Sunday, November 20, 2011

To Nap or Not to Nap

Date: 11/20/11
Route:  Hines Park 4 Miler
Distance: 4 Miles
Pace: 9:51/mile
Song that got me started: "He Has Made Me Glad" by Insyderz
Song that got me through the wall: "The Wanting Comes in Waves" by The Decemberists
Song that brought me home: "White Room" by Cream

Life with a toddler can be exhausting. As I am sure that many of you out there can remember form your own experiences, there is not much time for R & R. All week I had planned on running a nice long run on Saturday. I was planning on doing 8 miles. Alas, that was not to be.

On the weekend, my long runs usually take place when CE is sleeping. This is make sure that The Wife is not saddled with solo care just so I can take a jog. So we put CE down to nap, and I knew The Wife was going to take a nap. I swear I laid down on the bed to just rest for a few minutes. Of course I wake up an hour later, in that semi-concuss, groggily happy. state. I think it is true that afternoon naps are one of life's great pleasures, and this one had all the qualities of a great one. I felt like I had stolen rest from the day.

I did drag myself out of bed, which is really hard when your wife is all snuggled up in the bed, and had a rather successful 4 mile run. I am really digging on that second song in my list by the Decemberists, fun times there. I am pretty sure I repeated it 4 times. Check them out.

But the lesson here is: Carpe Nap! (nap is not a real Latin word).  Take advantage of those moments that life decides to turn runs into naps, for they are far to fleeting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Working on my Night Moves or Creepy McCreepers

Date: 11/15/2011
Route: Hines Park 6 Miler (In the dark)
Distance: 5.5 Miles
Pace: 10:11/mile
Total Time: 56:05

With apologies to Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, I definitely was having some fun tonight. For some reason unbeknownst to me, I decided that tonight I would run my 6 mile route. This would not seem to be an odd choice on the surface. However, I am now running my entire weekday routes in the dark, so my usual plan is to stick to neighborhoods with streetlights....not tonight. Tonight I ventured into Hines Park, in the dark, and then promptly it got darker.

When I enter Hines Park, I run down a nice hill into the park, and it was very creepy to descend into darkness. Luckily I was running with my aforementioned LED headlamp, so it was not too bad. I was not going to run into a pothole or anything. I did have to make a minor route adjustment, as I quickly decided that I was not going to run on the two dirt trails that I usually run on this route, I was going to stick to the path.

As I got further and further into the park I started to get creeped out. There was not a person around, and really the only sound is your breathing and the sound of your feet hitting the path. The only light is your headlamp, pushing back the darkness you push forward. I almost bailed on the entire idea and headed out of the park but something made me keep going.

Around mile 1.5 I started to notice that I was having a harder time seeing the path. At first I thought something must be different, maybe it was just darker in this section because it is heavily wooded, or maybe my eyes were adjusting to the darkness. The truth of the matter was that darkness was closing in on me. My headlamp was dying. I was too far into the run to leave the park, at this point turning around would take just as much time as proceeding on my run. So I turned off my light and ran in the darkness.

I started out totally and absolutely scared. Americans are not used to being in total darkness. I cannot even claim that, because by the virtue of being in a major metropolitan area, there was a faint glow all around the park above the trees. But still, this was much darker then I was used to or comfortable in. I was also approaching a highway underpass that was already my biggest concern. I mean highway underpasses are where hobos and drug dealers sleep, right?  

What I thought I was running by

What I actually ran by

BLOG INTERUPTION--- Quick check of my zipcode on (watch out, there is a time sucker of a website) shows that there has been no murders in at least 10 years around here, and very very few assaults, guess I am statistically safe. ---RESUME BLOG

So I am not kidding you that adrenaline starts pumping through my system and I sprint, and I mean sprint through that underpass. Of course the sound of my loud footsteps plus the echoing of the cars going over on the highway above just freak me out more. I emerged on the far side panting and turned back to look at where I had just traveled. Of course there was nothing all.

As I proceed on my route, I start to embrace the darkness. My eyes adjust and it starts to dawn on me how amazing it is to run in the darkness; alone, with nothing but the stars, pavement and rhythm of your breathing to keep you company. It was actually very pleasant to finish out the park portion of my run. The only thing that bothered my is sometimes cars would come down the parkway the path is next to and momentarily blind me, so I started looking the other way when one approached. Other then that, a very peacefull, serene run, even if it was in the dark of night, with no light to guide the way.

Has anyone out there ever ran in the darkness like this? Any cool experiences to share?

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Said BRRRRRR... It's Cold In Here

Cheesy title attributed to this cheesy movie.

I live in the Detroit area, in the southeast corner of the "Mitten," as some of us affectionately call our state. And in case you are totally unfamiliar with global weather gets cold here. Now we are NOT Northern Canada here, if you ever want to feel good about your weather, just pull up Yellowknife, Northwestern Territories, Canada on That will make you feel better in a hurry (looking forward to an average high temp. this week of 12 degree F). But, alas we do get cold around here.

I plan on doing some long distance winter running this year and am currently on the lookout for a good running jacket. Currenlty I just have a Nike half-zip warmup jacket. Here are two candidates:

I really like this jacket for a couple of reasons. First is is cheaper then my other options, coming in at $129. New Balance is also a running company, so I figure that they know how to make running gear. It also has one of those handy pockets for an Ipod, and thumbholes. I also like the general design on this jacket. In classic running store style, my local shop only had these in large and smaller, because everyone who runs is 5'9" 127lbs apparently.  So I have not had an opportunity to try this one on.

This is actually a biking jacket that was recommended by a friendly salesperson at REI. He said that he knows some runners who work at their store who use the jacket for running. This jacket is great in the cold, it is usually work by people biking in the winter. REI is a great place to go get advice on outdoor gear, those people know their stuff, and not from training videos. I like the fact that there is a nice big back pocket and also thumb holes in the arms. I also have tried this jacket on, so that is a plus. The downside is that it is an "athletic fit," which means pretty skin tight. I usually do not like things to be clingy to me while running (long story about HS cross country uniforms). But this is not too tight. I also think I would be mistaken for a deer hunter in the jacket, but that is probably not a deal breaker.

So I don't really know which way I will go, but these two are the top candidates right now. Rest assured that I will give a full review if I decide to get either one. any opinions after reading the specs are greatly appreciated.


Friday, November 4, 2011

Motivation, or Lack Thereof

I have had a very hard time getting motivated since running the Detroit Half. I think that it is partly natural when training for a big event; there is always a let down afterwards. It is probably a good thing to let my body recovery as well. I have not been TOTALLY lazy, running a few times since the half, including a 6 miler last Saturday. I have a 5K that is coming up on New Years Eve, and that is my next race, so I have a few months to get motivated for that one. I think some external motivation may be needed...maybe something along these lines:

I think I would run VERY fast if I was the guy in that drawing.