Dear God, I have been busy, but it hasn’t kept me from exercising.  I even have Laurie going to the gym with me now, so that is nice.  Today, though, I’m going to say a few words about my running, and running-related things…

First, the headband… I have so very much missed those things.  When I ride my bike, I usually have one one under the helmet to keep the salt out of my eyes.  It works very well… but when you run… well, you just can’t help but look like a doofus wearing the silly thing… however, when I opened my schwag bag for the Color Run, that sucker was in there, and I haven’t looked back.  Headbands may not actually be cool, but my are they useful!

So… I’ve been running… with some success… Look here….

sandy

This was last month while I was in San Diego for a conference.  I hit the hotel treadmill, and what passes for a miracle in Dave World happened.  I ran the entire session at my chosen speed without pausing to gasp, wheeze or walk.  That dip at about 28 minutes is me fumbling with the buttons as I try to raise the speed up an extra 2mph for the final “burst” for the last two minutes (followed by the cooldown).  Since then, when on the treadmill, I’ve raised the speed, but am able to go with only two quick walk breaks in the usual 30 minute session, so… progress!

Speaking of San Diego, I usually opt to stay in the conference venue, but this time noticed a hotel available down the bay by the Midway, so I stayed there… it was just a bit over a mile from the venue… of course, with a couple round trips between hotel and conference per day plus the usual sightseeing strolling about and let’s just say I walked quite a bit that week… my dogs were barking!

The Color Run… my what fun that is… I only did it because one of my co-workers gets so very excited about it (she’s like that), but what the hey… why not.  Being pelted with colored corn starch doesn’t actually sound all that fun, but it is a party on the asphalt the entire length… they there’s a big starch-throwing, hip hopping party at the end, so it was well worth the time… it wasn’t actually a full 5k as advertised (I would guess it was 2.5 miles), but who cares, it was a blast!  The thing is, I was really slow.

The came the Dexter to Ann Arbor run.  I hate the Dexter to Ann Arbor.  It starts out with an extended downhill that is just hard on the bleeding knee, and the last mile or so is just an extended uphill.  It is the most draining 5k I’ve ever done.  I. Hate. It.  Of course, in Dave World, if you hate a run, that just means you have to do it every year or else your a quitter… which I’m pretty sure means I’m an idiot… but hey, it ends on Main Street where they just happen to arrange to hold the Taste of Ann Arbor on the same day each year, so that’s a perk.  And since it was the 40th run, even us lowly 5k runners got a medal…

…but the thing is… I was really slow… easily 10 minutes off my 5k times from the previous year.  This just clinched it, and it’s something I’m going to have to deal with, I’m slower since the accident.

Bummer…

So then this last Sunday was the Ann Arbor Half Marathon… I was running in honor of my good buddy Weston Morris who has been sidelined with his own knee injury.  I arrived early, and had time to chat with a bunch of the other runners (which is unusual for me, I know… but chatting helps one deal with those pre-race jitters..)  The time came soon enough, though and it was time to run… oh Jesus did it go poorly!  You see, I had to retire my shoes earlier this year (more on that tomorrow) and was saddened to find that they don’t make my preferred model anymore.  So I’ve been running and training in an upgraded pair of New Balance shoes and the seemed okay.  By mile six, I could tell that the shoes were not cooperating.  By mile 7, I suspected my feet were bleeding pretty badly… which is when a smart person would say “Hey, this isn’t my day… I’m having a mechanical… time to pull the plug”…  and there were a couple times when I said that to myself… but always followed it with “just keep moving… if your still moving you haven’t quit”… again… because I’m probably an idiot… I certainly wasn’t running anymore, but I was moving.

By mile 7.5, I was the lanterne rouge, and the motorcyle cop watching the rear of the race was just trailing along behind me offering encouragement.  The half marathon course is only open five hours, and by mile 10, I was pretty sure I had passed it, and this officer was the only reason I was being allowed to continue… he was putting in the time to see if I could finish.  Certainly all the water stations were closed, but Laurie had passed me a bottle of gatorade at mile 8, so I was good…. so I kept on…

Mile 10.5 took us into the trails of Nichols Arboretum… specifically UP the trails… until Mile 12!!!  That was just mean, but I kept going.  About this point I caught up with another runner who was having a knee (problem) go figure… and we slogged on in together with the officer in tow.  We had no idea how long we’d been on the road, but we kept going… please note I DID have my phone in my pocket, and I could have checked the time, but I was afraid to “slip into real time” as it would have been too disheartening… so we kept moving… and I was surprised to see runners still coming in from the full marathon… then I saw the finish line, and there were people there…. and cheering… and well, it’s impossible not to run under those conditions, so the moment my feet hit grass I started to run (incidentally insuring that I was not in last place) and crossed the line!  They have a clock at the line, of course, and I was shocked to see that I hadn’t blown by the time window, and in fact, ended up running it just 30 minutes slower than last year…. go figure… things seem slower when your feet are bleeding…

In any case, with my water bottle and medal in hand, Laurie guided me over to the picture station and then to the food area and forced my to shove down a muffin (blueberry) and a banana.    She was parked a few blocks away, so we headed out for the car…

…and I made it across the street… and maybe ten feet further, and I HAD to get those shoes off, and they socks were bloody, but the sweat had wicked a lot of it away… but I could not move any farther… was done… so Laurie parked me on a ledge and took off to snag the car… she’s such a sweetie…

When we got home the socks come off and… I thought Laurie was going to vomit… the feet were bad… I’m pretty sure that I’ll be losing 4-6 nails, the balls and arches are completely blistered and the toes… Jesus… some of them have blood blisters a full 360°… on the plus side, I no longer felt bad about my time and instead marveled that I had finished.

Fast forward to today (thereby skipping the the draining the blisters story… ick), and my feet are… not pleased… the five fingers are surprisingly therapeutic though, so I can function… the core muscles are still sore, but aside from the blisters and nails, I’m calling it recovered.

And the weird thing?  My knee didn’t bother me one bit.  Sure it was sore (and still is if you apply lateral pressure to the joint, but it’s been that way for months), but that piano wire through the muscles issue that has been plaguing me for… what?  a year now?  Nothing… not sure what to make of that.  One thing is sure though… I’ve got to find a shoe store that knows what they’re doing and get fit for a different pair!!!

In non-running related news, I’ll be re-branding this site as Fallen from Gravy (fallenfromgravy.com).  I’ll post a notice before I throw the final switch so that people who follow along with the RSS feed won’t suddenly be lost.  The re-branding is just so I can stop explaining to people that it’s not some kind of weird fetish site… otherwise, we will continue much the same… so much to discuss…