"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A slight increase in mileage

Recent training:

June 27: 5 miles in 44 minutes.

That night, I fell and broke a rib.

July 5: Walked 7 miles
July 9: 3 in 27
July 11: 12 in 123
July 12: 11 in 117
July 14: 11 in 109
July 15: 7 in 69
July 16: 12 in 117.

What do they say again about increasing mileage 1750% per week?

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Two weeks after breaking a rib, I ran 12 miles, my longest run this year (I also ran 12 on Jan. 1). Today I ran 11, increasing my weekly mileage by about 500% with two runs. After falling apart in the heat (it's Minnesota, but the dew point was 70), I saw my friend Barb and we started talking. I mentioned that I was running with a broken rib and she said, "Oh, I've done that. You have to either hold your elbow up really high or hold it against your side." She hasn't missed a day of running in 30 years - the only person who can't be impressed with running with a broken rib.

Choose your friends wisely.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

T-361 days

If you do the prep work, success or failure becomes just a matter of circumstance, but to do the prep work, you have to first be willing to do it. You have to be willing to not just work harder than everyone else, but harder than anyone else believes is possible, to put in superhuman effort repeatedly, continuously, until the goal you've set seems a foregone conclusion, almost an afterthought. Then you have to make sure you're not just working hard to work hard, but toward that goal.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A different kind of break

Last week, I ran my 90,000th mile, lifetime. It came a little later than expected, due to some allergy problems.

Then I had the best run I've had in a couple of years and started thinking, "Hey, I may not be done yet!"

Last night, I fell down a flight of stairs. Broke some ribs, pulled some muscles. I'll be out of commission for a while.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

New Thoughts on 100 Mile Training

Just thought it was time I talked about running again. As time goes by, I find my thoughts on training to be changing from "why doesn't anyone try..." to "this is starting to look sensible." The old dictum: 100 mile training should look like marathon training, but with longer long runs.

I no longer think back-to-back long runs are essential, nor that one needs to ever run faster than marathon pace in training. Here's a plan for those who can run a marathon between 3:00 and 4:30, which is most people who can also finish 100 miles before the cut-off, but isn't looking for medals.

3 week cycle:

Monday 6 miles
Tuesday 6 miles
Wednesday 9 miles hard (marathon pace or hills)
Thursday 6 miles
Friday 6 miles

First week
Saturday 20 miles
Sunday 9 miles

Second week
Saturday 12 miles hard (marathon pace or hills)
Sunday 9 miles

Third week
Saturday 31 miles
Sunday 12 miles

At 11-12 minutes per mile (4:30 marathoners), this is about 12 hours per week.
At  8 minutes per mile (3:00 marathoners), this is 9 hours per week, and one can add two-a-days, running an additional 6 miler on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Then one could also make 14 miles of the 31 miler fast.

I'd schedule a 50K race every 9 weeks, then drop the hard 9 miler before and after the race (run the miles, just not fast). If closer to 4:30 than 3:00 in the marathon, I'd also drop the hard 12 prior to the race - if around a 3:45 marathoner, maybe run 6 of the 12 hard.

That gives an adequate mileage - higher than most do - with an appropriate amount of hard running. Moreover, it looks doable.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Steve's Evil Kitchen Gets in a Pickle

Still nothing to write about on the running front.

I thought I'd try something new and daring in making pickles. The first experiment didn't turn out well:

Sometimes explosions just happen in the Evil Kitchen.

Eventually, I came up with an idea that anyone could follow. Noticing that pickle manufacturers uses calcium lactate to ensure crunchiness, I came up with an idea for making pickles without vinegar and without salt. The procedure is very simple.

First, soak cucumbers (or anything else you want to pickle) in calcium hydroxide. I used 2 Tbsp. in a pint of water, which was more than saturating and I left it in the refrigerator overnight. You can pick up food grade calcium hydroxide as - imagine my surprise - "Pickling Lime." It was a couple of dollars at Menard's. You have to be careful, as it has a pH of 14; it will turn your skin into soap.
 The second step makes them edible. You pull the cukes out of the caustic solution and put them in acid. I used 88% lactic acid, which is available at any homebrew shop. It, too, will cause nasty burns. 15 oz. of water plus 1 oz. of lactic acid (always put acid in water, not water in acid; a lesson from chemistry class I learned the hard way) gives a solution that is 5.5%, about as strong as strong vinegar. When you put the cucumbers in the acid, there's a little bubbling as the base in the cucumbers reacts with the acid, creating calcium lactate. I stored them in the refrigerator for two days, just to make sure the acid had permeated the pickles and I wouldn't have a nasty surprise.

$4 at Northern brewer.

So how were they? There's an immediate hit of acid on the tongue, as these are very tart. Then there's a lingering aftertaste of fresh cucumber. I decided that the acid was a bit much, so I added sugar to the solution and made sweet pickles, which would probably have aided in preservation, but I ate them all pretty quickly.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Summer Reading List

Time to start reading novels again (I've been reading a ton of poetry). Here's my wish list, which will undoubtedly take more than the summer to get through.

Anonymous - Lazarillo de Tormes
George Bataille - Blue of Noon
Italo Calvino - Invisible Cities
Luis de Camões - The Lusiads
Cao Xuequin - A Dream of Red Mansions
Karel Capek - War with the Newts
Alejo Carpentier - The Kingdom if this World
Camilo José Cela - The Hive
Louis-Ferdinand Céline - Journey to the End of Night
Jean Cocteau - Les Enfants Terribles
Marguerite Duras - Four Novels
Alfred Döblin - Berlin Alexanderplatz
J. G. Farrell - The Siege of Krishnapur
Theodore Fontane - Effi Briest
George Gissing - New Grub Street
Witold Gombrowitz - Three Novels
Guillermo Cabrera Infante - Three Trapped Tigers
Christopher Isherwood - Goodbye to Berlin (The Berlin Stories)
Gottfried Keller - Green Henry
Nikolai Leskov - The Enchanted Wanderer
Primo Levi - If Not Now, When?
Mario Vargas Llosa - The War of the End of the World
Najib Mahfouz - Midaq Alley
"          "              - Miramar
Charles Maturin - Melmoth the Wanderer
Robert Musil - The Man Without Qualities
Flann O'Brien - The Third Policeman
Joyce Carol Oates - Them
Walter Pater - Marius the Epicurean
Alain Robbe-Grillet - Jealousy
Fernando de Rojas - La Celestina
Raymond Roussel - Locus Solus
José Saramago - Baltasar and Blimunda
Isaac Bashevis Singer - The Manor
Adalbert Stifter - Indian Summer
Italo Svevo - As a Man Grows Older
Junichiro Tanizaki - Some Prefer Nettles
Sigrid Undset - Kristin Lavransdatter
Giovanni Verga - The House by the Medlar Tree
Patrick White - Voss