Monday, January 30, 2012

Suicide in Ann's community...

Every day I tell my family and friends what a great life I have. Not every day is perfect but it is always filled with the people I love, a job that I never imagined I would have, and a network of friends that I never imagined I would have.
But fifteen years ago, I couldn’t see any of this. I didn’t know what the future held. All I knew was that I was in pain. I was hurting and though I had many of the same family and friends I have today, for some reason they were all blind to the pain I was suffering. If you had asked them they might tell you my temper was a little shorter than it had been, that I looked a little more tired than I had been and maybe they noticed that I had stopped doing most of the things I loved to do.
What they wouldn’t tell you then and probably still wouldn’t share with you today was that I was suicidal. They wouldn’t tell you how I drove my car down the road trying to figure out how to wreck it in a way that would guarantee my death without anybody knowing it was actually suicide.
Luckily, one person did step in to help me. A girl I worked with, who happened to be my husband’s cousin, realized I was nearing my end and took me to the doctor.
(Read more of Ann's story.)

3.50 miles in 30:08

thought i'd change things up this morning and run to and around lemon park on the other side of town. i'd changed out the batteries on one of my knuckle lights so it was way easier to see along the path in the park. i didn't push it much. just ran. that is all.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

2.50 miles in 21:30

i needed to stay close to home today so i'd know when the newspapers were delivered to our house. i ran around and around the blocks near our home. the delivery never happened. grrrr! now i need to clean up quickly and head to my daughter's bible quiz tournament.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Quit yer whinin'...

“Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah.” (Deuteronomy 6:16)

How did the people test the Lord at Massah? The story is found in Exodus 17. The people were without water. They got thirsty. The thirstier they became the more they grumbled. Moses, the man God put in charge of the nation, talked to God about their situation. God said to strike a rock and water would come forth. Moses obeyed and God provided.

Do you test God as the people of Israel did? Grumbling against God, complaining when he doesn’t provide as you expect?

Quit yer whinin’!

Do not put the Lord to the test. When you complain, you’re saying God isn’t good. You’re dishonoring his name.

Rather than bemoan what God has not given you today, why not give thanks to him for what he has supplied?

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Job's question...

"Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"
-Job 2:10

Beans, beans...

"When I became a runner, eating beans became an adventure waiting to happen."
- Ekim Trefien

I'm clean...

I love the lyrics to this Petra song, Clean. Been singing it all day long the past couple of day. So glad to blameless in God's sight because of Jesus!

You might see me stumble, you might see me fall
You might see me cornered with my back against the wall
I may be incognito, maybe out to lunch
Maybe caught red-handed or maybe just a hunch

But I'm clean, clean, clean, clean, clean before my Lord
Clean, clean, clean, clean, clean before my Lord
Like a spotless lamb, I'm blameless in His sight
With no trace of wrong, left to right
I'm clean, clean, clean

Kneeling in the closet, begging daily bread
There may be a skeleton hanging overhead
Where are my accusers, nowhere to be found
They all dropped their stones when the master came around

'Cause I'm clean, clean, clean, clean, clean before my Lord
Clean, clean, clean, clean, clean before my Lord
Like a spotless lamb, I'm blameless in His sight
With no trace of wrong left to right
I'm clean, clean, clean

I've missed the mark I can't deny it
I don't condone or justify it
But I've done nothing that His blood can't wash away
When I take it to the cross and start to pray

Hey, I'm talking to you
Hey, He's gonna see me through
Hey, I'm talking to you

I'm clean, clean, clean, clean, clean before my Lord
Clean, clean, clean, clean, clean before my Lord
Like a spotless lamb, I'm blameless in His sight
With no trace of wrong left to right
I'm clean, clean, clean!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

stuff non-runners say

i found this quite funny. i've heard a ton of these things from non-runners!

This is me...

A friend posted a list of 20 questions and answered them about himself. He then challenged me to do the same. I guess this will serve as my get to know me better post.

1) What is one of your favorite ways to spend a Saturday?

I like to sleep in a bit if I get the chance. Doesn’t always happen. Then I love going for a run or a ride alone or with my wife or a friend. After that, whatever presents itself is good with me. My wife usually has something planned.

2) List your top three favorite TV shows.

I don’t watch TV much. Hardly at all, really. My favorites are a bit older than most people’s probably. I love watching a couple of classics: Emergency and Get Smart. I also enjoy the more recent show, Monk. Adrian makes me laugh out loud.

3) Would you rather be in pictures or take them?

I love seeing pictures of me doing things I love, but most of the time I’m behind the camera. My children roll their eyes at me when I point and shoot, but they complain if they can’t find any pictures of themselves in an activity. They’ve each been tagged in thousands of pictures on Facebook. That’s not an exaggeration. I take loads of pictures.

4) Why do you blog?

My profile says it all. I blog to stay sane and drive others insane. I like provoking thought and instigating silliness. Kind of fun to keep track of life too. (I sometimes post anonymously as Ekim Trefien.)

5) Share five websites you visit regularly.

Facebook: This is where I keep up with my family and a few hundred friends. I’m part of a couple of runners’ groups. My favorite is the Idiots Running Club. Hilarious stuff happens there. I use Facebook to broadcast stuff about my church, too.

Twitter: I follow a lot of athletes – famous and not so famous – on Twitter. Not many of my family or close friends are on the site. I get a bit sillier here than I do on Facebook. Gotta keep my reputation clean.

dailymile: I keep track of all my workouts on this great social network for athletes. I’m a member of the blog team and do my best to be an encourager on the site. It was through the prompting of friends on dailymile that I took up running. I hope they don’t get me into triathlons.

Klout: I have no idea why I find this site so interesting. My score stays the same all the time. It doesn’t even measure my influence on Facebook yet. Still I check in here a couple of times each day and hand out +Ks to my friends.

YouTube: I have a YouTube channel and I’m always using it to find old songs to listen to. I also watch silly stuff and great athletic exploits. Occasionally, I post a self-made movie.

6) If you could have lunch with one person from your Twitter list who would it be?

That’s a tough one. There are a half dozen people I’d like to meet. I really want to get together with several members of the dailymile team, so I can pick the team profile, right? That covers all of them. Don’t ask me to narrow it down any further.

7) List a few of your favorite snacks.

I really like Frito’s Corn Chips. I suppose because they remind me of my grandma. She always had them on hand when I visited her house as a kid. They’re pretty good with chili too. Popcorn and gummi worms are probably my more frequent snacks.

8 ) Do you have a pet?

No pets in the family. Had a few dogs and cats growing up. Killed off several fish when my kids were young. Nothing but humans right now. They’re all staying alive.

9) Which three material possessions would you struggle to live without?

I’m pretty sure I’d struggle without a car, but what I’d really miss if they were gone are my two bikes. Cato, my road bike, and Floyd, my mountain bike, are my main means of transportation since my family steals the cars every morning.

10) What’s your favorite drink?

I love Pepsi. Hate Coke! One time when I was in the Atlanta airport on my way home from overseas, I struck up a conversation with an Atlantan. Just for fun, I said, “What I really want to know is this: Where can I get a Pepsi around here?” Her eyes narrowed as she snarled, “Go to hell!” True story! Atlantans are serious about their soft drinks.

11) Do you enjoy cooking?

I do. I fix breakfast every morning during the school year and help or prepare many suppers year round. My wife doesn’t like to cook, so I do more than some men. I’m make a mean oatmeal waffle.

12) Do you have children?

Yes, three daughters. One in junior high. One in high school. One in college. They are awesome, each in their own way!

13) What are your favorite hobbies?

I love to run and ride my bikes. I like to blog and snoop around on social networks. I enjoy writing in my spare time and reading too.

14) Would you consider yourself shy or outgoing?

I’m pretty outgoing, but I tend to feel nervous in new groups. I can get pretty wound up when I’m around close friends who don’t care how I act. After 3:00AM, I go crazy!

15) If you could change one thing about yourself, what would you change?

I wish I wasn’t so easily distracted. I have trouble focusing on what people are saying at times and I struggle to stay focused at work. I’ve learned lots of tricks, but I’m still a work in progress.

16) Who is your favorite actor/ actress?

I like Will Smith and most of his movies. He seems to get into fun or well-done films. I did NOT like Seven Pounds! Don’t really have a favorite actress.

17) What’s the coolest thing you’ve done this week?

I’m going to cheat and take something from last week. Last Tuesday, I made a backward shot from half court. Banked it in! The kids watching from the lunch room cheered!

18) Do you live near your family or far from them?

I suppose it depends on how you define near or far. I’m within 10 hours of all my siblings. My mom and dad are about six hours away. My in-laws are close except for my wife’s sister who lives on the east coast. My extended family is far flung.

19) List three of your talents.

I can clap with one hand. It’s a family trait. You’re not a real Neifert if you can’t master this skill. I can play the trombone and enjoy sitting in with the pep band at my daughter’s high school. I enjoy graphic design, though I’m far from professional.

20) What is your greatest attribute?

I am friendly. I can carry on a conversation with just about anyone. My daughters think I’m crazy when I start talking it up with people in line at Wal-Mart. I can’t help it.

4.00 miles in 35:15

decided to take it easy today and just run a loop out past the cemetery, around the community college campus and back home. it was dark and my knuckle lights had yet another opportunity to prove their worth. on the back road beyond the cemetery where there are no street or yard lights, i was able to see the edge of the ditch clearly and avoid tripping into it. (don't forget you can win a set of knuckle lights if you read my review and enter the drawing before february 1.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

3.10 miles in 24:55

i didn't sleep very well last night, so my run this morning wasn't very peppy. i was going to run three identical 1-mile loops, but when i neared the end of the first, i couldn't bear the the thought of the tedious repetition, so i did two more 1-mile loops using different streets. i wasn't overly fast, but i got it done.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

lighting the darkness

I started running again a little over a year ago. Before that I had not run more than a few feet at a time since a single track season midway through college. It was a long hiatus.

Running is very different as an "old" man. Back in the day, I didn’t have all the responsibilities I have now. I wasn’t a husband. I wasn’t a father of three. I didn’t have a full-time job. Spending time with my family and tending to my duties at work make running during the daylight hours nearly impossible for me. About the only time I run when the sun is up is when my wife wants to go out for a short run after work. Otherwise, the only time I have for working out is the hour or so before 6:30 in the morning. That means the majority of my running is done pre-dawn.

Taking to the streets as a pedestrian during the darkest hours requires a thought or two about safety. I wear a screaming yellow jacket and bright orange shoes. There is reflective material all over both. I want every driver to notice me as they pass by.

Last winter I started using an inexpensive headlamp to help me see the minor obstacles along my route and to increase my visibility. This light allowed me to run through darker sections of town away from the streetlights without fear of twisting an ankle in the potholes that dotted the lesser-traveled ways.

A few weeks back, I got my hands on a fairly new product that I believed could aid further in my safety before sunrise. My KnuckleLights arrived less than a week after I received word of their shipment. They were carefully packed in a box with plenty of padding to keep them from being damaged. I opened the plastic casing around my blue pair and proceeded to get them ready for use the next morning. Knuckle Lights come in a variety of colors, so don’t worry if you don’t like blue. The rubber straps that my fingers were to slip through were easy enough to adjust, but I had to find a screwdriver to get the battery compartment open so I could put the two AAA batteries into each of them. I just could not get the door open with my bare fingers.

Once their power source was in place, I took them for a spin around the neighborhood. The brightness of a full moon during that first outing made it hard to judge the effectiveness of the Knuckle Lights. Only when I ran through shadowy spots could I get a feel for the product’s usefulness. The beams are wide, but not quite as long as I expected. I’d guess that they helped illuminate 8 to 12 feet in front of me. The bright bluish light was, as advertised, fairly steady in the middle where the two beams intersected. It was kind of strange to watch the wiggling shadows to the side, but that made no difference where it really mattered. I ran for nearly an hour and was able to clearly see the holes and irregularities in the road surface.

I tested the lights again a few days later. The moon was less of a factor since it had waned a bit. The Knuckle Lights did an adequate job of lighting things up. I was able to avoid some low hanging branches as I ran along a sidewalk. The Knuckle Lights did an excellent job of lighting up the curb I tripped over too. I saw it. I looked at it. I caught my toe on it. I guess I shouldn’t expect a product to make up for my clumsiness.

The next morning, during my third outing with the Knuckle Lights, I focused on some of the other qualities of the product. I was convinced that they illumined my path adequately, but I hadn’t given much thought to their feel in my hand or their weight or anything else for that matter. I ran hill intervals this morning and the rubber straps kept the lights firmly in place even with the exaggerated arm swings during sprints. With heavier gloves on to fight the cold, I could only fit two or three fingers through the straps. Still the lights were secure. When my arms were hanging limp after my cool down, the Knuckle Lights didn’t fall off my hands. I didn’t have to hang onto them at all. The switches on top of each unit were easy enough to push on or off.

I ran with the Knuckle Lights several more times over the course of eleven days. I experimented one day with a combination of the two handheld lights and my old headlamp. I ran with only the Knuckle Lights and only the headlight during that run also. The three together gave the best light, of course, but the Knuckle Lights alone clearly outclassed the headlamp by itself. The light cast from the Knuckle Lights was brighter and wider.

My wife also ran with the Knuckle Lights one evening at dusk. Though they didn’t light up her path discernibly in the light of the ebbing sun, she said they made her feel more visible and safe when traffic approached.

Toward the end of my test period, I began to notice that the Knuckle Lights were a bit dimmer by run’s end than they were when first lighted. Could have been the cold affecting my eyesight I suppose, but more likely the enclosed AAAs were beginning to lose power after hours of use.

GIVEAWAY: I’m giving away a pair of brand new Knuckle Lights. They’re blue just like mine. Want to win them? Comment on this post before I get up to run at 5:00am on February 1. Get a second entry by tweeting a link to this review. Be sure to add my Twitter handle, @openmikey, to the tweet so I’ll see it. If you add @knucklelights to it also, I’m sure the folks at Knuckle Lights who helped make this giveaway possible would be appreciative. Another way to gain a second entry - two is the limit on entries in the drawing - you may comment on my dailymile post. The odds of winning will be determined by the number of entries received. (Drawing open to US residents only. Sorry.)

stinkin' weatherbug!

stupid weatherbug! it lied to me! betrayed me! told me the wind was out of the northwest! stinkin' liar!

i rode west through town and out into the country side on highway 54. at skyline, i took old 54 south and west toward the coats road and then took it north back to the highway.  everything was wonderful to that point. too wonderful!

when i turned east on highway 54, i was met by the southeast wind that my weatherbug had shown as northwest. grrrrr! now i was miles from home, going slower downhill than i had been going uphill on the way out. the worst part was knowing i was likely to be late waking my wife up. she doesn't set an alarm. i'm her wake up call.

i rode as hard as i could into the wind back into town. things got a bit easier once i was sheltered by the houses and businesses. the traffic lights were cooperative, too, so i was only five or six minutes late getting back to the house. whew! (12.96 miles @ 15.7mph)

Monday, January 23, 2012

2.26 miles in 24:39

my wife and i got home about the same time today, so we changed and went out for a run together. we ran a ziggy-zaggy route going north and then ran back down welton to home. the first mile was the fastest mile i've ever run with her...10:27! pretty cool to hit that milestone even if a block or so later, she needed to take a walk break.

around pratt

it was a balmy 30 degrees when i got up this morning, so i decided to go for a ride rather than run. i got geared up and headed out. my plan: to circumnavigate pratt.

i rode out to highway 61 and then began my clockwise journey around town. i was a little skittish about ice on the roads since there were puddles here and there that were clearly crusted over, so i rode a little less aggressively than usual.

i rode out on country club road to lake road to make sure my route encompassed everything within the city limits. i then rode way out west to the housing development with the long hill and then did some zigging and zagging this way and that on the north side of the tracks, trying, but failing to avoid dirt streets. thankfully, the dirt i encountered was hard packed.

i recrossed the railroad tracks at maple and took in the north side of town. as i was riding along holly, i spotted a dog in the yard next to me. i was pretty sure he was loose. he was. thankfully, his owner, a cycling friend of mine, was right there. i almost hit him eyeing the dog. sorry, brandon!

i finished up my circuit riding up and around the cemetery and then around the pratt community college campus before returning to highway 54 which took me home. (11.55 miles @ 14.4mph)

Friday, January 20, 2012

2.90 miles in 24:39

it was cold when i got up. 19 degrees cold! i did not feel like running. i did it anyway. habits remain habits when you do what you've been doing even when you don't feel like doing it.

to keep my mind off my lack of motivation, i switched it up today. rather than run a loop or an out and back, i decided i would not let myself run passed any cross street. i had to turn one way or the other every time an intersection presented itself.

it worked! i lost that hating feeling and actually enjoyed running this way, then that. the hardest part was figuring out how to get back home from where i was at the time i wanted to get there. i worked that out. ran up to my front porch at precisely 6:30.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1.24 miles in 10:35

i decided to be nice to my wife for once and take care of the paper route for her. she was going to have to do it tonight since both i and my youngest are going to be out of town for a basketball game. i actually geared up for this so i could run more freely without worrying about sweating up my work clothes. the first time i ran this route, i finished in 11:36. that makes today a new PR on the Paper Route!

3.50 miles in 28:56

i was raring to go today after tweeting with Ann B. about the 100-miler i plan to run this fall. not that what i did today was any where near the kind of mileage i'll have to put in to be ready for that kind of run. still, i was eager to hit the streets. since running 100 miles in (hopefully) less than 24 hours is a pretty crazy thing to do, i thought i'd give a little tip of the hat to my idiots running club friends and knock out a route that causes the satellites in the sky to bow to our awesomeness! (view my garmin data to see what i did to honor the IRC.)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

5.38 miles in 45.23

the windchill this morning might have sent most people back to bed or to the gym. not this idiot! 4 degrees is just about right for five plus miles. only the tips of the extremities freeze and who needs them?

i decided when i got up to run my elephant route. i hadn't run it in months and i had an inkling that it would be easier to follow if i ran it in the opposite direction. i walked over to belmont and took off.

the semi-strong wind was out of the southwest, making running south a bit unpleasant. west was bad, but not quite as bad as south.

i carried my map with me so i wouldn't make any wrong turns like i did the last time. it worked! running the route clockwise (sort of) made figuring out where to turn much easier. the turns made more sense. i didn't overshoot any of them.

i got kind of tired after three miles, but kept soldiering on. my beard above and below my mouth froze with the moisture of my breath. my eyelashes were painted with icicles too.

i finished the route at the tip of the trunk and walked back home to warm up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

1.24 miles in 11:36

i had to get my daughter's paper route done quickly before i went to the school for lunch room duty, so i ran with the papers. now i'm sweating and don't have time for a shower. oh, well. i'll just smell like the 5th-8th graders i'm supervising. won't that be grand?

Monday, January 16, 2012

3.10 miles in 24:32

i slept in a bit this morning and didn't get out for my run until around 7:00. as i stepped out the door, i felt sluggish, so i thought i'd just settle in for a few miles of slow plodding. then i started running. i ran along for a few blocks before looking at my garmin. my pace was around 7:40! i'm still shocked when i see stuff like that. not as startled as i would be if i saw 5:25 or something like that, but knocked for a loop none the less. i'm not supposed to be running that fast. since, at that point i no longer felt slothful, i kept the pressure on and finished out a loop around the northeast side of town. when i stopped my garmin at 5K, i was pleased with my time. not my fastest ever, but a decent result. way better than i used to churn out.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

adventure in the hills

what an adventure! when dan, brandon, paul and i left pratt around 8:30 it was 32 degrees. quite a bit warmer than it has been the past few mornings, but still a bit on the chilly side. we drove a little over 20 miles to belvidere and parked just off the road beside an old cedar. across the street was the trail end junk shop, a business everyone who visits town should check out!

we unloaded the bikes and layered up before heading north a half mile to the road dan planned for us to ride. we turned onto the dirt and started to climb immediately. not steeply, but it was definitely up! we'd ridden for less than a half mile when we encountered a locked gate. we thought that strange. we were pretty sure this was a public road, so we picked up our bikes and climbed over.

just as we were over and about to click in and head into the wilderness, a pickup truck came flying up the hill and stopped in a cloud of dust. the driver rolled down his window and politely, but firmly informed us that we were trespassing on private property. he thought we should've figured it out since there was a gate to slow us down. "and there's a sign," he said, pointing to an old weathered board that at one time had paint on it. you could NOT read it. i hadn't even noticed it when we rode up to the gate.

we put our bikes back on the non-private side of the gate and talked with the guy for a bit. seems some cyclist had been hit and killed by a water truck on their property fifteen years ago and they didn't want a new lawsuit. there was no way he was going to let us ride on our planned route. we apologized and rode back down to belvidere and headed north on the county roads.

almost immediately, we met with a short, steep hill that i felt the need to rocket up. not sure why hills like that make me speed-hungry. i crested with dan and then we road on and on upward. i'm convinced we were going uphill for six or seven miles. the grade wasn't great after the initial incline. we encountered some cows crossing the road ahead of us and a small herd of whitetailed deer too.

we rode until we came to a T in the road. at this point, dan and brandon got into a heated debate about where we were. brandon was convinced we were west of greensburg. dan insisted we weren't. i mostly stayed out of the discussion though i was pretty sure dan was right. eventually, they came to an agreement that we would continue west and we rode off again. a friend of mine from haviland happened by almost immediately after that. he waved and wished us well as he drove on.

we rode a couple of miles west and then turned south again to begin completing the loop we'd started. the wind was at our backs now, so the sailing was good! dan and i rode behind brandon and paul for awhile, then decided to play breakaway and shot out ahead of them. i tried to latch onto dan's wheel, but he was too fast! he's a demon on wheels! crazy fast! i hit 30mph and he was still pulling away.

we stopped at the top of a steep descent and waited for the other two to arrive. we had to decide again which was to go. to the left was a known road, at least to dan. to the right was new territory. we opted to go boldly where dan had never gone. we shot down the hill, missed the turn and had to double back a bit.

the road took us mostly south to a stream we forded on a newly built concrete bridge. we climbed up from there and road along a fun stretch of rocky terrain. dan rode off the beaten path on a cow trail while the rest of us meandered along on the road.

when we got to the top of the hill, we rode for a long time along the flat top of the ridge before descending into a beautiful valley. the road passed by a farm complete with red barn, then turned suddenly to the right and tilted upward. dan reported at intervals on the grade. he rode out of earshot just after shouting out, "15%!" crazy stuff!

the next few miles included lots more gradual inclines both up and down and then, just when we thought all the climbing was done, we hit another wall! i didn't get shifted down to my small chain ring before this one, so i climbed it slowly. i wanted to give up, but there was no way i was going to stop. i did not want to walk my bike up! that would've been far, far worse!

eventually we came to a long down hill and we hit a road that both dan and paul knew from previous rides. we turned on to it and headed back north toward belvidere.

right before we got back to the blacktop, i got a flat. front tire. i changed it out with some help from dan while brandon took pictures and laughed. we put the wheel back on and continued on to the asphalt.

brandon, paul and i rode on while dan stopped in at the farmhouse of the guy we'd encountered earlier in the day. he wanted to talk to him again and see if he could get phone numbers for others who owned land in the area. dan is quite tenacious when he wants to do something badly enough.

soon after leaving him behind, my rear tire flatted. we could see belvidere at this point, so we aired it up and limped on in. by the time, i pulled to a stop at the van the tire was getting a bit bouncy, but wasn't hitting the rim. i hate flats!

brandon and i began loading bikes and gear into the car while paul watched the road for dan. we hadn't gotten much done when dan rode up. he'd had a nice talk with the farmer and apologized again for trespassing, but hadn't made much progress on the permission front. i have no doubt he will continue to pursue this matter until all avenues have been exhausted.

with all of us back together, we crammed everything and everyone back into the vehicle and set off for home. (32.86 miles @ 11.9mph)

Friday, January 13, 2012

2.75 miles in 24:18

i went back to the hill my wife and i ran repeats on last week. i wanted to see how bad it could be. pretty bad it turns out. i ran a little less than a mile before it got to the base of the one-block wonder. i hit the gas and sprinted up the hill. not too bad the first time. i ran back down to the base turned around and did it again. a little harder the second time around. three more times i did my best "the flash" impression. the hill laughed as my lungs heaved. after the fifth time, i'd had enough. i ran down flat terrace street and back home on belmont.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

3.10 miles in 26:19

the weatherbug on my computer said, "go back to bed! 19.4 degrees with 19mph winds is too much for you." i punched it in the face, told it to shut up and never talk to me that way again, then went out for run. stupid weatherbug!

my original plan was to join the "run the temperature" club early with a quick 19-miler, but when i got out there, i decided to just join the "run the windchill" club instead. i ran around my two-mile loop, then continued on, taking in my one-mile loop with a slight variation and an additional tenth of a mile. i just can't stop at three miles. i always have to make it a 5K.

among the things i learned on this run: 1) a runner can sweat when the windchill is 3 degrees. 2) the wind in your eyes creates tears which creates a problem at 19 degrees. 3) you can actually overdress when it's bitterly cold. 4) the weather is never as bad as you imagine it when you're in a warm house.

lessons learned. moving on.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

smooth sailing

i finally broke down and pulled my balaclava out this morning. with the way my face felt after yesterday's short ride at 26 degrees, i decided it was cold enough today even at 30.

i rode on smooth surfaces for the largest portion of this ride. stout street and highway 281 headed north until just past iuka are amazing! the highway is a cyclist's dream road. wide shoulders. flawless asphalt. freshly painted lines. wow!

the wind this morning wasn't too bad. it's supposed to grow in strength throughout the day. this afternoon there could be 40mph gusts! tomorrow may be more of the same if the weather man gets it right. (14.37 miles @ 16.1mph)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

cold face and fingers

i didn't have a lot of time to ride this morning since i have an early morning appointment at work, so i just rode around a little. i took the highway west to main street, took it south and then rode along lake rode to the lake. i'd forgotten how much "fun" the hills on that road are. i took in the loop around the lake and then took the road just outside the park north to the highway again and rode back home. my beard had ice in it! that makes it a great ride!

Monday, January 9, 2012

5.60 miles in 52:14

the air was cold, crisp when i got out for my run this morning. frost crystals sparkled on every car's windshield in the bright light of the full moon. it was an amazing day to run! beautiful!

my running wasn't quite as perfect as the day. i felt sluggish as i trudged along. i tried to care enough to push my pace a bit, but it just wasn't happening. i settled for mediocre speed.

was there any redeeming value for this workout? i suppose the beauty of the outdoors was a plus and the distance covered and time spent were decent enough. anything's better than nothing, right?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

7.50 miles in 1:11:17

after i got back from volunteering at the free health clinic, i decided to go out for a run. i called a young man from our church who'd been asking to run with me to see if he was up to a few miles. he was, so i got dressed and ran to his house to warm up. it was just under a mile there.

he and i ran about 5K looping around to lake road and its evil hill. i talked him into pushing hard up the hill just to see what we could do. we ran hard about halfway up, then he wanted to slow down. we slowed up and then walked a bit when we crested the hill.

we started running again on the way down the hill on country club road and then walked a little on sixth street before finishing up at his house. i stepped in for a glass of water with him and then ran the mile back home.

after running some errands with my wife downtown, we returned home and went out for a run. to my amazement she asked about running hill repeats. there's a really nasty steep hill near our house, so we ran over to it. we ran down it, turned around and pushed hard to the top. she did great. she thought she was going to die, but she didn't. i'm thankful for that.

we repeated that hill three times, then ran over to maple and ran up that hill. you might remember that one from my hill repeats earlier this week. we walked a bit and then ran back home.

ethanol loop

i woke up this morning with a bit of a sore throat left over from last night basketball game. not sure if i'm coming down with something or what. either way, i went out in the 27 degree air and rode around a bit. i wasn't sure what i wanted to do other than get in some miles to stay on track and even get a little ahead of my year's goal. that i did successfully, taking in four miles more than i'd originally planned riding up and around past the ethanol plant. now i have to rush around and get to the college of nursing to help with a free health clinic that i volunteer at.

Friday, January 6, 2012

3.50 miles in 30:49

after yesterday's hard run out to the school, i didn't want to do anything terribly important this morning. in fact, i almost didn't want to go out at all. i shut of my alarm, reset it for 6:00 and thought about crawling back in bed. i didn't.

i had about a half hour to run by the time i geared up, so i just ran as far as i could at an easy pace. i ran out toward the cemetery, taking a block detour to avoid being hit by a car that was flying up to the stop sign i was approaching. just to be on the safe side, i veered right. i wasn't sure he'd see me otherwise.

after passing the graveyard, i ran up to highway 61 and back down to maple. i ran up the hill to home in two shifts, a block on maple and a block on parkview. a zig here and a zag there and i was back home.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

3.40 miles in 27:18

i decided to run to my lunch room duty this morning before i left for work. i packed everything i needed except for one very important shorts! i had everything else on before i noticed, so i rode my bike home in compression shorts. (that's what we'll call them anyway.) i got into the house as quickly as i could and pulled on my shorts, hooked up my mp3 player and headed toward the school.

there is a lot of uphill on the way to the school. i ran pretty hard, because i didn't have a lot of extra time and ended up coming close to a puking incident as i neared the campus. fortunately, i kept everything down and made it to the front door with three minutes to spare. part of why i cut it so close is because the school was just about a half mile further from home than i thought it was. oops! next time, if there is one, i'll know.

long cold ride

it takes forever to get dressed for an early morning ride in the winter. it took me thirty minutes to pull on a base layer, jersey, jacket, skull cap, shorts, tights, socks, shoes, shoe covers, gloves, garmin and helmet before i could click in. of course, snooping around dailymile didn't help me dress quickly, so not every minute can be blamed on the garments.

i took off down school street trying to avoid as many stop signs as i could on my way out of town forgetting that the price you pay for continuous rolling on school street is a buzzed butt. brick streets are a bear!

i turned south on to main street and sped down yet another section of cobbled thoroughfare before turning west on 54's smooth blacktop.

the going was pretty slow on the way out of town. it's uphill most of the way and the wind, while not terribly strong, was nevertheless in my face. i rolled passed old 54, opting to stay out where i could get a ride back into town if i was to flat. i'm NOT going to change a flat in the dark when it's 32 degrees. thankfully, that wasn't an issue.

when i turned around at byers road, i was averaging around 14mph. that's slower than my commuting miles on my mountain bike yesterday! that simply would not do! i accelerated and kept the hammer down all the way back home. every mile i got a peek at my speed when my garmin lit up. with one exception, i was over 20mph every time.

i flew past the school where i do lunch room duty, past rick's restaurant and RV park, past the kwik shop and rolled up to the light at main just as it turned green. i had a go all the way back home then and spun around the corner and into my drive at exactly 6:30. perfect timing! that's when my wife wanted me to wake her up.

that's done. time to take all this gear off and get ready for the day.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

3.00 miles in 26:57

ugh! i decided to do hill repeats this morning. i chose a hill to die on and headed toward it. my plan was to warm up for a mile and then hit it hard. my warm up took me north to an entirely different hill...a longer hill. i thought, "why don't i run this one instead?" i shrugged my shoulders and said, "why not?" shortly after i posed this question, my heart felt like it was going to bust out of my chest as i kept looking for the summit of my newly chosen hill. thankfully, my sternum didn't crack and i was able to run down the hill and back up it two more times. i didn't die. i suppose that's obvious, but i wanted to state it for the record. i cooled down by running around on nice flat streets. after i stopped my garmin, i walked another quarter mile or so to get my heart rate down to where mortals live.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2.75 miles in 22:30

i was out in my garage getting some gear for my run this morning and stumbled upon my old elephant route. i glanced at my watch to see if i had time for five miles. nope. i looked at the route and figured out how to take the same basic form and make it into a doggish shape. (see garmin data.) i decided to run it, so i headed out the door, map in hand.

it was a bit cold out, but the still air made it less so than it's been the last few days with gusty winds. i wore a light jacket over my dailymile tech tee and felt fairly comfortable after the first few blocks. it's amazing how warm the body gets on a run!

i traced the legs of the dog during my first mile. the legs were mostly downhill, so when i ran up the back side of the dog, i had a little work to do. i made it up to maple and added the tail, then headed down the dog's spine. this is where i got a little confused. the map i was carrying was a little smudged, so i could quite figure out what street i was supposed to turn north on to start drawing the head. i ended up turning a block too early and making the head wider than i'd planned. i got back on course for the forehead and snout and finished up returning to the top of the front leg where i'd started.

i guess i'll have to do this route again some time and get it right. for now, this will do!

Monday, January 2, 2012

2.00 miles in 22:04

my wife and i went for a run after finished taking down most of our christmas decorations today. as we were beginning, my wife said she was tired and wasn't sure she could make it. that's usually a sign that we'll do some walking. we ran more than a mile before my wife wanted to walk, but i wouldn't let her. i'm mean that way. she kept going and we made it back to the house without slowing down. we ended up with a better pace than the last time we ran this route.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

4.29 miles in 42:20

after our church's new year's eve party, i went out for a little run. the first two and a half miles i ran with karen, a woman from our church. we talked a little as we circled around town. when we got to highway 54, she told me to go on. her exact words were, "run like the wind!" i laughed. there was no way i could do that. the wind was blowing crazy hard! i ran up howard and onto welton. when i got to maple i went ahead and ran all the way up to the end of the street and circled back by the church to make sure karen made it back to her car safely before heading home. i ran by the house once and then took a half block spin back to lawrence and cherry. i walked from there to my front door for my cool down. my new shoes, nightcrawler, did great! i'm happy. hope you are too. have a great 2012!