Friday, December 30, 2011

I Gave In or Really Cool News

Date: 12/28/11
Route:  Library Loop
Distance: 2.02 Miles
Pace: 9:58/Mile
Running Temp: 38 degrees

Another balmy night in Metro Detroit. I received a nice New Balance NBx Windblocker Jacket for Christmas, and I am wondering if I will ever get a chance to use it. Only 3 out of the next 10 days even have highs that are below freezing. My interpretation of the recent weather trend here in Detroit:

I am sure The Wife would disagree. She is originally from Texas, so her interpretation of the recent weather is as follows:

I did have a nice short run to the library to drop off some (past due) stuff today. I am really getting excited for the 5K I have on Saturday. It will be my first race since the Detroit Half.  It should be fun because it will be in interesting course on Belle Isle and also I should have some friends to pace off of.

In other news and to finally relate to the title of this blog, I ordered a Garmin Forerunner 405 yesterday through Amazon. There were several mixed reviews out there, but most of the negative ones seemed to be by people who would get frustrated by the touch bezel. It mostly seemed that they did not take the time to figure out how to lock it while running. Hopefully I will be over to overcome this technical issue. I should receive this on the 30th and the first run will be the 5k on New Year's Eve. I feel excited about having this tool, but also kind of lame because having one of these watches is like giving in to buy an Ipad. Full report soon. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In The Middle of the Holiday Madness

Date: 12/23/11
Route:  Hines Park 6 Miler
Distance: 6.41 Miles
Pace: 10:31/Mile
Running Temp: 27 (First run of the season not in shorts)

 Date: 12/26/11
Route:  Reverse Hines Park 4 Miler to meet CE and Wife at a Park
Distance: 2.71 Miles
Pace: 9.43/mile
Running Temp: 45 (Back to shorts)

Amongst the madness of the holiday scheduling, I was hoping to cram in a couple of runs with my good friend and dislocated Michigander, Rosiecat. Somehow she has sauntered off to the alluring warmth of Texas for the past few years, so I was hoping to reintroduce her to some chilly Michigan runs while she was in town for the holidays.

We had a chance to run on the 23rd and the weather lived up the the almost Christmas expectations I had laid out. Regrettably, I put on pants for the first time this season, as the temp was about 27 degrees, a little below 20 with wind chill. After getting all geared up we were out the door and flying down into Hines Park. It is amazing how nice it is to have some conversation while running.  If you want a brief primer, check out my description of running conversations here. It was perfect winter weather for a run, and about halfway though, the sun came out and we were able to amble by some great scenery together with the sun shining and conversation flowing.

We even ran a little farther then promised, coming in at 6.41 miles, running part of what is usually my cool down. I think when it is 27 you do not want to have a .75 mile cool down. I have a feeling in January, my cooldown is going to be laps in my basement.

On the day after Christmas, we had a chance to do a short run, meeting up with CE and The Wife at a park. They decided to take CE's shiny new Radio Flyer (thanks Grandma and Grandpa D.) out for a spin since the weather was so nice. It was back in shorts for me, no gloves, with the temp being so high. Rosie being the Olympic sprinter that she is, set a bristling pace of 9:43 a mile and proceeded to actually be able to carry a conversation at this speed. I am pretty sure I just mumbled "yup" between gasping for breath.

It was really fun to meet up with CE and The Wife at the park, kind of gives you motivation to run. So thanks to Rosie for putting up with my weird route running and mumbling conversation. I promise to eventually get down to Texas to run with you.....just not in July,.

There was also much rejoicing as JD received 22 GU's for Christmas (mmmmmmmm....glucose polymers), a couple of pair of excellent running socks, a sexy New Balance cold weather jacket (no need really, apparently Michigan is going to have a winter like Tennessee or something), and a sweet water bottle. Full equipment reports to follow after extensive field testing.

I also have a race coming up, the Belle Isle New Years Eve 5k, my last one of 2011, or my first one of 2012, depending on how you look at it. I should be running with some friends, so I am sure a good time will be had by all,. Lots of exciting things going on!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

If You Don't Like the Weather, Go for a 20 Minute Run

Date: 12/15/11
Route:  Some Funky Loop that came to 2.12 miles because of a train
Distance: 2.12 Miles
Pace: 10:08/Mile
Running Temp: Started at 42 (wind chill of 39) ended at (34 wind chill 22)
Wind Speed 25 to 44 mph

All day long, I had longingly gazed out my office window into the giant parking lot beyond. I knew that I would be running today, and with injury and sickness, it had been far to long since I had run last. The temperature outside had been teasing me all day. When I went into work it was 57 degrees outside, in mid-December, in Michigan. There was a time when I came out of the office at lunch, and the sun had broken through the clouds, and I just stood there, arms spread wide, soaking up the sunshine. My mind thought it was May.

As I mentioned, both a bout of sore throat, with all requisite additional symptoms and a small injury had combined to seriously hamper the running the past week.  A few weeks back, I am pretty sure I strained my left lower abdomen while sneezing (my sneezes are the ones they talk about in chaos theory.) I had continued to run, because really it was just a minor pain, but it never actually healed. When I realized that I probably should let it rest, I promptly got sick, so it was actually good timing. The ab muscle had not hurt at all in two days though, and when I saw the weather this morning, I was raring to go.

When getting dressed for the run, I was still focused on the days temperature from earlier. I knew the temp was supposed to drop when a new front came in, but it was still relatively nice when I arrived at home. I had on just shorts and a long sleeve tech shirt when I bounded out the door. I turned the corner from behind our house and was hit with a very strong wind. I promptly went back inside and grabbed my throwaway gloves and my Dri-Fit pullover. I figured I would have no problem with the run temp with that gear.

So I started to run into Downtown Plymouth, and I kid you not, I am running into a wall of wind. I have to lean forward just to keep moving. I figured this was a bad sign as I was running west, right where any new weather would come from. All of sudden the wind got cold. It went from a wind you did not notice except for force to a freezing, bitter wind that ate through clothing. My ears started burning as I kept running. As I arrived in Plymouth (despite a detour to keep running with a train blocking my way), I was frigid. The temp had dropped noticeably and there was a light SNOW coming down. I did not even have on my SmartWool headband. I must have looked like a fool to people driving by.

To make matters worse, I had stepped in a huge puddle and my left foot was soaking wet. Every time I took a stride the wind would cut through the wet shoe and freeze my foot. I hightailed it home as fast as I could muster, at least this time the wind was at my back. When I arrived home I checked the temp, and it had dropped 8 degrees, and 17 with windchill. Of course it was my luck that the return to winter had to happen while I was running. I was running in wind steady at 25mph with gusts over 45. The wind had knocked power out a few towns over.

Has anyone out there ever had the weather change that much on them in a  20 minute run? I am up for hearing some crazy weather stories.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

6 Miles, Drizzle, and a Man Crazier Then I

Date: 12/04/11
Route:  Hines Park 6 Miler
Distance: 6 Miles
Pace: 10:31/Mile
Running Temp: 46
Song I could not get out of my head: "Lose Yourself" by Selected of God Choir (orig. Eminem)

I somehow drag myself, and I mean drag myself away from my nice warm cozy bed (napping was calling to me again), and convince my body to go out for 6 miles. For December, it was a relatively balmy 46 degrees outside. The only problem was that it was drizzling out. Not a steady rain, but enough that if I were going to be outside for an hour I WAS going to get wet. I had on long sleeves and a pair of those flimsy throw away gloves, but other then that just normal running gear. I thought I was being hardcore....46 and rainy, that makes me some kind of ancient warrior or something...right?

So as I am cruising along in Hines Park, being my warrior self by deftly dodging around the puddles, and starting to get the drip drip of freezing water running off my hair onto my neck, I hear a noise. I turn over my shoulder, to see someone running, and I mean really running, not my nice jogging pace. He is quickly gaining on me, and I kid you not, he has on those tiny running shorts and a tank top. This guy looks like he just finished a Tough Mudder, and decided a nice 10 miler would be a good cool down. He had mud caked up his legs as he flew past me. Mumbling a "hi" as he deftly went around me and THROUGH a giant puddle. He was smiling the entire time.

It made me happy to see someone out enjoying the warmth, it is really not often that you get 46 degrees in December here in the Mitten. By the end of the run, I was very wet, and also was smiling. I am looking forward to running outside this winter, it should be a challenge, but rewarding in its own right. I can't wait to run in a snowstorm!

Check out the video above, it is a really sweet remake of an iconic Detroit song.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Mule

Date: 12/01/11
Route:  Library Loop
Distance: 2.5 Miles
Pace: 10:05/Mile
Running Temp: 34, Wind 7mph, Wind Chill of 28.

So The Wife calls me at work, as usual (no milk requests here), and we suddenly remember that we have something past due at the library. I am pretty sure we always have SOMETHING past due at the library, we get special perks because of the amount of fines we pay, just kidding,.....kind of.  I also was planning on running, so in The Wife's infinite wisdom she suggested I run to the library and return the item in question. The obviousness of this idea hits me snack in the mid brain, The Wife is VERY smart. I get be a mule!

While CE is getting read books before bed, I get all ready for my run. For my Southern friends, please note that I am wearing shorts in the picture below. That is accurate, I really don't wear running pants until it gets BELOW freezing. Last I checked 34 degrees is over freezing, so shorts it was.I did put on gloves before running, but other then that, the picture below reflects accurately what I wore on the run.

Yes, that is CE wondering why the heck Dad is disrupting the night time routine to get his picture taken. 

So I put the overdue item in the bag, sling it on my back and jog on over to the Plymouth Library downtown.While I get some funny looks walking around the library, the trip is a resounding success. Not only did I drop off the item in question, I also obtained 3 new items:

1."One Kind Favor" CD by B.B. King
2."Chiefs" A documentary about a Native American HS basketball team and their quest to win a state championship.
3. "Robopocalypse" a book by Daniel H. Wilson

I will make sure to post full reviews of these items as I finish them. It is just like me to return one thing to the library and get out three more. I also have been avoiding telling you the item that was late, as to not embarass The Wife and I, but I suppose I will just admit our dorkiness..... it was Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 1. We ARE that dorky.

Until next time, live long and prosper.