Saturday, May 19, 2012

The importance of sleep

I hope I'm taking a nap when this infographic eventually posts :)  As the father of two small children, I can vouch for the absolute necessity of quality sleep.  Oh, and quantity too!



Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday night update

It is amazing what I now consider "late".  The kiddos have been down for hours and my wife has been asleep since 9:30 as she prepares to run tomorrow morning's Dino Dash 5K, but I'm still up, enjoying a glass or two of red wine before I hit the hay.  And, really, 10:30 is late for me nowadays with all the up-at-6:30 and being a father and all that jazz.  In The Oldendays (trademarked phrase), 10:30 was nothing.  Now, its the witching hour.  Funny how times have changed. 

But the big news tonight is not that I'm still up at this Ungodly Hour, but that tomorrow night I most CERTAINLY will be, as the wifey and I are headed to Memphis to see Wilco perform on Mud Island, sans kiddos.  They will be in the comfort and companionship of an overnight sitter that we have hired (one of my daughter's daycare teachers to be exact).  Which means, for the FIRST time since mid-December 2009, my wife and I will be able to spend a night ALONE without waking up a dozen times to tend to the needs of our offspring (with a room at the Peabody, no less).  I think I'll be alternately terrified and liberated by this development.  I'll let you four or five readers of this blog know how it goes on Monday.  In the meantime, Kerry Wood of my all-time favorite Chicago Cubs retired today.  If injuries hadn't derailed his career in the late 1990's and 2000's, who know how good he could have been.  Here's the highlight to end all Kerry Wood highlights:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday morning 5K training

I know my posts have been very -- if not almost exclusively -- running-centric lately and that can get a little tedious.  But the obvious reason is that my Big Goal of 2012 (so far) is so close on the horizon: the Riverfest Rock N' Stroll on May 26, which is only nine days out.  I *promise* to resume to more substantive blogging after I complete that race :)

Meanwhile, I did go for a run just now and while it was not nearly as strong as my Tuesday morning performance, it still improved on my Sunday numbers.  Specifically, I ran 29 minutes straight, bookended by a 5-minute warmup and cooldown.  This means that I covered 2.71 miles in 39 minutes at an overall rate of 14:22/mile.  For some reason my app did not break down my walk rate and run rate like it did on Tuesday.  I think I know why -- my route today included running back over previously run areas -- like when I ran down parts of Kavanaugh and then tracked back.  My Tuesday run, which did break out my separate rates, was more of a "circle", at least until I got to Lookout, which I ran down and back.  Perhaps the GPS on my app got confused.  In any event, my next run I'm going to try and avoid covering the same ground to try and get a more accurate view of my walking-versus-running rates per mile.

Looking forward, I'm going to try a simple distance run on Saturday morning.  I'm thinking 2.5 miles.  After that, I think I'll get a much clearer picture of *exactly* where I am, training-wise.  If I can finish that run with minimal catch-my-breath breaks, I'll feel pretty confident that I'll be able to tack on .64 more miles by the following Saturday, especially if I feel like afterwards like I've still got some gas in the tank.  On Tuesday I think I'll stretch it out to 2.75 or 2.8 miles with a final prep run on Thursday of something short like 1.5 miles, which will give my body a break and some rest prior to Saturday morning's race. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday night music - Alice in Chains

"We Die Young" is one of the songs that circulates on my running playlist.  Its got a great crunch! and wailing chorus. 

But of course you cannot mention Alice in Chains without the band's high point and (probably) best-known song, "Man in a Box", which I learned was actually about the evils of veal.  Who knew?

Best run so far of 2012...

Took an extended lunch break today to knock out Week 8, Day 1 run, which consisted of a 5-minute walk, 28-minute run, and a 5-minute cool down.  And, I'm very excited to say, it was the best run so far of my 2012 5K training :)  I'm not sure what contributed to it (perhaps its just that I'm becoming a better/more accomplished runner, perhaps??), but I did do a couple of things to make it a bit more varied today.  Specifically, I programmed a different playlist (see below) as my former one had started to become stale and predictable after several sessions having used it. 

Second, I took a vastly different course, running instead through upper Hillcrest's hills and then down the length of Lookout Drive (until it terminated its easterly direction and went downhill north -- that's where I turned around :)).  This route included a pretty substantial uphill grade on the northern boundary of Mount St. Mary's school on Hillcrest Avenue and then some rolling hills down Lookout.  The inclusion of the hills was purposeful as I want to start making my routes more challenging and more muscle-burning. 

Now for the encouraging part: despite the increased difficulty in grade and length, I actually bested my average per mile time (which includes the ten minutes of walking) from 14:37 to 13:25 per mile!  And even more encouraging, I checked my GPS app at the end of my 28-minute stretch and was clocking a blistering (for me) running pace of 12:53 minutes per mile!  All in all, I covered 2.84 miles in 38 minutes.  That's just .3 miles from a complete 5K.

So, yeah, I feel pretty damn good about myself today.  I was beginning to have doubts if I was going to be able to get to the point where I could actually complete a 5K from start to finish without walking, and while I've still got some work to do over the next 13 days (which should give me at least 4 more sessions), my hope has been restored.


As for my playlist, I went with some more varied artists (and songs I have not listened to in a while) to "surprise" me when they turned up as the next song on my run.

Lightning Crashes by Live (warm-up)
Who Made Who by AC/DC
Immigrant Song (Live) by Led Zeppelin
Ice Cold Ice by Husker Du
Mountain Song by Jane's Addiction
You've Got Another Thing Comin' by Judas Priest
In the Middle by Jimmy Eat World
Lick It Up by KISS
Don't Stop Believin' by Journey
Volunteers by Jefferson Airplane (cool-down)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday night music - Sonic Youth

Sonic Youth was my very first foray into "alternative" music (the term actually meant something in 1989).  The band's album Goo is still a personal favorite. 

But of course, their magnum opus was Daydream Nation, which I didn't discover until about a year later. 

Running update for Monday

Well, yesterday I completed a 27-minute stretch of constant running (OK, I did stop for two or three ten-second breaks to catch my breath).  I ran in the neighborhood and even opted to tackle the gradual big hill on Hillcrest Avenue.  My pace is not great but my goal for the Riverfest 5K is to finish, at whatever time.  Tonight I'm going to up it to 28 minutes.  I think I'm still on track to be able to complete the race on May 26.