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My Blog-free Month, Spent Largely on the Elliptical Machine

November 15, 2011

My intention was to update this blog every day or two.  I think that many ambitious bloggers start with a similar plan.  While my training has been fairly inspired since my last post, my enthusiasm for talking about it has not.  A big reason for not sharing as much is that there hasn’t been as much to share.  At least, nothing that includes harrowing tales of narrow escapes or superhuman feats.  But, that’s not to say I’ve been sitting around playing with my calluses for a month.

I don’t feel the need to go into great detail of how I’ve spent each of the last 30 or so days but here are some highlights:

* On October 29th I got to see what a race was like from the other side of the aid station table.  Training partner/friend/pain seeker Andres Capra was running the Cactus Rose 50-miler out in Bandera, Texas – the same race we ran together last year – and I came along this time to crew for him.  In the world of ultra-running, having some help out along the course makes a big difference and I got all the glory that you might expect goes along with spending most of a day re-filling a friend’s water bottles and relocating coolers from one semi-random spot along a trail to another similarly semi-random spot a few miles away.  But, I got to do it with Sagan at my side, after a night of snuggle-tent-camping in the middle of nowhere.  And Andres had a great run, covering the 50 miles in just under 10.5 hours, improving on our previous year’s time by more than an hour.

* I’m back on a daily, measured push-ups and pull-ups routine.  Basically I alternate days, with a day off here and there.  The big difference is the quantities and approach.  Rather than a set time for a structured workout, I do my strength training throughout the day, whenever it feels right, wherever I am.  That sometimes means taking breaks during a run to crank out some push-ups or getting in a set or two of pull-ups between answering emails and putting away groceries.  Back in high school, even when I was doing obsessive amounts of strength training, pull-ups were a particular weakness.  Getting 8-10 proper reps was a real challenge.  Now I’m routinely getting 100+, every other day.  On November 4th I got in ten sets of 12 and 3 sets of 10, for 150 over the day.  My new norm is 8 sets of 13.  For push-ups, I shoot for sets of at least 50 reps and I typically try to get at least 300 throughout the day, though the range has been as low as 250 and as high as 500.  Getting a little bit of focused strength training all day long seems contrary to just about every workout plan I’ve heard about but I like the mini-challenges I get all day long.

* My endurance training has been a bit mixed up the last few weeks.  Alison and I got to take a short trip to Germany, where I got to get some beautiful runs through hilly forest trails and in picturesque old-timey places like this:

But, perhaps for the first time since I started really running, I got an injury that I thought might be a real problem.   The bottom of my right foot started swelling with each run, making it feel like I was running with a marble in my shoe.  I feared a stress fracture but it turned out to just be a pinched nerve.  With some steroids (doctor-prescribed) and something like rest, it is healing up.

* Getting my foot right has been a top priority, with my 50-miler coming up in less than a month.  So, I’ve backed off running quite a bit, instead spending a lot of time on the elliptical machine.  Most days I do 90 minutes to 2 hours but there have been a couple of 3-hour sessions.  In just the last week, I think I’ve gotten in about 10 hours on the elliptical, which is about 10 hours more than I’d like in a perfect-foot universe.  But, with the foot healing up, I’ve been able to get back to some quality running over the last week.

* For the first time since the summer, this week I was able to get in 3 long runs (15M, 15M, 21M), all on trail and at reasonably decent paces.  This past Sat/Sun was also my first time doing long back-to-back runs in some time and I am, for the first time since the October 1 marathon, starting to feel like I’m back in the running groove.

* With Thanksgiving in St. Louis coming up fast and my 50-miler soon after I return to Austin, it is again crunch time.  The plan, though not methodical like marathon training, is to fit in as many quality miles as I can over the next 10 days or so, then back it off so I’m rested for the actual race.

* Oh, and a second dose of fatherhood is fast approaching.  Here’s what our fetus looked like as of Halloween:


  1. Congrats on a 50k time!
    That last photo is just ought to be on the wall:) Send it to magazines!

  2. This paragraph offers clear idea for the new visitors of blogging, that genuinely how to do blogging
    and site-building.

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