Running in the Rain with Flo Rida (What’s a Flo Rida??)

March 8, 2009 Leave a comment

So yesterday’s run was pretty terrible.  It was supposed to be four miles.  Two out and two back, looping around the neighborhood where I grew up.  I made it the first two miles, but my legs felt like they were made of marble and I barely made it that first two.  I ended up walking mile #3 and then running the rest of the way for mile #4, giving me 3 miles run and 1 mile walked.

All in all, I just felt terrible.  Haven’t had a run that bad in a while, but my schedule is completely messed up right now, so it was bound to happen.  My wife is going to the doctor this week for treatment for a rotator cuff problem that she woke up with three weeks ago.  It took a week to get in with our family doctor and then another week for the MRI appointment and then another week for the results — so this Friday, at the end of week #4, she’ll finally see the doctor who actually deals with this sort of problem.

Right now she can barely move her computer mouse, let along go to the gym with me, and part of my running plan for the spring was to help her increase her miles.  So my schedule has been completely trashed lately, which helps explain why my legs weren’t in the “right state of mind” yesterday.

Anyway, tonight I go out to run the same loop, in the dark and in the rain, and it wasn’t easy, but I finished just fine — and ahead of my recent 9 minute mile pace, in fact.

What was the different?  I have no idea, but I did have a new lead song on my iPod: “Right Round” by Flo Rida.  I have no idea who “Flo Rida” is, but I caught this song on CSI: Miami last week, and it has been stuck in my head ever since, so I downloaded it from iTunes.  I don’t listen to much rap, but I like this track.  You can see the video here:

As you might notice right away, the song uses a good portion of “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” by Dead or Alive, which appeared on their classic 80s album Youthquake.

For the younger kids who don’t know Dead or Alive, here’s a link to the Jessica Simpson version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pe2aqYkIbXM

So maybe it was the music or maybe it was just running in the rain, but either way, I’d better find out who Flo Rida is, just to be safe.

Running on Diamonds

February 3, 2009 2 comments

Tonight my wife and I were supposed to go to the gym, but by the time we got home from work, her sinuses were giving her all kinds of problems, so I decided to just go out for a quick two mile run around the block.

We were expecting snow today, but once again the weathermen lied.  We should know better than to even listen to them.  The only time they’re right about the weather, it seems, is the day after.  This entire winter they’ve predicted anywhere from a dusting to 6 inches of snow, and not once have they been right.  It’s been rainy, sunny, and 45 degrees, but never has there been snow.  I think they must get paid by the grocery stores or something.  If you make the mistake of trying to pick up a few items the day before a predicted storm, you’d better go armed.

So instead of 3 to 6 inches of beautiful snowfall, we had some light freezing rain this evening, which was done by the time I decided to go out for my run.  Unfortunately, the temperature was in the low 30s, so the sidewalks were slick in a few key places.  There were also some icy puddles I managed to run right into.  It’s not like I haven’t run these streets a few hundred times in the last couple of years, but I somehow still managed to hit three very deep and very cold puddles.  There’s nothing like trudging along with shoes full of numb feet and ice water.

Yet I saw something very cool on this run I’ve never seen before.  There was just enough of a glaze on the sidewalk to catch the streetlights, creating a shimmering effect as if the ground was covered with tiny diamonds.  Everywhere I went, it was like running on the most expensive track in the world.

That was pretty neat and it made the run worth the cold, sloppy effort.

Running in a New Year

January 27, 2009 1 comment

Okay, so it’s been a while since I’ve posted an update.  There hasn’t been a lot to report, but I’m starting a short term running program (6 days a week for the next 5 weeks), which should hopefully get me back in the swing of things in that department.

I’m hoping to blog more often.  I actually found a journal I kept from 2001 to 2003 and was shocked to discover it was 224 pages long.  I had no idea it was that long.  Most of my attempts at a journal failed quickly, which is a shame.  I’d love to be able to go back and read what I was thinking during my high school trip to England, or the day I met my future wife, etc.  My memory sucks, unfortunately.

It might be easier if the WordPress site didn’t take forever to load when I try to login, but I can’t find anyone else who is having that problem, so it must be something on my end.

On the writing front, I’ve written the first four chapters of the new novel and it has a lot of promise.  We’ll see where it goes.

On the publishing front, my agent had some good news last week, but we’ll have to see if anything really comes of it.  An editor “loved” the novel and the publisher is now “crunching numbers” to see what kind of offer they want to make.

For the handful of kind folks who are still stopping by here, is your year off to a good start?  What are you working on?

Getting back into the running grove

November 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Yesterday was a perfect day for running.  Cool (40 degrees F), clear, no wind.

So I went out for a four mile run — part of my prep work for my official marathon training program that I’ll commence in December — and ended up running seven miles instead.  I started by running through the old neighborhood as planned, but when I reached the intersection near the house where I grew up, I felt great and I knew I had more miles in me if I wanted to push myself further.

I changed my plan and headed over to the high school and elementary school, around their large parking lots, and then through another neighborhood and up to the old cemetery, which is always a nice run, especially this time of year.

I have a hundred different routes stored away inside my head — which is funny considering how shoddy my memory usually is — and I can tell you the best way to add half a mile or subtract 2/10ths of a mile between where you are in the neighborhood and where you want to go.

For example, if I’m at the old 7/11 on the far side of the neighborhood I grew-up running in, it’s exactly 2 miles back to my current house — but I can add another quarter mile to that by turning left and going around the new grocery store, and I can subtract 3/10ths of a mile by taking a short cut to the local pub near the high school.

I always like to finish right around a mile marker, so this knowledge comes in handy.  With my Nike+ set-up there’s really no reason to try to end right on a mile, but when I was in high school and college I was just using the mix tape in my Walkman (I knew the length of every song, so when I got to “Hey Jealousy” by Gin Blossoms, I was 30 minutes into my run, for example) and my stop watch.  Ending right on a mile made it much easier to figure out what I was averaging per mile.  Old habits die hard.

By the time I got home yesterday, I was dogging it, but I felt great — like old times.  And I knew I was officially getting back into the groove when, an hour later, I was wishing I could go back out for another run.  I had set my Nike+ system to count down to 4 miles, so every mile after that, it told me I had gone another mile past my goal — a nice motivator.

Probably the only problem with Nike+, in my experience, is that I had to reset my iPod Nano to the factory settings a few months ago because Paula Radcliffe was congratulating me on running “another 500 km” after every single run.  This is a well documented problem with the Nike+, but Nike claims it is a hardware problem and not a software issue, which is pretty disappointing.  Here’s a clip of Paula promoting Nike:

And here’s “Hey Jealousy” by Gin Blossoms:

If YouTube says the Gin Blossoms video has been removed, try the direct link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxQhx4t1FmE

Until next time, thanks for reading.

A Tip For Anyone Whose iPod Is Possessed and Playing Music All On Its Own

October 10, 2008 3 comments

Here is a tip for anyone who can’t figure out why your iPod is possessed and playing music all by itself when you’re not around and when the headphones aren’t plugged in, etc.  This had been happening to mine for a couple of months, draining the battery overnight, and generally proving to be a real pain.  I finally got around to Googling the problem last week and I wanted to post the answer I found in case anyone else has the same issue.

Somehow the alarm function got turned on, so every night the iPod just started playing music at midnight.

This is easy to fix:

1) Go To EXTRAS
2) Go To CLOCK
3) Select Your Time Zone, which should be highlighted by default
4) Go to ALARM CLOCK
5) Turn the alarm OFF if you’re not using it

That should do the trick for you if you’re having the same problem I was.  Good luck!

Great Run Through the Old Neighborhood

October 8, 2008 3 comments

Well, thanks to a very bizarre and bad dream (probably the result of watching too many talking heads on TV after the Obama & McCain debate), I awoke suddenly at 6:00 AM today… just in time to get myself out the door for an invigorating 4 mile run on the chilly and dark streets of our town.  34 minutes total or 8:30 a mile.  Not great at all, but right about where I’ve been lately, which is better than nothing!

My four mile loop actually takes me under the highway and over to the neighborhood where I lived during middle school and high school — the very first place I ran for enjoyment.  (Circling the field before and after baseball and soccer practice wasn’t for fun, that was torture for a “big boy” like me.)  In fact, this four mile loop includes about 90% of my very first two mile loop.

It’s always interesting running over there, especially in the morning.  I pass all of the kids walking to the high school or waiting for the bus to the middle school, and oddly enough they basically look the same as I remember all of us looking at those ages… just with iPods and cell phone now.

On this loop, I actually run right by my parents’ old house.  They sold it in 2000 when I was a sophomore in college and although their new house is very nice indeed, there are days I wish they had hung onto that little brick rancher.  Then again, although our old house hasn’t changed a bit, the two on either side of it are in bad shape.  An “investor” bought them and turned them into rentals, unfortunately.

It’s a great neighborhood otherwise.  Very safe, and the township came in some time after my parents moved and replaced all of the bad sidewalks and added handicap ramps at all of the intersections.  MUCH better than when I was running in high school, usually in the dark late at night, leaping over up-turned sections of sidewalk decimated by 40 years of tree growth; bounding up and down the curbs at the intersections.  The last stretch of sidewalk coming up to my house was the worst section of all — being on a hill at the end of the loop certainly didn’t help matters.

I guess there’s probably been a lot of turnover in the neighborhood.  There weren’t many kids when I lived there, just a lot of older couples who have since moved on from what I can tell.  Although a lot of other things have probably changed, an awful lot seems the same, and I find that kind of comforting at 6:30 in the morning when I’m running in the dark and trying to push myself harder and faster.

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