Saturday, December 6, 2014

You Know There's Nothing Interesting To Report When...

You know there's nothing interesting to report when you post about your new beard on your running blog:

How to tie this in...

Okay, how about this. If/when I start running again, I'll be channeling an older, slower, grayer Anton Krupicka through my beard.

My plan is to let it grow all winter, assuming I can remain married that long.

I think I've said enough for now.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Goal Achieved

As has been the case with several recent blog posts, this one will have nothing to do with running, for which I apologize. I don't have a blog for which this post would be appropriate, so running friends, please indulge me. It is, at least, about a physical activity.

I started bowling at the wee age of four (way back in the early 70's) and have bowled on many leagues, on and off, since then. I'm not particularly a gifted athlete (an understatement), yet having started so young, bowling is one "sport" (okay, a game, really) that I'm pretty good at. I usually carry a league average of 205-210 and, many years ago, my dad taught me how to throw a pretty sweet hook (if I do say so myself). However, the one thing that has eluded me in that world was the Perfect Game. The old 300. 12 consecutive strikes. Three times I've come close (once during league, twice in practice), rolling two 290 games and a 289. To be honest, the 290 games, as close as the scores appear, weren't even close to being perfect games. In both of them, I rolled a 9 and a spare in the first frames, then — with no pressure of a potential 300 — rolled 11 consecutive strikes to finish those games. The 289, however, was very close. I had strikes lined up for 9 frames. Crushed the pocket the first ball of the 10th frame for my 10th in a row. The next ball, I left the ten pin, which I spared for a 289. My wife was the only witness to that one, so it wouldn't have been sanctioned. Not that she doesn't have the power to sanction things. Just not with the USBC.

Last night, before my weekly league (my team consists of my dad, stepmom sister and myself, dubbed "Lightning Strikes"), I told my wife and oldest daughter that I was going to roll a 700 series, a 300 game, or both. I've made similar claims before, but I honestly felt like it was going to be an "on" night for me. After a very slow start to the season in late September, things have finally started clicking. I'm using a new ball and learning what it can do (it plays down and in very well, even on heavy oil.) Two weeks ago, I rolled a 669 series, followed by a 662 series last week. I suffer from pain in my right hand (tendon damage, I believe), so I've had to modify my delivery a bit, which helps to alleviate the pain. Last night, I switched to that delivery exclusively during the third game (incidentally, my new delivery involves keeping my hand flat during the backswing, then quickly flexing my wrist and lifting on the release, as opposed to cupping my hand & wrist during the entire approach.)

I started the night with a 234 game, with 5 consecutive strikes out of the gate, which felt good. This season, my first game has usually been my lowest, so it was nice to start well. Game two was down a tad (217), but I managed to stay "clean" (no opens) for both games. I mentioned to my dad that I needed a 249 third game for a 700 series, about which I wasn't terribly optimistic. Fortunately, the lanes seemed remarkably consistent all night. The only adjustment I made, aside from modifying my delivery, was to move 1 board left during the 2nd game while still throwing over the 2nd arrow. The pocket felt big all night, but it grew even more during the third game. After my 5th consecutive strike, my dad stated that he would no longer talk to me (a common practice among bowlers en route to a potential perfect game, much like a pitcher throwing a no-hitter).

I was eager to get up and bowl as quickly as possible, feeling like I could lose my groove if I waited too long. In the 8th frame (I believe), the 7 and 10 pins taunted me, eventually falling to save me from a big split. When the 10th frame arrived, my nerves were kicking in. It took all my willpower to keep my head out of the game and let me body take over on auto-pilot. I was really grooving my swing and my delivery had been consistent. I obviously wanted to keep it that way to finish off the game. My first ball in the 10th hit light, leaving the 7 pin to wobble before being tripped by the 4. Ten in a row. My hands were just starting to sweat and shake a little and my mouth was getting dry. "Just two more, Colin. Just like all the rest." I couldn't look at my teammates or any of the others gathered behind the lane to cheer me on. I honestly don't remember what the second ball looked like, but the pins fell, thankfully. I remember clapping my hands together so hard that they stung. Before the third and final ball, I managed to block out the sights and sounds around me, although I was afraid that my nerves were going to affect my delivery. Four steps, release, POW. One of my most solid strikes of the game...and a very heavy and old monkey off of my back.

I also managed my lifetime high series (751) and a clean night (no opens). I'll be ordering my 300 ring next week. We also swept our opponents, which was a nice bonus.

It was a fun night. I'm not sure how I'll top it. How about another 300 next week? Why not? This one has only taken 40-something years!

Trying to do my job as anchor!

Blurry. It's about how I felt after that last ball.
Here's how the night played out.

The Brunswick Mastermind Genius (the ball, not me.) Absolutely LOVE this ball, for obvious reasons.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

That Old Balance Thing Again

To me, it seems that a pendulum is most effective when swinging through the middle position. In the below diagrams, that position is called the "equilibrium" position, and it's noted that "velocity is maximum."

Sorry to get all physics class on you, but my possibly poorly illustrated point is that extremes, when it comes to physical activity, are often the least effective when it comes to balanced physical fitness. I'm saying this anecdotally, of course.

I have a tendency to take extreme approaches to exercise. When I decide I'm going to run, I go all-in. When I want to become strong, same thing, that becomes the narrow focus. And yet I know that, for me, these approaches almost always lead to burnout and/or injury. I know this sounds very anti-goal oriented...which I'm not, by any means...but this is a lesson that has been very hard for me to learn and incorporate in my approach to fitness. There are some amateur athletes, even in my age group (late 40's) who seem to be able to defy the odds and push to the limit for extended periods. I'm not one of them.

For someone so interested in physical fitness, I'm pretty fragile. If you've followed this blog over the years, you'll know that I've experienced just about every common running injury out there. And, when I've shut down the running and picked up the heavy weights, I seem to eventually pull or strain something.

With that said, I have achieved goals. I ran and completed my first (and so far, only) marathon in May of 2010. During one of my injured periods, I met a fellow runner's challenge of getting six-pack abs. I've achieved a set of 20 overhand pull-ups, deadlifted 320 lbs., bench pressed 222 lbs, etc. Not that any of these are impressive, but they're goals I've met, despite my fragility.

There are still physical goals I have yet to achieve. I believe we all must have them, and they must be personal. Doing something just because someone else has done it or is doing it isn't a reason to shoot for something. If your goal is to do 10 perfect pushups, that's no less important or significant than someone trying to run a sub-3 hour marathon.

However, as I get older and my focus gradually shifts from attempting impressive physical feats to being as fit and healthy as I can be, my approach needs to change. I'm still in the process of figuring out exactly what that means. I know it will involve doing a little of everything, rather than "all running" or "all weight lifting," or any other unbalanced approach I'm good at taking. That approach, unfortunately, isn't terribly inspiring when it comes to achieving goals.

Getting personal, there are a few things I do want to achieve in the near future. I'd like to get a lean waistline again. In my effort to build strength this year, I've become sloppy with my diet and have put on a belly that I can no longer accept (I've already started eliminating processed sugars. Again.) I'd also like to be able to do several pull-ups once again. I do miss running, too, but I know I'll probably never be able to run like I once did. Even while running a slow 2 miles with the dog today, there were frustrating aches and pains. On the flip side, my efforts to increase my deadlift have led to a lower back that has been "out" for the last few days. Alas, I don't think I'm meant to be a powerlifter (which is likely an understatement.) I still may attempt to enter a deadlift-only meet with my daughter in January, but that will be dictated 100% by my back. And whether or not I think I can lift more than most of the women at the meet.

So, to hopefully wrap up a rambling post, I need to figure out a way to stay motivated and inspired, while approaching exercise and fitness in a much more balanced way. The goal of "being in shape and not injured" sounds great, but it's far too amorphous. I've considered having weekly quotas, such as a certain number of pushups, pull-ups, miles run or ridden, weight lifted, etc., but I haven't really fleshed that out yet.

In any event, more balance (which I believe was my "key word" back in 2011 on this very blog) and less specificity will have to be a major part of my approach going forward.

Monday, June 30, 2014


Well, hello there! The very sparse posts are due to the fact that the "Resurrected Runner" is not currently running. At all.

Why not?

Well, two reasons. First, I still have lingering injuries that seem like they'll never go away (primarily my right hamstring), and second, I'm training myself and my daughter to compete in a (some?) powerlifting meet(s).

I am, however, walking quite a bit. I have a goal to...much like the annoying song...walk 500 miles this year. As of the end of June, I'm at 280 miles, so I'm ahead of pace. The walks aren't casual strolls, so I'm still getting some cardio and fat-burning benefits.

As for the lifting, I'm documenting my daughters and my current training cycle on our youtube page: father/daughter powerlifting journey.

Check it out if you're interested. As mentioned in previous posts, my daughter shows some promise. I'm keeping the weights she's lifting well below her maximum ability right now, just to focus on form and to, hopefully, avoid injuries.

Which, surprisingly, I've managed to do so far in my training. Avoid injuries, that is. My often temperamental lower back is even holding up, so I must be doing something right!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Checking In

I guess it's been nearly a month since I last posted. I wish I could say that a lot has happened since then. The running and bike rides have been few and far between. I was getting in about 3 runs per week until a couple of weeks ago. That's when I came down with a minor illness. Then I had a friend from across the country come up for a visit, which put me very behind in my work. So, even though excuses are like...well, you know, everyone has one...the quest for 10,000 lifetime running miles is still hanging there like forbidden fruit. I'm currently 152 miles shy of that mark.

There is another interesting development, though. My youngest daughter, Lindsey, has become very interested in powerlifting. I took her to watch a deadlift meet last January and she said she wants to compete in it next year. So I've taken it upon myself to train her. No, I'm no expert, but I've trained with weights for 20 years, read and researched, and solicited advice from a friend who is a Canadian national record holder in powerlifting. After a few months of training, I've determined that she's A) serious, and B) strong! Because of that commitment, I bought her a nice lifting belt. At 12 years old, she would already set a state record in one of the federations (USAPL) in two of the three lifts, with just her current numbers!

If I have to be honest, that's another reason I may not be quite as gung-ho about the running right now (aside from the ever-present hamstring issue). She would like me to compete in the same meet as her next January. Aside from the fact that I would likely embarrass myself, I'm not sure my body (lower back, in particular) will hold up enough to get up to, or over, a 400 lb. deadlift...which is where I'd want to be (or close to, anyway). But I'm going to give it a shot. Pure strength training and lots of slow cardio work aren't exactly compatible. Not for me, anyway, but I still hope to hit 10k miles by the end of this year. We'll see how this all plays out.

I've been walking quite a bit, though, in an attempt to walk 500 miles this year. I'm close to 190 already. Need to keep the dog's belly (and mine) in check.

Daughter #1, Natalie, sadly missed her entire freshman track season with hip issues. She's currently in physical therapy to strengthen her glutes & hips. There's apparently quite an imbalance in strength among those muscles and she's been compensating, which has led to a LOT of pain and soreness when she tries to run. We're hoping she can get to where she can run again soon.

That's about it from here. Spring has sprung here in the inland Northwest. Summer will be here soon!

Happy running!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Status Report

Well, I'm down about 2 1/2 lbs. since my previous entry. Not much, but I'm trying to lose the weight slowly. Don't want to lose too much muscle along with the fat.

As I mentioned previously, I'm going to achieve 10,000 lifetime running miles this year. I've run 38 miles in the last 4 weeks. Yes, that used to be a below average WEEK a few years ago, but this old, fragile (and slightly heavy) body isn't ready for much more than that currently. I'll probably plod along at about 10 miles per week for a bit and see if I can gradually increase, if my body allows. I'm now 170 miles shy of that 10k mark.

I managed to get one outdoor bike ride in a couple of weeks ago, but that's been it so far. Work has been busy, plus the weather hasn't been particularly conducive to fair-weather cycling. Lots of rain and/or wind lately. At the very least, I'll set up the trainer again, once work calms down.

The hamstring stretching seems to be going well. I'm more flexible than I've been in a long time, but I'm not sure it's helping with the pain. I can still feel it from time to time (especially after running up and down hills, and even after a flat 4-miler earlier this week.) Still, being more flexible through the hamstrings and lower back is something I need, regardless of the hamstring injury.

Pretty dry blog entry, I know. I'll wrap up here with a couple of recent cartoons.

Happy Easter, and good luck to those of you running Boston!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Well, Here Goes...

I've decided to officially take a shot at 10,000 lifetime running miles this year. I'm currently 205 miles shy of that mark (9795), and I have absolutely ZERO expectations when it comes to any other running achievements during this quest (i.e. pace, distance, etc.) I just want to get that mark behind me.

Of course, I'd love to have my body fully cooperate and become able to run fast and far (relatively speaking) again, but due to how non-compliant my body has been the last few years, I'm approaching this realistically. As much as I don't want it to be, this is strictly a numbers game. For now.

I'm also going to get my (ample) butt back on the bike very soon, too. I've managed to build bigger muscles (with a bigger gut) and get stronger these last few months, from a pure power perspective, but I'm ready to get leaner and "fit" once again.

I guess it's spring fever...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Not Very Fun-Knee

More news from the "If It's Not One Thing, It's Another" file.

(I honestly don't intend on making this a whiny, complaining-centric blog.)

The extent of my cardio training this winter (sad to say) has been walking. Surely, this injury-prone guy can take simple walks without injuries, right?

Not if my left knee has anything to say about it. This knee used to be my "good" knee up until last summer. That's when I'd start noticing pain under the kneecap during many of my runs. I haven't run since December 3rd of last year, but I've walked 121 miles since then. The pain has gradually increased to the point where I nearly have to limp during those walks to relieve the pressure (it hurts right when my foot makes impact with the ground). Lately, I've been icing and taking ibuprofen after walking.

If I had to guess (always encouraged when it comes to joint problems), I'd say the knee probably needs to be scoped and damaged cartilage needs to be removed. Oddly enough, my "bad" knee (right) has been feeling fine.

I plan to continue walking, unless it becomes too painful (it's close now) since I have a goal of walking 500 miles this year (essentially doubling last year's walking mileage). I also plan on getting on the bike soon, so it'll be interesting to see how the knee handles that. I'm guessing it's the impact that bothers it, so pedaling a bike shouldn't be an issue. I hope.

It also wouldn't hurt to drop a few of the pounds I've put on this winter. I'm starting on that journey now.

But, man, that donut looks good...

UPDATE: I just did a keyword search for "knee pain" in my blog and, lo and behold, the first mention of pain under my left kneecap was in an entry I posted on September 28, 2009 (4 1/2 years ago)! So perhaps this isn't a "good" knee after all.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hey Y'all!

Since it's been a while, I figured I'd post an update to let everyone know I'm still not running. In fact, I'm doing so well at not running that I'm 25 lbs. over what I would consider my race weight.

Yes, seriously.

That 25 lbs. consists entirely of muscle and what is commonly known as "not quite muscle."

In fact, I'm the heaviest I've been, ever.

And, believe it or not, that was intentional. I wanted to see if I could hit that mark (for me, that was 180 lbs.) by my 47th birthday (Feb. 28th). I achieved that a few weeks early. You may laugh (or cringe), but I've always had a hard time putting on weight. At my age, that now appears to no longer be the case.

The combination of very little cardio (I'm walking a few times per week), heavy weight lifting, and heavy eating, plus an apparently slower metabolism than I used to have made the weight gain relatively easy.

As I skeptically train for a potential powerlifting meet sometime in the future (skeptically, because I have a tendency to get injured. Duh.), the added weight has helped me get stronger. However, my midsection has grown to the point of limiting my wardrobe. Sure, sweatpants feel cozy, but having only 3 pairs of jeans you can squeeze into isn't ideal. Although I need to brag about having more of a Kardashian booty now than my formerly scrawny runner's booty.

The upside is that this fair-weather cyclist is close to dusting off the two-wheel steed soon, since spring weather has finally arrived here in Spokane. I don't know if I'll ever be a hardcore cyclist, but I am getting the itch to get back to riding somewhat regularly. That, plus dialing back the appetite just a little should gradually shrink my waist back to an acceptable size.

Do I miss running? Sure, especially when I see other people out for a run. Will I ever be a "runner" again? I honestly don't know. The hamstring that shut me down several months ago still reminds me of its unhappy presence. In fact, I was doing lunges in a recent workout — an exercise I hadn't done in a LONG time — and I could feel a different sensation & tightness in that hamstring than in the other. I'm guessing it's a buildup of scar tissue. Even when I'm sleeping, if I move a certain way a little twinge in the hammy occasionally wakes me up.

So it's really hard to tell if/when I might find my way back into my running kicks. Still, I'm not giving up hope.

One thing is for sure, though...I'll have to drop a few dress sizes, or running just ain't gonna feel that good, healed hamstring or not!

I may still have a pair buried away somewhere...

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Looking Back/Looking Ahead, or What The Heck Happened to 2013?

Well, it's hard to believe how quickly 2013 flew by. I guess it's time for the obligatory "year-in-review" and "what's ahead" post. we go!

First, I'll post last year's numbers. While some fitness-related numbers were satisfactory, my endurance numbers were sad.

  • Running Miles: 400
  • Races: 2 (both 10k's)
  • Walking/Hiking Miles: 255
  • Cycling Miles (outdoors): 268
  • Cycling Miles (trainer): 141
  • Pushups (as part of a Facebook challenge): 20,700 (PR)
  • Bench Press max: 220 lbs (PR)

I track several other exercise numbers, but I won't bore you (or myself) with them.

So, what happened to the "Resurrected Runner" in 2013? He once again fell victim to his fragile body and unwise training. The end of 2012 and start of 2013 looked promising. I was once again putting in 30-mile weeks. I ran within 4 seconds of my 5k PR in December of 2012. Encouraged by that, I made the mistake of hitting the track in February of 2013 for a far more intense speed workout than I had business doing. I managed to strain a hamstring during a couple of all-out 200m repeats. Instead of backing off, I continued to train on it and, in fact, raced a 10k. Shortly after that, the hamstring forced me to shut down all running. I was in the process of selling my house and moving my family across the state, so I suppose the timing was okay (although the timing for getting injured is never truly "okay".)

I ran a few times during the summer, with some hamstring discomfort. I refocused my efforts in September and October, eclipsing 20 miles in 3 straight weeks, but after an ill-advised 8-mile run that had my hamstring in painful, tight spasms, the writing was on the wall.

I switched to cycling in the late summer/early fall, but failed to ride nearly as much as I should have (I hope to join a local cycling club in 2014).

Weight training became my focus a few times, but as always, pushing too hard/too soon led to a few pulls of lower back muscles. Currently, I'm working on a modified weight training program that will hopefully spare my injury-prone body parts. Translation: I'm doing pinky curls.

So, as of today, I'm a good 15-18 lbs. above what I consider my "race weight." I'm not alarmed at this point, since I'm confident that I can shed that within a couple of focused months of training. Assuming I can put together a couple of focused months of training.

What will that training look like in 2014? I'm still not entirely sure.

Here are my goals (which I'm honestly figuring out as I type this):

  • Reach 10,000 career running miles (currently 208 shy)
  • Cycle at least 1,000 miles (outdoors)
  • Complete first "century" bike ride
  • 25,000 pushups (again, a Facebook group challenge)
  • Walk/hike 500 miles (not all at once)
  • Bench Press PR

These are relatively humble goals. I hesitate to get too ambitious at this point. You'll notice I didn't really list a running mileage goal, other than to hit a milestone for lifetime mileage. I'll plan on testing the waters a few times and take what I can get. Although I've considered "retiring" as a runner this year, my wife reminds me that running is in my blood (having run competitively, on and off, since 1979). I'm sure I'll be back. However, as I get closer to age 50, my focus is shifting more toward being consistent and healthy rather than seeing just how much and/or how fast I can run. The starting and stopping of my training has become very frustrating. If I can even become a consistent recreational runner (I won't say the "j" word), I'll take it.

Many of my online running friends have been very successful in their training and racing in 2013, which still inspires me. Keep on keeping on, my friends, and much success to all of you in 2014!