Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's a Miracle!

I have written about the troubles I've had in the past with my iliotibial band (a ligament on the side of the knee that can get painfully inflamed while running to cause the fairly common running injury IT Band Syndrome). Since I found a brace that worked I haven't had any pain. I've run with the brace about 8 months now. It's been fine, albeit a little itchy and goofy looking.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine took me out to a wild bird refuge to go for a run. After driving for a half an hour I discovered that I had forgotten my brace at home. My training schedule said that I needed to do 6 miles that day so I decided to give it a shot and stop if it started hurting.

Lo and behold, it never started hurting. I've tested it out since then on shorter runs and it still hasn't hurt. Rather than do too much and injure it again I plan on increasing my brace-free mileage over time until I don't wear it anymore. Maybe I'll finally stop being the gimpy old guy that people point and laugh at!

She Told Me So

One of the things that I like about running is that it is remarkably cheap, as I've said before. The main equipment needed are some shoes every once in a while. The problem is that I'm a major cheapskate and find it hard to pass up a deal, especially when it is for something I need.

Since I'm going to be running a trail race in September I need to run on trails and shoe manufacturers now make some really good trail running shoes. So I saw a deal online for some shoes from a really good brand that were about 70% off. I read the reviews and was convinced. When I called my wife to tell her I was going to the buy shoes online I could actually hear her rolling her eyes over the phone, because who in their right mind would buy something as finicky as shoes online?

A few days later the shoes arrived and, of course, they didn't fit.

Softcore No More

I've finally reached the realm of the true, tough, hardcore runners. For the first time ever, my toe nail has fallen off because of running. It's actually not uncommon for the repetition of your shoe or socks rubbing on your toe to cause the nail to come off. Luckily, it happened over time so it didn't really hurt. Now that I'm writing it down, it doesn't sound as cool. In fact it sounds kind of gross.

Duck, Duck, Goose!

The other morning I went running. The weather was beautiful. I went along a bike path that goes past several ponds and loops back to my neighborhood. On the return leg the sound of hissing stopped me short. A few feet in front of me were two adult Canada Geese and a few goslings. They weren't too happy to see me. I couldn't see anyway to get past them so I had to back track and run a mile out of my way to get to the path past them. Stupid nature!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lazy & Crazy & German Chocolate

I am basically lazy, especially when it comes to doing anything right now, which, I suppose, is the essence of procrastination. When there's something that absolutely must be done I usually ask myself when is the last possible moment that this needs to be done, and then I do it a little after that.

So what does this have to do with running? I run, for the most part, to be healthy but since I procrastinate there's always a little voice in the back of my head telling me that it won't be that big of a deal to miss just one day. Of course this happens regularly and all those missed days add up to a not so healthy me.

This is one of the main reasons I got into running long distances. I am not naturally a distance runner so in order to finish without killing myself I have had to follow a rigid schedule. Since I started running I have signed up for ever increasing distances because it scares me into following the plan. A year and a half ago I completed my first marathon. It wasn't pretty, but I finished. Six months later I finished my second. Again, not so pretty, but I am now fairly confident that I am capable of completing a marathon, having done it twice already.

So I'm not afraid of failing (I've touched on this theme before). This has led to a decision to do something that I think is crazy, even for me. I've decided to run an ultramarathon. Technically, an ultramarathon is anything longer than a marathon (26.2 miles). Usually ultramarathons are 50 or 100 miles. The shortest common ultramarathon distance is 50K, or about 31 miles. I've decided to spend my summer training for the Run Woodstock 50K to be run on September 10.

It scares me, and that's a good thing for me and my waistline.


Speaking of crazy, I am absolutely crazy about German Chocolate Cake, especially the frosting (and yes, I know it was a really lame transition). The Baker's Chocolate recipe is probably the best I've tried. The Baker's Chocolate package has the recipe for the frosting and cake from scratch. The cake from scratch was a little bit better than cake from a box but I didn't think it was good enough to justify the extra cost and effort. Just use a box of German Chocolate Cake mix and make the frosting from scratch.

Coconut Pecan Frosting


4 egg yolks
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1 pkg. (7 oz.) coconut (2-2/3 cups)
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans


Beat egg yolks, milk and vanilla in large saucepan with whisk until well blended. Add sugar and butter; cook on medium heat 12 min. or until thickened and golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Add coconut and nuts; mix well. Cool to desired spreading consistency.

-Recipe from Kraft