Monday, August 30, 2010


Longest run so far - 10k (6.3 mi).  Time 75 ½ mins.  Pace: 7:33/k (12:04/mi).  Actually ran this at a faster pace than the 9.5k on Friday.  Had a Gatorade last night before bed as a bonus, and ate a small bowl of pasta and sauce at 9 pm. (maybe this is why I had that little extra bit of energy to keep the pace up - plus a whole Sunday of rest.)  Even spent about 1 ½ minutes walking in total during water breaks.  I seem to be making progress.


Other questions for my blog friends:
1. Do you have a coach or are thinking of getting one?  What led you to getting a coach?  Who's your coach, would you recommend them for a wannabe like me?  What do you want to achieve through your relationship with your coach?  How much does your coach cost?

2. Please hook up your webcam, start it recording, put your mug in front of it and ask me a couple of questions. Load it up on your favorite vlog site (mine is YouTube) and send me a link.  I'll answer your questions the best I can.  What's the catch?  You and I will both try to be funny.


Work in progress: checking out other online and on-computer software for monitoring your training.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Learning, Diet, Stretching, Stride and the Banquet

[now for a little sorbet to cleanse the pallet]

While golfing, Scott reminded me on a regular basis that Confucius said "Hit the second ball first."  Funny how after you lose the first ball in the water, woods or rough the second shot is fabulous!  I thought about my running and trying to hit the second ball first.  So instead of making mistakes while running, just assume you have made the mistakes and you want to open up and become a student that gets better.

Learning this week:

COOL BLOG: Alan from (Pounds Off Playoffs) has an ingenious idea.  Take a bunch of eating plans and diets, and play them off against each other for two weeks at a time, and then take the one that helped him loose the most weight.  All I can say is if you love graphs and humor, check it out!

STRETCHING: I found this interesting piece of [Internet-certified] information on Does Stretching Before a Run Help Prevent Injuries?  There's some stuff in there that does align with stuff I have observed in myself.  You mean closing the door and starting the stopwatch is not considered an adequate warm-up?   There has to be some metric for a warm-up no?  Like a certain heart-beat level, body temperature, sweat appearing, minutes of warm-up, distance of warm-up?  I don't stretch much - tell me how you stretch if you do.

STRIDE: This Runner's World Article on changing your stride to run faster.  I tried to download the original material from the journal (not Runner's World), but I felt the price was a little too high.  What disturbs me is the claim seems to be, if you lower your stride length you will run faster ... like Zeno's paradox, we can keep shortening our stride until we are going nowhere!  What it seems to suggest [but not the writer's view], is that people in the survey were not running at their optimal stride length - and on average people have strides that are a little too long.  Don't know maybe you read it differently.

So what does this all tell me, I guess Chris (from BQ or Die) has an answer - find a coach!  I think it tells me I'm still pretty dumb, and I have trouble differentiating between Core and Tuning.  Core is the stuff you absolutely have to do, while Tuning is the stuff that makes you just that little bit better.


Jesus, and the Bible reading for this Sunday raise some questions about personal holiness.  Don't sit at the best seats at the banquet, sit in the worst and wait for the host to call you to the good seats in front of everyone.  To the humble the Lord reveals his secrets.  That tells me that if you want to learn about life and running, you will be taught by the master ... IF your are prepared to be a student - prepared to try, experiment, wonder, understand and be in awe.  We need to watch that we do not think that our treasures and knowledge give us security, but that the invitation to life and health comes from God daily.

In the last 3-4 months I've had so many people to help me along.  I'm very blessed to be continually called up to a better seat.  But I haven't let that go to my head.  Currently, my time places me in the last spot in my age group for the target race.  I have a lot to learn ... and a lot of invitations to accept to get better.  See you on the run!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Snot Rockets are About Hydration

Nobody wants to be called a nose-picker.  Often, on a run, it's hard to slow down, scramble for a tissue, gracefully blow your nose and then gently fold up the tissue and put it in your pocket.  There is a solution - the snot rocket.


A snot rocket is the forceful expulsion of snot/phlegm/mucous from one of your nostrils while the other nostril is held shut.  We often do this with a tissue placed to our nose, but the snot rocket is naked.  The speed of the expulsion is important: to slow and the ambient air decides where it will land, while too fast and you may get out of your breathing rhythm for several paces.  Targeting is also an issue.  Since Eye-Nostril coordination is not learned from an early age, aiming and hitting a target is difficult.  Hitting a target while running is very difficult.

Always use the same side hand for the closed nostril - never use an opposite hand to close a nostril.  For example if you use your left hand forefinger to close your right nostril, you will get a palm-full of luggie when you launch (try it).  For a closed right nostril you use your right hand.

When running you should turn your head around your vertical axis to the side you want to launch to, then slightly bow your head forward into the running direction.  This will slightly constrict the airways, increase the velocity, and make sure the rocket is launched to the side and not on your shirt.

The launcher has an option of launching to the open or closed nostril side.  If launching to the same side (like the illustration), shoulder caking can occur, if launching to the alternating side, side caking can occur.  Most seasoned launchers make the move to the opposite side.  It looks a little like they are about to smell their arm pit and then whoa, a snot rocket comes out.  The under-arm launch has the bonus of being placed immediately into the flowing air stream.  The over-arm launch is covered by the front of the hand and the launch occurs in the turbulent wake.  Just like a knuckle ball, you don't know where it will go.


  • Don't watch when others seem to be taking a deep breathe, pointing to their nose and are turning away (especially to smell their armpit).  It could be a sneeze, but give them their privacy.  
  • Refrain from commenting after a launch.
  • Don't aim toward others or to the side if runners are approaching in the wake.
  • Also try not to get it on you - regardless who is doing the launching.  Nobody wants to run with somebody with snot on them.
  • If you are caked and it's not yours, don't try to give it back or scrape it off.  You need to concentrate on your running.  But make a note for the future to avoid the situation.


  • The Linguine - very viscous mucous rocket with a long tail that does not detach from the nostril (sure sign of too little hydration)
  • Icing - the left over on the rim of the nostril (may build up during winter)
  • The Borgnine - launching a rocket and farting at the same time (requires a different article) enjoyable if running alone
  • The Irish Spring - like the spray setting on the nozzle of a garden hose, often can be predicted from a consistently runny nose (this should be snorted back into the throat and spit out)

Final Words

For heavy work and sports situations where grace and beauty are not true to form, and where the event is outdoors (outdoors is very important), the snot rocket is an acceptable way of clearing objects out of your breathing passages to continue to function at a highly geared level. Try it.  It is efficient, natural and good.  Not everybody does it, but everybody should.  Happy launching!


Oh ya, I ran 5 k (3.1 mi) in 35:47.  Pace 7:09/k (11:26/mi).  Kept very near to 3:35 time on every split since it was an EZ run ... maybe I should work down from these easy runs instead of working the distance up from the tempo runs!

Friday, August 27, 2010

9.5k, Virtual 5k, Angels and VCs

Ran 9.5k (5.93 miles) / 7:47 pace (12:28 per mile). Even though I thought 9 would be a stretch, I probably could run at this pace for a while.  My breathing had dropped to conversational level and my heart rate was at about 122 bpm after my water break at the 5k split.  [I've made a note that this pace is about 8:22 minutes per kilometer (16:23 per mile)].  I just had to get moving for the day so I couldn't lounge around running.  My wife gave me the once over so I'm ok!
For those of you who are interested in my wannabe training the mostly-metric xls is here:


I ran a virtual race today for the first part of my run.  It was a "virtual 5k for ladies naughty bits" hosted by From Fat to Fab.  My watch time was 36:23 at the 5k split.  Here's my Bib on the right, and here's a link to the editable word document if you want to print out your own - but you get prizes for creating something interesting so maybe you shouldn't - and you need to get a number from BerryFine.  The race is still on until August 31.  It's a good cause in many ways.


Today I'm in Waterloo for a well-known venture fund.  I don't really qualify for this, but I want a hand-off to someone who will be more receptive.  The guy I'm meeting today is known as the "Octopus" for his network of Angels and VCs.  The idea is: you show up, explain how you can stretch some of the work that's been done to fit within the parameters, then he says "no it will not, but I know a guy who is interested in this stage". ... and as Boston sings "whooo, sign a record company contract ..." Yesterday's meeting served its purpose - to shake out the presentation and start collecting "yes buts".  Most of "yes buts" have been around my weak management team - and they are right on.  Most of my key partners are knee deep in their primary ventures, and I've had to honestly state that in the appendix of resumes.  The guys that can start full-time in the two core areas Marketing and Engineering don't have start-up VP-level experience.  C'est la vie!

BTW for those of you who don't know me, I make start-ups like crap goes through a goose.  The idea is then angel finance, build a management team, get the product developed, get a customer or customers get some revenue rolling in, then re-finance or shop it around to competitors or suitors.  The cycle takes between 2 to 4 years and I've been involved in part or wholly in these ventures since 1996. I have three on the go right now.


I've collected a lot of sites from different people over the past few weeks.  Sites that help them track and train in running and cross training.  I'm going to do a little "product" comparison on these sites.  It won't be in depth, but I'm looking for something specific and I plan to look into the features of all of them.  I'll post my results.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Egg Dribble, and Cross Training

I love my wife.  She is my best friend, a challenger to prompt me to get better, a princess that needs to be cared for, an independent woman, a nest-builder ... but what I have noticed is that she is also very good at spotting when I need to go back into the bedroom and change.  When I see her race into the foyer when I am about to leave, I know I need to give her my undivided attention and rotate and turn as she requests.

We have a clinic in part of our home.  Today she was working early, and I decided [all on my own] that my cereal, coffee and home-made oatmeal biscuit was not enough to keep me going so I made a fried-egg sandwich for the road.  I spattered two eggs into the pan, had to wipe a little egg white off my belt, wrapped the sandwich in aluminum foil and I was off.

I am currently in financing mode, and I am meeting with venture capitalists for one of my ventures.  Well, I show up to the meeting and the secretary gives me this look like I'm a stalker or pedophile.  Then when I stand up, the finance guy on the other side of the table gives me this strange look and then looks away.  No problem, I think.

Bob [not his real name] the financial guy pulls me aside when I'm about to go into my presentation and says, "Go check how you look in the washroom - you have something on your pants."  [Bob is obviously related to my wife in some way.]  I go to the washroom and I look myself over.  On my pants is this semi-clear gel-like substance dripped down but still quite resiliently moist and glistening - UNCOOKED EGG YOLK from cooking this morning.  The location, near the zipper is perhaps the worse place for it to be!

So of course I try to wipe it a little - no go - smear.  I try to wet it a little - no go - wet front of the pants.  [Now here is how my thinking goes.  See if you can follow.  I thought for one moment to wet my shirt and exclaim running out of the washroom, that the "sink had exploded!"  Then I tried to dry my pants under the hand dryer ... started doing these pelvic lunges and still couldn't get any hot air to blow on it.  Finally I said screw it.]  I grab the washroom door and pull it open to walk out into the hallway.  Unfortunately the finance guy was just about to push the door open and I startled him.  [When we are startled our muscles tighten.] He let out a bowel-shaking fart that scared birds across the street to leave the tree they were sitting on, metal doors slammed shut, and the emergency lighting turned on.

I'm writing this from one of the board-rooms.  I'm not feeling it! LOL But I'm having a good time.  I wonder when I get home if my wife will notice the stain?


James (@ The Runner's Bug), I haven't forgotten about motivation and exercises.  I'm still a little stressed for time - but in control of my bodily functions!  Big Clyde, thanks for the comments - you have made an amazing journey.  I am learning from you!


I did my cross-training with weights, lunges, and the HCC today.  Tried to pack it all into one hour but it took me 70 minutes.  I have started to add another set of reps for all the exercises except for push-ups and shoulder taps that are still being completed with rest breaks and cheats near the end.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Screwy Tempo Run, Royal Marine Commando Fitness

Tell me I'm strange, but I added a whopping 1k to my tempo run today and then got disappointed that I was running so poorly when I really was running well passed where I usually run.  I meant to add .5k but I screwed up on mapmyrun.

Today's tempo times with a 6:56 pace (11:06 per mile):

week ago
2 weeks ago
3 weeks ago
4 weeks ago
0.5 k
1.0 k
1.5 k
2.0 k
2.5 k
3.0 k
3.5 k
4.0 k

I don't see much improvement in my times from 4 weeks ago for the first 2.5 k.  There is another factor and that is the food I ingested (or didn't) last night.  But I'm not giving up - a breakthrough happens on Friday when I run 9k (5 1/2 + mi).


On another note I found an old program talking with James from The Runner's Bug.  Then I started to scan them in and I wondered if somebody had already done so - and I found  There are only 3 of the 6 charts there, but I think it's a good start for discussion.  It's a routine for doing workouts for strength.  I'll be posting more on this topic in a few hours once one of my morning meetings breaks up.


On still another note, a patient of my wife, gave/lent about 2 years worth of Runner's World magazine to me!  Thank you.  I've started to peruse the mag and found an article on "10 ways to guarantee motivation".  So much to write about.  So little time today.  Back to the meeting!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Jamoosh, training techniques, another joke

How come this guy I don't even know is building me a house of hurt?  I did my cross training today with some progress but a lot of exertion.

Barbell Swing21225 lbs.
Squat29130 lbs.
Pullovers21240 lbs.
Bench Press2875 lbs.
Military Press2875 lbs.
High-Stair Stepping210-
Bent Over Rowing21040 lbs.
Barbell Curls21040 lbs.
Bent Legged Dead Lift27130 lbs.

Routine Goal Current
1. Crunches 30 25+5
2. Bicycle Kicks 25 ea 20+20+10
3. Supine Bridge 30 sec 35 sec
4. Leg Lift 30 sec 35 sec
5. Ankle Grabbers 25 ea 25 ea
6. Diamonds in the Sky 20 20
7. Hip Lift 30 sec 30 sec
8. Plank 45 sec 45 sec
9. Back Stretch 30 sec 30 sec
10. Push-ups 20 10+10 cheat
11. Shoulder Taps 20 ea 10+10
12. Superman 15 15
13. Side Bridge 30 sec ea 30 sec ea

Adam (@ the boring runner) asked a good question about tracking your training. Do you use an online site, software, or hardware like a watch. I started to use just because it had a widget, but I've found some cool stuff on other people's blogs that dailymile doesn't produce. But in the end you want to have access to the stuff that helps you run better and more enjoyably - and not necessarily be part of a social site.

I think what would help me is something like a combination of a place to input your running, and a place to help you diagnose the run to tell you where you need to improve.  (Plus an eating and hydration calendar.)

Here's a specific example: I want to run a 5k in about 4 weeks - my first.  I picked a target time that is cosily in the back of the pack for my age group.  Then I started training and I didn't know how fast to run my tempo, endurance, and EZ runs.  So really I sort of wasted 8 weeks from this point of view.  However I saw the Macmillan Running Calculator and it told me some stuff about what I should be running.  But I need to find some strategies like ... [making this up] try to run your first 3 splits 15 seconds faster, but maintain for the next 6 or something like that.  I just read on Mark U's site about "negative splits" in the Kenyan Way.  Something I will experiment with as well.


Another joke from Fr. Ron:

A woman decides she will stop eating sweets for lent.  She is tempted however, because everyday she has to drive by this bakery, and the smell flowing into her car is unbearable.  But she is strong and decides to change the way she goes to work.  Unfortunately, she discovers her route is continuously changing because of detours and construction, and she ends up driving by the bakery.  She thinks to herself, "Maybe God wants me to eat sweets - maybe I need to discern what He wants."  She thinks a little more and says, "Ok, if when I pull up beside the bakery, there is an empty spot it means that God wants me to buy myself something."  And wouldn't you know it a spot appeared on her eighth time circling around the parking lot!


I'm on Facebook ( and have about 759 "friends".  I actually have about 60 friends and the rest are people like me who think Facebook is a game and the biggest number wins.  Anyway, I have been getting these very annoying marketing announcements and invitations for helping me "self-actualize".  The only problem with these invitations is that the life shown in the photos of the lady that is sending them too me are terrible.  It looks like she's always BBQing road kill on the side of her home at the trailer park.  And she's got captions like "here's my other husband also named Darryl".  Where does she think I am not self-actualizing?

Anyway Twitter isn't any better (  I have about 35,500 followers and I can't bare to read the timeline - loads of emails on how to get 100 followers a week from people that have about 600 followers.

On both of these sites I find that running and learning about running is impossible.  What do you think?

Monday, August 23, 2010

8k and a Joke

My old 8 week training schedule says I should be finishing my running on Wednesday and running a race this Saturday.  But of course there is no plan to do this.  What I have done is started to add distance into the 8 week program just as it has started to taper to rest for the race.  I'll extend it, adding between 10 and 15 percent to the total distance run per week until two weeks before the race.  Level off one week before, and taper down the week of the race.  This seems to be the form that all of Hal Higdon's training plans take (at least the ones I've seen).  My goals will be to increase my tempo pace portion of the running to 5k and to run it "balls out" from the start, keep my EZ at 5 k run between 30 and 40 minutes and my endurance I will stretch out as much as I can to keep the heart and body working on better energy management.  Then my endurance echo run will be an attempt to shave off just a little time of the previous endurance run.  (I'll put my results and plan in the excel spread sheet on my progress tab.)

So there you go.  I'm feeling really good with Jamoosh's thrilling thirteen and Amanda'a lunges.  In fact before the endurance and echo runs I do about 10 walking lunges per leg to warm-up.  As Tony the Tiger says, "They're GREAT!"  I'm tired but calm.  Have a good outlook on each day, and still run with lots of DELIGHT!

Now a joke from Fr. Ron:

One day in a train in Ireland, a man stumbles into one of the large cabins holding lots of people.  Gasping for air he says, "Is there a Catholic priest in this car, it's an emergency?"  The people all just look at each other in wonder.  The man then continues, "That's ok.  Is there an Church of Ireland Vicar or Deacon, or perhaps an Orthodox priest?"  Everyone looks around and no one speaks up.  The man getting really frustrated says, "Anyone, is there a Lutheran Minister here?"  Still no one says anything, and just as the man is going to stumble out of the cabin and make his way to the next car, a young man gets up and says, "I'm a Baptist Reverend, can I be of some assistance?"  The frustrated man says "No, I'm sorry you can't, Reverend.  We're looking for a cork screw ..."

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The-Path-is-Narrow Weekend

Thank you to all my new friends and all the people who read my "regret".  I appreciate what you said.

For those of you who have asked for my running stats in an excel sheet, I will update the excel link on my progress page after every run.  The link to the excel file is right at the top.  Just click on the icon to get my current running stats ... mostly in kilometers with some mile conversions.


Ran an EZ 5k on Saturday morning.  Nothing to write home about.  We were rushing to get to an early mass and I woke up a lot earlier to not be late for my Saturday Retreat Schedule.  Tired, wet, hungry ... and I spent most of Saturday, trying to find a sofa (or couple of chairs) to get a nap.  My wife curled up in one of the conference rooms and then was chipper at the next conference (but with a pleat on her cheek!).

The Retreat was about bringing the idea of Sabbath back into your life.  Keeping one day a week different from all the others as a celebration of your gifts, love, life, hope and especially gratefulness to God.  It was preached by Father Ron Rolheiser.  Here's me and 'Fr. Roly' on Saturday evening when we're about to break for a snack.  Cool guy - he has a column in about 60 newspapers in North American and has written 6 books that I know about.  He was born in Saskatchewan but is currently the President of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio.  Loads of funny jokes before each conference - and I know he has a lot more juicy ones that he didn't use for fear of scandalizing the old ladies.  My kinda priest!


The path to heaven is narrow - do not inflate your importance nor depress your worth.  It is difficult, but possible.  Running needs to be in balance with the other parts of your life so that you run with desire and delight: run in gratefulness for the gift of life and health.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Oops too long and Cherry On Top

I ran a big scary distance today - 8k (5 mi).  I was planning on running 7.5k according to a well designed distance increase, but I took a 1 minute water break after 5k, and wouldn't you know it ... I needed to pee when I was finishing the 7.5k.  I live in an upper middle class neighborhood, BMWs, Audis, Hondas, Cadis, so stopping by a Juniper tree and letting a golden show rip was out of the question.  So I just ran an extra .5k to get closer to the house.  I think my run was faster than a walk at this point.  I love my neighbors.

Pace was 7:56/k (12:43/mi).


I and 5 others received an award from Adam (The Boring Runner) called the Cherry on Top.

The rules of this award are [from Adam's page ... I don't research back to BerryFine ... you know how much energy a click takes?!!? I just missed a boys night out last night and the cherry, and the cherry on top had some very important significance, and so I did a very long double take and read everything very carefully - as I was afraid this was a setup by my bunch of evil-doing hoodlum friends whom I can't live without!]

  1. Answer this question: If you had the chance to go back and change one thing in your life, would you and what would it be?
  2. The second thing you have to do is, pick 6 people and give them this award. You then have to inform the person that they have gotten this award.
  3. The third and final thing is, thank the person who gave you the award.

Here we go:

  1. I reviewed many places in my life where a decision I had made could have made a big difference in my life and the lives of others, and a decision that if made or not, could have had a very different outcome.  What I tell you is deep in the heart of this big guy, so please treat me gently with this one regret.  ...... Most of my adult life, I have been struggling with being an ambitious bastard and a good son/person.  I had a really good job offer in Atlanta as VP in a Telco, but stayed here in Toronto to be near my paralyzed father.  I often let junior people go on longer trips so that I wouldn't miss taking him out for a coffee (drunk from a straw) or a Honey Cruller at Tim Hortons at the Chronic Care Hospital where he lived.  [Tears are rolling down my eyes now.]  He was one of the greatest and well-adapted personalities I have ever met and he was ill from Multiple Sclerosis from about my 9th birthday.  My parents were divorced and I grew up fighting against him until the age I started my own business when I was 20.  He turned out to be a patient, knowledgeable teacher.  Over the years we became very close.  I even chose (with my wife) to move much closer to him so that travel time could be converted into visiting time.  I would push him through the neighbor hood (that I run through today) to our house from the hospital - it would take about 45 mins one way in his wheel chair.  Two years ago he had a mild pneumonia that made him lose his appetite and lose most of his ability to speak.  I could see he knew he was dieing and I wanted him to know he was not alone so the family quickly set up a visiting schedule that would keep him with someone almost every hour of his waking life (we were good at this by now - my uncle the year before from brain cancer, my mom from congestive heart failure and cancer two years before and my father in law, 3 years earlier, from arterial sclerosis.)  I usually had the evening shifts (5 pm to midnight).  Well he had been suffering from a second pneumonia and was not waking from it for a few days.  I wanted to go home and get some sleep, and I asked a nurse what I should do.  She said he's stable and I should go home.  I used her authority as an excuse, I kissed him and went home to sleep - because my going to sleep was apparently the most important thing in this world.  I reached home (a 5 minute drive) washed and we received a phone call from the hospital that he had died.  He had died alone.  A man that lived alone his whole life, and his oldest son couldn't even sit with him.  Everyone told me later he probably wanted to die alone, as he never (this is true) wanted to inconvenience anyone.  He probably would have said "I'm sorry, but I have to die now - please excuse me!"  My regret was that for an extra hour of sleep I wasn't there to give him to the next World.
  2. Six people to give this award to (not in any order):
    1. Johann du Plessis (Run Tall, Walk Tall) for taking me to a whole new world every blog post he makes - for living a life that I can not, but sharing it with me.  For the encouragement.
    2. Chris K (BQ or Die) for the training help and the good humor.  Still rather tame (since I've been tanned on the grid-iron and in the air).  And for the abs that I am working towards!  P.S. "Fumble" and "Reee-Jected" are common for us here too.
    3. Emily "EMZ" (cuckoo formatting blog) for being different - that is an achievement that is both respectful, and lonely all at once.  And the abs.  I know everyone was waiting for that comment.
    4. Rae (5k Rae) she's aways ahead of me, like an older sister (but she's younger) and she reveals a lot of hope for herself in her happy pictures and her posts.  Qualities I would like to acquire in time.
    5. T.S. (Long Road to Paradise) for Operation Beautiful - I remember when I shoved a bunch of wood splinters into a radiator hole in North Dakota, hoping to get me and my car to Lansing, Michigan.  The radiator worked just fine for another 600 miles.  Operation Beautiful could just work in such a simple way in changing the world.
    6. Amanda (5 Miles Past Empty) for making me do lunges [in a bikini] and liking furry animals.
  3. Adam, thank you.  You were my first follower two months ago.  And I immediately felt I could fit in to being a runner when I saw that you had a blog that was about "nothing" to use a Seinfeld praise.  Whenever I see it has a new post I'm on it baby.  Late for a Wedding, Church or an Opera?  So what, Adam's got something to say.  You have helped me [in a non-legally binding way] in my understanding of training and given me much encouragement.  I hope to grow up and be just like you.  I am planning a trip to Iowa soon for a wine tasting!

Taking a break for a few days.  Sorry folks, my wife and I are off to a spiritual retreat given by Fr. Ron Rolheiser at a local retreat house.  I'll be offline until Sunday evening - no laptops, radios, or phones allowed - thank God!  Of course our world is already crumbling without us so we have people lined up for babysitting, driving people places, lawn cutting etc. But I couldn't find anyone to post and read your posts.  Don't post anything interesting this weekend.  Or if you do email me to catch up on it! andrew (at) andrewopala (dot) ca.  I might sneak my blackberry in past the strip search [don't ask where]!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

X-Training, Lunges, HCC, Golf and During Shots

Cross training went well as always - Squats, Bench Presses, Dead Lifts [you can read the program I do in the tab].  Did my lunges, but tried to do them a little faster than normal and got a great BURNNNNNN.  Then did Jamoosh's thrilling thirteen.  Hit every goal Jamoosh set, but cheated on the push-ups only doing the last 8 on my knees.  All this before 8 am.  Then I quickly showered and packed up my golf clubs, sandwich and stuff to race to the carpool place.

My friend Scott was coming in from London Ontario, to pick us up in Oakville and Mississauga to go golfing way up in Aurora [look on a map if you don't know].  With Dwight who had some great news, and we hadn't seen for 3 months.  I got behind the steering wheel and as I was backing out I cranked the wheel around to put my rear-end in the street, and my arms said "ah ... no".  Man was I weak.  Then I put my foot on the accelerator and it felt like I was trying to push a rope!  This was going to be a terrible golf game.

Here is one during picture.  From left, Scott (Mr. Humor, Insurance salesman by day, Insurance salesman by night - partner or VP in some company in London that ... sells insurance?), Dwight (Mr. wild-a@@ swing, CEO of some company in Ottawa), me (Mr. running man wannabe, President of Voxavox Inc.), and Eric (The most interesting man in the World, his blood smells like cologne, CEO of E.B. Sana).

You will notice much less belly hang in this picture.  But as I said it is a DURING photo.  I'm 5'11" a real shorty compared to these guys.  One really interesting thing I discovered here at Cardinal Golf Club-Redcrest was that on the 9th Tee there's a phone that you can call the restaurant on and order stuff - and then when you drive by on your way to the 10th they serve it up for you.  So we ordered.

I got myself a nice all-beef hot dog grilled on a BBQ that I had to bite before I could take a picture - tomatoes, onions and mustard.  This is the only way to eat them.  Notice the sunshine everywhere.  We went on to the 10th and teed off.  All of a sudden the sky opened up and we even saw what might have been a tornado "V" starting to develop.  Sirens started everywhere, and like rats leaving a sinking ship you could see little golf carts appearing on all paths, from behind burms, and through woods and all were racing to the club house.  We rushed into the clubhouse, but we had left the cigars and lighter in one of the carts.  Eric and Scott immediately ran out to save them but got drenched.

Cigars saved, we bought some refreshments and split a clubhouse sandwich (in a clubhouse!) and waited out the storm.  The storm passed quickly we left most of the food and drink on the table and ran to the carts to get out there as soon as possible.  We finished the round successfully with one more photo - I was in pain but I did not whine.  I only got two pars on the last 9 - the first 9 was a blur.  I don't believe the columns were wide enough to write in all those 11s and 12s for me.  Scott stated several times, "Andrew, I thought you play golf".  Dwight was on his blackberry the whole time saying "Get me out of here".  Eric was silent - he is a strong man.

Mission accomplished I looked like a golfer and had lots of fun.  But it was fun because Scott got 4 free rounds from the golf course and suggested the adventure which was about 3-hours drive one way for him, Dwight had 2 hours while me and Eric a measly 1 1/2 hours.

From left, me, Messrs. Dwight, Scott, and Eric.  One last thing.  You will not believe Dwight's wild-a@@ swing:


Welcome Luke, Katherine (Forward Foot Strides), The Green Girl, The Turtle, and Kovas (Iš kur tu esi? Any relation to Ed from the NBA?).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tempo Wednesday and Before Shots of Running Man Wannabe

Well today was a tempo run that boring-coach Adam did not make into a 3.0 k  from a 2.5 k.  He also did not send me a great link on improving your Marathon time.  [Thanks Adam I'm running my first race - a 5k - in about 4 weeks.  Great having you stay right on topic.]  It's a good overview of sports science and the way the body it thought to work and perform well.  He also nodded in a non-legally binding way to me increasing my weekly distance by 15% rather than 10%, before I taper off on the race week.  I'll be putting these changes into the program tab. [Note: Adam is not a coach and does not give advice, this is a joke, closed course, professional driver, your mileage may vary - really just wanted to paste his head on someone in Paint.]

Today's tempo times with a 6:33 pace (10:30 per mile):

Splittodayweek ago2 weeks ago3 weeks ago
0.5 k2:472:512:522:45
1.0 k3:143:083:123:14
1.5 k3:173:283:473:30
2.0 k3:343:203:463:32
2.5 k3:313:163:443:24
3.0 k3:16

What's interesting is the more I pull out the run in the first 500 m, the slower I seem to recover in the second 500 m.  I bet the first 200 m of the run is fast ... my body is going "WTF? Are we running again?" and it's trying to keep up, but then quickly I drop down in speed, start my breathing, launch a couple of snot rockets,  [projectile vomit] throat clearing horks and I'm ok.


Here is a before picture from late May 2010.  I'm actually soaking my feet in Stanley Harbor in Hong Kong, that behind me is a piece that turns into the South China Sea and then the Pacific Ocean. This picture is interesting because what you don't see on the left is that a bunch of environmentalist started running towards me once I started struggling out of the water.  They were all pointing at me and yelling in Chinese "a whale has beached itself we must push it back into the water!" ... That's about the time I started to loose weight and not eat all those executive meals my EMBA program was feeding me.  If this kinda travel pictures are interesting to you check out some more on my Facebook page search for Andrew Opala - I think they are shared without having to friend me, but please do if you are so inclined.

Here's another (still before) at the Great Wall standing beside my buddy and classmate Scott.  I think the belly is quite pronounced - and it's not the horizontal stripes baby.  It's the real thing! ... some real after pictures will follow shortly tomorrow.  I'll see if I can snap a good one when I'm golfing with friends (Scott being one in fact).   But it's really not after ... it's DURING - I expect to go a lot further.

Thanks for the requests, I would have wanted to show the before once I had the washboard stomach, but what can you do?  My goal is to become a [RILF - Runner I'd Like to ... Feed] healthy individual with a long life that does not become a burden on my family once I get older.  If you want to check out a washboard stomach go to Chris's site: BQ or Die and see him out at his aqua-training.  Just rub your shirts clean on those abs!


Welcome to my new friends: Wannabe Runner, Candace, Jill, Heather, Christine, and Elizabeth.


I'm officially in the Core Club, even though Groucho said "I'd never join a club that would have me as a member".

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bulletin of the Belt & Jamoosh's Thrilling Thirteen

I have accepted another challenge, this time from Jamoosh (with Wonka-goading by Adam). I am currently waiting acceptance into the challenge. Here is the official logo [an appointment has been made for a tatoo on my a@@ - might be pretty expensive!] to prove my submission.

I did the routine for the first time today and adjusted my current Tuesday and Thursday routines to drop my situps and leg lifts and do Jamooshes thrilling thirteen. I am of course continuing to do the lunges and high-stair stepping, and all the weight training. Here's what my goal, current status and comments are for today, with the program dropping into my programs tab shortly.

1. Crunches302 x 15Ya big deal anyone can do these
2. Bicycle Kicks252 x 25A little challenging
3. Supine Bridge (face up)30 seconds2 x 15 secondsNot fair I just did bench presses and military presses and my arms are sliding out because my hands are sweaty
4. Leg Lift30 seconds2 x 15 secondsI'm in control could have done 30
5. Ankle Grabbers25 each ankle2 x 25I burned off all the hair on my back
6. Diamonds in the Sky202 x 10did big fist in the sky - more manly
7. Hip lift30 seconds4 x 5 secok you got me I'm really tired (this exercise is kinda girly, no?) sweaty hands
8. Plank45 seconds3 x 15 secondsnot fair! my arms are tired remember
9. Back Stretch30 seconds31 secondsyou see I am fit!
10. Push-ups202 x 8Again - not fair because of the bench press exhaustion
11. Shoulder taps20 each shoulder2 x 10Who makes these exercised up? (when do I catch a chicken in an alley - Ay-dree-ann!) sweaty hands
12. Superman1515Again - you see I am fit!
13. Side bridge30 seconds3 x 10 secondsNot fair #3 - bench press! hello!

Total routine time was about 45 minutes!

Since I have far too much body fat to show any muscle definition, my way of tracking progress will be in tracking the position of the belt buckle. Below you'll see the Bulletin of the Belt [much laughter at making a play on Tale of the Tape].

Bulletin of the Belt

What you see is all the belts that I used in the last 4 months side-by-side. The longer belt was used earliest and the short one is holding up my pants right now [the pants were around my ankles in each one of these shots - can anyone say bikini lunges?]. The graph at the right is my Economist/Time idea of an infographic that shows my wieght-loss/shape-shifting in the last 3 months - the three months of running. As you can see I have lost about 5 1/2 belt holes in waistline in the last 90 days. I can still crush beer cans with my ponch so I'm a long way away from a 6-pack, but I'm going in the right direction.


Welcome EMZ ... I am such a giggling child when I look at that profile picture. [Is there any way I can get my computer into the washroom behind a locked door? - for ab comparison only!]

Monday, August 16, 2010

Strange Weekend

Today was a decision day for me ... my Hal Higdon 8-week program is tapering down to prepare for a race in two weeks, yet I have no race scheduled, so I was considering extending the running load 10% a week for endurance and tempo runs and then tapering two weeks before my birthday run.  I was also considering completing the training, running a fake 5k with me as the only entrant and then starting a short race prep in the intervening 3 weeks between the fake and real races.

Well all my run maps ... I have lots at different distances and split-time milestones ... disappeared from my office ... today was garbage day and I think I might have dumped them into the recycle bin.  Actually all the maps expect one: the 6.5k (4 mi) track that I ran on Friday.

So today instead of running the 4.8 k and tapering down to a race I ran the 6.5k to extend the schedule.  It looks like garbage day decided what I am going to do.  Running on Mondays is terrible when you run by all those rancid garbage cans and bags.  I have gained new respect for garbage men and women.


Sunday's mass surrounded the Assumption of Mary.  I don't have a public reflection on the readings, but I would like to tell you that many of the parishes in our area - most of the Polish one's anyway - organize a 6 day walking pilgrimage to Midland and Martyr's Shrine.  These walking pilgrimages coincide with others around the world in the more traditional Catholic areas.  You basically walk with back packs, tents, food, water, etc. for 6 days about 25 k a day to a shrine dedicated to Mary. Sleep on farms and camp sites and then you celebrate a mass at the end in a Marian shrine.  My wife and I did it 11 and 12 years ago, when we had a bit more time.  It's currently in it's 30th year in our area.  It's a very popular trip for many people in the parish.  I think this year there were over 600 pilgrims that walked the route with another 120 that joined from other parishes in Guelph and Kitchener-Waterloo.  So maybe my Sunday reflection is that running/walking/moving is often the key part of an adventure, while the finish is just one piece.  I often look at my finish-time without accurately reflecting on the value of the running I am doing.  I think over 100 k in 6 days counts as an endurance sport and it was invented - like - int the 16th century!  So Catholic Faith has to be for running as a part of a balanced life.


A young man has started a good part of his life right now - recovery.  But he is a little anxious.  I hope in the days to come he will sprout some hope in his young heart and begin to care for himself more.


Welcome to Glenn Jones and Douglas Lorah!


I started this lunge challenge on Amanda's blog (5 miles past empty).  The main reason was for extending my stride length by a few hairs.  I've been doing the lunges and high-stair stepping during my weight training, and before my EZ run on Saturdays.  What I have discovered is that I don't feel any pain in the legs after the EZ run while I feel discomfort later in the day from the X-Training (only with the added lunges and stair-stepping).  I wonder if I should do lunges and stair-stepping as a warm-up before running?


My car's in the shop today for its [mercy killing] check-up.  I'm working from home and I guess that means I am not working at all.  I need to close that office door more and not feel like I am avoiding my family.  But they are so cute!


P.S. That wasn't Chicken!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Neighborhood Discovery

Good EZ run 5k 38 mins.  83% Humidity feels like 29°C / 84°F

Now to my story.  This is not factual in anyway.  When I was a lad I served a term [as office boy in an attorney's firm ♪♫ I wore clean collars and a brand new suit for the pass examination at the institute ♪♫] as a pilot in the reserve officer training program ROTP in the prairies of the great nation of Canada.

One of the strange jobs I had to do was to help with training young pilots on my day off [there are no days off in the Canadian Military - just days where you wear civilian clothes] during their bomb training runs in small planes.  These were bags of flour, you see two on my [SUV] tractor.  I am recording the bombing attempts on my [Laptop] laptop notepad.  The tractor is the target and that white chair there was about 100 meters away from the tractor, but since the students were hitting me sitting on the chair more often than the tractor I decided to sit on the tractor to give them a little incentive ...

Part two of the story: my class had a lot of good pilots in it.  I'll use their call signs: Cracker, Viper, Skeeter, Spanky, Alfalfa, Bozo and me [I am a good pilot ... was a good pilot] Opee.  We seldom got into illegal trouble.  Another job of mine was to put my Smokey-the-bear hat on and work as an assistant to the MP squads that roamed the airbase looking for trouble so that airmen would be treated properly.  The MPs on our base were two navy guys and 6 ppcli [Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry - first in war, first in peace and last in the ball hockey league].  My only real learning from this service happened the second day on the job.

The Captain pulled out a pack of Marlboros and lit one up.  "Smell that" he said.  Then he pulled out a little bag of dried oak and maple leaves and scrunching his fingers through the bag said "Smell that".  Then he said "Smell this" as he pulled a drag on a funny cigarette with a twisted end and no filter.

"Today we are looking for this."  So we went room to room, bunk to bunk looking for "this".  Many of the guys would often say, "Captain, I can't remember what 'this' smells like?"  So the Captain would pull out another and puff on everyone.  So we went room to room, bunk to bunk looking for "this".  By the end of those 6 hours I learned [I had the munchies] what the smell of "this" was and if it was grown with animal manure, potash fertilizer or in a corn field.  I also learned that during humid days the "this" smell would hang around for hours, and even come out of perfectly dry wooden table tops, and painted walls that absorbed the smell when it was humid earlier.

Part three of the story: back to my good pilots.  One of them had some "this" confiscated while I was present. He was a little angry at me so he got one of the student pilots to put a fire-hardened building brick in one of the bags and drop it right on me.  So I'm sitting on my SUV and my buddy flies overhead with his gift when a person comes by to take my picture for the bulletin board news letter.  As she's taking the picture ... the bag whizzes by her head!  [I said my class was good ... the students were still pretty crappy.]

So that explains the picture.

Now this explains the Title of the post.

On this humid day I discovered the smell of a lot of "this" in my neighborhood.  One was definitely corn field "this", the others where rich and mellow like hydroponic (with Miracle-Gro). :) [trust me I think I got this one right]

Why would people waste their time being asleep when they could be alive: running or training for a race?  I believe everything has its purpose and place, but my guess is that if you need to do this at 7 am on a beautiful Saturday morning you've got a bit of a problem.


Thanks to everyone who posted about my endurance run and the lunge challenge.  Did my lunges and high-stair stepping before my 5k run today.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Endurance Run ... I know you all laugh, but for me it's endurance

Ran 6.5 km / 4 mi in 52 minutes, just slightly slower than my Macmillan calculator pace.  Humidity was 83% so I felt a little over heated rather quickly in the run - was surprised while running since the temperature was listed at just a little warmer than room temperature, but I quickly found out how hard it was to breathe the air.

My splits for my own record (and second table for Chris):

SplitTodayWeek Ago
* includes a water stop

* interpolated times
** includes a water stop

Thanks for limiting the nauseating comments on the legs.  From people that saw this at work I got:
"Oh my God! Oh, sorry Andrew.",
"You should have that looked at." [pointing to a mole]
"Look on the bright side, it can only get better from here."

Welcome Rio - I might have missed saying so earlier.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Challenge Accepted

Amanda at 5 miles past empty challenged blog readers to do lunges for a month and track progress by taking before and after pictures of your legs ... preferably unclothed (even though I am modest). Since lunges, and high stair stepping is something I want to work into my training to improve my stride. I have accepted.

Reader discretion is advised. [may contain furry animals ... and magenta cyan auto-corrections]

The calf development is what 8 years of high-school and university football will do if you push around the coach and his fat son standing on a blocking sled. I won't show you my mid-section and what 20 years of programming and BBQ ribs and cheesecake can do. [I'll leave that up to your imagination. wink wink. Can anyone say "cottage cheese bulging out of a hairnet?"]

In terms of the training schedule. I will add the lunges and high-stair stepping to my Tuesday and Thursday cross training, and a special lunge and high-stair step routine before my Saturday EZ run. I'm just a novice, but I don't think it will drastically change the way my legs will look. I think instead it will extend my stride a bit. For this reason I've been scrambling to find a way to measure my stride accurately at different running speeds - tempo, jog and walk. To include some metrics here. If anyone has a method besides the obvious one please yell out ... thank you.

Welcome Neil and Irene!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mid-Week Tempo Run

My best tempo run ever!

Split*todayweek ago2 weeks ago
0.5 k (dl)2:512:522:45
1.0 k (ul)3:083:123:14
1.5 k (u)3:283:473:30
2.0 k (ul)3:203:463:32
2.5 k (d)3:163:443:24

*dl = downhill then level grade, ul = uphill then level, u = uphill, d = downhill

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Race Pledge Form

Here's the official email from my run.

From: Guelph CHC - 10th Annual Guelph Downtown 5k Run & 'Fun' Walk

Subject: A message from Andrew Opala

Dear Friends,

On September 25th 2010, Andrew is participating in the 10th Annual Guelph Downtown 5k Run & 'Fun' Walk hosted by the Guelph Community Health Centre (Guelph CHC) and sponsored by Meridian Credit Union. The proceeds from this event will support the Ontario Early Years Centre (OEYC). Guelph CHC is committed to working with and meeting the needs of young children and their families. Last year we served over 6,500 parents and 7,000 children. Government funding does not cover all program costs and Guelph CHC relies on fundraising like the 5k Run to supplement this. Last year the 5k Run raised over $16,000 - this year we are hoping to raise $20,000!

Please visit Andrew's race home page and give your support by:
1) Pledging for Andrew's run and helping him reach his fundraising goal;
2) Publish this site on your facebook profile using the link on his page.

Click here to view Andrew's personal race fundraising page and make a donation:

Donate on Andrew's personal home page Now.

Guelph CHC

I finished the cut in my pre-cut bagel this morning and found a fortune!

"Your efforts will result in much profit."
Far East Fortune Cookie Co. Ltd. (416) 977-2482

[My wife saved it from her fortune cookie yesterday and wanted to surprise me]

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Macmillan Running Calculator

The Macmillan Running Calculator says [I am deceased] that I am running my tempo runs slightly too slow, and my endurance and EZ runs slightly too fast. Chris! If I become a good runner it's because of that article you sent me and one I found on The Boring Runners Site.

It looks like I'm doing it wrong. That's probably why I seem to be trending the wrong way in pace times. Great that I could discover this now - but I need to introduce some better time goals into my running.

When I type in 30 minutes as a 5k target it tells me that my:
(1) 2k tempo run should be between 12:00.1 to 12:20.8 minutes time (compare 13:01 now)
(2) longer endurance runs should be 7:16 to 7:53 minutes pace/k (compare 7:23 /k)
(3) EZ runs should be 7:16 to 7:35 minutes pace/k (compare 8:01 /k pace)

So to me that means I can slow down the longer runs and not try so hard to run them as quickly as I am and set my mind to run the tempo runs on Wednesday much faster.

Dietitian was Impressed!

Not the best run, but I ran on about 4 1/2 hours of interrupted sleep, and the relative humidity was about 38°C. I did not break gate at any time, was in a run the whole way even with the demon voices telling me to stop. [BTW if I wanted your opinion, demon voices, I would shove my hand up your ... and work your mouth like a puppet - get out of my head you negatives!]

So 5.6k in 42:59 mins @ 7:40/k pace.


My graph of the Kms run since I started these running programs are shown in the graph above right (weekly kms run). This week's 5.6 k is rounded to 6 in the last column. The first 3 columns represent the first 21 day program I was on to get me to 30 mins a day while the 6 remaining weeks are the current program to run the 5k.

I have enough data now (I think) to do a little calculation so show how I slow down over time. I'd like to know how to build up a pace plan for the race so that I know what pace to run each k at. This will help me as I slow down over time. The Captain showed me a few calculator for this that I will probably copy and put in my calculator page.

Saw my dietitian today (with my wife for honesty) and she gave me a few pointers on my "carbing up" pre-run nights. She suggested I lower the overall size of each snack/meal and increase their number. She also wanted me to mix all food groups in proportion to the daily allowance for these meals. She didn't want me just concentrating on carbs alone. I also need to work in more whole-grain options, keep low glycemic index carbs, remove the high GI carbs, get more green vegetables in the diet and eat more freshly grown produce (glycemicindexfoods.pdf). The last thing is she will schedule a BMI and fat% assessment at their sister-clinic (for diabetics) soon to help me monitor my weight loss. As I have sort of stopped losing weight but my pants are getting looser - she thinks there might be some muscle building happening. P.S. I'm not a diabetic.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Faith is the Assurance of Things Hoped For

With faith, we see that the goal we wait for is real. We see that what we desire is truthfully waiting for us. It even says that with faith in God, our ancestors were justified in their actions. Can faith be false. I believe it can be.

So what can I say about running? Do I have any hope or faith about this activity? This is a puzzle, can I elevate such an activity to be in harmony with God's plan? Can I fake a faith that says running is good for me?

The reading ends with "From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required: and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded." I think this sums up the readings a lot more than me looking for some spirit to come down from heaven and say "Andrew, if you keep faith and run, you will become healthy and a great runner according to God's plan."

What this last statement by Jesus means to me is that I have been given health and youth in some measure and I can either go hide in a nursing home or hospital, or I can use it to be healthy and youthful while it has been given to me. To be fruitful in the years that I can be fruitful. That it is important to do now what needs to be done now and not to live sacrificing today for tomorrow, because you never now when the master will come to see you waiting, or see you living. To sum up this Sunday's readings: Don't wait, do it now.

So again I see that being healthy is a fruit that we are offered from work not a luxury that we can deny ourselves. Of course it can become an obsession, but I think I need not worry about that yet. I have tried to move running into my life in a harmonious way, and not in an obsessive way. So this Sunday renews me in hope that running when done in good measure fits within my calling to be a good human being.


Thanks Chris (from BQ or die) for the great reading again on the topic of balancing, strength, speed and endurance in a good training plan. The link is replicated here: Also if you are interested in podcasts, Adam (The Boring Runner) has posted his fourth podcast [weekly podcasts that are released one every 1 1/2 months ... this maybe a metric conversion error or something.]

Friday, August 6, 2010

Gut-Check Time

I'm done half of my training for my 5k race: a 3 week "run 30 mins" program, and week 5 of an 8 week "run your first 5k" program. I have made some great progress - probably the most important thing is I have a explosive desire to RUN!

One thing that worries me is that I am not breaking World and Olympic Records for running. And my own pace progress has slowed and appears to be moving away from my target line. Tomorrow is an easy 30-40 mins run of any distance. I don't want to tamper with the training system even though I want to break into a sprint until my rib cage is on fire and my heart is beating up into my throat and post a decent pace time. Maybe I should wait for all three final weeks to complete. I should run a Saturday 5k race as if it was a real race and look at that time, then use the remaining time to my Birthday to improve the time. It is so very hard to fight with the impatience.

Secret Weapon Confirmed

I have officially crossed over the 50% mark of my 100 day training to run my race in Guelph.

I ate two cups of boiled macaroni with my vegetable tomato sauce at 5:30-6:00 p.m., then ate 1 1/2 bagels at 9:30 p.m., interspersed with 1/2 liter of water every 1/2 hour from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

This seems to work for me in terms of minimal energy loss near the end of the race. I also feel less anxious [... if you know how calm I am you might think this puts me in a coma]. Running is new for me so I am a little unaware of what to do or how to do it so everything is an experiment.

So 5.6k in 41:24 mins @ 7:23/k pace.

SplitTodayWeek Ago

It's a lot like Adam said that you can "pay me now or pay me later". If you run fast at the start you collapse at the end, but if you pace yourself like I did today you actually have relatively more energy at the end! Today I ran 5k in 36:26 mins and last Friday in 37:04, but today I never had my heart beating out of the fat burn zone and I felt really good. This would be one bracket on the good side that I can start moving closer to a performance compromise by increasing my pace at the start of each split. One thing to note is that the trail I ran today had more uphill portions in it than the one last Friday. I actually finish the run on a crest without getting some payback on the run down. One thing I forgot to do was drink a sugar drink before the run - I want to test how much can help before it hurts.

Had some time to think Captain. You are right it's a decent time to think. But I don't think about many other things. I have a tendency to think about what I am doing. [Hey since I'm there, why not think about running. :) ] I find I get discouraged when thinking about some things. I stopped a lot of my exercise routines when I had to care for my sick family members the 3 years before the EMBA. I found I was doing more damage to myself by not being present in my workout than I was helping to think some things through and to get rid of the stress. I try to do a daily examen also, this helps me not think about things that I have no business thinking about.

I friended Rio on daily mile. She's part of Adam's running pack in Phoenix. I'm very lucky to see right into people's training schedules and what things the are doing to achieve their specific goals. I'd like to officially say hello to Rae as well a not-so-new runner who is now training for a 10k race - and you has not so long ago posted stuff very similar to my questions about running in the last couple of months.

FINALLY: I have some questions about after race stuff to do. Basically, how do you stretch, eat, hydrate, [how long to you wear that aluminum blanket]? Do you do any cool down exercises? All my friends suggest lots of beer ... which I have been experimenting with since my 16th birthday.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Food Experiment Last Night

Rather than my normal 600 or so calories in carbs last night after 6 p.m. I reduced it to 400 calories and ate at 5 p.m. - fasted for 14 hours before running. I did feel less energetic today. So my experiment suggests I need to eat more closer to the run. So on Thursday, I experiment with carbs at around 5 p.m. and then a big carb snack at around 9 p.m. I also took a longer than normal warm-up jog. My goal is not to feel to full, and time the p@@ing so I can be as empty as possible for the run. Also ran on my own today.

So my run today looked like this: 2.5k in 17:23. Pretty bad I know, since my race-pace target is 6 mins. But I have valuable information about how long I can fast before I run.
SplitTodayLast Wednesday
0.5 k2:522:45
1.0 k3:123:14
1.5 k3:473:30
2.0 k3:463:32
2.5 k3:443:24

Incidentally, I've lost 2 lbs [Alert: Metric Police, Andrew is using pounds again] since last Wednesday. I have also dropped 5 belt-holes since I started running about 3 months ago.


I've limited a lot of chatter about my life because my home is now home to another person who is troubled in our family. There's not a lot of funny things to say about the situation and it consumes a lot of my thought and some of my time.

He's a young 19-year-old man who has a lot of big challenges waiting for him, but is sweating the small stuff like going to work, and sleeping regularly. He's been staying with us for the last 3 weeks, and our picture of hope has slowly deteriorated. My first reaction is to get angry and I want to tell him to grow up, and then force him to live properly in the basic areas of his life. But my wife, the nest-builder, says wait. He comes from a troubled home, and his father was shot and killed by police 4 months ago (it was a mistake - his father suffered from schizophrenia and did not apparently understand what the Police were asking him to do - the Police are being investigated by the SIU).

The unfortunate thing is the three simple rules the young man had to keep each day while here have been broken regularly without any consequences - and this is my wife's lead so I follow and give her support in what she is doing. But my image is the following: I don't care if he doesn't love me after this whole experience, I need to know that he has the proper life skills to live in the real world, right now he doesn't, let's start working on changing these improper behaviors.


On perhaps a lighter note, has anyone seen the Robin Hood Series from a couple of years ago on the BBC with Jonas Armstrong as Robin and Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne? I've seen a trailer and want to watch them ... but I don't want to waste my time. I'm actually waiting for Caprica to start again on Sci-Fi or Syfy or what every stupid name they thought up for the network.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Post BBQ Unhappiness

When will I ever learn that the old me is not able to run! I went to my sister-in-law's last night to drop in with my family. Well it turned into a drink and food fest. And I was cool, I had some fun, I drank only one 500 ml can of Austrian beer and ate only a few spoonfuls of the fatty summer salads but the worst was I drank only a little water. I felt awkward asking for more water. They were giving out these small bottles of imported Italian water. As soon as he handed me a bottle I wanted to say, "Hey buddy, I drink a 4-Liter torpedo bottle every hour in the summer! I'm going to bankrupt you." Was polite and drank little. Then when we got home I tried to drown myself under the tap for a few minutes and then when I woke up at night for nature's call, but I definitely felt dehydrated in the run. But the second thing was the lack of energy when running and the mental intervention to "run faster".

Today's run looked like this:

4.8k in 35:27

1k Split6:46Friday's6:32
2k Split6:596:58
3k Split7:247:28
4k Split7:437:36
5k Split (projected from 4.8k)8:127:56

You can see that I really lost it after 4k (even though each k was a little slower). Got to go to these BBQs on Saturday rather than Sunday!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Beware an Obsession with Material Things

I think today's Gospel applies to me in that I shouldn't be too self-absorbed in Earthly things. I need to place the eternal things, namely Love - ahead of any ego-centric goals and desires. Where is running in this? Why do I do it? Why am I writing a blog about it?

Number one is that I am grateful for the health and physique I have been given. Grateful for so many mornings this summer where I could see the sunrise and hear the wind rustle through the green trees. I am grateful for so many good people helping me with advice. So very grateful for my running and biking partner - my wife!

Number two is that I am grateful for the discipline to keep going, the desire to reach a distant goal, and the wrestling with negative feelings and discomfort. Running is not comfortable. It is difficult. The heart beats like you are escaping a bear, or drowning, or having a heart attack. The muscles ache. You feel tired during the run. Your throat gets dry and you get dizzy. A quitter's voice shows up and says "walk for a while, don't worry about pushing yourself."

Number three is that I write to keep myself honest. I have started and stopped lots of diets, and exercise programs in my 45 years of living. Perhaps it is Ego or Pride that is the triggering element here, but I feel it is the good aspect of these things. The motivation I feel is a good motivation. I feel like I would let other people down if I quit - but not if I fail. I don't feel failing would be bad. I think quitting is the ultimate wrong at this time in my life.

Thanks everyone. I hope you are right were you need to be in your training program today. I hope you never quit. And I hope I can be there for you as you have been for me.