Sunday, August 1, 2010

Weekly training: July 26th-August 1st

One of the reasons I started writing this blog is to blather and philosophize about everything in my head. Some people go to a pub and do this after a few beers (and admittedly, so do I), but when your at a pub, people have an annoying habit of interrupting and interjecting their own thoughts and opinions, which may or may not be congruent with your own. This is what some civilizations refer to as 'conversation,' and some people even think this is an important part of "relationship" and "community." However, I have often found, after a relentless tirade on the evolutionary importance of Sasquatch, that a piping 'well, I think...' is nearly the last thing I want to hear. Particularly when I have spent the past half-hour manufacturing evidence on a topic I know nothing about. (If you ever need to manufacture evidence and don't know any high-up goverment officials, try going with a quick wikipedia reference. It won't hold up under tough scrutiny, but has been known to float in a pond or two).

Luckily, these annoying interruptions never happen in blogs - except in the comment section, which as sole administrator and writer, I have the power to ignore, delete, or rebuttal at my own convenience and discretion. And, since I am apparently techno-illiterate, I have no idea how to reply to comments, or even create my own (believe me I tried). But, thanks for your comments guys, they have not been ignored, and contrary to what this post is making apparent, I really do care. And I love conversations, and pubs. Really.

Another reason I started this blog is to keep track of my training for the Autumn Leaves 50k, a race right outside Portland, Oregon, the city that I currently call home. As it happens, a weekly training summary is the topic of this post, which will hopefully be interesting even if you don't like running. But, I guess you couldn't really interject or interrupt even if you wanted to - right?

26th July, Monday
AM 1hr24m run, Mt Tabor; 9.5 miles; 1400ft
I usually start from my house, which is nearby, and approach Tabor from the East-side, on Harrison St. I take the Green Trail nearly to the top, until it passes the bathrooms, and then charge straight up 'the summit.' After a lap around the top, I go down the super-steep trail that starts opposite the statue of Harvey W. Scott (didn't make this one up, I swear!) and flows straight on down, sort of like a dirt and rock waterfall. Up the green, down the waterfall - 4 times this go-around.

PM 30min barefoot session with Noel (roommate) and Matt (brother); 3.5 miles

27th July, Tuesday
AM 48m run, NW23rd and Washington Park with Brett; 5 miles; ?ft
This is the Run Tour Route, starts on NW23rd and winds up into Washington Park, and then back down. Amazing how you can be running one minute in the middle of the city, and the next minute in the middle of the woods - one of the many great things about Portland. I bought a pair of New Balance MT100's about 2 minutes before this run at Fit Right NW. I'll probably do a more proper review later, but for now, all I can say is: rad.

28th July, Wed
AM 1hr6m run, Tabor loopX2(with some variation..); 8miles; 800 ft

29th July, Thur
AM 25m run around town, 2.5m; 5ft (kidding! but it was basically flat)
I've been mostly trying to run exclusively on trails, but this was on concrete, and I was not particularly loving that aspect of it. The more I run on concrete, the more my left knee and right ankle hurt - but on trails I'm good to go. However, this was a shortie...

30th July, Fri
PM 2hr39m run, Larch Mountain; 13.6m; 3800ft
This was incredible - starts at Multnomah Falls and rocks upward for about 7 miles with 3800ft elevation gain. Beautiful views, and then a technical, rocky, 7mile descent. I drank the two waterbottles I was carrying (one handheld, one 'fanny-pack-type-bottle') on the way up, and luckily found a nice lady with a few nalgene's full of water who was more than happy to share when she heard that I'd run from Multnomah Falls. It would have been a pretty crappy downhill otherwise - there is no water available at the summit. I also went through four gu's on this run - three on the way up, and one on the way down.
I don't usually listen to music when I'm running trails, but I treated myself to a rollicking uplift with the White Rabbit's 'Percussion Gun' at the summit, and then some select tunes from two of my favorite mountain biking movies: The Collective, and Seasons (both made by The Collective). Nothing like gu, water, and music to keep you going!
Final note: I (somewhat ill-advisedly) used my new MT100's on this run. Typically you want to intigrate minimal shoes carefully into your running diet, but these shoes have felt amazing since day one and some of the pain I was experiencing in my pair of Asics is completely gone now. This can partly be attributed to running on trails all the time, but I've also noticed that I run with much less impact in the NB's - you don't really have a choice when there isn't a lot of padding between you and the ground. Hopefully this trend will continue, but I'd like to think all of the barefoot running I've been doing helped a little with this transition.

31st July, Saturday
REST (usually I'm not very good at this, but this time around, believe you me, I rested up. Thank you Larch Mountain).

August 1st, Sunday
AM 55m run, tabor loopX2 with Brett; 7 miles; 700ft
*Brett has a fancy-dancy watch that measures miles and pace according to your footsteps (one of those crazy garmins), so we were able to determine that my loop (Up green, down the waterfall) is 2.3 miles.

7,200ft (I estimated the run tour route at 600ft elevation gain...)

Thats all folks. I'd like to get a small digital camera soon to tote along and take pictures, some of these runs are just beautiful, but until then. And I really do love your posts. Really. I'm going to figure out how to reply soon, and then we'll have great conversations. Although, I'd really just prefer to go to a pub - as long as you don't interrupt my drunken tirades.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Balance. Balance is something that I often find myself thinking about, talking about. Sometimes I have conversations where the phrase, 'dude, it's just all about the balance' pops up with an annoying frequency. But what the hell is balance, and how does one go about achieving this elusive state of being?

Well. Lately I've been likening balance to sasquatch. Maybe this is because I now live in the Northwest, where things like this happen, and foundations like this exist. The thing is, some people believe in balance, and some don't. But, sort of like sasquatch and politics, even if you don't believe in balance, it believes in you. Live in denial or mess around with it for too long, and you may find yourself getting lamblasted. (Note, if you haven't already, the word choice of 'lamblast.' Interestingly, this word does not exist in many dictionaries. The "correct" word is 'lambaste.' It is my non-professional opinion that people have began using the word 'lamblast,' because it sounds so much like the definition, and is, in a word, rad. Sort of like onamonapia. But I digress).

Let's say that balance can be roughly defined as 'a state of equilibrium,' as offered up by any number of dictionaries. Let's also say that balance can exist in a number of spheres: the physical, social, and emotional are wide, broad brush-strokes. Biking to the grocery store, conversation with friends at a local pub, and enjoying a warm, sunny day are the details. As it happens, flying over your handlebars into the bed of a parked pickup truck (believe it or not, this actually happened to a friend of mine), getting drunk and hogging all the conversation, and spending that entire sunny day depressed about your life are also distinct possibilities. When you lose your balance, things can go haywire pretty quickly. Ask BP.

The biggest ways that I see the need for balance (mostly when it's not present!) in my own life are in the physical and social realms, although those easily transcend to affect all other aspects of my life. In other words, I need enough time spent being active, and enough rest. I also need enough time to myself, and time spent socially with friends. Invariably, if I don't pay attention to these needs, I end up looking like this guy, if only metaphorically.

So, here's to the ever-elusive, ever-desirable, and only abstractly-definable state of balance. Talk about it, be about it, think about it, but when you do get lamblasted by it, call me, and we'll just laugh about it. Preferably over a pint of beer.