Dreamin’

Hey, hey, hey.  What’s happening, gang?  Sit back and let Roger, Dee, Dwayne, Rerun, Shirley and I catch you up on the latest happenings on Allen’s road to Boston.  (PS – Roger sure looked like a runner, didn’t he?  Lose the glasses, give him some split shorts, and you’d swear he was an Olympic marathoner.)

This past week’s training felt a little sub-par.  On nearly every run, virtually every step, I felt like I was struggling.  Every run felt like my first.  Remember those days when you were just starting out and every step was labored, every breath a huge, gasping for air, sucking in of oxygen?  Yeah, I felt like that.  The good news is that the Achilles and stomach deal were mostly non-factors, at least during the actual running (the Achilles, both of them now, hurt a little every morning when I first get up).

I continue to follow the Brad Hudson plan and my mileage remains pretty low.  I’m upwards of 35 miles the past 2 weeks.  Yeah, I’m not planning on PR’ing, but hopefully I’ll be able to finish.  Here’s a snapshot of the plan:

A snapshot of my Coach Brad Hudson training plan. Allen's Color Code: Green means I fully met the requirements of the workout, Yellow means I came up short, either in distance or pace goals, but performed 'the spirit' of the workout, Blue means I still ran but did something entirely different from the workout, and Red means I didn't run at all.

All I can do is keep slogging away and hope that the fitness miraculously comes together by April.

Here are some random, hopefully interesting, tidbits from my last week.

Monday

My off day – I didn’t run, but I dreamt about running, sort of.  Here’s the dream: I’m playing golf with David Nemoto, a friend, Hood to Coast teammate, and a sub-3:00 marathoner, who’s clad in running garb.  We’re on the green and I reach for the ball in the hole when I notice this black, moving mass in there.  So instead of putting my hand in the hole, I use my putter.  When I pull it out, it’s covered, teeming with this softball-sized mass of black widows.

I scream and start beating the putter against the ground.  “Careful!”, yells David, just as one of the black widows bounces onto his chest.  He screams and brushes it off and yells, “See!  I told you!  Watch out!”

That’s the entire dream, as I remember it.  Have at the dream interpretations.  One of my good friends gave me his own interpretation of it, a very plausible one, in my opinion.  Contact me if you’d like to hear it – I will spare the general population (and as it’s pretty personal, it might not make a lot of sense unless you know me, and my history, pretty well).

Tuesday

Todd joined me for an easy 3+ mile run around CIC (the Customer Information Center, where I work).  For those of you thinking, “Oh my god, that must be tedious, lap after lap around a parking lot”, please note that our complex is HUGE, complete with crushed gravel trails in the woods around the building.  We warmed up on the trail, then did 5 Hudson hill sprints on this perfect short-but-steep hill that we discovered by the parking deck.  This is the perfect course for my little Tuesday recovery runs.  Nothing eventful of note.

That night, I had another running dream.  I was in Myrtle Beach for the US Track and Field Olympic trials.  Here’s how you know it’s a dream – I was there because I had qualified for the 800 meters.  Throughout the dream, I kept trying to remember the race where I had qualified, but I couldn’t.  This really should have tipped me off to the fact that I was dreaming, but, for whatever reason, it didn’t.

I spent the majority of the dream trying to buy spikes in Myrtle Beach.  I actually kept trying on shoes but was having great difficulty finding a pair that fit properly.  What a waste of perfectly good dream time – trying on shoes!  Finally I found an outrageously expensive pair of spikes that fit well.  I was a little upset about spending so much money, but I told myself, “What the hell?  It’s the Olympic trials for chrissakes!”

I found some rain-soaked track, and did strides in my new shoes.  Then my coach, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, showed up with a shoe box which he handed me.  Inside was a pair of Nike track spikes, the exact model I’d worn in college (I can’t remember the actual model name, but we called them “The Flames” back then – see the picture below).  “Wow, where’d you find these?”  I asked Coach Hoffman.  “Don’t you worry about it”, he responded.  I don’t think there’s much symbolism in this dream.  I watched the Olympic Trials marathon Sunday and the Ides of March Tuesday night, so there ya go.  But if you’re seeing something I’m missing, please enlighten me.

Coach Hoffman

Not the exact shoes I wore in college and received in the dream, but very close and the closest I could find with a quick Google search of "old school Nike spikes"

Wednesday

The original CIC 3 Amigos, Dean, Todd, and I, headed out after work for an easy 6-mile run on the University trails.  We’d most likely be on the trail when the sun set, so I looked, in vain, for my head lamp.  Instead, I grabbed a safety blinking light, but when I got outside, I couldn’t get the light to function.  Things were lining up nicely for me to get creamed by a car on this run.

It was still light out when we crossed Harris Blvd. to get to Technology Drive and ultimately the trailhead.  We seemed to be cruising, a pretty quick pace for an ‘easy’ run, and I felt labored trying to keep up with Dean.  When we hit the trail, it was muddy, yet probably not as muddy as expected given all the rain we’d had of late.

We hit the 3-mile turnaround point on the trail and made our U-turn, Dean pulling Todd and I along.  It was dark enough by this point that I started worrying about footing.  Todd, a step or 2 behind me, flipped on his headlight, but it didn’t help me much.  I just followed tightly behind Dean in hopes that he’d avoid any significant obstacles, namely the huge mud puddles that turned the dark trail into an H2O mine field.

We made it back to the relatively well lit Technology Drive without any falls or mishaps, a few slippery close calls notwithstanding.  I cruised up Mt. Michelin ahead of the guys, but tucked back between them after we crested the apex.  After all, it was pretty dark between there and CIC and they both had on reflective vests and neon yellow shirts.  I was practically invisible.  But we safely cruised back to the work parking lot and another run was in the books.

Thursday

Death slog on the treadmill at the University Y.  I was supposed to run 6 but only had time for 5 if I was to make it to the Garmin clinic at Fleet Feet Huntersville.  I wanted to ask the Garmin rep if he knew why my 310 XT kept getting a garbled display.  Maybe it was a pretty common problem that he’d know how to resolve.  It wasn’t – he didn’t.  He’d never seen it before.  He used his phone to snap a picture of it.

But he did explain why the 405 incessantly malfunctions when you sweat a lot, like I do.  Apparently, although unable to be seen with the naked eye, when you  perspire onto your 405, salt deposits form that cause the watch to flip out.  This is easily resolved by thoroughly washing the bezel with soap and water.  Great, I can just use my old 405 instead of the 310, now that I know how to resolve my biggest problem with the watch.  Oh wait, no I can’t, because I sold it the day before the clinic.  Sigh.

Locals, including yours truly, listen to the Garmin guy at the Huntersville Fleet Feet Garmin clinic.

Friday

More death-slogging on the dreadmill (this time at the Lake Norman Y).  Goal was to do 8-mile progression.  Actual was 5.5 mile slog, 2+ of which were walking.  On the plus side, the Y did some remodeling so that the treadmills face the lake.  I always thought the Y had been designed backwards – the main weight/exercise room overlooked the parking lot when the other side of the building is waterfront and has a beautiful view of the lake,  heretofore only seen from a stairway.  Well somebody wisely figured this out and redid the layout.  The down side – the new treadmills have TV’s attached to them, but they only get like 6 channels and ESPN is not 1 of them.  I like to mindlessly follow ESPN from the treadmill.

Instead, this guy at work gave me an awesome set of bluetooth headphones so I used them to intently listen to a, as usual, brilliant podcast of the NPR show “This American Life”.  There was much irony in that the show was about the terrible working conditions that people faced in China while putting together smartphones, one of which I was using to listen to the show.  It was surreal.  But man, those poor people, many of which are children as young as 11-years-old, work in these gargantuan factories – the 1 in the story employed some 400,000+ workers.  That’s not a typo – over four hundred thousand!  And the factory had recently installed netting around the building as workers kept committing suicide by jumping off the building.  It made me want to give up on gadgets, says the man typing a blog on his laptop.  But where would I stop in this boycott?  Virtually everything we own in America is put together by overworked, underpaid foreign labor.  All I can do is bitch about it on my blog and hope somebody out there with more clout than me will be inspired to take meaningful action.

Let me get back on track here before my running blog becomes political/social diatribe.  Oops, too late.

Saturday

The best run of the week.  I checked the weather on my phone which said the temperature outside was 50.  So I put on shorts and a singlet and headed outside despite the rain (I’d had my fill of the treadmill for the week).  But when I stepped outside, the rain and wind made 50 feel more like 30.  I turned right back around and traded the shorts and singlet for tights and a long-sleeved tech tee.

The stupid 310 wouldn’t start (I found out later this was operator error – apparently I’d left it powered on since my trip to Fleet Feet and it had simply run out of battery life) so I ran watchless.  I felt naked at first, but it became sort of liberating, an old-school jaunt with no concern for time.

I passed very few people in the rain, but there were a couple.  I saw a red-tailed hawk, menacingly eyeballing me as I ran mere feet beneath his tree limb perch.  I saw an earthworm the size of a garter snake – he would have made excellent fishing bait.  These are the random thoughts that popped up in my head during this run.  While I didn’t exactly feel good on this run, I felt less bad than on every other run of the week.  I’ll take it.

Saturday night, I hit the Tyler Creek Pub for the Charlotte Running Club social, where I caught up with many running pals I haven’t seen in a while.  Good times, although I still think it’s BS that the 1 non-runner present, Garrett, won the running trivia contest.  Whoever fed him the answers, next time please at least have the decency to feed the answers to a runner.  😉

Which brings us to today.  You’re all caught up on my road to Boston.  I have a tough long run ahead of me today – apparently Coach Hudson is not a fan of easy long runs.  This one is like 3 workouts in one – fartlek, tempo, and long run.  Wish me luck – I’m going to need it.

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2 Responses to “Dreamin’”

  1. caitlin Says:

    didn’t Garrett tell you he’s splitting his earnings with you? Meet us at inside out today at 2pm to find out more! 🙂

  2. Annabelle Says:

    I have listened to that episode of “this American life” twice now, both times while running…it should be required listening.

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