Friday, January 27, 2012

Out Of Balance, Injury, Stress, and Just Hating Work

Marathon training has just incurred a giant setback. Without to much incriminating detail, work is just taking a toll on me physically and mentally. In trying to speed through my workday, take short cuts and lift crap this is way beyond what I can safely do I completely trashed my back and it's put the brakes on  my training schedule. It was great for a little while being ahead of my schedule!
The stress of taking a gigantic step backwards yet again in my career has broken the straw on -this- camels back.
I'm feeling very old and useless in today's world. Getting old really sucks!
Tomorrow in instead of a run I'll try to get in a very fast bike ride to keep up my aerobic level. I think the gym and running may need a few days off. Back injuries don't seem to bother my back as much when I'm riding.
A bit depressed tonight so, not much to really say.

Monday night I had a good 8 miles or so to the bridge and back. Of course the bridge looked awesome as usual and I took a shot of it during my run.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Happy Anniversary My Beautiful Girl...Night Run and Reflections

Lovely Layla, my sweet little Angel...

Tomorrow will be the first Anniversary to the day when I was mysteriously directed to a miraculous convergence and ran head on into experiencing one of the happiest moments in  my life. On January 23rd 2011 I took a ride on my bike with my good friend Ron across bridge to Tiburon and back to San Francisco. I had a great day and as we rolled back into Sports Basement we just happened upon a mobile rescue dog event.
"Puppies"! I exclaimed to Ron.
I felt his eyes roll without even looking his way. I rolled my wheel right up to the first little pen which contained 3 little dogs.

As soon as I saw that little black angel I knew there was no turning back...
My first picture of "Lila" now called Layla within 20 seconds of seeing her.
She looked so much like my "Lady Gaga" but, a smaller version. I asked Ron to take a picture of me and Layla as I swooped her from the pen without even acknowledging the attendants watching over the dogs! Again I could read Ron's mind and knew all to well what he was thinking...
"Dude! Don't do it"!
Alas, but it was too late...
I emailed the shelter that night and inquired about possibly fostering the puppy.

This is how the correspondence followed-
On Sunday January 23 at 6:14 pm (after whining to Cathy about the event over dinner).

> >Hi,
> >
> >I met Lila at Sports Basement today (attached pictures). She resembles one of my
> >dogs "Lady Ga Ga". I was wondering if She would need fostering or, possibly any
> >of your dogs. I live and manage a large 117 unit apartment building (Dog
> >Friendly) We have two shelter dogs "Ga Ga" and "Beyonce" a wire haired dachshund
> >who get along beautifully. We also run a small day care for dogs and babysit
> >building dogs. Fostering would provide access to dogs so, to benefit adoption
> >opportunities We're thinking of getting into fostering...could you let me know
> >if you'd be interested and what it would entail?
> >
> >BTW the picture of Lila wasn't very well defined on your Facebook site so, I'll
> >send you the picts I took today that you can have for your site. I'm also a
> >photographer and would consider doing some part time photography for your dogs.
From NorCal Family Rescue
> Hi there!
> Great photos! We'd love for you to foster Lila. She is already spayed and vaccinated and ready to go.
> My colleague Reed will send you our application - just take a quick moment to complete it - you are already approved to foster or adopt, we just need the paperwork for our files.
> You can pick Lila up tomorrow at our shelter space at 16th Street and Alabama. Dawn is your contact for tomorrow - pls text or phone her at 415-335-2245.
> Thank you! Great meeting you today.
> Best, Angela for Family Dog Rescue

Long story short, fostering never worked out and within 2 weeks I had added a 3rd dog to my Black Pack!
Happy Anniversary my little Sweetie...I love you! It's very odd but, I feel a connection with my dogs and animals in general of absolute trust and understanding that I rarely feel from my relationships with humans. Maybe humans just have too much freewill and are more apt to misuse it. In most cases I've just learned not to trust...sad for me.


I had tentatively planned on a rest day today but, after yesterdays run I was actually a lot less stiff then I thought I would be so I just got out for a run. Maybe the training is starting to kick in. I'm shooting for some consecutive sub 8 minute miles maybe by the beginning of next month. Tonight was beautiful and not a soul was out there to get in my way. Most everyone was home watching the 49ers getting their ass kicked by the Giants...How embarrassing, arrrggghh!
I had an odd experience while I was just finishing my fastest mile for the evening. A car stopped in the middle of the road and the guy signaled to me. It was kind of weird that he didn't roll down the passenger window? (maybe it was broken). I had to go out around to the drivers side and at first kind of had a queasy feeling about it but, he basically was just looking for directions to St. Francis Yacht Club. He was definitely an Aussie. He then thanked me and mentioned something about help, life and something else then, handed my a card...
This is what the card said-

THANK YOU! (with some kind of B&W picture which I couldn't tell what it was).
Then- Help! along lifes journey
K.R.M Ministries inc.
Keith R. Moodie - Pastor Western Australia

Very weird...

Layla and Lady Gaga lounging in the sun.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hopper's Hands Or Bust

So today I decided to take my camera with me on my run. The forecast today was for clouds and scattered showers...?                             .................WRONG!
I couldn't have picked a more perfect day for a run. Although windy it was still a nice run and a great tailwind for the finale.

It seemed like everybody in the city was out on the Marina and Golden Gate and the ones who weren't were probably up in Tahoe enjoying the new snow. I obviously was not the only one to show up at the Golden Gate with camera in hand...

I had a little issue with a camera truck blocking the money shot!

The Run:

I had trouble getting started and out the door today. Of course I had to deal with more weekend work issues which held me up and I found myself as usual having to hurry and get out in a time crunch. I launched out the door the first time, got four blocks away and realized I'd forgot my headphones and Nano. I ran back and found my nano out of charge so, grabbed Cathy's Ipod and ran back out to start again.

I'm having a bit of trouble loosening up and overcoming the initial stiffness and pain on my runs. I know a lot of it is I'm getting old. Cycling is so much easier on the body than running. Warming up is a lot more forgiving. I have it down to a science though and it seems that right about mile 3 is when the pain goes away and I begin to feel a bit more comfortable and ease into the groove.

A lot of my early part of the run was making adjustments to how I carried my camera and accessing it. without having to stop. 
Shooting was a bit of a trick. I found I actually had to stop completely to keep from getting a blurry picture so, I didn't shoot as much as I wanted and really ended up with a limited amount of photos which is fine. I'll get the hang of shooting on foot after a while.

I'm looking forward to getting to a point when I can really snap up my pace. I feel as slow as a turtle. I'm definately attuned to my heart rate and know where I should be but I still feel soooo slow! I'm jealous of how many runners just breeze right me. I must be patient though. I know if I stick with it it will get better...
One of the many runners out there today giving the "High Five" to old Hopper.
On the way back I was getting that same nice tailwind as this full spinnaker! Mile 6 and 7 were nice and I got a 7+ minute mile in. Can't wait to get my speed up and consistent.

My pups are getting somewhat irritated with my new hobby...They were pretty miffed that I took off without them and they didn't get their run in the park. I couldn't imagine life with out my little black girls.
After my run I phoned ahead to Cathy and had her meet me over at the "Grubsteak" for a late breakfast. After burning up 1500 calories I was getting pretty ravenous! Another benefit of running, I can eat anything.
After that it was home for a power nap with the puppies. At least I got out and got another 10 miles  and a step closer to my goal.

I went a little too long after breakfast before my run so I of course bonked pretty good. I think next run I'll take on some quick energy like GU's or an energy bar and have one every 5 miles or so to see how my energy feels

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Downside Of Running...

I miss my camera...

Cycling is one of the best activities for producing great photography. It's relatively a perfect vehicle for shooting dynamic photos. Hip shots, action, scenery. It's all there. With running it's very hard to get a steady shot unless stopped and stopping just kills the groove. It's all about consistent pacing when you run.
Tomorrow I'm planning my Saturday run and I'm going to work on techniques for snapping pictures on the fly. There's got to be a way. Maybe using the automatic sports setting with anti-shake. Probably lowering the quality but, there's always Photoshop to beef it up bit.
I love this time of year for taking pictures. Crappy weather and lot's of moisture really are a photographers dream. It's seems like light and shadows are everywhere
Layla running in the rain shortly after adopting her

Lady Gaga sticking her tougue at  me and  irritated that  she has become my main muse!

Sparty...from last winter

A Pit Bull in the park who decided to get in my shot...I wasn't one to argue with him
I still have yet to take my new Canon SX2101S for a serious test drive. I love this camera and what I've shot so far I've been quite happy with.
It has a fantastic easy to use video mode also. I've had some success with my Droid 2 phone but, it's somewhat cumbersome and not very fast for spur of the moment shots. So far I'm still hanging with a dedicated camera. They're really inexpensive these day with plenty of bang for the buck!


I missed my run today due to the inclement weather and opted for the Gym. I did do about a half mile on the treadmill but quit. I hate it now! Treadmills suck! Outside running is so much better. I'll take my chances with the rain tomorrow. I'm going to begin working on getting my speed up. I'm terribly slow right now but, I need to be patient, I'm only into this thing for a month now.


My plans for the bike now are on getting some speed and climbing in sync. I'm just not into the long rides anymore,  mostly due to lack of time in my life.
I love the single speed and have really grown to love it. The feel is so organic, simple, natural and higher intensity than the road bike. It works well with my running and keeps my legs strong.


Work has been a really difficult adjustment and I'm having to endure some serious stress. I'm tired of years of enduring my playing field changing under me and I'm beginning to realize that I've suddenly hit the age ceiling and it doesn't look like I'm ever going to be moving up again. I lost a lot of yardage in this last upheaval. I just want to do my eight hours a day, five days a week and get my life of 15 years ago back to where it was. I really miss my music but, my heart is just not into it and I have way too many distractions to get into a creative swing. I will keep working at it though when I settle into the new job.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It's Like Riding A Bike

I'm a little behind on the blog update but, finally got out for a bike ride. It's the first ride since I've seriously begun running. I really noticed the accumulated fatigue in my legs. It was quite a struggle by the time I reached San Bruno Mountain and I was pretty much bonking towards the end of the climb. Not having any food in the last six hours probably didn't help much. My last ride up Mt. Diablo on Christmas Eve was easier than this ride.
I'm curious how the riding and running is going to co-exist.
By the time I got home I was pretty much done for the day. Sunday was a loss and I decided to try to make it a rest day. I still went to the gym Sunday night and got a good upper body workout with a bit of aerobic.

The job has been insanely stressful and has been beating me down mentally which is no help in trying to keep up my motivation...

It's been my goal since I started running that maybe I could run a 1/2 Marathon in a months worth of training! Yes a lofty goal but I think a possibility. My aerobic capacity carried over from the cycling is where it needs to be so, that's not an issue. the punishment on the legs is what really had me worried. 

Monday was truly a ClusterFuck! I was in a pretty sad state of mind, feeling quite harried and getting a late start for my run. Trying to sink up my sattilites for my Garmin GPS is a real chore. I haven't been able to get it to an efficient process.
I kept getting phone calls and after close to 2 miles into my run I just went ahead and reset the Garmin and restarted the ride.
After about 3 or 4 miles I acutally started to feel pretty good so I just had it in my head to make an attempt for that 1/2 Marathon.
I was good up to mile ten when I started pushing my pace a bit. The last three miles were pretty horrible, especially the last mile ascending up into Russian Hill.
I finally made it but, It was definitely grueling! With the  2miles before I started my Garmin again It was more like 15 miles. Hopefully the next one will be easier. My pace was pretty slow. I never fully recovered from the San Bruno ride. I did another 10 mile run on Wednesday night and that was a slog too. Today I'm just taking the whole day off. I have too much to do with work anyway.

BTW, For those familiar with my blog, you may notice not too many pictures. I find it much harder to shoot the camera when running as compared to riding. I'll keep working on it. I've missed some really beautiful pictures in the last couple of weeks...

Friday, January 13, 2012

An Enthusiastic Bumble Bee...

Apparently Bumble Bees aren't suppose to be able to fly but, they really don't know any better and just somehow do it anyway. 
I've mentioned to a few runners that I've begun training for a Marathon in August with a few other runs including The S.F. Half Marathon, Bay to Breakers. Within a couple of weeks of training I was doing plus 5 miles and in the last week I've done 2X10 mile runs. I'm a bit sore but I felt like I still had more miles in me but, I made myself stop. Aerobically I feel great which is obviously carry over from the cycling. I also think that the past few years of single speed riding has primed me for running.
Some of the responses are-

"I hope you have good insurance"!
"That's way too much mileage for a beginner".

I guess I have "Bumble Bee Syndrome".

I'm planning on giving myself a couple days off the shoes and planning on going for a weekend of bike riding. I'm toying with the Idea of doing a Half Marathon on Martin Luther's this Monday. That would be interesting after only training for a month. If I don't get injured then I guess I shouldn't worry too much about training hard. I'm planning on getting into speed training in February. I'll then make some time goals for myself regarding the up coming runs.

I really like the idea of going back and forth between the bike and running. I'm thinking about getting a wet suit in the spring and start literally "testing the waters". I think "Escape From Alcatraz" could be a reality...

There's a billion books out there on running and I'm starting to read a lot of them now.
Runners are a strange breed. I get a kick out of the threads concerning-
"How do I carry everything I need with me during a race"?
DUH! It's called a "Cycling Shirt"! I love the fact that aside from shoes I don't have to buy anything!

BTW, I think my favorite part of running is still the fact that I can wear my big honkin Dr. Dre Pro Phones. I love those things. It's like having a "Boom Box" strapped to your head. I also love running at night with the lights over the bay, the moonlight over the water and the Golden Gate beckoning me towards Hoppers hands for the turnaround...and the grandiose chorus's of "Lady Gaga" blasting in my ears...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Inspired Running With Surround Sound!

Today's weather was unbelievable and just perfect for my first 7 mile run which turned into a my first ever 10 mile run!

This week I indulged myself. I believe my main fuel for running is not carbs or protein but, high quality ear candy.
I have absolutely the worst luck with headphones. That and cameras. 
I recently lost an expensive camera, probably around my 15th in 4 years while descending Diablo Mountain on my bike a few weeks ago. 
I recently bough a pair of Dr. Dre "Beats" in ear headphones but, somehow ruined those in a very short time. They're still hard to keep in my ears and they just drive me nuts and never quite feel right although they sound great.

Yesterday I went out to Guitar Center and just decided screw it! and laid down some big cash for some Dr. Dre Pro over the ear head phones. They were great for the first mile of my run but, then my Droid 2 music player kept shutting down. After some aggravation I finally figured out that the phone jack on my phone is getting a bit worn and if there's any break in the contact the player will shut down...aarrgggg! Now for plan B...

I bought a seperate mini jack cable and arm carrier for the phone and I'm hoping with less shaking around the  headphones will work.

I have to admit I look pretty funny with these big ass headphones on, running through the crowds of people along the Golden Gate. I rode my bike to my run but, couldn't wear my helmet due to their size of the headphones. In a way they were kind of like wearing a helmet anyway. 
BTW I've gone over to flat pedals and toe straps on one of my bikes so I can wear my running shoes. I look like ... I wouldn't say a "Fred" exactly but, more like a "Flurb" or a "Freak"!

The Run...

I've only been into this running thing for two weeks now. That's not including about 2 months of previous treadmill work but I hear that's not really running. I believe that. I never hurt on the treadmill like I do with real running. Today I just thought I would shoot for a seven mile run.
Mile 1 through 3 I was a bit distracted with my headphone problem. Mile 4 I came upon some really cool off the beaten path trails that I would have never even guessed they existed. I've been on the bike for so long now I think I've missed a few treasures right under my nose.

I feel great on the hills and I seem to pass a lot of runners (and cyclists). Maybe that's my forte? At about mile seven I was close to where my bike was parked but, I felt like I was just warming up and decided to make the spontanious decision to just go for a ten mile run. I still felt great up to mile nine and then I was passed by a pretty young woman so, I decided to just see if I could keep up with her. I ended up doing a close to 8 minute mile! I still felt like I could do more and I was in that really nice aerobic groove but decided not to push it. and stopped at ten miles. I was starting to really feel it in the calves and quads at that point.

I'm quite sore right now but, I'm looking forward to my next run and feeling pretty confident. A month ago I didn't think I had it in me to be a runner.

We'll see how it goes. I plan on doing my first 20 mile run by April 1st. That will give me a gauge on if I can actually pull off a marathon.
As of right now I'm signed up for the "Bay To Breakers" and the "Santa Rosa Marathon". I think I'm going to look around for a 1/2 Marathon to do around March.


By now you've heard the story about this knucklehead.
Dog on the Roof
Mitt Romney is an asshole! What is wrong with someone who would actually put an animal through this?!
How cruel can you get?
                    "Animal Abuse Link"

Carrot On A Stick-Bay To Breakers/Santa Rosa Marathon/Boston Marathon

{Dad on my Lady Gaga Tattoo}:
 "Your kidding me"! He says in a shocked voice.
After a long, long pause...
"Ya know, I always wanted to get a tattoo. Your Mother wouldn't have been very happy...
I always wanted to get a "frog" tattoo!
Everyone called my "Froggy" when I was a kid cause I could jump like a frog!"

So after my Dad confessed, I got an idea...
I always wanted to run the Boston Marathon and he always wanted a tattoo. The game plan now is to go back to Boston for my 60th Birthday in 2014 and after get a tattoo with my Dad. We're both gonna get tattoo's of Frogs (designed by Cathy).

Everyone needs a Carrot on a stick to see them through this life...

I've been getting my feet pretty wet with this running thing...will it last?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dogs Running Around, Running Like A Dog

Today was way too beautiful to just lay around and waste on a rest day. The hamstrings were feeling better today and I decided to abandon caution and just go out for a run.
A week of intense doggie day care, dealing with confrontational people was getting to me a little and I just needed to get out for awhile and clear my head.

 After thinking about the injury I figured I may have just hyper extended the muscle when I stopped to stretch yesterday. I felt a bit tight and got a little pain starting up again before I finished my run for the day. It was another 5 mile run but, with a little climbing through the Presidio. I'm looking forward to six months down the road when I'm finally over the beginners hump with this Marathon flight of fancy. I'm as slow as shit and my bicycle legs are a bit pissy about it all but, I'm gonna try and hang in for awhile.


Thank the Universe for my dogs...I'm seriously stressed out with dealing with humans lately. I feel like I've lost the ability and patience to put up with the day to day confrontations and sparring. I just want to do my job and not talk to anyone at all. Maybe I just need a long vacation. I fantasize about spending a few days in the woods, out in the mountains somewhere with just the dogs and a tent. I just don't want to talk with anyone anymore...Pretty sad...

Well back to work tomorrow and the stress. At least I have a goal for the new year to lean on.

Here's a couple of pictures of my best part of the weekend...