I awoke Sunday morning in the usual position – sprawled out on the couch surrounded by the food I had ordered at 2:30 am the previous night. For someone who has great difficulty paying his bills on time, I have nailed procuring greasy food at odd hours down to a science. This time it was a large cheese pizza, a philly cheesesteak, and a meatball sub.
Fortunately I only had the fortitude to make it through the cheesesteak before passing out. That left a full cheese pizza with which to carbo load in the morning. The carbs and overnight-aged cheese would be necessary to get through today’s run. The training calendar declared the damage to be 18 miles, the longest distance to date and second longest during the entire 16 week plan.
Normally I wouldn’t have been phased, since I figured there’s no way it could be worse than the two and a half hours I spent the previous day watching Shia LeBeouf strengthen his campaign for Guy With Least Talent Who Inexplicably Gets Picked to Act in Big Movies. Even the slo-mo shots of Meghan Fox in a sagging tank top running from an explosion couldn’t make up for it.
However, since my 15 mile run across the Golden Gate Bridge a few weeks ago, a variety of injuries had been building up. The day after that run, my left foot was brusied and was not fun to walk on for the next 4-5 days. To relieve the pain apparently caused by poor arch support and my own flat feet, I purchased a set of insoles. A combination of the insoles and twice-daily icing of my foot alleviated the pain.
I set off on my 16 mile run two Sundays ago. I felt confident that it would be just as easy as the GG Bridge run, as this route through the park would be much flatter and less windy, so the pebble I felt in my right shoe at mile three didn’t phase me. But, the pebble was getting more annoying as mile four came and went. When I pulled over and popped off my shoe, I was confused when nothing fell out after feverishly shaking my show for 15 seconds. Surely there must have been something in there poking on the left side of my shoe. Convinced that the culprit had to have snuck inside my sock, I peeled it off to again reveal no pebble or anything at all. Closer examination of my the hot spot on my foot revealed that a blister had been forming during the run, and a nasty one at that.
Attempts at using a different impact point on my foot did nothing to lessen the unpleasant sensation that came with each stride. With almost 12 miles to go, I figured there was no point in continuing on and worsening the condition. It was pretty obvious that the new insole, which was much thicker than the factory issued one, had caused the aggravation. It was too painful to even walk with it in, so I pulled it out and walked back the four miles to my apartment, using the right side of my left foot as the point of impact.
With both feet on the disabled list, and an important training run only 1/4 finished, I returned home very frustrated. I gave myself the next few days off from running and focused on strength and core conditioning at the gym.
Next week’s 13 mile run approached and I felt cautious but confident. I used the old insoles, and both feet held up admirably throughout. I returned home, stretched, and iced my left foot upon returning and felt that I had conquered the injury bug. However, about two hours later, my right knee began aching. It soon became difficult to walk and the pain was pretty severe. The frozen ground pork that had spent the last 8 months in my freezer was applied and seemed to be helpful. But, again I would hold myself off from running for the next four days.
Colin and Ricky can both tell you, not being able to run when you want to is very, very frustrating. Despite a finely tuned hatred I developed earlier, I was actually enjoying setting out from my apartment with nothing but my iPod and a newfound exuberance for soaking up the environment around me. And now that I had actually started liking the activity, I was stricken with a plethora of injuries that left me limping around, looking like a man thrice my age.
I was determined to make the next run. There was only one more long outing on the schedule, a 2o-miler next weekend that I’m flying out to New York to run with Colin from Hoboken to Manhattan. Well, and the watch the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4th at Coney Island. Joey Chestnut vs. Kobayashi – a dream matchup!
But I digress…I took good care of my knee throughout the week, icing a few times a day. I bumped up Saturday’s scheduled run to Friday to give myself an extra recovery day before the 18 miles and made it through six miles with minimal pain.
Sunday’s run was overall pretty good. I walked out to Castro Street to try and catch some of the Pride Day festivities, but apparently that was all happening downtown. From Market and Castro I ran up to the panhandle. I decided to give my new insoles another shot, this time taking a preventative approach by applying a large patch of moleskin to the problem area. Two miles in I could feel the blister coming back so I turned around and headed back home to swap out the insole.
From home I ran back through the back to the end of JFK drive, back to the DeYoung, back again to the end of JFK, and finally back home. It took a little over three hours. The ingestion of three gel energy packs and 92 ounces of Gatorade left me feeling properly fueled the whole time. It was a beautiful day and there was plenty to entertain myself with in the park. The final three miles were really rough on the knees, but I was just happy to have finished.
I bought a knee stabilizer to wear around the house, and will purchase a knee band to wear while running. I know it’s not going to be in good shape after the marathon, but oh well. As long as I can make it through, I don’t really care. Especially since I’ve recently discovered how to order Domino’s on my TiVo.
This Sunday is the annual Bay to Breakers run, a San Francisco tradition. And, even though the PC-police are doing their best to lameify the event, I decided to do my own version of the event.
Before I could head off to the beach, I met my Mom and Dad in the Mission at the delectable Pizzeria Delfina for a Mother’s Day lunch. I rationalized my six slices of pizza by telling myself that I needed the carbs for today’s run. Some restraint was exercised as I passed on a cannoli for dessert, and then showed the parents the hipster haven that is Dolores Park on a Sunday. The short tour was rounded out by the ganja treats-dude rolling by with his cooler full of “baked” goods.
It was now 3:30 and I was back at my apartment with a belly-full of pizza. Naturally, I did what any motivated 25-year old training for a marathon would do: I laid down on the couch for a 60-minute nap. Feeling refreshed, I realized it was almost five and I had a two-hour run staring me in the face. I pounded a glass of electrolyte beverage, strapped on my water bottle-fanny pack filled with Clif Bar Shot blocks (basically gelatinized electrolytic sugar cubes…yum), lubed up my thighs and nipples with Body Glide to prevent chafage, and headed out the door.
Overall the run went really well. I’m not sure if it was the pizza, the electrolyte beverage, the Shot Blocks, or a combination of all three, but I rarely lacked for energy throughout the entire run. The weather was perfect for running – nice, but not too hot or windy. Running through the park was a treat, and it was a thrill to emerge from the dense trees to the ocean.
I hit the ten-mile mark for the first time today! Fortunately, a malt liquor-induced hangover left me couch-ridden until the late afternoon, so I didn’t have to deal with the morning showers.
It actually ended up being a really nice day. Miles 2-7 were along the water and I felt pretty good the whole time. The most challenging part was definitely going up the hill on Franklin Street. And, the newest edition and dorkiest addition to my running gear – a little fanny pack that holds a water bottle. Actually, the foam roller might be slightly dorkier, but I think it’s really helped cut down on the soreness. There’s really no other way to work the IT-band than to lay down on the floor and look like a giant douche rolling back and forth on your foam roller. Ricky has also said that it has gone a long way in helping the calf he injured playing basketball.
Anyways, the double digit barrier has finally been taken down. And the only thing more exciting is that tomorrow’s a rest day!
Yes, you read that right: I suck.
Normally, I try to use this blog as a medium to trick people into thinking I’m cool. “Oh, look at me – I just went running.” Who’s that awesome guy who just went rock climbing?” “Oh, I just tried to eat a five-pound burger at a Kansas diner.”
And, sometimes, I actually do some cool stuff. I brewed a batch of beer with my buddy Hiten on Tuesday. And, I’m currently in the midst of a foolhardy attempt to watch all 188 South Park episodes from the very beginning.
However, lately I have been taking sucketry to a whole new level.
First, let’s talk booze. I’ve been amazingly sober as of late. Over the last three weeks, I don’t think I’ve had more than four drinks in one night. I even found myself having a glass of red wine with dinner just for the purported health benefits. Oh, the horror. Granted, I can actually wake up at a decent hour without the aid of an alarm clock, not feel horribly fatigued until the late afternoon, and the super-sized bottle of Advil has remained decidedly full lately. All those benefits aside, I still suck. My only hope is that this is a temporary abstinence for training purposes in light of an unexpected spurt of maturity.
Next up in the annals of my suckitude is my food consumption of late. Gone are the nights of 2am burritos from dirty Mission-district taquerias. I can’t even recall the Dominos Pizza number off the top of my head anymore. Granted, there have been a few isolated incidents of greatness (pictured below).
Despite those brief flashes of keeping it real, I still can’t seem to make the right decisions all the time. Recently, I found myself in a Southern California Chipotle. Instead of ordering one of my regular 1300-calorie monstrosities, I wound up with a chicken burrito bowl sans cheese and sour cream.
Even more disappointing that that is what my fridge currently holds.
Usually you would find it chock-full of bacon, cheese, and other things specifially created to clog arteries. But, let’s run a brief check of what lame self has been coming home with from the grocery store lately (starting from top left): Fat Free Milk, imitation ranch dressing made from vegenaise, hummus, fresh pesto, Silk Chocolate Soy Milk, leftover homemade chicken and quinoa, fresh, cage-free eggs, blueberries, more pesto and hummus, fat-free, fresh chicken ravioli, Activia yogurt, garlic cheese mashed potatoes (thank god there’s one good thing there), turkey bacon, chicken breasts, brussels sprouts, tomato, onion, and spinach.
Man, I almost became a granola-eating vegetarian hippie just writing that. Uggh.
When will the sucking cease? Pretty soon I hope. A hastily scheduled Edward Fortyhands event tomorrow can’t come soon enough. And, although the swine flu might slow down my bacon consumption for a bit, there are plenty of cows to make up for that in the meantime.
P.S. Despite the recent lameness, I did manage to complete an 8-mile run on Sunday – my longest ever! Woo!
Garfield and I stand together on many important topics: the awesomeness of lasagna, disgust for drooling canines, and a quest to strike “sloth” from the list of Seven Deadly Sins. However, there exists one issue on which we remain fully divided: Monday.
Monday used to be the symbol of all that is not good about life. Waking up early to the screech of the soul-less alarm clock. Battling other cranky drones during the morning commute. Engaging in the obligatory discussions with coworkers about your weekend. Weaving entertaining half-truths about said weekend so your peers won’t discover the majority of it was spent on the couch watching VH1. Mercifully making it through countless meetings until the 6 o’clock bell that only serves to mock you about the fact that four more days of the same doldrums remain until you are set free for 48 hours.
Yup, I used to hate Mondays too, Garfield.
However, thanks to Tom Holland and his 16-week marathon training program to which the Fatboys have subscribed (http://www.amazon.com/Marathon-Method-16-Week-Training-Prepares/dp/1592332595), the “M” in Monday now stands for “mercy.” It’s our one off day during the week. The one day I don’t have to wake up and instantly try to bake up an excuse to ditch out on running the scripted distance.
And, I apologize in advance for the potentially sacrilegious comparison, especially just one day after Easter, but didn’t God take a day of rest after six days of hard work? OK, so maybe it’s a bit unfair comparing a three-mile run to creating light, and a 45-minute weight lifting session to creating all land-living creatures. But, if you are aware of my current hobbies: attempting to eat 5-lbs. hamburgers, purchasing the “Largest Hershey Bar in The World,” (both occurring on back-to-back days), and spontaneous 16-hour Arrested Development marathons, you might just think there was some divine assistance in having completed two weeks official training alive.
Help from above or not, I can without a doubt say that Monday is my new favorite day of the week. And, that’s even after having given up on watching 24 and Jack Bauer this season.