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You can’t help but to love the road

I honestly never thought I would be one of those people that loves to run, yet here I am.  Today, I had set out on a short three mile loop through Woodburn.  At the beginning of the run, I realized that I had forgot my armband that holds my I-pod, so I was without music.  I hardly ever run without music because the slapping of my feet always seems to be anti-hypnotic.  About the second mile, I think I forgot that.  Also around that time I though that I would extend the run just a little bit.  And then a bit more. Until I ended back a my parents’ house after eight miles.  It is truly nice to forget what bothers you, to push and just observe what is around you.  Momentary bliss through  step by step exertion.

Frelieved.

So, I’m frustrated and relieved at the same time, I guess that would make me Frelieved.  I just got back from the doctor’s appointment at Slocum in Eugene (props to the facility and staff, great Ortho center) and after some poking, prodding, and xraying it turns out that I don’t have Planters Fasciitis and I don’t have a fracture but I have signs of a stress reaction in my left foot.  Through the x-rays, the doc saw that I have a building of bone around the bone of the outside of my foot, over my arch.   The bone was getting thicker which meant that the body was aware that there is a weakness developing there.  This means that had I kept on going, I could have snapped one of my tarsals in half during a run, which would have been painful and inconvenient especially since I don’t run with a cellphone.

What’s next is more body-penetrating beams, this time in the form of an MRI, then a meet up with the doctor again to follow up and probably some inserts will be shaped for my foot to help correct how my foot lands while running.   Sadly, I won’t be running for at least this next month… I will be able to swim, bike, or use the elliptical machine to get my exercise, which was my chief concern.  I’ve also been told that aiming for a half marathon in September is not a safe goal for me right now, so I have to shift my focus to the Eugene marathon in a year… more time to train, I guess. And that way the bone in my foot doesn’t snap in half.

So that’s the skinny.

Open up your plans and damn you’re free

I don’t think I could of started Spring Break off any better.  I got up around 7, talked with my dad for a little bit and then hit the road for a run.  I chugged along for 8.65 miles, in 1:26, which is a slower pace for me.  I started in downtown Woodburn and ran to the back roads, up and over I-5, along the neatly sorted rows of orchards and vineyards.  The sun was still fairly low in the sky barely obscured by the light clouds, my initial feelings of being cold had worn off by the first mile.  I don’t think I came across five cars as I stomped the soft shoulder.  All the songs that played were good ones, usually of a faster tempo so I at least feel like I’m running faster.  I rounded back into Woodburn and got my usual feeling of I could of or should have gone further.  When I walked back into the house, everyone was up and talking. Really, it was just a perfect and peaceful beginning to the day and the break.

As much as I’ve resisted the feeling, running has become special.  I always thought that people who professed an undying love and need for running were nuts.  Well, maybe I’m nus but either way I love running.  I get that cliche feeling of being at peace, especially when I’ve just run without an aim or a specific direction.  When I strand myself in the middle of nowhere and have to make my way back, no matter how far I’ve already gone.  It kind of sets me right for the day.

I’m very thankful for being able to find what I can do, even after running for so many months now, I’m still amazed at what I can push my body to do.  It wasn’t long ago that four loops around the track was an overexertion unto itself, now I’m disappointed if a run is shorter than 5 miles.  Even as my mom has said about her own running, I’m thankful that I have this chance and I relish every moment, every hill, every step and find myself disappointed when I’ve come to the end.  But there’s always tomorrow to lace up for.

Cliche ended.

The race for less… update

230 pounds!

it’s taken about a year but I finally got there.

70 pounds gone.

Next goal: 200.

Jingle Bell 5k

Well, I said I would give it a shot and I did so.  Last Saturday, starting at the high school track, through the praking lot, down through the Spirit trail, down “R” street, a couple twists and turn then back down River Road, back down the track and, 3.2 miles late, through the finishline in under thirty minutes at 29:19. 

Previous to the beginning of the race, I picked someone who I was going to try and beat.  I found the one guy who I thought would be no problem.  Sadly, reality set in when I was huffing and puffing toward the high school finish line, and my target (number 51) finishing his cup of hot cocoa in the parkinglot. 

I had dreaded throughout the whole run that I was going to be the last runner to cross the finishline. As I’m heading down the last quarter-mile on River Road, I notice one person who was slowly making a bid to upset my position.  Once I crossed the finishline, I had made up some distance from my chaser.  I totally out ran that elderly woman.  To ease my fears, I was actually far from last and equally far from first.  There were at least fifteen people who ran in after me.  Thankfully, none of the 5k walkers finished before nor near me.

I was glad to be able to run this 5k, I would definitely run another one.  One of the best parts was that I got to run with a buddy of mine, Garrett.  We pushed each other to both join up and then tried to recruit others to join up.  We were the solid ones, we stuck to our word and finished the race, although Garrett had finshed ahead of me.  He got close to our goal of running the 5k in 27 minutes.  Garrett was a lot closer than I was, through our first mile we kept our pace, running a 8:53.  I had to slow down after that, I realized that my competitive nature was overpowering my pace and could have made the run a lot harder on myself than it had to be; so I scaled back and kept my pace… which helped make successful.

What did I learn.  Well, I learned there is a lot I can do that I assumed I would never have.  If you had suggested a year ago that I could run, let alone finish a 5k, I would have been severely skeptical.  But yet, here I am, having finished my first race and looking forward to others.  Maybe, if I’m lucky, the next one will be in a faster pace, but if not, so what… at least I did it.  And even that is an improvement.

Multi-Ball!

I thought that I would make use of this post and get a couple of different things into it.

First off, here is a picture that was captured at one of our home games, I’m assuming it was earlier in the football season as it was starting to get dark earlier at the later part of the season.  I’m pretty sure that was taken when I was running over to the whole team with the linemen after their group warm ups:

Second item on the agenda; I’ve decided to run a 5k this Saturday.  I’ve been running pretty regularly for the past couple of weeks.  The race is call the Jingle Bell run which is put together to help support the Cottage Grove Jog Club as well as a charity here in town.  Believe me, I have no intention or want to (nor believe that I could) win the race.  I’m looking for a steady pace and a finish.

Emphasis on the finish.  Luckily, I’ll be running with at least two other teachers from the high school.  Their pace is little faster than my natural gait but I can easily keep up, hopefully keep enough energy for a kick at the end.  I’ll post the results here.

Like I said, I’ve been running consistently, three miles here, four miles at other times.  I’ve ran with Jess, my mom and co-workers… and I haven’t had a bad run yet, even though I have had to scare away a couple of dogs.  As for today’s run, I couldn’t find a partner so I ventured off on my own, which was a first.   I was worried that I would lose my motivation to keep a pace and finish without stopping if I didn’t have others to pace me or compete against.  But I was wrong, I plowed through nearly four miles.  Here’s a Google Map view of today’s run:

My buddy Ricky, who is the long-distance coach for the track team, sent me a wonderful site that has helped me map out my routes and tracking what I have done.  You can find a link here.  Using Google Maps, it allows me to click out my path, giving me mileage counts and even elevation.  As well, I can save my routes for later use or look up other saved routes to give me a variety of runs.

Ricky also gave me an immense spread sheet that charts absolutely everything.  Mileage, Year-to-Date mileage, Life-to-Date Mileage, average pace, heart rate, how far I’ve ran in a particular pair of shoes and even tracking my progress to the moon or around the world.  Twenty-eight miles down.  Hopefully, I will be diligent and keep track of my progress.

To help me do so, even when I’m away from my spreadsheet I’ve added the WPss plugin to Box of Whine.  This allows me to intergrate spreadsheets into this site.  If you haven’t notice, there is a new section to the top of the post and to the side that says “Running Log”.  Here, you can see my progress, when I’ve done well, when I’ve slacked.  This is just a parred down version of Ricky’s spreadsheet, but nonetheless, it helps me track and I can add to it from any computer with internet access.

The race for less… update

It has definitely been a while since I’ve updated my on-going fisticuffs with my weight.  This doesn’t mean I’ve been regressing, it just shows that as I continue to lose weight, it seems like it is harder for me to do so at a faster pace.  I’m not sure if this is because of the changes to my size and body, or maybe my suspicion is that I’m sliding on my eating regiment.  I’m just slightly frustrated, still losing, but frustrated.

Thankfully, I have been fairly diligent on exercising.  By random chance, I’ve started running with a couple of teachers at the high school.  We usually run about three miles each time we run, which is between two and three times a week.  Granted, I’m not the fastest, but certainly keep up but most importantly I don’t stop.  In the past, even running a continious half mile seemed to be a great undertaking.  Every time I run, I definitely find ‘The Wall’ (not a Pink Flyod reference) where mentally I have a hard time feeling that I can last the entire run, but then I give myself short goals: “make it to Harrison St.” or “Just back to the High School”.  These help, they are always within my sign and they have made it so I haven’t quit. 

Even the boundires of my usual run of three miles gets pushed.  This weekend, my mom spent two days with us in the Grove.  On Sunday, she and I went for a run and ended up doing four miles and by the end of the run, I felt as though as I just did a light jog around the block. 

On to the numbers… As of this morning, I am down to 236 pounds, wihch is an overall weight loss of 64 pounds.  I’m down 2 pant sizes and a shirt size.  Which is why we’ve spent a ridiculous amount of money refitting my wardorbe because I can’t walk around looking like I’m wearing garbage bags.  I’ve lost 21.3% of my original weight and I am 6 pounds shy of my inital goal.  That’s like I lost a fifth grader. 

Everyday is a battle and choice, I just need to make sure I’m making the best of both of those.

The race for a little less… Update

I’m still steadily chugging along with my eating and exercise plan.  As of two minutes ago, I weighed in at 252 pounds.  That’s an over all weight loss of 48 pounds, or  16% of my original body weight.  I’m almost a size and half smaller in my pants and a size smaller in my shirt, it is nice to only see one “X” attached to your clothing.  I have 22 pounds until my I reach my original goal and at least 52 pounds to get to my personal goal.  It would be nuts if I tipped the scales at 200 pounds, that would mean I was only 15 pounds off of my calculated “ideal” weight.

A side benefit from all of this, I’m now running a faster mile time than I ever have, even considering high school and middle school.  Last week, I ran a 8:37 mile and today I cut it down to 8:26.  The biggest consideration for the near future is continuing with my quantity control while on our trip.  I know the intense workouts will fade for a couple of weeks, but there will be a lot of walking and hiking (especially in the Alps!) taking place.  I’ll definitely have to compensate the lack of hard work outs with a lack of hard eating.

Maybe I could get to the point where I put up a shirtless picture of myself… ah, yes, that would effectively assassinate the loyal readership of Box of Whine.  I don’t think that will happen.

The power of a statement

You’d think innocent enough conversations in the staff lounge would stay just that, but apparently that isn’t so.

The yesterday, one of my coworkers, a math teacher, said that he believed he could run a mile in under 6 minutes. To his credit, he’s fairly fit and just as old as I am, but the fact that he hadn’t really run lately or at any great speed, the majority of the staff gave him grief. He swore that he could do and said that he would do it the following day. The harassing continued, people throwing out various predictions or theories on how the run would be either too slow or end injury–if it even took place at all.

I think that all of us, honestly, thought that his statement of “I’ll do it tomorrow” was taking as sarcasm. Lo and behold, he came to school fully prepared for his run. He had his running shoes and his “fast” shorts. I guess those are the shorts not reinforced by re-bar. With theories and pessimism still plentiful, we gleefully told other staff members and students to come to the track a 3:30 and watch the feat, if it was actually going to happen.

At 3:10, the principal made an announce to come watch one of Cottage Grove’s own staff members break the math teacher mile record. By 3:30, when I walked onto the track, music was coming over the PA system, the score board was lit up with six minutes, ready to be counted down from. There could have easily been a couple of hundred students watching, at least half of the staff was there to either cheer or jeer on their coworker. Sadly, there was probably more people in attendance there than at other, legitimately sanctioned events. There was the warm-up lap, then stretching–next stop was the starting line (which was actually set back about 30 feet to make it a legitimate mile). As he left the starting line, the clock started to tick away. It seemed like he was going way too fast to sustain four laps.

At some points, it looked questionable if he was going to make it. As he entered the last corner, just before the final straightaway, we all glanced up at the score board. There was a minute left. With 12 seconds remaining, he crossed the finish line. 5:48:90 was the official time.

What ever happened to watching a person set a goal, brag about the possibility of it being legitimate, and then watching them fail at said goal? I guess it just makes me ashamed of my 9 minute mile, but of course, I’ll rationalize it by saying that I’m not built for long distance running, I’m more built for long distance sarcasm… or procrastination.

This just goes to show that an innocent statement can turn into an impromptu after school assembly.

Running with Gluttons for Punishment.

I’ll be brief do to the likeliness that I’ll pass because of my hour of running tonight. Anna, Lindy, and Erin did the old bait and switch with me, it started out with: “Hey, lets go play racquetball” and ended up, “Hey lets go for a run.” So we ran for an hour, starting off with a “warm up” across campus… A WARM UP?!? More like a prelude to the heart attack I’d have through out the remainder of the hour. Then it was off to Hayward Stadium to run the stairs…
Running wasn’t the only thing I did tonight, I trekked over to Bealle (Bell) hall to hear Nora (Programing Assistant from Hamilton Complex) sing solo tonight. I was blown away. The control that one person can have over their voice and to make it sound so amazing was just awesome. I brought Nora flowers, because I’m debonair like that, she is the perfect person to that for… not only is she appreciative, she gives a mini-scream and a hug when she saw the flowers.
Last story of the night, while walking around today, Patrick and I passed a “less-than-fortunate” (bum) guy, who said “Can you spare some change so the chronically unemployed smoke some marijuana?” Patrick and I laughed as we said no, but it was a good hook line.