Running like a movie star

I'm the guy on the right.  Shin splints are the dude on the left.

I'm the guy on the right. Shin splints are the dude on the left.

Heee-yah!!!! Karate chop to the throat for my arch nemesis “the shin splint”. I’m back and feeling good. After a brutal 2 weeks of rest, I am able to run again and run I did. It was a measly, slow, 3 miles, but I ran and I feel good. The timing is perfect, since the 16 week countdown to the Whistlestop Marathon has officially begun. I will have to adjust my schedule some, since my 16 week schedule has me starting off at about 20 or 25 miles a week. For the next 3 weeks, to stay safe and shin splint free I think I’m going to be around 10-13 miles, so hopefully that works out. We’ll see.

During my two weeks I rested, stretched and played a ton of Wii Fit (I still am the world champ fish catcher while in Penguin suit). Also, while desperately looking for help in taking care of my shins, temporarily retired my Chuck Taylor Converse. This was pretty tough since I wear them (I have 13 pair) daily, but for the amount of awesomeness they have, there is an equal amount of terrible support and absent cushioning. Besides just having a nice marathon run, my new goal is to complete the marathon so I can wear my chucks again (oh shoot, right when the marathon is over, it’s time for snow and I’ll have to retire them again, nuts).

I am signing up for a 5K. Usually 5K’s don’t do much for me, I really enjoy the endurance aspect of marathons/half marathons, but I don’t think I can pass this one up. Plus, my guys Bones and Wudchuk are running the 5K and I haven’t run with them ever. Check out the awesome swag that comes with this race. I don’t even love (I mildly appreciate) the Grateful Dead, but the race looks fun, the shirt and bandana are tied-dyed and awesome, there is pizza, beer and live music after, so it needs to be done, and it shall.

Over my 2 weeks of rest I was reading a lot and trying to become a student of running. So after reading got boring I moved on to my favorite form of media, the movies. After careful polling and research (consulting myself), I came up with the following list of most educational runs in the movies (fear not, Forrest Gump will not be mentioned).

List of movie runs that have taught me the most:

Special Mention:

Kevin Spacey, Verbal Kint/Keyser Söze, Usual Suspects: The scene is when Verbal leaves police headquarters and is walking down the street. At first you see Verbal limping with his gimpy leg, then WHAM, in a matter of 3 steps he’s walking normal. This scene is also important because if it’s the first time you saw the movie, it’s the HOLY POOP moment when you realize Verbal is Keyser Söze. This one falls under Special Mention because he’s not really running here. However, if I ever get injured (again) while running and I need to go from Gimp to Gung-ho marathoner, I think I’ll do my best Keyser Söze impersonation and be running again in no time (then I’ll go rock a bunch of face, because that’s what Keyser Söze does).

Billy Cole teaching me that "do anything" attitude Billy Blanks (yes the Tae Bo guy), Billy Cole, Last Boyscout: The scene here is when it’s raining, Billy is catching a ton of heat for his “illicit” activities, he’s hopped up on drugs and running down the sidelines in the middle of the football game. First a linebacker comes at Billy, so Billy pulls a gun out and shoots him. Linebacker out of the way. Billy keeps running, then a safety drifts over for the tackle, another bullet to the knee. At this point everyone backs off as Billy runs to the end zone, pulls off his helmet, gets on one knee, says “Ain’t life a B$&#@” and blows his head off. While I don’t think I’ll be running with a gun at any point in time, I appreciate Billy’s Do Anything To Win attitude. Hopefully the end result will be better, but if I need to hunker down and get creative, I have that in my back pocket.

Top 5

#5– Seth Rogen, Ben Stone, Knocked Up: The scene is when Ben is in his house smoking what I can only guess is flavored tobacco (has to be, anything else might be illegal). An earthquake hits. Ben is shocked, grabs his bong and runs out of the house to safety. Granted, he leaves his pregnant girlfriend in the house, but let’s ignore that part and focus on the running. Ben was suddenly thrown in a dangerous situation, but instead of panicking or rolling up into a ball and crying, he grabbed what was important to him and ran to safely. I think this run will help me when the unexpected happens during a race. You can’t predict a blister, you can’t predict a trip and fall, you can’t predict some jackhole next to you doing something stupid and you can’t predict Ben’s earthquake. But what you can do, is take hold of the situation, just get the essentials and make your way to a safe place/aid station.

#4– Steve Buscemi, Mr. Pink, Reservoir Dogs: The scene… well it’s a Quentin Tarantino movie so who knows what point in time it is, but it’s right after the diamond heist, Mr. Blonde shot up the place and now everyone is running away. Mr. Pink has the diamonds and is making his getaway. The cops are in hot pursuit but Pink is determined to get away. He’s running across a street, get’s plowed by a car and knocked to the street. He gets up and keeps on moving (well he carjacks the woman who hit him and then drives away). Watch this scene, now watch it again. Check out Mr. Pink, now that is some determination. Mr. Pink refused to give up (because of death or jail, which are pretty good motivators). That’s the drive one needs when running a race. I don’t want to rob a jewelry store (unless you think I can get away with it) but I want that determination in my races. With it, no Kenyon can stop me.

Mr Larson is telling me that style isn't everything

Mr Larson is telling me that style isn't everything

#3– Mr. Larson, Happy Gilmore: The scene on this one is right after Happy makes his awesome mini-golf-like putt and wins the Green Jacket. Shooter then steals the jacket and runs away. Shooters run is lame, he’d be in the 60’s or 70’s on this list. However, Mr. Larson (Happy’s former foreman who had a nail in his head for half the movie) is having none of Shooters shenanigans and is quickly on the chase. Mr. Larson looks ridiculous (and scary) as he is chasing after Shooter, but eventually he catches Shooter. While I am not a vain man, this is an important reminder that it’s not about looking good, it’s about getting the job done. No matter what I do, I will not look like a graceful runner, in fact after 20 miles I would be happy to look like Mr. Larson; but I need to focus on the task at hand (completing my race) and cross the line ugly.

#2– Bruce Willis, John McClain, Die Hard: The scene is when John is being pursued by Hans Gruber (what a great bad-guy name) and co. Due to John’s situation when the terrorists arrived, he was sans shoes. Hans knew this, so he has his thug, Karl, shot up a bunch of glass walls all around John. Then he (along with Karl) either shoot or throw a grenade or something at John and make him run (with his bare feet) across all of the busted glass they just shot out. Luckily John is one of the baddest of the all-time bad asses so he runs across the glass without a problem. Simple message here, no matter how much pain I am in during a race…. At least I’m not running barefoot across glass while terrorists are shooting at me. It’s not that bad, so sac up and run.

I couldn't find a pic of Ripley running, but she even looks goofy running backwards

I couldn't find a pic of Ripley running, but she even looks goofy running backwards

#1– Sigourney Weaver, Ellen Ripley, Aliens: (possible unfair status of #1, but this is probably my favorite movie of all time) The scene is the last action scene in the whole movie. Ripley, Newt and Bishop were just surprised because a 20-25 ft queen alien is on their ship (Bishop is real surprised since he was ripped in half). Ripley needs to get from where she is to a docking bay so she could put on the power loader and fight the queen alien. So Ripley has a few options, she can stroll to the docking bay, she can crawl, skip, do the worm, but Ripley instead decides to run. And after watching her run, I have no clue how the alien didn’t catch her. It’s ridiculous. It is like someone said to her “I bet you $10 you can’t run with your midsection way out in front and your feet and head way behind.” If that was the case, she won $10. If I ever have a daughter, I’ll watch this movie with her from the time she is 2 or 3, just to make sure she never runs like this. Sometimes the biggest lessons in life are negative reinforcement. That is the case here, it isn’t “run like this, train like this, be this determined”, nope the best movie running lesson of them all is: No matter what you do, never run like Ripley.

So that’s it to my reviews. I can finally run now, so I’ll probably stop watching movies that have running in them and actually run.


Dave and Sitting???

Police sketch of the shin splint that has been terrorizing my legs

Police sketch of the shin splint that has been terrorizing my legs

Dave and Running, more like Dave and Sitting. It official that I’m busted, crunched at the shins. About 10 days ago I went for a nice little 4 mile jog, but instead, I made it about ¾ of a mile before my shin discomfort shot up the pain scale and hit the “Dave, you had best stop before you really injure yourself”. So I quickly walked for the rest of the distance and haven’t run since. I figured 2 weeks of rest should get rid of all of this and let me start back up fresh and pain free. Plus, I still have until the end of this month until I need to begin a 16 week training program. I’m not pleased, but not too nervous yet.

With running out for a few weeks, I needed to find some ways to keep moving towards my goal of completing the Whistlestop Marathon. So I kept working on core work and weight loss. Core work and stretching was easy, I’m pretty sure that is what the Wii Fit was created for. I’m not one to toot my own horn, but during my Wii training, I think I have become the “catch fish while you are in a penguin suit” champion. If Wii translated into marathon training, my fish catching is like running 4/min mile repeats with the Kenyon national team.

The other element is weight loss. Since I can’t run, or do anything that involves my shins (they were even sore after a game a ping pong last week), I have to focus on my food intake. Since that has been a total failure over the years, I needed a new way to be more disciplined. I’m most disciplined when I’m playing poker. I’m focused and know the potential outcomes of every decision I make. In order to have this discipline and make optimal decisions, I use a poker tracking software when I play on line. In this software I can analyze tens of thousands of hands that I have played and look for weaknesses or leaks in my game. Using this method I am well aware and can compensate for problems I have such as overplaying Queens when an over card comes on the turn or river and letting go of premium hands when a flush scare card hits. This information helped me save tons of money.

So using that same philosophy I was looking for some type of metrics for my caloric intake. I saw a few sites that were pretty lame, then Wudchuk showed me and some section called Daily Plate. The site is awesome. You can enter what you eat and it will give you an unreal amount of feedback. Total daily calories, a break down of proteins, fats and carbs, total #’s if you want to gain or lose weight. Also, unlike other sites that let you enter “oatmeal” and that is it…. On this site, when you enter “oatmeal” it will give you 50 different options of oatmeal so I can enter Krissy’s hippie Country Style Organic Steel Cut Oats, and get the specific corresponding data. Additionally, it lets you enter any of almost a thousand different activities (the first one on the list is 19th Century Dancing, so it’s pretty extensive) and calculate your calories burned too. There are a ridiculous # of things you can do from this site, and it’s totally free. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking to record data on food, exercise or calories.

While this is helping me slowly lose some weight (which should make completing a marathon more likely) I still feel that something else is not right. I was supposed to take some thyroid medicine for a while, but I hate pharmaceuticals and stopped after 30 days. I have an appointment with my doctor (Dr. Pohlman, for anyone in Chicago who is looking for a top notch physician) on Thursday, and hopefully he can help me find some answers.

Thursday happens to also be the day I will begin running again (hopefully). And that is good because I have been a mess without running, and…. Running Warehouse dropped off a big monster box of goodies for Krissy and I on Friday and I want to play with my new toys (by toys I mean shoes, socks, gels, and other things that would cause a kid to kick me in the face for calling them toys).

I checked with the Bellagio sports book, and the new odds for me completing the Whistlestop are 3:4.

Velociraptors in Lincoln Park

Prehistoric goose

Prehistoric goose

It was another injury filled week, but I was still able to get 3 runs in (with one being a Sunday long run). Just last night Krissy was able to user her Jedi massage powers to discover another injury in my lower leg: my perenium, peroneus, perpendicular…some perXXX word. While doing a post run calf massage Krissy started working this muscle (that I didn’t even know existed until yesterday) and my foot immediately went numb. While I’m sure a numb foot is never a good thing, it was nice to have finally discovered the cause of all my lower leg pain. I think once this pergo, perennial (whatever) thing is fixed, I’m pretty sure I’ll ramp up to Kenyon speed in no time.

For this week’s long run I decided to take the lake path straight south for 5 miles and then loop back up the same way. For those of you not familiar with the running path for the north side of the city, it goes like this (for 5 miles). I started at mile 2.85 of the path, which is at the totem pole on Addison. The path then goes south along the lake to Belmont. At that time it shoots under Lake Shore Drive and then goes through Lincoln Park for about 2 miles, and past the zoo. From there I took the North Avenue bridge back over LSD and back on the lake path. Right past Castaways (where I always become jealous of the people on the beach, drinking beer, while I’m running). Along the lake past Oak Street Beach (FYI, the palm trees were planted this weekend), along the painful angled area between the lake and LSD, and then over to Navy Pier. To get a full 5 miles, I need to run lower Wacker a bit, but that might be the worst running stretch in the history of Earth, so I usually do circles around Navy Pier. Then I go back up the same way. 10 miles with plenty of water fountains, pretty much the perfect path.

Overall it was a great run. The weather was cool (which was awesome) maybe around 70 degrees and the sun was out most of the time with a few nice shady spots. One of our notebooks (of course the one with iTunes) pooped the bed, so I took on the run with whatever was in my phone. I wanted to try something different so I started with some Incubus. Ahh, 50/50, some was real nice running music, the rest (while good music) made me want to shoot myself in the head as a runner. Way too slow and depressing. That was quickly replaced with my old faituful: NIN- the All That Could Have Been album. Trent’s fast tempo and utter hatred for everything nice in the world became a nice change of pace. It helped keep me at a nice pace. I had been going out a little fast in my previous long runs, so I was mindful to slow it down a little and hopefully prevent the Mon-Th shin splints that follow.

Since I like for my long runs to be alone, I usually have a lot of time to look around and observe. This week I was thinking a lot about the concept of wisdom and how it differs from knowledge. Particularly how we all have quite a bit of knowledge that we have picked up (mostly from our parents) over the years. Don’t touch the stove, look both ways before crossing, no matter how good they taste-2am burrito’s will get you sick one day, are all good examples. We know that info, but until the years go by and we have some sort of interaction, experience or observation, we never really truly understand it. When we do, that is when knowledge becomes wisdom.

A great example of this happened the last 2 weeks while I was running. What happened on both occassions is that some little kids (3, 4, 6, who knows, they all look like kids to me) saw some geese (just sitting around, quacking, minding thier business and doing genereal goose things) and decided they would like to chase and maybe catch these geese. Now I’m sure that these parents had given the following rules to the kids: don’t chase the geese, don’t go after the animals, leave the animals alone… Unfortunately for the kids (but fortunately for me, because it was damn funny) they didn’t internalize this instruction and think they don’t need to listen. Oops.

So here is what happened (twice in seperate weeks, so I’m sure this is goose law, written in a handbook or something): The kids (moving in pairs for some reason) pick out a goose and start chasing it. The geese seperate and the kids single out a single goose and chase it away from the group (the goose’s A-hole buddies take off on him). The goose runs a few steps, then stops and lets the kids run/wobble back up to him, then the goose runs away and stops, kids run, and the cycle continues for maybe 25-30 seconds. After this 30 seconds, when the kids have the goose isolated and are starting to catch up, something amazing happens that makes me think that geese are the distant relatives of Velociraptors…..

The new raptor

The new raptor

Magically 2-3 invisable geese come out of nowhere and flank the kids. I poop you not this happens. At that time the chased (decoy) goose, turns around and charges the kids. The kids turn to run, but there is no where to go. They are trapped in the goose triangle. In both situations the kids just started crying and ran off (to thier parents, who one of the times was recording the whole thing. For the love of god, if anyone knows the dude who was recording that on Sun May 31st, please please send it to me). No children or geese were harmed in this story, so I think it’s possible to conclude the following points:

1) These kids now have goose wisdom and will most likely never chase a goose again
2) This is absolutely hillarious. Next weekend I might get a blanket, a cooler, and some friends and just sit near the “goose spot” and watch this happen over and over again.
3) Geese are the long lost relatives of Velociraptors (yes a capital “V” because they are that cool)

Outside of the fun goose/raptor part in the park it was fairly uneventful. A few drunk funny people on the beach, a few bikers who were speeding through as if they didn’t see the hundreds of people on the path and some really cool old guys playing chess over at the chess-gazibo; pretty typical.

This is a high milage week, I’m supposed to do 32, but based on the wierdness in lower leg I think I’m going to cut a lot of the runs almost in half. That should get me about 22-24. Next week is a recovery week, so only 18 scheduled. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that after those two weeks of low milage, along with the greatest running help known to man (a wife who is a massage therapist), I’ll be good to go after that and can continue my training. The Whistlestop Marathon doesn’t care that I might be injured and they are closing that course after 6hrs, so I had best get ready so I’ll be done in time.