Honey, feel my calves.

So ok, I didn’t really say that. But I did make my wife do it. Hold on, hold on nothing strange here. I am trying to keep the place to at least a PG-13 rating. It simply had to do with muscles.

Muscles that I am suddenly starting to realize I have! I know running is good for me and I had hoped that I would be getting in better shape, but this just sort of snuck up on me. Knock on wood, the majority of any pain (so far) is falling back, and I think my body is actually starting to adjust. Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I will be on the cover of the next Spring Hill Runners Digest, but here is some positive improvement. The couch muscles are slowly making their way into some sort of running muscles. Yeah me!

Running the past week has been pretty good. I was very nervous before last Saturday’s run – 10 miles. But I did it! And also got to see what I understand is the former home of Tennessee Titan Jevon Kearse (Or as I might call him, traitor. You’re not allowed to leave the Eagles….. Don’t tell him I said anything….. muscles aren’t that good….). Nice place he had.

On Monday I once again joined the Tin Roof 2 running group. And to my immense pleasure it was $5 Quesadilla night! Yeah!  We were able to get in a 3 mile run. A few folks were not feeling great, and some were resting a bit I think for the Tom King 1/2 Marathon in Murfreesboro this weekend (good luck everyone!).

This morning I was to run with my friend Joe. Well the alarm went off and the first thing I hear is the rain coming down. Now, do you remember that feeling when you were a kid and you would wake up to hear the radio saying school was canceled due to snow? Tennessee friends try to imagine, I know they would have canceled down here sometime the week before…. That feeling, I am sorry to say, is how I felt today. I wanted to run, but the fluffy goodness that is my pillow was calling me like a sea siren to a sailor of old. If I was a sailor, I would have been drowned by that damn fish (PG-13 ok?). And the rain gave me my excuse.

Luckily though later in the day the skies parted just enough to allow for a run. I got myself together and headed out. 6 miles, and quite a bit of hills as well. So ladies, try to contain yourselves. The calves will just keep getting better.

Published in: on March 11, 2010 at 8:50 PM  Leave a Comment  

Sooooo…. yeah…. It’s been awhile.

You see, my running has helped me move into such an extreme form of masculine manliness and physical physique (Yeah, I know those are words that mean basically the same thing. My blog. Deal with it.) that I was called upon by a secret department of the United States Intelligence Community to travel, undercover to….

Ok, I got a boo-boo and had to stop running for a bit….. then I became a blog slacker.

But I’m back! (insert thunderous applause)

It seems I was sidelined by either Bursitis or Tendonitis. The doctor said it could really be either (I call it ouchie in my knee.) A couple meds to get the swelling down and ta-da! Back on the course.

My first week back with the official running group was on a course that started at Grassland Park (in the Franklin, TN area) moved through a bit of a residential neighborhood, and then on to some pretty typical country roads. You know the type. Horse farms and the smell of…. well…. horses. Wooden fence lines. Cracking, uneven roads that may not have been paved since the Nixon administration (i don’t know…. Nixon came to mind first…. please don’t analyze that…). Old trees that may have seen some side action of the Civil War Battle of Nashville. Allan Jackson’s estate Sweetbriar.

Whoa, what? Yep Allan Jackson’s estate. For you out-of-town folks remember this is NASHVILLE. ” Music City.” If you would like I hear it is on sale for a measly $38 million…… I hear there may be an air strip out back.

Back to the run – Not to bad for my first time back. I initially decided to take it easy and join the walkers. Well, lets just say some of those fine folks practice the art of speed walking. When the 3/1 running group caught up to me (walkers started early that day) I thought I would join them. Why not I was pretty much running with those “walkers” anyway. It went well. At the water stop, Joe (I believe I mentioned him in an earlier post) and the rest of the group carried on a bit to round out the mileage. I turned around and started walking back. When they caught up on the return I joined them in some intervals again.

We have had a couple runs since, including one that covered a portion of the actual Music City 1/2 Marathon. That was nice. WHo would have ever thought I would do 8 miles. Not me.

Last week was a “rest” week, with this little hill. By little I mean we ran for a good 8 minutes straight down it….. and then baaaaaack up. Ughhhh. Nice rest. Thanks Fleet Feet….  ;-) But it was a great accomplishment, and a nice run around Radnor Lake. If you are in the area and have not been there I recommend it. When things start to bloom soon I think it will be beautiful.

This upcoming Saturday. 10 miles. Now I know I discussed how manly I am at the opening of this blog…. but 10 miles? I think I may have wee-wee’d a bit in my running shorts. It’s ok I have another pair……

This to shall be overcome. Through willpower, my increasing ability to actually do some of this, and the assistance of Jelly Belly Brand Sports Beans (Jelly Belly – I will take endorsement money. Just sayin’.).

Anyway, on to another week. I am sure I missed many points (including the encouragement of my new friend Joe and our short runs we have done in Spring Hill). I hope I can get back at this a bit more, and thank you so much to the folks who let me know they actually read my dribble. That’s some encouragement to keep going right there as well.

Published in: on March 4, 2010 at 6:47 PM  Comments (2)  

So this is what Bursitis feels like…..

It can now go away. I mean right now.

So per my slightly schizophrenic letter to my left knee, I had some pain the other day and trouble standing on it. Today, there is still some discomfort so when I saw that Fleet Feet was having their monthly free health screenings I decided to go.

Lucky for me the 4:30 appointment was a no-show, so I slipped right into that spot. I was able to meet both with a Doctor certified in Sports Medicine, and a Physical Therapist. For free. Thank you again Fleet Feet folks.

After some bending and pushing, it was determined that it seems I have Bursitis in my left knee. The prescription - take some time off, elevate the leg, ice it, and two Aleve in the morning and two in the evening. The Therapist checked things out and apparently my hip flexors need some loosening up and my back likes to arch when laying down. Some some good stretches were recommended as well.

So it looks like the elliptical/stationary bike for me for a bit and a need to “listen to the pain.” Depending how my knee feels I may try to make the group event on Saturday, but mostly walking. We will see…..

I really hope that I can get back on track with some degree of running by next weeks group run. I have to tell you…. I’m really bummed. Interesting from a guy who, not to long ago, thought running was what you did to the store when it was snowing to make sure you could get your milk and bread.

For now it is off to the couch…. Aleve popped, ice pack to be applied, and some “Wheel of Fortune” to watch….. Isn’t that what us old folks with Bursitis in our knee do??

Published in: on January 20, 2010 at 6:48 PM  Comments (5)  

A Letter to my Left Knee

Dear Left Knee,

Thank you very much for 38 or so years of dedicated service. Even when I went on vacation you were there, doing that thing you do between the upper and lower portions of my left leg.

I know as a young boy I fell off my bike once or twice and most likely skinned you. You shook that off as Mr. Skin’s problem, and kept right on working.

Now I know we have not spoken in directly in some time, and I am truly sorry. Even though people might look at a 38-year-old man talking to his left knee a little funny I should not have snubbed you.

And I know when Brain and I spoke about starting this running program we did not consult you directly. Again I am sorry for he snub.

But really the pain you are giving me today is not necessary. A simple “Hey! Down here!” would have sufficed. You have made your point. I can not easily walk around the house right now, let alone go running.

Please stop hurting. I was actually starting to enjoy this and the new people we were meeting (didn’t you see all those other knees at Tin Roof 2 last night?).

Thank you Left Knee for all you have done over the past 38 years. I promise not to forget you again.

Sincerely,

Jack

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 8:13 AM  Comments (1)  

“Stadiums are for spectators. We runners have nature and that is much better.”

That headline up there is a quote from Juha Vaatainen. Other than that he/she has a name which I have no idea how to pronounce, I have no idea who that is. Sorry Juha, I just didn’t take the time to Google you yet…..

Now after running in 18 degree weather and snow flurries last week, I may have questioned the statement that “nature is better.” More like old Mother Nature had a cruel sense of humor as I went on my first “long” group run. Long to me anyway, at that time – 4 miles. We can improve on that. But I am getting a little ahead of myself.

Todays group run did much more to help me appreciate that quote. At 39 degrees and no snow (what a difference a week can make) it was still chilly, but much nicer. And the route was very nice as well. Some trails near Ravenwood High School, for those of you familiar with the Brentwood, TN area.

As I ran/walked the course I again found myself doing much better than I would have expected. I realized this once again through the help and encouragement of  wonderful group of people. I also let my mind drift as I admired some of the houses we were passing behind. You know the kind…. so big you can’t help but wonder “What the heck do you do for a living? And why didn’t my guidance counselor tell me about that career path?????”

So here I sit, typing with tired legs (not actually typing with my legs silly, if I could do that I might be famous and living in one of those houses) and ankles that are a bit stiff – but with no pain. I realize once again, I just did 5 miles this morning! It can truly be amazing ones ability to do something you never thought you could, with a little determination to get it done and a bunch of support from family and friends both old and new.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t give a nod to the Tin Roof 2 running crew.  I may have mentioned before, this is the group that starts and ends a weekly run at a bar. My kind of people. I may also have mentioned before, I happen to  have a fondness for a little malt and hops in liquid form. I know, a shocker to those who have known me for some time. Some of those folks amazed me with their ability to run some distance and then end with shots.

Seriously though, another great group and a bunch of friendly people. I may just have to get there again this week. And not just for the beer and  quesadilla specials. Although it is a nice perk, I do admit.

So onward and upward once again my friends. Get out of your stadium and into nature, in whatever form that may take for you. Can I suggest a running group?

Published in: on January 16, 2010 at 11:04 AM  Comments (2)  

Week 1 – You Are Mine!

One week down, and I am still alive!

The alarm went off at 5:50am (on a Saturday? Ugh.) And I got myself ready to go. I must thank the Ford Motor Company for the inclusion of the remote starter feature in my car. It was parked outside. In 16 degrees (at that time). And it was snowing.

But this story’s hero pushed on. After a banana (and some other morning functions we wont go into detail about…) I was on my way.

I was actually surprised at the number of people who attended in spite of the weather. I picked the 2/2 interval group (2 minutes running / 2 minutes walking), signed in, and got my shoe tag. A shoe tag is apparently sort of like a toe tag for runners. I guess if I did collapse or was found whimpering on the side of the road they wanted to be able to reach my next of kin. Can’t have my body cluttering the streets of Brentwood. What would Martina think? (That’s Martina McBride for you non-local or non-country folks. In case you didn’t hear, there are a few of those type of singers in the Nashville area….)

So we got underway. A few hills, some snowy roads, and the occasional brushing of flurries out of my eyes. I think I actually saw a bird glance at me from the comfort of his warm nest with a sort of “crazy human” look in his eyes.

I am really quite surprised and happy with how I did. Four miles and  the discomfort I felt this past Tuesday was not there. I think it really did help doing this with  a group. I wont say it was over before I knew it, because it was a bit of a challenge for this body that is normally warming my bed or putting a butt shaped indentation in my couch at that time of day on a Saturday.

Regarding the other folks involved in the program. I had heard how friendly and supportive runners can be, and this group did not do anything to counter that. A lot of very friendly people. I think that helped as well.

So on we go to week two. Training this week is one 3 mile run/walk and one 2 mile run/walk. Group run is 5 miles next Saturday. Onward and upward I go.

One last thing. I’M ALIVE! I know I mentioned that at the start of this post, but as I’m sure there were some who would have questioned that after this morning, myself included, I thought it deserved repeating.

Published in: on January 9, 2010 at 10:10 AM  Leave a Comment  

The Big Day

Well, tomorrow is the big day. Ok, the first of several big days in this adventure. Sort of a “mini-big” day if you will. I guess in the land of fast food this would be a “large” day (remember it once was “medium?”). Super-sizing is reserved for the actual race day. Understand what I’m saying here? No? Me neither, I sorta lost myself there (but suddenly have a hankering for french fries for some reason….)

Tomorrow is the first group run day with the Fleet Feet training group. Now, I was already a little anxious about this event. An important, and tiring, step on my road to the 1/2 marathon. Add on top of that – snow, most likely wind, and a forecast somewhere around 15 degrees at 7:oo in the morning and I am somewhere short of downright dread.

I will do this though. I will get up, put what running type clothes I have available on – and yes the forbidden fabric cotton (gasp) will come into play with my sweatshirt – and do this thing.

Please someone send a search crew if no one has heard from me by tomorrow night. I am either lying somewhere glazed over in a frozen pool of my own sweat, or I am writhing in pain from having had my sacagaweas frozen off.

Published in: on January 8, 2010 at 6:48 PM  Comments (1)  

Ever Heard of a Salt Truck??

That’s what I want to ask the City of Spring Hill and governments of Maury and Williamson counties, Tennessee. You see folks, there is this strange reaction when you salt (or even pre-salt) a marginally icy road…. ta-dah… no more ice. Especially when there was only maybe a 1/4 inch of snow to begin with.

So, schools are closed. And the crummy weather we did get, forced my scheduled run indoors. Other than the woman at the front desk trying to give me someone elses car keys when I returned my locker key, not to bad of an experience. No grunting he-men this time (just a bunch of kids off school… but don’t get me started. Oh, wait… I already did).

So I finished my 2 mile requirement for the day in the warmth of the Longview Rec Center, the glow of the muted television flashing clips of Donovan McNabb (note to my dear wife – they play at 7:00 Central Time on Saturday) the Alabama game -  Go Tide! – (Hey, I need to work with those people), and within view of some guy running wearing some kind of slipper-like running shoe. Something else new I am sure I will learn about before to long.

Have a good night everyone, keep warm, and send positive thoughts that the -5 windchill warning will be long gone by Saturday morning.

Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 4:35 PM  Leave a Comment  

14 Degrees

No that is not the new Nick Lachey band (only 84 degrees cooler). That was the actual temperature when I stepped out for my first outdoor run around the neighborhood this morning. And yes, I still need a dose of professional help with my mental wellbeing.

I pushed on (after going back in and getting a taboo cotton sweatshirt – over the appropriate tech gear) through cold and the cold air induced, now dripping nose. Who new running could be so glamorous?

Two laps through the neighborhood and I was done. My pre-determined 2 mile course, meeting one of my 2-mile requirements before the “big run” on Saturday morning. For one mile I was pretty good with my 2 minutes jogging and 2 minutes walking. Mile two, well things slowed a bit. Based on the sounds my breathing was starting to make I slowed to 1 minute jogging and 3 walking. I didn’t want to die on my first day outside, how un-cool would that be?? (That and I didn’t want anyone calling the Spring Hill Police about the panting perv in front of their house.

So, two miles done and no injuries. An accomplishment all on its own, if I do say so myself. Just some mildly sore ankles as a result.

Next run day, Thursday. Just in time for the Winter Weather Advisory day. Hmmm. I wonder if they let you cross-country ski this thing??

Published in: on January 5, 2010 at 7:52 PM  Comments (1)  

I Need Band Aids for What?!?!

So, I’m tossing a few drinks back preparing to ring in the New Year with some folks when my good friend Tony (who is traveling from Pennsylvania to Nashville to also do the race – can you say AWESOME!) drops the bomb. We’re talking about the race and he says something to the extent of “better stock up on Band Aids.”

“Oh, yeah” I say, “for those nasty blisters I might get on my heels, right?”

“No,” he says “for your nipples.”

Say what?!? Apparently the repetitive motion on the old man nips can cause chaffing that can lead to bleeding.

Now you may have caught on that I am a little new to this whole running thing, but hemorrhaging male mammaries was not something I really thought of when starting on this quest for….. well…. awesomeness (awesome, the word of the day). I am not quite sure what will be worse if this happens. The fact that my nips are actually bleeding (not something I can honestly say I have experienced before), or the joy of removing the Band Aid from my luxurious, manly chest hair. You know - the kind of chest hair that leading ladies love to run their fingers through in PG-13 love scenes.

But I digress….

I have synthetic shirts now in inventory and this should hopefully help avoid this uncomfortable situation. I also have the synthetic briefs to match. I don’t even what to THINK about that kind of chaffing in that particular area.

On another note, I have decided to go full disclosure and track one more thing in front of the entire world. I now way 225 pounds. It was bad enough before, but thank you Christmas cookies, cocktails, and Pork and Sauerkraut (it’s a PA Dutch New Years thing). Lets see where this goes. Hopefully down.

So, here we go Week 1 of training. Two 2-mile days on my own and a 4-mile group run on Saturday. First run/walk tomorrow. Let the fun begin.

Published in: on January 4, 2010 at 8:37 PM  Comments (6)  
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