Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The wagon and getting back on...

I need your help. I've unexpectedly fallen off the training wagon. Where just a few months ago, ticking off 40+ mile weeks was the norm, I now struggle to find the time (or motivation) to break 20. Excuses are mounting, alongside the zeroes in my training log. Victoria is fast approaching, and this is not the stuff of which PR's are made. How do you get yourself back on track when there seem to be so many reasons to not run?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bruce Lee had Fists of Fury...

Chuck Norris has the Roundhouse of Reckoning. This little lady (click it) has The Purple Hairbrush of Extreme Displeasure. Who would win in a bar fight? Mud, Sweat, & Beers asks the tough questions.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A new project that is about me.

I have decided to write an e-book. Most everyone is doing it these days, and it seems to be a venture that is both profitable and enjoyable. They always say, "write about what you know" and "find a niche" and all that, so this book will be about me and the intervals I ran at lunch today.

There is a growing trend, in which I have dabbled, to share the minutiae of one's training via social networks. Today, when I "tweeted" my "peeps" about the pending workout, the response was phenomenal! It was then that I decided to take this shit to the next level. E-book.

Here are some notes I jotted down after the run. Now, this is just rough. Keep in mind that the finished e-book will fill in the gaps, be much more polished, and will be well worth the $5.00 or whatever I decide to charge.
Potential Titles:
- "All About My Intervals Today" (really like this one)
- "Feel Bad About Your Training By Reading About How Awesome Mine Is"

Chapter One: Getting Pumped
- Tweeting my peeps
- Gathering up my shit and getting changed
- Oh snap! I forgot my shoes and have to walk back to my office to get 'em

Chapter Two: The Warm-up
- I like to warm up slow and you should, too
- Maybe a little bit on how running in South Tacoma sucks

Chapter Three: The First Effort
- The starting of the watch
- How I pump my arms and how you should, too

Chapter Four: The First Rest
- This can basically be about how resting is nice
- Maybe a poetic bit about how you notice birds chirping when you rest

I'm not really sure how to make the other four intervals sound different from the first one, because they weren't different at all. But I will work on that for the final version.

Chapter whatever: Bringin' it Home
- How I try to not stink up the whole office after a run
- Eating a sandwich

I dunno. Like I said, it's rough. Let me know in the comments what feedback you have and maybe, like, how much you'd be willing to pay for this crap. Thanks! I love my readers!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Laying out the kit...

Brooks Racer ST-4 shoes, broken-in just enough to be comfortable, not enough to risk getting them dirty. Brooks ID singlet, emblazoned with makeshift Tacoma Runners patch. Brooks Sherpa shorts, appropriately named for the epic journey ahead.

It's all about the kit, the one thing I can control about tomorrow's Tacoma City Marathon. Everything else is unknown. Did I train hard enough? Will I be able to get a decent night's sleep? Will it rain? Will I have to stop and poop at mile 13? Is this dull pain in my knee going to explode mid-run? The days leading up to a marathon are fraught with these worries.

Which is why I'm thankful for Lisa, my biggest supporter and race-day cheerleader, sewing on the club patch. This will surely be good for a 5 second-per-mile boost. Her mere presence somewhere out there on the course, good for another 10. When it really hurts tomorrow, I will think about how she accidentally sewed this singlet to the pillow underneath... and I'll smile.

Tomorrow I will regularly check my dad's old-ass Timex Marathon to see just how far I've fallen off my ridiculously lofty goal. I'll think about the miles it's seen, the splits it has frozen in time, and the man who wore it before me. And my struggles will seem small.

In a little over 12 hours, the gun will fire. Shortly thereafter, the anxiety that's prompting me to now scrutinize every aspect of my training, my nutrition (or lack thereof), and the tiny aches in my legs will... disappear. It will be a battle in which my only allies are a pair of really clean shoes, a singlet sewn with love, and a watch that transmits the energy and wisdom of a dozen marathons before.

It's all about the kit.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

How many more days like this...

We've done a bunch of family hikes together, all five of us. We've had great times, bouncing up-and-down trails, laughing the carefree laughs that seem to come much easier when cell phones are turned off. As the older kids grew up, they became less interested, and we had to start dragging them along. Then they started arguing about why do we even have to go? So we stopped making them. Fine, just stay home. Then — and this has only been recently — the arguing stopped.

This morning we decided to hike again. All five of us.

The drive was filled with apprehension. Everyone, I suppose, has their own special brand. Mine is colored by a tendency toward perfectionism (go figure) and the memory of that time I hauled everyone to the tubing hill only to find it was closed due to Serengeti Desert-type snowpack. I check the pass reports now.

We arrived at the trailhead to find dozens of like-minded adventurers (and the requisite parking jamboree). Welcome to the REI-fueled, trekking pole-equipped jungle, I guess.

No matter. The moment our five pairs of boots and basketball shoes and tenny-runners hit the dirt, we were kids again. Forgive the melancholy, but I can't help wondering... how many more days like this will we have? Afternoons spent walking the same miles and turning over rocks and pausing at waterfalls and digging in wet clay.

How many more?

Hopefully many more with all five of us. And then there will be days with just three. And then two. And then someday our grandchildren will visit — maybe from far away. And they will wonder why Grandma and Grandpa look at their parents with twinkles in our eyes, remembering days like this...

♥ you, kids.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brooks Glycerin 8: The First 300 Miles...

My Uncle Steve — a hot rod builder and car salesman since my earliest memories — has always said, "There's a butt for every seat." What this means, of course, is that my ideal ride might not be yours might not be your friend's grandma's. And so it goes with running shoes... finding the right one is a matter of test drives. With that in mind, here's my (300 mile) trip around the block with the Brooks Glycerin 8.

Let it be known that my baseline for this review is a "well-loved" pair of Asics, retired with 1,100 miles on the odometer. Advantage, new shoes. Also, it's well-documented that I'm suffering from False Rockstar Syndrome after acceptance to the Brooks I.D. program. Advantage, new shoes.

Disclosures having been disclosed...

I love these kicks! Just look at 'em. Right outta the box, fresh and clean and smelling... y'know, new! First impressions were entirely visual, and this is a good looking shoe (in my opinion, much better in the black/yellow colorway than its alternate blue/white version). Plus, yellow is fast. Everyone knows that. And while the tribal tattoo-ish details might not be for everyone, they've grown on me.

I started to examine the Glycerin's build and first noticed its short tongue. Many running kicks have a big, fluffy tongue that rises well above the laces when the shoe's tied. Spoiler alert! That extra pillow flopping over your rabbit-ears isn't doing anything! The next build feature that struck me was the Glycerin's "rolled" toe. The front of the shoe seemed to turn decidedly upward and forward. I quickly grabbed my Brooks Cascadia 4's for a comparison. Yep.

Ok, let's get out on the road! The very first time I laced up, my gut impression was, wait for it... ventilation! Ahhhhhhhh. The airflow through these shoes was (and continues to be) remarkable — appreciated on warm days and essential on long runs. Next was cushioning (I think I told my wife it was like running on clouds) and stability (the platform on the Glycerins is considerably wider than my Asics', but it has never felt clunky). Next was the effect of the rolled toe. Call it placebo, but I could feel myself being propelled forward.

300 miles in...

At this point, some runners are already thinking about their next pair of shoes. I say we're just getting to know each other! So, where do the Glycerins stand after daily lunch runs in the rain, weekend 20-milers... and the indignity of being stuffed into a messenger backpack alongside sweaty bike gear?

300 miles in, the Glycerins appear no worse for the wear. Save for some expected tread loss and residual cow poop (thanks, Montana), the shoes are as-new. No stitching has loosened, nothing has come unglued. The forward roll is a booster on long runs, and even seems to have helped "train" those biomechanics when I switch to racing flats. And that low tongue? I'm happy to report that there's has been no pinching or other discomfort. In fact, I've found it easier to dial-in lace tightness without the extra fluff. Wherever I set the knot, there it stays.

I've traveled with these shoes twice. In Montana, we kicked through 10 miles of icy dirt road (and splashed home through mud after the morning thaw). Traction was never an issue. In Reno, we explored 50 miles of unknown asphalt, trails, and red rock. Though the Glycerins are certainly not a trail shoe, they're definitely stable enough for short off-road jaunts.

In grand and glorious summary...

In my time with the Glycerins, I've found no gripes. They are good looking, comfortable, and confidence-inspiring on any surface. For me at least, the fit is so natural that I often forget the shoes are even there... and that's perhaps the ultimate testament. So, if you're a neutral striker looking for a stable trainer, I say put your butt in this seat for a test drive!

Have you run in the Glycerins? I'd love to hear your impressions in the comments.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Jeans by Calvin Klein...

Body by Pabst. Logo by Stowe.

Folks in our running group have been asking about t-shirts for awhile, but I knew the beershoetacomadome graphic I cobbled together wouldn't cut it for a nice screen-print. So... we contacted local illustrator d'awesome, James Stowe, for help. Raising the funds ('cause the good shit costs, man) was painless. The friendlies at kick-ass bar and hot doggery Red Hot even raised their hands!

The logo looks rad. I wonder if Stowe will charge extra royalties if I get it tattoed. Depends on where, I suppose.

Thank you, everyone!
Ginger Anderson, James Duggan, Exit133, David Gale, Robert Gale, Angela Gow, Lilly Hsu, John McClimans, Douglas Pariseau, Daniel Richards, Red Hot, Jenika Hedlund Sannes, Susie Saturated, Colleen Heuiser Schmidt, John Rossetto, Alicia Wilkinson.

Bacon for you all!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Josh...

Since the day you arrived in this world, 17 years ago, every moment has been the grandest kind of adventure. I remember the feeling of your tiny hands grasping my fingers as I helped you learn to walk. The sight of you turning your first pedals without training wheels. First fish caught, first time driving clutch, first broken heart. And while I may look back fondly at the years when you needed me... I also look now with great pride at the man you're becoming all on your own. And look forward, with so much hope, to all the years and all the adventures ahead.

Happy Birthday, Josh.

Forever your friend and biggest fan,

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thursday Dress Run...

I love it when a plan comes together. This week, the Tacoma Runners' Thursday Beer Run will prance around T-town in dresses, spreading the kind of good cheer that can only be conveyed with activity-inappropriate clothing. The debacle is being sponsored by the Tacoma blog, Exit133, our own Grit City Self Propelled, and the Harmon Hub.

The Hub, in addition to providing a venue for 20 or so sweaty runners in questionable evening wear, has offered awards for our prize packs, plus a FREE large pizza for every seven people that show up. Wow.

That our little group continues to grow and generate excitement in the community never ceases to amaze me. And the way Tacoma residents and businesses rally around fun activities like the ones we're putting on is inspiring and energizing. Thanks to Matt at Tacoma Bike Ranch for introducing us to the folks at Harmon. And thanks to Derek at Exit133 for being the biggest t-town advocate this side of Wild Waves.

I'll post up some photos and an account of this disaster in a few days.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Just another run...

Same streets, same trees, same dirt, grass, concrete, and railroad tracks. Same time of day, same routine to get ready, and the same, skip. Same, skip. Same music on your mp3 player.

When "regular" runs get to be a chore, it might be time to slow down. Slower. Slower. Stop. Bend down and touch the asphalt your feet pound every day. Lean over the railing of that bridge you always run across and see what's down there.

Yesterday I took our crappy little point-and-shoot along on my "regular" lunchtime run. I wanted to see these seven miles in a different way. Or perhaps more accurately, to be reminded of the intricacies I've come to ignore. Some of the photos were taken on the move, others while stopped. Stitched together, they tell the story of a run in the dirty, beautiful, broke-down town I love. Just another run.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Discovering the importance of place...

Hardly a day goes by that either Lisa or I don't proclaim our love for this town. Tacoma has given us room to stretch our legs, courage to try new things, and fresh perspectives on the meaning of community. It's given our kids more stability and a better shot at success — even if they don't realize it yet.

Grit City is the backdrop for our next chapter, and the prospects are exciting...

Tacoma Runners.
“I would never belong to a group that would accept someone like me as a member.” -Groucho Marx
Lisa and I solved Groucho's conundrum by starting our own club. In the Tacoma Runners, we've found kindred spirits and a weekly date night. It started with a simple post to Twitter... "Trying to gauge interest in a Tacoma running group. Laid back, beer-centric."

The first jog went down a few days later, with six like-minded beer runners. Last week we drew over 30, and organized a one-lap backwards race as part of the run. We even found some sponsors to fill prize bags with t-shirts, gift certificates, and booze (thanks Doyle's, O'Malley's, and Grit City Self Propelled). This is all-new territory for us, and we had a great time doing it. Next chapter indeed!

Grit City Self Propelled.

Recognize that name from the sponsor list above? I've hesitated to mention GCSP here, lest it fall victim to "the curse". See, we've tried to get a similar venture off the ground in the past. Twice. Both times, after a mention on this blog, the websites vanished mysteriously. So what's gonna make this one different?

Place. GCSP is starting from an honest, simple place. It's starting at home. We'll be a resource for Tacoma's cyclists, runners, walkers... everyone living (or aspiring to) an active life here. And we hope to become an advocate for those groups in the shaping of public policy and infrastructure as the city continues to grow up. Again, all new territory for us.


So there you have a peek into two of our new, ongoing adventures. Our energy seems to be building... no doubt thanks to the wonderful people we're meeting, and the encouragement that comes from seeing our kids thrive in new ways. Thanks for having us, Tacoma. We hope to bring you very, very much of the awesome.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

Seen from the bike seat...

I've never caught the bridge deck of the Murray Morgan in the raised position. Wish I would have been there when they brought 'er up. In any case, it made a perfect frame for Mount Rainier on a clear and bright Tacoma morning. Bring on the sunshine... we're ready to play outside.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Always daydreaming...

This is our coffee shop. Worn wood floors, well-used tables, mismatched chairs. Vintage light fixtures, some hanging, others on tables. Fireplace or pot-bellied stove in the middle of the room. Sunken area with a big, wrap-around couch pointed at an old 1940's tv console that has been hollowed out and had a new set placed inside. Bearskin rug. That's right, I said it. The tv will show old bike races and running events... live broadcasts when they're on. The walls will be a showcase for local artists, including our kids. We'll carry a small selection of basic bike parts, nothing exotic. And we'll do free, simple repairs while you enjoy a cuppa joe. On another wall, we'll carry a couple different types of running shoes. Only stuff we wear and love ourselves. There will be a small shelf of local, bottled micro-brews for sale, and possibly some unique glassware from the breweries. Outside there will be a fire pit, and we'll project classic outdoors movies onto the wall. We'll sponsor races and rides. You'll want to hang out here. It will be a clubhouse for anyone living a life self-propelled in Grit City.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Run like a kid. And when you can, run with a kid...

This is me and my dad warming up for a road race, I'm guessing sometime around '84. On mornings like this, we would spend some time jogging, stretching, pinning on numbers... trying to shake off jitters with routine. We'd start together, then Dad would run ahead, finish the race, and come back for me. We always finished together.

I'm not sure if enjoyed running for its own sake in those days, but it was important to my dad... and that was all that mattered. He was very good, eventually amassing a room full of ribbons, trophies, and wall plaques that formed a shrine to the sacrifices he will now tell you he regrets.

Dad's stare-down with cancer is causing him to scrutinize all the years spent in pursuit of transient prizes. But I never think, "If only my old man hadn't spent so much time running, maybe we could've done (fill in the blank)." No, I think instead of mornings spent on the road... and promise to give memories like those to my own kids.

Are you sharing running with someone?