Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 18th-24th Training

Monday: 9 miles (6:46); 6.3 miles (7:15)

Tuesday: 7.4 miles (6:44); 6.2 miles (7:10)

Wednesday: 8.9 miles with 5x1/4 mile hill. Freaking hot.  Temp were approaching 90 and the dew point was a very balmy 78.  I even had a random car stop and offer me for a while and some old lady on a bike said I needed to take it easy.  Plan was 8 hills with jogdown recovery, hopefully starting at 80ish and working down to 75ish by the end. Ran 81, 81, 82, 84, 83.  It felt easy but yet I couldn't breathe and my legs were crapping out.  I was dying badly enough to call it a workout.  This was my first hill workout like this in a couple of years.  I hate hills; 8.4 miles (7:05)

Thursday: 7 miles (6:51); 9.1 miles (6:42)

Friday: No Running. Felt like crap at lunch and bummed around when I got home.  Low-grade fever and chills.

Saturday: No running.  Kind of a bummer because I was planning on doing a 5k that had some decent money. I was hoping to run but my fever came back after I got done mowing the lawn.

Sunday: No running. I was hoping to run by today but I was still dragging butt.

Week Total:  62.3 miles. Bad week but what can you do?  My Running Ahead log goes back to 2010 and four out of the five years around this weekend, I've been sick.  And in 2009, I ran a race in early September coming off a sickness, so late August is turning into my Kryptonite.  Normally my wife and I rarely, if ever, talk about running but she pointed out that I went from taking naps, being a bum and running a lot to getting 5-6 hours of sleep a night, adding in working full-time again while being exposed to over 700 kids and still running a lot. What could I expect? But I'm still in that training limbo period right now, so it's not a big deal. On a good note, my hemoglobin is still climbing.  It was 12.7 about six weeks ago and now it's 14.6.  My baseline is 16.0ish, so I should be back to my normal levels at the end of September.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 11th-17th Training

Monday: 9 miles (6:53); 6.1 miles (7:23)

Tuesday: 7.6 miles (6:40); 6 miles (7:10) with 4xhill blasts at 11.02 avg.

Wednesday: 10.1 miles with a bombed workout. Plan was 6-8x3:00 on/1:00 off at 5:10 pace.  Got a little cocky and thought I could run 5:10 into the first three, which was a strong headwind. On those three, I went from tired to dying and ran 5:08, 5:14, 5:21 pace.  After the turnaround, I ran 5:08 with the tailwind but I was struggling.  And since I shouldn't be dying so early in this type of workout, I decided to jog it in the rest of the way.  After Saturday and Sunday, I thought I was starting to come around some but maybe I got too greedy and needed a little more recovery; 7.7 miles (7:07)

Thursday: 9 miles (6:49);5.4 miles (7:02)

Friday: 7.5 miles (6:58); Skipped run. I was going to do a little fartlek on my 10.6 mile course, but I didn't get home from work until 6:30 and since I felt like crap on my lunch run, I called it a day.  Mentally draining week.

Saturday: 10.6 miles (6:39); 5.7 miles (7:07) with 4xhill blasts at 10.80 average. 

Sunday: 16.9 miles with 12 miles medium at 5:44 average. I was thinking about one of three goals for this one. The hardest would be to run the first two loops at the same speed or faster than my run on the course 2.5 weeks ago and then add a third loop even faster.  Number two was to beat my overall average from 2.5 weeks ago, which was 5:41.  The last and the one I ended up choosing was to run my last two laps as fast or faster than last time and add the stimulus of an initial loop a little slower than the others. When training is unpredictable or you are unsure of your abilities, it's always good to choose something attainable.  Loops were 23:03, 22:31 and 22:02 with an extra .24 miles at 4:49 pace at the end.  Last time was 22:51 and 22:03.  Close call on the last because I didn't remember what my last times were. Happy with this because it felt easier than last time and the MI was over 15 degrees higher.  And to totally dissect everything, I also think this was long.  My route is basically four straight sections with three left 90 degree turns. The map shows I ran 10-15 ft. more to the left than I did, which ended up majorly cutting all of the turns. After I traced the roads, it came out to 12.21 miles. If that's true, I ran over six seconds a mile faster; 5.1 miles (7:26)

Week Total: 106.6 miles. Terrible initial workout but happy with yesterday. It was also the first full week of school which is a new stress my body has to get used to.  I'm getting a lot less sleep as I'm waking up a couple of hours earlier than I'm used to and my body is thrown out of it's rhythm. I also can't do my "morning" runs until 11:00am, so I'm running in much warmer weather. Hopefully this next week will be better.  I feel like things are slowly improving and hopefully by early October, I'll be in sub 65 half-marathon shape.  Maybe it's wishful thinking because I'm so slow now but the heat slows you down a lot and hopefully by then my hemoglobin will be out of the gutter and back at my baseline.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 4th-10th Training

Monday: 9 miles (6:42); 6.3 miles (7:43)

Tuesday: 10.1 miles with 8.5 mile medium progression. Goal was three miles each at 6:20, 5:55, 5:30.  I did this two weeks ago but since it was sunny and mid 140s, I thought it would be a little tougher.  Ended up going 18:31 (6:08, 6:15, 6:08), 17:40 (5:54, 5:50, 5:56) and 13:55 (5:31, 5:35, 2:49).  First section was insanely easy, which I had on this out-and-back route because it means a headwind on the way back. Shortly before the turnaround, a couple of dogs came out barking.  Now, I've spent the last six years battling the dogs on this route and feel like I finally established myself as the alpha on the road.  But these were a couple of new dogs on the black and haven't learned yet.  I gave them some confidence and kept on slowly running away and after a few seconds, I went turned around and went kamikaze on them and came out with a TKO victory.  After the turnaround, I noticed the not so nice headwind, which made things difficult, especially up the gradual uphills.  Last section was tough from the get-go and I was hurting and dying on the hills after two miles.  I called it at 2.5, because my legs were crapping out and I figured I got enough stimulus on the run; Skipped second run. Felt like crap the rest of the day...stomach pains, nauseous, etc.

Wednesday: 8 miles (6:41); 9.1 miles (6:50). 33 years old.  32 was a terrible running year, hopefully 33 will be better.

Thursday: 9.4 miles (6:50ish); 8.1 miles (7:17).  Ran on the treadmill since it was storming outside.  First time in a few years and I absolutely hate them.

Friday: 8 miles (7:12). Same effort and route as two days ago but much slower.  Legs were wobbly with no tension and I was struggling the entire way.  I blame the stupid treadmill; 7.7 miles (7:11)

Saturday: 10.2 miles with 3.91 miles of 1:00 on/90s off. Ran to the main road and back, which gave me 10 "fast" sections and nine slow ones, with the addition of one second on a 10th. Averaged 6:01 pace for the whole thing and 4:44 pace on the fast ones.  Normally, I'd run 20x1:00 on/off at a much faster pace but being it was my first structured speed workout in five months and really hot, I'll take it.  I was happy my legs felt fast for once...not speed wise but they felt ready to work; Skipped run. It was storming again and I didn't to mess with that treadmill again.

Sunday: 20 miles (6:24). Swampiest run of the year and it was the first long run this year where I was slinging sweat out of my shoes with every stride.  Was going to do my normal route but when I started the second loop, it looked like there were rain clouds covering the entire back section.  Since I didn't have future meteorologist, Tyler McCandless with me, I decided they looked enough like rain clouds to me, so I turned around and did the Boomer Route again.  The good thing about that route is that when you're running easily and are fresh, you really open up on the downhills and aren't tired enough to struggle on the uphills.  But the bad thing about it is that it will kick your butt the second time (or if you run fast).  I struggled on the hills, as expected but felt really good besides that.  And at the end of the run, I didn't have my normal post-long run fatigue; 3.1 miles (7:31)

Week Total: 109 miles.  Not a bad week with a couple of skipped runs.  I'm still way-way out of shape but am slowly returning.  I may try to ramp it up a little more this week.

Monday, August 4, 2014

July 28th-August 3rd Training

Monday: 8.7 miles (7:11); 6.3 miles (7:07); Weights

Tuesday: 8.7 miles (6:51); 7 miles (7:03)

Wednesday: 6 miles (7:40); 9.2 miles (7:19)

Thursday: 11.2 miles medium with 8 miles at 5:41 pace. Did two hillyish loops and was hoping to work from 6:00-5:45 pace on the first and 5:45-5:30 on the second.  Ran the the two loops in 22:51 and 22:03 with an extra 38 seconds after the end to finish up at eight miles.  Felt really good and smooth and this isn't much slower than my first medium route on this route last year.  Hopefully I'm coming around some; 4.1 miles (7:36); Weights

Friday: 8.2 miles (7:03); 6.8 miles (7:18)

Saturday: 9.5 miles (7:13); 5.9 miles (7:28). Was going to knock out some hill blasts but when I tried strides, it felt like someone was hitting me in the groin with a baseball bat whenever my left foot pushed off, so that was enough incentive to not run them. I convinced myself it was a hernia.

Sunday: 11.6 miles (7:38). Plan was 20 with some surges thrown in towards the end but I started feeling feverish and run down, so I turned around a little over 10.5 miles in and shuffled back home. My potential hernia was absolutely killing me as well, so I went to urgent care and it turned out to not be a hernia but a bacterial infection (and low grade fever was one of the symptoms of it). The doctor told me no running for a few days and gave me some antibiotics, so we will see how I feel.  I spent the rest of the day hamming it up and whining/lounging around.

Week Total: 103.2 miles. One of these days, I'll have no interruptions.  I got some more blood tests on Tuesday to see if my hemoglobin has risen any but I haven't seen anything yet.  Hopefully it has because I feel better running wise.  I also ran on grass some this week to get less pounding.  I absolutely hate running on grass.

It's back to work, 5am wake-ups and the real world this week. Party time is over.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 21st-27th Training

Monday: 9 miles (6:48); 6.3 miles (7:06); Weights

Tuesday: 8 miles (6:42); 7.4 miles (7:15) with 4xhill blasts (11.10 average)

Wednesday: 11.4 miles with 9 mile medium progression. Goal was to last longer than two weeks ago, where I died a miserable death.  Same goal of three mile segments in 19:00, 17:45 and 16:30.  Ran 18:46 (6:15, 6:11, 6:20), 17:38 (5:56, 5:52, 5:50) and 16:22 (5:27, 5:27, 5:28).  First section was easy, even with some rollers.  Second wasn't that bad and I was happy with the third.  I had to push some the last 1/4 mile to make sure I broke 5:40 because I was 5:35ish at that point.  But overall, I'm pleased because I ran an extra mile, felt stronger and ran faster.  And the misery index was over 15 degrees hotter.; 6.8 miles (7:18); Weights

Thursday: 9.4 miles (6:49); 6.1 miles (7:08)

Friday: 10.6 miles (6:47); 3.4 miles with strides (7:20); massage

Saturday: 11 miles with 4 mile race in 22:15.  Since I have a double this weekend, I wanted to win as easily as possible.  I took the lead from the beginning and the high schoolers weren't very fiesty.  Had about 10 seconds at the mile in 5:30, which was nice and easy.  Ran 5:25 the second mile, which increased the lead some more, so I relaxed and ran 5:41, 5:39 the last two to win by about 20 seconds; 3.7 miles (7:19)

Sunday: 9 miles with 10k in 34:10.  Jumped on a last minute triathlon relay since a group needed a runner and I'm a pushover. Sad part was the course was about a minute short.  Got there at 6:15am and didn't run until about 4.5 hours later, which was already over 90 degrees with a dew point in the 70s.  Course was very hot and hilly and after a 5:09 opening mile, I decided to just keep it steady and I was still really struggling.  I poured water on my head at every station and it was ice cold on my head but hot by the time it reached my butt. I was planning on running again in the evening but I was so drained from the heat.

Week Total: 102.1 miles. This would have been much higher with a Sunday long run but oh well.  I was happy to nail my progression and I'm feeling much better day-to-day.  Got my blood test results from 2.5 weeks ago and my hemoglobin dropped into the 12s and my hematocrit dropped to 37 (normally I'm a 16/48 guy). The hematologist didn't say much, so I spent an hour researching every thing on my blood test and am 90% sure I have hemolytic anemia, hopefully as a result of the pounding of running.  It makes sense because I put on some weight, took several weeks off and jumped right into pounding on the concrete in shoes that were too beat up.  I went to my work clinic today and got them to do a haptoglobin test, direct Coombs test, peripheral blood smear and to rerun my CBC, thyroid and iron panel.  The hematologist makes over $300 G's but I had to do the work on Google. Go figure.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 14th-20th Training

Monday: 9.1 miles (6:54); 5.6 miles (7:36)

Tuesday: 8.4 miles with 6xhill blasts at 10.95 avg. (7:17); 6.7 miles (7:04)

Wednesday: 10.2 miles with 6.57 miles at 5:47 average. Goal was to work from 6:00 to 5:40 pace.  Got out a little quick and hung around 5:50s. The middle half had a tough headwind, but it gave me 15 seconds when it turned into a tailwind.  Started out feeling pretty easy but got a little tough at the end.; 6.8 miles (7:02)

Thursday: 8.6 miles (7:09); Skipped second run because the chicken I was smoking was ready about an hour ahead of schedule and I had some friends over for dinner.  The running gods punished me for skipping my run by making me step on a hot piece of charcoal in my socks, which burned a hole right through them which resulted in me throwing the shears I was holding across the backyard.

Friday: 6 miles (6:58); 1.1 miles (7:22).  Planned on a light workout but I wasn't feeling it, so after a mile, I walked home.

Saturday: 9.1 miles (7:24); 6.8 miles (7:10)

Sunday: 20 miles (6:18). Good run in some muggy weather considering I only had three sub 6:20 miles during my entire 20 miles two weeks ago.  Started rolling pretty quickly, made myself back off some and felt pretty strong even though I only had about 10 oz. of water.  Hit that rough long run spot, where you go from feeling good to having the fatigue creep in faster than you like around 18 miles.  Good confidence booster and I even chewed the same piece of gym for 20 miles, which is probably a record or something.

Week Total: 98.3 miles. Not bad volume for missing two runs.  I would have been around 115 with those in, which would have been a great week.  Hopefully something will be figured out at my hematologist appointment this week because I still haven't seen any test results from it yet.  Depending on how those look, I may jump into a race this weekend even though I'm way out of shape.

Friday, July 18, 2014

15 Deadly Improvised Prison Weaons

Here's some good info if you ever get thrown in the slammer for jaywalking on a run or something:

Keeping up with inmate improvisation is an endless and thankless project. It seems nothing brings out the ingenuity in a person like an endless sea of days spent staring through bars and thinking about freedom.
Photographer Marc Steinmetz must have understood this when he set out to create the fantastic photo essay we've printed below, showing some of the most cunning and creative improvised weapons and tools built by inmates in his home country of Germany.
All images and captions, Marc Steinmetz photography
SHOTGUN - made from iron bedposts; charge made of pieces of lead from curtain tape and match-heads, to be ignited by AA batteries and a broken light bulb. On May 21, 1984 two inmates of a prison in Celle, Germany, took a jailer as a hostage, showed off their fire power by letting go at a pane of bullet-proof glass, and escaped by car.
SHIV - disguised as a wooden crucifix;found in an inmate’s cell in Wolfenbüttel prison, Germany, sometime around 1994; intended for use in an escape or as a general weapon. At that time a lot of crucifixes were fashioned in prison woodshops until jailers finally figured out their true purpose.
IMMERSION HEATER - made from razor blades; found in a cell in ‘Santa Fu’ jail in Hamburg, Germany. Jailbirds use these tools to distil alcoholic beverages forbidden in prisons. Your typical inmate’s moonshine still includes a plastic can containing fermented fruit mash or juice, an immersion coil of some sort, a rubber hose, and a plastic receptacle for the booze.

KNUCKLEDUSTER - with padded handle, made from a rasp that was presumably stolen from a prison workshop. The weapon was found in a cell in the prison of Wolfenbüttel, Germany, sometime around 1993.

HASH PIPE - fashioned from an empty horseradish tube; confiscated in ‘Santa Fu’ prison in Hamburg, Germany. Smoking implements are the most common illicit items in prisons. The range of materials they are made of mirrors the inmates’ great imagination.

DOUBLE-BARRELED PISTOL - This gun was found along with other homemade firearms in the cell of two Celle prison inmates on November 15, 1984. The weapons had been made in the prison’s metal workshop. They were loaded with pieces of steel and match-heads.

LADDER - made of steel rails from bookshelves. On October 10, 1994, inmates Gerhard Polak and Raimund Albert used this ladder during their successful escape from ‘Santa Fu’ prison in Hamburg, 

MACE - This instrument was found in 1997 in the metal workshop of ‘Santa Fu’ prison in Hamburg, Germany, where an unknown inmate manufactured and hid it. It is either a weapon, or, attached to a pole, might have been designed to push away barbed wire from the top of a wall during an escape.

NARCOTICS CACHE - In a hollow space inside his artificial leg a prisoner in open detention frequently smuggled narcotics into ‘Santa Fu’ prison in Hamburg, Germany. Around 1984 his behaviour finally got the attention of the jailers who gave the prosthesis a check.

WHIP - with razor blades. The grisly weapon was found around 1996 in ‘Santa Fu’ jail in Hamburg, Germany, in the cell of a drug addicted inmate after his failed attempt to extort a higher Methadone ration by threatening a female prison officer with a knife.

DUMMY SUBMACHINE GUN - made from a grease injector, wood, a rubber sleeve, and tape. The mock weapon was found in 1994 in a prison workshop in Wolfenbüttel prison, Germany, after jailers were tipped off that an escape attempt was being planned.

RADIO TRANSMITTER/BUG - made of radio recorder parts by an inmate of Wolfenbüttel prison, Germany (battery is missing). Prisoners occasionally manage to install gizmos like this one in guard-rooms to be prepared for upcoming cell searches. Also suitable as a means of cell-to-cell communication among inmates. A standard radio serves as a receiver.

GRAPPLING HOOK - with segmented extension rod (13 segments, overall length: 4.5 meters); rope made of leather and string. This cleverly conceived tool assisted two inmates in their escape from Ludwigsburg prison, Germany, on August 19, 1987. The attached rod enabled them to place and retrieve the hook and thus negotiate two prison walls in succession.

DUMMY PISTOL - from blackened cardboard; found on June 23, 1988, in an inmate’s cell in Stammheim prison, Germany, after a fellow prisoner tipped off the jailers. The dummy was hidden in an empty milk pack and was most probably intended to be used for taking hostages in an escape attempt.

SAW - made from a wooden coathanger and a jagsaw blade. The tool was confiscated in the therapeutical section of Hohenasperg prison, Germany.
To see more of Steinmetz work, visit his website at: