November 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
This is another long-overdue post.
This summer, I took a CPR class that I surprisingly enjoyed.
Although at first, I thought I was going to have a panic attack in the middle of class & need medical attention myself. I was taking the class largely because I was going to be working with kids and the initial discussion started to freak me out a bit because I kept imagining have to give CPR to my own kids that was overwhelming.
Eventually, I relaxed a bit, largely due to the instructors, Tiffany & Katie of In-Pulse CPR. They combined a serious topic with a touch of humor that created a comfortable atmosphere. I’m one that never asks questions in a group setting but they made the class comfortable enough that I actually asked two questions.
But where they really excelled, I thought, was bringing their real-life experience–they both have worked as EMTs–to the class and telling us what to really expect if we need to do CPR. For example, Katie told about the first time she had to do CPR and was totally freaked out when she broke ribs on the patient. Her instructor(s) had never told her to expect that and that it is actually a required first step to give effective CPR. The ribs are there to protect the heart and until you break them (in adults) you’re not going to be compressing the heart.
They told us that a coroner (not sure if just in one specific jurisdiction or universally) is required to indicate that “ineffective CPR” was administered whenever a corpse’s ribs are not broken. And they told us about seeing nurses give WWF-type elbow blows to patients’ chests to break their ribs before starting CPR.
They obviously got the point across that breaking ribs (in adults) is to be expected. Coincidentally, my wife, a teacher, took CPR training the same day with the school nurse and this wasn’t mentioned. I feel taking the course from instructors who have actually done CPR and are willing to prepare us for the gruesome-ness of it helped better prepare me if I ever need to use the training.
If ever asked, I will always recommend that someone–especially first-timers–take the classes from instructor(s) that have actually done it in the field.
November 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
Obviously, I’ve neglected the blog for a while.
I’ve had reasons.
They’ll become apparent soon. Unless you already know about them & if you’re one of the few reading this, you probably already know the main reason. I’ve been busy. But that will have to wait for another day.
Today, I’m launching a new challenge for myself. To blog every day for the month of November.
I’ve had an urge to be a writer that I haven’t really gotten started on ever. My blogs have been my mild attempt at actually making sentences. For the most part, I’ve successfully avoided writing.
So now that my unnamed reason has mostly ended, I’m taking up the challenge to actually blog. November happens to be National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The basic goal of NaNoWriMo is for the author to get the words on the paper, to generate the mud. The NaNoWriMo novel is not a finished novel, it is in need of editing. One the hurdles I face in starting to write is that I always feel the need to get everything right before moving on. I get bogged down before I get going.
So my goal for November is to type for 10-20 minutes, let it sit for awhile, do a quick edit and post. Generate some mud.
Incidentally, you may notice I renamed the blog from “fartleks” to “Muddy Calf Running”. Why? For one of my projects, I’ve been thinking about names & Muddy Calf was something I liked but didn’t think suited my other needs. Besides, fartleks was a bit too generic.
Well, my time is up for tonight but first some questions:
Have you ever thought about being a writer?
Have you ever cam up with a plot for a novel?
Does the name of a blog matter?
August 7, 2011 § 3 Comments
I just spent the last two days taking the Road Runners Club of America’s Coach Certification Class.
It was awesome.
First, Patti & Warren Finke, the instructors, are long-time runners, marathons, ultra-runners, and coaches. Patti is an exercise physiologist, and has been the American age-group record-holder for 50km and 50mi. She has been an Oregon Road Runners Club Age group runner of the year three times. Warren has raced in over 170 marathons and ultramarathons–winning more than 20. Twice he has been the U.S. track record hold for 100km.
Obviously, both are well qualified.
But their presentation is what really made the classes enjoyable. The first day included a lot of lecture on topics like nutrition and physiology. The material was somewhat dull but they kept the class entertaining with antidotes from their 60+ combined years in the sport.
One of my favorite stories was about a competitor in the Race Across America bike race who started hallucinating in St Louis that his crew was a bunch of aliens trying to abduct him. This racer later confessed that even after his crew caught him and got him to sleep a couple hours, that he thought all the way to Atlantic City that his crew was a bunch of aliens.
The second day was a bit more interactive as we broke into small groups and worked on developing training plans for Josefina, as interestingly played by Patti.
One of the side benefits I had not expected–and wish I had been able to take better advantage of–was meeting several other (better) bloggers.
Rebecca from Michigan sat next to me the first day and works with Girls On the Run. If I remember right, she works with over 80 different clubs in a 3 county area in the Detroit area. I’m hoping to pry some more information from her as I try to get my program going.
Adam’s blog, The Boring Runner is tragically mis-named. I wish my blog was half as entertaining as his. Dude can run, too.
Unfortunately, I had less time to talk with Sporty Girl of Sporty Girl Jewelry Fame but she was extremely nice & she makes really cool sports-themed jewelry.
The long lectures on Saturday, coupled with the fact I hustled home to my family right after class instead of going to the restaurant, limited how much I got a chance to hang out with anyone. I wish there had been a casual get together Friday night or a group run one of the mornings. But I guess there’s always Twitter.
Again, the class was really amazing, I think I learned a lot–we’ll see when I take the test. If I pass (and I complete my CPR & First Aid class later this month), I’ll be a certified Running Coach. I have a few goals in mind of what I want to do with that but even if I go no further than the experience I had this weekend, it was worth it and something I would recommend for any runner. If you live in the Portland area (or Kona) , you might want to check out Team Oregon‘s training groups.
July 16, 2011 § Leave a comment
Kickerstarter has popped up a couple of times in the last couple months in different podcasts I listen to. Mighty Mur Lafferty of I Should Be Writing Fame used it to raise money to get her Afterlive Series printed and Carl the Mailman from The 3 Non-Joggers Podcast used it to raise funds for his documentary film, One Fall.
Both mentioned it enough to piqué my interest in what else is going on there. I did some standard searches–Lego, Mego, Running, and Runner and saw some interesting stuff. But one project stuck out to me, the Simple Hydration Water Bottle.
The clever thing is it is designed to slip into your waistband so you don’t have to carry it but don’t need any special belts or straps or anything.
Kickstarter is designed for crowd-funding of projects. Individuals chip in $ so a project can be funded and completed. The thing is, the project is only funded if it raises 100% of the money requested. The water bottle has raised $10,610 of $20,000so far with 24 days left. I was informed that 95% of projects that get over the half-way point endd up getting fully funded.
One of the important things about kickstarter projects is designing a sensible reward system for contributors. While every contribution helps, contributing $20 gets one of the bottles. Additional pledges get you other swag like hats and shirts.
I intended to pledge and recommend you look the information over and consider it too.
June 21, 2011 § 1 Comment
Somewhat appropriately, I’ve struggled a bit to describe how this race went for me–perhaps it’s best that I foreshadow with two visuals:
This was my goal race for this spring, I have been training for it since I found out I made the lottery in late February. My training had gone well and I was confident going in that I could challenge my course record and maybe even my personal record.
I ran a 10k the week before and that improved my confidence.
The logistics of the half marathon, which is run with Grandma’s Marathon, are a bit difficult. I grew up about 45 minutes from Duluth so I drove up on Friday and stayed at my parents’ house. The race, which starts at 6:30, is a point-to-point course that requires you catch a bus from the finish line (or one of other points). In the past, I think I have caught the bus in Superior, which is 10 minutes or so closer for me but, more significantly, allows me to avoid the traffic in the finish area.
The result was that I got up at 4:00, drove for an hour, rode a bus, and arrived at the starting area a little after 6:00. And, just to clarify, I’m talking AM, Ante Meridian, as in Very Early in the Morning.
The weather was near perfect–about 50, a light rain, a tailwind. So I was hyped. I had worn sweats but decided to ditch them right away so I could squirm through the crowd to get to my approximate pace area.
The race start unceremoniously–there wasn’t a gun or cannon or anything other than the announcer sending us off. I fell into my rhythm pretty quickly–I enjoy larger races where you get to do some weaving at the beginning. The first few miles seemed to go easy enough, I tried to focus on breathing easy and running the tangents. I was clicking off the miles, I was a few seconds ahead of my dream pace at 6 miles and ended up going through the 10k mark within a few seconds of my finishing time from the week before.
The most exciting thing was counting the number of fellow runners (about 5 during this stretch) who warned me about my left shoelace that had come untied during the first mile.
Splits, Miles 1-6: 6:54, 6:53, 7:02, 6:57, 7:11, 6:52.
Total, first 6.9 miles: 48:27, 7:01 pace.
Around 6.5 miles, my right calf started to tighten. Then it cramped. Then I felt–something. I hesitate to name it because that would imply I knew what it was. It was two sharp pains, one right after the other. The first dead center in my calf, the other slightly higher.
My race was over.
I slowed down, although my Garmin indicated it wasn’t as much as I thought at the time–about 40 seconds per mile.
I eventually came to a port-a-potty, and feeling the need to use that too, I hopped in & out relatively quickly. I hung out and tried to stretch–spent about a minute there. The calf still was very tight but I headed out, wondering if I was about to get my first DNF ever.
Going at the slower pace, I did find time to take a different perspective. I took long looks at the waves on Lake Superior–i could hear them crash against the rocks in some places. And while the first part of the race had only a few pockets of spectators, this portion had more clusters. Since I was no longer racing, I paid attention to the spectators’ faces. I’ve never looked at the spectators so much. It was a bit surreal–I’m hobbling along, thinking my race is basically over and seeing all those faces and realizing they had no idea what I was going through.
Splits, miles 7-9: 8:46, 8:15, 7:48,
Total 2.1 miles, 18:11, 8:38 pace.
As I was enjoying what had turned into a training run for me, I made the mistake of hearing a group of college guys ask, “Got a bit of Captain in you?”
Since I wasn’t racing, I decided I might as well. I U-turned and hydrated with half a pint of Rum. And washed it down with half a can of Coors Light.
Not smart. Under no circumstances would I recommend slamming rum & beer during a race. But then again, I wasn’t racing anymore.
As I burped my way through the next half mile, something odd happened. I stopped paying attention to my calf and started running at a faster clip. The first split caught me by surprise, when I saw the second, I rushed to do some arunmathtic and realized while I wasn’t going to PR, I had not lost that much time overall. I even started to think I could set a course PR.
That didn’t work out, I was not able to speed up enough and the curves in the thirteenth mile were difficult on my tender legs but I did finish nicely and ended up running about two and a half minutes faster then the half I had run in May.
Miles 10-13.1: 7:08, 7:24, 7:18, 7:55 (7:29)
Total 4.1 miles, 30:44 (7:29 pace).
Final: 13.1 miles, 1:37:25 (7:27 pace).
I gathered my post-race goodies–a technical shirt, medal, and some grub. I did stand in line for 20 minutes for a massage and started to get really cold–while the weather had been fine while running, standing in the wind, even wearing my sweats that I had put one, got to be cold. I figured the massage would help my calf and it did, a bit, but not as much as I hoped.
And then I had to figure out what had happened. Somehow the ups & downs of the run were difficult to comprehend, especially the way I was able to struggle through the last 4+ miles. It would have make sense if I had cramped up and struggled to the finish but I’m a bit perplexed at how I was able to recover a bit. I’ve had rough patches before but this seemed like a significant injury that was going to wreck this race.
Not Quite the End.
Three days after the race, I am still sore–especially both calves, especially the right one. Other areas–hips, quads–are also sore. I had the same problem with my right calf last summer and it took two weeks to work through it. I did two miles yesterday and will try for three tomorrow but I had planned to basically take the rest of June easy anyhow.
I am a mixture of satisfied and disappointed–I know I have a better race in me but am happy with the way I fought through this race. The thing is, I have the opportunity to run another 13.1 on July 4th. So IF my body heals, I do have a chance to redeem myself if I choose–and I undoubtedly will choose to if my body & family allow it.
Lessons (Hopefully) Learned:
- While the weather was great for running, given the fact that I had no chance to do my regular mile+ gentle warm-up, I should have gone out slower–even 15-20 second per mile–to give my legs a chance to warm up. I think I could have prevented my calf problem with an adequate warm-up.
- Racing the week before my big race, even if it was a free race, was probably a mistake and left me vulnerable.
- Like Yogi Berra said about baseball, running is “90% mental and the other half is physical”. I think the fact that I didn’t dwell on my calf and re-focused on enjoying the unique training run I was having allowed me to rebound a bit.
- Taking the time to poop, stretch, and hydrate really didn’t take as much time as it seemed like at the time.
- I should be taking a more pro-active approach to stretching and strengthening exercises.
- Sometimes doing the unorthodox–having a drink during a race–might not help, but might not hurt either (although I don’t plan on making this my standard race place).
June 11, 2011 § 1 Comment
Serendipity: making fortunate discoveries by accident. (Dictionary.Com)
Considering that next weekend is Race Weekend, I probably should not have raced today. Especially with my aging body already unhappy about spending Thursday and Friday “on vacation” at home abusing it with such methods like installing the ceiling and a window in our bedroom, and re-locating our washer & dryer. My runner’s body isn’t use to lifting plywood above my head, hauling carpeting or getting gently electrocuted–late Friday, my left hip and knee decided enough was enough and bit back and I was slightly hobbled.
But I had a free entry to the ALARC Legends 10k today so I figured I would give it a try–I’m a sucker for “Free”.
I am glad I did.
The race went extremely smooth for me. Got there in time, weather was ideal–low 50s, found a wonderful, private warm-up area with my own port-a-potty, worked out my hip pain, and nailed my goal splits–I was hoping to run even 7:00 pace. My actual splits were: 6:52, 6:57, 6:58, 6:58, 7:07, 7:00, (6:31 pace for last segment) for a total time of 42:44. For the 6 miles, I only had a total deviation of 22 seconds from my target pace. I am very pleased with the race I ran, combined with a 7 mile tempo run at 7:30 pace last weekend, I’m confidant that I’ll run well next weekend.
But more important than how my race went, I found a gem of a race.
ALARC (American Lung Association Running Club) was started in 1981 by Bill Wenmark to help first-time marathoners train for a marathon. I had seen ALARC singlets at Grandma’s Marathon but never really knew what the origination was about. It appears that their mission has grown over the years and now serves a greater purpose of promoting fitness and friendships.
Course: Good. The 10k course was a meandering route along the streets and bike trail of Deephaven. Deephaven is along the shores of Lake Minnetonka and, from appearances, lacks any straight streets. The couple chunks of bike trail were knee-friendly crushed limestone. The residential streets we ran on lacked sidewalks but also had minimal traffic. There was a small downhill at the start and a small climb at the end. Otherwise, the course was flat. Out of necessity the 10k course layout was confusing–but looking at maps before the race, I knew that I would be depending on a well-marked course to navigate.
Organization: Excellent. There was a minor snafu in my registration–apparently my information got lost between the contest I won and the race directors but they ironed it out without too much effort. As I said already, the course could have been a nightmare to follow except it was well-marked and there was someone posted everywhere they were needed so I never once wondered which way to turn. The race results were posted very quickly and accurately.
I also have to note that the race had new directors this year and I spoke with Mark for a bit and he seemed like a nice guy.
SWAG: Excellent. Start with a Headsweats Visor (anything but a T is awesome) AND a pair of FitSok and you’ve already got Top-Notch Swag. Throw in some SportBeans (from Scheels), a toiletry bag, and some coupons and you have Great Swag for a small race. But add in a pancake breakfast, especially one after the health department shut down the kitchen, and you’ve got Totally Awesome Swag.
Intangibles: Off-The-Charts. The “Legends” part of the name, ALARC Legends 10k come from the fact that ALARC uses this race to recognize local running legends. As Bill Wenmark said (and hopefully I am accurately para-phrasing him here), there are ordinary people all around us that do extra-ordinary things and we could walk right pass them in the grocery store without ever knowing it. The Legends program hopes to give some of these extra-ordinary people some of the recognition they deserve.
The first runner recognized this year is Carrie Tollefson, who I am learning, is basically a rock-star in the Minnesota running community. Tollefson is an Olympian and 3-time national champion. She was unable to attend but did deliver a video message.
But the second Legend left a greater impression.
Let me preface this by saying that before introducing the Legends, Mr. Wenmark introduced the other Legends in attendance and also his father-in-law, who is a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
According to Powers’ Navy Cross citation: On May 20, 1945, the corporal assumed the duties of platoon sergeant after all other senior non-commissioned officers were killed. He “continually exposed himself to intense hostile fire to encourage his men” and fire on enemy forces. During the peak of fighting, Powers “courageously leaped from his foxhole and moved up and down the line, annihilating the enemy soldiers and reorganizing his own men.”
I honestly started to cry as Wenmark, who broke down himself at one point, read Bob’s citation.
And what did Bob have to say about that, “I was doing what I was suppose to do”. Wenmark alsolisted the many volunteer efforts Bob has been involved with over the years.
Oh yeah, and Bob is an All-American Triathlete.
Overall: The race itself was solid but given the Legends aspect, I think it is a race worth making an effort to take part in. The timing, at least this year, is a little iffy for those running Grandma’s–but if you felt uncomfortable doing a 10k the week before a marathon, you could always volunteer.
January 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
I have been running off & on since 1984, so I tend to think I know a bit about running and have seen a lot while running. Today reminded me that each & every day delivers new knowledge and experiences, albeit often small, silly ones.
Although the temperature was a near-tropical 20 degrees Fahrenheit as I went for my lunch-time run, I choose to wear my running tights. Actually two layers of tights–the first a very thin, spandex pair that, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit, date back to my high school years. But they serve their purpose–they are knee-length, capri-style (yes, I confess, they are women’s tights) that help keep my hamstrings warm and hopefully less vulnerable to injury.
Putting on my second, thicker and warmer pair of Starter tights, I noticed that they went on much easier because I had put my socks on first. The tights slid smoothly over my feet instead of sticking to my feet, especially the heel. For all my years running, either I never noticed this or had never put my socks on before my tights. This discovery gave me a little lift as I ventured outside.
One of the side, perhaps only, benefits to how much snow we’ve received in the Twin Cities is that we have huge snow banks especially on many residential side streets. Not so great for drivers trying to make a turn–you have to creep out onto the street because of the limited visibility. Having huge snowbanks in the way does not help your average pace but they sure increase the fun factor of your run.
I do not remember having such large snow banks–it may be partly due to moving/working in a larger city, but it really is due to the large amount of snow we have had with minimal chance for a melt-off. Not only are the several chest-high snowbanks on my routes, some of the take 2 or three strides to cross before going back down. Normally, you go up a couple of steps and then you go down a couple more. I’m finding banks that you go up a couple of steps, then across a couple before going back down. Just unbelievable and a ton of fun. Slows your pace down, but gotta believe it is doing something for my strength.
The other thing I saw today for the first time was as I was tooting along a sidewalk, I saw a mailman a half block ahead of me. Then I saw something red fall to the ground. As I got up to it, I saw it was a RedBox envelope–the mailman was dropping the mail! I couldn’t believe it. Growing up in a rural area, I loved getting the mail, it made me feel connected to the rest of the world. In theory, I could get mail from anywhere. So I found it shocking that a mailman could be so careless as to drop the mail–isn’t that like the first thing they teach in mail-delivery school? Don’t lose the mail.
So in one day of running, I found two little gems that I’ll probably forget by next week but they brightened this day.