Saturday, December 19, 2015

What I Brag About When I Brag About Running: Weeks 4 and 5

I fell behind on my chronicling of my quest to complete THE GREATEST PHYSICAL FEAT KNOWN TO MAN, so this week I'm doubling up.

Day 22
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
4 miles - 3 miles easy comfortable, 1 mile faster

I ran around the CUA campus to get some hill work in, then finished on Garbage Road. I found out that, after you finish a run, the Nike App lets you check your pace at any moment during the run. I found this because for the last mile I was booking it, going hard, maxing my zone! and it took me 9'41". It felt like I was near my top speed, so how could that be? Luckily, by turning my phone sideways, selecting a different display mode, and running my finger along a graph (so intuitive!) I was able to learn that, for that mile, my pace fluctuated between 8'14" and 10'58". Though I had to turn around twice, so that would explain the dips in pace.

Day 23
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
3.8 miles - 1 mile warm up, .75 mile interval (fast), .25 mile slower, .75 fast, 1 mile light cool down.

Geez, Nike Running App, I didn't start running to do math. I just want to run. Not wanting to do math is also why I haven't altered my diet since beginning this. I hear tell of people doing meal plans, tracking caloric and protein intake in relation to their body weight. That sounds boring as hell. Scheduling and math are my least favorite activities. I want no part of that.

Speaking of food, tonight I ran on the track at Turkey Thicket, a rec center near my old apartment. Across the street a new wings take-out place had opened. Running on a track engulfed by the wafts of delicious chicken wing smell is not an activity that I recommend.

Day 24
Thursday, December 3, 2015
4 miles - easy comfortable pace

I hate running. Not really, I just hate running in the morning. It's mostly the waking up early part to get in a morning run, but morning is the only time to do it without wasting quality winter dusk time. Maybe it's winter that I hate.

Ran out and back on the MBT.

Day 25
Friday, December 4, 2015

Finally, the App and I are on the same page in terms of what Fridays are for.

Day 26
Saturday, December 5, 2015
2 miles - 1 mile warm up, 1 mile with 3 20-second strides (bursts of speed, faster than 5k pace)

I skipped today. The wheels are coming off! Can you feel it?
I didn't run in the morning, because, duh, waking up early to run before work on a Saturday is stupid. I didn't run in the evening, because video games and a party called to me. Also, two miles is stupid. I'm way too advanced for that.

Day 27
Sunday, Decebmer 6, 2015
3 miles - 2 miles at controlled Race Pace, 1 mile faster challenging pace.

According to the App this is my 5k milestone. The intention is probably for me to sign up for a race. I did not. But I did run very fast on Garbage Road without listening to any music or podcasts. Just me and the road. I know that running a marathon any aural assistance (like they did in ancient times) will be mentally tougher than running a 26.2 miles with the aid of Simon and Garfunkle's entire catalogue (my Power Song is Bridge Over Troubled Water), so I'm starting to mix in some runs sans audio. This one wasn't bad because I could focus on how my blazing speed made my thighs feel. My three miles were 9'28", 8'58", and 8'41". In the biz we call that running a negative split.

I've seen articles and blogs discussing pacing strategies for Race Day. Everone has decided that the obviously bad technique of banking time (running extra fast at the start to make use of energy while you still have it) doesn't work. Instead it's best to aim for negative splits, running each mile a little faster than the previous one. I understand the point of not coming out of the gate like a crazy person, but running 26 miles incrementally faster seems like a poor use of mental energy. Surely a general increase in speed/effort throughout the race works just as well. I suppose trying to rune the next mile 2 to 4 seconds faster than the previous, so as to leave enough room for improvement over the next dozen increases, could be a nice way to pass the hours.

Day 28
Monday, December 7, 2015

I just realized that each week on the Nike Running App Marathon Coach Training Plan(tm) has a motivational title. Week 1 was Warm-Up, week 2 Fundamentals, week 3 Build a Base, and week 4 (the week I just completed) is Build Strenght. I'll start adding those to the beginning of each post so we all know what exactly I'm supposed to be doing.

Week 5 Build Endurance
Day 29
Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Holy crap! Two days of rest. I earned it by killing it so hard on my 5k.

Day 30
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
5 miles - easy comfortable pace

I ran on the Turkey Thicket track. The wing place, America's Best Wings, still smells great.

Day 31
Thursday, December 10, 2015
4 miles - 3 easy comfortable, 1 mile faster

Ran a new route! 7th to Franklin to Michigan to 7th. It's a triangle! It's about a 2 mile loop with a massive decline with an immediate massive incline. I got nothing else. Not every day comes with a nugget of wisdom.

Day 32
Friday, December 11, 2015


Day 33
Saturday, December 12, 2015
4 miles - 3 miles easy comfortable, 1 mile faster

A lot going on for this run. I had a headache when I started, possibly from not drinking enough water. I ran at Turkey Thicket, and it was late enough that the track was empty. That meant I got to run clockwise, the opposite direction as usual. It's a big deal. I was in a whole new world. Plus, one of the street lamps along the track would turn on and off. Or my eyesight was just going in and out. I may have been having a stroke.

Tonight was also a lesson in "perceived effort." It felt like I was running at a quick pace, and on the last mile I was near sprinting. My times did not reflect this. But if I'd tried to keep up with some ideal pace, then I would have blown out a buttock.

Day 34
Sunday, December 13, 2015
6 miles - easy comfortable pace

Did an out and back on the MBT at an extremely easy and comfortable pace. My legs are sore, my joints and muscles hurt, and it feels like I'm running through honey. It will be interesting to see how many "My legs are filled with" X or "I'm running through" X comparisons I eventually come up with. In seven weeks I'll be saying "It feels like my legs have been replaced with dead hookers."

Day 35
Monday, December 14, 2015

Seriously, my legs are tired.
On the plus side, I bought new running shoes today. Now I can rotate between pairs, which I guess is a thing you're supposed to do. Saucony Guide 8s! Last years model for half the price. They are black and green, and look like something the Riddler from Batman Forever might wear.

Edward Nigma likes to exercise his body as well as his mind.

Hip replacement. Don't all runners have to get at least one later in life? It's like I'm sprinting towards major surgery!

Career Nike Running Stats
Runs - 135
Miles - 462.7
Avg. Pace - 10'05"
MPR - 3.42

Friday, December 11, 2015

Dear Diary: Nudism is the True Message of the Creation Myth in Genesis

Dear Diary,

There are a lot of things about religion that don't quite make sense or are just silly. Like heaven being a place where God gives you 72 inexperienced lovers to slay, or God causing earthquakes but getting offended when we don't thank him for killing someone besides us in those earthquakes. When I think of religion it's usually Christianity, because I live in the USA and that's the religion that's constantly up in my grill. If another faith were the dominant denomination my examples and ire would come from it. Judaism keeps a low profile in the states, so it isn't the burden that Christianity can be. There's a reason you don't hear about Torah Thumpers. Still, when I see a person wearing yarmulke I'm reminded that Jews aren't above reproach either. A god overly concerned with fashion isn't one I'm not slaughtering my lambs for. If you're significant other demanded that you wear a special, tiny hat at all times your friends would ridicule you for complying, and eventually encourage you in earnest to dump this person. Your hypothetical partner has severe issues.

But Jewish Americans aren't making up lies claiming that Ben Franklin intended for our bifocals to be based on Abrahamic tradition, so they aren't the focus of my hot take. That focus is American Christianity. What irks me about Christians is how the interpretations and applications of the Bible seem so easily debunked, while more obvious take-aways are missed. I'm not talking about the contentious verses debated over, such as those concerning homosexuality, where one side argues that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of butt stuff and the other side argues "nu uh, it was because they were bad hosts." This is where I lose the thread of that debate. It is my understanding that gay people throw exceptional dinner parties, and you want me to believe they were inhospitable? Nonetheless, that story seems to have multiple valid interpretations. Making the connection between God bombing a city and the forced anal entry (no one seems to think it might be the rape God is upset with) isn't difficult to understand.

What I am not willing to hear is whatever wrong headed notions you have about the story of Adam and Eve being anything other than an endorsement of the nudist lifestyle. I've read the story a few times thanks to being raised Catholic and having to retake Western Civ. II in college, so I can give you the Spark Notes version of it (because that's the version I read). God created the earth and filled with luscious plants, super cool animals like vegetarian tigers, and two humans. These humans were nude. Their stuff was hanging out in the breeze but they didn't care, because God made them to not care and he made all animals vegetarian, so no awkward mosquito bites. Though, if mosquitoes aren't sucking blood what exactly is the point of mosquitoes? The only other thing they do is fly into ears which helps no one. So, Adam and Eve and every other living animal are lounging around in the Garden of Eden. God says to Adam and Eve, "This is exactly as I had envisioned this project in my mind's eye. You two and the animals living carefree lives, eating all of the plants except for that one. Don't eat the fruit from the tree in middle of the garden."

This is seems like a terrible plan on the surface. Why put the forbidden thing in a central location and not off to the side or some weird corner no one walks past? You wouldn't put a hot stove in the middle of a Chuck. E. Cheese and give a five minute lecture to all the kids about why they should cut loose but definitely don't touch the stove. You're asking for trouble. Kids are dumb. There will be tears and burnt skin. However, God endowed Eve and Adam not only with supreme body positivity but also free will, and since this was his first attempt he wanted to see how well it worked. That's why he puts the pear tree of forbidden enlightenment in the middle of the garden and watched things play out. What good is free will without conflict or temptation? Do you think God was on pins and needles over which stream Adam and Eve were going swimming in today? No. You gotta see that fee will in action.

So, God lays out the grounds rules and leaves them to it. Then the serpent talks to Eve while she's by herself (It's nice that she and Adam weren't smothering each other. You need outside interests.) and persuades her to eat from the forbidden tree. Crazy, right? Apparently God gave free will to the serpent, too. What about the otters in the Garden, did they get free will? I want an otter-centric Bible. If the serpent doesn't have free will, then guess what? God made the serpent tempt Eve and set the serpent up as a fall guy.

 Which is it, biblical scholars? Did God give free will to reptiles or did he make Adam and Eve just to have someone to yell at?

Anyway, Eve is on board with the serpent's plan and eats the fruit. She suddenly realizes that she is naked and is embarrassed that a talking snake with legs has seen her bush. She makes a bikini out of some leaves then goes to Adam to tell him to eat the fruit. Adam has the same "Oh no, my butt's just out there" moment and also makes some leafy briefs.

If I told you to go to your nearest botanical garden and make a pair of shorts, how long would you need? I don't think I could do it in less than 4 hours. There's going to be a lot of trial and error. I don't have experience constructing clothes, but at least I know of the concepts of pants and belts. Adam and Eve had no frame of reference. They didn't just whip up those outfits.

God sees that they're covering their bits and he is shocked. Shocked! at this development. Adam and Eve explain that they are ashamed of their nakedness and wanted to not be so casual. God knows what's up (probably because he made the serpent sabotage them) and dishes out all sorts of horrible punishments before banishing them from the Garden of Eden. The punishments include painful childbirth and death, which implies that painless childbirth and eternal life were on the table.

That's the story. Or the part that I'm concerned with. Big Christianity wants you to think that the moral of the story is humans are inherently bad and prone to go against God's wishes. And maybe we are. I won't argue that that isn't an aspect of the story. But what Big Christianity doesn't want you to think about is how God's original plan was for all of us to be pantsless. Adam and Eve are created feeling no shame at being naked in front of each other or in front of God or the hippos. He left the shame feature out of humans and put it in a fruit bearing tree. Since he's all mighty and all knowing we can assume he didn't forget to put it in Adam and Eve (though he did forget that the serpent was a scheming little so-and-so). The dress code is 100% nudity. After Adam and Eve have eaten the forbidden fruit, the way God knows something is amiss is that they are no longer nude. I'll repeat that: the humans wearing clothes is God's first clue that something bad has happened. In God's perfect world no one is wearing anything.

What's more is that God wasn't thinking there would be only two mature, consenting(?) adult living in the buff. Remember, as punishment he took away painless childbirth and eternal life. If Adam and Eve had toed the line it would have been them and their offspring living in the buff for eternity. Basically, God was founding the first hippie commune. 

Any self-proclaimed Christian who doesn't acknowledge and accept the holy father's freeballing intention for humanity has either never actually read Genesis or only wants to use the Bible to justify his own opinions. Shockingly, almost none do acknowledge this. Quite the opposite in fact. Think of the puritans who sought to cover the human body from neck to toe. They tought God's creation was shameful. They focused on the feeling created by people eating the forbidden fruit. They thought showing your body was shameful, when really it's the opposie. 

Christians also think that Adam and Eve's disobedience marked all of humanity causing us all to be born with Original Sin.This is why babies are baptized, to clear them of the original sin. And when a baby is baptized, what does he have on? A special white outfit. Why not just spit in God's face? The entire reason you have to wash the dirty souls of babies is also what lead to history's first custom fitting (does Adam dress left or right?) and all clothing. And we cover babies in bright, white garments for the ceremony just so God can see that we aren't letting go of the whole body shaming thing. He must love that. The babies should be nude for their baptisms as a sign of capitulation to God's original intent. 

We should all be nude. There's no way around the fact that it was part of the Lord's plan for us all along. And any good Christian will tell you the same. Any Christian not professing the nudist/naturist lifestyle hates God. 



Thursday, December 3, 2015

What I Brag About When I Brag About Running: Week 3

Day 15
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
3 miles - 2 miles easy comfortable, 1 mile faster

Ran early before work along the MBT, because tonight I leave on a Thanksgiving road trip. My conditioning is getting better. My slow miles were around 9'40" and my fast one was 9'17". Keeping my slow pace where it was a few weeks ago is difficult CUZ MY PISTONS ARE READY TO FIRE! LET'S LET THE HORSE OUT OF THE BARN! Keep in mind that I'm still running slower than what I was two years ago, so I still feel like a slow loser with Father Time's clutches tightening around my ankles.

Day 16
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
5 miles - 2 miles easy comfortable, 2 miles increasing pace, 1 mile cool down

Missed run. Last night I drove from DC to Akron, Ohio. I'm not so hardcore yet that I'll search for a route near a Red Roof Inn next to a highway in Akron so I can get in a morning run. I'll skip that day. And after driving 12 hours to Omaha I was not motivated to run at 10 pm.

Day 17
Thursday, November 26, 2015
3 miles - easy comfortable

Thanksgiving! My family opted out of our semi-traditional Turkey Trot. My dad said, "I ran a solo 5k yesterday, so I'm good."

I ran 5 miles to make up for yesterday. It was cold, windy, and rainy, which really kept the monotony of running on a middle school track at bay. Even though it was 33 degrees, I opted to wear long socks and regular shorts rather than tights. Quickly, my thighs turned bright red, and I lost feeling in my "swimsuit area." (Today, I read in a winter running guide that, "frostbite does not discriminate." Words to bundle up by.)

On the plus side, I clocked every mile between 9'06" and 9'29", which could either be attributed to me wanting to be done and go inside where the delicious food awaited me or to a GPS tracking error. I hope it's the former, but would bet on the latter, since me running mile 5 at 9'13" seems improbable. On one side of the track I was running into a fairly strong wind. The other half, rather than wind at my back, featured no wind, an interesting phenomenon caused by, either, trees or the unfairness of the universe. Wind at my back for half of each lap would have been helpful.

Running in inclement weather is my favorite kind of idiocy/lunacy. Running, going fast just to go fast, by itself is odd. Doing it in the rain, wind, or snow is to luxuriate in physical discomfort for its own sake and tell nature, "Even though humans have many inventions to mitigate your impact, I will still sprint through your nastiness as a hobby." And when the Nike Running App Lady chimed "One mile to go" as wind and rain spat in my face, I let out a delirious cackle and pumped my arms at strange angles. You can't stop me, Nature!

Day 18
Friday, November 27, 2015

I was going to use this as a make-up day, but the roads were icy. You stopped me, Nature! You win this round.

Day 19
Saturday, November 28, 2015
3 miles - 2 easy comfortable, 1 mile faster


Day 20
Sunday, November 29, 2015
6 miles - easy comfortable

But not this one!
The weather was actually clear, so I had nothing to rage against other than the cold. I ran an out and back on a road behind my sister's house, then got in a car and drove to South Bend, Indiana.

Day 21
Monday, November 30, 2015

This weeks concerns:
1. What are shin splints? Should I buy a pair?
2. Beard condensation. No one told me about this. But I have noticed that after running, my beard is wet from my breath condensing (condensating?) on it. Will I develop sweet icicles on it once the weather gets really cold?

Career Nike Running Stats
Runs - 127
Miles - 426.4
MPR - 3.36
Avg. Pace - 10'03"