Category Archives: Bone & sinew

Blast Furnace 10 K

I ran (some) and walked (mostly) my first 10 K race ever, this morning. The race started at 9 a.m. and as we stampeded past the Northern State Bank sign, I looked up and swore to myself. It was 89 degrees.

The course seemed like it’d be easy: it was flat with only two short, steep hills, and the whole thing was right along the shore of the lake. But the sun was just blistering. And there was almost no shade on the course. The whole thing was on sun-drenched, gooey-around-the-edges black top.

Of course, none of that slowed down the hard-core runners. The winner did the course in 40 minutes, wich is actually a little slow for a 10 K. I, on the other hand, came across the line at about 81 minutes after walking more than four of the sixish miles of the course. I figured surviving the course was probably a really good idea, and when my feet felt like they were on fire and my sweating slowed down and I was feeling a little light headed, thoughts of survival came to the forefront of my mind. And that was at the one-and-a-half mile mark.

Jeesh. I guess all my training probably would have really paid off for a race run on a gravel road at 5:30 in the morning.

I’m a little dissapointed that I didn’t manage to run the wole course, but I’m proud as heck that I finished (not everyone did), and that I was able to come across the line with a smile and feeling reasonably put together.

I spent the last mile of the race running with the assistant D.A. from Chetek who came up here just for the race. He’s a veteran racer and gave me a lot of good advice and was good company for the last bit of the race. That was cool; thanks, and maybe see you on the Birkie trail!

Serious Extra Credit (and Spiderman)

Ran 30&1, x2

We got home last night lateish, probably around ten or so, after spending a nice evening with Pete and Robin and watching Spiderman 2, which sucked a lot less than Spiderman 1, but still sucked. Since Alden was up for a lot of the night Thursday, I didn’t go for my run yesterday morning, as per usual. Through the day, I was thinking that I’d just run when I got home from work, but then Meg and I wound up having a little impromteau picnic on Maslowski beach, just a stone’s throw from all the construction on the highway. Alden was entranced by the sand mostly, and by the sound of the waves, too.

P&R were going to meet us at the beach for food and a swim, but the breeze was a little cold and the kid was snotting up a storm, and Meg talked about feeling a little sick the night before, so we bagged the beach in favor of a warmer, less sick-inducing spell at P&R’s place.

Throughout Spiderman, mostly while watching Toby McGuire wrestle with all sorts of complicated internal issues, which is a lot like watching a very nice shade of taupe paint dry on my bathroom wall, I was aware that I still hadn’t run, and that this run was feeling important. I made a couple of small anouncements to P&R&Meg to that effect.

On the way home, I almost clipped a gangly black bear cub, but that doesn’t really have anything to do with anything, except, perhaps, to establish the darkness of the night (though there were still the last vestiges of color in the sky when I was running half-an-hour later, so that theory’s kind of shot) and the suckiness of the van headlights. But it’s a Chrysler, so I don’t know what I was expecting.

At home, I did a few small getting-the-house-ready-for-the-night chores, then put on my running stuff and a reflective safety vest and headed out the door, past the skunk prowling the yard, all the while wondering just what the hell I was doing out there at 11 p.m., what was I trying to accomplish or prove. Or perhaps was I just stubbron enough to not recognize a perfectly socially acceptable opportunity to go to bed?

As I started my run, the first thing I noticed was that though there was a gibbous quarter-moon shining down, in the shadows, it was still pretty damn dark. Dark enough that I coukdn’t see my feet; that I stayed on the road by feel, and occasionally by finding the road’s swath through the trees. I also noticed that without benefit of all the usual micro-landmarks, I was paying attention to other things while running. There were, after all, constellations above. And occasional startled deer. And my legs in their slow, shuffling pace, accompanied by my breathing which is not as raspy and wheezing as it was nine weeks ago.

At some point, fairly early on, the run took on kind of a dream-like quality, like those dreams where I feel physically stressed, though not necessarially in a bad way, and the scenery keeps changing, but I know I’m still in the same place. Or like in movies where the actors are in a car with filmed sequences playing out in the windows.

As I ran, I felt like I could keep going indefinitely. When my watch signaled the end of my first rep, I was a little sad to stop running. I knew I could have made the entire run in an uninterupped lope, but I decided to be faithful to the program I’m following, just on general principal. After all, if I’m faithful when things are going well, I’ll have more incentive to be faithful when things are more challenging.

Catching up

So I’ve been a little busy. Running, healing, being a dad, fixing the house… that all doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for blogging, but you know, I can find a little time around the corners every now and again.

The last week of running

This was a big week for me. Last Friday (the beginning of my running week), I ran a 10&1, 20&1, 15&1, and a 10&1. That was one of the runs in my program that really felt like a milestone challenge working toward it, and while I was doing it. It really ramped up the time I spent continuously running.

My run on Sunday was a 10&1 x 4 which I was feeling pretty cocky about until I was in the middle of the second rep. and decided that maybe I needed to buckle down and get focused about things.

Yesterday was a 15&1 x 3 which went pretty well. My shins kind of took a beating, though, and last night, my calves were sore. It was kind of misty for a lot of the run, except for the end, where it was raining for real. It was pretty nice running weather all around. Except that I’m sick and damn tired of living in constant rain. Gah.

Sally-ass injury

Pete kindly reminded me last night at taijutsu (and again this evening) that I needed to come clean about my first (Sally-ass, so he says) injury at the workplace. Last Wednesday was a pretty decent day until I was up in the extension (as in UW) office working on a computer. I was sitting in an office chair and I turned around to get something off the desk next to me and something in my knee went “ting.”

You laugh. I heard it. It was definitely a “ting.” Unless maybe it was a “thwup.”

Anyway, I figured, hey, I’m young, this is no big deal. I’ll just stay in the chair until I’m done with the computer, then I’ll get up and walk it off. Hardly even worth commenting on. Until I tried to walk down the stairs.

Holy man.

I gimped my way down to the cave, plopped down in my chair, and called Pete.

“Uh, yeah, man, I’m not going to make it to class tonight. I hurt my knee. In an… office chair accident.”

There was just laughter on the other end of the line.

“Yeah… I was even sitting at the time.”

I had to hold the phone away from my ear.

But at least I had a good excuse for not showing up. At least I didn’t fall asleep on the couch.

Sorry, Jonus. We’ll be there next time; two of the seven dwarves: Gimpy and Yawny.


It was in the middle 40s this morning when I saddeled up and headed out on my bike. It took almost half my hour-long ride before I could feel my fingers. But it was another beautiful morning, cold or not. It was kind of foggy, with a sky full of maleable clouds reflecing and refracting the rising sun in a myriad ways. Most drivers were nice to me and gave me a wide-ish cushion of space. Maybe they figured I was even crazier than they to be out and at it so early (05:30).

My ride was slower than the last one, but I figured something out about Hwy 112 on the section I’ve been riding: A big chunk of it’s uphill! I turned around at Sanborn and saw that I had been grinding up a gentle, nay, subtle grade without even realizing it for more than a mile.


I got a nice quick ride home, that’s for sure!

Early morning glory

I had a great run this morning! I felt fast, fairly strong, and like my cardiovascular system is well on its way to readapting to aerobic sports. I ran 5, walked 1 x 9, which took me around the (five mile) block. There was a beautiful sunrise behind me at the beginning; towering orange and purple cumulus playing peek-a-boo with the sun. It was just awesome!

A study of the effects of negative musculoskeletal conditioning in a post-exercise environment

(Or why ya oughtta stretch after runnin’)

I did a little unwitting experiment on myself yesterday. I went for a run (5&1, 10&1, 5&1)(abbreviated, mind you, by the call of nature) in a tornado warning yesterday afternoon. The run was OK, but I came back early.

Oh, and Mom, the tornado was 35 miles south of us (by Butternut), moving away from us toward Mercer, so it’s not as dumb as it sounds.

Anyway, I got home and stretched my calves, but didn’t really feel like taking care of anything else. So I didn’t. And man, am I paying for it today. My legs are super sore and tight. I guess most everyone should have a hobbling day now and again.

Catchin up on my reports


I didn’t run my final run of last week. I was feeling sick and out of sorts and it just didn’t happen. That’s OK, though. No huge deal to miss a day.

I ran on Friday (it’s the beginning of week 8 already!) . Did run 10, walk 1 x4. It’s a recovery week. My confidence in my physical ability is growing, which is good. I’m feeling better about my body image, and my running is paying dividends in taijutsu, where I feel like I can keep going with sparring or exercises longer than I was before.

I owe myself a run today, which I’ll actually probably go do pretty soon here.


I’ve decided that it’s about time to add biking to my athletic arsenel. Yesterday, I pumped up my tires and went for a 17 mile ride around the *really big* country block. It took an hour and six minutes which comes out to an average speed of 15.45 mph. That’s not too shabby at all, considering it’s pretty much been twelve or thirteen years since I’ve ridden seriously.

My plan for now is bike two or three days a week. It’s a good complement to running, and plus it’s fun! 🙂 At some point – maybe this winter, depending on the pool situation around here – I’ll add swimming to complete my triple threat.

Lost, tired, and chafed

Ran 10, walked 1 x5. Extra Credit: walked 70

I went for a run yesterday when we got to my folks’ house in St. Paul. Mom drew me a little map of where she suggested I go, and I headed off. I quickly got to the end of her map and still had plenty more time to go, so I kept on. And eventually realized that I had no idea, really, where I was. Long story short, my run that was supposed to be fifty five minutes turned into an hour and fifty minutes. Yee haw. 🙁

Letting the force flow

Last night, it was almost everything I could do to drag myself to taijutsu. I was tired, hungry, not particularly into it… I had a whole litany of excuses for why I didn’t want to go. But I ignored myself, hauled my butt off the couch and to the dojo, and am I glad I did!

We worked on some new ukemi (injury-preventing techniques) ideas, then tried applying the kione hapo in a situation where we want to protect someone else. That morphed into numbers fighting strategies (think two on one or three on one) and practice. We ended with projecting our ki/intent to a partner like this: I stood in shizen (a standing kamaie) with someone behind me with a shinai (bamboo training sword) or a padded boken. They were supposed to focus their intent, give a kiai (the stereotypical martial arts “yell”), and swing for me. I was supposed to pick up their intent, move with it and get out of the way of their strike. It was super cool to just *know* when and where to move.

Now, to practice that sort of openess during the rest of the day…