How I Tricked Myself in to Running 15 Miles this Morning

If you don’t wedge clay properly, it will explode in the kiln. Wedging also aligns the particles making the clay much more receptive to shaping and throwing. Right now, I suck at wedging. My “wedging” technique makes the clay pliable, but it also fills it with ballon sized air-pockets. Don’t even get me started on the difficulties I face with throwing clay. Yesterday, I was almost in tears because everyone else managed to throw a cylinder, while I was left with a spinning spitting sodden heap of grey mud. I was tempted to throw it across the room punch myself in face. (When I was a teenager I gave myself a black eye–seriously, I used to hit myself that hard). But I didn’t. Instead I just breathed and when I did happiness filled me up. Somewhere in frustration and madness of trying to shape the malleable pieces of earth–the same earth God* used to form humans–there is joyfulness.  It’s astonishing what failure in ceramics teaches me  about running.

Last night, I couldn’t fall asleep. I kept thinking about my failure to wedge properly and also somewhere smashing through my brain was the fifteen mile run I had to do in the morning.  It thrashed my thoughts, leaving me jittery and awake. I kept thinking about how I would have to work a full day after running fifteen miles. It was depressing. Try as I might, I couldn’t fall asleep. Then brilliance struck: Why not call in sick? That way I could sleep off this insomnia and have time to recuperate from my long run.  With that one thought, I skipped happily into dreamland.

Without an alarm, I arose at six o’ clock. (I was planning to sleep in until eight). Since I was up and felt rested, I decided to strap on my heart rate monitor and GPS, slip into my blue shorts,  and drape on my white shirt. The first two miles were horrible and I questioned my decision to run a marathon, but by mile four my youthful vigor kicked-in. The carbohydrate packs and homemade gatorade helped tremendously.  Mile twelve was difficult, and the last three miles forced me to dig deep, but I did and I found a treasure chest of strength and stamina. I finished my run in under two hours, which is right on track with my goal pace for the Boring Oregon Marathon.

Since I would’t have had to have left for work until eleven, I had plenty of time to stretch and rest. After a long hot shower, going to work didn’t seem so bad; so, I pulled on slacks, flung on my short sleeve dress shirt, and headed off to work. I wasn’t even stiff or sore. I did, however, let  out a few great yawns, but I was fully functional. Maybe, I’m not so bad at wedging after all.

* I use God and reference Genesis rhetorically, I am a pantheist.

Barefoot Boring Marathon Training Day 10

Google Hacked

This is creepy. I’ve been posting  about my heart rate monitor on this blog. What’s so creepy about that? Nothing. Here’s the creepy part: I’ve been receiving calls on my Google voice–my voicemail account is associated with the e-mail address for this blog–from a number that connects to a cardiac/thoracic surgeon. Isn’t that frightening!? Some bot or psycho heart surgeon is harvesting content, figuring out the Google voice number from the e-mail address, and then placing targeted, unwanted, illegal phone calls. What a Brave New World we live in.

While I don’t enjoy receiving spam calls, I don’t fret because I always file a complaint with the FTC whenever I receive them.

As for training, I ran a steeper longer hill for my intervals. This week it’s still: 10 times 90 seconds uphill at 80%-90% effort with  90 seconds of recovery. I think my training plan only has me running intervals twice a month, Thank God!!! Although, I must say that I always feel fantastic when my intervals are done.

What does tomorrow hold? Check back to find out.

 

Boring Barefoot Marathon Training Day 5

More than once I’ve asked myself whether I shall turn out to be the Superman or the Lex Luther of my own life. Each of us are given a fist full of earth. Some plant gardens, other throw mud pies, and some let the dirt slip between their fingers. Of course, we weren’t given the earth, we emerged from it. This planet truly is our mother. As the miles slide by, the bullshit of normal life lifts and there is nothing but breath: time dilates and contracts by its own weird logic.  Today, I ran 7.4 blissful miles. What does tomorrow hold? Check back to find out.

Boring Marathon Training Day Three (3)


I remember hesitating before clicking the order button. I didn’t know it then, but this was the moment that would change everything, the very thing that would force me to write a yet another shameless product plug—-> Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor. That’s the heart rate monitor I ordered from Amazon last week. I’m happy to report that it arrived today! After removing it from the box, I went straight to Polar’s Website, watched the get started video and set up the shiny new mirror of my heart. The controls are fairly intuitive. Once it was squared away, I tore off my shirt, poured cold water over the contact points of the monitor and strapped it on.  Then I sauntered without shoes through the simmering country streets.

It was fun to watch my heart rate rise and fall as I strode barefoot around the neighborhood. I was surprised to discover how often I misjudged my heart-rate. For example, I like to do handstands throughout the day. Not only do the handstands relieve the gravitation pressure on my spine, but they also round my shoulders and make me feel young. I assumed that the handstands would jack-up my heart rate significantly. I was wrong. They did not!!! In fact, a handstand only raised my heart rate by a few beats. Whereas a super easy jog across the flat street raised my heart rate by almost ten beats.

I couldn’t figure out why my handstands didn’t raise my heart-rate. As I said, I really felt like I was expending more effort doing them. Then I realized that strength is separate from cardio. To really prove that strength is not cardio, I did twenty push-ups. My heart rate only climbed up two beats. The effort I felt doing the push-ups was significant. Then I marched in place for twenty seconds, my heart rate increased by ten beats. I did NOT feel that I was expending as much effort marching in place as I did when I was doing the push-ups. Strength training really and truly doesn’t do much for your heart. I knew that, but I didn’t KNOW it until I saw it my silver display.

But the big eye opener for me was realizing how much faster my heart beats when I’m standing as opposed to sitting. Seated it beats around 44 bpm, standing it jumps to 60 bpm. Guess which position burns more calories?

Incidentally, in addition to my easy one hour walk and heart-rate experiments, I did Week One of Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 Workout. Technically Jillian’s Program is not entirely strength training because it has some short cardio intervals, I am not, however, concerned. It’s my wife’s DVD and it does have weightlifting segments, so I’m using it for all of my strength training days.

I didn’t think I would like wearing my heart on my wrist, but it’s really enjoyable. Tomorrow, I’ll be  running uphill at top speed for 90 second intervals. See you then.

How Bigfoot Made Me Run a Boring Marathon

Awesome laser cut Huckleberry Half Marathon Bigfoot medal
Awesome laser cut Huckleberry Half Marathon Bigfoot medal

I usually don’t like organized running races. Mostly because I consider running to be a solitary sport. I always run alone. This year, however, I’m making an exception for I am entering two races. The first is the Welches Huckleberry Half in August. This looks like a super fun race because Bigfoot will be there! And every finisher gets a fancy laser-cut medal!

Boring Oregon where I'll run 26.2 miles barefoot.
Boring Oregon where I’ll run 26.2 miles barefoot.

The other race I’m running this year is the fantastically obscure Boring Marathon. Why the Boring Oregon Marathon and not the World Famous Portland Oregon Marathon? First of all, Portland is forty five minutes away from me, Boring is only fifteen minutes away. Second, Boring is a fun place to run. One racer from Boring wrote: “I was out running in the area the other day and a goat from a local farm came out and ran with me for about half a mile.” How could any barefoot runner resist that? I drive through Boring Oregon every Sunday on my way to work. It’s a cute and quirky town with lots of open space farms and fields. There’s children’s theater house that also hosts terrible local events. One time they held a “Craft Fair.” Aside from a few homemade candies that didn’t smell fresh and some handmade cards that didn’t look original, there were no crafts to speak of. At one of the booths a homeless looking woman spread out all of the junk from her shopping cart: hubcaps, filthy plates with cracks and chips, a broken blender with rusty mixer blades, torn dresses with weird stains, smelly sneakers with holes in them, and other unusable, unsalable items.

But this post isn’t about homeless women at craft fairs. It’s about joining the running community, shod and unshod alike. As I train my powerful feet for the upcoming races, I will do my best to pretend that this is actually a blog about barefoot running and will post my training updates daily.

BTW, I’m shooting for a modest 3 hour 45 min.ish finish for the marathon (as long as I break four hours, I’ll be happy). I don’t have a target time for the Hucklberry Half Marathon. I’m running that one solely for the Bigfoot medal–every finisher gets one.