Sep 30, 2009

My running has picked up in a big way

Well, for as bad a month as August was running-wise, September was good. The weather cooled off, and I warmed up. I ran 27 times, for a total of 197.4 biggest month to date. I'd have easily topped 200, except that I wasn't feeling well on Sunday, and instead of going for my 18-mile long run, I bagged it altogether and took a rest day, and made last week my "drop-down" week. So now that I've rested, time to fire it back up.

Unrelated note...podcasting is hard. Very hard. Those of you out there who do it either have an incredible innate skill, have developed an amazing talent, or both. I fear I have neither. But I am coming to appreciate those that I listen to more & more as I go through this process. I've recorded, erased, recorded again, deleted, and recorded some more. At this point, the only thing I think I have that I like, is the intro. After that, I've got nothing. So my plan now is this...I think the first episode or two will essentially be my introduction to this genre, how I got here, why I ran then, and why I run now. Along the way I'll talk about the path I took. Fortunately, much of this is already documented in a discussion thread on a discussion board I've been a part of for years. It was there that I started writing about my journey, mainly to make myself accountable to my peers. Some of whom happened to be friends in real life. I'm also jotting down ideas as I think of them and hoping to expand on them for the future. Perhaps I'm being too hard on myself. I probably am. But that's OK. I do that a lot. I can't help myself. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. But it's me.

I'm looking to keep them in the 25-45 minute range, maybe twice a month. Just a gut feeling to what I'll do. But getting this first one at is proving much more difficult than I anticipated. And I'm not yet sure I now how to use my mp3 editing software. I'm just hoping it's as easy as the website said it was. Knowing me, it won't be.

I continue to be unemployed and it's really getting to me at this point. I never once imagined myself to be unemployable. But that's what I've become it seems. My math & stats degree, combined with 11 years of professional business experience (P&C actuarial work) and 3 years of real estate sales, not doing me whole heckuva lot of good. Getting hired into something that represents a career change for me isn't exactly what companies are looking for right now, even if I am willing to essentially start back at square one. So it's looking like it's time to get the ol' real estate license back and starting pounding the pavement, selling homes. I hear the market is great! What luck!   But I was with a broker who will have me back, and it's essentially self-employment after that. I'll make out of it, what I put into it. But I know I'll need to put a lot more in now, to get the same out, than I did 8 years ago. Still, it's work, it's a potential living, I actually did enjoy doing it, and I'm thinking I need that in bad way right now. Now I just need to retake the damn exams. Oh, bother.

Sep 20, 2009

My podcasting begins.....tomorrow?

My mic has been shipped, and is at the local UPS facility. I assume they'll deliver tomorrow. It damn well better work right! Now I really need to get something well thought out, so I'm not stuttering constantly, trying to figure out what to say.

Last 2 weeks of running have been really solid. Just over 50 miles last week, will be at around 51 this week (after I get my recovery run in tonight). Finally feel like I'm getting my legs back. Back to back 50-mile weeks...I would have expected to have some soreness. Or at least a real sense of dead legs. None. Nothin'. So that really pleases me.

Have also added outdoor soccer to my mix of training. I've been playing indoor, every Monday night, for a while now. I finally got invited to play on their outdoor team that plays on Sunday. I love playing outdoor. So much more enjoyable. Won last week, 5-4, after starting in a 3-0 hole. Lost today in the rain, 6-4. Still, lots of fun. That has caused me to change my long runs from Sunday to Saturday. I always preferred Sunday, but I don't think I do anymore. Saturday is good. Get it done, get on with all the stuff we always have going on on the weekend. Plus, it makes it easier to know that the next day is a nice, easy run to wrap up the week.

This past Saturday, I ran with the CCFA Team Challenge folks, who are preparing for the Rock n' Roll Las Vegas Half-Marathon. Lots of people signed up. What a surprise! Las Vegas! That would be an awful race for me. I'd never go to bed before the race. I'd be sitting at a poker or blackjack table telling myself, "Just 5 more minutes, and I'll head back to my room". But it would never happen, and before I'd know it, it'd be time to toe the line. Good luck to everyone running, and more importantly, raising badly needed funds for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. I hope to join you all again sometime soon.

Next week...probably gonna do another higher-mileage week (52-53), before dropping down for a "rest week" of 30-35. So Monday, indoor soccer & weight training session. Tuesday-Thursday, good middle distance runs, Friday a 5-mile recovery run, Saturday I'm think 17-18. Sunday is outdoor soccer and 5-mile recovery run later that night. The only thing that might change this plan is if I decide to run the state-to-state half marathon, starting in Oxford, OH. But I doubt that I will.

So, I'm really looking forward to this week. Lots of good running, a little bad podcasting. But I gotta start somewhere, learn, and get better at it.

Sep 13, 2009

Lessons learned.

1) When buying a microphone for recorder, make sure the mic doesn't need to have a button held constantly while you are recording. Argh. I didn't realize that when I tried to record on Saturday, and didn't figure it out until tonight!

2) I'm going to need at least an outline of things I'm going to talk about. Otherwise, there's long pauses in the conversation.

3) Do an intro and outro while not running. That way, the in-run portion can be shorter and more concise.

So now I need to go find a mic that can be switched on, instead of needing to be held on. My recorder is a Sony, and there's a Sony store at a mall nearby. Will check there. Otherwise, I found a mic, recommended in the recorder's manual, online at I can always just order that, I guess. But I want to see it first, to make sure I don't make the same mistake twice.

Growing pains. Fun.

Sep 12, 2009

Game on!

Well, I pulled the trigger and bought a recorder and portable, clip-on microphone, so I can record while I run. Question is, will I have the courage to post my recordings on here so anyone who wants to hear me, can? I've gone this far. Might as well go all the way. Got a 15-miler on the schedule for today. Seems like as good a time as any to give it a whirl. Question is, will I know what to do afterward? I've never recorded myself, I've never posted a recording of any kind, and I don't think I can edit the recording directly off the recorder. Will need to do a little research to try and find a decent editing software. Any suggestions out there?

Sep 4, 2009

To podcast, or not to podcast. That is the question.

I've given starting a podcast some thought over the past few months. Why? Because I have anything interesting to say? Because I have something of value to say? Because I think anybody will listen? No, no, and no. Basically...just cuz. I have no idea what I'd talk about, how often I'd do it, how to do it, what I'd need to do it, etc., etc., etc. You get the picture. So why? Well, I talk to myself a lot on my runs. I often find that I'm telling myself to try and remember something after my run. But I never do. I feel like I've gone through a lot in the past 2.5 years that I think some people might get something from, but I have no idea if that's true or not. I keep a running journal, where after every run I write down my thoughts about that run. Did I feel good? Did I overdo a recovery run? Do I like the route I'm taking? So recording my runs could be my "in-the-moment" journal. And if I go so far as to record myself, why not let others listen, if they're so inclined? But I have some problems.

1) I'm technically incompetent.
2) I have no idea what to look for in an mp3 recorder.
3) I have no idea what to look for in a microphone.
4) Even if I recorded something, I have no idea what software to use to edit it, or how to edit it.
5) Blogging is easy in comparison. Podcasting, to me, is like jumping into the deep end of the pool when you don't even know how to tread water.

I'm sure there are other issues I've thought of during my runs, but like I said before, I can't remember stuff afterward. And yet, despite all these roadblocks, I still want to do it. Now make no mistake, I have no delusions of being the next Steve Runner, or Stuart, or Gordon, or Kevin, or Chris, or Adam, or any of the other great podcasters I listen to. I may be stupid, but I'm not THAT stupid. I can't do what they do. But I can't do what Ryan Hall or Kara Goucher do either. Yet, that doesn't stop me from running and entering races, right? I run & race for me. So maybe, doing a recording/podcast is just like that. I'll talk and record, for me. Just cuz.

So at some point, I'll probably do this. I'd like it to be sooner, as opposed to later. I just need to figure out what to buy to get started, and where to get it. I've heard of the iRiver, but when I go to their site, I get kinda intimidated b/c I don't understand what all the features, and bells & whistles, are. And then I quickly get frustrated, and say that I'll check again some other day when I have more patience for it. I've done this about 20 times now. LOL.

What I should bribe Kevin from The Extra Mile podcast. He lives only about 4 miles from me. I've thought that I should call his show, ask him to meet me for dinner & a beer somewhere (on me, of course), and pick his brain. Better yet, ask him to order something that he would consider acceptable for a newbie, and then just give him the cash for it. It's a thought. I just don't want to bother him with my petty issues. Plus, it just seems like the kind of thing I should go through myself. Gotta learn somehow.

Anyway, still pondering....

Sep 3, 2009

Finally starting to feel like myself again

Last week, I had to leave town and wasn't going to be able to run over the weekend. I ran on Thursday, and then didn't get to again until this past Tuesday. I felt disgusting before I got out there, but DAMN it felt good to run. Kept it very easy, nice & slow, for 5 miles. Then I went out yesterday for another 5 miles. Again, felt really good. This morning, 8.7 miles. The first 4 miles felt as easy as any run has felt in a long time. Got home, and I was so happy. It was a strong run, where I felt fresh the whole way. God, I love that!

Now, I'm absolutely convinced that a big part of this is the weather. We've had a few days in a row of nice, sunny, cool weather. And you just can't beat the feeling of walking out the door to run, and knowing that you aren't going to suffer in the heat & humidity. It literally psyches me up before I even turn the Garmin on. I know there'll be some hot, sticky days still. But now that it's September I really hope we've turned the corner. I'm ready to do some serious running.

But serious running to do what? My initial goal was to run the Indy Monumental marathon. Not sure I'm going to do that now. Not that far away, and I just don't think I can be ready in time. My other thought was to race a half marathon in September, another in October, and one in November. Which ones? No idea. Just pick a weekend that looks like it'll be nice out, and sign-up last minute. Yeah, it'll cost a little extra, but that's OK. I'll have the flexibility of running on a great weekend, of my choosing, or not at all, if the weather/my schedule doesn't work out. The last option is Memphis. A friend of mine in Birmingham is planning to run there on 12/5. I could see myself doing that too. It's far enough out that I can be ready for it, and it's not so far away that I could drive there, as opposed to fly. We'll see. Never been to Memphis. Sounds like fun.

And my friends at the CCFA are starting up their training for the Las Vegas Rock n' Roll Half Marathon. Good luck everybody. I'm sure I'll make it out to a few Saturday morning runs with you. Always nice to see everybody.