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Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Itsy Bitsy Spider...

...ran up my window shade.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bad Timing?

After two 10K races at a 7:30 pace I was surprised how easily I ran the half marathon ten days ago at a 7:30 pace. And expected I would run today's "Run to Feed the Hungry" 10K at 7:15 or so. My goal was sub-45, reality was 46:21. And it warn't easy! Here I am, stuck on 7:30 again.

46:21 isn't bad; it was good for 393rd place out of 5782 total 10K runners (around 30,000 participants, including walkers, in the 5K and 10K); but it was disappointing to have to work so hard to maintain 7:30 (actually 7:15 for the first half and 7:45 second half pace) per mile.

But that's not the bad timing. The b.t. was waking up at 3AM with a sore throat (the Bex and Mrs Runalong have been sick for about a week, their colds began with sore throats). I didn't sleep much after that between the sore throat and night sweats and almost backed out altogether. Once I decided to go I decided to go all out and see what happened.

After all, if fever is the body's way of fighting sickness, elevating my body temperature must be a good thing, right?

Well, I did OK, my sore throat hasn't come back, I can still look forward to a 10K PR someday, and my amateur gourmet chef daughter almost has Thanksgiving dinner ready. So there's plenty to be thankful for! I hope you're feeling genuinely thankful as well. Yes, there's always "SOMETHING" in this fallen world, isn't there? But there's lots more to give thanks for.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

On Losing My Edge...

Speaking of which (see previous post), I'd fallen into the habit of using baby shampoo for all my shower-related hygienic rituals. I use it on my hair because I have to wash it daily and it's gentle; but I've also been using it everywhere else since it's basically the same thing as liquid soap.

Anyway, despite my massive quantities of testosterone, I'm pretty much a soft, gentle guy.

My wife, however, seeking a more manly shower experience for her hub, bought me something called "Edge". It's a "man's" soap. She liked the smell, but hadn't seen the commercials which document Edge's powerful "chick magnet" abilities.

I used it for awhile, but am happy to be returning to baby shampoo. As a credentialed "man of the cloth" I found it unbecoming to always have to be beating off the babes everywhere I went.

Now that that's that, I need to find a cure for my dog's related problem. Teddi has become quite the "tick magnet" as of late. They tell me she needs a product called "Frontline" but I'll try baby shampoo first.

The Other Half of my Insomnia Problem

So far, so good with the "just say no to nutrasweet" campaign. I haven't had any bad nights since, though I still have varying levels of insomnia. At least I'm relaxed now when I'm not sleeping!

As for the remaining insomnia, an article in the current issue of TIME may have pinpointed my "problem". Researchers recently reported that "men who reported the most difficulty sleeping also had the highest levels of testosterone".

Go ahead, make up your own joke. None of the one-liners that I'm thinking of are appropriate for this family-safe blog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Insomnia Breakthrough!

I've been long plagued by insomnia (runs in the family) and it has gotten worse as I've gotten older. I had hoped that taking up running would help cure it, but it didn't seem to have any effect.

I tried melatonin, but it didn't seem to help much, if at all.

I seem to have two types of insomnia: a mild type where I sort of drift in and out of a light sleep for hours. Sometimes five minutes seems like an hour and sometimes an hour seems like five minutes. I seem to wake up OK in the morning and it isn't that big of a deal, more of a nuisance.

The other type is where I feel like I'm on intra-venous caffeine (I avoid caffeine after 3:00 pm). I get jittery, can't lay still, can't relax. Very nasty.

After 20 years, I may have found the problem re: the nasty type. I hadn't had it for about a month then got it three nights in a row last week. The third night I suddenly noted a correlation that had long escaped me. Nutrasweet (aspartame).

This started around 20 years ago when I switched from regular to diet soda. Recently I had cut back on soda altogether and last week I bought some caffeine-free diet Dr Pepper and drank some the three evenings I subsequently couldn't sleep. I've been sleeping fine since.

Correlation doesn't prove causation, but I can live without diet soda. Time will tell if the nighttime jitters come back or have been banished forever.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Nothing like a cold to make you better.

My cold came and went in three days. But it only stayed away for one. Then back for two very fluish days (last weekend), a slow recovery and a couple of 8M runs on Wed & Thurs to try to get myself in some sort of condition for the Half Marathon I was signed up for today.

I didn't actually feel fully recovered even Thursday, but my runs went well and I was pretty confident I could maintain an 8:00 minute mile pace for my goal of 1:45. I knew sub-1:40 was out of the question, even fully healthy, since that would require running a 7:30 pace; which is about what I did at the two 10K runs I ran in the last month. And those were real struggles!

But I also remembered that often Olympic racers in various events do surprisingly well when coming off a layoff. And we have a saying that too much tapering is better than too little. So I felt pretty confident, but hardly doubt-free.

The race also gave me a chance to see Ronny & Lori's new house and spend some time with them. And they ran in the race also.

I came in 14th overall (out of 208), first in my 50-54 age group, finishing in 1:38. My pace was almost exactly 7:30 (the flat, fast course was about a quarter mile short of a true half-marathon). After running the first two miles at my planned 8 mile pace I found my speed picking up to around 7:20. I tried slowing down, but 7:20 felt good so I decided to give it a go. I still took my five planned brief walking breaks.

At 7:20 I was blowing past folks from mile 3-13. The last two miles were really hard, but that's what you expect. In my 10K four weeks ago, at the same pace, the last four miles were really hard. So, if I stay healthy, I should be able to qualify for Boston (I need a time under 3:45) at the marathon in three weeks.

Ronny finished in 2:13 and Lorelei in 2:32, which are pretty good efforts considering they just started training seriously about two months ago.

This was only my second half-marathon. The first was in San Diego, 1999, and was the first time I had ever run such a long scary distance. My time there was 1:42 or so, but it did have a big hill at the end.

Friday, November 7, 2008

One more for the road...

As I patiently explained to my rude friend, Ted, I've been sick this week so instead of running I've been surfing (the net). Thus the YouTubishness of my blog. I'm not quite over it yet but I'm to the point where I'm not sure how much of my lethargy is from the cold itself and how much is due to sitting around all week so I'm going to head out for a run this afternoon and hope it cures me of the vestiges.

But before I do, here's one more I found last night. Time lapse northern lights, filmed in Canada. Almost enough to make you believe in God!

Oh, did I mention that I beat Ted (though not by much) in our six-mile race last Saturday? I wasn't going to say anything, but, judging by his comment to my Dominoes post, it's obvious he's still bitter about it. Get over it, Ted!!! ;-)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Domino Effects

Here's the most amazing demonstration of the domino effect you've ever seen...

... with the exception of THIS one, which is even cooler...

True stories of prayer in action...

You don't always get what you want when you pray. Me neither. Good thing.

In the last election I only prayed for two specific outcomes, although there were many races and issues I cared deeply about. I need an "OK" from God before I'll pray for something like this.

In a day full of bad news, both prayers were answered. Prop 8 passed (thanks largely to a record turnout of black voters wanting to get out and vote for Obama, 70% of whom also voted for Prop 8).

The other? Our local grade school wants to relocate to my backyard. Almost literally. About 50 feet from the second story window where we eat meals and where I work on my sermons (and write this blog, etc). They needed to pass a bond first. I found out just a few weeks ago (the location hasn't been publicized) and thought about campaigning against it, taking flyers to the neighbors, but decided to just pray.

Five local school districts had bond issues on the ballot. Four passed (one of them by 13 votes). Only ours lost. I don't always get what I pray for but I see a lot more coincidences when I pray than when I don't.


So you want to be a jet fighter pilot? Here's your first test...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Do you know what this is?

Or should I say "who"? Click on the pic for the astonishing answer!