Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas. 
Let your heart be light. 
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

I am still alive.  Admit it.  You’ve missed me.  Do not worry.  I have been busy.  The kids have been out of school, so I’ve been slumming it a little bit in the morning.  Add in a slow period at work, and things have just been kind of dog lazy.  I could get used to that.

I’ve still been trying to run three times a week, and I have been very successful.  I am now up to three miles in my Vibrams!  but only once a week.  I’m going to try and expand that out to four miles before adding a second Vibram’s run.  I can certainly tell the difference between running 3 miles in my Vibrams and running 3 miles in my K-swiss.  All the little muscles in the lower half of my legs are just bitchin, but that is the point, right?   Strengthen those muscles without hurting myself.  So far so good.

After work today, I am off for 10 whole days.  Some of that time might include a trip home to see my our families for New Years.  We’re trying to figure something out with the dogs.  From Christmas Eve till at least Wednesday, I am off with nothing but time on my hands.  I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve been sitting here at work planning out my triathlon season for next year.  Right now, I’m looking at 6 or 7 races, depending on whether or not my pals come into town to do the Chickamauga Marathon in November.  I’m running the Georgia Half Marathon again this year, with Dee Dee.  Then, I’m going to hit up the West Point Oly at the end of April.  They moved it this year from June.  No more sweltering heat runs!  Woot!  After that, it’s back to Callaway for my sixth or seventh time (who’s counting?).  July has another trip to the Blue Mountains for Tri the Mountains.  August was a bit perplexing, but I decided on the Fall Creek Falls Olympic again.  It was a fun race, and I’d love to head back north to Tennessee.  Finally, I’m going to wrap up my season with a half, and the target is Augusta 70.3.  I have a bone to pick with that one.

Tie all that in together with Dee Dee’s plans, and it looks to be a busy year.

While all that is fine and dandy, tis the season…  to eat, drink, make merry, and bring joy and happiness into the lives of those you love.  Thank you all for another wonderful year.  I wish you and your family a safe, happy, and wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wes

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Barefootin (and quick steppin)

My last weekend of soccer related activities is OVA!  I do have one more match coming up this Sunday, but for the most part, I’m about to be inundated with free time.  Yes.  Teh Bug is glad, as am I.  Sunday morning found me standing in the dark outside the stadium at Kell High School.  There were buses and teams in the parking lot, but nobody inside the stadium.  Given that the teams were from out of state, they weren’t quite sure how to get in.  The lights weren’t on or anything.  To make matters worse, the field wasn’t even set up.  Not good for a very important tournament.

In short order, I ended up with four teams inside the stadium.  I knew there were soccer fields in the back (two to be precise), so I hopped in my car and drove back there to confirm the field was set up and ready to go.  There was another lone referee back there, but the field was indeed lined and properly marked.  After getting the teams situated, we commenced to footballing.  Of course, on my field, we had to delay 15 minutes for more daylight, as no one was there to turn on the frickin lights.

All in all, it was a good day of soccer, if a little dry.  In the three games in which I participated, only one goal was scored.  The high light of my day was when the coach of a highly ranked team from California told me that my match was “the best he’d had in years”.  The crew did a fine job.

I had to run by the headquarters at the Embassy Suites before heading off to my adult match at 3 PM.  I managed to nab some lunch.  When I showed up at the field, I noticed the crew was short.  I ended up running the line for half a D-1 match before my own D-3 center.  I guess you could say I got my running in on Sunday.

Monday, I could feel it too.  I try not to hobble.  The best way to recover sore muscles is to put them through a normal range of motion, but Tuesday, I wasn’t feeling very “normal”.  Still, I felt compelled to go run and run I did.  Since it was raining, I opted to go to the gym and hit up the treadmill.  My normal “easy” run is 4 miles now, and this time, I remembered to bring my Vibrams.

To begin with, I warmed up for 4-5 minutes before settling into a 6.5 mph pace.  After 1.5 miles, I put the treadmill on its lowest setting, changed into my Vibrams, then hopped back on again and revved the engine.  I ran another mile before switching back to my trusty K-swiss.  Running a mile was probably a bit risky, but I managed OK, and my legs were ready to be done!

One of the things I noticed during this exercise caught my attention.  While running at 6.5 mph in my K-swiss, I was maintaining about 89 steps per minute with one foot.  When I switched to my Vibrams, I was running 95 steps per minute at 6.2 mph.

There is some insight here…  Let me explain.

A lot of people who injure themselves running, find salvation when they switch to minimalist shoes.  I think too much credit is given to this “natural method”, when in reality, it is a change in form, required by barefoot running that is the cure.  If you haven’t tried to run barefoot, give it a go, even if its just for a couple of hundred yards.  You will quickly learn a couple of things.  Running on your heels hurts, and to lessen the impact, you need short quick strides.  Both of these things are conducive to developing a mid-foot strike.  Even if you don’t plan to switch entirely to running barefoot, once a week will help strengthen your muscles and improve your form.

With that in mind, I have decided that I am going to run this years Guns and Hoses 5K in my Vibrams, and maybe the Georgia Half Marathon as well.  I say maybe because I don’t know if I’ll be ready to run a half marathon in Vibrams by March.  Since I’ll be pacing Dee Dee, it should be OK.

Happy hump day, y’all!

Wes

Friday, December 02, 2011

Flitting Aboot

I have discovered fresh (ly unfrozen) fruit and yogurt.  WT?  Where have I been?  I’m on a mission to improve my diet.  Yes, I know.  That means a major curtailment on beer.  I’m actually doing pretty good on that front.  After my marathon, went through a case or so, but hey…  We all need to let go at sometime!  My short term goal is to include healthier choices in my diet.  My long term includes giving up red meat, then most meat (except seafood), then meat entirely.  Not sure if I’ll make it that far, but we shall see.  I’m currently in the research phase, with Operation Give Up Red Meat scheduled to begin at the first of the year.

Matthew’s soccer season is winding down.  He had his last practice at a high school in Cobb County.  I’m liking my fitness membership.  One of their facilities was about 10 minutes down the road.  I jumped on one of their treadmills in front of the ESPN TV.  See, I can learn :-)  Rather than do my ho-hum usual workout consisting of:  warm up, run x minutes at y pace, cool down, I hit one of those little program buttons.  I chose:  Random Hills.

How much do you weigh?  185 lbs (ok, plus a little Thanksgiving fat)

Max speed you would like to go?  7.0  (about an 8:30 pace)

Max elevation?  4.0  (unsure about this one, so thought 4.0 was conservative)

How long would you like to run?  40 minutes (or 4 miles, which ever comes first)

The treadmill took me through a warm up, which was nice.  Ya know I’m a digit guy, and the warm ups always skew my main set pace.  After about four minutes of warm ups, the random hills began.  The machine had me run at 7 mph at a 0 incline, and a 6.0 mph pace at a 4% incline.  I think I did 6.7 mph at 1.5% and 6.3 mph at 3%.  Each interval lasted for 2-3 minutes.

I was pretty amazed to be somewhat comfortable at the 7.0 mph pace.  I even took the time to check my heart rate using the little handles.  After it warned me about measuring heart rate over 4.0 mph, it said 151 bpm.  LOL…  That made my eyes widen!  That used to be the bottom of Zone 2 for me, when I was heart rate training.

After running my 4 miles in 37:40, hit the weights again for about half an hour.  I’m just getting back into it, so I’m very careful about how much weight I take on.  Today, my hammies are NOT happy with me.  Gonna give them a day or four off before getting back to it.

And that’s the plan for December.  I’m going to run, fairly frequently, but only because I wanna, and I’m going to throw anything else into the mix that strikes my fancy, like 4 full 90 minute soccer matches this Sunday!

Have a great weekend!

Wes