Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spinnin' in the country, instead of sloggin' at CMM

Met G at LBC for a easy ride in the country on Saturday morning. This was my first "real" ride this year. Never took it out of the small ring until the last mile from home. G must have decided he wanted to see how fast he could crank it up, so I clicked into the big ring and chased after him. Didn't catch him, but it was leg burning fun. We only averaged around 17 mph for the 26.6 miles. Lots of little hills, but really no big climbs.

Guess the rest of Nashville was busy in the giant parade they call Country Music Marathon. Sheryl Crow was there, and even a dragon. Of course it was hot and sunny, probably pretty humid as well. It's a nice spectacle to watch, great weather for the spectators. Just to warm to be running a marathon. It even warmed up to quickly to run a decent half marathon. My days of running that race are long over. Late spring in Tennessee is just to unpredictable for weather, either 85 degrees or maybe even low 30's. Crazy.

Couple of interesting things along the ride in the country. Usually we see very little traffic. This time for some reason it was almost like rush hour. One spot on a hill we had  5 cars, a pickup and a cement truck, all blocking the top of the hill. That just nuts for 7:00 am on a Saturday out in the middle of BFE.

Worst was the lady yakking on her cell phone. I'm bombing down one of the little hills with several curves, riding the imaginary middle line. I see cell phone lady coming up the hill, so I move over to the inside of my lane and sure enough she comes by over the middle line. Damn. Good thing G saw her as well.

Dogs, though are usually no big deal. The little yappers usually aren't fast enough to catch a bike or they get run over by a car, so they just aren't that prevalent out in the country. Most farm dogs just couldn't be bothered by a couple of guys on bikes. What you do have on every farm is the giant Pyrenees. They don't take any crap from anyone. We saw one who was just lying in the MIDDLE of the road about halfway up or down a little hill that we thankfully didn't ride. We did pass two Pyrenees, that G for some reason thought he'd make a snarky remark to the dog. The dog didn't care for it and chased him far enough to get a  nice little sprint workout going. I don't think those dogs would bite, but they do make you nervous when they are barking right by your calf.

Saw the usual turkeys, everywhere. Few deer, gold finches, tons of wild flowers and another triangular purple box hanging in a tree. Finally went to the web to see their purpose. Catch emerald-green ash borer beetle—(EAB).

Oh, yeah and I haven't run in a week. Another stress fracture in my 3rd metatarsal. BLEH.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cycling versus Running

I like to think of myself as a runner. It's what I do. It makes me happy. When I don't run, I'm a grumpy SOB. Just ask the wife or the boys. (Hell, I've even been called out by the guys I run with) So, I ride my bike instead or lift weights or even walk (shudder). Thankfully, most of the times when I'm not able to run, I can ride. Not always.

Cool things about the bike.

Coasting has got to be at the top of the list of the best things about riding a bike. Nothing better than coasting down a steep hill at 90 mph. (least it feels like it) Or even to stop peddling on the flat, just 'cause your legs need a rest for a little while. Can't do that on the run.

You can cover roughly twice as much distance in the same amount of time as running. So instead of a easy eight mile run, I can get in close to twenty miles. The distance isn't the driving factor, its the variation in scenery. A four mile out in back from the house is pretty boring. Ten miles out into the country is a completely different feeling. Even doing the entire greenway on the bike is ok, the first time out for the season.

Cycling is low impact versus the pounding of running. You name and I've had it at one time or another from running. Great thing about the bike is the ability to ride while suffering a running injury. But, any injury from the bike is usually pretty traumatic. Been there, done that.

Gears, bikes have them, runners have to run harder. Nice to change gears to increase the speed or maintain speed and increase turnover. Think it really complements the running. Though it is just as fun to ride a single speed bike and not have to shift. Plus, the single speed is great to make a quick trip to the store.

Hot, sunny and 110 degrees, no big deal on the bike. Not so much fun to run in those kind of conditions. Great thing about the bike is the air moving past you. Even if it does feel like you're standing in front of a giant hair dryer. The bike gives you the ability to carry a couple of frozen bottles of water, without having to hold on to them. (carrying a water bottle isn't really that big of deal, only limit is volume)

Speed, on the bike is a blast. Running fast is hard work, though sometimes it just feels like your flying. Going fast on the bike isn't as hard as running. The effort is different. Either the gravity of the downhill or tucking in behind someone and drafting at a quicker than normal pace.

Not so cool things about the bike

The gear/clothing/kit, you don't have to wear it, but it makes things easier/better. Worst is probably the shorts, only they aren't like runners shorts, nope these are tights spandex/lycra which show all your glory or lack thereof. But, the chamois in the rear end area make it all worthwhile. Shoes with toe clips are only annoying when you are off the bike trying to walk. Like the stop at the convenience store to get something to drink. The jersey isn't necessary but it does ride in the wind better and has pockets in the back. Gloves keep your sweaty hands from slipping on the bars, or more importantly keep the gravel out of your palm should you hit the ground. Helment, no brainer.

Cold and the bike just don't go together. Props to those who bike year round. Not me. If' it's below 40 degrees, my interest is non-existent. Like this morning, low 40's and a cold north wind. Great weather for a long run, not so much fun on the bike. I did the ride, but a run would have been more enjoyable.

Cars, just as dangerous for a runner, but I feel more vulnerable on the bike. At least when I'm running, it's usually facing the traffic, so I can see the cars coming. On the bike, its the cars that I can't see that worry me. Though I can stack the odds in my favor by running or biking with others, easier to see a bunch of bikes or runners versus just one.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Start the day

May just have to change my routine and start the day here everyday. (and this guy is a runner)
or even from a dog's perspective.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Great weather for a run this morning. The temperature was in the low 40's with a little breeze. First time in several weeks that's it been this cool. Awesome full moon low on the horizon as I set out. Even wore some mittens and a hat. Glad I did, because of the wind.

Seems like the PS has subsided. It's still there. But, I'm really just starting to believe its only part of what's slowing me down lately. Lots of other little aches that loosen up as I run, have now started to slow me down and linger or just appear and disappear at random. Knew the day would come when I'd start slowing down. Didn't think it would be so sudden.

Read a post on Jeff's blog that got me thinking about life phases. I've been fine with being a masters runner for the last 10 years. Thought I was ok, with turning 50. Guess, I'm finally accepting the fact that I'll be slowing down as well. Just didn't expect it as I was training for another fast 5k attempt.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Tennessee has experienced the same non-winter, early spring as the rest of the nation. Jeez, it's been in the 80's to many times to count in March. Way to early for this time of year. Unfortunately the tree pollen has been extremely high for the entire month. Normally I don't suffer to much, this year seems to the worst in recent years. It even affected my long run on Sunday. Hopefully we'll get some rain on Wednesday and knock the rest of the tree pollen out of the trees.

Sure glad I'm not running in the Country Music Marathon or half on April 28th. Normally the temperatures would be 54 for a low and 72 for a high. Don't think we've seen that in several weeks. It would almost seem like a cold wave at this point. Still, I'd rather have this type of weather than the July we had one year in Atlanta. Seemed like it rained almost the entire month. A couple days of it were remnants of a hurricane, so it was the torrential rain. Though I'll have to say the pine tree pollen in Atlanta was worst than any of the tree pollen I've seen here in Tennessee.