Thursday, March 28, 2013

Panhandling: Umstead for Crohn's Disease

It's that time again. Spring is in the air, and a zeal for life has been resurrected. I've been training for the Umstead 100, and it's been a rough patch in my running career. Motivation is lacking, my health has been less than stellar, and missing my mountain playground has stifled my desire to wander aimlessly around and upward. I've had great friends who have helped immensely to get me out the door and shuffling along, and I don't think they fully realized how much they've made a difference.

Next week, I'll be heading down to North Carolina to enjoy a new landscape and a much needed escape from the quiet desparation of eeking through repetitive weeks. Some real time with my girlfriend will be nice, since we rarely see each other for more than the occassional meal.

Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Selfishness? Narcissism? Masochism? I'm confident that anyone, as long as they made the time and forfeited their other obligations, could finish a 100 mile event on foot. I've proven that I can, and I'm no exemplorary specimen.

If I had a solid answer, I'd probably stop. I can't help but feel that doing things that are difficult can have an effect on the world. We live in a time where we could literally sit around until we died. Nobody is making us learn skills to stay alive. We don't have to gather our own food. We don't have to build our own shelters. We've grown complacent with sitting in the dark. Running is the modality I've chosen to light up that darkness. It's shown me that the world owes us nothing, and no external force is going to save us from ourselves. In fact, most of our world would rather we sit around complacently and stay the hell out of the way. Running 100 miles is a small part of something much bigger. It's important to me that I do it, and I'm not sure why.

At the end of the day, I don't care why. I just want to do it. Forrest Gump had no reasons, and I don't either! It's just cool. The people in the running community are cool. Roads, trails, stairs, mountains, track, whatever. It's a good vibe, and I'll go with it.

Anyway, I made you read all that bullshit because I'm looking to make some money for Crohn's research. Money is tight for us all right now, so I understand that fundraising efforts may be especially annoying for some. That being said, what'll it take?

I'm not looking to strut up to the CCFA(Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America) headquarters with a giant check and all that(reminds me of Happy Gilmore), but let's throw some money their way. I've set up a page on FirstGiving, a cool site that organizes these types of efforts.

I'll open it up to discussion, and see if we can set some goals. I think it would be cool to set up a goal overall time, or a final mile time to hit, or both, that will up the ante. We all know that I'm a prostitute for free shoes, so this is even more important.

Check out the CCFA page here and learn a little about the disease. It affects people of all ages, and it is assuredly no fun. Research ain't cheap! Come on, I know all of you can't be poor ultrarunner "dirtbags" who act impoverished and sip expensive beer!

The days leading up to the race, I'll set a goal for myself if anyone steps up to post a challenge time(overall or final mile).
For you consideration:
Current 100mile PR: 28:35(ouch, I'm no mountain runner) Tahoe Rim
12hr PR: 78ish miles
50 mile PR: 7:03
5k: mid 17's
800m time at the end of Mind the Ducks 12hr 2010: 2:48(I think)

(okay, I'll admit, it's all just an elaborate ploy to rub my PR's in slower peoples' faces. you caught me.)

I'd wager it's possible to hit sub 20hrs, and hit a sub 6 mile. Any takers?

The race is April 6th, so let's get the word out fast!

Here's the giving page link at
See, I did the site so I wouldn't buy beer with your hard earned moneys!

Thanks for the time!
I snatched this photo from this blog

This came across my pandora as I typed this, so...there ya go! Cool tune.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Exercise and Cancer: A Guest Post.

I've been approached by a writer who was looking for a way to share some ideas. Melanie Bowen is a blogger, but you know, like, a legit one. Mine is less than stellar as of late, and Melanie contacting me made me realize that being able to communicate is a gift. I've been out of the blogging game for a bit due to school, lack of inspiration(read: running is boring lately), and a decreased desire for stuff, free or otherwise. Melanie has written a post that I truly feel is important. Exercise is for everyone, and I think it can improve us on an individual level, which can light up the darkness looming over our society. Call me idealistic, but it's better than apathetic. I'll be putting up my own response to this soon, but for now, let's get some traffic to a good message.

Take it away, Melanie.
Do You Have Cancer? Make Sure You're Doing the Right Exercises

Exercise is important to all cancer patients, but some exercises are not conducive to how cancer patients feel. Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy may have a drop in white blood cell count and can only participate in certain types of exercise. Also, exercise routines may be different for someone battling breast cancer and someone diagnosed with mesothelioma. Here are examples of the type of exercises patients should avoid during and after chemotherapy.

Avoid Public Gyms

When a patient is undergoing chemotherapy, they should avoid public gyms. Their immune systems are compromised, and they are likely to compromise their treatment. Triggers may include another person’s sweat, sneezing, or other germs in the air. It is better to have exercise equipment at home or exercise outside to avoid a compromised immune system.

Avoid Swimming

Swimming is also unsafe for patients who are in radiation treatment. The chlorine in the pool water may cause irritation to many patients. The treatment site is the most common area where the irritation may first occur. To avoid fatigue in the pool and irritation, you should avoid swimming.

Avoid Exercise Classes

Cancer patients should always talk with their doctor before beginning an exercise program. Some studies show that some weight-lifting programs may lead to lymphedema, and other studies show that weight-training programs do not increase the risk of swelling. Doctors can determine if cancer patients are at-risk. In general, exercise classes will expose cancer patients to germs that can compromise cancer recovery. Heavy weight lifting should be avoided if at all possible. Instead, patients can participate in weight-bearing exercises by using hand-weights or lighter dumbbells.

Recommended Exercises

Biking, yoga, and walking are recommended exercises for cancer patients. All cancer patients are encouraged to exercise but should be cognizant of overexertion. When cancer patients are over-exerted, patients may experience dizziness, headaches, numbness, difficulty breathing, unusual swelling, and racing heart. Anemia is another common reason why cancer patients may have difficulty exercising. Patients who have anemia may become more fatigue with vigorous exercise because of the reduced red blood cell levels.

Exercise Moderately

Cancer patients should engage in a physical fitness program to aid in their recovery. Without exercise, the immune system will be compromised and energy levels will decrease. Exercise as much as you can without becoming too exhausted. Consult with your physician to determine how much exercise you can do safely.


Check out Melanie's blog at

**Again, this is a guest post. I welcome all ideas and discussion, but these aren't my ideas.

It may seem really strange to have a blog filled with narcissistic running logs, existential breakdowns, shoe reviews, Sweet Brown memes, and a feeble attempt to help people discover happiness in a troubled world, but at the end of the day, that's me. A pensive idiot who loves the world around him. Spread the good vibes, folks.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

2/25 - 3/10 double week wrap up

The past two weeks have been scanty on the running front, but still fruitful. It's hard to put my finger on it, but I feel eerily calm and more confident that I should. I look back on my best races, and I realize that I may have been being nostalgic when it comes to my "consistency is most important" philosophy. The Summer in which I won a handful of small races was preceded by lots of running and workouts, but also lots of "wishing I was more motivated." I would go two or three days without any real jogging, but hook up with the running club for track workouts. The long adventures with Jeremiah and Jason also happened at least monthly. I'd never been a higher mileage runner until last Summer, because I thought it was the next step to getting to that next level. Lo and Behold, I tanked at both my hundos. In retrospect, I was in great trail/mountain marathon shape. I could run fast for 4-5 hours on very little food without crashing. I was hitting fast times on the track, and getting in a fair amount of doubles. That, in my newly formed opinion, is fantastic marathon-50k shape. This newly found "weekeend warrior" approach may be a little too far in the other direction, but I think it will be a good experiment to determine how my own body wants to get this job done. I've had no soreness, even after back to back ultra distance days on the weekends, and my weight is staying about the same. Compared to being sore all the time, this is nice.

The numbers have been small weekly totals, but last weekend(3/2) was a 21/25/10 combo that felt great. This past weekend was a more speed focused weekend(accidentally) with a marathon distance run with Monkey Mike, with a typical cruising pace in the in the 6:50-7:15.(stops for a dookie and snacks altered our "actual" pace, but who cares.) Mike PR'd for marathon distance by 10 minutes. Ten. Minutes, and it was no doing of mine. Shit, he was in front half the time. Mid week consisted of about 20 miles worth of jogs, with one effort per week that I'd call a tempo. 6:30-7:00pace on roads. for 8-10 miles.

Being undertrained for this race will bring about some extra pain, or even a risk of DNF. It also forces the ego out of the equation. The front runners of this race will likely lap me as I run the same loop 8 times. I'll let them go. I get to forsake the heels of those who pass and resist the urge to follow. I'm not a fast learner, so the best way for this race to go is to finish and feel like I could have pushed harder, not blowing up halfway through and shuffling it in.

Philosohpy and strategy aside, I've got an 8am class on monday and a 14hr drive, so...

Satruday 5am start
14 hour drive
8am class on monday

24+ hours?