March 17, 2015

Pi Day Progression

The thing about running the same race, year after year, is that it provides an objective marker by which to judge progress. There are variables, of course, beyond baseline fitness. But in general, it's the best we can do. And since I'm getting up there in my trail running years now - I'm only half joking - I've now got a race for which I can call up four results.

2011: 1:39:08

2012: Didn't run it

2013: 1:34:31

2014: 1:31:54

2015: 1:26:48

This is not remarkable progress, of course. No massive jump, hinting at a deep well of untapped abilities. But it does speak to how one can shave time, and eventually, the resulting cut seems pretty significant. I also think it's interesting that my biggest improvement came four years after my first running. Which could, if I'm being optimistic, suggest that I still have some progressing to do, and that I haven't quite leveled off. I turn 27 in two months, so I wouldn't expect physical abilities to deteriorate soon. That will happen, of course. Inevitably. And then regression will follow. But for now, I'll indulge myself with the fantasy of perpetual linear progress.

March 15, 2015

Pi Day Half Marathon
















My hair is trying very hard to escape my skull, in this picture. But it didn't manage to do so. Everything is still attached, and I ran a 1:26:49 trail half marathon, and I'm really very happy about that. Mostly because that's 5:05 faster than I managed last year, on the same course. And I ran well, last year. At least I felt like I did. I certainly didn't feel better, or easier, or whatever, today. But I was faster, and that's ultimately what people grade these things by.

March 1, 2015

Screwing around on the Asics Japan website

So I guess it bears mentioning that I don't speak Japanese, and I sure as shit can't read kanji. But I wanted to check out the running shoe section on the Asics Japan website... because this is an exciting Saturday night, for me. Don't judge.

Anyway, I clicked on a couple shoes that don't exist in the States, the Sortiemagic, and the Skysensor. I guess you'd say both are racing flats. Scrolling down to the bottom of the latter shoe's page, you see this:








I've circled what I find amusing. (Click on the picture and it gets big enough to see clearly.) That is, you can use the Skysensor if you're an elite racer (30 minute 10k) or a challenger racer (40 minute 10k). If you're slower than that, I guess you aren't supposed to run in this shoe.

Checking the page for the Sortiemagic, which is lighter, it's only for elite racers. So for people like me, who are faster than 40 minutes, but slower than 30... too bad.

Clicking around the rest of the site, it doesn't seem that they have any "racer" categories other than those two. I find it really amusing to imagine how this category system would go over on an American website. Not well, is my guess.

February 24, 2015

Kansas gets the Ultrarunning Magazine cover. I think this is the second year in a row for Heartland. I imagine you can see why.




February 22, 2015

I haven't written in a while. Maybe you've noticed, and maybe you haven't. The funny thing is that my blog traffic really hasn't changed a ton, since my backlog of coffee posts has always drawn far more readers than any of my running business. Even though those posts are really quite old now, that's still the case. Which is cool. If somehow I'm still teaching someone what the fuck a cappuccino actually is, or getting someone to realize that geeking out about milk steaming is a thing people do, then I'm happy.

So what am I doing? Running. Writing. Still, just not mixing the two as much. I'm 95,000 words deep in an attempt at a novel. Which... I don't even really want to call it that, because a novel is a thing that exists outside of Google docs, and I don't expect this ever will. That's not a statement on my perception of its quality - though I'm not saying it's great either - so much as it's a statement about myself. That is, I really don't want anyone to read it, because, blogging aside, I'm really a very private person. And sharing fiction is an absurdly personal thing. More so, I think, than telling you what's actually happening in my life. (This is still true, I think, even if the work in question is very far away from autobiographical fiction, which this is.) So it's a big fucking Google doc that I don't anticipate sharing anywhere. Let's go with that. Naming conventions aside, I'm really enjoying the process. Which is the point, sort of.

I'm going to transition that into a brief aside about running. Because I'm enjoying that process too. I'm running well, consistently, and healthfully. (Healthfully? Healthily? How would you even say that? I'm not hurt. How about that?) The plan is to run a good road half in April. 'Good' being subject to my whims and mood at the time, probably. As with everything. But I'm feeling fit, so the time shouldn't suck.

As for the fall... I have no idea. The idea behind running (or attempting to run) a decent road half this spring was so I could spin that into an attempt at redeeming my disastrous first attempt at a road marathon. But right now, I don't really know. Running to fix a negative feels less interesting to me right now than just doing what I enjoy. And while that may seem an arbitrary dichotomy, it doesn't feel like one to me right now. So maybe I'll decide 'fuck it' and try a 100. Maybe I'll just stick with this half marathon stuff, because the training for it has me feeling really good, basically all the time. I don't know, but I really hope I'm done writing by then.

January 12, 2015

Hey time passed here are words about it

I'm the last person to come up with a "shit I did/liked in 2014" post, but here we go. Guess I needed a couple weeks to sort out my deep and complicated feelings. That said, here are not very many words, all things considered.

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No TV or movies of note, for me. Because I'm a Luddite, I guess. Or becoming one. I'll see the new Star Wars movie. Maybe nothing til then.

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Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley may not have been the best book I read last year, but it will certainly be the most memorable. First fantasy novel I've ever read (and I read almost exclusively "genre" fiction, cause I'm a nerd like that) that really explores beyond typical medieval European tropes. No humans (well, not exactly), elves, dwarves, goblins, etc. No binary gender roles or heteronormative assumptions. It's all fucking (emphasis on the fucking) weird, basically. And the plot races along, maybe too fast, with lots of things happening. Lots of bad things. Makes Game of Thrones look downright cheery. Even the good guys are cutting children in half, for example. And one protagonist is a genocidal maniac, who, over the course of the book, literally murders tens of thousands. So, yeah. Pretty brutal. Pretty fucked up. But so well done that it's compelling. (Tellingly, it's the only book I've seen make so many best and worst of '14 lists.) Can't wait for the next in the series, and the authors' upcoming sci fi trilogy.

I read a couple books a week, usually, so this section could get really long, if I let it. So we're stopping at one.

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Best album is impossible for me. Most memorable, even, is hard to guess. I'd chose Mare Cognitum's Phobos Monolith if I had to, but I don't have to. It's the best in spacy, atmospheric, truly progressive black metal. Just sit in bed, post long run, no food, no water, and bliss out on endorphins and sound. So fucking good.



So, we're also going with most listened to. Probably. They're from 2012 and 2013 respectively, but whatever.



I know anyone who reads this just sort of endures my music posts, so enough of that. 

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Running, huh? How about that.

I did some. Ran a good half marathon in March. Won it. Pretty much it, in terms of racing.

Had a trip to Colorado, went up and down a couple mountains. That was more fun, and ultimately more satisfying.

Had a stress fracture. Nasty little bitch. Two cracks in my left fibula. Did more damage to my brain, however. Really drove home how important hobby jogging is to my sanity, which is pretty terrifying, if you think about it at all.

I think about it a lot. Which is why the stress fracture ended my "all racing flats, all the time" approach to running. Coulda predicted something would break, I suppose. Probably, people did. But sometimes you need to touch the stove, to see if it's hot for yourself.

There were nutritional considerations, as well as training things, also. I can own my own dumb shit. But I have learned to love the heel strike, as it were. First shoe I bought, when back, was the Adidas Energy Boost, which is an overpriced gimmick.

Or so I thought. Put it on. Feet loved it. Bought it. Begrudgingly. (And at a 25% discount.) That was June. Still using it 99% of my miles. No visible midsole wear at all, and still feels soft but snappy. Upper is coming off in a couple spots, and the outsole is about gone in places too. But still. Turns out that, for me at least, the overpriced gimmick totally delivered.

Training at the end of '14 was the best it's ever been, but we'll see how that translates, going forward. I just know that six minute pace feels about like seven minute pace did in the Spring.

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I ate a lot of apples. Drank a lot of coffee. More of these things, going forward.