Friday, December 31, 2004


4.4 mi.46:42 mins.Home <-> Asilomar10:37 mins./mi.

The rains miraculously ended. The sun broke through. I put on my tights, bid the gym the fondest of farewells, and headed for the great outdoors. A nice, brisk, jog outside. It was a good way to end the old year. Will I be too hung over to run 11 miles tomorrow?

I guess we'll see.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Enemy Within

Kenny's got a problem. His name is Jon. Jon Segal. Hey. Wait a second. That's my name. Oh. I see. He explains why I'm bugging him in his new Herald column.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Complete, pathetic failure: Now with a dash of humiliation!

7.x???TREADMILL(s)On and Off etc.

Not only did I fail to get up out of bed this morning, I also failed to complete my scheduled run in the gym tonight. But it wasn't for lack of trying.

I never seem to perform well when I am surrounded by people who are more attractive than me.

This probably dates back to junior high, where, one day in orchestra practice, (not exactly a supermodel convention in its own right) I was playing baritone horn (it's like a mini-tuba). Exiled to the top row of the band with the other low-brass heavyweights, I was reclining like it was Passover, a holiday where the lord, for some reason, instructs us Jew types to recline during dinner. Up on stage, while hitting a low note in some Mahler dirge, my chair slipped.

I fell four feet down off the back of the risers onto the hard, cold floor of the auditorium. The conductor, who was truthfully 85 years old at the time, got this look on his face. I thought he was going to die. Then he started laughing. For the first time ever. And so did the rest of the orchestra. Dorks. Laughing at me. No one even helped me up. I was pinned under my horn. Pity me.

Okay, so the gym tonight wasn't quite as bad as that, but it was comedy on a small scale.

There are two treadmills there I normally like to use. But they were taken up by a cute girl and a guy who had pecs bigger than my head. Seriously. It looked like he was hiding two porterhouse steaks in his shirt. I wasn't going to ask him to get off to make room for tubby. So I went over to the older treadmill -- the one that ran on steam power. The one that creaked like the violins in Psycho. The one without a drink holder.

But I was not yet daunted. I started slow, but quickly sped up to an 11-minute-mile pace. Soon, I was reaching for the water bottle I had stashed on the top of the handi-wipe dispenser next to me. I took a squirt. I put it back. But something was causing a seismic-type disturbance on the gym floor. (Okay, it was probably me on the treadmill.) The water bottle wavered, then fell. Luckily, a kindly man with a white beard picked it up and handed it back to me, so I could keep running. Who said there is no such thing as Santa Claus?

Not to be outfoxed by the handi-wipes again, I found a way to balance the bottle on the treadmill. Thud, thud, thud went my legs. Down the bottle went. But it didn't fall on the floor. It fell on the treadmill. It accellerated when it hit the belt. Gaining speed, it turned into a squirting plastic artillery shell, shooting across the gym floor into the next row of machines. Santa wasn't there to save me this time, so I pushed pause on the treadmill, and sheepishly stopped my run to retrieve the wayward squirt bottle. When I got back, I pushed pause again to resume my run.

But on this machine, pushing the pause button again actually turns the treadmill off. The screen went blank. And I, wearing headphones, dropped the F-bomb. Twice. Audibly. Everyone at the gym probably thinks I have Tourette's Syndrome. Maybe that's for the best.

Anyway, I retreated back to my normal mill with the drinkholder, since Mr. Porterhouse and his attractive friend were nowhere to be seen. I ran for three more miles or so, before getting a cramp in my gut, on the right side. It hurt a lot, like I imagined a punch from Mr. Porterhouse would have. I slowed down. No better. I walked. Better. I sped up. Cramp came back. I quit.

But I'll be back for more punishment. Probably as soon as tomorrow.

Feeling good, but winded

3 MILES29:30My house to Bayonet/Blackhorse and back9:55

I pushed myself, maybe a bit too hard. I hadn't run in a few days. That's what Christmas with a 1 year old does. The rain hasn't helped either.
But I felt good, though winded. Perhaps I started too fast as I was gasping after the first mile. But knowing it was a short distance helped and soon I found a good pace. Leg, foot, achilles all feel fine. No problems there. Hopefully, these heel inserts I got last week will continue to help on the longer runs.

I'm back at it tomorrow. I have some catching up to do.

Complete, pathetic failure.

I was planning on waking up at six a.m. to run 10 miles this morning. Well, remember what some author said about the best laid plans of mice and men? It seemed that my best plan was continue my morning laid out in bed.

I had prepared for this longish run all evening, eating extra Thai food and going to bed early. I normally sleep through the night, but for some reason, I woke up at 3 a.m. I suspect that the monsoon pounding on my window was what woke me up, but I can't be completely certain. Anyway, I rolled over, thinking to myself with a warm, gooey, half-awake joy that I had three more hours in sugar-plum dreamland.

At some point, presumably around six a.m., my alarm went off. I don't remember that actually happening, but I do remember slapping blindly in the dark for the damnable machine. Maybe I hit the wrong button, or maybe I slept through a full hour of this album, because I embarked on the strangest dream.

It seemed in the dream that our union local had been taken over by a radical labor leader. He pursued a strategy of beating down reporters' wages in order to get them to foment a proletarian revolution.

Wearing a green berret with a red star, I was his eager lieutenant, telling him in a bad Russian accent that: "The purpose of a trade union is to wake the proletariat from its stupor and achive revolutionary class consciousness, not to raise the wage-slave's paltry ducats."

What's up with that? Communism is so 1985. And how can I hope to awake all workingmen (and women) to seize the global means of production when I can't even get out of bed on an overcast day?

By the time I woke up, it was 8 a.m. and I had to go to work. The specter of laziness haunts the newsroom today.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Eating anxiety

There's nothing like stepping on a scale to make you neurotic about what you eat. In last night's elation over a bit of newfound swiftness, I neglected to mention the results of my most recent trip to the scale. I apparently weigh 235 pounds, five or so pounds less than when I started this thing, but five or so pounds more than three weeks ago.

I've increased my distance. I've greatly increased my amount of physical activity. I can get up from my desk without getting winded. But I still weigh as much as ever.

I've tried to be good. I drink orange juice. I drink something called "drinkable yogurt," an pink substance that looks like pepto but tastes like yoplait. I order SALADS WITH NO CHEESE and DRESSING ON THE SIDE, for godness sakes. I have my slip-ups, sure. Pizza and cheeseburgers and beer. But not so often. Not nearly as often as I used to. But I'm just not sure that a life without some junk food now and then is a life well-lived.

I don't make afternoon candy runs to the vending machine anymore. I try to keep a banana on hand in case I get hungry. I chug water like Yeltsin chugged vodka, like a Hummer chugs premium. My kidneys work harder than David Crosby's liver. I pee once an hour, for g-d's sake.

But people still call me big guy.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Gimme a cookie.

4 mi.39:46 mins.TREADMILL9:57 mins./mi.

Since I woke up this morning feeling like an extra from Shawn of the Dead, (And it was raining and, like the Wicked Witch of the West, I'm a wuss about those sorts of things.) I decided to postpone my run until the evening.

After writing a story about the Monterey Peninsula's possible destruction in the face of a tsunami, I headed to the gym. My goal tonight was to run four miles in under 40 minutes. As you can see, I achieved my goal. Yes, I'm proud. Yes, dammit I want a cookie.

Are any of you eating cookies right now?

Let go of the cookie, reader. Just put it in your disk drive and hit send. It won't hurt your computer. Do it. I dare you. I read a study in WIRED that says this sort of thing works now. It's called The Internet, people. I deserve a sweet, gooey, chocolatey reward. I was fast on the treadmill tonight. I ate Subway for dinner, like that shchmo Jared. I was a good monkey. Give me your cookie!

(The Monterey County Herald, Blogger and The Big Sur International Marathon are not responsible for disk drives damaged by crumbs, morsels and any other bits of deliciousness. We now return you to your regularly scheduled self-deprecation.)

MMmmmmmmmm... Coooookkiieeee.

Curse the rain

Stupid rain. One of the main reasons why I choose to live here is because it hardly ever rains. Alas, no running today. And I don't belong to a gym, so no treadmill either.
Ah, whatever.
My achilles feels good. My knee feels good. My hip feels good.
I'm ready for tomorrow.

The Tendonitis Twins

As I feared,the tendonitis in my left toe has spread. It's actually not in my left toe at all. It's the tendon, that little rubber band, that runs over the top of your foot, connecting your toe to the muscle in your shin that flexes it up and down.

First it was my left foot, now, it's managed to jump to my right. Thank goodness it didn't go up one leg and down the other. After my runs, I limp around like my feet are bound. A few hours later, the pain dulls to a mellow, creaky, ache. It doesn't really hurt all that much unless you're walking or standing up.

In other news, it was overcast and ick this morning, and I had half a pizza and two beers for dinner last night, so I slept in. 'll do four miles on the treadmill at the gym tonight. It's gerbil time again.

I feel like crud. What should I expect from a pizza called "The Sausage Garden?" But pizza is so tasty. Especially with sausage, and garlic and mmmmmmm. Oh. Look. It's lunchtime.

Gotta go, before my drooling shorts out the keyboard.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

No worries, Mate

You may be wondering why I haven't posted a run since Wednesday. Well, I did take a few days off for the Holidays. My cohort, Segal, is very dedicated to the training regimen. I am not.
That's not to say that I am skimping on my runs. I had a few family commitments over the weekend.

Don't worry. I'm back at it on Monday.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Hittin' the double digits

10 mi.119:25Home <-> 17 Mile Dr. <-> Cypress Point11:56 mins./mi.

I guess they call it Long Slow Distance for a reason. This was the longest run I've ever done. It was also one of the slowest. Despite the beautiful Pebble Beach scenery, the perfect weather and the nearly deserted roads (thanks to some guy's birthday party) I never really felt good. Maybe I should have been stuffing stockings rather than stuffing my face with fudge, cookies and bourbon balls for the last couple days.

But the most important thing is that I did it, plodding along and sweating my way to what I'm told is a landmark distance: 10 Miles.

Now, a few hours after the run, I'm exhausted. I feel like taking a nap. My legs hurt, and the tendinitis is in both feet. But I have to work. So I'll hit the fudge again.

Friday, December 24, 2004

The 12 Days of Training

And now, for a bit of holiday hackery, I present (with apologies to all) a song:

On the first day of training, my running gave to me, a blister on my feet.
On the second day of training, my running gave to me, two bleeding nipples and a blister on my feet.
On the third day of training, my running gave to me, three ibuprofen, two bleeding nipples, and a blister on my feet.
On the fourth day of training, my running gave to me, four stress fractures, three ibuprofen, two bleeding nipples, and a blister on my feet.
On the fifth day of running, my training gave to me, FIVE GOLDEN MEDALS, four stress fractures, three ibuprofen, two bleeding nipples, and a blister on my feet.
On the sixth day of running, my training gave to me, six sweaty socks, FIVE GOLDEN MEDALS, four stress fractures, three ibuprofen, two bleeding nipples, and a blister on my feet.
On the seventh day of training, my running gave to me, seven hacking coughs, six sweaty socks, FIVE GOLDEN MEDALS, four stress fractures, three ibuprofen, two bleeding nipples, and a blister on my feet.
On the eighth day of training, my running gave to me, eight theighs a chafing, seven hacking coughs, six sweaty socks, FIVE GOLDEN MEDALS, four stress fractures, three ibuprofen, two bleeding nipples, and a blister on my feet.
On the ninth day of training, my running gave to me, nine nighttime muggings, eight theighs a chafing, seven hacking coughs, six sweaty socks, FIVE GOLDEN MEDALS, four stress fractures, three ibuprofen, two bleeding nipples, and a blister on my feet.
On the tenth day of training, my running gave to me, ten skimpy shorts, nine nighttime muggings, eight theighs a chafing, seven hacking coughs, six sweaty socks, FIVE GOLDEN MEDALS, four stress fractures, three ibuprofen, two bleeding nipples, and a blister on my feet.
On the eleventh day of training, my running gave to me, eleven singlets a stinking, ten skimpy shorts, nine nighttime muggings, eight theighs a chafing, seven hacking coughs, six sweaty socks, FIVE GOLDEN MEDALS, four stress fractures, three ibuprofen, two bleeding nipples, and a blister on my feet.
On the twelthf day of training, my running gave to me, twelve worn out shoes, eleven singlets a stinking, ten skimpy shorts, nine nighttime muggings, eight theighs a chafing, seven hacking coughs, six sweaty socks, FIVE GOLDEN MEDALS, four stress fractures, three ibuprofen, two bleeding nipples, and a blister on my feet.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I have the legs of an athlete! (And the torso of Homer Simpson.)

Howdy there guys and gals! My newest Herald column is online! It's a heart-wrenching odyssey of obesity and self-loathing! Enjoy!


Biggie Biggie Biggie, Can't U See

8 mi.88:40 mins. Lovers Pt. <-> PG High School11:05 mins./mi.

Kenny's been talking a lot of smack. But this morning reality smacked him back. Kenny made a valliant effort, true. But he didn't count on the Biggie factor.

Starting out, Ken had the temerity to run ahead of me for a mile or so. For most of the rest of the run, I treated him to what I'm sure has become an all-too-familiar sight: my backside slowly fading into the distance.

Still, I waited for him at the run's halfway point, ironically situated in front of Pacific Grove High School, site of his distant, sepia-toned athletic glories. We ran together for a while, side by side. Then, the unexpected happened.

I had changed my radio from NPR to the local top-40 station, to switch things up a bit, to move my feet to the beat of some bass. They queued up an old-school (for me, at least) track: Hypnotize, by Biggie Smalls. For some reason, the sounds of the 400-plus-pound hip-hopper coming at me from beyond the grave made me run faster. Maybe, I thought, if Biggie had run, he wouldn't have gotten shot. At least it wouldn't have been so easy to hit him. Then again, Skinny Smalls is no name for an emcee.

Anyway, when the song came on, I half-ran/half-danced my way down Oceanview Boulevard, shaking my thang and making spanking motions with my right hand as I powered my way through mile six. Sure, it may have looked like I was having a seizure, but I was having a blast.

So, Biggie, wherever you are, I dedicate this run to you. Do do run run run. Do do run run.

Don't mind being wrong about this one

895 minutesLovers Point to Asilomar to PGHS and back11:48

Okay. I can admit it. I'm man enough. Segal is kicking my butt. I had said all along that the reason he was beating me was because of various injuries I have suffered (achilles, knee, foot). Well, guess what, my injuries are healed. That's right, today's run was the best to date. Yeah, I didn't run very fast, but it was pain-free. Which is a first. (Secret weapon, I thank you.)

And Segal kicked my booty, hard. He beat me by a full 13 minutes, which is more than a mile-and-a-half at the rate he was running.

That's okay. I don't mind being wrong on this one. I'll take pain-free runs anyday of the week. Because, it is only a matter of time before my endurance builds and Segal suffers the fate many opponents who have stood in my way.

So, Segal, I say to you, congrats. You are doing better than I am and I have no excuse. But much like the sun setting and rising again tomorrow, it is a certainty that you will go down.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Easy does it...

3 mi.34:26 mins.Home <-> Pine Ave.11:29 mins./mi.

After my exhausting run on Sunday and a much-needed day off on Monday, I decided to test out my legs with a pleasant little jog, you know, the kind where the birdies sing and you make meaningful eye contact with the deer, and don't get run over by an SUV and so on and so forth.

A "recovery jog" is supposed to help your aching legs heal faster by getting a little bit of blood flowing in them, but not be so strenuous as to further break down your creaky bones. So today was an "easy" run, as if such a thing existed. Still, it seems like few things should be easier for me than running slowly.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Mortal after all

It sounds like the mighty Segal is mortal after all. Hmmm. me wonders, how badly he really feels. Could it be just a stunt, a way of showing a bit of remorse for my recent injuries? Let this be a warning - he without sin cast the first stone. Okay that was just stupid. Anyways, the gauntlet has been thrown down, I feel confident in my recovery skills. Segal will meet his match Wednesday.

Oy, I hurt. And I blame it all on her.

My sister is one of the reasons I'm in this mess.

She ran The Big Sur Half Marathon a couple months ago. In 1 hour and 50 minutes. She looked like she had so much fun, it planted the germ in my brain that eventually mutated into the crazy plan to train for the marathon. She was so excited when I told her about the plan, that she promised to go on some training runs with her much slower brother.

Sunday was our second run together, through the streets of San Francisco. If you all remember how well our previous session on a Minnesota treadmill turned out, this one, with hills, could only be worse.

My sister lives about 3,000 feet above sea level, on the top of one of San Francisco's legendary hills. Our plan was ambitious: Run (more like jump) from her house down to sea level, then past the marina and out to the Golden Gate Bridge, then back up the hills to her house. I had trained. I was ready. I could do it. Right.

It started out easily enough, rolling down the hills with ease, although at times I felt like my feet thumping down the sidewalk measured on the Richter Scale (think the walking trees from Lord of the Rings.)

Then we hit the flats. That's where the taunting began. She would sprint ahead about 200 yards, then sprint back, and then face me, running backwards, wondering at my slowness. I would flip her off or call her a nasty word, and the cycle would begin again.

She suggested that I try to lengthen my stride. I did. I was going faster, almost gliding along, with the bridge looking, oh, positively golden in the distance.

Then, around four miles, I thought disaster struck. It started as a tickle, a little twinge in my right hamstring. Soon, as I loped along, it developed into full-fledged pain. The next time my sister swung back, I told her. We stopped and stretched it out. It felt a little better. Stopped again. Stretched. Better.

We got to the bridge and the pain was gone. I was relieved. So I trooped back along the waterfront until the ascent back up to my sister's apartment started.

The first few hundred feet up, through a park and a street, were OK. Then we got to this insane hill. I swear. It was steeper than most people's roofs. I shortened my stride, taking little-half foot baby steps as I hefted my mass up the incline. About halfway up, I lost my breath. At 3/4ths, a coppery taste started spreading in my mouth. I wondered if my lungs were bleeding, but I couldn't stop. At the top, two flights of concrete steps stared me in the face. As I ran up them, I screamed like an animal from the bottom of my gut, and the sound echoed off the bay windows above, scaring the crud out of a woman walking her dog next to us.

Disturbing the peace violation aside, I made it up the hill, and jogged the rest of the way to my sister's apartment, panting like a lab on a hot day's duck hunt. My sister hardly broke a sweat, but I looked like a wreck. Hell, I was a wreck.

I woke up this morning in my bed in Pacific Grove. I felt a tickle in my throat and my nose was stuffed up. And now, my calves hurt. And my quads hurt. And my glutes hurt. And my foot hurts again. And I feel a little something nagging me in my right hamstring...

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Sister + San Francisco = Hill Hell

8.75 mi? 110 mins.?Nob Hill <-> Marina <-> Golden Gate BridgeExcruciating.
Today was the dreaded run with my sister in San Francisco. My lord, there are hills here. And hills. And hills. And hills. But what the city loses in difficulty it makes up for in scenery. Then again, it's hard to pay attention to the scenery when you're breathing so hard that you almost pass out. But that only happened once...
Okay, twice. But who's counting? Certainly not the kind paramedics who stopped to give me CPR. Do paramedics normally wear hot pants? Hey, wait a second. Those weren't paramedics.
But my stomach calls. Now it's time to gorge myself on Dim Sum. (I just can't get enough of those dumplings.) So I'll offer more reflections on this run tomorrow.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Now I fear

I fear Kenny, too. What could his secret weapon be? As the son of a medical doctor, the things I fear most are a single-payer healthcare plan and trial lawyers. Just kidding.

Fear and Loathing in San Francisco

Today I drive to San Francisco. Tomorrow I run with my sister. She had planned a treacherous route filled with frightening hills. She is in great shape. My shape is elliptical. I am filled with dread.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Look out Segal

This will be short and sweet. All I can divulge at this moment is that Segal is going down. Why, you may ask. Let me put this way - my achilles, knee and foot problem are about to disappear for good. I've discovered a secret weapon, the kind that a son of a medical doctor fears most.

Look out Segal, KO is back.

I am elasti-man

As promised, here is the long-awaited account of my experiences Tuesday night at the torture dungeon known as the Big Sur Marathon Training Clinic stretching workshop. Now I know the right way to stretch and it's been really helpful and good for me and all, but, that night, I was mortified.

Things started off well enough, with The Leader giving an address on the utmost importance of stretching to try and avoid what we all know is the eventual inevitability of severe and debilitating injury. Still, I had been stretching before my runs, doing some toe-touches and some neck circles, and I figured that the prescribed stretches couldn't have been much harder than that. Right?

Then the leader introduced The Chiropractor. Now, excuse my skepticism, but I was raised in the home of a doctor. A medical doctor. With an M.D. And chiropractor was a dirtier word than the one starting with F. My dread didn't decrease when T.C. got up in front of the room.

He said he was 65. He looked 50. With close-cropped white hair, he was clad in all black, with tight sweatpants that left little to the imagination. He brought a padded table with him. His biography revealed that not only was he a trained chiropractor, but he was a former soldier, a West Point graduate. He was going to whip us into shape.

The first stretch was called "The Up Dog." Imagine doing a push-up, but sticking your rear end as far up in the air as it goes, then pushing down your heels and flexing your quadraceps at the same time. When you're doing it, you look like a human bridge, or something a little more sinister. The room tried the stretch and was immediately transformed into a field of full moons.

The next stretch was "The Down Dog." It was like The Up Dog, but reversed, so you look a little like a beached seal. After trying it, I collapsed, my arms tired from supporting my massive girth. Others followed: The Pidgin, The Groin Stretch and the appropriately named Extreme Quadracep/Hip Flexor Stretch. That was the one he brought the table for.

For The Extreme stretch, he invited a volunteers up, including me, so that he could help them get into the appropriate position. The stretch involved contorting the body into a pretzel, using an elevated surface to pressure your quad. It was supposed to be a replacement for the old-pull-your-leg-behind-you stretch. So, in front of the group, he manipulated my arms, legs and torso until I was in the right position. Wow. Now that was a stretch.

Then he did something I didn't expect. He told me I had to flex RIGHT THERE, and grabbed a heaping handful of my heiny. Whew!

The Chiropractor said that eventually we would enjoy stretching. That it's an acquired taste, like Scotch. Apparently Scotch tastes like pain.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Takin' her easy

3.5 mi.37:22 mins.Out n' About in PG10:40 mins./mi.

Today was an easy jaunt through the neighborhood, with friendly waves to the garbagemen, contractors and assorted morning folk who make up the scenery in geriatric Pacific Grove. I try not to push it too much after a longish run like Wednesday's. I'm takin' it easy like The Dude.
Still, I'm beginning to get a little stressed about speed. No, not the kind of speed you mix up from cold medicine in the bathtub of your doublewide -- the kind of speed you develop by running faster and faster. If you've been keeping track of my times, which you probably haven't, you've noticed that I haven't gotten any faster. My long runs are slower than Jessica Simpson doing calculus. I'd think that by now, after a month of training, I'd be speedier. But I'm not.

Timing is everything

Kenny has a new Herald running column online. It describes his continuing battle with a particularly troublesome strip of flesh.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Not good. Not good at all.

So I tested my achilles. It did not go well. After only a quarter mile I felt it tighten up. I didn't want to push it. I was assured that I didn't do any major damage the first time. So I think I will shut it down till at least Saturday. Oh boy. I'm so pleased with how my body is responding.


8 mi.89:32 mins.Lovers Pt. <-> Forest Hill11:11 mins./mi.

***(Warning: This post is heartfelt and quite prossibly boring.)***

Some runs are good. Some runs are bad. And some runs are inspirational. Today's run was one of the inspirational ones.
It started at Lovers Pt., with a citrus sun creeping over the Hopkins Marine Station and a stiff wind at my back. With the sounds of the ocean drowining out the NPR in my headphones, I jogged out to Asilomar , enjoying the waves curling toward the beach in the distance. After Asilomar, the terrrain changes from beach to forest, and I climbed a mile-long hill to the fourth mile of my run, the halfway point. The night before, I had squirrelled away a bottle of water in the crook of a tree there, and I was pleased to see a racoon hadn't dragged it off. I turned around and headed downhill back toward the ocean, trying to pick up some speed. The last two miles of the run were the hardest, going straight into the wind. The gusts buffeted my bloated body. It was hard, but rewarding. My time was a little slow, but that was okay. I still had fun.
Afterward, I did some stretched that I learned at the clinic last night. I'll cover the stretching clinic later.
Oh, and my toe still hurts.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I didn't do it. I swear. Honest.

I'm so desperate, I'm thinking of calling Mark Geragos.
Yesterday afternoon, the accusations were flying around the newsroom.
"So," the sports guy said. "I heard you whacked Kenny."
Another chimed in.
"You felt the heat, so you took him out. Just couldn't play fair, could you."
So today, I just want to go on the record and say I have nothing to do with Kenny's injury.
I didn't trip him.
I didn't jump out of the bushes and tackle him.
I didn't slip dioxin into his diet soda.
I didn't put a tack in his shoe.
I didn't train a wild badger to spring on him from a tree and gnaw at his ankle.
And I certainly didn't pay my personal bodyguard/lover to whack him repeatedly in the leg with a metal pole. I swear. Honest. It's all media speculation. You can't prove anything.
No further comments.

Feeling better

I want to run today, but I won't. Me achilles feels much better. Everybody I talked to says to wait at least until Wednesday. So I will. It's my day off of work as well, so I think I will spend time with my daughter. Or play some on-line poker. Maybe both. My wife should be happy.
That's my life. In a nutshell. Aren't you envious?

Monday, December 13, 2004

Garbage in...

2.540 mins.Home to PG track and backwhat does it matter?

On Sunday I played golf. I walked up and down hills. I felt good. I felt trim. I was a gazelle. So I treated myself. I had a burger. With cheese. (Sorry G-d.) And bacon. (Boy am I in trouble with the rebbe now.) And thousand-island dressing. And avacodo. And french fries. And ketchup. (It's important to eat vegetables.) And two beers. Twenty-ounce beers: one 40. (Dulled the pain of yet another Vikings fiasco.) That afternoon, I slept it off, and feeling guilty, I went to a Mexican restaurant and ordered a salad! (With no crispy taco shell, either.)
So, when I woke up this morning, I figured I woud still be in good shape to run. Boy was I wrong. I ran down to the track and everything seemed ok. Two miles into what was supposed to be a four-miler, I was suffering. Sucking wind. And on the day that I debuted my stylish new sweatband. So I quit. And walked. Maybe it was the interview with Yoko Ono (now apparently a dance-musc star) I was listening to on the radio that sapped my energy. But I think it was the food. And the drink. Or maybe I'm just a wuss.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

The day after

The achilles still hurts, but not as bad. I think it is just a strain. I took Sunday off, of course. I doubt I will run Monday, but maybe, magically, it will be feel a whole lot better in the morning. I'm still making an appointment.
I am firm in my resolve. This will not prevent me from running the marathon. Maybe Victor Conte has something for it. Hope his number is listed.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Running (slowly) through the pastures of plenty

8.5 mi.100:30 mins.Home to Bird Rock via 17-Mile Dr. R/T11:49 mins./mi.

Donning our Gucci singlets and Chanel sweatsocks, Kenny and I were movin' on up this week for our Saturday long run, eschewing gritty Seaside and quaint Monterey for the high life in Pebble Beach.
After talking our way past the guards (not really), we trotted past three golf courses and the ocean. A man driving a black Ferrari convertibale drove by and I gave him a jaunty wave. He called security.
Around mile three, Kenny's foot fell asleep and I flounced on ahead, like the tenacious sports guy he is, he caught up by the half-way point, a drinking fountain at a place called Bird Rock. (Bird Rock is named such because it's a rock that birds hang out on. Go figure.)
Running back in tandem, I felt like Kenny and I were a team. Team Tubby. Then, Kenny said his heel hurt, and told me to go ahead. Since I'm a selfish jerk, I did just that, and left him walking. I took it slow the rest of the way, ending with an uphill grade back to my house. When Kenny arrived there, I could tell he wasn't doing too hot. Now I feel bad. I hope he can still train.
As for me, it was a pretty slow run compared to others I've done lately. The first time running that route, I didn't know how bad the hill would be on the way back. I never got really winded, but my legs hurt at the end of the run, and still hurt now. The toe thing is back, and the magic beans are begginning to take their toll on my intestines. Also, my right knee hurt a little. I'm definitely taking tomorrow off.

The Agony, but no ecstasy

8.5 mi.109:33David Ave school to Pebble Beach turnout and backPace

It is a shame. I write this with an ice pack firmly wrapped around my left achilles. Early on, I felt this run was going to be a turning point for me in my training.
It was. Just not what I imagined.
As usual, my right foot fell asleep right around 2.5 mile mark. I paused, as I always do, cursing as Segal pranced happily along in front of me. The sight of him merrily moving ahead of me revolted me and I immediately began again. It wasn't long before I caught up with him and my right foot actually felt better.
Then somewhere around the 5.5 mark, I felt a slight twinge in my left achilles. I ignored it because it wasn't really all that painful. But with each step it began to throb a bit more and somewhere around 6 miles, I knew that something was seriously wrong.
I stopped. It didn't feel much better walking - an indication of how serious it might be. As my football coach used to say, there is a difference between being hurt and being injured. This feels like an injury.
I walked the last two miles - what else could I have done. I hope that it is merely a strain of some sort. Monday, I will make an appointment and get it checked out.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Praise be to the magic beans

Following my dad's advice, I took some ibuprofen for my toe last night before I went to bed. Like magic, the pain in my foot is almost gone. I guess there will be no amputation, so I better put away the saw. Today is an off day, so I'll hit the buffet to bulk up for Saturday's long run. Fathers, hide your donuts.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Coming out of the Big Sur Marathon closet

My newest Herald training column is online. It's a harrowing tale about my relationship with my spandex tights. Check it out. Oh, and my toe still hurts.

It's not as easy as it looks

6.574:27Upper North Seaside to Lovers Point11:45

This sucks. And I'm not kidding. I feel as if finishing the marathon is further (or is it farther) away today than it was a month ago when I finished my first 2-mile run.

My training partner - Segal - likes to make jokes and poke fun at how much he is "suffering". Trust me, he's not. He may not be a model of fitness, but for some ungodly reason, he has found more success running than I have.

Which, of course, is a source of real frustration. I was the athlete in High School, not him. I was the one who played football, basketball and even ran track. I was the one who was supposed to have an easier transition to running.

But there he is, often times more than 2-minutes ahead of me. I vowed he would never beat me again on any training run. But after my pathetic showing today - where I was supposed to finish 8 miles but managed just 6.5 - I fear that he will again beat me Saturday.

The problem, I think, is medical. I offer no excuses. But my right foot has this nasty habit of falling asleep around the 3-mile mark. There is no pain, but imagine driving a car without any feelings in your hands and arms or trying to draw with out sensation in your fingers. You can do it but it is very unnerving.

So far, nobody has had a inkling as to why this is happening. I think it is time for a doctor to weigh in on it. But not any doctor, a foot doctor. A man who specializes in nothing but feet.

Waaah. My toe hurts.

3 mi.32:15 mins.David to Sinex to Congress in PG10:45 min./mi.

After my 8-mile odyssey on the treadmill Wednesday, I was relieved to only have to run 3 miles today. My body might be beginning to show some signs of wear. Yesterday, I started getting a strange pain in my big toe. Today, it's worse, and when I flex my toe, I feel it up the top of my foot. It's a creeping sort of pain, like hot syrup dripping down foot, searing the hair as it sizzles. I hope it doesn't spread. I hope they don't have to amputate. Then again, having a spare toe might be fun. I could keep it in a box on my desk and show it to my grandchildren. I could give it a name, like Mr. Toe. Or Toe-ney the toe. Or Christoepher. You get the picture. Toe-do-loo.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Imprisoned in the gym...

888:10 mins.Treadmill11:01 mins./mi.

Eat it, Eminem, today was my day for 8 mile. As my alarm buzzed at 6:05 a.m., I awoke to the pitter-patter of rain on the window. When the going gets wet, the wet head to the gym. Running on a treadmill stinks. It's kind of like being a Vikings fan. You work a lot, and don't ever get anywhere. Plus I can't ever get my pace right. Too fast. Too slow. There are other disadvantages to the gym, too, which I will summarize in convenient list form. Don't say I never did nothin' for you.

Running outside vs. the gym.

Outside, I look at the ocean, the trees, people at bus stops and the athletic forms of my fellow runners.
In the gym, I look at that 75-year-old guy on the stairmaster, the dirty carpet, and the ever-rippling movement of my torso.

Outside, I smell the fresh sea breeze, the piney zest of the trees and diesel exhaust.
In the gym, I smell the stale stank of 1,000 armpits past, the mildew mustiness of the locker-room showers and my own surprisingly pleasant aroma. The bouquet transports me back to high school. Towel-snap anyone?

(I have a tendancy to bellow to inspire myself on long runs.)
Outside, my yell sounds triumphant as I plod along.
In the gym, my yell marks me as a deranged lunatic, and garners looks from the aforementioned 75-year-old guy on the starmaster.

Outside, my heavy breathing powers me to achieve.
In the gym, my heavy breathing inhales more germs than they keep at the Centers for Disease Control.
Outside, me breath marks me as a champion.
Inside, my gasping sends the gym staff searching for the defibrilator.
Outside, when my nose starts to run, I blow it, and I spit on the ground.
In the gym, when my nose starts to run, I blow it, and I spit on the carpet. Then they kick me out and revoke my membership.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Picture time!!!

This is me and Kenny after our run Saturday. Aren't we hot? If you concentrate really hard, you can almost smell us.

A couple slices of guilt

I went to a "healthy" grocery store at the mall last night to get dinner. I got there around 8 p.m., and all the food looked kind of picked over. So I went and got a couple slices of pizza instead. I've never been the type of guy who takes a napkin and blots the grease off the top of their delicious slices, and last night was no exception. How many calories could that possibly save you? Is it worth eating little bits of napkin stuck to the pizza? I think not.

Anyway, midway through the second slice, I began to get the most peculiar feelings. Guilt. Fear. More guilt. From two slices of pizza? "Maybe this piece of cheese," I thought while the strecthy saltiness of mozzarella spread in my mouth, "will be the one that lodges in my aorta on Mile 13 of the race. Maybe this will be the killer slice."

For the rest of the night, as the pizza slid through my digestive tract, I felt bad. Like I had failed myself. Maybe I better go to the doctor. Not the cardiologist. The endocrinologist. To get my testosterone levels checked.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Stressful strides

4 mi.42:27Home to PG track x10 R/T10:37 mi./min.

Today I ran something that "The Leader" calls strides. That's when you speed up for a while (until your heart feels like it's going to leap up out your trachea and fall to the ground so you'll trip over it.) Then you slow down. It's supposed to be some sort of "speed" work. As you can see from my times today, I guess "speed" is relative.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Two is better than one...

7 mi.73:40 mins.Seaside to Lovers Point10:32 min./mi.

Today was my first run with Kenny, the former high school athlete. We started quick, with a downhill mile from his house. Then we dodged traffic down Del Monte Ave., until we hit the Rec Trail. I chugged along as Kenny paused, his foot asleep. I assume that my flapping red shorts made a big target for Kenny to focus on as he kept pace. I bet the undulation of my ample back was nothing short of hypnotic. I picked up speed as I got into familiar territory at Window on the Bay. I finished the run a few hundred yards in front of Kenny. He vowed that he would be faster than me soon.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I am a runner.

6 mi.66:17 min.Lovers to Asilomar11:03 mins/mi.

This was the best run I've had to date. I'm still getting over my cold, but the sun was out and the temperature was perfect. I started out slow, concentrating on keeping relaxed like the cult told me to. After reaching three miles at 35 mins., I turned around and turned it up. I cruised the rest of the run, even up the little hills on Oceanview Blvd. I even inhaled through my nose and exhaled through my mouth. I was a Yogi! One foot in front of the other. In, out. In out. It took me 31 mins. to get back. I am a runner.

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