So it finally happened. I hurt myself. Yesterday morning, I began what was supposed to be a 14-mile run. I’m in Week 7 of the training plan and I’ve been sticking to it pretty well so I wasn’t too worried about being able to finish 14 miles.
About a half mile in, I twisted my ankle pretty badly. I almost fell completely to the ground. I instantly knew the run was over, of course. For a fleeting moment, I was thankful that, if it had to happen, it was better to happen where it did rather than 7 miles away. Then I started worrying. Even though I could walk on it fairly well at the time, I was worried that this was the end of my run to Paris. I’m about halfway through the training plan and the marathon is only two months away. Anything more than a few days or a week off may jeopardize my ability to complete the entire marathon.
I went home and began icing it and keeping it wrapped. By this morning, it had swollen enough that I decided to go to the doctor. After a few X-rays, he confirmed that there was no bone damage or fracture, only soft tissue damage. He advised me to continue wrapping it and to stay off of it for the next 10-14 days.
So, I’ll do what I can. Assuming that 14 days is all I’ll need to recover, I’m not too worried about being ready for the marathon. But any more than 14 days and I’ll have to seriously consider pulling out of the race. In the meantime, I plan on continuing to go to the gym to work on my upper body and continue my leg workouts, at least the ones that don’t require me to put weight on my ankle.
We’ll see how it goes.
I’m an information addict. And, for some time, I’ve been excited about the possibilities of online learning. As such, I’ve been aware of Coursera for a little more than a year. I first heard about it when they decided to offer an online cryptography course. Since then, as the site has added more and more classes from more and more institutions, I’ve been keeping my eye open for interesting courses.
From the class description:
“How to Change the World examines how we can develop “social goods” and use them to create networks of progressive change. Classes will explore the meaning of “social goods” and then address the following topics: Poverty and Philanthropy; Climate Change and Sustainability; Women, Education and Social Change; Social Networks, Education and Activism. Each week will be structured along the following questions: 1. What do we know? 2. Why should we care? 3. What can we do?
At the end of the class students should have a clearer understanding of these global issues, and they should develop strategies for working with others to begin to address them. Our aim is simple and bold: to put together the facts, the energy and the actions to make a real difference in addressing some of the major problems confronting the world today.”
A few years ago, I did some international volunteer work in a particularly complex and political part of the world. It changed my life. But in recent years, I’ve gotten away from that. I had always prided myself on maintaining the idealism of my youth well past its normal shelf life. Heck, I didn’t participate in my first volunteer trip until I was 30 years old. But, in the last couple years, much of that idealism has been replaced by cynicism. Of course, I have no illusions about walking the Earth and solving the problems of the world after I complete the class but it is an attempt to rediscover and re-engage that idealism.
The class starts today (MLK day, no less)!
The Paris Marathon inches closer and closer! Only 75 days left!
About a week or two ago, it was also time to retire my first pair of running shoes. They had carried me through a couple 5Ks, one 10K, and three Half-Marathons. All told, I wore them for about 400 miles.
I’ve actually replaced the pair above with two pair of shoes (a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 10s and a pair of Brooks GTS Adrenalines) for the remaining months leading to Paris. I have about 500 miles left before Paris and, had I only bought one pair, it would be time to switch them out again before Paris. So, I ended up buying two pair so that I could alternate them in these last two months of training.
I also ended up purchasing a new bicycle to prepare for the Killarney Adventure Race in October. Based on the course in the race, I decided that a cyclocross bike was more appropriate than my current road bike. On top of that, I haven’t been too comfortable on the road bike since I took a nasty spill back in June on a wet, wooden bridge. So I decided to sell it. In its place, I bought the Specialized Crux Elite Disc cyclocross bike.
I just went on the first ride with it today and I love it! I took it on some dirt trails near my house. It wasn’t quite as smooth as a mountain bike, of course, but it handled the rougher terrain pretty well. I look forward to cross-training with this in the next few months.
Speaking of that first ride, I actually went on the 13-mile ride immediately after my 10-mile long run for the week. Needless to say, I’m worn out but my legs feel pretty good. I’m hoping to add more of these two-event days on in the upcoming months, not only to increase endurance for the marathon in April but to get myself used to running long distances and biking long distances in the same day in preparation for Killarney in October.
That’s all for now!
Marathon training is going well! Surprisingly well, even! I have a tendency to be lazy at times. In fact, one of my most amazing skills is the ability to rationalize my way out of doing almost anything. So when faced with the prospect of having to run 4 times per week consistently, I was afraid I’d find a way to take a shortcut. Skip and run here, skip a run there. But that hasn’t happened at all. I’ve only missed one run and that was the day after Christmas. The main reason I missed that one was because we had to drive back home from out of town and we ended up leaving extremely early. On top of that, I had enjoyed quite a bit of wine the night before. But, even though I missed the run itself, I ended up making up the miles I missed on subsequent runs.
Now, given my travel schedule with work, I am sure that there will be runs I’ll miss. When I travel to a new location I don’t always know of a good place to run or, in some cases, we may have to be at a client’s location super early or we may end up staying late. The obstacles of finding a 5 or 6 mile run during the week while traveling for work can be pretty high. But no matter. What really matters are the long weekend runs and that’s what I’ve committed to never missing.
I also joined a gym a few weeks ago. I’ve never been much of a “gym guy” but I am really enjoying it. The primary motivation was to find a place where I could swim. When I would prepare for past races, I would never really do anything on my “cross-training” days. Sure, I’d bike sometimes but I needed to mix it up a little more. I wanted to add some swimming and a little light weight training. And, so far, I’ve loved it! The gym I joined has an on-site spa for massages, a pool for swimming, steam rooms, saunas, a hot tub, and so on. It’s open 24 hours and is reasonably priced with no contract. I might be a gym guy after all.
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I had signed up to run the Killarney Adventure Race in Ireland next October. But what I failed to mention is that, before that, I signed up for my first full marathon: The 2014 Paris Marathon!
I am unbelievably excited about this. Paris is, of course, my favorite city. To have the opportunity to complete my first full marathon in a place like Paris is very exciting. Of course, that means I need to begin training.
I haven’t been running as often since the Runner’s World Festival in October. But, if I’m going to be ready for Paris in April, I need to begin marathon training this week. Additionally (and perhaps even more importantly), I want to begin taking my cross-training a little more seriously. Tomorrow, I may go out and shop around for a gym membership somewhere close by, preferably one that has a pool. I also need to commit to a new bike. Or two new bikes, more likely. I’m in the process of selling my road bike and replacing it with a cyclocross bike and, of course, I’m still in the market for a mountain bike. I’m hoping to pick up at least one of these in the next couple weeks so I start riding again on the days I don’t run.
I’ll be sure to update this blog with my progress!
It’s official! Today, a good friend of mine and I just registered for the 2014 Killarney Adventure Race in Killarney National Park, Ireland! We signed up for the Extreme 70K course:
- Stage 1: Mountain Run – 7.5km
- Stage 2: Road Bike – 35km
- Stage 3: Kayak – 1.5km
- Stage 4: Mountain Run – 19km
- Stage 5: Road Bike – 4km
I’m so excited! This is some of the most beautiful countryside in all of Ireland. Just a few months ago, while driving through Killarney, I kept remarking about how much I would love to bike through the area. It’s absolutely gorgeous!
Barely a week after I purchased my new mountain bike, I had to take it back.
Anyway, on my very first ride, I noticed that the pedal was coming loose. I took it back to REI immediately where they fixed it and said that it probably wasn’t assembled properly at the factory. Even if that was true, does REI not inspect their bikes before selling them? Anyway, I let it go.
Five days later, I was biking some moderate single-track trails near my house and the wheel bent! Not from a crash, not from any major impact. It just bent. I didn’t notice it until I stopped after the first ride.
So was it a bad wheel? Possibly. Or was it because the shop at REI didn’t adjust and tension the spokes properly? That’s where my money is. I have never bent a wheel in my entire riding life. This doesn’t just happen.
Anyway, I took the bike back to REI and demanded my money back. To their credit, they didn’t give me any problems and issued a refund back to my card.
So, now I’m back in the market for a new mountain bike. I’m definitely willing to stick with Cannondale since I’ve owned two previously, but I certainly won’t be returning to REI to shop for one. I like REI and I’ll continue to shop there but not for bikes.
So I’ve fallen off the blogging wagon for a while. I have a ton to report. Since my last post, I’ve finished Ulysses (and supplemental reading), ran a 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon in one weekend, signed up for my first full Marathon, started getting into poetry, and bought a new mountain bike!
I’m hoping to get back to regular blogging soon. But, for now, I’m going to leave you with two quotes from the Proteus episode of Ulysses that seemed particularly poetic to me (spacing and line breaks kept the same as they are in the original text):
“Rhythm begins, you see. I hear. Acatalectic tetrameter of iambs marching. No, agallop: deline the mare.
Open your eyes now. I will. One moment. Has all vanished since? If I open and am for ever in the black adiaphane. Basta! I will see if I can see.
See now. There all the time without you: and ever shall be, world without end.”
And then later on the same page:
“Spouse and helpmate of Adam Kadmon: Heva, naked Eve. She had no navel. Gaze. Belly without blemish, bulging big, a buckler of taut vellum, no, whiteheaped corn, orient and immortal, standing from everlasting to everlasting. Womb of sin.”