JRock3x8's Life Musings

Sunday, September 28, 2008

10k Training Day 15, 9/28

Ran the scheduled 4mi today - had to break it up mentally into 8 0.5mi sections. Oh and for the record, you could not have ASKED for a more beautiful day to run on. Low to mid 60s, cloudy, just a nice consistent breeze in the face. Wonderful...just wonderful.

I also ran on the biking trail that runs not far from our house which was very nice and scenic.

Sections 1 and 2 went relatively smoothly although I sensed was getting out a bit fast. After averaging close to 12 minutes last week, I was real nervous about trying to do 4mi averaging a 10min pace.

Sections 3 and 4 got the old sweat machine going but I never had any issue with the lungs today.

Around section 5 I started to feel my foot go dead or tingle or whatever but it got a lot worse. Section 6 I turned back for home and that's where the foot problem really became an issue. My calf didn't feel horribly tight but I just could not feel my left foot at all. I tried flexing my foot in different ways and I just couldn't get the feeling back.

I wasn't in any pain so I kept motoring. I struggled a little bit down the stretch in sections 7 and 8 but managed to keep it going. Within a quarter mile on my cool down walk the feeling came back and I was good again.

As I finished the run, I was horribly afraid that I had run really slow but I checked the sportband and it said I made my goal of 10' per mile and that made me very happy for the walk back to the car.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Find It

I can tell you one thing you won't find by playing this game : sanity.

For the unitiated, Find It is a game where you look for objects in a closed cylinder filled mostly with multicolor beads. I found most of the objects with no problems :

Among the easier to find items :

Pompom, balloon, block, baseball, car, Top Hat, Rubberband, Star, Ring, alphabet dice

Next up are the mildly painful items :

butterfly, Eraser, pony bead, wiggle eye, smiley face, flag, fish, egg and snowflake.

Then there are the next to impossible items :

the safety pin, the marble, the candy cane (still haven't found it) and the grand daddy of them all the penny.

like all great games its really simple and easy to start and then murderously difficult to finish.

An Inconvenient Truth

On my watch vs skip scale , I'll give it a watch only because I think the issues the film raises are good ones, even if I can't stand what a pompous person Al Gore is. His self-centered presentation of the issues only inflames my feelings about him.

But at the end of the day, the issues he speaks of are true.

Here's what bugs me and I think there's really no getting around this : Ice Ages have occurred quite regularly through the Earth's history. It's about time whether we like it or not that one of those ice ages hits. Whether it's in 10 years or 1,000 years, it's closer than it is far away. The part that Al's presentation ignores completely is what part the natural cycle is playing in all this. We as humans are certainly exacerbating the problem, no question. But nothing we can or should do will stop the next ice age or any of the horrors he describes in his film.

The people who live in flood-prone areas (and I do) would do well to get out of those areas if they believe that all of this is imminent.

Nice speech, Al. Next time, a little less about yourself and a little more about the cause. Oh, and for heaven's sake, don't let people photograph your three side-by-side huge flat screen energy sucking monitors on your desk at your office. Really bad for the image.

Wipeout HD Review for PS3

My quick casual gamer review of WipeoutHD :

On a scale of not fun vs fun WipeoutHD gets a "fun" rating. The sense of speed is great without feeling overwhelming, and the weapon action is fast and furious. At $20, the game is an absolute steal.

My only reservation is, and other people have said this too, but the game is basically Wipeout on a big screen. There's nothing new here, so die hards could easily be disappointed. The grpahics are just a blown up version of the PSP games. Very nice, but it's not the jump in quality you'd expect for a PS3 game.

Some people have complained about the difficulty for newcomers - I guess I don't really understand that. I'm about as new as they come and while I don't consistently win every race, I certainly could do well enough to get by.

The price and the opportunity to play Wipeout in HD is pretty spectacular though. Thumbs up.

Friday, September 26, 2008

10k Training Day 14, 9/25

Really tried to force the pace tonight. Felt really rough coming home but it was all a breath problem, not muscles this time.

Next up : 4 mi on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Uhm, okay.

I thought it was a pretty great movie, right up until the end, and then it was like, what?!?

So on my scale of watch vs skip, I gotta say skip.

Decent production values, nice story, tolerable acting, but the ending just completely ruined the whole movie.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

10k Training Day 13, 9/23

Everything felt sore tonight. The knees were stabbing from time to time. The calves were cramping. The shins felt awful. The quads were sore. Everything just hurt.

I finally got mad at myself halfway through the workout and just punched it up a notch. It didn't make it feel any better but I was more focused on finishing so that helped.

Next up : Cross training tomorrow, then 2mi on Thu. Next Sunday, we go 4 miles!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

10k Training Day 12, 9/21

The 3.5mi run. Okay, so some of it was walking but it was uninterrupted and it felt pretty darn good. I had the same issue with stiffness in my left calf but I managed to keep it at bay without it taking over my entire leg like it did last weekend.

This was also my first treadmill run - I think you can see that it was a classic accelerate / decelerate program. There were supposed to be hills too but I can't recall the treadmill ever raising or lowering.

Tomorrow is stretch and strengthen and then hit the road again on Tuesday for a 2.5mi run.

Not pictured is the SEVEN MILES we walked on Saturday - guh! 2.5mi of warmup on Saturday morning followed by 4.5mi of more leisurely walking throughout the afternoon. Needless to say we got our exercise this weekend.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Nike+ Sportband Review

I feel decently qualified to provide an amateur review of Nike+'s Sportband as I have been using it fairly consistently for about 2 weeks now.

First of all, this thing is almost useless in the dark if you want to tell how fast you're running, how far you've gone. There's no backlight and the numbers don't illuminate so unless you can find a streetlight to run under, you're screwed. (Even then, it's REALLY hard to read)

Second, there's no clock when you're in the middle of a workout which is pretty unforgivable. I need to know what time it is when I'm walking to the train - why isn't that an option? Dumb mistake on their part.

My third drawback is that the calculation of pace seems erratic at best. Maybe it's me but I certainly don't feel like I'm changing speeds as much as it says.

Now, aside from cutting some corners, Nike has done a very nice job of designing a very inexpensive product ($60 for the sportband, $30 if you own an ipod nano). The sportband is basically a tiny usb computer that plugs into a plastic wristband and communicates with your sensor that you wear on your shoe. Don't worry about buying Nike+ shoes. A little velcro and tying the laces over the top of the sensor works just fine.

Getting started was a little bit weird. You have to download software from a website, install it, then put the mini-computer into your USB port and it does the rest automatically. There are some very helpful videos at Nike+ to get you started.

To start your first run, I think you need to press the little button under the sensor, then attach it to your shoe. I had my wife sew a velcro patch on the tongue of my shoe, then put the other side of the velcro on the sensor, attach the velcro and tie the laces over the top of the sensor. Then you hold the circular button on top of the sportband computer for about 5 seconds, it flashes the message "walk" and then you walk in a circle until the sensor pairs with the sportband. Then the display will switch to "MILE" and then you press the button one more time to start your workout (just a single tap-click)

While working out, you can press the button on the side to get your distance, your pace, the time of your workout (called "CHAN" for whatever reason) and your calories burned (make sure to enter your weight during the initial setup or this will just be zero). There is no option to bring the clock back during your workout which is really dumb and annoying.

To stop your workout, I recommend hitting the button once to pause the workout, then press and hold to end the workout (it will say "END"). The reason being is that if you stop running and then press and hold the button to end your workout, you end up getting dinged for five seconds of not running on your workout. Plus pressing and holding the button while you're running is very awkward.

Last but not least on the sportband, the numbers are oriented perpendicular to those on a watch. For example, when you read your watch, you swing your elbow out to the side and look at your arm on a 90 degree angle. The sportband shows all of it's information across your wrist so that you actually hold your arm straight to read it. Very awkward and hard to get used to.

Their website is really pretty darn good. There is plenty of work to do on their part as far as separating out the challenges. There are more than enough participants but finding people that you can reasonably compete with is somewhat difficult. I don't have time in my day to run 10+ mi even if I wanted to but some of these people - that's all they seem to do. That being said, it keeps very good records of all your workouts and the interface is very clean and easy to use. If they just fix the challenges, they'll really have something special.

One other mild complaint is that walkers and runners are thrown together. I do both and yet I can't separate my workouts - walking vs running. Runners and Walkers are very different creatures - there is even some fun-spirited competition between the two but for the most part I get the sense the two groups mostly want nothing to do with one another.

Overall, it's a definite recommend if you can't afford the $200 GPS watch but if you can, my dad has one and swears by it. Not sure if those will track your workouts and catalog them as well as Nike+ does.

10k Training Day 11, 9/19

So, we've switched to a different training calendar, one that makes more sense than Nike+'s suggestion (which frankly was hard to figure and well, sucked...)

Today was supposed to be a rest day but I realized last night at 8pm that I didn't feel like running. So I took my rest day last night and ran my 2miles today.

Pretty darn good workout if I do say so myself. Still feeling very sore at the top of the right shin, but only for the first half mile.

Schedule calls for 40 min cross training tomorrow and then a 3.5mi run on Sunday. I haven't run 3.5mi in YEARS. This should be interesting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

10k Training Day 10, 9/16

Church Meeting on Monday so I had to get back on the horse tonight. Unfortunately with the flooding it takes me twice as long to get home so I only did a mile.

Felt kinds sorta okay. Really huffing and puffing, sore throat and tonight I really tried to RUN but I only ended up with an 8:45 mile?!? Grrr...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Z's No-No

First of all congrats to the Cubs and Zambrano after fishing out what was beginning to look like a desperate situation with the Cubs losing so many games in early September and now up 7.5 games and throwing a no-hitter.

And for what's it's worth, my personal thanks to Carlos Zambrano for knowing a little bit of team history. He knew right away who the last Cub was to throw a no-hitter and had even talked to Milt Pappas about it.

Last night after the game, Z said Milt told him at a recent fan convention that he (Z) would throw the Cubs' next no hitter, the last one coming in 72 by Mr Pappas.

I like players that know something about the history of the team they play on, so thanks Z, for taking the time to fall in love with my favorite franchise!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

10k Training Day 9, 9/14

Calf cramped up really really bad on me at the 1.75mi mark. I tried to run through it a couple times on the way home and it got so bad that I couldn't feel my left foot. Ouch.

Had breath problems early - the 8 minute mile that Nike is quoting is crap - I was never faster than 9 according to my sportband.

Ouch. Another Day. Gotta keep moving forward.

Apple's Genius

I must say that I'm extremely impressed with Genius.

The concept is simple - start with one song and let iTunes find up to 99 other songs that are a good fit with that one song.

What I love about it is that it expands your listening habits. If you're like me, you tend to fall into a rut of listening to a few playlists over and over again. Why? Because playlists require mental and manual effort to create. Genius is dead simple and easy.

I really haven't tried to push the boundaries with it too much to see if there are limitations to it's functionality, but out of the box, it's pretty darn good.

Friday, September 12, 2008

10k Training Day 8, 9/12

Indoor run today, no chip.

I ran up and down the stairs in my house for 15 minutes because it's raining heavily outside.

Got a good sweat going. Had a toe issue on my left foot - hopefully that doesn't get worse. Felt like something was jabbing into the side of my fourth toe.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

10k Training Day 7, 9/11

One Mile. No Big Deal. Sore throat after last night - I think it's seasonal allergies. Still fighting the sore right knee where the knee and shin come together. Again, I didn't really notice it after half a mile or so.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

10k Training Day 6, 9/10

Ugh, so no running for four days = NOT GOOD!

Ok, so Sunday was a walk day.

Monday I got home late from work and it was POURing when I got home.

Tuesday I had a meeting at church (see previous post about meeting relative on way home)

so tonight I finally got back on the horse.

I ran 2.45mi in 24'49 for a 10'05" pace and burned 279cal. I felt like it was better than that but the numbers don't show it. That 16minute pace for the first mile is bullcrap - I was way better than that.

OH well, no major soreness, same minor issue at the top of my right lower leg just below the knee but it goes away after half a mile. No problems breathing whatsoever tonight. Maybe because of my slow pace. Hm.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

10k Training Day 5, 9/7

Walking Day - had a sore throat after yesterday's run - think it was because of my breathing.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

10k Training Day 4, 9/6

Well, it could have been worse. I didn't feel great, but I did sweat out 2.6mi and didn't feel too horribly afterwards. No major muscle issues to complain about.

August Muzik Project - Final Version - Trip through the 80s

I'll be happy when this month's compo is over.

Kudos to Unicorn Killah for our conversation yesterday regarding tweaking knobs manually versus doing everything in a calculated fashion which is sort of my default.

As for my running, well the South Shore train ripped down a wire yesterday so that delayed me getting home by 2+ hours so I didn't run last night, hoping to do so soon today.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

10k Training Off Day, 9/4

Picked a heck of a good day for an off day. It is raining Cats, Dogs, Tigers, Lions and Bears oh my.

I have to say, the pregame for the Giants-Redskins game made me throw up in my mouth just a little. The Giants won that Super Bowl becuase Tom Brady was injured. Period. That and the luckiest catch known to mankind. Ugh. Still makes me sick.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

10k Training Day 3, 9/3

YAH! Tonight felt pretty darn good!

I did a couple things a little different.

First of all, I tried REALLY hard to keep my pace up around 10 minutes as opposed to racing myself out of breath. I had my eye on my Nike+ sportband frequently making sure I wasn't getting ahead of myself. You can see right before the 1 mile marker I had to slow myself down.

The other thing that I did was work on rolling my feet through my stride. I discovered that when I get tired I tend to stomp my feet on the ground which actually kills a lot of my momentum, making it harder for me to keep up with my pace. Per the suggestion of my wife, I tried rolling from heel to toe and pushing THROUGH my strides while my foot was on the ground and I felt much more efficient wasting a lot less breath.

I added a little kick at the end just to celebrate the fact that I made it to 2 miles without a lot of pain or trouble.

I did have stiffness again in my calves, but moreso in my left outer quad. The one encouraging thing about my soreness is that it seems to rotate throughout my body and it's not intensifying in any one spot.

Tomorrow is a rest day (I may throw in a half-mile just to stay loose) and then Friday we go for the big 3 again. I don't know what the hell I was thinking trying to run 3 miles on my very first day. Dumb.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

10k Training Day 2, 9/2

Ugh, tired lungs (again), tight calfs (again) - I meant for this to be a short and effortless tune up. Instead it was just a bear just running around my subdivision. I hit the button on my SportBand to see how far I had gone and instead I hit Calories. It said 100. I thought it said 1.00 miles. Oops. I realized my error as I was walking home - 0.93 miles...oh well - close enough.

Ugh - on morning of 9/3 starting to experience some foot pain on lower outer right foot. right when i bend the third, fourth and fifth toes.

Monday, September 01, 2008

10k training, 9/1


So, today I started my 10k training. As you can see by the peaks and valleys there were times where it felt pretty darn good and then there were times where I felt like I hit a wall.

I started out with pain at the top of my lower right leg, right where the bone hits the tendon and stiffness in my upper left outer calf. But about a half mile into it that went away and I felt pretty good. I had Aaron Shust's My God/My Savior in Julie's ipod and found that was a very suitable running song.

As you can see from the chart above, I clipped along at 8-minute miles for about 1.5 miles before I hit the wall. My lungs just could not handle it. I also had cramping in my shoulders - not sure why. What impresses me is that somehow I managed to get back to that pace on the way home. I felt just dead coming home but my splits don't look that bad.

I discovered while taking a shower after my running and stretching how much I missed runner's cough and that feeling right after a good coughing fit like you need to throw up. Thankfully, that goes away pretty fast. I also am STILL sweating some 30 minutes after my run now. How long does it take to cool off from these darn things, anyways?

Next stop : Wednesday, another 3 miles. I may have to adjust the schedule a bit to give my lungs some time to catch up.