Achievement Unlocked: 300 Miles!

Last month I made a public statement that my running goal for my first year of the sport was 300 miles. A nice, even number and a goal that I knew would be attainable unless I fell off the boat. And while given many chances in the last several weeks to fall off of said proverbial boat, I was able to make it…just not like I was hoping for…

My last post had me left with a mere 13.18 miles before I reached my goal and I intended to do every bit of it with two short runs during the week and then a long run at the end of the week to seal the deal. 3.0 miles on Wednesday, 2.65 miles on Thursday, leaving me with 7.53 miles remaining. Typically my “long run” on the weekend is around 6 miles but I thought I had it in me to go a little extra, even if I had to walk it, so when I set out on Saturday morning, bright and early, I hit it hard, doing miles 1-3 at a 10k pace, miles 4-5 at sprint/walk intervals and then mile 6 at jog/walk intervals. Yep, I’m stopping at mile 6 because that’s as far as I went Saturday morning: 6.15 miles. I was 1.38 miles short of my 300 goal that I thought I desperately wanted for the week.

The good news is that I still ran roughly about a 10k distance. More good news is that I could take Sunday off to rest, which would allow me to be physically able to go to the gym on Monday morning, which I did. Even more good news is that we had a pool party on Saturday night complete with a hot tub that treated my feet oh, so nicely. Even better news is that I made these parmesan breadsticks for the party and they went over better than anything else at the party. Score! In good news that I was disappointed I have to take: I still had 5 weeks to make that 1.38 miles up. I was pretty sure I could do it…

…So, you know, I did!

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300 miles! Man, that’s weird. Even more weird is that I have a month to spare! Four weeks, three of which include long runs…Let’s say my stretch goal should be 340…Maybe 350? Maybe? We’ll see………

For the heck of it here’s the most recent table of miles. After looking back at an old post I noticed I had miles on my shoes so I’m including that as well.

Time Period Total Distance
Couch-to-5k (8/14-10/14) 64.59 Miles
Runtastic Runs (10/14-4/15) 115.04 Miles
5k-to-10k to-date (4/15-6/21) 87.52 Miles
Runtastic Runs (6/23-present) 33.42 Miles

Total Miles Ran To-Date: 300.57 Miles

Miles Left Until 300: 0.00

Number of Miles Per Run to Reach Yearly Goal*: 0.00

Running Shoes Mileage 200.27 Miles

Race Times

Race Time
Knoxville Hot to Trot 5k 2014 35:08
Calhoun’s New Year’s Day 5k 2015 No official time
Zen Evo Chocolate Lover’s Valentine’s 5K 2015 33:10
Barley’s St. Patrick’s Day 5k 2015 34:34
Covenant Health 5k 2015 33:39
Pilot Fireball Moonlite Classic 5k 33:05
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Running Playlist: 10 More Songs You Won’t Like

Back in August of last year I griped about how “Top Ten Running Songs” lists were always awful and then proceeded to make my own, equally awful list. If you click that link you’ll see that some of those songs have disappeared from the list, presumably due to copyright infringement or the like, so I figured it was time for an update anyway.

Yesterday I mentioned how I put my headphones back on during a run for the first time in several months. I took them off shortly after running The Calhoun’s New Year’s Day 5K because I had been reading about the importance of breathing properly during running – how the “wrong” breathing pattern can lead to early fatigue and the correct one could potentially allow me to harness, if not gain extra, energy. Breathe instep left – step right – step leftbreathe outstep right – step leftbreathe instep right – step left – step rightbreathe outstep left – step right, etc., etc., ad nauseam and ad infinitum.

To be honest I don’t know how well it’s worked but the time off from music certainly did help me give my breathing its own, independent, rhythm. If I keep a decent pace and watch my breathing I’ve found that while I do still tire out it’s not the same kind of tired. When I finish I’m not exhausted, just a bit winded. I don’t know much about running despite doing it for the biggest part of the last year – I’ve never “hit a wall” and have certainly never had a “runner’s high” that I’m aware of (though earlier this week I smelled someone grilling hamburgers during my run and I think that’s pretty close – it has to be!) but I’d say that just having the control over one’s breathing is considered success. My first run back with the music proved it to be true as my breathing remained unaffected by the pulsing rhythms of the music and I had my longest distance to date.

So what was on my playlist? I’m glad you asked…

Ace Hood (feat. Future and Rick Ross) – “Bugatti” from the album ‘Trials and Tribulations'(2013)
I hate this song. Mostly. It’s like Pitbull. I hate that I like it. It’s cocky, the beat is heavy, almost hatefully so.

Amon Amarth – “Deceiver of the Gods” from the album ‘Deceiver of the Gods’ (2013)
Viking metal is king in my life currently – especially Amon Amarth and especially this particular album. Others from this album worth mentioning: “Father of the Wolf”, “Shape Shifter” and “Blood Eagle”. Sort-of stereotypical Norse titles, yeah, but it’s Viking Metal for Odin’s sake…

Body Count – “Institutionalized” from the album ‘Manslaughter’ (2014)
Body Count’s cover of Suicidal Tendencies’ 1983 jam not only has been updated to include more current social issues but has the fast drums and guitar we all love from the original and apparently (as I learned today) has the ability to make the listener struggle to not yell out in a public park “BITCH, CALL THE POLICE NOW!”

The Darkness – “Barbarian” from the album ‘The Last of Our Kind’ (2015)
I absolutely LOVE the Darkness! Delightfully ridiculous but devilishly talented and neck-breakingly hard rocking both then and now. This debut single from their upcoming album (to be released in June) gets me juiced EVERY time I hear it. Is it true Viking Metal? No, but it gets the point across and I feel the exact same way when I hear it!

Demon Waffle – “Atilla” from the album ‘Eat Your Breakfast’ (2012)
Demon Waffle are the jam. They take the “third wave” ska/punk sound that is, unfortunately, very tired to me and make killer jams that are good time and time again. “Atilla” is probably my favorite running song because it forces the body to run harder and faster each time the horns kick in, which is often. Not to mention, these are hometown boys!

Fall Out Boy – “Centuries” from the album ‘American Beauty/American Psycho’ (2014)
I’ve only recently been “out of the closet” as it were regarding Fall Out Boy. I hate to admit it but they’re just good. Old Fall Out Boy – new Fall Out Boy – it’s a bit different but it’s all good. Something about this song makes it a good training jam – is it the crowd harmony during the chorus? Is it the hammering drums throughout? Or maybe even the message of invincibility belted throughout? Who knows. Who cares? Just run…

Fall Out Boy – “My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light ’em Up)” from the album ‘Save Rock and Roll’ (2013)
I was hesitant to include two songs by the same band on this list but A) This was the only band repeat that actually came up on the playlist today and B) this is a dope song. Since becoming a die-hard Knoxville Ice Bears fan I’ve noticed that certain songs will either get you jazzed or leave you high and dry based solely off their usage before/during home games. “My Songs Know…” blasts over the speakers at the Coliseum and that signals to all of us that it’s about time for the greatest team in the SPHL to take the ice!

Miley Cyrus – “Party in the USA” from the album ‘The Time of Our Lives’ (2009)
Presented here with no shame but also no comment.

Skeletonwitch – “I Am of Death (Hell Has Arrived)” from the album ‘Serpents Unleashed’ (2013)
I’ve turned into a huge Skeletonwitch fan. After seeing them open for Ghost at the Bijou last year if I need a nice combo of Viking/Thrash/Black/Death metal I don’t have to look any further. Thankfully I bought this from iTunes so it is forever on my iPhone from now until Hell actually arrives.

Tyler, The Creator – “Radicals” from the album ‘Goblin’ (2011)
In the last year or so I finally got into Tyler, the Creator. The only album I own is “Goblin” and despite his violent imagery and cocky overtones his music makes me feel more or less chill solely because of the slower, sludgier beats he uses. “Radicals” is no exception really (by “slower” I certainly don’t mean “slow jam”) but the slowness of the beat is made up for by the angry, hateful distortion with every pounding blow of the low end. Not to mention the horrifying lyrics of the chorus (“Kill people, burn shit, and fuck school!”) following a pretty hilarious “random disclaimer” at the head of the song. Tyler is the jam…and apparently a unicorn according to this song.

Fast beats, slow beats, violence, happiness, mythology and Miley Cyrus. Sounds like a nice recipe for running. I’ve been known to do that. I hope I continue to be known for doing it. I haven’t decided if the headphones are staying or going – this randomized playlist was strangely compelling, though…

5k to 10k, Week 2

I specified “week 2” as if there was a “week 1” post. Stupid.

I mentioned a few weeks ago how I intended to start training for a 10K when the Knoxville Ice Bears got out of the playoffs won the SPHL President’s Cup. If you follow me on Twitter at all you’d know that on the evening of April 18 we brought home our fourth cup after a 4-2 win over the Mississippi RiverKings in game 2 of the finals. I was happy for the guys, happy for our team, happy for our town, but now I have to hold up my end of the bargain. The Bears stuck out the playoffs as long as they could (despite there not being a game 3 necessary) so I had to finish stalling and start pounding the pavement again.

This isn’t to say I’ve not been pounding said pavement lately. I’ve kept my blog full of stories of keeping in 5K shape by means of running about 2 miles two to three days per week, lately in my subdivision where there are rolling hills that become treacherous when one is on foot. Nothing organized, though – no real goal in mind other than “don’t get fat again.” But it was time, I guess, to move on to something else. Something that would slap me on the wrist in some way if I fell behind and decided to “lay out” of a run day, which I’ve been known to do.

I downloaded Active’s 5K to 10K app for my iPhone since I experienced pretty awesome success using their Couch to 5K app last year. A little bit clunky at first but a recent update seemed to have fixed all the issues I was having regarding audio cues not playing through during runs. Much like its predecessor the system works in a pretty obvious way: starting “slow and low” and then gradually building up each week until you finish at a 10K distance only this time it assumes we’re starting with a person that’s 5K ready instead of someone that’s lazy. Somehow I’m both?

I bring this up because after finishing week 2, workout 3 today I had a “moment of inspiration” I guess you could say. Up until now I’ve had this nag in the back of my head that keeps reminding me of all the times I started – and stopped – Couch to 5K prematurely. Speaking to me very much like The Blerch I often heard whispering…

You’re going to quit…

This is too hard…

You’ve lost enough weight to be proud, why are you doing more?

Quit…

Do you not say – every day – “running sucks”?

Running does suck.

Rather than utilizing the streets of my subdivision I went down to the park where I trained for my first 5k, put on the headphones (a practice I’ve avoided for several months now) and got to it. It was basically a perfect day to run out there by the lake – just a little chilly, 8am sun staring through fog so thick I could actually see the star’s shape. About a half hour earlier I had downed a dose of my recently-acquired pre-workout amino supplement Optimum Nutrition’s Essential AmiN.O. Energy (Lemon Lime and HIGHLY recommended by this guy) so I was ready to rock, even if I didn’t want to. A short warm-up walk followed by 35 minutes of steady run and then a cool-down walk.

45 minutes later I was finished. I normally walk over to the picnic table near where I park once a run is complete so I can log my run on my phone and do some basic stretching but when I looked down I noticed that my distance was very near 4 miles. That’s the furthest I think I’ve ran in one training session. Is it the 6.2 miles required by a 10K? No. But is it 0.9 miles closer to that goal than I’ve ever gone? You bet it is. Suddenly, despite having sweat stains from my neck to my knees, I got the feeling that it was possible – that, despite my own version of the Blerch discouraging me, it’s definitely possible. Holy smokes.

That’s two weeks and six workouts down. 21 workouts, seven weeks remain. That’s a long time but if I remember correctly, by this point of Couch to 5K (assuming I hadn’t quit already) I was having some serious doubts if I’d ever make it. Here I am, two weeks in to a nine week training program, and I feel more confident than ever.

Running still sucks. Nothing will change that, though. To its credit, however, I am wearing skinny jeans currently – I thought I’d see the Glory Day before that ever happened. It’s not a coincidence!

Four miles today! Jam on!

Four miles today! Jam on!