Monday, October 29, 2012

Netflix Movie Monday

When browsing through the Netflix selection, I came upon an old-school movie that I haven't seen since my college days.  My movie preferences are all across the board but I always enjoy a good action movie.  After seeing Equilibrium for the first time, it became one of my all-time favorites (well, at least in the top 25).

The movie takes place in the future where the people live under a totalitarian regime (which is how 99% of movies portray the future).  The government makes all forms of "feeling" illegal, which includes art, books, movies, etc. and controls the population with a drug (sounds like modern day antidepressants).  People who show emotional displays get taken care of by the police, which John Preston, the main character, is a part of.  One day, John Preston (skinny Christian Bale, opposed to manorexic Christian Bale or buffed out Christian Bale)  decides to stop taking his medicine, fight against the government and then things get crazy.

The movie has a decent plot and has a lot of good action/fighting scenes.  Maybe you could look at is as a sci-fi loosely associated spinoff of The Giver.  So after enjoying some art, books and music, check out this movie.

October 22-28th Training

Monday: 5.6 miles with 4 strides; 5.6 miles (7:39)

Tuesday: 9.2 miles with 9 mile medium progression (5:47). My goal was three miles each at 6:20ish 5:55ish, 5:30ish.  Ended up averaging 6:06, 5:55, 5:23.  Had tailwind on the way out, headwind on the way back.  Normally these runs are tough when I'm just getting back into the swing of things, but I felt good.; 3.9 miles (7:27)

Wednesday: 3.6 miles (6:49); 9.5 miles (6:49)

Thursday: 3.6 miles (6:51); 9.8 miles with 4x10s hill sprints (7:20)

Friday: 5.5 miles; 5.4 miles (7:09)

Saturday: 8.1 miles with 5k in 16:14.  Justus David showed up to the race and I knew he would smoke me.  The course was hilly, windy and had a ton of sharp turns.  We ran pretty lazily through two miles (10:23) before he left me at about 4k. I knew I had no shot with my current fitness level, so I let him go. Maybe could have run 15:30 here if I went all-out but who knows.  Legs felt really flat and didn't feel like running.  Ran in-between 10k-HM effort; 4.5 miles (7:17)

Sunday: 16.3 miles (6:12). Made up a new route with a lot of rolling hills. Ran the first few around 6:30s, into the wind and then started running around 6:10-6:15 for quite some time, even though it felt like I was just jogging. Went sub 5:50 for my last three, with a 5:34 last mile, which was a slight pick-up.  The hills on Sandy Valley, Long Hollow and Longview put a whooping on me.  First run back where I actually felt like a runner...smooth, relaxed and in-control

Week Total=90.6 miles.  Good progression run and long run, with a crappy, unmotivating 5k.  I feel much stronger than I did two weeks ago but I still have a long way to go.  My basic endurance isn't bad but my speed/power is terrible, but then again I haven't done a real speed workout in over two months. Will shoot for around 100 next week with some good workouts.  With getting whooped by Justus, seeing Connor Kamm cruise through a blazing long run and having Kyle Stanton dropping a 2:22 at Frankfurt, I'm ready to get back into the swing of things again.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

APSU Homecoming 5k

Man, my third weekend in a row of racing, shortly after coming back from an injury.  Not the smartest, but at least I played the first race smart and was hoping to not overdue this one.  I really didn't have a plan here.  I was leaning towards the usual "5k at 10k effort."  If you're in shape, that's not strenuous enough for a good workout but it would serve its purpose for where I currently am.

I got to this race later than I wanted and had some trouble parking, so I had to cut my warm-up in half.  It was cold and really windy and I didn't know much about the course.  However, Justus David showed up.  I've never met Justus but he's a Kenyan and sub 29 10k guy and looking at him, I feel like I should join Jenny Craig.  He won the Middle Half a couple of weeks back, beating Daniel Kirwa (I've never beaten him), so I knew the race would be for second.  It also meant I would lose to a Tennessee runner for the first time in nearly two years (Stewart Ellington gave me my last whooping at the 2011 Tom King).  With Justus there, I was just going to be a sitting duck.  Some of you are thinking "you never know, you could win" but yeah, I do know.

The race started down a curvy, steep downhill.  I took the lead a couple of hundred meters in and Justus pulled up after a couple of minutes.  We ran side-by-side and zig-zagged through a lot of parking lots, which really made you lose your rhythm.  I didn't see a mile marker but we came through two miles in 10:24.

I was feeling really flat and was waiting for him to leave me.  With about a half mile to go, he took off and I kept my rhythm.  The ending went up the same steep hill you ran down at the beginning and I took my top getting to the top, with a finishing time of 16:14.  The effort wasn't that hard, I just wasn't very motivated and had a hard time turning my legs over. It was also frustrating getting beaten so easily by Justus. I know that if I'm reasonably fit, I can give him a lot of trouble.  Today I got smoked, but one day, Justus will be served!(terrible play on words) At least I got some donuts on the way home, so it wasn't a total bust!

Upper Cumberland Haunted Half

Signing up for this race wasn't the smartest thing I've done.  I've been doing really low volume training for the past several weeks, and haven't run anything "fast" in quite some time.  And there's the achilles tendon issue that I'm just now getting over.  But since Patrick Cheptoek wasn't running this year, I decided to give it a go.  I ran a half-marathon in nearly the same situation this past spring, and had a great spring season, so I was hoping things would work out.

I really didn't know who would show up to the race.  Justus David is a sub 29:00 10k guy who is now running on the roads around the area.  He won the Middle Half last week, so I figured he probably wouldn't come down for this.  Brian Shelton ran it last year, and lives in the same town, so I figured he would be there. He has been training very hard and getting in good shape, so I knew he would be tough to beat.  I was focusing strictly on place here.  If I couldn't win, I would let the winner go and run with the second place guy and try to drop him the last 5k.  If I couldn't get second, I would aim for third.  If I couldn't get third, I would just use it as a training run.  I had a bit of a sissy attitude, but I had no business running this race and didn't really care about the result, so I would at least play it somewhat smart.

Fortunately, only two guys I had to worry about showed up.  Brian, of course and Festus Chemaoi, who I've battled in several races in the past.  Brian knew that I have been hurt, so I couldn't bluff on him, but I could with Festus.  Festus is more of a middle distance guy, so the half-marathon distance is a little bit long for him.  He also knows that I'm better the longer the race gets, so I was hoping to use that to my advantage.  But he always runs hard from the gun, so I knew I would have to play "chicken" and hope he got broken or gave in before than I did.

The course is somewhat rolling and has a lot of long straightaways before heading into the neighborhood about halfway through.  The neighborhood has a lot of quick turns and you can't see very far ahead, so I knew if I could build up a lead over Festus by then, I would be able to "hide" with the hope of him letting me go. So my plan was to go out with him, act like I was the 64 minute half-marathoner that I was in the spring and hang on for at least six miles.

From the gun, we got out pretty quick.  Last year, the pace was relaxed, and we came through the mile in 5:15.  However, this year, Festus and I went through in 4:58 and followed that with a 4:57.  It honestly felt pretty relaxed and controlled and for a while, I thought I could make a run at the state record of 66:49. But over the years, I've noticed that no matter how fit you are, the first couple of miles always feel the same, it's what happens afterwards that is entirely different.

At this point in the race, I started to slowly drop Festus.  I knew that I could potentially blow up late in the race, so I tried my best to push the pace until the neighborhood.  I went through the next two miles in 10:27 and could tell fatigue was rapidly coming on.  I didn't know how I would last until six miles but I tried to keep on pressing because it appeared I was building up a more substantial gap.

In the fifth mile, I started to really feel the pace and when I hit six miles, I ran the prior two miles over 11 minutes and had visions of an ugly death with a lot of walking.  I have never been this tired six miles into a half-marathon and things were becoming worse with every mile.

I did my best to hang on and tried to keep the splits under 5:30, even though it was hard.  I could tell my legs were moving very slowly but my gas tank couldn't force them along.  At this point, I was actually hurting less because I couldn't run at a high intensity anymore.  When I'm in-shape, I hurt pretty early, but since I'm fit, I'm able to "hold my hand close to the fire" for a long time because I have the aerobic support to do so.  I will feel like I'm on the verge of completely falling apart, but it never happens. But when I'm out-of-shape, I go from feeling good to feeling crappy pretty quickly and after that, I'm not able to run as hard anymore.

With a couple of miles to go, I was pretty certain I had the victory but I didn't want to relax too much.  I didn't catch Josh Hite until the last mile (he runs the course before the races starts every year, to make sure the mileage markers are in the right spot, there's nothing wrong with the course, etc.) while in the year prior, I caught him about halfway through the race.  At this point last year, I was running 5:00ish miles but today, I had to be satisfied with 5:30s.

Shortly before the finish line, the Tennessee Tech mascot jumped onto the course and thought it would be a good idea to chest bump me. I thought I could pull it off, but as you can see, it didn't work too well.

I crossed the line at 70:03 (69:53 in the results) and was pretty spent.  I was able to win by a few minutes, downed more than my fair share of chocolate milk and went home with some money. It was a good day but I know I have a long road ahead of me.  I feel like I'm at least as fit as I was at Tom King Half-Marathon this past March, where I ran 68:34 and shortly after that, I was running pretty well, so I'm hoping for the same scenario here.

I'm always surprised there's not more Nashville area people at this race.  I enjoy the course a lot (even though it felt a lot hillier this year...lack of fitness kills), it has a cool race environment, and the shirts and medals are always really cool.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Netflix Movie Monday

October is one of my favorite months.  The weather begins to cool-off, the leaves start to change color and you have a holiday that deals entirely with candy and scaring people.  When I had cable, I used to love all of the Halloween movies that came on.  Horror movies today are pretty crappy, but back in the day, I really enjoyed old-school classics like the Psycho movies, Pet Sematary, Poltergeist, etc.  And who can forget characters like Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers, Chucky, Pinhead, and the list goes on.

While this week's movie isn't a horror per-se, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil contains more than its fair share of deaths, thrills and laughs.  I didn't know much about the movie when I decided to watch it.  It made less than 1/4 of a million dollars in the US Box office (while Paranormal Activity made over $30 million last week, in it's opening weekend).  Rotten Tomatoes listed it at 85% fresh, while 84% of the audience liked it.  

The movie is about a group of college kids who go camping in West Virginia (the redneck state of the North).  While on their way, they run into Tucker and Dale, who are two backcountry good ol' boys who are on their way to their "vacation home" deep in the West Virginian woods.

Dale gets the courage to try and spit his game to one of the college girls but he ends up freaking everyone out.  While the college kids are camping, Tucker and Dale run into them while they are fishing at the lake.  While swimming, one of the girls its her head and Tucker and Dale are on the rescue.  Unfortunately, the college kids believe they are kidnapping her and they aren't able to get her back before Tucker and Dale take her back to their cabin for some first aid.

The rest of the movie involves the college kids (I've typed that too much) trying to get their friend back, but dying crazy and ridiculous deaths in the process.  

This is probably one of my favorite movies currently on Netflix and I have yet to meet someone who has seen it and didn't thoroughly enjoy it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October 15-21 Training

Monday: 7.4 miles with 1.75 miles of 1:00 on/off. I was hoping to get in 3.5 miles of the fartlek but I was really struggling, so I called it at the turnaround point.  Averaged just over 4:30 pace on the surges, but I only got in five.  Long way to go; 5.6 miles (7:01)

Tuesday: 9.9 miles (7:08); 3 miles (7:06)

Wednesday: 10.6 miles with 10 miles medium at 5:53. Was hoping for just under 6:00 pace. Pace felt easy on my legs but I started to struggle a bit in the last mile.

Thursday: 3.7 miles (6:41); 4.2 miles (6:45)

Friday: 5.6 miles (6:42); 4.5 miles (7:04)

Saturday: 15.2 miles with Upper Cumberland Haunted Half Marathon in 69:53. It was dumb to do a half, but I was gunning for some money. Festus and Brian Shelton were going to be my main competition. I wasn't worried about my time, I was just running for place. I wasn't sure if Festus knew if I've been hurt, so I tried my best poker bluff and took off from the gun, hoping he would let me go after a few miles. We ran the first two together in 9:55 and then I started to slowly build a gap. I was hurting but kept on telling myself to hang on until the neighborhood portion because it's easy to "hide" there.  After 4-5 miles, tiredness started creeping in and by the time I hit 6 miles, I was toast.  I was averaging around 5:25s at this point and tried to keep on moving.  By 10 miles, I knew I probably had the win, but I tried to stay focused.  I was drained by the end and the TTU mascot thought it would be a good idea to try and chest bump me 10 meters before the finish line, which knocked me backwards and almost caused me to fall down. Stupid bird. I ended up winning by a couple of minutes but realize I have a long way to go.  I could tell I was crawling but I couldn't make myself go.  When I'm fit, I run hard and hurt for a long time, but I just felt drained here.

Sunday: 5.8 miles (7:08); 3.4 miles (7:34).  The Columbus Marathon, the race I was hoping to peak for this fall, was today.  It was 42 degrees, with no wind, and the winner ran 2:19 and got $5,000.  I'm now in mild depression.

Week Total= 80.8 miles. Glad to get in a good week.  I had no achilles pain all week but had a good bit of arch pain the second half of the half marathon.  I'm way out of shape but I think I'll be able to come back around in a month or so and hope to be pretty fit by the start of December. Just to be safe, I'll get an iron test this week to make sure my numbers have gone up.  The next couple of weeks will be tricky to plan because I have to force things a bit, while also playing it cautious.  Training will be day-to-day because it's hard to predict how my body will adapt to the training, so I can't have a concrete plan.  These are the times I could use a coach/advisor.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Netflix Movie Monday

With a terrible cheesy horror movie and an international action flick, it's time to switch things up a bit and show something that will tug at your heart.  I heard about Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son about His Father a few years ago and it was one of the .01% of movies that Mary has watched in its entirety with me, rather than telling me how stupid it is, before promptly leaving the room

The movie is a documentary created by Kurt Kuenne, to honor his murdered friend, Andrew Bagby and to serve as a memory scrapbook for his friends, family and future son. Kurt travels around the United States, interviewing all of Andrew's former friends.  However, the documentary also tells about a child custody battle between Andrew's family and his ex-girlfriend/mother of Andrew's son (who also murdered Andrew).

I don't want to give too much information and I know that description was terrible but it's definitely a movie you just need to see. And like Battle Royale, you can also find this movie on YouTube.

October 8-14 Training

Monday: 4.4 miles (6:37); Also got some Graston treatment.  The lateral side of my heel was hurting a ton. Very sharp, stabbing pain.

Tuesday: 4 miles; 6 miles

Wednesday: 4.6 miles (6:47); 4.5 miles (7:11)

Thursday: 3.4 miles (6:49); 7.5 miles (6:34)

Friday: 3.7 miles (6:59); 4.9 miles (7:27); Got some more Graston today.  Didn't really hurt at all   

Saturday: 8.3 miles with 10k race.  I did 2.1 miles warm-up and then the 10k.  My time was 34 something but I feel like the course was short because it seemed like I was running over 6:00 pace the second half.  Took it very easy and won by a little over eight minutes. No achilles/heel pain

Sunday: 8 miles (7:02)

Week Total= 59.3 miles.  Achilles/heel is much better this week.  The last time I felt some pain was the last couple of miles on my 2nd run Tuesday.  I don't know how things turned around so quickly? Graston? Night splint? Cissus supplement?  The plan is now to spend a few weeks slowly adding some hard workouts and hopefully be in my pre-injury shape in about six weeks.  I signed up for the Houston Marathon, so right now, I have my sights set on that one.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Harvest Moon 10k

This race has some sentimental value to me.  It takes place in the town that I teach and do a lot of my training in (White House), I've won the men's race every-time I've run it and it was also the last time I got "chicked" in what was a humbling performance back in 2008.

Last year, I had to duke it out with Jef Scott and I really was hoping he wouldn't show up this year.  If he did, it would take everything I had in me to have a chance at beating him and I really didn't want to have to run that hard today. I just got back to easy jogging this week and have barely even dipped under 7:00 pace on my runs.  I knew running 5:00 pace would not be a good idea.

For my warmup, I did a lazy 2.5 miles or so and didn't even run any strides, in fear of stressing my achilles.  Fortunately, there were only about 30 people there and it seemed like I would be able to get the win again this year.

I accidently left my watch at home, so I wouldn't have any idea on my pacing.  I decided to keep a medium type effort and run around 5:45-6:00 pace.  There's nothing really interesting to put here. I was alone the whole time and the only things of note that took place was smelling a strong odor of Old Spice cologne and a half-mile later, passing an old man walking on the greenway, who smelled strongly of Old Spice cologne.

A little bit later, I saw a man walking backwards up the hill.  For a brief, fleeting moment, I  had a strong desire to tabletop him but the last thing I need is a lawsuit on my hands.

I ended up winning by around eight minutes in 34:46.  The effort was nice and relaxed but I felt really rusty and out-of-shape.  I have a long road ahead of me.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Netflix Movie Monday

I spent another late Saturday night scrolling through Netflix, trying to find a movie to watch.  I probably spend more time scrolling for movies and looking them up on than I actually do watching the movie I picked.  Harry Brown looked decent, and I wasn't in the mood to watch a Korean horror flick, so I decided to give it a go.

Harry Brown is about an old guy who likes doing old guy things...walking in the park, playing chess, and talking about the good ol' days with his friend.  He lives in an area with your typical English punks:  bad dental hygiene and worse attitudes.  Drug dealing and violence runs rampant, which has made everyone in area fearful for their safety.

Harry's wife was in a coma and on his way to visit her in the hospital, he has to take the long way, due to his fear of the gangs.  Before he gets there, she dies.  After Harry's BFF gets killed by some of the gang members, he's had enough.  He resorts to his former military hero background and goes vigilante style on them, without a Batman mask.  The movie has a decent story line, has good action and it's always fun to watch loud-mouthed Brits get beat up by an old man.

October 1st-7th Training

Monday: 4.6 miles (6:43); Went to Nashville Running Company to see Chris Scoma for a free injury screening.  He said my back was on lockdown on the right side, which is causing a lot of issues with my nerves.  He didn't say much about the achilles because he felt everything correlated to my back issues.  I'll probably go in for a visit on fall break

Tuesday: 6.4 miles (6:49)

Wednesday: Went to Middle Tennessee Spine and Joint to get a different perspective on my issues. I saw Elizabeth Hicks, who felt that I have some weak glutes and tight hip flexors on my right side, which is causing too much pronation with my right foot. I've noticed for years that my right foot has had issues, while my left foot has a pretty decent footstrike.  The hip/glute issue was most evident when I was asked to do a one-legged squat with both legs.  I had perfect form on my left but with my right, my knee collapsed inward after going down a few degrees. The collapsing knee results in a collapsing foot.  I got some ART on my back and some Graston on my achilles. I've heard good things about Graston with tendon injuries, so hopefully it will help out. It was definitely a painful experience; .1 miles.  Achilles hurt way too much. Dr. Hicks said there would be increased inflammation, so I stopped the run. 

Thursday: 1.6 miles (7:23). Had a lot of tension and pulling on my heel/achilles. Maybe I could have gone further, but I wanted to play it safe.

Friday: .6 miles (7:15)  Too much achilles pain. Hoping this is still a result from the Graston, instead of the injury becoming worse; 4.6 miles (6:54)  I was surprised I was able to manage this.  Ran pain free until about three miles, then the last couple of minutes, it got to the point where I knew I needed to stop. I heated before I ran, so maybe that helped things out.  Found a killer knot in my posterior tibialis, so I spent a ton of time rolling and massaging it. Knots there can refer pain to the achilles, so hopefully it loosens things up.

Saturday: 3.4 miles (6:50)

Sunday: 5.3 miles (6:34)

Week Total= 26.5 miles. Lowest week in a very long time. It felt like things were getting better but I couldn't get out there as much as I wanted to.  The first Graston session set me back for a couple of days but hopefully it will speed up my return.  It was frustrating seeing so many fast times at Chicago, along with the USA 10 Mile Championships, while I sit on the disabled list. I'm hoping I can knock this out within 1-2 more weeks and hopefully find a marathon in early/mid January. I need to find some good exercises for my hips/glutes to get things more aligned. Also started a supplement called Cissus. I've heard mixed things on it but I figured I would at least give it a shot.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Netflix Movie Monday

For this week's pick, I'm adding a little bit of international flavor.  I've heard about Battle Royale for a couple of years but never really got around to watching it.  I'm surprised it took me so long to get around to it because Quentin Tarantino lists it as his favorite movie of all-time.  He even said, "If there’s any movie that’s been made since I’ve been making movies that I wish I had made, it’s that one."
 Last year, I read The Hunger Games and really enjoyed it.  It was written really well, the author did a great job of making you feel connected to the characters and it really made you use your imagination  I watched the movie a month or two ago but wasn't impressed.  Everything was rushed, character development was terrible and they left out so many smaller aspects about the story.
But that's how movies made from books usually go for me.  I was a huge Harry Potter dork and to this day, it's far and away my favorite book series.  However, I never cared for the movies and only saw the first couple.  Stephen King movies were pretty terrible and don't even get me started on the Dean Koontz movies.  However, the Lord of the Rings series were great books and movies.  People always say you should read the book before the movie, but I feel the opposite is true. If you read the book first, you spend the whole movie gripping about everything they got wrong.  If you watch the movie first, you are potentially impressed with what you see and then reading the book takes it to an entirely different level.

But anyway, yeah, Battle Royale is the movie of the week.  I used to believe this was a manly version of the Hunger Games but since the Hunger Games is a total rip-off, I would call the Hunger Games a sissy version of Battle Royale.

I don't want to give any spoilers, but there are so many similarities between the two movies.  In Battle Royale, people revolt against the government, so the government decides to put them in their place. It becomes an official military project used to scare people from revolting ever again. A class is selected to compete in the Battle Royale.  A to-the-death competition on an island where they are given three days to find a victor.  If the fighting isn't over after three days, everyone dies.  As mentioned, there are so many similarities between the movie, it's insane.  One battle scene in the Hunger Games is almost a carbon copy of a scene in Battle Royale.  And when the movie is over, there is another strong similarity.

Some people may be put off by the subtitles, but with this type of movies, it's not an issue at all. It easily captures your attention and after watching this movie, you'll never want to see the Hunger Games again. And even better, the full movie is also on YouTube. Sayonara.

September 24th-30th

Monday: 4.6 miles (6:45); 5.6 miles (6:59)

Tuesday: 7 miles (6:40); 8 miles (7:09)

Wednesday: 5.6 miles (6:56); 6.1 miles with 3.1 miles barefoot

Thursday: 5 miles (6:58); 3.8 miles with 1.2 miles barefoot

Friday: .5 miles (7:49).  Back was insanely tight and painful; .04 miles Holy crap, my back was hurting

Saturday: 6.8 miles (7:31); .1 miles. Back strikes again

Sunday: 7.5 miles (6:37); 4 miles (7:01)

Week Total= 64.7 miles. Originally, I was hoping to be in the 80s.  My achilles had its good days and bad days.  I added some barefoot running in order to stretch and strenghthen it but the second day in a row of it made it flare up pretty badly. I don't know what happened with my back.  It would completely lock-up and hurt really badly.  I can limp through some miles but I couldn't run with that.  If I can get in the 80s with a moderate run or two, I'll sign up for CIM (as long as the flight is refundable).  If I can't do CIM, who knows?