Time to Run

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

It’s here, the night before the run. Everything is packed, timing chip hung on shoe, alarm clock(s) set. I’ll be getting up in time to get to ASU at 5:30am, hop on the school buses that take us to downtown Phoenix, and hang around for the race start. Having done this 3 times before, I know what to expect (and not to try peeing in ther parking lot, I got nailed by a Court guard one year).

I’m eager to see how it goes this year; my training has been fair, but I’ve not gotten in all the longer runs, and I am not having any dreams of running this one faster than any previous one. I’m aiming to finish, period.

The last time I ran (full marathon in 2008, that is one thing I shall never do again), I carried a phone with me, and even managed to send a few twitter messages (once while waiting for a bathroom, 2 while doing a walk break). This time I am not taking a phone; I have the iPod Nano for music and Nike+ tracking, and I prefer not to carry much extra. I am, however, going to try taking my old Canon pocket camera (fits in the hand well) and hoping to document the journey… I am thinking it it will give me something to distract my mind,

I did, however, sign up for a service that is supposed to send text messages of my status to a fewfriends, and my sister in Baltimore. Apparently, it is able to track the chip thing on my shoe. Two of my friends will be on the course, and this will help them know when I am getting close, and they may even tweet out my status for me.

I’m just focusing on getting to that lovely finish line.

I want to send a thanks to all the people who sponsored my run for Team Diabetes, where I was able to raise $2610 for the American Diabetes Association, most of it coming in the first few weeks I sent out requests (I begrudgingly admit that facebook was pretty effective).

I wonder what the next blog post will say?

Devils Distance

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos (ClintJCL)

The Team D training schedule called for a 7 miler yesterday, but I decided to cross train and did my work out playing in the snow atop the Mogollon Rim.

Today’s run was 6.66 miles, meaning I did my map measured neighborhood loop (3.33) miles twice, once in each direction. The weather was very pleasant for early January- temps in the mid 60s and sunny, so I was out there in shorts and a long sleeve top. Coach Dave’s message said to take this week’s long run at a slow pace, which is certainly not hard to do (e.g. its my regular pace).

And it was my main goal to use this run to finally calibrate my Nike+ on my iPod nano, haivng finally figured the right key press combo to get the screen at the end of a workout to calibrate the device to a known distance. So I got the buttons right- press menu to Stop Workout then press and hold the center button to get the calibrate screen. And I was set to go, all I needed to do was to dial in the 6.66 miles down from the 7.52 it incorrectly listed– and damned if while using the click wheel, my tired fingers slipped before dialing to down to 6.66 (I dont even know where it was at, maybe 6.9).

You only get one chance to do this, there is no way back to the calibrate screen.

I’ve railed on enough about this, but this interface majorly sucks. There is no forgiveness for fiddling with buttons at the end of a run, when my dexterity is far from on target.

Oh well, at least I got in a good distance the devil’s distance of 6.66….

Snow and “I Cannot Run a Lie”

I’ve been riding the express Excuse Train, actually, maybe upgrade to the Excuse Jet Liner First class, not running one centimeter since last week’s 12 mile long run.

I could hold out no longer, and avoided the Big Train today given it is cold outside (32°F), late (4:30pm) and it was snowing. But I got done my usual neighborhood loop, for another reason… You see, I have been a bit lazy and for all my training up yp a week ago I admit being a

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Dyanna……

I’ve suspected my Nike+iPod was giving me more distance than I actually ran, and thus my paces were not as good as I thought. This was obvious when my runs with Team D of 5 and 12 miles came out as 5.7 and 13.7, so my actual distances were 87% of what the Nike+ was reporting.

I’ve known I needed to calibrate it, but kept thinking I needed to go to a track or something more accurate than what my car odometer might measure. But then, I did the revolutionary thing… I read the instructions. The manual says I can calibrate after finishing a run- right there ion page 13 it says:

To calibrate using your latest completed workout:
* iPod nano: Choose End Workout, then choose Calibrate. Set the correct distance you walked or ran, and press the Center button.

So I set my route using the tool on MapMyRun.com, which gave the route 3.33 miles (that matches well since the Nike+ reports it as 3.76 miles, so again, actual distance is 87-88% of actual).

I did the run, knowing I really wanted to finish it to get this calibration right…. and stop running a lie. It was not that bad running out there, except for knowing I was slowpoking it, but with the new running top, knit hat, gloves, new running pants, I was plenty warm.

I did the loop, pressed End Workout…. and then never saw any option to Calibrate as the instructions above said. To be sure, I did two more tries, turning on the Nike+, walking in a few circles, repeating the instructions…. and again never got the Calibrate option.

Only one expletive came out of my mouth…. oops, I am ying again, a few ripe words did get said in the direction of Beaverton, Oregon.

Choose End Workout, then choose Calibrate. Set the correct distance you walked or ran, and press the Center button.

So for now on I am using map tools to get the right distance; I did adjust my spreadsheet of running logs to reduce all previous runs to 87% of their Nike+ reported values.

But now I know the reason why I cant calibrate.

The printed directions are wrong. The directions I found online are slightly different. Rather than

Choose End Workout, then choose Calibrate. Set the correct distance you walked or ran, and press the Center button.

the ones online read:

1. Press the Center button, and choose End Workout.
2. At the Workout Summary screen, press and hold the Center button.
3. Choose Calibrate.
4. Select the actual distance you walked or ran, and press the Center button.

“Press and Hold” is rather different then “choose”.

I’m being rather picky, but the printed instructions are wrong. Waaaaaa.

No more running lies.

Too Much Taper

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

I’ve not run since last Wednesday’s long training, the 12 miler. This is, after all, part of the important “taper” down in training which Coach Dave says has been shown to be effective for the body repairing damage done by the months of training. I’ve taken a bit too much taper…

right down to zero.

Thursday I was still pretty damned sore from the long run. Friday and Saturday I “cross trained” by doing some intense physical activity- splitting, stacking and moving a 1/2 cord of firewood.

Yesterday, I finally got outside for a 90 minute slow hike up and down the Pine Trail, off of AZ 87 just south of Pine. I’d done this one last July, when I ended up running (hah) down the trail to avoid the thunderstorm that was coming,

The trail was super muddy, but I was blessed when I saw a big old full moon rise just over the edge of the Mogollon Rim:

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

That was pretty damned amazing.

And tomorrow is Tuesday, which means I ought to be tapering up to the schedule! That is, if the forecast rain/snow showers is not too accurate…

Got My 12… or 2 Half Dozen… or 1 Short of 1/2 M

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Jeremy Brooks

Today was the Big One, the Long Run, the Big Enchilada… the longest training run for Team Diabetes. I was glad I was down in Phoenix to run this, cause on my own, isolated, I might not have done it. Or maybe it was because I told a few people I was running a dozen miles today, that I did not want to blog a lame excuse.

So I ran my 12 miles today. I’ve fallen down this training season in November on my longer runs, so my previous longest run this season might be 7 or 8. Of course, two years ago, when I was training for the Full Monty, on this day I ran 20…, but believe me, this time around, 12 was enough.

This was at the most regular Team D running spot, Granada Park off of 20th Street and Glendale Ave, although it was my first time running there this year. The route is south and east along the canal, then divert first for a clockwise circuit around the Biltmore Circle loop (past those gargantuan super mansions of the rich and demented), then east still to 32nd Street, turn around and do the same Biltmore circle in the other direction, continue back to the starting point.. but continue north/west on the canal to Northern Ave, and then back to the starting point.

I’m done with relying on my Nike+ for accurate distance- the Nano serves as a clock and a music machine, but until I can get the darn thing calibrated better, its not good (it clocked my at 13.7 miles).

I did this pretty slow (actually that seems to be my only pace), but was happy to feel a few bursts of energy around 6, 8, 11 miles, but now it just seems a fog.

From here, training enters the taper mode, but with 12 done, 13.1 should not be a big deal.

Hiking Break

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

After yesterday’s run, it was nice to change up the routine with a hike at South Mountain Park in Phoenix. Its been a while since I’ve done a hike, and today’s walk with my friend Sian (we could walk from her house). We headed up the trail from 24th Street, a nice trailhead I’ve never even seen before, up the Mormon Trail to the junction with the National Trail, then up even further to the other end of the “Hidden Valley” trail.

This short little section is just a natural playground, with a narrow pass the requires a side way passage– called “Fat Man’s Pass” plus a few more passage ways that require crawling or sliding down granite boulders smoothed by seasonal floods.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

What a great break from running! I think the miles still count…

Running With Team D

I’m spending a few days in Phoenix visiting with friends, and it worked well to catch today’s Saturday run with Team Diabetes, and it was the “holiday” run.

This meant instead of going for a set distance, our group was send otu for an hour afterward were we had a pot luck holiday breakfast. We met/started at the ADA office near 7th Street and Missouri, heading east on Missouri to 24th St. Supposedly, that is on the route of the full marathon, which means I ran on it two years agoi, but that whole experience is a hallucinogenic blur.

It sure was a lovely day, the thermometer said it was in the high 40s but sure felt warmer. A bunch of us took the option instead of looping back at 30 minutes to complete a loop by going south on 24th then west on Camelback, and then north again on 7th Street.

I had some bursts of feel good speed but settled into the regular slow cadence. My Nike iPod marked this as 5.7 miles, but I’ve been in denial that I know it is over estimating distance and meaning worse that my pace is slower than what Nike+ says. I ought to calibrate it on a track, but I shrug and say, “Well, I am looking at the improvement in pace, which says something”.

If I ever run again, I’ll likely switch to either w GPS watch thing (they still look bulky) or revert to running with my iPhone and use the RunKeeper app to measure distance.

This was a great day in getting to see people on the team, a few I know from years past, and a special treat to see the lady who’s spirit nver goes down, Dorothy, who must be in her 80s, and has walked every Team D marathon since they started. She recently took a spill and damaged her hip, but her eyes still twinkle with a lot of life energy.

I’ll be staying in town til I join the team Wednesday for the “long run”, our longest training run of the season, 12 miles for us halfies.

Not sure how ready for that O I am.

Looping, Looping

I’m trying to get this training back on the tracks, this week I got in my Tuesday and today’s 40 minute outings, doing a loop I’ve perfected (meaning I know where every stick, rock, and beer bottle lies in the path). It’s interesting to see how the running goes when you loop in opposite directions.

On Tuesday, I took it counter-clockwise, which is usually faster since is mostly down will for the first half, but I was dragging so it was slower than usual route. At least it was pretty weather; sunny and around 60 degrees so I was in shorts, yet there was plenty of snow piled on the yards along the way.

Today, I took the clockwise loop, and did it a little better, and felt more into it.

I’ll be down in Phoenix for the weekend and beyond, so I get to run with Team D Saturday and then the long lovely 12 mile Big F****iung Run on Wednesday. That’s the longest one to date, after this, we go into tailing off the miles mode leading up to the race on January 17.

Stopping the Train

cc licensed flickr photo shared by thomas.merton

Despite my best intents, I’ve been taking more rides on the Excuse Train than I ought to, and my training schedule has been on a slide since early November. This week the train tickets were due to travel to Austin for meetings- I got a nice run in Thursday afternoon down on the river trail. I lost Saturday completely due to the flight back and drive home (got here after 6:00pm).

Today had me ready to ride The Train with a morning of cold sleety rain that looked like it would make a day of it, but around 2:30pm, the sky broke open to the sun and blue skies. I got on twitter a message from 8th grade teacher Chris Harbeck, who’s chimed in on my tweetplaints (complaining via twitter about the running conditions where he is, somewhere on those frozen tundra plains of Canada:

Frosticles. It was a cold day for a run. Do yo look like that in Strawberry @cogdog ? -30c or -40c with windchill

along with a link to this photo, that shamed me right off the couch in front of the fire:


Ouch, frozen eye brows! And here it was a measly 40 °F (4 °C).

I was not sure I’d get to make up the 10 mile run I missed Saturday, and was dreaming of blogging about reaching double digits. I planned a variation of one of my regular routes around the neighborhood and our Fossil Creek Road, but with extra side loops through some other neighborhoods- this way, if I ran out of steam, I would not be stuck 4 miles from home.

It was slow and steady (that is how we are supposed to go on these ones), and I ran out of steam around 7.5, and with the darkness coming called it a day (walked another mile home).

Not great, but better than riding the Excuse Train.

It was time to stop the train.

In the Groove

Cue the music….

cc licensed flickr photo shared by miikkahoo

Today was an unexpected day on many fronts. On Monday, I drove down to Phoenix to take my Mom to the airport. We got out in time, as it was only raining (alot, clouds hanging low around the base of Mt Ord); much later there was a big dump of snow. Unfortunately, Mom’s flight out of Phoenix was later, which would mean she’s miss the one connection to Ft Myers, so they rebooked her flight for today, and I checked us in to the Hilton near the Phoenix airport.

For Mom, the hotel amenities were almost the top highlight of the trip (besides winning $120 at the casino near Payson). Last night there were major power outages; our hotel was pitch black for several hours, but the morning looked clear and bright, so I went for a run in the industrial/business park area around the Hilton, looping up past Avnet (some computer electronics firm that was hot in the late 1990s) and then south of University on 48th, circling down to near the AZ 143 / I-10 cloverleaf, and waving hello to the headquarters of the University of Phoenix.

It felt a steady pace, but was actually even better than I thought. It almost felt…. no I wont go as far as to say, “good”– I am not about to change the name of this blog!