Monday, January 30, 2012

Lincoln Half Marathon Training - Week 4

I had planned on having a full training week, but I am pretty sure I strained the soleus muscle in my right calf, so I ended up just scrubbing two workouts completely.  (The full summary of Week 4 is after the jump)

"Get To Know Me!" Monday, Part II - The Best of 2011 Edition

Since January 2012 is almost over, and everyone else's "Best of 2011" list has been gathering dust for a full month now, I thought I'd come late to the party and offer my on personal "Best Of" so you can get a sense of what I'm currently digging.  These categories will be kind of random, so enjoy the ride.

Favorite Movie1


I am not ashamed to admit it... I LOVED The Muppets.  Sure, it was a big bowl of nostalgia porn for people like me who loved watching "The Muppet Show" when I was a kid.  Sure, it is cheesy and corny.  But, so what?!  It's delightful with some really fun songs ("Man or Muppet" is my favorite, but "Life is a Happy Song" is also great).  In other words, it is pure joy in movie form.

Runner Up: (Tie) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (probably the best "Potter" movie of the whole series) and The Help (I didn't think I'd like it... but they did a good job adapting the book).

Movies I Didn't See (But Want To): (In no particular order) (1) Moneyball (LOVED the book), (2) Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, (3) Martha Marcy May Marlene, (4) The Tree of Life, (5) The Artist, (6) Meek's Cutoff, (7) Drive, (8) Take Shelter, (9) Hugo, (10) Super 8, (11) Cedar Rapids, (12) The Descendants, (13) Cerified Copy, (14) Midnight in Paris, (15) War Horse, (16) Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Favorite Song


Who knew I was such a populist?  But, once again, I loved "Party Rock Anthem."  I love when they "Shake That!" and so does my son (he goes into violent spasms, dancing, when that part comes on).  (Source for the video is the "Literal MS Paint" channel on YouTube).

Favorite Book


Generally, I'm not a Fantasy fiction fan, but this book (and the subsequent books in the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series) are so well written and so rich and layered that I couldn't help but love it.  Unfortunately, I'm all caught up to the most recent book in the series, and it will probably be a few years before the next one is out.  Oh well.

What other categories of stuff do you want me to name my "Best" of?  What have I missed?  What am I totally wrong about?  Leave a comment and let me know.

1 Disclaimer: since I have two little kids, I see very few movies, particularly in the theater. I believe that I saw only 3 or 4 movies in the theater in 2011, so if you disagree with my "favorite," understand that I probably haven't seen your favorite movie.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Uh oh... I may have a Soleus Strain

On Wednesday, during a speed interval workout on the treadmill, I had some pain in my right calf toward the end of the workout.  I tried to stretch it out well and I iced it later that morning, but otherwise I just thought maybe that leg got worked harder for some reason (no reason why that would have happened), and that after a full day off (yesterday was a swimming workout, so no weight on the calf) I would be good to go.

Well, this morning, I was supposed to run a 5 mile tempo run.  I started out with a slow warm up jog, but only about 6 minutes into that warmup, I felt a sharper pain in the same spot in my calf.  Rather than risk really screwing this up worse, I stopped running and walked home.

After a short bit of research online (dubious, I know), I think I have a minor soleus strain (it could be a gastrocnemius strain as well, but based on where the pain is, I'm guessing soleus).  Unfortunately, that kind of injury appears to require at least a full week to 10 days off from running (and if it is a more severe strain, this could require a few weeks off).  I'm hoping that it is still just a tweak, and that since I basically took today off, and tomorrow is a full off day (no exercise at all), I will be fine by Sunday (when I supposed to do a 9 mile long run).  But, if it still hurts on Sunday, I guess I'll have to resign myself to a week or two of swimming (which will be great for my general fitness, but will throw a big wrench in my Lincoln Half Marathon training plan).

More on this story as it develops.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Can Haz Swummin?

(Source: Pictures.funny16.com)
God help me for using a LOLcat (what is this, 2003?), but this one be funny.  Anyway, today was my first swimming workout as part of my training for the Lincoln Half Marathon.  It actually went kind of awesome.  The last time I did a swimming workout was back in October, and back then I had to stop to rest after about 5 minutes, and then every 5 laps or so after that.  This time around, I was able to continuously swim for 20 minutes, take about a 3 minute rest, and then swim continuously again for another 17-18 minutes.  Sure, I was swimming very slow (I didn't even try to count how many laps I did, but it was probably around 55-60 (I think I averaged around 35-40 seconds per lap), so I swam almost a mile (25 m pool). 

If I keep doing swimming, I'm going to just *have* to get the Garmin Forerunner 910XT or a Swimsense swimming monitor.

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Get To Know Me!" Monday


Blogs need gimics... and Monday is a boring day where most people are looking for a distraction from work.  I know there are tons of you readers out there just clamoring for more details about who this Mike guy is anyway.

In order to satisfy this market need, I have created "Get to Know Me!" Monday! (with my trademark double exclamation points).  Every Monday until you all know me perfectly (or, more likely, when I get bored with this concept), I will post something about me.  It may be just be some details about my life.  It may be things that I like.  It may be a hodge-podge of stuff that I threw onto the page and then sent off to the ether of the internet.  Whatever!  It's a gimick!

For today's Get to Know Me! Monday! I'm going to randomly list off my "favorite" out of various categories... generally different kinds of media.  It's pretty self-explanator, so here we go.

Favorite Movie: "The Princess Bride" - if you don't at least like this movie, I don't think we can be friends.

Favorite Band: This used to be The Dave Matthews Band... but now I'm not really sure.  Maybe Rush?

Favorite Food: Pizza!  It's got all four food groups.  It has to be healthy, right?

Favorite Beverage (that everyone can enjoy):  It definitely used to be Dr. Pepper, then it was Coke, then it was Dr. Pepper again, but now that I'm a grown up, I think it's Iced Tea (unsweetened).  Lame, I know.

Favorite (Adult) Beverage: Another one that has evolved.  First, it was a Gin and Tonic, then it was a Whiskey and Soda, but recently I'm really learned to appreciate red wine and Margaritas.  (I just realized that I'm basically a mid-40s divorcee... creepy)

Favorite Current TV Show: I almost never get to watch TV, so I'm probably missing a bunch of great stuff.  But, my favorite right now is "Mad Men."  I also really like "How I Met Your Mother."

Favorite TV Show of All Time: "Cheers" and "The Simpsons" (tie), with "Seinfeld" a close second (third, I guess), and "I Love Lucy" a very close fourth.

Favorite Book - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  Close second is Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Close third is a tie for every other Harry Potter book.  (I really like Harry Potter).

Favorite Non-Potter Book - Probably "The Hobbit," although I have really been digging the Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin, so "A Game of Thrones" would be up there.  Other honorable mentions include several Stephen King books (particularly "The Dark Tower" series and "The Stand,"), and The "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy (particularly "Return of the King").

Favorite Non-Fiction Book - "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote (which is probably the best written book I've ever read).  I also really like "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Favorite McDonald's Shake - Shamrock.

Favorite Race Distance - right now, the 10 mile.  But I had such a good race at Disney, that the Half Marathon is #2 with a bullet.

Favorite of My Children - you don't think I'm stupid enough to answer that, do you?  Also, both of my children are a tie for my favorite.

Favorite Fictional Character - Homer Simpson.  Hands down.

Favorite Homer Quote
  • "In this house we obey the LAWS OF THERMODYNAMICS!" and
  • "Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'Sir' without adding, 'You're making a scene.'" and 
  • "The trick is to say you're prejudiced against all race." (on getting out of jury duty), and 
  • Homer: "No beer and no TV make Homer something something" Marge: "Go crazy?" Homer: "Don't mind if I DO!" and 
  • (praying to God) "In gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies and milk.  If you want me to eat them for you, give me no sign" (short pause) "Thy will be done" (eats cookies)
  • (talking about God) "The lesson is: Our God is vengeful!" (to God) "O spiteful one, show me who to smite, and they shall be smoten!!!" and 
  • "And how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?" and
  • "If you really want something in this life, you have to work for it --Now quiet, they're about to announce the lottery numbers!"
That's it for now... I hope you all feel better having gotten to know me better.  Until next week.

Lincoln Half Marathon Training - Week 3

A slight increase in training this week, but still an "easy" week compared to how training will be from now on.  In the coming week, I hope to get back into full swing, with a speed intervals workout, a tempo run, a full (9 mile) long run, and two cross training days.  (The full summary of Week 3 is after the jump)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lincoln Half Marathon Training Plan

I guess it's about that time to start fulling planning out my training plan for the Lincoln Half Marathon.  I plan on using the skeleton of the same program that I used for the Disney Half (the Run Less, Run Faster Program, summarized in this post), but I'm going to tweak it a little bit.  Rather than two cross-training days every week, I'm going to throw in an Easy Run (e.g., "junk miles") every once and awhile.  I just want to try it out.  I'm still going to try and do cross-training every week (and hopefully not skip so many workouts like I did last time), but I want to mix it up a bit.  Check out the full plan after the jump.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lincoln Half Marathon Training - Weeks 1 and 2

After the Disney Half Marathon, I took a long overdue vacation with my wife and a bunch of friends that included visiting the Walt Disney World parks (all but Disney's Animal Kingdom), Universal Islands of Adventure, and taking a short (3 night) Disney Cruise.  Technically, Week 1 of my training program for the Lincoln Half Marathon was Disney race week, so I'm going to keep the numbering convention for training weeks.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 Walt Disney World Half Marathon Recap



January 7, 2012 was definitely the best running day I’ve ever had. I don’t have any other big races to compare it to, but the Walt Disney World Half Marathon is the best race I’ve ever been a part of.
The Race Plan
I had bought pace bands from races2remember.com. I had bought bands for 2 hours, 1 hour, 58 minutes, and for 1 hour, 56 minutes (you get three bands for $7.50 when you buy them). The cool thing about the bands is that they are actually customized to the course so it adds some time for miles that have lots of hills, and subtracts some time for miles that are flat or even downhill. They must have someone actually review the course (and for a big race like this, it has probably been refined over the years).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Disney... completed. PR... check.

I will write a more thorough race recap either tomorrow or the day after, but for now I'll just post the two pictures below.


Official chip time was 1:55:07, which is a personal record by more than 10 minutes.  It was a good day.

Starting... NOW!

(Image source: @DisneySports on Twitter, via the Poise in Parma blog)
If I have set up Blogger's auto-post correctly, I am currently in a mob of people very similar to the picture above (taken at the 2011 Walt Disney World Half Marathon, the fireworks are going off, and I am starting what will be (I hope) a Personal Record in the Half Marathon.

For those of you that want to, check out my automatic updates of my race status on my Twitter feed

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2012 Disney Half Marathon Training Summary

OK, how awesome would it be to run in these (barring injury)

Today marked my last workout part of my training plan for the 2012 Walt Disney World Half Marathon.  Since I didn't really summarize any of my training workouts or weeks of training for this race (which I may do for future races), I decided to do an overall training summary where I figure out totals for everything.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Myths of Minimalist Running and Foot Injury

From time to time, I will write a bit here and there about minimalist running (also called "barefoot" running).  I'll try not to get too preachy, since I know that minimalist running is not for everyone, but I still want to write about it because I think more people should try it.

The online journal Podiatry Today has posted an article called "Tackling The 10 Myths of Barefoot Running."There is a lot of technical language in the article, but it provides a nice summary, from foot doctors' perspective, about barefoot running.  Here is a summary of some of the "myths."2

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"You're Taking a Vacation to Disney... Without Your Kids?"

A child finding out an adult is going to Disney World without him
(Image Source: Love Image Collections)


As you may have guessed from this blog's title, I'm a dad.  I have two little kids, a three-year old son and a 19-month old daughter.  Every time I've brought up my vacation to someone at work or friends, this is pretty much how the conversation goes:

Running Daddy: We're going on vacation next week
Coworker #1:  Oh, where are you going?
RD: Florida.
CW1: Disney? [I nod].  Oh, you're kids will LOVE that.
RD: We're not taking the kids.  This is a vacation just for us.
CW1: [with a look of confusion] So you're *not* taking your kids... to Disney World.
RD: Yep
CW1: Hey Bob!  Get a load of this!  This guy's going to Disney and he isn't taking his kids.
Coworker #2: [looking at me like I just told his kids that Santa Clause isn't real]1But... why?  Why, GOD?!  WHHHHHHYYYYYY!
[And... Scene]

Monday, January 2, 2012

Race Week Is Here!

Even Donald has his "Game Face" on!
Here are my modest goals for the week itself (not including the race):
  1. Eat well - I haven't eaten super well during training for this race, so I'm hoping to do a little better for this week.  This includes actually eating breakfast (probably a whole grain cereal each day), avoiding snacking at work (particularly candy), and portion control (since my running miles this week are pretty low).