Thursday, June 30, 2005


ORN: Biked again yesterday. More by default than by design. I had a meeting downtown and it's much easier to bike than to drive. And much less expensive the parking or taking a taxi. It ended up being about 90 minutes of biking total.

I realized that I had done something for 5 days in a row. Not a good idea for me, so I took the day off from running. We'll see how the legs feel later in the day. I may take today off completely.

I guess I should explain what "ORN" means.

In the OLD days, there was an internet list called the Dead Runners Society. This was back in the early 1990's before the internet and email groups were everywhere. This was a group of academics and government workers, mostly, who shared their opinions and thoughts about running - and everything else.

To make SURE that at least SOME part of the post had SOMETHING to do with running they imposed the "ORN" rule. It stands for Obligatory Running Note. And it required the writer to describe their latest run. Some people went on to call them OBN [Obligatory Biking Note] or OSN [Swimming] or OYN [Yoga]. I just call everything an ORN.

So, to keep ME on message I'm going to begin each Blog with and ORN about my training for the Chicago Marathon.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Food for Thought

ORN: Cross trained yesterday. Got in about 60 minutes on the bicycle. I was supposed to run last night but training was canceled because of the heat index.

I went to a nutrition for athletes seminar last night. These always make me a little nervous because there are so many opinions and so few absolutes. I'm sure certified dieticians know a lot more than I do, but, I still think - for most of us - it comes down to how much we eat, not what we eat.

My own formula is pretty simple. Find a way of eating that you can sustain for the rest of your life. Find a level of activity that you can sustain for the rest of your life. And be done with it.

Beyond being healthy and fit everything else is ego. I've got round shoulders and relatively short legs [I'm LONG waisted] I'm never going to have the "ideal" body for anything except watching television. So be it.

If you can do what you want to do in the body that you have, you're all set. If you want to loose a few pounds, cut your serving portions. Simple.

Being fit and active should be fun. Let it be.

Waddle on, friends.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Moving on

Slow, easy run yesterday. Still doing 4/2 because of the heat. Managed to get in a solid 60 minutes, though.

I'm beginning to feel like I'm in a training program. That may sound funny to some, but I make a very sharp distinction between running and training.

When I'm running, I usually don't care how fast or how far. I don't keep track. If I miss a day or so, I don't care. When I'm training, I get much more careful about distance and pace. And I certainly don't want to miss a workout.

Now, this may sound strange coming from me, but the truth is if I've decided to train I want to do the training well. It doesn't mean I'm going to shoot for a PR come race day. In fact, on race day I'm sure I won't care what happens. But in the meantime, the quality of the training is important.

Waddle on, friends.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Weekend

I got in the 8 mile run on Saturday. I say run, I mean run/walk. In fact with the temperatures so high in Chicago we changed the ratio from 5/1 to 4/2 [run/walk] It wasn't as ugly as I was afraid it was going to be.

Sunday, I managed to take a day off and go for a 25 mile bicycle ride. I'm trying to build up my cycling. In the "old" days I did a lot of road cycling. I think it helped my running, and now I'm trying to get back into it.

I've got an entire week at home. Don't know what to do with the time! But, I'm sure I'll find something.

Waddle on, friends.


Friday, June 24, 2005

Hot Times

Good news. Bad news.

I managed to get in my run yesterday. The schedule calls for a 5/1 run/walk interval. I changed that to a 4/2 run/walk interval just to give myself more recovery time. I covered the same distance, it just took a little longer. It felt better than I thought it would.

Today's plan is/was to get out and ride some. It's suppsed to be 96 degrees here in Chicago today, so I won't be doing much outside.

Tomorrow's long run is 8 miles. It may be tougher than it should be, but I'm going to do my best to get through it so that I don't get behind in the training.

Waddle on, friends.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Back in the saddle

It looks like the worst of the abdominal attack is over. I am thankful for that. For those of you who have never experienced an out-and-out assault on your intire digestive system all I can tell you is that it's painful and exhausting.

The odd remnant is that I can't stand the smell of coffee. And this from a guy who LOVED coffee. No idea what that means.

I rode my bicycle a little yesterday. It wasn't great, but at least I'm moving again. I'm going to try to run later today. We'll see how that goes.

OK, complaining over. Back to running and gunning and funning.

Waddle on, friends.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Back among the living

Sort of.

I'll tell you what, I don't know what this was but - I don't want it again. Best anyone can figure I ate food contaminated with something. Let's leave it at that.

Still don't think I can train today. I'm going to try to get out for a walk. Hope I have the energy for that. I'm supposed to do 8 miles on Saturday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I don't want to get behind in my long runs this early.

Of course, as I used to tell my students, the sooner you get behind, the longer you have to catch up.

Waddle on, friends.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Down for the Count


So a daily blog is probably not gonna work. There. I've said it. How about we call it a semi-daily, irregular blog?

Actually, I've been under the weather for the past few days. No idea what it is for sure, but I'm guessing that something I ate in Anchorage wasn't as clean as it should have been.

Since I'm now in a training program I worried that these missed days will set me back. I know I shouldn't worry, but, I'm eager to get back out there.

So far I've actually only missed one run and once cross-training day, but... well... I'm ready to get to training.

Waddle on, friends.

Friday, June 17, 2005

The midnight sun

Greetings from Anchorage, Alaska.

I'm up here with Team in Training for the Mayor's Midnight Sun marathon. For those of you who have never been to Alaska, you owe it to yourself to experience the beauty of this place.

This is my 6th trip to Anchorage and I've spent time "down" in Southeast Alaska [Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka] and I can tell you that it is everything you think it is, and more. It's raw, it's majestic, it's - well - it's the last frontier.

Life doesn't change very quickly up here. I wrote an unpublished "Penguin Chronicle" called "Absence of Momentum" about life in Seward, Alaska. It's a city in a time warp, it seemed to me. It was like having been transported back to 1972. Pleasant, but frozen in time.

Waddle on, friends.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Getting into the habit

So, this blogging thing isn't as easy as it looks. First off, you have to remember to do it. I'm not sure how I'm going to remind myself, but I'm going to try.

I'm training for a fall marathon this year. I say training because I'm actually following the Chicago Endurance Sports training program [the Green program to be specific] So often over the past several years I've just run and biked without much of a plan and then popped into a fall marathon. Not this year.

What's odd is that I'm having a difficult time moving into the "training" mode. I guess I've gotten so used to just running and biking for fun [or transportation] that I don't want to give up the freedom to do what I want. Oh well.

With my traveling I do have to modify things some, but I'm committed to staying on the schedule as best I can. Yesterday I did "Yasso 800's" [half mile repeats] I'm doing 4, at 5:00 minutes per repeat with 2:30 recovery. Can't seem to get past 4 just yet.

Off to Anchorage today with Team in Training. More from there tomorrow.

Waddle on, friends.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

And so it goes

Being a writer is both easier and harder than most people think. Easier, because if you can talk you can write. It doesn't take any special talent to move the thoughts from your head down to the keyboard of the laptop and out into cyberspace.

Harder, because once those thoughts leave your fingers you've lost them forever. The words are no longer the words you wrote. They are transformed into the words that someone reads. A thought, a phrase, an idea that seems so clear when you write it can morph into something completely different in the mind of the reader.

With that caveat, I'm going to give this blogging a shot. This will be - as it already is - a morning note to friends. Most won't be groundbreaking revelations. None will be edited, so those of you who have read the columns and books may be shocked to find out what the raw thought-process looks like.

There will be the odd "eureka" moments, I suppose. There will be some column previews, some thoughts on running and life, and more.

Grab a cup of coffee and join me.

Waddle on, friends.