Creeping over the ten week mark of consistent running, I noted in some of my light research, that taking a few shorter runs during the week can actually help the body. That’s what I did Saturday. I was down at a friend’s farm in Green County, quite wonderfully in the middle of NOWHERE, and I decided to have a bit of a jog on Saturday morning. I ended up doing about 25 minutes. I really didn’t know the area, so the dirt/gravel road that led to their farm was my only choice. I did a short warm up walk and pretty much ran 11 or so minutes in one direction and turned around and came home.
NEVER let anyone tell you that the foothills of the Appalachians are flat. It was interesting to run on an incline or decline the whole time. Plus, even though the gravel was a bit dodgy and uneven at times, running on the dirt and stone was easier on my legs and knees, for sure.
…and no, I don’t mean by Snapcase. (By the by, if ANYONE got that reference let me know so I can buy you a coffee or rootbeer and we can discuss our commonly held mental damage.)
Yesterday, the 12th, I did another good 30 minute run. By the time I got back to my house I was at about 29 minutes. At that point I decided to run up the steps next to my house. Here’s what they look like from the bottom headed up:
And here’s what they look like from the top headed down:
In the winter I usually end up shoveling the snow off of these. Nobody else takes care of them, so I end up doing it. There are 87 steps and 13 landings. In running them, I am amazed that I didn’t hurt myself. At any rate, the running continues…
About a month ago, Q and I started playing tennis again. I say “again” because we used to play with at least a little frequency back in the bad old days at York College of Pennsylvania. In addition to the other stuff I’ve been doing (footy, running, boxing training) this has been a welcome addition. For the first few weeks it was ROUGH on the legs. The kind of running that one does on a tennis court is intense. There is a lot of back and forth and short bursts of running. It’s quite good for the footy!
I’ve gotten back into listening to BBC radio comedy and chat on the computer. Specifically I’m listening to The News Quiz. For those of you who don’t know anything about Jeremy Hardy (who is one of the panelists), do yourself a favor and check him out. He’s definitely a radical. He has red leanings and no doubt he has a history of leftist ideology and culture. The thing is, unlike most so-called “progressive” folks who attempt to be funny, Hardy is AMAZINGLY funny. He is possibly the funniest man I’ve ever heard. He used to have a show called Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation, which was a comedy lecture. Amazing.
My other all time favorite BBC show would have to be Lenin of the Rovers, which was this INSANE and AMAZING comedy about “Britain’s first communist football team.” This was an Alexi Sayles production (if you remember Sayles from The Young Ones, as the Russian landlord (Mike the Bastard, I believe.) Lenin of the Rovers hasn’t been on for a while, but it should come around again.
Old Harry’s Game is another good time. It’s a radio comedy set in hell between Satan and an atheist who doesn’t believe he’s there. Brilliant.
Tennis and the Beeb. Geeze.
A friend asked me if I was going to write about my running in a journal. I didn’t really know what he meant. Later on I read about keepi a running journal. I suppose that this is a common thing. Who knew? If this serves as something akin to that, so be it.
I did my first run on a “track” today. I usually just run in my neighborhood. I like it a lot. There are tons of hills and I learned quickly what a pain in the ass it is to run down hills. it kills my knees and feet and I feel like I’m going to fall on my face. Even thought it is harder, I’d rather actually run up hills. What’s nice about the topography of SWPA, you CAN actually walk uphill to school both ways! So, with that, I can find routes around the neighborhood that are less down hill blasts and more flat-ish/uphill battles.
That said, I was interested in the whole track running thing. So this morning I made the 9 minute drive through a light rain, across the river to Schenley Park to run on the track. The “proper” track was being used by some track team, so I ran on the dirt/limestone/mud track on the outside. It was really nice. It was soft, so that was good, but it was a different view, and it was all flat. That’s something I’ve never experienced.
I’m sure I won’t be running there every time, but once a week or so, for a change of pace, it will be nice.
Back in February, the dead of winter in the Steel City, I happened upon a post from the Piper’s Pub website talking about organizing an Over 30s team. I love to watch soccer (from now on in this blog called football), and I used to have a great time playing in pick up matches with friends. My dream was to play in a league of guys my own age. It gets real old chasing after 19 year-olds on the pitch…let me tell you. Well, I “signed” up via an email and I nervously made my way to an indoor practice field for a first practice/tryout. I was pretty nervous because I have very little athletic ability and the idea of trying out for a sports team didn’t sit well with me. To my lasting surprise, I wasn’t told to stop attending practice and I eventually “made” the team. Truth be told, it was a pretty open system that the captains used to make these decisions. There are variable ranges of skill levels on the team. We’re all cool with it. It’s been a blast.
Here’s the thing. I forgot how much running there was. that must sound silly to the point of stupid, but it’s certainly more difficult than it was even a few years ago when I last played. That fact, combined with the fact that there were guys in their 40s and 50s playing and out running me left and right, made me want to do some kind of training. Hence, my running career began.
I began running at my own pace and walking when I couldn’t run any more. I did that four or so times over the course of a week, then I talked to a friend who hipped me to the “Couch to 5K” plan that I’m doing now. http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml
I’m deep into week 4. We’ll see how it goes.
As mentioned in my last entry here (which will hopefully be a more regular occurance), I have been exercising. Indeed, this started a little over a year ago.
Well, originally it started out with a little boxing training. I have really enjoyed watching boxing for about a decade or so. I decided last Spring to do more than watch, but to train a little. I started out with a small sized heavy bag and a jump rope. I still use the bag, but I’ve fallen off the rope a bit. My goal over the next few weeks is to build that back up. Since those days I’ve expanded to a speed bag as well. THAT IS FUN. It kills the shoulders and arms, but I definitly feel the difference in doing every day tasks, so something good is happening. My most recent aquisition was a simple piece of clothesline. I saw Oscar “Golden Boy” De La Hoya give a little tour of his training facility once…his garage…in which he has a heavy bag, a speed bag and a length of rope that he ducked under – did a combination of punches – took one step forward – ducked under and did another combo. It looks so simple, AND IT CRUSHES the body. It’s amazing. I’ve started doing that, as well as my bag workouts. I think part of what I love about boxing training is that it’s so cheap. The equipment, as opposed to so many other sports related ventures, is inexpensive. That, and you get to hit things. My stress levels have gone down SO much since I’ve started working the bags. My wife has noted, and she should know, how much less of a tempermental jackass I’ve been since I started this stuff. That alone is worth it.
I’ve kept this up over a year now and I’ve added a number of other things to it, so much so, I’m doing some kind of exercise most days of the week. These include practicing with the soccer team I’m on, playing tennis with a friend once a week and running. Yes. Running. I’ll get to why in the future, but suffice it to say, I’m actually doing it, and that is more than I’ve ever done in my life.
This all brings us back to why. I guess it has to do with my health. As I mentioned in my earlier post my doctor was concerned by rising numbers of “bad cholesterol” and lowering numbers of “good cholesterol” as well as some potentially out of whack blood sugar levels. Aside from some modest dietary changes, the only thing for it was to actually DO something physical. I started by using an eliptical trainer (which I still use from time to time) and I guess it built from there.
Next time…how I started actually running, what it’s all about, and the age old questions “tennis, anyone?”.