal.
  • General Tso's Chicken with pork fried rice from the Chinese restaurant on my street.

God help me.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Movie Monday: Captain Phillips

Took myself to the movies again today on my rest day and saw Captain Phillips:

One of the best movies of the year, and a shoe in for Oscar attention in a few months.  Over two hours of Tom Hanks trying to outwit Somali pirates on the high seas.  The only way they could have made it better would have been to work Johnny Depp in there somehow.

But seriously, Tom Hanks was stellar, and I will put money on him at least getting a nomination, if not the Oscar itself.  Highly recommend this movie.

Man I love rest days.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


This is what I look like moments after returning from a 22 mile run:

The look of rage was not to be helped.

22 miles in 3:01:08.  I felt good throughout, though I was horribly bored.  I was also frustrated every time I ran around the Cooper River where the annual breast cancer walk was going on.  God bless them, the thousands out there were all there for a great cause, but trying to run around them was a pain.

I feel like I've lost the intensity and the heart I had before I hurt my leg.  I just ran 22 miles today and don't feel any better prepared for a BQ.  The Philadelphia Marathon is three weeks away from today, and I will still do my best to give it hell on race day.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

20 miles and an ice bath

Today I ran a 20 miler for the second time this training cycle.  The last time I did so, I felt amazing the whole time.  And then 3 days later developed shin splints that made me miss my next two long runs.  This past week I returned to a regular training schedule and hit all of my runs without any pain.

After my run today, I decided to try an ice bath.  Somehow after all the years I've been into distance running, I've managed to avoid ice baths.  It seems so cruel to run 20 miles on a chilly day and then come home and have to submit yourself to more torture.

Well, it was cold, obviously, and I only lasted 10 minutes.  Whether or not it does any good in my recovery remains to be seen, of course.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A golden opportunity

Stevie and I spent the better part of today at a Harry Potter festival with some friends over in Chestnut Hill, PA.  Part of the festival included a quidditch tournament hosted by Chestnut Hill College, which is how I got to watch a snitch pretty much bodyslam any seeker who got near him during one game.

I had no idea quidditch was so rough.

Years ago, before I'd ever read any of the Harry Potter books or seen the movies, the summer camp where I worked set up quidditch for the kids.  I was recruited as the snitch during all of the games.

"The what?!"

"The golden snitch."

"What the hell is that?"

"You have to avoid capture by the seekers."

>Blank stare.<

"Just run around the field and don't let those two kids right there tag you."

"Ah, got it."

In 2005 Middlebury College adapted the game for real world competition, and the game is now played in colleges all over the United States, as well as leagues all around the world.

After finally seeing a game of collegiate level quidditch today, my interest still lies with the snitch.

According to the Intercollegiate Quidditch Rules and Guidebook, "having a skilled, fast, tough, acrobatic runner as the snitch is the centerpoint of Middlebury's Muggle Quidditch.  It is the crowd pleaser and THE main aspect of what has made this version of the rules so popular and successful."

"The snitch must be able to run a fast pace for at least an hour.  Varsity Cross Country runners, ex-cross country runners, or varsity soccer players are recommended."

"The snitch is essentially an asshole whose sole task is to humiliate the seekers.  He can run from them, hide from them, throw them to the ground, or dodge away just as they dive for them..."

"The snitch should be able to do simple acrobatic maneuvers.  Handsprings, rolls, somersaults and even flips are all very useful to evade capture when maneuvering a small area."

Dammit, why couldn't this sport have existed when I was in college?  Despite not having been into Harry Potter at the time, I think I would have had a blast as the snitch.  Hell, I think I would have a blast as the snitch now.

Anyone want to join my adult quidditch league?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The marathon that wasn't

Was supposed to run the Baltimore Marathon this morning.  First time earning a DNS.

The good news is that I ran for 20 minutes this morning and didn't experience any pain at all.  Perhaps I'm finally on the mend.

It would be easy to overanalyze things - how could I have trained differently to avoid injury in the first place? Could I have run the marathon today after all?  But I just want to concentrate on getting back to where I need to be for Philly.  The race is five weeks away from tomorrow.  Like I said, Boston may no longer be in the cards, but it doesn't mean I'm not going to try.

Everyone loves an underdog story, right?  Especially in Philly.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Let's catch up

Over on Tumblr the running bloggers have these "coffee dates" where they post pictures of themselves drinking coffee and pretend to have coffee dates with their readers.

Let's catch up, shall we?

  • I don't actually drink coffee.  Never liked the taste.  That's chai in my marathon mug.
  • I tried running again yesterday.  My leg was finally feeling better, but two minutes into running the pain came back.  I only ran for 12 minutes before giving up.
  • I am pretty sure I am not going to run the Baltimore Marathon this weekend.  I was genuinely looking forward to race weekend, being surrounded by other runners, the excitement of running and finally crossing the finish line... The Philly Marathon is going to be all sorts of stressful due to chasing Boston, so Baltimore was supposed to be "fun."  I'm starting to depress myself.
  • I am also sad about wasting nearly $300.
  • So instead of running this weekend and possibly breaking my leg in the process, I just want to focus on getting back into training for Philly next month.
  • Unfortunately, with the amount of time I'm missing from training, it's looking more and more likely that Boston won't happen this year.  It's hard to adequately explain the disappointment.
  • But I'm still alive.  I'm still married to a beautiful woman.  I'm still gainfully employed.  I'm still healthy.
  • Perspective, right?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

On food choices

It's Sunday.  My leg started hurting on Wednesday.  I stopped running but still no change.  I was supposed to be out charging around town for 22 miles today.  Instead, let's change the subject.

The state of our fruit bowl

Let's talk about food, shall we?

I've talked about it on this blog before, but I'll mention it again in case anyone is curious how I'm fueling myself.

I've cut out alcohol.  I've cut out soda.  I've almost completely cut out junk food and restaurant food.  I'm doing my best to eat solely homecooked meals.  I spend a ridiculous amount of time buying, preparing and eating food, not to mention cleaning up the dishes and the kitchen afterwards.  I feel like it's a constant battle to get in the calories I need in a healthy way.

Stevie and I have also gotten into juicing.  I get a lot of calories through fresh fruit and vegetable juice. Other go-to meals include: giant salads, turkey and cheese sandwiches, chicken/veggie stir fry, homemade pizzas, veggie chili, veggie lasagne, lots of egg sandwiches with avocado and lots of milk.

Working at a public school, the usual temptations are always available.  The cafeteria serves kid friendly junk, while everyone on the faculty takes turns bringing cakes and cookies and other crap into the teachers' lounge.  I'm surprised at how easy it is to turn all of this down, though.  Having such a tangible goal to work towards helps.

It's weird thinking of myself as on a diet, but that's pretty much what I'm doing.  It's highly unsustainable, between the amount of calories I'm burning and the crazy restrictions I've put on myself, but I believe it's worth it considering how good I feel (all physical injuries aside).

Friday, October 4, 2013

An unfortunate turn of events

In the teachers' workroom icing my shin


Looks like I jinxed myself when I boasted of feeling great after a 73 mile week last week.  This week: rest day Monday.  Tuesday: 9 miler in which I jogged the first mile, then threw down the hammer and ran the rest at race pace.  I flagged in the middle but finished the last mile in 6:27 and an average pace of 7:08 over the full 8 miles.  On Wednesday I ran 5 miles at 5am and was still feeling great.  Then that afternoon I ran 12 miles in low 80's heat and developed pain in my left shin.  I started a speed workout yesterday but called it off a mile in, and today I canceled my 10 miler this afternoon, and will most likely not run tomorrow either.

I am extremely frustrated to have to backslide like this.  I felt like training was going so well - I was tired, yes, but reveling in the hard work and the pride I was sure to experience on race day because of it.  I was making incredible progress and my body was holding up to the demands I was placing on it, slowly but surely being molded into a distance machine on the inside and out.  And on Wednesday it all came crashing down.  I feel like qualifying for Boston at all is already a long shot and my training needed to be perfect, but now I'm forced to take several days off and I don't know how this will affect my chances now.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The bet

During the summer, while in Germany with seven of my students, I made an ill-advised bet with one of the boys.  I don't know how we got on the subject or how it even turned into a bet; all I know is on November 14th we are going to see who has better abs.  November 14th is just before my marathon and towards the end of his crew season, so we should both be in peak physical condition by then.

I don't know who is going to judge the bet, or what the winner will receive, but he has not let me forget it.  He keeps a running countdown (in German) on the whiteboard near my computer.

Perhaps I was encouraged by his food choices in Germany, such as the day when we had to get breakfast at the train station in Berlin and he returned with half a dozen cream filled donuts from Dunkin' Donuts.  I'm tempted to give him donuts when I see him each morning to sabotage him.  God knows I'm going to need the help.

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