Marathon Training

16Nov

RunBearRun SPECIAL EDITION BREAKING NEWS – A very special episode of RunBearRun

Hi, I’m Carter of RunBearRun fame, formerly known by many as the Fort Worth’s Sexiest Man Alive1.


 

1 This statement has not been evaluated by anyone with eyeballs.


 

As many of you remember, I used this blog to chronicle my journey to running my very first Half Marathon at the 2015 Cowtown in Fort Worth this past February. And as some of you may know, I had big plans to run my first two full marathons this coming winter – the Dallas Marathon in November 2015, and the Cowtown Marathon in February 2016.

And, as all of the staff at Baylor All Saints know, as well as anyone near enough to hear me shouting into the wind, that’s probably not going to happen anymore because in September, I broke my leg playing rugby.

My reaction when the doctors told me I wouldn’t be allowed to do anything – even walk – for two months.

Am I happy it wasn’t something worse, like an ACL tear or getting hit by a double-decker bus? Sure, absolutely.

Am I happy that, as of last week, I can start running again? Oh my word, yes.

Does that mean I have to be psyched about starting all over from the beginning? No, dammit.

I mean, yeah, I can run now. But can we REALLY call what I’m doing now “running”?

My first run back after two months of inactivity was last Wednesday, and it was awesome. Of course, by awesome I mean that I (figuratively) collapsed and (literally) vomited after just two miles.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

But, that’s not the point of this post. I’ve done my sulking. I’ve done my bitching. Now it’s time to pull my batman underpants on and get to work. And I have a LOT of work to do…

… because I will be running the Cowtown Marathon this coming February, come hell or high water. Ain’t nothing going to stop me.

My poor wife’s face as she learns that I’m going to do a full marathon three months from now. Sorry, Sarah. Love youuuuu!

Now, a normal marathon training plan calls for three months (twelve weeks) of intense training, and assumes you can reliably run three miles. Cowtown is just about 15 weeks from today.

The problem? I can’t reliably run three miles.

Yet.

There’s nothing I love more than a challenge, especially a hard one. It makes victory so much sweeter. But, unfortunately for me, I can’t defeat this challenge by my normal method of running full-speed at a brick wall until it crumbles. If the last two months have taught me anything, it’s that I’m no longer the beer-keg-shaped indestructible demi-God I once was.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still beer-keg-shaped; I’m just not indestructible anymore.

So, how am I gonna manage this? Well, to put it bluntly, I’m going to have to plan very carefully and science the shit out of this.

Here’s my plan so far:

THE PLAN

Step 0: Stop doing this all the damn time.

For the next three weeks, I’ll be doing a 2 mile run every Tuesday and Thursday, a 2 mile pace run every Wednesday, and then a nice easy slow run on Saturday starting at 2 miles and working my way up by 1/2 mile each week. That’ll get a decent base under me, and by December 7th I should be able to run three miles with relative ease.

I’ll also be attending CrossFit 4-5 times per week. This is important for three reasons:

  1. I love it.
  2. The fast-paced WODs will help build up my cardiovascular endurance (and shed unneeded pounds),
  3. The strength workouts will help build my muscular endurance (and shed unneeded pounds).

Then, starting on December 7th, I’ll be jumping into Hal Higdon’s 12-week Novice 1 Marathon Training Plan, which ends just in time for the Cowtown Marathon.

You’re gonna do WHAT?

The linchpin that holds this whole plan together is rest, recovery, and nutrition. I need to get at least 7 hours of quality sleep every night (preferably more), I need to carefully watch my macro-nutrient mix and calories in/calories out, and I’m going to be getting far too familiar with lacrosse balls and foam rollers. But it’s doable. It can be done, and I will do it.

And come the end of next February, I’ll be doing the most white-boy celebration ever.

For those of you who enjoy reading this (likely to help you fall asleep,) stay tuned. I’ll be writing run reports every Monday and Thursday.

And, for those of you putting a French flag filter over your Facebook profile photo, good work. You have done literally nothing to help, but everyone thinks you’re a good person because you care, which is really the whole point anyway, right?

2Mar

Bear Ran – Cowtown Half Marathon Recap

This is going to be a bit of a bittersweet post for me.

Although I might stop in from time to time with a random post or musing, I probably won’t. The whole purpose of this blog was to document my journey from a sometimes-10k-runner to a man who had completed his first Half Marathon at the 2015 Cowtown.

As many of you know, I ran the Cowtown Half yesterday (Sunday, March 1st, 2015), which means that this race recap brings the Run Bear Run blog to a natural closing point.

I’ll try not to get all sappy about this, promise.

I have loved writing these posts, and interacting with all of you – but as I’ve told some of you, there’s only so much you can write about running, especially now that running itself has become more of a “daily habit” for me rather than a new adventure. My biggest fear if I were to continue is that my writing would become boring, and that’s just not fun for anyone.

Better to burn out than fade away, as it were. Right?

Maybe not?

Anyway, enough about this. Let’s talk about Cowtown! Here’s my race recap. Grab a hot beverage and join me for a trip down why-the-hell-did-I-do-this Lane.

The Night Before

For the duration of the six months that I’ve been training for this half marathon, I had always pictured the night before race day the same way. A healthy but hearty dinner and hitting the sack early for 8-10 hours of sleep.

Wanna take odds now on whether that actually happened?

DON’T JUDGE ME.

Instead, I was blessed (truly) to have Sarah’s parents, my brother-in-law Cam, and his wonderful girlfriend Niki come and visit us this weekend.

We had a wonderfully fun time on Saturday exploring Fort Worth, getting pedicures (the ladies), and buying a gigantic new 60″ television (the gentlemen, because that’s what men do when left to their own devices. Besides starting fires… but it was too wet outside to do that.)

Side note: The TV is f-ing incredible.

That night, we had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Fort Worth, Reata, to celebrate several different occasions, including Cam’s birthday (happy early birthday, buddy!)

Afterwards, Sarah pulled a total BMOC move and used her connections at Billy Bobs to get all six of us free stage tickets to see Stix.

It was an incredibly fun time. INCREDIBLY fun. Although, I have to poke fun at myself on one count.

I’ve been living in Fort Worth for nearly a decade. I’ve been to Billy Bobs countless times. I own multiple pairs of boots. I own a nice beaverskin cowboy hat (and it’s well broken-in from wear). I have a Carhart jacket, and I can two-step.

But on this particular evening, I wandered into Billy Bobs wearing the same clothes I wore to Reata – clothes more befitting a Yuppie country club than a Honkeytonk.

How I didn’t get my ass kicked just on principle, I’ll never know.

If not getting my ass kicked (even though I deserved it) was great, the downside is that we didn’t get back to the house until just after midnight.

Midnight. With an alarm set for 4:45AM.

“Sleep”. “Sleep” is what he’s talking about.

Race Day

Race day started bright and early at 4:45AM… and looked a little something like this:

Luckily, it only took me about 10 minutes to remember why I was awake at the ass-crack of dawn and get excited.

This was it. THE day. The big one. The one that I had spent half a year training for.

Countless miles logged (okay, so I could count them, but I’m not going to.) Social events skipped so that I could train. Missing time with Sarah so that I could train. Watching my weightlifting PRs in the gym atrophy so that I could train.

Nothing, not a lack of sleep, not nerves, not the ice, could stop me from being out-of-my-skull excited about this.

Too nervously excited to eat anything, I grabbed some coffee, donned my gear (including my awesome Iron Man race shirt that Sarah got me), and promptly busted my ass sliding down my ice-covered driveway to get to my car.

Did that stop me? Hell no. It was 5:00AM, 30 degrees outside, and I was going on about 4 hours of sleep, but I was just too excited to be angry. Someone probably could have run past and nut-punched me and I probably would have screamed “FUCK YES” like a completely insane person.

A careful mix of insanity and excitement are the source of all my power.

After a 30-minute drive during which I considered cutting and running away to start a new life in Tijuana had no reservations about the upcoming race whatsoever, I parked outside the WRMC and skated (literally) into the Expo to pick up my race packet.

Bail? Me? Never.

6:30AM – I was met at the packet pickup desk by a very nice (and FAR too awake) volunteer who immediately identified that I was a first-timer. I have no idea whether they have some sort of “newbie watch list” behind the desk, or whether something about my appearance screamed “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE HELL I’M DOING HERE.”

She also noted that I was an “adorable ginger,” but that that was okay because she’s married to a ginger.

We are everywhere. Join us. Resistance is futile.

It’s okay. I won’t steal YOUR soul.

6:50AM – I felt like I should have been making more of the experience, but for the life of me I had no idea what else to do.

We didn’t need to be in our corrals for another hour, and I’d already been through the expo twice.

And I sure as hell wasn’t going to go stand outside with the idiots running around to “warm up” in the 30-degree weather. There’s an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one.

7:20AM – I get tired of sitting against a wall screwing around on my phone (I’m also concerned by the fact that my phone – my sole source of music during the run – has gone from 100% charge to 60% charge in the span of an hour,) so I get up and start walking circuits around the expo center.

That counts as a warmup, right?

The walking definitely isn’t to relieve any pre-race tension, because there is no tension. I am loosy goosy. At least until I feel a blast of arctic air from an open door, which reminds me that in a scant 40 minutes, I’ll be out running in that shit.

I’m an idiot.

7:50AM – I’m in the corral, hyped up, and ready to go. The place is nuts. And thankfully there are plenty of bodies close by to keep me warm, because it’s 30-effing-degrees outside.

I find my pacer and get near him, set for a 2:10:00 finish. That’s about 10 minutes more than I wanted to run my half in, but I’m also realistic… not one of my long training runs was sub-9:30, so that’s just not going to happen. 2:10 it is.

8:00AM – Right on cue, the starter gun goes off. I watch the elites run through the archway and I think, “this is it.” I’m hyped out of my MIND.

8:10AM – I’ve never run a race this big before, and thus had no idea that just because the gun has gone off doesn’t mean you get to start running.

It’s about 10 minutes since the elites ran past, and I’m coming up with increasingly colorful words to describe how cold I am now that I’ve been standing outside for nearly half an hour in nothing but shorts and a long-sleeve compression shirt.

Entirely accurate.

8:15AM/Mile 0 – I finally, FINALLY cross the starting line, and we’re off to the races.

Everything’s clicking. Birds are chirping. People are cheering. I feel great. I’m right behind the pacer and I’m thinking “hell, he seems like he’s barely moving. This is going to be an easy run.”

I know this is going to be a great day.

Mile 3 – I pass the 5k mark at 30:40, which is a new personal record “official” 5k time for me, and my legs are feeling great. I could easily hold a conversation at this pace.

At some point around Mile 3 I pass probably the funniest “marathon sign” I’ve ever seen. A man is sitting by himself on the side of the road in a lawn chair, a cooler next to him, drinking a beer, and holding a sign that says “THIS IS THE WORST PARADE I’VE EVER SEEN.”

I couldn’t help but laugh.

Mile 6 – I pass the 10k mark almost exactly an hour after I crossed the start line. We’re just approaching the stockyards, and I’m excited because, aside from crossing the finish line, the moment that I’ve most been looking forward to is literally just around the next corner: running beneath the enormous “Fort Worth Stockyards” sign on Exchange Avenue.

I’m not as fresh-faced or fresh-legged as I was when I passed the 5k mark, but I’m still feeling good, despite the fact that the brick roads in the Stockyards are truly a bitch to run on.

Mile 7 – I look at my Garmin, see it flip from 6.99 miles to 7 miles, and instantly it’s as though some alien spacecraft hovering above me has sucked the life force out of me.

Although I’m still keeping up with the pacer, it’s now a true challenge, and I’m starting to question everything. Is something wrong with me? Am I sick? Why is my heart beating so hard? I’ve run 7 miles at this pace plenty of times with no problems at all. What the hell is happening?

Didn’t help that right around this point a guy passed me running BACKWARDS. Asshole.

 

Worst of all, I still have six miles to go, which seems absolutely daunting at this point.

But I soldier on. There were plenty of times during training that I “felt bad” for a mile or two, but it always goes away as long as I push through.

Mile 9 – I hit mile 9, or 15k, at just about 1:33 (an hour and 33 minutes). Things haven’t gotten any better since Mile 7, and now I have “The Hill” on N. Main Street heading up to the Courthouse looming right ahead of me.

At this point, I make a crucial decision. I’m going to have to shift down a gear and give up on my goal of keeping up with the 2:10 pacer in order to complete my primary goal of finishing the race.

I watched the pacer disappear into the horizon in front of me, thinking that maybe I’d recover and be able to catch him later. No such luck, hombre.

It was a decision that I’d normally be pretty upset about, but at this point in the race, pragmatism took over. It just is the way it is. You can either keep up with the pacer for probably another half mile and then walk, or you can slow your pace and finish the race. That’s not even a choice.

Mile 10 – The run down Houston street through downtown is a welcome respite from “The Hill”. The street is level (it might have even been a slight decline), and I’m able to catch my breath, calm myself down, and set into a new rhythm.

Most importantly, I remind myself that in one mile, I’ll only have two miles to go, and two miles is a piece of cake no matter how you feel.

I learn that mind games like that might be the only thing that get distance-runners through it all.

Mile 11 – We’re back in familiar territory. I can see Trinity Park coming up on my left and the back end of West 7th coming up on my right as we run down W. Lancaster Avenue. As we cross over 10th street, I see the Will Rodgers Memorial Center – where the finish line is – come over the horizon.

Even though I feel like I’m crawling (I wasn’t) and every ounce of me from the waist down is screaming in pain, the end is in sight.

The only thought that goes through my mind for the next two miles is, “you’ve told too many people about this. Don’t shame yourself by quitting now. You’re not a walker, and you’re not a quitter.”

Mile 12 – I hit mile 12, and a wave of relief washes over me. Even though the finish line is still 1.1 miles away, I feel like I’ve made it. I know that I can do a mile. I could have a broken leg and still do one measly mile. Everything hurts, but that’s very temporary now, because in 10 minutes or less it’ll all be over. As long as I keep running.

I pass by several people who have started walking, and none of them look outwardly injured. It’s something that I still can’t really understand. How can you not run the last mile? You’ve made it this far. All of the training, and sacrifice, not just over the past months, but especially today, in this weather… and you walk the last mile?

I can’t understand it. It just doesn’t compute.

Mile 13 – I hit mile 13, and we’re in the Will Rogers complex proper now, off of the main streets. Even though my eyesight is going a bit fuzzy and I’ve confirmed that my beard is 100% frozen, and all I can think about is left foot right foot left foot right foot, I rip my earbuds out. When I run down the finish line chute, I want to experience all the sensations – the sights and the sounds.

The crowd – such as it was – was cheering, but it wasn’t the roar that I expected (not for me, but for all of us). I think those who were there were cheering their hearts out… it’s just that there weren’t very many there, probably because of the weather.

Finish – I cross the finish line at exactly 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 35 seconds – about a 10:30 mile pace – but I don’t find this out until later. I’ve forgotten that the time displayed at the finish line is your “gun time,” or how long it’s been since the starting gun went off (not how long it’s been since you crossed the start line). My “gun time” was 2:35:20, and that’s what I saw when I crossed the finish line.

I was happy that I had finished, but I was absolutely devastated with a 2:35 finish time. That’s almost a 12 minute mile pace. That’s basically walking. That’s not what I trained for.

It wasn’t until much later, when I looked at my Garmin, that I realized I’d actually finished in 2:19, and that the time displayed at the finish line was the “gun time,” not the actual amount of time it took me to run the Half.

Just after the finish line, race attendants wrap a thermal blanket around me and shove a bottle of water into my hand. I can’t feel anything below my waist, and I’m so light-headed I think I might fall over. I still don’t know whether that was from exertion or emotion. I probably never will.

I wander like a zombie through the cattle-chute of race volunteers, and when I round a corner someone says “Congratulations, Carter!” and places a finisher medal over my head. It’s the first time since I crossed the finish line that I actually start to feel like I did good.

I shamble over to the gear check table, grab my bag, and drag it behind me like a child dragging a wagon.

I really didn’t give two shits how it looked (the answer is “pathetic”), but I do have to admit that I was jealous of the other people I saw who were celebrating their finish a little bit more like this:

But you know what? None of that mattered. None of it.

I had finished.

It was the culmination of six months of daily hard work, done in just over two hours.

And I had succeeded.

I let those thoughts wash over me as I hobbled back to my truck, which I’d parked outside Ben and Jen Cole’s house a block away. I knocked to say a quick hello to them, give my godson a high-five, and then it was FINALLY… finally… time to sit down.

For the first time in my life, I didn’t care how long the drive back to the house would take. It could have been five hours. Wouldn’t have cared. Because I got to sit down.

Post-Race

By the time I sat down in my truck, the soreness was already settling in. I briefly wondered whether I’d given myself rhabdomyolysis, since I’ve run long distances before and had never been that sore that fast, but I quickly chalked it up to some weird mixture of sleep deprivation, exhaustion, hypocondriasis, and anxiety.

As of today, I’m still sore and walking funny (cue “did you have a date last night?” jokes), but no Rhabdo.

One unintended (although perhaps not unexpected) consequence was that I may or may not have spent more time Sunday evening in the restroom than I did on the couch. Apparently half marathons are all you need to kick your gut into overdrive.

Sarah was sweet enough to post updates on my race to her Facebook as they were happening (she signed up to get text and e-mail notifications), and so I spent a relaxing Sunday evening with her reading all of your wonderful and encouraging comments on Facebook and binge-watching Season 3 of House of Cards.

Speaking of all of the comments on Facebook, I want to thank all of you so much for following me through this journey. To those of you who encouraged me, supported me, gave me advice, laughed with me, worried with me, and got your sweat on with me, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. And especially to Sarah, for being the biggest beacon of support, the most understanding and compassionate pseudo-nurse and psuedo-psychologist, and also for all of the horrible, horrible laundry she had to put up with.

This isn’t the end of my running adventures. Far from it. I know there will be many, many more 5ks, 10ks, and Half Marathons ahead of me in my life.

What’s the next big goal? A full marathon. I’m toying with running the Big D marathon on April 12th, but we’ll see about that. I’m not going to run a full marathon without being completely prepared, so I’ll need to see how training goes for the next few weeks.

After that? An Ironman. You heard it here first. Some time before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, 2018, I will be Carter Schimpff, Ironman.

Mark my words. And after THAT? Well…

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that.

Thank you all so, so much for being with me during this journey. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your advice.

Thank you for laughing, even when I wasn’t funny.

Most of all, thank you for being my friends.

Run Bear Run, out.

6Jan

Hail Dark Roast Coffee, Full of Caffeine, Blessed Art Thou Amongst Morning Drinks

Yes, the rumors you’ve heard are true. I’m back.

Remember how I said I’d be posting every Monday and Thursday? (Which turned into every Tuesday and whenever-I-feel-like-it?) Yeah, scrap that.

Anyway, here I am, second day back to work after a Christmas vacation that also included a trip to Jamaica (tough life) for David and Nicole’s wedding. It was a wonderful time, and a beautiful wedding, and naturally I got a lot of running in.

In this case I’ve redefined “running” to “drinking a whole shit-ton of Johnnie Walker Black and lounging on the beach.”

Sarah’s reaction when I’d finished my first “free” drink at the all-inclusive resort before she’d even taken a sip of hers.

That being said, I did run my “test” 13.1 miler on the 27th while I was in San Antonio, and BOY, what a run that turned out to be. In a good way. How good?

8:30/mile average pace good.

I guess something about running through Terrell Hills agrees with me. Or maybe it was the week’s rest I had beforehand. Or the beautiful weather. Or the 60,000 extra calories of energy from Christmas.

Suffice it to say, I’m more excited than ever to run my first “official” half marathon at this year’s upcoming Cowtown Half on March 1st.

In fact, now that I know I can reliably run a half all by myself (even without the adrenaline that comes with race day), I’ve modified my training to begin preparing for my first marathon: the Big D Marathon in April.

I’ve also returned to CrossFit L3 / SHAGFitness on a regular Monday/Friday/Saturday schedule for cross-training after a few weeks’ hiatus. Needless to say, after being gone that long, my performance during the WODs has been something short of spectacular.

Coach Talon cries boy tears when he watches me work out with half the weight I used to use. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

So get ready, dear readers. Carter is back in the Land of the Free and Home of the Bears (credit: Coach Talon). Blog posts are back. Running is back. CrossFit is back. I’m so excited.

I think I’ve had too much coffee.

Literally.

 

 

22Dec

Monday Run Report – I’ve Given Up on Putting Weeks Here

Friday – Eat Like a Horse, FAIL

Yes, you read that right. If you read my darling wife’s write-up of our dinner with Jenn and Erick at Del Frisco’s Grille, you’ll note that I ate light and healthy on Friday night.

I know. It doesn’t make any sense to me either. But to be fair, the kale and brussels sprouts salad that I had SOUNDS terrible but was actually not terrible. Still, I think it’s probably some sort of galactic crime that I went to a restaurant like Del Frisco’s Grille and didn’t get an artery-clogging Lamb Burger or a heart-exploding Cheesy MegaSteak with Extra Salt and Lard.

My reaction when the waiter asked if I wanted Parmesan Garlic Fries and I’M TRYING TO BE HEALTHY JESUS.

Still, it was delicious and a fantastic time with friends.

Also, no running took place on Friday. I should probably have mentioned that first.

 

Saturday – “Some Like it Cold 10k”, CHECK!

Saturday was cold. Not “I think I just lost a toe” cold, but still cold. Especially for Fort Worth. Then again, I might have expected this from an event called “Some Like it Cold”.

Once we started running, it was totally fine, but the 45 minutes leading up to the gun were less than tropical, to say the least.

Honestly, the cold didn’t bother me that much (I was wearing a long-sleeve tee and running shorts), but others… ahem… had slightly different reactions.

This was Sarah from arrival through gun.

By contrast, these were the children who were there that morning. I swear to God children are a different species.

This is Sarah’s reaction to the .gif and caption I posted above. LOVE YOU BABE.

All joking aside, it was a great morning for a 10k down Trinity Trails. We even ran into one of our friends from SHAGFitness / CrossFit L3, Aaron, and his lovely wife and child-spawn.

Running up to Aaron and saying hello. Honestly the ONLY difference from real life is that I’m not a white guy playing a latino.

Sarah did GREAT and finished the 10k about a minute faster than her previous best – and that’s without any speed training! She says she doesn’t like running all that much, but I think she’s lying because aside from the death-stares when I tell her that I’ve signed her up for a race, she always seems to have a great time and do really well.

That night, Sarah and I ate a celebratory dinner at Reata (hello, new Christmastime tradition!) which is one of our favorite restaurants ever in the history of mankind.

Unlike Friday’s dinner, I arrived at Reata ready to EAT ALL THE THINGS.

Sarah ordered the I-don’t-remember-because-I-was-busy-burying-my-face-in-meaty-cheesy-goodness, and I had the carne asada and enchilada plate, which seems like an odd choice until you realize that it’s probably the best thing on their menu that isn’t a $40 steak.

I ate with reckless abandon, and, well… probably paid for it the next day.

 

Sunday – 11 Miles, CH-FAIL

Sunday’s run was just… odd. It was supposed to be a relatively easy 11 miles down Trinity Trails.

I slept great Saturday night, only had two glasses of wine at dinner, and had a light but filling breakfast at Yogi’s with our friends Albert and Britsi on Sunday morning before I headed out for the run.

I’ve never had a problem with long runs, and not two weeks ago I ran 10 miles without any issue whatsoever.

But for whatever reason, I hit some sort of wall around mile three and I just couldn’t keep going.

My legs weren’t sore from the day before. I had plenty of sleep and food and water in me. The weather was gorgeous. I wanted to run.

Let me repeat that. I wanted to run.

But for some reason, after mile three, I just couldn’t. I ended up turning around at mile three and walking back to my truck.

WTF?

I have no idea what was going on with me, but I’m sure it was just some kind of one-time fluke and I’ll be a-OK for the test 13.1 miler that I’m set to do this coming Saturday.

Oh, and since this will probably be my last blog post before Christmas, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

16Dec

Tuesday Run Report – Week Whatever Training

I’ll wait for all of you to recover from your respective heart attacks, because I know how shocked you are that I actually put out two posts in the same week on time.

This is what I imagine most of you look like when I promise a blog post and don’t deliver.

I’m trying a new posting schedule whereby I post about only one day at a time. I think part of the reason I fell so behind recently is because trying to remember two, three, or four days back is to me what remembering your own birth is to you.

Tuesday – 5 Miles, Check!

I started Tuesday on a high note by discovering and deleting a selfie that I’d unleashed upon the world via Twitter the night before. My selfie game is admittedly weak, and somehow I managed to turn a guy who usually looks like this:

carter

Into some sort of hobo-lumberjack-troll-man:

I have dutifully accepted the lifetime ban imposed upon me by everyone with eyesight.

I have dutifully accepted the lifetime ban imposed upon me by everyone with eyesight.

Anyway, it’s posted here now for posterity’s sake, but I’m not inflicting it on Twitter anymore. I’m just inflicting it on you guys. You lucky few. You band of brothers.

After a workday that featured, as one of the high points of the day, my spending an hour trying to find the name of a song that I needed to use for a video I’m producing, five miles was a welcome, welcome stress-reliever.

After 45 of HEARING the song in my head over and over and not being able to find the title.

Five miles passed by in what felt like five minutes, and as it turns out I ran a pretty great pace for me – 10:00 on the dot.

Having said that, I need to run about fifteen more of these to undo the damage I did this past weekend.

I regret nothing. NOTHING.

15Dec

Monday Run Report – Week 9 Training

At least I think it’s week 9. It could be week 10, or week 11. I have no concept of time anymore. The holidays have stolen all of it from me.

And speaking of “stolen,” I realize that I haven’t posted at all since just after Thanksgiving, which in my mind is kind of like reverse stealing I guess because I’m depriving you of my inane, stream-of-consciousness ramblings.

People keep telling me “when are you going to post again? I love reading your blog posts!” and all I can think is “… what drugs are you on because I want some of that.”

Anyway, without further ado, here’s how last week’s training went!

Tuesday – 5 Miles, NOPE.

I was at the Dallas Digital Summit on Tuesday. And by “on” Tuesday I mean all freaking day. I left the house at, I think, 4:30AM because driving from south Fort Worth to Irving is roughly equivalent to having razor blades shoved under your finger nails.

The conference ended at something like 5:30 (great timing! just in time for the WORST TRAFFIC DURING ANY TIME OF THE DAY.)

I got back to my office in Bedford at about 7:00 (yes, an hour and a half to get from Irving to Bedford. DFW traffic, if I ever meet you in a dark alley, I swear to sweet 10 pound 8 ounce baby Jesus I will knife you right in the groin), did my actual job for a little while, and then fought my way back to the house.

I think I hit the house at 8:45, and by that point there was just no running happening, period.

 

Wednesday – 3 Miles, NOPE.

Cue Dallas Digital Summit again (second day). I won’t bore you with all of the saucy details, which mainly involve my phone going from 100% to dead in about four hours (WTF Apple) and fighting through Satan’s wet dream DFW traffic again.

No I didn’t. I knew what I was getting into.

 

Thursday – 5 Miles, NOPE.

Are you starting to see a pattern yet?

I had every intention of running on Thursday, since it was my first day back on a “normal” schedule, but then Sarah reminded me that I’d promised to go with her to a Junior League meeting that afternoon at Bass Hall.

My reaction when Sarah reminded me that I had something on my schedule for that afternoon. I have three calendars and apparently don’t know how to use any of them.

Now, normally you wouldn’t find me within five miles of a Junior League meeting because they don’t make earplugs that are strong enough to drown out 200 women talking over each other because I don’t look good in heels (not to mention boys have cooties and aren’t allowed), but in this case spouses were invited.

In case you were wondering what I looked like as the only guy there before Sarah arrived… something like this.

Why? To see the Texas Ballet Theater do their final dress rehearsal of the Nutcracker, of course!

Sarah knew I couldn’t resist the Nutcracker. It’s a perennial Christmas favorite for me, and also holds special memory because I scored 5th row orchestra center tickets for myself and Sarah on the night that I proposed to her and she said “yes” for reasons still undetermined.

 

Sunday – 10 Miles, NOPE.

Buckle up, because I’m about to Tarantino this shit.

This is approximately what Sarah and I looked like when we woke up on Sunday morning:

On Saturday, Sarah held an ornament exchange Christmas party for her sorority alumni (alumnae? who the hell knows) group, which gave me the perfect excuse to sneak out of my chick-infested house and head to Rahr Brewery for my friend Albert’s birthday.

About what it looked like as I left the house.

Later that evening and three beers in, Sarah and I linked up to head over to the SHAG Christmas party. Despite what it sounds like, the SHAG Christmas party was 0% orgy and 100% friends from the CrossFit gym that we attend, SHAGFitness on Camp Bowie.

By the way, have I mentioned that I don’t tolerate beer terribly well?

At this point, I still had every intention of running my 10 miles the next day. Hell, I was excited for it, especially after a lackluster week of training.

I certainly had no intention of getting schwastey faced.

But, with all the fun and frivolity going on at the party (not to mention free-flowing scotch and bourbon, my two favorites), my inner functional alcoholic won out.

Two scotches in, my slightly inebriated exceptionally “happy” CrossFit coach challenged me to a game of beer pong (using bourbon instead of beer, which really should have been a warning sign for me but of course was not), and I’m ninety-nine percent sure that someone kept pouring more bourbon into the cups that I’d already downed.

“Jolly” is probably the most PC word I can use to describe how I was by the end of the evening, and I was glibly telling anyone who would listen that I wouldn’t be hungover the next day and would definitely be running my ten miles.

Shawna’s response when I told her I wouldn’t be hungover. She is very wise.

And that brings us to Sunday morning. Bright… so bright… so very bright… Sunday morning.

On the one hand, I missed an entire week’s worth of training runs. Bad Carter, slap on the wrist for you.

But on the other hand… at least I did it with style?

 

2Dec

Tuesday Run Report – Thanksgiving Fatstravaganza Edition

That’s right. Everything from Thanksgiving week all bundled into one dumpster fire enormous blog post! Buckle up friends… it’s about to get real.

Tuesday – 4.5 Miles, FAILLLLL

Yup. You read that right. After six straight weeks of perfect training, I finally had to skip a run.

I knew it would happen eventually, but I figured it would be due to some sort of “life event”… you know, traveling for the holidays, or staying late at work, or getting mobbed by wild pigeons.

Instead, it was injury. My right calf seized up about 1/10th of a mile into Tuesday’s run, and I couldn’t even hobble, let alone run. Thankfully I was still pretty close to my house.

BUT FEAR NOT! Nothing gonna keep me down for long.

Sarah will be the first to tell you that telling me that I can’t do something makes me 1,000% determined to do just that.

In this case, it was my body telling me that I needed to slow down, take it easy, and rest for a bit – and that I couldn’t run.

I was seething. I understand that “things happen,” but my body failing me? That was infuriating. I felt betrayed.

My sullen reaction when a friend tried to console me with, “hey! it happens to everyone! it’s just ONE run!”

And so I did the only thing I could do (besides tear stuff up and punch holes in the wall) – I worked on it.

I mashed with a foam roller. I poked and prodded with a lacrosse ball. I bought a 20# bag of ice and took an ice bath. I stretched and stretched and stretched.

Did it work? What happened?! Well… better read on to find out because CLIFFHANGER.

 

Wednesday – 3 Miles, FAIL FAIL FAIL FAIL

Well, at least this one was an honest to God “life event”.

I already get up at the ass-crack of dawn (5AM) to get to work, and so I sure as hell wasn’t going to wake up even earlier to run in the pitch dark coldness.

My reaction when I realized that the only way I’d get my Wednesday run done would be if I got up at 3:30 to run in the pitch black coldness outside.

Wednesday was a whirlwind of activity. Work was insane, and a last-minute mix-up meant that I spent the second half of the day feverishly trying to find an open boarding facility to take Ellie before we flew out to Omaha that evening.

Yeah, you try finding an open boarding facility the DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING.

Every boarding facility’s reaction when I called to see if they had an opening.

Miraculously, I did end up finding one – Cowtown Canines, which I’ve since discovered is 100% the best dog-related anything in Fort Worth. Their “boarding” includes cage-free monitored playtime with the other “campers” ALL DAY plus TLC from the “camp counselors” (humans). This in stark contrast to most of the other boarding facilities I called, who wanted the same amount of money to keep Ellie in a crate all day except for two or three pee breaks.

As a consequence of this happy accident, Ellie ended up having a fantastic Thanksgiving vacation too, which really really makes me happy.

 

Thursday (GOBBLE GOBBLE BITCHES) – 4.5 Miles, CHECK

Oh thank God. At least it wasn’t three “fails” in a row.

Thanksgiving morning started the way I wish every morning would start: at 9AM in my jammies with Sarah stuffing my face with homemade cinnamon rolls and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV.

I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty hardcore.

After Santa arrived (obviously the best part of the parade), Sarah and I drove over to Anytime Fitness to use their treadmills.

Now, normally I eschew treadmill running in favor of being outside (I think treadmills, mile for mile, are a way easier run than doing it outside) but in this particular case:

Nope. Nope nope nope nope. Nope. Not going outside in Omaha ever again.

Nope. Nope nope nope nope. Nope. Not going outside in Omaha ever again.

So treadmill it was, because if you recall, this is how it went the LAST time I tried to run outside in the Omaha winter:

Thankfully (and I know you’ve been waiting on baited breath), my right calf didn’t give me ANY trouble at all. Clearly beating it into submission on Tuesday afternoon/evening did the trick. That or the two days of rest. But I’m not counting that because rest is for people who don’t get injured all the time suckers.

It was a fantastic run, and I kept an easy 9:30 pace, although I doubt I could replicate that outside where there are things like potholes and hills and wind and assassins.

Sarah is also gearing up for a 10k that we’re doing in two weeks (the “Some Like it Cold” 10k… anyone else doing it?), so she ran as well and did GREAT. I’m really proud of her! (Plus with all of that running she’s looking extra foxy.)

After the run, it was time to stuff our faces and unbutton our pants. And by that I mean eat Thanksgiving dinner – a smorgasbord of delicious treats that Sarah’s mom and dad whipped up. Oh my God it was all so good.

My face when I found out that there was a TWENTY EIGHT pound turkey AND an entire ham.

I ate so much. I’m really, REALLY glad I took my run BEFORE Thanksgiving dinner, because immediately afterwards I straight-up turned into Carter the Hutt.

Poor Sarah. I don’t know how she does it.

 

Sunday – 8 Miles, CHECK!

We returned to the Anytime Fitness Treadmill Emporium for this run because warmth is illegal in Nebraska between the months of November and March, and guys, this run was HARD.

Which I’m certain had absolutely nothing to do with how much I ate and drank over the preceding three days. Nothing at all. Nothing to see here. Move along.

BECAUSE I DRANK IT. ALL OF IT.

I kept a 10:00 mile pace, but only just, and I’m CERTAIN that I wouldn’t have kept that pace out on the road, even in good weather. Heck, I might not even have finished if I weren’t on a treadmill.

Aside from the run itself being hard (which was my own damn fault), there was only one other minor annoyance: the treadmill was pre-programmed to shut off after 30 minutes (I guess to give other people a chance to use it).

Did that stop me? Of course not, because rules are for chumps.

This meant that every 3 miles or so (okay, only twice, but just let me complain), I had to wait for the track to spool down, the machine to reset, and then start running again.

Either way, I did it (and it’s the farthest I’ve ever run ever in my life), so I’m-a call this one “good” in my book!

Also, not to be forgotten, Lightning McSchimpff (Sarah) did five miles like it was totally NBD. She is so impressive, and I know she’s gonna KILL that 10k!

Later that evening on our flight back to Fort Worth, we ended up sitting right around some kids from TCU heading back to Cowtown for some more schoolin’. I was pretty excited to have some fellow Horned Frogs around me until it turned out that they were pretty big dicks.

Especially the guy next to me. He spent the entire flight eating crunchy food out of crinkly bags (seriously did you not get enough food on Thursday or what?) and then he very nearly pushed Sarah back down into her seat as he bullied his way past when we were deplaning, even though he was behind her.

What happened to being a gentleman, Horned Frog? Ladies first. Jesus. Amateur hour over here.

As we passed by him (standing in the MIDDLE of the concourse so that everyone had to walk around Mr. Important) on our way to the baggage claim area, I called him a douche under my breath. I’m not proud of it, but it DID make me feel better. Plus Sarah laughed, so I’ll call it a win.

It was a drive-by douching.

24Nov

Monday Run Report – Week 7 Training

Thursday – 4.5 Miles, Check!

I spent most of the day Thursday in a polo shirt and shorts. Three days prior, I was in every article of warm clothing I owned and praying that the thermometer would hit 40 degrees.

I had almost forgotten what it was like to sweat while running. Luckily, Texas weather has a very poorly managed case of bipolar, and so I was blessed with 75 degrees and sunny skies for Thursday’s run.

After a cumulative 8.5 miles on Tuesday and Wednesday, my calves (and my whole body, really) were begging me not to hit the pavement on Thursday. Naturally, I went anyway. Whoever said “listen to your body” is obviously an idiot.

My legs’ reaction when I went out the front door.

It was a tough run – I think because I was just physically exhausted – but I still managed to turn in 10:30ish splits, and that’s okay. I’d like the pace to be closer to 10:00, or even 9:30, but that’s probably unrealistic for a Thursday run.

 

Saturday – 7 Miles, Check!

Drop the balloons, pop the confetti, and crank the tunes, bros and broettes – this is officially the farthest I’ve ever run in one go.

At this point, every “long run” on the weekends will likely be a new record for me as my mileage increases, and I’m totally okay with that. It gives me something to get excited about!

It really didn’t occur to me that seven miles was a lot of miles until I started mapping out my course on MapMyRun.

I said this to Sarah, and I still think it sounds idiotic, but it makes sense in my head and she insists that it makes sense to her: until you map it out, you don’t realize just how far seven miles really is.

It’s not a jog around the neighborhood. It’s not a “pretty far” jog. It’s a log effing distance.

It’s far. Seven miles is far. The Sound of Music lady should have referenced seven miles in her little Do Re Mi song. “Seven… a really f*cking long way to runnnnn”

I know those of you who are regular long-distance runners are probably chuckling, but take into consideration the fact that, even six months go, running three miles was to me what running… I don’t know… eleventy-billion would be for you.

The best part about Saturday’s run was how easy it actually was.

I remember “back in the day” when I’d hit my driveway after GRINDING through a 40-minute two mile run. (Yeah, you read that right… 20-minute splits).

Covered in sweat like I’d just been dunked in a pool, light-headed and seeing stars from the exertion, beet red, and completely out of breath.

And I felt like I’d just climbed Everest.

Saturday I ran seven miles at a ten minute pace, and if I’d have had a running partner, I could have carried a very easy conversation the entire way. I got home, plopped down on the couch, had a sip of water, and that was it.

Does that mean running is “easy” for me now? No. I don’t expect it to ever be “easy”. It’s still challenging… but it’s a challenge that I love, even on the days when I don’t want to run, or the days when my legs are screaming at me to stop, or I’m exhausted from a hard day at the office.

How I feel about running, summed up perfectly.

On a scale from 1 to white girl, “I can’t even” about how far I’ve come.

19Nov

Monday Run Report – Week 6 Training

Thursday – 4 Miles, Check!

I’m going to stop bitching about how cold it is because apparently, kids, Santa came to town early and he brought motherf&cking Mr. Snowface or whatever the hell that guy’s name is with him and that’s just the way it’s gonna be forever now.

I may be getting my Christmas movie characters mixed up. Whatever, I’m typing this with a series of eye-blinks because my fingers are currently the consistency of that turkey you forgot to defrost last Thanksgiving.

I tackled Thursday’s run with much the same attitude that a Gazelle has as it’s being chased by a Cheetah who has dinner on his mind. Except in this case, instead of running away from a dangerous four-legged predator, I was running away from obesity and shame. But it still counts.

That’s not to say that Thursday’s run was all bad. But mostly it was.

The one highlight was when I got stopped – yes, stopped – by another runner. I thought at first that I might have forgotten pants again. Blessedly, I hadn’t.

No, she wanted to ask me about my shoes.

“Are those Asics?” She asked me, jogging-in-place like a lunatic because seriously who does that.

“Yes.” Are you going to steal them? Are you sane? Are you going to capture me and make a windchime out of my genitals? I didn’t ask.

“You know, you should really try barefoot running. It’s a lot better for you.” She helpfully pointed down to indicate her pair of Vibram whateverthosethingsarecalled. I swear to God some huckster with a foot fetish and a dream came up with those. And he’s sitting in a mansion somewhere and I’m working for the man.

This is how I picture the genesis of the Vibram FiveFinger shoe.

“Okay.” I said, finishing the rest of the sentence in my head as I ran off. You crazy hippie. Also thank you for not killing me.

 

Saturday – Timed 5k run, Check!

For Saturday’s run, I got a slight reprieve from the polar vortex here in Fort Worth when I traveled up to Omaha, Nebraska.

And by “slight reprieve” I mean that it snowed two inches. So the opposite of “reprieve”, I guess.

My in-laws’ reaction when I told them I was excited for the snow. They live in Omaha. It snows a lot there.

Yes, walking contradiction that I am, I was excited to go running in the snow.

Despite all my bitching about the cold the last few weeks, running in snow was a new experience for me, and I always get excited about new experiences.

My in-laws’ reaction when I told them I planned to RUN in the snow.

“Don’t do it!” my in-laws cried.

“You’ll break a leg!” their neighbors said.

“Please don’t get yourself killed.” Sarah pleaded, for the umpteenth time in our storied marriage.

But I’m a renegade. And, as time has testified again and again, a bull-headed idiot. I was determined to do it.

I departed my in-laws’ house wearing my TCU zip-top and some running shorts. It was all I had brought with me.

I’ll go ahead and put this in writing, online, in public, just for you Sarah – you were right. Save this. Savor this moment.

I was so cold. But by the time I realized it, the front door had already shut behind me (Sarah was no doubt speed-dialing our attorney to make sure my affairs were in order), and my pride wouldn’t allow me to go back inside.

So run I did. I ran. I ran so Goddamn fast, mainly because I was convinced that if I stopped I’d freeze solid to the ground and alien archaeologists would dig my perfectly preserved body up hundreds of years later and say “THIS is why the species died off!

Sarah’s (rightfully smug) reaction when I reappeared on the doorstep in ice-cicle form.

 

13Nov

Thursday Morning Recap – Week 6 Training

Tuesday – 4 (Freezing) Miles, Check!

After today’s run, I will never, ever, ever be warm again. Ever.

There were many very good reasons for me not to take my run today, namely:

1. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep at my desk twice. Luckily my desk faces away from my office door, so any passers-by probably (hopefully?) thought I was just really in to the analytics report I was sleeping on working on.

2. Yesterday at SHAGFitness/CrossFit L3 we tested our one-rep-maxes for Squat, Deadlift, and Shoulder Press. I actually posted some impressive numbers – 355# squat, 395# deadlift, and 165# shoulder press. The tradeoff? I absolutely could not walk this morning because my legs were so sore.

3. It’s cold outside. So cold. So very cold.

I’m gonna let y’all in on a little secret:

I was born and raised in the desert San Antonio. We have four seasons there, just like everywhere else, but unlike everywhere else our four seasons are as follows:

  • Hotter (Spring)
  • Hottest (Summer)
  • Still Hot (Fall)
  • Deer Season (Winter)

Simply put, despite all my extra layers of “insulation”, I thrive running in the heat, and I absolutely consider anything below 50 degrees to be “parka weather”.

Tuesday was 100% “parka weather”.

My puppy Ellie and I had a little conversation before I left to be frozen in carbonite go for my chilly run.

I’ll have you know that despite all of my bitching, the run itself was actually not bad. There was some serious complaining from my calves after yesterday’s Herculean lifts, but that’s nothing a little BDSM with my foam roller can’t fix.

However, I will still never be warm again. For serious, guys.

 

Wednesday – 2 Miles, Check!

Well… it did not get warmer.

In fact, it got colder. More cold? Colder? I don’t know. It’s too early.

My reaction when the weather man said it’s only going to continue to get colder.

On the bright side, Wednesday marked my second-ever run with my six-month-old black Lab, Ellie. (Sorry, no puppy selfies this time. There are only so many times they can take away my man card before I don’t get it back again.)

Maddeningly, because of her Lab roots, Ellie THRIVES in the cold weather. I’ve been worrying about how she’d deal with the cold, being outside all day, but then I had a flashback to wintertime duck hunting with my dad and remembered watching the Lab bird dogs GLEEFULLY bounding through 25-degree lakes while we were bundled up like the Michelin Man.

Ellie’s reaction to all my worrying.

To say that Ellie was excited for our run is a bit of an understatement. She ran with me PERFECTLY – left heel position the whole time, no darting or anything like that. But, God bless her, that dog has unlimited energy.

I should really contact the government – I’m convinced that my dog is a source of unlimited renewable energy.

Ellie’s reaction when we got back from our frosty 2-miler.

My reaction when she had the energy to bounce off the walls like that IMMEDIATELY after we walked through the front door.

I digress.

Aside from the fact that I think I might be sterile now after that run (sorry, boys), it was a great time. Ellie had fun, I had fun, and in the grand scheme of things, two miles is pretty darn short and easy these days. I was outside for all of 18 minutes.

Now, Thursday’s run on the other hand… 4 miles in 28-degree-wind-chill-weather after the sun has gone down? What fresh hell will that be.

And I wouldn’t miss it for a moment.

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