Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bend It Like Little Dirt Dawg

Orange slices and Capri Sun's secured, Little Dirt Dawg began his foray into organized sports today with his first official soccer practice. Standing an impressive 3'6 and 34 lbs, L.D.D. looked menacing in his black Umbro's and cleats and looked to impose his will on both the ball and opposing players in what i have determined will be a season of "squirt ball". Players will converge around the ball, it will squirt 5 -10 yds and repeat.

In all honesty, I am not worried with L.D.D.s ability to pick up dribbling, passing, or slide tackle, but Dirrty Girl's ability to rein herself in when the games begin. As if he was reading my mind, Coach D passed out a code of ethics for parental signature that stated I will place the emotional and physical well being of my child ahead of my personal desire to win.

Let the games begin.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Love is.....

New Nike Air Pegasus purchased via Road Runner Sports. One might inquire, hey, what were they like anyway? They looked pretty good, are they real? Are they built for speed or comfort? What'd you do with them? Motorboat? You play the motorboat?
No, but I think I will take them out for a run. :)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Back to the Grind

I should not complain. I am lucky to have a job in Michigan given the state of the economy that can provide for my family and to be in a profession where I only have to work 1/2 the year.

However, that being said, after working myself back slowly into the school routine the last 2 weeks, it was a bit disheartening waking up @ 5:15 this morning to the stark realization that my summer was over!

Back 2 running @ 4:30 am, leaving the house by 6:10 am with 1-2 kids to make it to day care and work by 7 am. Back to the grind.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

And I'm Spent...

This was supposed to be my last big week of mileage (68) and last long run (34), but with work, family obligations, and an oppresive front hanging over us, a large part of my week was chewed up and the only block i had to try and sneak 34 miles in was tonight. That was a mistake.

It was only 87 degrees with 56% humidity making it feel like 92 degrees whenI left @ 4:33 pm. I figured I would do loops of 14, 10 and a couple of 5 mile loops to try and get it in. Heading out the door with 40 oz of water, gatorade, a credit card, and some ice cubes in my hat Dirrty Girl said "Be careful, remember you have 2 kids @ home." I told her not to worry as I bounded off.

Thank goodness we have urban sprawl here in SE Michigan because the water and gatorade were both gone at about mile 7 and I had to stop into a 7-11 to refuel. Walking into the store, it felt like an igloo as my shorts and top stuck to me and the employees looked at me with that odd twist when there like "hmm that's an odd one" especially as I stood outside and poured purchased water over my head to try and cool down.

I kept plodding along until about 12 miles and then my body did the biggest FU I have had in recent memory. My legs felt like they were stuck in concrete and hurt worse than any of my long runs this year. My plodding was reduced to a walk. At this point, my mind starts racing. Thoughts come pouring out like: "This was a really good idea" "Maybe it is just a bad patch, and you can get back on the horse and finish the run" "Have i reached the breaking/overtraining point in my training?" "How will I finish 50 miles, if i can't run 34?".

Common sense finally won the battle, and I decided that yes, this probably wasn't the smartest idea to try and get 34 miles in in conditions that i have not really trained in, and listening to my body is the smartest thing i should do at this point.

I knew this really wasn't my day to run as I stopped at another 7-11 close to home to get a slurpee and spilled it on the concrete a mere 1/4 mile from home. Licking my wounds, a severe thunderstorm warning dropped some heavy rain and some hail at a time when I should have been out there.

With 23 days before the race, I think I will turn my attention to tapering and getting ready. One bad run is not a fair assessment of my training or how I will do.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

B 4 all the B.S.

As I began the slow transition(1/2 last week, 1 day this week) back to being a pro ass, Dirrty Girl took little dirt dawg to his school for a little play date and meet his new teacher for the 3 year old room.

Still carrying a torch for his teacher from last year, little dirt dawg hugged and held his teacher from last year for 10 minutes while she chatted with new and old students and parents. Soon enough though, L.D.D. got into play mode and ran!

@ home, Dirrty Girl and I discussed his play when she dropped a most noteable observation "You know, there were some girls who were running around and then would fall down and he just went and joined in. He thinks that anyone who he plays with is his friend. His whole world is open to him with innocence. There are no cliques, no B.S."

On my early morning run with the dog, I began to think"When does it change for a child? When do we lose the innocence of play and can we ever get it back?"

Monday, August 20, 2007

Is a wet dirt dawg a dumb dawg?

I asked myself this question as I am standing @ Woodward and 11 Mile road awaiting the light to change and my clothes sticking to me in the most uncomfortable way as the rain pelts me and the wind is blowing like it is late October and not the end of August.

An hour earlier I had been sitting in my dry basement eyeballing the treadmill and looking at the weather radar on my computer screen. There appeared to a break in the deluge that has covered SE michigan for the better part of two days and I was gonna make a break for it. I did not want to concede to the treadmill just yet that the weather was to inclemement.

Lacing up quickly, I headed out the door and besides a few sprinkles and a cool breeze it wasn't bad. It was ike Mother Nature was laying a trap. Sure enough about a mile in, the rain starts falling a little harder and the wind swirls a little more. At that point you have to decide: (1) Turn around and go home, change clothes and get on treadmill to finish mileage (2) Solider on knowing you keep this run in mind when another inclement day comes up and tests your worth.

I choose # 2. Not sure it was the smartest thing to do, but then again running 50 miles in couple of weeks isn't either! :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Runnin with T.T.

Twinkle Toes, the 2006-2007 Fun Run Series Winner, has decided to go "Diddy Style" and prepare for the upcoming Detroit Free Press Marathon in a matter of just 11 weeks. However, unlike Sean John who is better suited to Making the Band and sipping Cristal, T.T. is no slouch or slug when it comes to the world of endurance. T.T. is a formidable 2 wheeled, skinny tire riding, spandex wearing roadie who's huge engine should propel him to a finish albeit with a few different tweaks and discomfort then he is used to on that heinous two wheeled asphalt gobbler.

As his unofficial "coach", his long run today called for 10 miles and i said i would join him. We decided to meet up @ Stoney Creek @ 8 am after i had completed a little over 10 miles and then do an out and back loop for his 10.

A cool morning and multiple deer sightings had me cruising along and stoked to pick up someone to run the last 10 with. Admitting earlier in the week, that he felt like "that guy" as he picked up some apparel at the bulls-eye store as he began his venture into endurance running, T.T. also learned an important lesson today that he does not like the Ultimate Direction Access Hydration Pack and was eyeing and coveting my Ultimate Direction FastDraw Plus. Fueled by the good conversation and the stark admittance that T.T. did not want to come out openly to his skinny/fat tire friends that he was attempting this "marathon" thing for fear of heckling and needling from the pack, we cruised through 10 miles in just over 1 hr 24 min.

A hearty run by a newbie but not nearly as entertaining as his gf who we saw on the circular bike path at 3 miles and then again at 9 miles who said she "got lost".

So here is to T.T. and his noble pursuit of losing his virginity at the Detroit Free Press Marathon on October 21, 2007!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Paci Fairy

Nub, nook, binky, plug, or paci. Before little dirt dawg was born, we as newbie parents were like "no way, no paci's!" That lasted as long as the first few hours @ home and he began wailing. Insert paci @ it was like a sweet elixir...good night.

Since that day, it has been the go to for little dirt dawg @ night or in times of distress. We have been talking about giving them up when I mentioned that maybe i should just cut the paci out and then there would be nothing. Dirrty Girl said "Nice, so when he finds them like that he knows who to blame."
So instead she tells little dirt dawg if he had ever heard of the Paci Fairy.

The Paci Fairy, little dirt dawg wondered? Dirtty Girl explained that the Paci Fairy came and took BIG BOYS paci's and took them to little kids who did not have them. You put them in a bag on the front porch and the Paci Fairy takes them and leaves you a great big prize! Little Dirt Dawg excitedly babbled on about the BIG CRANKY the CRANE (Thomas and Friends) that he wanted if he gave his paci's away and that he was ready tonight! Dirrty Girl is looking at me like I had better run to the store @ 10 pm and find Cranky! She thought better and told little dirt dawg that the Paci Fairy did not work on Wednesday and would come tomorrow night and that we had to make a bag first.

So little dirt dawg boldly slept w/o his sweet elixir's last night and this morning got up ready to make his bag. Tonight is the night. Paci Fairy is on speed dial & I had better run and find CRANKY!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Are they the answer?

Picked up a pair of SofSole Adept Insoles today to try and sure up the cushioning on The North Face Anurva Boa 50. Not just any insoles but heat moldable ones!

(1) Trim insoles
(2) Preheat oven to 225 degrees
(3) Place insoles oven for 2 minutes
(4) Remove from oven and place in shoes....please remember they are hot!!
(5) Stand on insoles for 2 minutes
(6) Race little dirt dawg up the block to test them out

Did they improve the cushioning? I will report back after I run in them for a few hours......

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Big M Recon

Mission: Do a solo 450 mile round trip drive to the Big M where the North Country Trail 50 mile race I am doing on September 15th takes place and do 25 mile training run put on by the Striders to test my race day gear, pacing, and fitness.

Result: Whew! That was a First things first. Completed the run in 4 hr 6 min. On the way up there I was thinking that I would like to try and do the run in btwn 4 hr and 4 hr 10 min so that was perfect. What did not go perfect was getting not following the pattern from the outset of all my long runs of running approx 18 min and then walking 2 min. Being around a group of approximately 20 runners who also where there, I got sucked in and ran for first hour without taking any breaks. Sure, after I got back on my own schedule I quickly lost sight of everyone and was left to run the beautiful and rolling course to myself but towards the end i managed to reel a few back in.

(1) I either need to get some insoles for The North Face Anurva Boa 50 or run in another pair of shoes. The trail is not technical, but in the words of Monday Night Ride Leader, R.H. when i asked what he remembered of the trail from the Lumberjack 100, "You are either going up or down" which means lots of cushioning needed for all the pounding and I felt those shoes didn't have it.

(2) Carried a water bottle for the training run....will I want to carry it for another 25?

(3) Although peaceful to be in the woods for the better part of 4 hrs today, I am definitely bringing the ipod on the second lap!
(4) More than anything, i needed this run as a confidence booster. Yes, I have been reporting that I think my training might actually be working, but I needed to see and feel the actual course on the training run today to make it legit in my head. To see if the plan i was following and my dilligence was actually paying off. In my head, I knew that if I could finish the training run today and feel pretty good that everything i had been doing to that point, and what i have left will put me in great shape to finish the 50 miler next month.
Mission Accomplished!!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dirrty Feather Joins Team Dirt

Dirrty Feather just short of 6 1/2 months joined Team Dirt today with her first ever run in the jogger!! Her spirits were high as she joined me on her first 5 miler and reported through rasberry's and squeals that the scenery and sounds were of a delight.

Just like her brother, little dirt dawg, dirrty feather nodded off after approximately 2 1/2 miles. Here is to the first of many more runs!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Detroit Zoo

One advantage of living in our tiny, overpriced bungalow in Royal Oak, is that the Detroit Zoo is a mere 5 minutes away. Given the oppresive heat the last couple of days the whole family was getting a little "cabin fever" and was in need of a break when Dirrty Girl proposed the zoo after dinner.

With a yearly membership, it is quick and easy to get to and in the zoo to see the animals. Sometimes little dirt dawg would just like to see the Polar Bears housed in the world's largest polar bear exhibit opened to the public, but tonight he was more interested in the newly opened Giraffe Encounter, which allows for feeding of special treats to the giraffes at practically their "eye level".

Evenings at the zoo is really the best time to see the animals. The heat of the has passed and the animals are definetely feeling a little more frisky.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Detroit Yoga

Sheepishly I walked back into Detroit Yoga today after not going for approximately 4 months. Excuses, well other than my daughter being born and trying to make the adjustment to 2 kids, i can offer no good one. Jason, the owner, looked up from his computer as I walked in and said; " Mike, long time no see"

"Yes, I replied, I think we have our 6 month old under control," and quickily walked into the studio and unrolled my mat.

Based largely on Vinyasa Yoga which focuses on "breath movement", these classes are demanding. It is one thing to go out and run 20 miles and to be in charge of the pace, hydration, etc, but it is quite another to follow the voice of the instructer stating things like: "Inhale should be 3 seconds long, Exhale just as long" "Stay in here for a few breaths" "Getting yourself into a rhythm" "The more you push yourself in here, the better you will handle things out there" all the while keeping pace with the poses.

I consider myself to be in pretty good shape, but ask me to get into Half Moon or into Pigeon Pose, and the soft, bubbly girl next to me is a as limber as a pretzel while my hamstrings and hips are screaming at me, "Go back outside and run, we know you can do that for hours without inflicting pain on yourself."

However, I know this is what I need. Sweat cascading off me in buckets, I can feel my hamstrings lengthening, my hips opening up, and my stiffness in the lower back receding.

As I was leaving, Jason said, "So when will you be back?"

"Next week," I said, and ran out to my bike to pedal really fast home.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Long Slow Distance is a running term coined in 1969 as Joe Henderson was looking an alternative to training that was simply known as "PTA - Pain, Torture and Agony". The objective of these types of runs are to build blood volume, increase muscle strength, endurance and aerobic fitness while being done at about 1-3 minutes slower than your normal pace.

All that hoo-ha aside, I was just damm tired today. Long run on Friday, followed by Kickball with the Sex Panthers, a yoga/weight/core workout Saturday morning, and the Combine Demo Derby last night, left me less than enthusiastic about getting some miles in. Maybe it is the accumulating effect of the training or I am just in a bit of a funk, or tired, but I thought that if I was running today it was gonna be LSD.

Simple objective was to make it to the MIL's (Mother in Law's) where Dirrty Girl was baking by late afternoon and keep the heartrate below 70%, mileage and time not being of a concern. Ipod rocking, hand held bottle filled, and my fanny pack filled with essentials off I plodded.

There is something to be said at just plodding along with no concern to pace or route. I just took my time covering a route that I would normally never consider and at a pace that first felt like i was moving through mud, but soon enough gave way to an easy plodding that felt like i could have run all day. In the end, I covered just over 9 miles, found $.10, but I actually felt better than when I started and was looking forward to the rest of the week of training!!

Combine Demo Derby

With summer starting to wind down there is no better bang for your buck than heading out to a county fair. The Monroe County Fair was the spot for C... Clan to head down last night to enjoy some ginormous smoked turkey legs, elephant ears, and all you can drink homebrew soda. However, food was not the star attraction. Oh no, the attraction on this night was the 2nd annual combine demo derby!

First a beauty pagent, judged by crowd applause, and won by the Redneck Firetruck.

Next, began a series of 4 heats with 4-5 combines in each heat. You won by either disabling the other combines or pushing them out of the arena. Let's just say, some of them did not last to long and required a bit of help after the heat was done to get out.

All in all, a great night of good ole fun.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Paint Creek

The Paint Creek Trail is a converted rail to trail that is approximately 17.5 miles in length. Thankfully, I ran a "fat ass" race a couple of years ago that diverted off the trail and turned the otherwise pancake road into a hilly fun run. So today, I rambled out there and left from the Rochester Municipal Park. Heading north on the PCT until it crosses Dutton Road (go left), I made my way up the gently rolling hill to Brewster Road (right) to Silverbell Road (right) and back on to the PCT (left) until just passing the Gunn Rd. overpass you find a couple of old pieces of farm equipment at which point you turn around and head home. In the end the trip distance is a little over 15 miles and at least 4 good hills :)

I also received my confirmation for the North Country Trail 50 miler today, so i guess there is no backing out now!!!!