Sunday, November 20, 2022

Walk a Mile


It has been a busy 4 months. Four marathon majors and two half marathons between September 4 and now. The last event was the NYC Marathon. It was a great weekend full of running energy. I met Ken Rideout. Search his name and you will find a guy who runs really fast for his age of over 50. In fact he is the fastest right now. I ran with the Believe in the Run crew and about 300 others for a shake out run. Finally I did my work for 7 hours in The Bronx. In 1998 the first Rock n Roll Marathon was held in San Diego. The selling point was a rock band ever mile. It was a great idea and great selling point. That said there is nothing like the party atmosphere at the NYC Marathon. The city fully embraces the event and instead of tolerating it, the city joins in the celebration. If you want a different NYC experience be there on the first Sunday in November. 

On Tuesday Mary and I went to watch a ceremony with a former student of hers. Juan was brought to this country by his parents. Four years after arriving he walked into Mary’s classroom. She saw something in this kid. Although the chips were against him she invested her time in him. He blossomed and became a leader in her classroom. Long story shortened for this, Juan is a member of our family. Not officially of course but he refers to Mary as his White Mom. The ceremony was held on the campus of San Diego State University where Juan attended and graduated with honors. The school opened a resource center for kids like Juan who are part of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. DACA kids can go to college here in the US but their immigration status is always up to politics. The resources available to them to navigate college life are limited. There were none when Juan went to school so instead of complaining he got to work and organized a support group. That support group turned into this officially recognized resource center. Juan spoke about his dream for the students in attendance. He talked about his success but admitted it was not easy and that he could not have accomplished it without the help of people like Mary. Juan is married, owns a home and became a US citizen earlier this year. Just walk a mile on Juan`s shoes. It is a story of persistence, love and grace. 

Shoe of the Week 

I am behind in my shoe updates. In May of this year Saucony sent me the Ride 15. I had scene a couple pairs in the Boston Marathon and was impressed with the visual update. The shoe feels better than it looks. I put a great deal of running in this shoe in May and June then I set it aside for other shoes. When I nearly broke my ankle in July I knew it would take a special shoe to allow me to run. When the swelling went down and I could run again I reached for this reliable trainer. It did not fail me. My foot and ankle felt great running in this shoe. 

Why? It a dynamically designed one piece midsole. It delivers mild support and a great deal of soft feel under foot. There are shoes you where because they make you feel fast or they over protect you from the road. Then there are shoes that feel like home. The Ride 15 is just one of those shoes that feels like home. I felt so good about the shoe I bought a pair for our son. He half joked that I sent him a Saucony Ride. Then he started running in it and felt what I felt. He is 30lbs of chiseled steel heavier than I am and is hard on his running shoes. The shoe stood up to his sub 6 minute/mile pace mile after mile after mile. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

Returning From Running Injury

 The ankle mishap put a huge dent into my fitness. In fact it set me back to the start. In the first 3 weeks I could do no running and limited cycling and swimming. Nothing that maintained or improved my fitness. I use Training Peaks which I highly suggest to anyone and everyone who runs, rides or does multi sport. 

As of last Sunday my 42 day average stress score (a formula Training Peaks uses to measure the stress of the training taking into account the duration and the intensity) sat at 50. My 7 day average was 51. That simply means that I was fit for a normal human but not really fit to my standards and the 7 day average said I wasn`t doing anything to become more fit. 

The age old question is how to do you increase your fitness after injury to ensure you won`t set yourself back. 

This past week I did it this way: 

1. Recovery days were below the average or in this case below 50. 

2. General days were kept at the average. 

4. Improvement days were allowed to be free of constraint. 

The week looked like this. Total Stress 487

Monday: 31

Tuesday: 102

Wednesday: 52

Thursday: 66

Friday: 37

Saturday: 77

Sunday: 122 

My 7 day average is 56

My 42 day average is 51

To give some perspective, in December, January and part of February while gearing up for Ironman 70.3 Oman my weekly TSS was above 800. If I tried to execute an 800 Stress Score this week I would probably put to much strain on my ankle and quite possibly develop strain somewhere else. It is really boring to be this cautious and this specific but it will make sure I come out of this ankle thing stronger. 

Shoe of the Week 

New Balance Super Comp Trainer

My thinking for my ankle was that I needed stiffness and maximum cushioning in my running shoe. I bought this shoe for that reason. 

1. 47MM in the heel and 39 MM in the forefoot. That will make you taller. 
2. Carbon Fiber propulsion plate that is specific to the stack height of this shoe. 
3. Fuel Cell foam which is resilient and alive on feel. 

The first 2-3 runs I was deciding whether I made the right choice. The shoe felt stiff and a bit firm for my ankle. Then all of the sudden it began to feel like butter. The midsole softened up and came alive. Running in it felt smooth and with that stack height and those other features there was no stress on my feet or ankles. 

If you are looking for a shoe to completely take the road out of the equation (don`t want to feel the road) this is a great option. 

Monday, August 22, 2022

Double the Trouble - Double the Fun

One week ago today we arrived home. Cooper {black lab} and I had spent 4 days getting to know each other driving from North Carolina home to California. In June of this year Cooper was picked up by animal control on the streets of Clarksville TN. After spending just 4 days with him Iˇve determined that before being picked up Cooper was a survivor. He survived living on a farm, in the back country or on the streets of Clarksville. He can dumpster dive like no dog I have seen, is quick to peel gum of the street and has a nose for anything edible. He also has a rather vicious protection mechanism that I found just after meeting him. 

None of that dissuaded me from brining him home. He is not 100% Lab but his general disposition is 100% Lab. He is sweet to the core and aims to please. 

The guy who picked chose Cooper from the shelter did a great job taking care of him. That includes training him. Less than two months after he had brought Cooper home he moved to Fayetteville, NC and had to enter the Army school of his dreams. He had to give Cooper up. Our son who grew up with Labs quickly decided to adopt him. The only problem is his young wife could not handle the pressure. Young Labs can be a handful and young nervous labs just overwhelming. He bonded immediately with our son but his wife told him she could not. Mary (my wife) was on the way to visit after a long stint abroad. When she arrived she fell in love with Cooper. Two days after she got home I was on a plane to pick him up. 

This week we have focused on the things he knows. Sitting, staying, heeling and come when called. We have also been training him on rules of the house. Because he aims to please he picks up on everything after once or twice. 

For me personally it has been a grind. Berlin and I were on easy street. Morning walk with friends and an afternoon session where she could run and play with friends until she dropped. Today the morning walk with both dogs is a half hour earlier. We are trying to avoid other dogs and people. It has been working fine but it is a half hour earlier. Then in the afternoon, Berlin and I do our normal afternoon play session. After I get Berlin home I turnaround and take Cooper out for an extended leash walk. 

Three walks a day plus my running or riding is really taking a toll. By the time I actually get to dinner I am fairly exhausted. I know this is temporary. We are working on giving Cooper a life he deserves. One where he doe not need to fight for his meal or fight to defend himself. Essentially give him the life Berlin has. There is a slight rush to all of this since I am leaving for Europe on September 1st for a week and then again at the end of September for 3 weeks. 

He is a special dog and I can`t wait for the day Berlin can share him with all of her friends. Double the trouble but also double the fun.