I enjoyed jotting down my thoughts while watching Season One of The Mandalorian, so I’ll keep doing that for this second season. I’m sure no one appreciates what I have to say, but at least I’m entertained by it. There are spoilers, but I don’t care; this is best understood if you have already watched the season.
Posts in "Exactly One Hobby"
When you have children, you can have exactly one hobby. Anything else is an exercise in futility, self-deception, and ineffectiveness. Cooking healthy food is a hobby. Exercising is a hobby. Maintaining a website is a hobby. Writing a blog is a hobby. Bringing work home is a hobby.I wrote more about this in the post titled Exactly One Hobby, and all of my running posts are gathered under this category.
I watched season one of The Mandalorian as it was released a year ago. I had a lot of thoughts on the matter at the time, so going into this second season, I wanted to go back and rewatch the first season. This time, writing down all the highlights that I could remember from the first go around. You’ll find that I was fond of this show. There were some entertaining pieces, but overall I found it to basically just be an episodic gunslinger-in-space derivative. There’s nothing particularly unique or extraordinary about the show. It’s half-decent entertainment, so long as you ignore continuity errors, dry dialog, and lots of tropes. There are spoilers throughout, but I don’t care.
All things considered, I am content with my performance at the 42nd running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I had been battling a nasty couch all week, I wasn’t able to train as hard as I initially hoped, and the weather was very windy. While I came no where close to hitting my Boston Qualifying time, I did manage to improve on my personal record. Finishing at 03:15:36, it beats my previous best by 01:39. By the time next year’s Chicago Marathon comes around, I’ll only need to lower my PR by six or seven minutes in order to get through to Boston.
The first three weeks of the CARA summer marathon training are now in the books, and I am still trying to figure out how to best plan my running schedule. Because of schedule limitations (having three kids and a full-time job will do that), I can only really run on Tuesday and Thursday mornings by myself and Saturday mornings with the running group. In order to maximize the effects of these runs, I have started mentally adopting a “no easy runs” motto.
June is here, which means the official beginning of the training season for the 2019 Chicago Marathon - only 130 days away. As I look ahead to what life is like now and will be by the time October comes around, I feel that this is my last, best hope (for a while, at least) to run a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. Once this season is over, I will be undergoing back surgery, which the doctor estimates will take a year before I can be back to endurance running. This means I will be missing out on the 2020 season and potentially not getting back into BQ shape until the 2021 season - which puts me over 40 for the next time I can run Chicago.
In the spirit of trying new things for the new year (and being desperate to prevent injury this year), I am going to do 30 burpees every day. I stumbled on a Runner’s World article where the author talks about her progression over the course of 15 days. I will be using her description of the burpee (squat, kick-out, pushup, squat, jump). I know there are many variations, but I can do 30 pushups and I can do 30 squats, so now it’s just the dreaded part of putting it with the kickouts. I like that she progressed from 3 sets of 10 burpees with a one minute rest, then dropped 15 seconds of rest every three days.
Last night, while sitting on a hotel bed in the middle of nowhere Ohio, I banged out 500 words about nothing. It wasn’t a glorious piece of writing, but it was something. Throughout that piece, I kept thinking about how I consistently wish I would write more often. Before I blew up my previous laptop, I had about a half-dozen uncommitted drafts of pieces that I started writing but never actually went anywhere with. Looking back on the year, I feel as if 2017 has been my worst year for uncompleted projects; or even worse, for unexecuted projects.
This is an exercise that I’ve created for myself to type out 500 words. There are a lot of times that I read that a journalist has to write an article of a specific length, but I’ve realized that I really do not have a concept of how that translates to the actual amount of time that it might take to put those words down. Thus, for this simple exercise, I have set a couple of easy ground rules.
Marathon Training: Day -79; right foot still sore, likely from being barefoot all day; right hips still clicks while walking; back still sore overnight. 30x ankle raises, 30x dips, 2 minute plank rotation; need to get better about doing full exercise rotation. Whole30 has proceeded along, but the drain of not meal planning gets harder and harder each time we block out thirty days for this limited diet. We’ve had potatoes for every meal (either russet or sweet) to keep the carbs up. I am trying to find ways to pre-cook carbohydrates. This could include acron squash (Katie’s favorite winter squash), carrots, or even different flavoring on potatoes. In terms of stable meals, I’ve brought it down to a handful of decisions that can pull together a meal.
The last time we tried to start a Whole 30, it all just fell apart rather quickly – twice. However, this time, we have a much better plan for getting it kicked off. My wife started by creating a list of Reasons For Doing a Whole 30. She hopes that this will keep her focused on why she wants to stop reaching for the slice of cake, the can of Diet Code, or the bag of potato chips; she wants to be in the healthiest position possible when we start trying for another child; and she wants to have better productivity at work that the tiger blood brings on for her. For me, this is Marathon Training: Day -83.
Tomorrow, we start another Whole30 eating plan. The last two times I did this, it was both wonderful and horrible. In order to be able to look back on this experience one day and (hopefully) remember it fondly, I am going to attempt to put together a day-by-day activities list of how I
survived thrived during what will be my third trip. As with both of the other adventures, this started with a massive shopping trip to Costco and a bunch of food prep.
2016 was a busy year - in total, I ran eight races. While four of them were all in one weekend for Disney’s Dopey Challenge, it was still a lot of early mornings for me. For 2017, I am going to scale things back a bit - which really just means removing the one racing weekend.
For the fourth year in a row, on Columbus Day weekend, I have completed the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Previous years have culminated in mixed results, both by the clock and in my own experience. 2013’s marathon was a disaster in both time and how I felt during the race, but provided me with invaluable experience and a drive to do better. By the time the 2014 Chicago Marathon came around, I had taken up speed training with Coach Leach, focussed a little more on my running form, and put together a strong showing at the 2014 F3 Half Marathon. However, during last year’s race, I had set unrealistic expectations, especially while trying to run with a sore back. 2015 was not a good year for me, overall - but I was determined to turn things around for 2016.
A friend forwarded me an article from Runner’s World (written by editors at Men’s Health) titled “8 True Tests of Your Overall Fitness”. The article describes the test, drones on about the author’s experiences, and then gives some helpful tips on how to meet the test objectives. I wanted a quick chart that I could easily reference, so I’ll just post it here. The 30 pound dumbbells and 315 pound deadlift assumes 200 pound body weight.
All of my other marathon posts seem to have the “three parts” theme going, so it probably fits for this writing. On the second of May, I ran the Wisconsin Marathon in Kenosha. It is combined with a half-marathon, and a delayed start 5k. I had a terrible experience, but I came away with some fantastic personal post-race analysis.
For any serious runner, looking through training plans inevitably leads to the discovery that they all want you to do hill repeats. Hal Higdon (basically the godfather of running in Chicago), recommends that hills be a quarter-mile or longer. If you have never been to Chicago, allow me to clue you in - the city is flat. The largest and longest “hills” we have are the on and off ramps for the expressways. Finding long stretches of elevation are difficult, and I cannot think of any that are a full quarter-mile long. However, here are a couple of spots that I have found that make for at least a somewhat noticeable incline.
It has been almost over ten years since I last bought a backpack1, and now I need a new one. My three primary use cases are while commuting on a Divvy bike, riding on my motorcycle, and generally walking around. It needs to be comfortable and secure in all three scenarios. Other requirements (in no particular order):
Initially, the following was the opening paragraph of this post - but I decided in editing that it really had no purpose for a reader coming into this post. But since I wrote it, I decided to leave it here in case someone actually cares why I need a new backpack._ ↩
About nine months ago, Divvy bike sharing program went live in Chicago. I was thrilled with the concept of it from the initial launch, and was excited to see it quickly expand throughout the city*. Over the winter, I learned of the corporate memberships that they offer. The simplest of which was a one-time $100 start-up fee, and all employees then received $10 off of annual memberships.
I crossed the start line. I crossed the finish line. 04:41:59 elapsed between those two.
Three Hours, Five Minutes, Zero Seconds or less. For a male, 34 years or younger on race day, 3:05:00 is the qualifying time to register for the Boston Marathon. In all practicality, it will probably take a sub-3 hour marathon to actually get to run the race. The more I read about the Chicago Marathon, the more I discovered all about the running community, worldwide events, legendary runners, support organizations, fundraising, charity drives, and the Marathon Majors. How wonderful would it be to run a marathon in Chicago, Berlin, Boston, London, New York, and Tokyo! That meant I had to qualify for Boston, which means a sub-3:00:00 marathon. That’s not going to happen my first time out, so I’m settling for sub-4:00:00 finish.
Everything in threes, but before the third comes the second and after one comes number two. As a logical extension to my first goal of crossing the start line, my second goal is to cross the finish line. It sounds like a simple goal, going hand in hand with the motto of “finish what you start.” However, a lot can happen in 26 miles and 385 yards.