Monday, November 29, 2010

33 More Days

Seems as our milein' has pretty much started to fizzle. Other than a couple of participants, most have either hit their goal or given up. Those of you still trying to hit the goal in the next 33 days (Vicki, Mary, Carly and k.ry!), keep on going. As for the others, well perhaps we should start thinking about whether we want a challenge for 2011 or if we should take a year off.

Maybe back to food again like in the bacon-y glory days of 2008? Or perhaps something like this Free Fashion Challenge that some folks came up with? Personally I'm not sure that not buying any new clothes would be much of a challenge for me, but I'm sure for some this would be quite torturous.  Anyway, do some thinking.  2011 is creeping up on us.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Running for Health, Running for Life

One of the biggest, most publicized runs, the New York Marathon, was this past weekend. This marathon always attracts people far and wide and there are always famous folks or key 'celebrities' running. From  Jared the Subway fanatic to Edison Peña, the Chilean miner, there is always a person of interest (to someone, somewhere).

I find it fascinating that running can bring people together so splendidly. There are oodles of articles about running, focusing not only on the benefits but the pitfalls too. Perusing the headlines, I found this article in the NY Times: Running Voices, an interative tour of runners from all backgrounds, highlighting their motivations.

My motivation for being a sometimes runner is so I can enjoy the finer things in life (i.e. food and wine) without paying too dearly on my waistline.

Whatever your motivation I think it helps to learn about why people do it. What motivates someone to run 26.2 miles, often many times over? What motivates someone to just take that first step.

Here is Cleveland there are quite a few fun runs that bring people together. In November I am looking forward not only to the Turkey Trot Thanksgiving Day morning but also the Pigskin Classic that occurs the morning of the classic Ohio State vs. Univ. of Michigan football game.

My run today put me just over the 200 mile mark (202.71 to be exact) for the year. Not terrible considering I started in August but I still have a LONG way to go. I will use the motivation of my fellow runners to keep me on pace and help me achieve my goal.

What motivates you?

Friday, October 8, 2010

falling behind...

When I first began this challenge, I figured eh, this is easy. I will hit my mile quota in like two months – I bike everywhere and even run occasionally! Pretty sure I can’t blame this on lack of entering miles, I am just progressing slowly. At 141.1 miles I still have 223.9 to go.

No time like the present to get back on the bandwagon. I ran last night, 3 miles; it was perfect working out weather. Tonight, post work, I am going to head down the towpath towards Peninsula. With 84 days to go I need to hit 2.67 mi/day. I am still confident I will meet this challenge but I had better start focusing on my health (winter storage is upon us) and my miles during this beautiful Cleveland fall.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Here's a pretty interesting story about how a pair of running shoes, some goals and a little bit of support can make a difference: Jogging Program Helps People Get Lives On Track Again It all goes beyond fitness.

To learn more about the woman who thought this all up, the folks who make the plan a reality and interesting details, check out

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sunday 5K

I went for a short run this afternoon.  The first in a long time.  It went OK, but despite all of the rowing and biking I've been doing, I'm definitely out of practice in the running department which sucks.

After today's two miles I still need to average 2.666 miles a day to hit the 365 mark. That's a lot of running but I guess you can't really have a Mile Challenge without the word Challenge so I'm going to see what I can do about getting there.

That said, I think I may do a 5K on Sunday despite my unprepared status. Any Clevelanders care to join?  Here are the details: St. Ignatius Run for Murph*

Perhaps I'll see you there.

*The Murph that this run honors is from this awful story:,0,2214855.story   Sorry to be all depressing, but that's the reality. Look back to Homer. He'll cheer you up again. Oh, and all proceeds raised from the race will go towards a scholarship in Dan's name.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


So I mentioned this via e-mail to some, but figured I should get it out the rest of the world as well.

This Saturday, September 18 I'll be doing some rowing in Cleveland's fall regatta -- The Head of the Cuyahoga.  This is the 15th Annual so you know it's legit.  Or something like that.

The Mighty Cuyahoga
Photo Courtesy of the National Archives

Fellow Mile Challenger Gavin will be participating as well.  We're in a 4+ race at 10:30am but in separate boats and then we'll be together in an 8+, in the last race of the day at 2:40pm.

I just wanted to throw out an invite to come on down and watch some boats go by. There will be over 1,000 rowers and over 250 boats, ranging from high school kids to old veterans.

In other cities like Boston and Philadelphia people actually go watch races and hang out along the river and party it up. Cleveland?  Not so much.  That said, I figured I would send out the invite and try to build up Cleveland's drunken, boat watching population. Support Cleveland and support the riverfront and support the great outdoors.  Bring some food and some drinks and hang out in the fresh, fall air.  Or don't bring food if you don't want ... Dim and Den Sum will be there providing food as needed!

Admittedly rowing isn't always the most exciting thing in the world, but look at this random blog post I found from someone who was at the Head of the Charles:  See? You don't need to like or even understand rowing to hang out and have fun.  Look at all of those idiots on the banks in Boston.  That goes on for like three miles.  People everywhere just rockin' out.

Oh, and if you get a good vantage point, and you get lucky, sometimes rowing on the Cuyahoga gets full contact enough to bring some thrill to your day:

The course begins at the West 3rd Street Bridge and finishes down by the red swing bridge at Center Street.  The first race starts at 8:00am and the last race starts at 3:10pm. 

So there you go.  That's your invite.  If you'd like to roll on by that would be cool.  If not, no harm done. 

Here's a little promo video too:  If you look carefully you might just spot someone you know (psssst, it's me! And Gavin!  Fancy!!).

Friday, September 10, 2010

Keg Dash

Man, it's been awhile.

That's OK though.  We're hacking through the year, doing our thing.  Some are succeeding, many are failing. It seems that bacon was a more enjoyable challenge than doing a mile a day. Even swaying from the initial plan of running, it's still tough business. Who would've guessed? There is still time though, so don't be a quitter.

Anyway, I thought I should mention a happening going on this Sunday, September 12 here in Cleveland for those of you conveniently located. Or not.  The Buckeye Keg Dash. You may remember in a previous post the mention of Buckeye Beer Engine. Well this is an event organized by them and it involves a combo of great things: biking, beer and charity.

In short, you ride to the Buckeye Brewery (which I've never been to), tour the brewery, pack up a keg of India Black Ale that someone will tow behind their bike, ride to Beer Engine (a 25-35 minute bike ride), pay $10 which goes to a cool charity (Aluminum Cans for Burned Children) and then get a pint of the India Black Ale. Delicious I'm sure.

Here is a flyer with the details:

Monday, August 30, 2010

biking for miles

I love biking. It is a quick and easy way to get places and great exercise too! For those of you who are not as comfortable nagivating the streets I recommend joining your local Critical Mass. Here in Cleveland, at least, our Critical Mass isn't too into anarchy and only break some traffic laws. This past Friday we logged 16 miles on a beautiful evening before ending our trip at Whiskey Island where we enjoyed a Red Stripe Tall Boy and an amazing sunset! Give it a whirl!

270.6 miles to go.
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Sunday, August 29, 2010


So, I've been pretty strict about only counting my running miles. Obviously, with my 94 miles, this strict, by-the-book attitude has really been working for me. Anyway, I bike and ellipticize at the gym and do other stuff sometimes, but I was trying to run all my miles. I think I'm going to relax my personal rules, which brings me to my question. I was in NYC today, and wore a pedometer, just for funsies. It says I walked 4.7 miles over a 4 hour period. Should I count it? And if I do, am I really just cheating myself?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mapping out exercise

Yesterday I had an overwhelming desire to go running. It is a strange yearning considering I incessantly talk about running being the absolute pits - it's only purpose being exercise and there are so many other forms that are far more fun - yet there it was, I needed to run.

I live near the entrance to Edgewater Park in Cleveland, a nice path under the Shoreway drops me right into the entrance. Considering I have not ran in months I elected to take the lesser man's route by staying on the lower half and not navigating the killer hill that connects the lower and upper portions. To make up for my laziness I ran the lower loop twice. Of course, my Nike+iPod was not synching so I ran without my mileage tracking. As I was running and when I got home my mileage weighed heavily on my far did I go?!?

Today, I have been scouring the web for trail information. Attention ODOT/ODNR: Your lack of trail information is astounding. Where is the mileage information?!? Google Maps failed. RunningMap failed. None of them actually map out the interior or Edgewater. While Google Maps actually shows the interior of the park, it will not actually allow me to just map it out. Le Sigh.

So, my overwhelming desire to run made me happy and I did it. I THINK I ran 2.6 miles, not bad for someone who has elected to ignore running since March but it is pretty sad that lack of basic technology and information is still an exerciser's dilemma.

305.1 miles to go.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The mile-a-thon begins

Day one was pretty successful and motivating. I am glad this challenge was opened up to miles other than running; I have tried and tried but running is just the pits.  Instead, I biked up to Daystar with my friend. While their website is lame and the store was packed, the ride up Detroit Ave. was a breeze. The route is direct and roads are wide enough to comfortably ride. 9.8 miles later, it was a nice city ride.

Yikes! also had a soccer game. I would imagine I ran a mile after talking with Bill but do I count it? I think I had better, I have a deficit to make up. 354.2 miles to go.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Can I do it?

Good day, all. I just joined the challenge...August 11. That means I need to hit 365 miles in 142 days...some quick math tells me that is 2.57 per day, everyday. Totally doable.

I assume I have hit at least the 100 mi. mark already with my biking, etc but who's counting. I am not planning on back dating miles, just taking what I've got going forward.

Onward ho.

Thumbs Down To The Gym

Seems like most of us doing the Challenge are already fans of the great outdoors already.  But in case you needed some additional motivation, here is some scientific proof that pumping out some miles outside is more helpful to the body and mind than trying to do the same thing inside:  Ditch The Gym And Go Jogging To Boost Energy

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Another Mile Challenge Met...

Congratulations to Gav! I'm too lazy to figure out exactly when gav met the challenge, but it definitely occurred before 8/8!

Rock On!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

You Know What Sucks?

This blog.

We've got nothing happening here.

Man, it's sad.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rollin' To Success

Another Challenger has hit the 365. This one is the one and only Noonan. All bike for this guy thanks to a knee that has seen a bit more abuse than most and no longer cares for the abuse of running. I wish I had something more witty to add, but today just isn't a witty day I guess.

Kudos, and keep on Milein'!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2 Mile Challenge

I just signed up for the CLIF 2 Mile Challenge the other day.  Mile Challenge participant, Señor Noonan pointed out this potential add-on to our existent challenge so I figured what the hey.  Afterall, I'm pedaling around anyway and this additional game is for a good cause (your choice of three) and there is a potential to win some stuff for your own greedy self as well.  So sign on up.

According to my dashboard page, this past week alone I've saved 8.02 lbs. of CO2 from being blown into the air by riding instead of driving.  You're welcome.

Video with some facts here:

Friday, July 2, 2010

Two More At 365

There's two more participants who have now that cherished "Challenge Met" status.

Todd (aka Tedd aka Dr. Hamm) has hit the 365 miles mark with a well-rounded combination of walking, running and biking.

Gavin has arrived at 365 with a solid balance of running and rowing. And it's his birthday too. Double achievement.


Right In The Middle

Noon today, July 2 marks the halfway point of 2010. 182½ days down, 182½ remain.

If you're not on pace it's time to pick it up.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


You may or may not remember that awhile back some of the Clevelanders and I were getting ourselves all fired up about something called Warrior Dash.  Well that was this past weekend and since nobody else has bothered to mention it, and I am in the middle of two loads of laundry I figured I would report.

First, because I like posting gross photos online I should mention that I wound up not doing the Dash.  Not because my running hasn't been up to warrior levels (although that is the case) but rather due to injury.  During a hard fought soccer playoff game I rolled my ankle and after getting up the next morning, flying to Tucson, AZ, driving to Mexico, walking around, playing two games of beach soccer (as goalie -- but still not smart), standing around at a three hour concert and stuffing myself with nothing but tacos and taco relatives, my foot looked like this:
Note the swelling has pretty much engulfed that knobby ankle bone. Cankles! That purple business wrapped all the way around my foot. I got quite a few funny looks at the pool.

Upon my return to the U.S. of A. I was diagnosed with a sprain, got a prescription for steroids and a cool air/gel cast.

The following weekend (June 19) was the Warrior Dash. And while I had to decline participation I did make the trek to Joliet, IL and got my T-shirt (which Andy B. promptly stole to add to his stash of my belongings he's collecting), my furry warrior helmet, my free beer, and some samples of sunflower seeds.  More importantly I was a spectator which meant I got to hold everybody else's crap, motivate both friends and strangers with vocal abuse and take photos.

Everyone in my Warrior posse (4 of 5 are Mile Challengers) did well.  They conquered the run, the mud, the hills, the cargo net, the fire, the hay bail mountain, giant puddles and more mud. I was impressed.

My spectating was mostly at the fire jump and the mud crawl portions.  Pretty entertaining.  In the mud people lost shoes and then had to fish for them in the muck, got shirts stuck on barbed wire, tackled friends and threw mud bombs at strangers.  Here's Andy taking care of the mud:
It's like he'd done it before.  All business.

Anyway, perhaps the Warriors have better insight but from my angle it seemed like a good time. Well organized, cheap beer ($1!), turkey legs, music, a place to recycle your muddy footwear and general fun all around.

Here's the Cleve gang after their 3.17 mile, obstacle-filled feat. Accomplished, muddy and happy:

Everybody's a winner! Nice work, Warriors.

Pro available here:

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mmmmm, Pickles

Meant to post this awhile ago, but got distracted and saved as draft. Anyway, better late than never I suppose ...

An interesting article from the NYT on a study done about drinking pickle juice to prevent muscles from cramping: Phys Ed: Can Pickle Juice Stop Muscle Cramps?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nature Of A Different Status

Since my bird post is still appearing as the last thing posted, I thought I'd add a bit of an opposite view of nature that I experienced. Not as cheery as the birds but sometimes the whole yin/yang thing takes over I guess.

This tale begins this past Sunday when I went out for a row with some of my rowing chums. We had some heavy rain in Cleveland Saturday night into Sunday and when this happens the debris in the Cuyahoga gets pretty bad. Everything from every storm drain, creek, roadway, etc. winds up in the river. So it's tree branches, bottles, basketballs, chip bags, hats, logs and plenty of other goodies. Most are just gross, but the big stuff is also rather unpleasant for the rowing shells if you don't see one and there is an impact.

So this particular day there was a lot of stuff out there. At one point we were coming up on a section of river that was like a minefield of debris so we had slowed so we could ease through without destroying the equipment. Up ahead we see something floating that doesn't look like the usual log or garbage. As we pull up alongside we discover this mystery object is an enormous, fat, bloated, and very dead raccoon. It smelled pretty bad and looked even worse.

We carried on and about 10 minutes later we come up to something else big and out of the ordinary in the water. This one? A dead deer floating along.

I can sort of see how a raccoon might get trapped in a swirl of water in some pipe or something and wind up in the river, but the deer has me stumped.

So there you go, two different tales of nature along the Cuyahoga ... the living and the dead.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Birds

Not really related to miles, and especially not to running (since I am way behind in that category), but while rowing this spring I've seen a lot of birds.  I don't know if there are more than prior years or if I'm just noticing more, but I had a mental list going then decided to actually put it all down for whatever reason.

And for those of you who may row or formerly rowed, I am well aware that I technically shouldn't be looking out of the boat, but sometimes there are breaks and I check out my surroundings.  And I've also been a coxswain a couple of times which makes for good viewings.

Anyway, here's my list of feathered friends I've seen this year while rowing:
  • Blue Jay
  • Wood Duck
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Canada Goose
  • Ring-billed Gulls (one impolitely pooped on me)
  • Double-crested Cormorant
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Grackle
  • Mallard Duck
  • Sparrow
  • Red-winged Blackbird
  • Robin
  • Starling
  • Tree Swallow
  • Great Northern Loon aka Common Loon (this one was in Craftsbury, VT, not Cleveland, OH)

And that's your nature report for today. Keep on milein'.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Another Done

Kudos and Congrats to Runner_Steph who has hit mile 365 and then some. All miles tallied via running and a half marathon completed in the process.

Challenge Met!

Monday, May 24, 2010

I can't decide if I'm a creep for even talking about this.

Before I get started I just want to say that I bought a new mouse for my computer. One of those "Magic Mouses" for a Macintosh. It's pretty awesome.

Now on to my running story.

I'm out running. I figured with Warrior Dash less then a month away at this point, it's time to get serious. Having not run since last Tuesday I figured an easy two miles would suffice for the day. I'm about three quarters into my jog when I look across the street and see an abandoned BMX bike on a tree lawn (for all you non-Ohians, a "tree lawn" is the grassy patch between the sidewalk and the street). I think to myself, "Someone must be getting rid of a BMX bike, maybe I should stop and take a look."

Just as I'm about to commit to go check out the condition of the bike, I look about 6 feet back from the bike. There, about two feet from away from the side of an apartment complex, is a female of undetermined age, pants around knees, full squat position.

Now there is only one explanation for one this girl was doing:
1.a. Taking a shit.
1.b. Taking a piss.

I know that's technically two things but they both fall in the over-arching category of "going to the bathroom in public."

As a member of the human community with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), I am fully aware of the sudden, and often overwhelming, urge to take a shit at any given moment. However, I have NEVER just up and squatted next to a building and taken care of business. Sure, I've peed outside countless times. But this girl had her head down, she looked like she was in it for the long haul. I'm pretty sure she was dumping.

So that was one of the weirdest thing I've seen in a while. It sure does make a mundane run a bit more interesting.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Challenge Met

I'm happy to say Bill and Berto have met the challenge. We're not even halfway through the challenge and these entrants all ready did it.


Total For All Activities - 5/15/2010

ChallengerMile(s) LoggedDays LeftMile(s)To GoCurrent RateRequired Rate
Bill458230-933.393Challenge Met
Berto387230-222.867Challenge Met

Total For Jogging - 5/15/2010

ChallengerMile(s) LoggedDays LeftMile(s)To GoCurrent RateRequired Rate
Berto373230-82.763Challenge Met

Friday, May 14, 2010

I was almost kidnapped today

I went running today at my parent's house. They live way out in BFE Pennsylvania on some old barely paved road in the middle of no where. It's great for running and riding bikes because there are hardly ever any cars going by.

So there's a 3-mile route that I know pretty well and I took off to try to get back in good standings on my miles. About halfway through this route I cut down a dirt road to pick up with a paved road on the other side. (Keep in mind, none of these paved roads have a center line or anything.) There are just planted fields on either side of the road and the nearest house is about a quarter mile or so away if you cut through the field. I'm down this dirt road about halfway when I heard a car turn down it behind me. No big deal. I hear it rumbling along and then it starts to slow. That makes me a little bit nervous. I mean, there's no one around. No other cars in sight. I have no weapon or anything. So this car comes creeping up on me and I'm going through all the scenarios in my head of how I'm going to get away from this creep and the car comes into my peripheral view.

So I sorta stop and look over at this 65-year-old man (maybe more) in the driver's seat. Of course this makes me think I've got a way better chance now at escaping. I could totally take this guy in a fight or a 50-yard dash. Now me and this guy are looking at each other and he says to me, "Honey, can I give you a ride somewhere?" I of course smile and say no and he shakes his head and drives off.

So moral of the story is this. Evidently, my poor attempt at "running" looks more like a lame horse stumbling along than someone out for some exercise.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Avoid The Point

Not that I am a criminal activity expert or anything (or am I?), but I always find the idea of robbing or attempting to rob someone out for a run, rather poor planning. Most people I know don't go running with anything of value. I usually have a key to get back in my place and maybe $5, just in case (it used to be a MetroCard back in my NYC days). The risk-to-reward ratio is not in a robber's favor.

I guess if you choose the right person you could get an iPod and maybe $20 but it seems like targeting somebody moving more slowly, with a full wallet of cash and cards would be a better option. Who runs with a full wallet?

Anyway, Chicago milers, watch out for stabbers. Or learn to stab first. Or run faster. Whatever works as you don't want to wind up like this unfortunate guy: Jogger critically wounded in Chicago Riverwalk stabbing

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Dose of Spotz

I suppose I should have mentioned this earlier as it was pretty cool (at least to me), but you know how things sometimes often always come up and distract me from blogging. Well anyway, here I am. Late but better than not at all I suppose.

So last Thursday the club I'm in had an information session for anybody interested in rowing in Cleveland. I was actually out rowing when it started but figured I would stop in after to see who was there and hopefully get some free, post-workout snacks and adult beverages. Mission accomplished there.

In addition to that, someone managed to get local gal and ocean rowing record holder Katie Spotz to come speak. I missed the speaking by the time I had arrived, but she was still there hanging out. I think maybe less hanging out and more trying to survive the onslaught of questions, praise and photo/autograph requests. I played it cool and didn't join the masses, but as the place emptied out, it was just me, Katie and maybe four other people so we wound up talking.

I didn't ask her too many questions (even though I wanted to) because I figured she's had more than enough of that crap since getting back to solid ground but we did chat for awhile about the row, traveling, her blog and other random stuff. She was really nice, smart, funny and humble. I'm not sure I've ever called anyone "humble" before, but she was legitimately humble despite being so motivated, organized, disciplined and record holding.

I wanted her to be my friend.

Despite that I kept the leaching and stalking suppressed and we went our separate ways. Me off to chisel away a couple of miles here and there, and her to plot her next triple digit mileage endurance feat (it's going to be bike-related).

Beyond the rowing across the Atlantic in 70 days, check out the other challenges she's accomplished (keep in mind she's only 22) [from her web site]:

Swim for Water: Became first person to swim the entire length of 325 mile Allegheny River, averaging 12-15 miles a day, with my longest distance swimming +22 miles in a day
Big Ride Across America: Cycled 3,300 miles across the United States from Seattle to D.C., averaging 85 miles a day for forty days
Desert Run: Ran 150 miles across the Mojave and Colorado Desert, solo and self-supported
Half Ironman Triathlon: First in age group (1.2 mi swim, 56 mi bike, 13.1 mi run)
Cycled over 1,000 miles of solo bike tours within the United States, with my longest distance cycling +230 miles in a day
Oxfam Trail Run: Completed 62-mile ultra marathon in Melbourne, Australia


And through all that she raised money for American Lung Association, Oxfam, and the Blue Planet Run Foundation.

Crazy and Humble. It was really cool to meet her. And motivating (although not for my running numbers -- yet).

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bomb Suit Mile

In what-I-do-isn't-that-difficult-compared-to-______ news, I read about this ridiculous mile run in the February edition of Men's Journal and thought it should be mentioned: Explosive Miler

The risk of getting blown up everyday is enough for most, but not this guy. Staff Sgt. Jeremy Herbert also runs a mile in under 10 minutes in 105 degree heat while wearing a suit that weighs 80 pounds. Pretty sick.

More details on the official USMC site:

under where?

I bought new running shorts yesterday at the Nike Outlet. I waltzed in and picked up a pair of their wildly popular shorts. Seriously, one out three girls at the gym are wearing these in different colors. Now I can look cool out there racking up the miles.

Turns out these little beauties have a secret that set off a whole chain reaction of internet searches. You see, I bought the shorts without trying them on. I know what size I wear, why bother. Then, I got home, went to go for a run and realized there were some underwear sewn into my shorts. I found this intriguing. For most of you avid runners, I'm sure you wouldn't even bat an eye at this. But for a girl who usually wears soccer shorts or whatever kind of shorts are on sale at the sporting goods store, this was a whole new experience for me.
So now I'm at an impasse... do I double up on the underwear? or just go commando sorta with the Nike underwear? or cut that part out? I checked the internet and everyone out there seems to be just as conflicted as me. Self magazine doesn't know. This girl's blog doesn't know. And so I ask you, readers of this blog, what do you do with the built-in underwear?
Oh, and side note, I was so distracted by the sewn-in skivvies, I canceled my run yesterday.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I live for loopholes

I haven't contributed much to Rickman's blog in the last few months, but rereading my whopping three posts has made apparent to me the following: 1) Try as I might, I am not enjoying the Mile Challenge. 2) I am way behind. 3) I'm pretty sour about it.

A couple weeks ago, an acquaintance mentioned a month-long yoga challenge she'd started called 30 Days of Yoga. I told her (read: whined bitterly) about the Mile Challenge, and that's when it all became clear, so very clear. It's not that I don't like challenges, new experiences or even running... It's that when I think about having to keep up the same activity for three months, six months or a year, I want to run (heh) for the hills. Then yesterday while reading other participants' posts, I realized that we don't have to only run for this challenge. How did I miss this? I mean, how did I miss this?

So I'm finishing the Mile Challenge via monthly sub-challenges featuring activities that will hold my attention for 30 days. Rickman, I'm sorry, they may not always involve propelling my person over long distances (unless a pedometer will summate fencing lunges--are there any pedometer experts out there?), but I'll do my best to track energy expenditure and record mileage fairly. Archery centre points=100 miles each.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pin Cushions and Poop Colors

In an earlier post (2/2) about hot stone massage, I described various forms of pain and humiliation endured by yours truly since taking on the Mile Challenge. About a month later (3/1), I wrote about overcoming a running slump by taking my mile lumps in the morning. That was a mistake. Basking in personal pride proved to be too much temptation for the fate of lazy; I didn’t run again for three weeks. Damn.

So I’ve started up again. Luckily my legs seem to have retained earlier conditioning and I can walk--not limp--just fine. However, I have been experiencing killer headaches and neck stiffness. In addition to trying to train myself to loosen up my upper body while running (suggestions welcome), I thought, “Hey, an excuse to try a new recovery splurge!” Next up: electroacupuncture.

Long story short, electroacupunture means someone sticks needles in you and sends electrical currents into your tissues. (There are also a bunch of other Eastern medicine components that I don’t really understand but you can read about here.) Depending on the level of skill and experience of the practitioner, this could be heaven or torture, so I was a little nervous going into it…. and from the aromatherapy candles, tabletop waterfall and ambient music in her waiting room, I gather I’m not the only one.

The session begins with a preliminary assessment. You can keep your clothes on for this—it’s mostly chatting. Where is the pain, what is your lifestyle like, and most importantly, how will you be paying me? Then it gets a little personal, which doesn’t bother me but I know other people who most certainly would be bothered, so if you ever consider trying this, be prepared. These are questions like, “what color is your feces?” and “how many time in a week do you orgasm?” She also did a physical once-over, paying particular attention to my tongue, and determined that I’m more yang than yin. Remind me to look up what that means later.

Next I’m in a gown and laying face-down on a leather table with a face hole—much like a massage table, only with an electrostimulator attached to it. My practitioner tapped the points on my back, neck and shoulders where she would be inserting needles, gently pinched my skin and voila, I’m a pin cushion. I didn’t feel a thing. No pricks, no pains. Then she attached wires to the ends of the needles, turned a few dials, and I was an electrified pin cushion. That felt just like her tapping on my back as she’d done earlier, only a little harder and at all the points at the same. Then she left.

Now in the spirit of informative blogging, when I was alone I tried to see what was going on. Word to the wise: don’t. There were no mirrors or reflective surfaces in the room so I craned my neck to catch a glimpse, and it fucking (can I say fucking?) killed! The needles in my neck turned into searing little bastards (can I say bastards?) and I gasped, turned my head back around and apologized out loud to I-don’t-know-who… the electrostimulator? The needles? God? At any rate, if you want to see yourself with needles sticking out of your back, bring a hand mirror.

After a bit I started to relax… really relax. My back became very warm and I couldn’t feel where the needles were anymore. It just felt like my whole body was pulsating. Awhile later (there are also no clocks so I’m not sure how long it was exactly) the practitioner came in, removed the needles and told me to stay on the table for a few minutes until I “felt steady.” I didn’t understand that until I stood up. (Tip 3: Don’t wear heals.)

It’s been three days and I have run twice. I’m still struggling to not stiffen my shoulders on the treadmill, but so far I’m living large and headache-free. Did the electroacupunture have anything to do with it? Hell if I know. The research supporting and refuting the medical benefits of acupuncture as it relates to muscular tissue and pain is all over the place, but despite looming work deadlines and a less-rehabbed/more-regretted home renovation project, I’m feeling pretty darn chill.

It could be from the running.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Odd Mile Interactions

So today I had a couple of mile-related things to report. Nothing amazing, but some odd interactions all crammed in one day. The first I've had since this year began.

Out for a morning jog, some guy driving by me in the opposite direction asks something about whether I had seen a white car.  I don't see much when I run and if I did I'm sure I saw "a white car" at least 10 times in the 15 minutes I had been out there at that point.  I kept running.  He then yelled, "Hey man, get back here I'm talking to you." I did not obey.

Next, while I was riding along Detroit Ave. around W. 28th St. here in Cleveland a big guy in overalls asked if he could get a ride on my handlebars.  He looked like a more crazy version of Hillbilly Jim. I opted to continue my trip solo.

Then while out rowing tonight we also had a boat on boat collision which I've never been involved in before.  I was in an eight-man shell with only 6 of us rowing at the time (lucky) and we ran into a double. It was pretty close to really bad news.  We were over 3 miles back to the dock and up there without any sort of motorized support. We collided and the double almost flipped. They managed to stay upright (lucky) and the only injury was one of the guys in the other shell getting an oar to the back along with a little equipment damage.  He was able to row back and was just a sore (and I'm guessing soon to be bruised). It could have been much worse.

Oh, and after the collision a seagull took a crap on me.  Luckily I didn't get the full load, just a splattering on my back and shorts. Somehow it missed my head. Stupid gulls.

Warm weather sure livens up the miles. Yeehaaaa!

Note: My One Quarter Done post from the other day I misstated one of my ramblings.  I meant to say that Runner_Steph's miles done all via running is way more impressive than myself who is mixing it up with three different activities. Somehow I said exactly the opposite making me sound like a pompous ass. My editorial skills* failed me as "more difficult" should have been "less difficult". Apologies.

*questionable to begin with

Friday, April 2, 2010

Spring Has Sprung

With legitimately nice weather hitting Cleveland (temporarily I'm sure) I was able to get myself caught up in one of the categories I was behind in. I'm now on pace with a mile a day in both biking and rowing.

With riding to work and a couple of other destinations as well, I added 37.75 two-wheeled miles between Tuesday and Friday. My butt hurts. I also need a tune-up. My front derailleur isn't performing properly. Just in case you were wondering.

I also got some rowing in. On the water rather than on an erg. The first time since October. I felt a little rusty, but it was still pretty sweet to be out in the fresh air rather than in a cement block room. Speaking of, if anybody is interested learning to row, registration has opened. See the WRRA site for more info: WRRA Summer Rowing League.  Or you could contact me directly I suppose.

While on pace in biking and rowing, running seems to be my nemesis since January. Sunday I'm going to get back on the running bandwagon. I've gotta get back on pace and get geared up for some Warrior Dash action. Hey! An additional day has been added to the Midwest Dash.

One Quarter Down

I figured I would post some totals so the non-participants can see where everybody stands as we pass the quarter year mark.

The numbers can be a little deceptive or at least not very conducive for comparison as different people are doing different or multiple activities. For instance, I'm at 266 total miles, but that's 104.75 miles of biking, 63.75 of running and 97.50 of rowing. Totally different and more difficult (at least in my mind) than the 239.49 miles that Runner_Steph has logged that is all running.

So, that said here are the current stats (Note: it's a personal challenge and not a competition, but feel free to mock Mike's 3 total miles anyway):
Skulley: 275.38
Berto: 272
Bill: 266
Runner_Steph: 239.49
Noonan: 192.55
Tedd: 164.5
Gav: 124
Speedy: 117.06
PKNY: 84.6
Mary: 80
Lanza: 61.1
Vicki: 55.5
Andy: 48
SMSA: 38.9
Carly: 34
The Runs: 32.2
Gapster: 31.8
Bette: 27.75
Jess: 27
Stacie: 22.5
Schwabie: 18.5
Killer: 18
TRussell: 14
G: 9.23
Krista: 5.5
mike: 3
JJ: 1
johnnyontherun: 1

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Latest

Seriously! This blog is lacking. Cranking out miles just doesn't make for the fodder that stuffing bacon into your face does.

A week or so ago I ventured to NYC to watch Mile Challenge participant, Alberto run in the NYC Half Marathon.  Somehow, despite having a plan of where to cross paths that Sunday morning we still didn't see Alberto run by.  Three of us didn't see him and he didn't see us.  To the right you'll see a photo of runners coming down the west side of Manhattan. Make as if Alberto is in there somewhere.

Thanks to Alberto's training for this half and whatever else he's up to, he only has 93 miles to go before year's end.  He can pretty much run a mile every 3 days and be good for accomplishing the goal.  And that's why we call him "jerk."

Personally, I'm keeping pace with my rowing miles, but my biking and running are behind. The weather is getting nicer though so I have a plan to get myself back in the game. But will it work? We'll have to wait and find out.

Oh, and the previous post about ice cream?  Andy isn't messing around.  He's gone beyond vanilla and I've now sampled/given feedback on 3 different flavors thus far (I may have missed out on one).  Ice cream probably isn't really conducive to Mile Challenging, but such is life I guess.

Hopefully this thing will be updated with a bit more frequency now that the weather is starting to cooperate.  I know some of us Clevelanders have soccer season starting, the Warrior Dash is sneaking up, the ice is off the water for us rowers and there has even been talk of a Cleveland to Akron bike ride.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Running Sucks, Ice Cream Rules

For those of you who don't know, I'm starting a new business. The business of Ice Cream. I have bought myself an ice cream maker and made a pretty fantastic batch of vanilla last week. My first attempt at chocolate is in the freezer as we speak.

How's this relate to running? Like so: I was set to run two miles yesterday. Only two miles. Shouldn't take more than 20 minutes. One mile in, I said to myself, "This sucks, I'd rather be making ice cream." So I stopped, and walked in my house, and made some ice cream.

What's the point? This: I care more about ice cream than running.

Today, however, I was waiting for the ice cream to freeze, and my roommate said she was going to the YMCA (this is the same roommate who I am going to have the gymnastic challenge with on the first day of summer). I figured I'd join her, since all the ice cream was made. I got in a good three miles, which I was very happy with. However, she had a much better story.

Apparently there is a chronic ass-starer at the Y. He'll just walk into the room with all the ellipticals, walk to the back, stare at some ass, then walk out. He also walks over to the exercise room (the one where they have the classes and everything) and just stands in the door, checking some ass. I guess he does this without any sort of apology. Just stands there, scoping ass. I've never seen this happen but my roommie said she sees it pretty much every time she's there.

Oh he's also got a face tattoo.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Nothing Really. Oh, and Wolves.

So we're sort of lacking in the content on the ol' Mile Challenge blog as of late.  Sadly I don't have much to add but I figure I should get something on here.

I've temporarily given up on the Five Fingers and have been pounding the pavement in my regular Brooks Glycerins. The cold and the wet was making for numb feet which makes for easing into the Five Fingers unenjoyable. So my plan is to wait for some consistent temperatures of over 45 (soon?) and then start up the barefoot style again. In the meantime I'll try getting my leg muscles up to amateur competition specs.

Also, if you are heading for Alaska, keep an eye out for wolves.  Apparently they don't take kindly to runners:  Alaskan Teacher Mauled To Death By Pack Of Wolves While Out Jogging


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Knees Pleased

Everyone is always saying that "running kills your knees" and "running is so bad for you" and other such phrases, but I was just reading this article in the Montreal Gazette about a study from our friends at Stanford University that seems to say otherwise.

Take that, nay sayers!

Monday, March 1, 2010


What I am not: a runner. What I am definitely not: a morning person. So imagine my surprise to discover what I am: a morning runner.

After days (okay, weeks) of failing to accommodate the Mile Challenge into my evening schedule, I decided to try my hand at an early morning routine. For me, that’s at about 8 o’clock… and as long as my gym clothes, running shoes, water bottle and ipod are laid out next to my bed so there is very little time to change my mind in the morning, I seem to stick to it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I enjoy it—it’s still the same miserable experience that running’s always been for me—but damn if I don’t feel great for the rest of the day. Also, I seem to be a better runner in the morning… stronger, faster and generally less yawny. I’ve looked for scientific support for exercising at a certain time of day (not much that’s conclusive—and how studies that include 11 participants get funding is beyond me). But according to this short yet comprehensive synopsis, what little research is available points to late afternoon as optimal time for exercise.

I don’t care. I’ve run more often in the last week than I have since starting the challenge so I’m sticking to this new crack-of-dawn program I’ve begun.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Half at the Hamptons (NH)

I'm not one for words, but wanted to share...

The Place: Hampton Beach, NH
Who: Definitely Not Me, I was a spectator supporting sister-in-law and fellow Mile Challenge participant, Skulley.
The reason for this post: Post a picture of a barefoot runner.

As we drove from place to place to cheer Skulley on, we noticed two runners running this event barefoot and several others wearing the Five Fingers. It was pretty cold, but with the wind from the Atlantic it was freezing. Most of the people wearing the Five Fingers appeared to run with no problems. The first guy we saw running barefoot, ran like a champ, but the guy we saw at the 11th mile mark did not look too happy. Anyways here's a picture of his feet at the 11 mile mark.

Oh and by the way, congratulations Skulley on a run well done. Much respect! Good luck at the Boston Marathon!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Modern Art PEE-ces

Not that this really pertains to miles at all (other than walking I guess) but I found something quirky enough that might be worth mentioning.  It's not like anybody is really blogging as of late anyway so I don't exactly have to worry about stealing anybody's blogging thunder.  But sorry for swaying from the Challenge theme for a moment nevertheless.

So here it is ... an art show coming up in Lakewood, OH called PEE-ces of Art.  Check it out.  Dog pee photos!  Take that, MoMA!!

It's for a good cause. And it actually is pretty artistic if you look at them for a bit.

I saw these designs on the sidewalk numerous times awhile back and while eye-catching, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was creating them.  Then I found the source -- Tucker peeing while walking. Once I solved that mystery I certainly didn't think, "I should photograph that and organize an art show" but I guess that's why I'm not an artist. Luckily Tucker's owners are. Or at least they have an artistic eye.

Tucker was even interviewed in the paper. That's an interview and an art show which is more than I can say for any of us thus far this year.

So check it out if you desire. 

And no, I'm not endorsing peeing while doing the Mile Challenge, even if you do photograph the results.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Like A Modern, Racing Attila the Hun

If I asked you, "What are some of the best things in this world?" do you suppose you'd answer with one of more of the following?:  beer, mud, challenges, fire, funny hats, turkey legs, T-shirts, barbed wire, music

I'm guessing you would.

Well, a few of us Cleveland metropolitan area milers signed up for an event that has all of those things and more.  An event that Andy predicted to become "the best day of my life" ... It's the Warrior Dash.

We're signed up for the 6pm slot at the Joliet, IL battleground.  Joliet! Location of the first Dairy Queen, birthplace of Mike Alstott and Adrianne Curry and hometown of Doug Pinnick, Andy Dick and Lionel Richie (during their high school years).  Wait, did I just say "battleground" back there? Yes!!

Any of you located in the Midwest or located elsewhere but desiring a visit to Cleveland/Joliet, feel free to join (but do it quick as we're down to the last available time slot). There are other locations too so feel free to try a non-Joliet location and we can compare notes afterwards.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to begin training. Only 122 days left.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I found out recently that former co-worker, friend and participant in both the Bacon and Mile Challenges will be moving a bit closer to me.  Sometime this summer Meg will be blazing a trail from Missouri to Ohio.  And not just to visit, but to actually live.

She's not going to be living in Cleveland so it's not quite as awesome as it could be, but she'll be just a two and a half hour drive away from Cleveland so hanging out is certainly a possibility. 

Better yet, we could plan a meeting in the middle and if we both run to the meeting point, according to Google maps we'd each tally ourselves 276 round-trip miles.  Then again, we could probably just drive and hang out and be way less sweaty and tired.  But it's good to leave the options open in this year of the mile.

Hurry up and get packed and moved, Meg. Ditch that "Show Me" routine you've got going and get "Buckeye" trendy. (whatever that might mean). 

And while you're at it perhaps you should fill this blog up with some of your witty banter.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere ...

I (and apparently everyone else) have nothing as of late. In an effort to not make for a totally lame blog, here's another blog of a gal from Ohio at the halfway point of a challenge she's on:

She's working on almost 7 times the miles we are aiming for in about a quarter of the time (if my math is somewhat accurate).

Row, Katie! Row!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

weighing in on the shoes/no shoes debate

Wednesday mornings are usually my day off from the gym, but today when I woke up, I decided I needed to run a few miles because I am way behind on this mile challenge. So instead of driving out to the gym, I went downstairs to use the "fitness center" in my apartment building. And by fitness center, I mean a 10x15 foot room that has a giant support beam in the middle and contains an old elliptical, bike, treadmill, and two rusty 5-pound plates.

So I hopped on the treadmill and took off at a nice pace until a few minutes in when my music player ran out of juice. Then I was just trudging along in silence staring at the walls and the seconds seeming to tick backwards on the treadmill. I couldn't get over how boring it was. And then I started thinking about running, and this mile challenge, and this blog, and running barefoot, and it hit me. Now was the perfect time to try running without shoes. Of course, like an idiot, I looked around to make sure no one was watching before I took off my socks and shoes and started running again.

Now, as a kid I grew up in the country. We had acres of land and in the summer when school was out, after breakfast my mom would basically kick my brothers and I out of the house. She'd make some sandwiches that we ate outside for lunch and if you were thirsty you took a drink out of the garden hose, but my days were mainly filled running around the yard and arguing over the governing rules of ghost runners. (Honestly, if I have a ghost runner on second, and hit a double out to center field, that ghost runner would have made it all the way home - only an idiot stops at third.) All the running around the yard was normally done barefoot and by dinnertime our feet were all grass stained. I always thought I was a faster runner without shoes. And never once did I complain of knee pain or shin splints.

There's a totally different feel to running that way - and today reminded me of being a kid again. Honestly, it made running almost fun. That is, until it started to hurt. The treadmill belt wasn't exactly smooth, so after a while it felt like I was belt-sanding my toes. Between that and my lack of tunes, I stopped after only two miles, but I think barefoot running has its merits.

Anyway, long story long, I like running without shoes.

Rockin' and Runnin'

I finally remembered the name of a movie I saw awhile back that pertains to running. Sort of.  It's called Rock & Roll Superhero.  The movie is OK.  Not an award winner, but it's well done, fairly interesting and entertaining enough for a lazy weekend viewing.

Rock & Rock Superhero is really about this guy who is trying to get himself a job/life as a rockstar.  I'm not a rockstar success expert, but I know enough to know that he pretty much goes about everything in the wrong way.  Watching it all go down is pretty cringe-inducing.

The running part comes into play because this wanna be rockstar runs at least a mile everyday.  When the movie was being filmed he was coming up on 7 years.  At least a mile, every single day for 7 years.  I made it 31 days and I can safely say that even that short amount of time isn't easy.  I can't imagine a year.  Or 5.  Or more. 

And that's why nobody has made a documentary about me.

Here's the trailer if you care:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Apparently “the Big Guns” is a bag of rocks.

According to The Man's most recent report, ten percent of the American labor force is unemployed. In my circle, comprised mainly of writers, photographers, designers and videographers who work in or with the NP sector, that percentage seems laughably low.

So now, more than ever, it is important to appear professional—or at least sober—in the workplace. This is not easy if you’re unable to shuffle from your office to the restroom without abruptly falling into the wall, or if getting out of your chair requires loud grunting and clinging to the desk for support. Or if, for instance, the Chief Executive Officer nudges your foot under the table to discreetly get your attention during a meeting, setting off a spastic spectacle of yelps and groans. For instance.

I've enjoyed reading the Mile Challenge blog, but I will leave the discussion on the merits of running outside, or running barefoot, or running outside barefoot, to others. I’m much more interested in learning about recovery techniques before I lose my job.

On Sunday, I staggered Samara-style to the spa for some massage magic. Jane-the-therapist determined her main area of concentration would be my legs and hips and that she’d pull out the big guns—not a phrase I was expecting in a den of Zen.

With origins primarily in Native American and Hawaiian cultures and popularized by a New Age hippie named Mary, hot stone therapy has become an increasingly popular offering in massage studios. Though I’d heard of the technique and seen photos of oiled up chicks with trails of river rocks lining their spines, I’d never experienced it myself. But on this particular afternoon, trembling not from Chicago’s winter temperatures but with pure pain, I was ready to try anything. And I am here to tell you folks, it was nice. Very nice.

As it turns out, hot stone therapy is essentially a deep tissue massage during which the therapist presses the stones into your muscles with the heel of her palm as she moves over your body. The result is a much more intense rub, though the heat of the rock relieves the discomfort that's typical with deep tissue manipulation. By the end of the session, I had smushy muscles and was walking pain-free. Will it last? Time will tell. There is little consistent scientific evidence supporting significant benefits of massage therapy as it relates to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (which is fancy speak for “pain”), but I felt a heck of a lot better today than I have in the last two weeks.

Perhaps I won’t need to post my resume after all.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Fingers As Toes

So I did it.  I rolled out to visit the friendly Appalachian Outfitters and bought a pair of FiveFingers Sprint.  Should that be Sprints?  I don't know how the plural works in this situation.  Anyway, I'm going to have to ease my feet and legs into dealing with this pseudo-barefoot running.  So says the interweb AND the guy who sold them to me.  I guess the good plan is to run about a quarter of a mile and then build a little at a time. Patience.  Yuck.

So I took a little run down the street and back as a test drive after my regular sneaker mile.  These things definitely make you run differently.  It's like wearing nothing at all, or at least as close to nothing at all as I've experienced at least. I think it should be pretty fun once I build up to normal distances.  Hopefully.

One thing I noticed is that 19 degrees doesn't really mix well with FiveFingers.  But then again, neither does anything else so I'll let that slide.

Feast your eyes on my confused feet:

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Flip Side

No shoes. Shoes. No Shoes. Shoes. Which is it, world?

Right after I whipped up that last post about barefoot being awesome I received an e-mail from Road Runner Sports from the "Chief Runner" saying that running around with no shoes on isn't the greatest idea in the world:

Rocks.  Glass.  Got it.

Alright, so minimalist it is. No barefeetness.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

There's More Science To Running Than I Ever Would Have Guessed

Remember back in December when I posted this video?  Well, thanks to the Cleveland Public Library I've been reading the book written by that guy.  It's pretty good. Entertaining, factual and motivational.  It makes me want to run.  Although the stories of ultra distances might be giving me false ideas that I can just go out and run through the night and beyond.  It makes it sound so easy.

Anywho, one of the big topics of the book is human evolution/running style and the conclusion seems to be that less is more in the realm of footwear. There's even science behind it, not just crazy talk from some hippie. Science!!

I’ve already been intrigued with the Vibram FiveFingers as it is, but now after finishing this book, and reading this latest study by some braniacs at Harvard I’m really thinking maybe I should change my running style and give the barefoot (but more likely the FiveFinger) style a try.

Of course the nearest seller of the FiveFingers is a 35 minute drive away.  I guess if I had ultra runner skills this wouldn't be a big deal as I would just run there, but I'm not.  And I'm not a huge fan of driving (most days) either.  However, I’m going to have to see if I can get there and give this a try.  I’ll report back if I accomplish anything.

In the meantime, since I’m sure you didn’t want to read any of the articles or studies I linked to above, here’s a video summing it up for you.  It's sort of like reading but with fewer letters to get in the way: 

PS If anybody wants to come witness Andy's challenge you are welcome. And welcome to join him on his quest I imagine. The date is February 20, 2010. You are invited to stay at my apartment. Or Andy's.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I started another challenge blog

Hey everybody.

I set myself up with another challenge, and I started another blog about it. If you want to follow along, I'd be thrilled.

The address is was too long.

Friday, January 22, 2010


I don't really feel any smarter or memory-enhanced since starting this Mile Challenge, but scientists claim that I should:  Jogging can improve memory: Study*

Perhaps it's the lack of receiving sugar pellet rewards for my hard work or the fact that I'm not a British rodent running in a wheel that makes the difference.

*Mark me down for an editorial catch in that story -- One reference of  "grey matter" and one of "gray matter".  Hey, maybe my memory is improving afterall!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My First Run (Outside)

Sit down, grab a tasty beverage of your choice, and read this little tale I have to spin about running outside.

I did some math yesterday and figured out that if I run two miles every day this week, until Friday, I'll be caught up on my mileage for the year. After that it's a mile a day. Clear sailing. I went to the gym around 6:45, hoping to bust out a quick two miles and have plenty of time to come home, make myself a Jack and Coke, pop in Season 3 of lost, eat some left over pizza, and have one hell of a night.

Turns out the fates are against me. When I got to the gym, the parking lot was absolutely full. Figuring there was no chance of getting on a treadmill, I decided to come home, put on some pants and a hoodie, and take it to the streets. Only problem is, I only know a three mile loop from my house, and I am so incredibly lazy that I was not interested in what two miles would be. "Screw it," I thought. "I'll bust out a quick three and call it a night."

So I'm running outside, in the snow, and around 1.25 miles a little piece of crap (can I say "crap"?) dog comes running and biting at my heals. And when I say piece of crap dog, I mean that this dog was not much larger than a piece of crap. I quickly considered my options, and decided that, having already kicked a cat today (that's a different story entirely), it would be in my best interest, as far as karma is concerned, to not increase my hours-awake-to-animal-kicking ratio. I had to speed up my pace considerably.

After pulling a Usain Bolt on this dog, I hear someone on a front porch yelling, "Hey, get away from my dog!" I briefly turned around to see a woman yelling in my direction, and the little turd dog running back towards his/her (I wasn't sure of its gender and I didn't stop to check) house.

Now, I know when most people post on this blog -- and by "most people" I mean Bill -- it's usually some sort of advice or legitimate concern. This post, however, is a warning. To the lady who yelled at me from her porch: I ran my 3 miles in about 20 minutes today. My highschool personal record was 18:47. There is a solid chance that, over the course of this year, I will come close to beating that record. If I am on pace to set a new lifetime PR, and your dog gets in my way, I will punt it.

That's a promise.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Nutrition Assistance

In case anybody is finding all of these miles to be leaving you lacking in energy and you think an increase in calories and/or protein would do you a favor, you may want to roll out to Cleveland for a night at Buckeye Beer Engine.  Their ‘Wildly Improbable’ Burger of the Month can get you those needed calories in a neat, face-stuffing package.

This is only available in January so you best get moving if you want some of this goodness:

January's ‘Wildly Improbable’ Burger of the Month 
Two eight ounce beef patties lovingly placed between three grilled cheese sandwiches. The grilled cheeses are made with bacon and tomato. Total damage: 1 pound of beef, three pieces of bacon, six slices of cheese, and six slices of bread, cooked in butter. $18.00

If you're not following, from the bottom up, it's grilled cheese (w/bacon & tomato), 1/2 pound burger, grilled cheese (w/bacon & tomato), 1/2 pound burger, grilled cheese (w/bacon & tomato).  Oh, and that comes with a fried pickle and your choice of fries or chips.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Face Fashion

Now that I'm 11 cold weather days into this year I've found that it's not too hard to brave whatever is out there.  It's not always fun, and it's certainly difficult to motivate, but it's less than 10 minutes of outside time, so once out the door it's all OK.

The one thing about the cold that tends to be the worst for me is the breathing of the cold air.  It hurts.  Cold in the nose, in the throat and in the lungs themselves.  Once your body warms up it's not such an issue but the first couple of minutes when your breathing rate and intensity picks up, that air is harsh. It's like breathing needles.

And while layers are easy to throw on the rest of my body, the mouth/nose aren't always that way.  Any tops that have high necks never really go up high enough to cover my mouth and I don't really like scarves or turtlenecks.  Material that is too thick makes it difficult to breath and just puts your own breath vapor all over your face.

So what then?

I tried using a Buff (actually a Buff imposter) and that seems to be just the thing I need. It's just enough to filter the cold, yet not so thick to be restricting or gross and wet.  The one problem I have is it makes me feel like a traitor.  I hear you thinking "How can a weird stretchy band = traitor?"

Well, it's the color scheme.  You see, I got it at a freezing cold Cleveland Browns/Pittsburgh Steelers game as a promo and it's Browns colors with small Browns helmets on one side and a helmet-looking stripe on the other.  I live in Cleveland so you'd think this would be a good thing, but I'm a Steelers fan.

I'm not psychotic in the rivalry rules department so I'm overlooking it, but wearing this thing as a Steelers fan is probably a jailable offense in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and most towns in between.  Plus I look like I'm in disguise for some purse snatching (note included pre-run photo). But I guess that's another issue altogether.

Either way, this Buff idea is pretty great if you need some cold air defense.  I'd just recommend thinking the color/design situation through first -- even if it is free.