Tuesday, January 29, 2008

More shoes

I bought another pair of shoes. Seriously.

In my defense, I used a gift card from Christmas, so I didn't actually pay any of my money. And I can also say that they were marked down over 50%. And they're apparently some super environmentally friendly shoe that reduces carbon in the environment every time you take a step and actually saves baby seals from clubbings and oil from spilling and Al Gore from inconveniencing and Morgan Spurlock from supersizing and Michael Moore from being a sensationalizing jerk.

Ugh. Yes, I know I got another pair of shoes.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

New Jersey?

My calves have been feeling a bit worked the last few days, so I figured I'd give them a little rest and went for a hike today up in Ramapo Mountain State Forest. It's always nice to be reminded of what New Jersey has to offer if you're willing to take a short drive (less than 30 minutes to Ringwood State Park for me -- where I parked and started my walk).

Of course, my calves got no rest, as the entire trail was over rocks and roots and seemingly went straight up. Still a nice couple hours though.

At one point the trail I was on merged with the Cannonball Run trail. For those that aren't up on their NJ history, the Cannonball trail is the route Washington's troops used to move munitions during the Revolutionary War. Kinda neat.

About halfway through my trip, I emerged from the woods to an opening where (I figure) the trees were cleared so a gas line could be inserted. In any event, the trail went right...
...but I wanted to know what I'd be able to see from the highest point around, which was left. So, I went left up the hill.

Almost there...
And there you go: New Jersey. You can wander around in the woods for well over an hour, but you can always find a highway.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Back on steel

My tri bike is all lonely and unused in Texas right now, and, for this winter at least, it's me and my old road bike. It's done it's job like a true workhorse over the years. It carried me from my first triathlons all the way through my first ironman. I've learned how to repair and maintain a bike, all using the roadie as a guinea pig. Some experiments were a success. Others... unsuccessful, but not ultimately damaging.

What's kind of nice is that I believe I've now gotten the bike into the best condition it's been in since it was new in 2001. Granted, it's got some dings and scratches and the drive train is a little worse for wear -- but over the years it's received a new fork, headset, saddle, wheels, and other small parts. I also just spent an otherwise glum Thursday evening cleaning the grime out of every nook I could get to.

Why am I writing about my bike when, normally, I don't talk about my bikes that often, instead choosing to gush about $60 running shoes? Well, there's a chance that this bike doesn't have much racing life left in it. At least, not without some significant purchases. Then the issue becomes: do you overhaul or just buy a new bike? Either way, it's pricey. And I have another bike anyway.

I guess I'm just a little down. If I agonize about throwing away old sneakers, imagine what it will be like if I need to scrap what cost significantly more.

But whatever, he's still got something left in him -- and we'll see what's there all winter on the trainer and in this spring's races.

Note: In reading this over again, I can tell I'm sentimental here: I've switched from "it" to "him" by the last paragraph.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

San Angelo Road Lizards Trail Series 10k

Hannah and I ran in the first race of the San Angelo trail series on Saturday. Neither of us realized how cold it was going to be in Texas this past weekend -- race morning was probably sub 30, although it got up to mid-40s during the race.

Luckily, I had a pair of tights and some old rowing base layers in a box that showed up on Friday. We also had other mildly important things show up on Friday -- my bike, for instance.

Both Hannah and I expected the "trail" run to be in name only -- without having discussed it, we both thought we'd be running on a flat, groomed path. The course was not groomed, and certainly was not very flat. There was lots of scrambling over and around rocks and hills and cacti. And for every uphill there was a steep, technical downhill.

Overall, we had a good time. I placed 8th (of 49), a second out of 7th, but more than three minutes out of first (and the front two got lost and had to make up the course), so I clearly had no shot of placing in the overall. That said, I'm currently first in my age group (M15-29) in the series, so we'll see how I do in the big picture. I beat a bunch of younger army guys, but I think they were carrying boulders on their backs the whole time.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Eating "healthy"

Last week's training derailment also meant a nutritional breakdown -- too much fast food, white rice, deep-fried Twinkie-topped DevilDogs, etc. Part of that was because I didn't go food shopping for last week, so I was left scrounging through the pantry (or buying food on the day).

Normally I eat pretty well, mainly because I try to stick to the best piece of grocery shopping advice I ever received: shop around the outside of the store. Because I was feeling a little glum on Saturday, I figured I'd get myself some kind of treat from the supermarket. But because I didn't want to repeat my week of poor nutrition, I opted to "treat" myself in the organic section.

This typically results in something good, although a little odd. Hannah had once bought some type of Kashi cereal that was quite tasty, although because it had the consistency of rocks, you needed to let it soak in milk for 30 minutes to avoid breaking a tooth. I thought I'd be adventurous, so I bought some of this:

I tried it yesterday. Unfortunately, it tasted like this:

In my opinion, it's a sad breakfast when the only thing to look forward to with each spoonful is the milk.

However, because it cost $100 for a 1 oz package, I will finish it, although I'll likely try adding berries or yogurt or some other cereal.

Friday, January 11, 2008


It's appalling what a shift in routine can do to your (that is, my) consistency in training.

I've gone to sleep at least 45 minutes later than normal every day this week. When the alarm goes off in the morning, it's like pulling teeth to get me out of bed to work out. I only succeeded once (on Tuesday), and that's because I was supposed to meet a friend to run. Every other day when the clock radio goes off, I roll over, reset the alarm, give the expectant cat a pet and tell him he needs to wait a while longer for breakfast.

Is this supposed to be interesting? No. It just my roundabout way of explaining why I changed the blog's format. I had some time when I finally dragged myself out of bed, but not enough time to get a run or lift in, so I picked new colors.

Back to the schedule tomorrow! Otherwise, it'll probably mean a new format every day.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

On the trail

I went for a trail run on Saturday at Jockey Hollow in (or near, I can't remember) Morristown, NJ. I could make a lame joke about hitting the trail like all the presidential candidates, but I'm above that.

It was a good time. It was the first I've done a trail run in over a year. Oddly enough, the last trail run I did was at Jockey Hollow in (or near, I can't remember) Morristown, NJ.

I don't have a small enough camera to run with, so, to prove I was running in the woods, I walked back up the trail from the parking lot to take this picture.

No, it was not taken on the side of the Turnpike.

When Hannah left to go back to Texas last Wednesday, I was pretty down, so I subconsciously set out to give myself a boost. It turns out my solution was to buy shoes. Luckily (for my manliness quotient) I bought these. They're all tough and rugged and let me run without slipping or twisting an ankle. I also kicked a bear.

Yes, I'm aware I bought shoes.