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Sunday, July 17, 2016

P.T.Barnum Comes To Cleveland!

Did some texting with my best bud Ernie today from 12th street in Cleveland. I told him he was my "man on the ground" for the next 4 days. Also watched some coverage on  MSNBC. 123 protest groups have received permits to march, and police have told them no umbrellas, knives, back packs, and large bags allowed. Of course since Ohio is an open carry state, pistols, rifles, and assault weapons are welcome!
Trump today, in tweeting  a response to Obama's speech about  the Baton Rouge shooting, said that Obama doesn't recognize that "America is a divided crime scene that will only get worse". What I find most likable  about  Trump is that he doesn't just complain, he comes out WITH CONCRETE SOLUTIONS"! MAHHAH......
Been struggling mightily to run this week. Back is 50% better, but between the 100 plus degree heat and this ketogenic diet, running is a giant struggle. I was only able to run 4 easy 8K runs this week. I have lost 7 lbs in 10 days. Diet works fine for not feeling hungry, but those lack of carbs seems to make me cranky and struggle with energy. Plan to stay on this diet for 28 days while my bride is in Ohio, but not sure this is the best running diet.....

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Is Deutsche Bank The Coming Black Swan?

Today we hit an all time high for the S&P and the Dow. Every thing looks hunky dory. The S&P is up almost 4.5% for the year, and I am up around 9.5%. That happened solely because I was paranoid of a looming recession coming into 2016, and stayed with bonds, gold and gold miners, utilities, and municipal bonds with very few stocks until the S&P bottomed around 1825. I then SLOWLY added a small amount of stocks not  to  exceed 20% of my holdings. So today I sold some winning stocks and some bond ETF's. The 10 year treasury bond is back around 1.5%, and will go up if the U.S. economy improves substantially, and if bond buyers around the world stop running to the  U.S. because their bonds are yielding negative rates or near negative rates. Oil and the XLE oil company ETF may be a place to put some monies if oil just stabilizes. Silver looks more attractive than gold. So, with stocks being crazily expensive and probably in bubble territory due to all these central bank interventions, how much risk exists in this market. Sure we can melt up, but how much risk are you willing to take for a few more percent. Any stock I would buy now, I would hold a stop loss limit just because I am worried about one of those darned black swans. The one I am most concerned about is  Deutsche Bank. The chart above is an overlay of Lehmans going into it's collapse. DB is approximately 4 times the size of Lehman Brothers before it's contraction and collapse. DB has failed it's stress test for the 2nd time in two years. All banks world wide  are struggling to make money in this low to negative rate environment. As usual, the risk of any of  them making  some bad investments  to obtain yield is high. One bank is creating CDO's out of cell plan insurance like they did with mortgages. So the failure of DB could cut the value of the S&P in half in a month. I am just too damn old to see the market cut my investments in half and wait 5 years to get my monies back. I am hoping for 10 more years or so on this planet, so that  is my real investing horizon......

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Bit Of Painful Reflection!

As I said in my last blog post, The Friday after my Thursday sub 5K race pace intervals brought lots of back issues, and this week, calf issues that I am not 100 percent sure are spine or calf related. After going easy for 8K on tuesday and wednesday while struggling with calf issues,  today was my last attempt at an easy run in anticipation of  at least going to the race sunday night and just running it. At 2K in upon making a turn, my calf exploded like a calf tear. Like I said, not sure if it is calf or back stuff, but it doesn't much matter. I will probably need a good week off or more. Will go to the gym and lift weights, and later next week may try the recumbent, but my running has been shut down again. 
This past week I have been looking at the past 4 years training logs (that I will throw away shortly!), and there is a difficult pattern that I hate to accept, but probably must if I am going to attempt to just keep moving forward. In Joe Friel's book "Fast after 50", he first indicates that athletes from 60-69 have, by far, the greatest decline in Vo2 max of 30.5% for that decade. Now, by going back to the first months of turning 60 and racing before my meniscus snapped, and comparing race AND general run paces each year thru my last race at the Las Cruces Senior Qualifiers in early April, my decline in both race and training pace is around 8%. Now, the falloff will get greater in the last 5 years of this decade, so hitting and exceeding that 30 minute plus 5K and 60 minute plus 10K will probably happen soon. But the much more disturbing finding from my review, is how many times I injured myself after attempting to do fast speedwork or after hard races. In 5 races over the last three years, and three times doing fast speedwork,  my back has gone out sometime within the week after. That is just too steep a price to pay for a 50 cent medal. Also, when I look at race results, the new guys coming in at 60 are running times around the 8:30 5K pace I ran back then, but not the 9:05 pace I have devolved to currently. I obviously don't know what the inside of my spine looks like until I get an MRI next year, but I have to assume there are problems both with the stability of my spine and reduced disk spaces from the 8 levels of  disk bulges that were noted in my last MRI from 2 years ago. They get worse, not better. Now one of my two long term running hero's, Frank Shorter who is 69, has, in the last decade, gone thru a meniscus tear, knee surgery, and spinal surgeries,  and has decided to quit attempting to race. Now he still works out  two hours a day, but runs only about 4 times a week for 45 minutes to an hour easy, keeping his heart at below the 75% max heart rate limit, and adds elliptical, bike, lots of free weight and body weight exercises, but recognizes that he can't TRAIN for racing anymore. So, when I return from this current mess, I will just give up the ghost of trying to TRAIN or  race, certainly at least until  I see a spine specialist next year. I will adopt the Shorter plan, with only one difference.....I will probably try to come back to once a week tempo intervals of 4 by 5 minutes at a heart rate not exceeding 85% of my heart rate max, just because I think it is worth it  for heart health. I will still do some sprinting on the recumbent, but not as hard, and I will start to extend my weight workouts to do more lower body exercises. I will also try and add another spine stabilization exercise my boy recommended to me on the  phone the other night. And if I ever race again, it will either be as a fun run, or it will be at a race that actually has a 65-69 age group, and I will just run it easy in the event it is a very small age group. I think 36 years of racing out of 40 years of running is probably more than enough.......

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Freakin' Perplexing!

It only took six months, but Deb finally learned to use the wireless 21X zoom samsung camera I got her for Christmas. She took this zoom shot of Joe's pet roadrunner that lives on his back porch on his rock shelf, and comes out and eats snakes, lizards, small birds, and eggs of all types. You can also set out raw hamburger for them if you like! Anyway, when she gets to Ohio next month, make her take a crap load of pictures!!
My exercise week hit another snag in the middle of the week. On monday, I hit the gym, doing weights and thirty minutes of sprints on the recumbent. Tuesday I did 12K easy. Wednesday, I felt like something different, so I warmed up for a kilometer on the treadmill and then  just slowly climbed for two more kilometers until I reached 3K total. Thursday I went out and did 8K with 8 by 2 minute intervals all faster than 5K race pace. I noticed that the last two were pretty sloppy, as I fatigued a good bit and my form detiorated. The next day, due to Deb needing the car, I planned an easy run. When I woke up and got out of bed, I had bad Parasthesis (pins and needles and bugs crawling sensation) in my calf, and some muscle weakness in my hamstring. F@CK! So I did an easy 7K that evening. Saturday I did just weights at the gym. Today I was actually able to run in my first sub 90 degree day in about 6 weeks, as it was overcast, drizzly, and 77 degrees. I ran 8K with 4 by 5 minutes of tempo intervals with 2 minute recoveries at a good clip, but not at the usual pace. I was testing my back, and a pair of shoes that I wanted to try a different pair of insoles in. Went O.K., but the parasthesis remains. It is the old L5-S1 level, and probably one of three possible issues.....the disc is either degenerated more or finally gone, there is bone growth filling in space and causing stenosis at that disc level, or a facet capsule is damaged and pressing on nerves. In any event, still 5 or more months from getting an MRI and seeing if there is anything I can or will do to try and resolve it. May be at that point where I just run short and easy on my 4 run days a week, stop racing or training, and just try to keep running as long as my body allows!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

My Possessions Are Causing Me Suspicion, But There's No Proof!

Crowded House....always loved that verse. It seems that my electronics have been screwing with me this week. First, my Direct TV remote stopped working properly. Before Direct TV would send me a new one, they make me do a bunch of jerk off things to test the DVR and the remote. They finally relented, and sent me a new Genie remote, which the assholes should have sent me when I got the Genie DVR two years ago! It took me an hour to figure out how to program the remote to run the Genie and to operate the TV. Then my replacement Garmin watch that worked so well for a month, started discharging the battery overnight while it was off. So that is on its way to Olanthe Kansas for my third try at this. The tech dude that helped me told me I was cursed and that he did runs all week and tons of other stuff without needing to charge the battery. I told him to give me his! Then, my Ipad started discharging its battery overnight as well. Luckily I figured this one out by myself. I had loaded a weather app that runs constantly even when the Ipad is closed/off. Once I removed it, problem solved....
Since I adopted my new running schedule for the summer, I am trying to hit the recommended percentages Jack Daniels suggests for time at intensity based on weekly mileage. So, for 35K/22 miles, I should be aiming to do 12% of my running at tempo.... 4.2K/2.6mi/25 minutes of tempo, and 8%  hard speedwork.......2.8K/1.74mi/16 minutes of Vo2 max intervals, and the rest easy. So this week is looking like last week. On monday and wednesday I did weights and 30 minutes of recumbent sprints. Tuesday I ran 12K easy. A bit sore that evening and the next day. Thursday I did a descending ladder of 5-4-3-2-1-1 of intervals (16 minutes!) with two minute recoveries. Each interval was faster than the one before, starting at around 8K pace and ending at 3K pace. Total run was 8K. Friday I did a longer weight routine and skipped the recumbent. Today I went out to run at 7:30 (still 101 degrees!) and did 8K with four by 6 minutes of cruise intervals with two minute recoveries (24 minutes!). Dropped down to a cool 98 degrees at the finish! Needless to say, the six minute intervals were a bit slow! Tomorrow I will finish the week with a 7K run to reach 35K. Will also be a late run, as tomorrow is supposed to be a repeat of today's 104. My back is substantially better, and seems to only really dislike the weekly long run, so I will try to hold this until mid september and then see if I want to  try and start to work harder to prepare for any races!
P.S......This is blog post 600!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Some Things Work, Some Of The Time!

My experiment of one hit some snags this week. On Monday, I did my weight workout followed up by thirty minutes of recumbent bike sprints. Got to 8.87 miles of ass busting. Tuesday I did my long run of 12K in my favorite cushioned shoes the NB Boracay. No major pains afterwards or the next day. On Wednesday, I did a repeat of Monday. On Thursday, I planned to do 8K with some cruise intervals. Right from the gate, I noticed my pace was slow and my legs felt dead. I completed two 11 minute intervals with a  three minute recovery, but the intervals were a drag. So Friday I just did weights and skipped the bike intervals. Saturday I did 9K with a 20 minute tempo interval which was also slow. Today I did 7K and attempted to do 6 good two minute intervals with two minute recoveries to try and refire those fast twitch fibers. Barely able to hold 10K pace. So that was a 36K week like I wanted, but my body is struggling with after effects of the bike intervals.....dead legs. On the other hand, my heart rate while running is lower, so the sprints on the bike are having a positive effect on my heart function, and at least a short term negative effect on my leg speed. So, I will keep with it for a month or so and see if the dead legs stop, and some speed returns (I know, saying speed and me  in the same sentence is a bit of an oxymoron.....)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

El Diablo Has Arrived!

Summer came in this week with the usual 100's that you normally  get for the month of June. So, my running keeps getting later and later in the evening. Sometime in July, we usually start to get monsoon rains in the afternoon that cool things to the high 80's, but that is at a minimum, a good month or so away. On Monday I hit the gym and did my weight workout and thirty minutes of spinning on the recumbent. Doing more and more sprints, and ending up a little farther along with each ride. I am closing in on 9 miles of sprint equivalent in that half hour, and that is my goal. Tuesday I did a long run of 12 kilometers. Was back sore afterwards, and much of the next day. Wednesday was a gym repeat. Thursday I ran 8K with 5 by 3 minutes with two minute recoveries starting at 10K pace and finishing at 5K pace. Friday was supposed to be a gym day, but Chris called to ask if we could run together after he got out of school. This was his first run in 5 weeks from his plantar issues, and my job was to run next to him and yell at him to straighten his spine, lean forward, and shorten his stride so he was running midfoot. It was 97 degrees and he wanted to only run a half hour (luckily!) on my dirt track, so we did 5 laps and covered 5K in exactly 33 minutes. I was absolute toast from that. On Saturday the gym was closed for a competitive event, so I waited until 7:30 to go out (we hit 100!) and ran easy until sunset, and then ran a 14 minute tempo interval that was planned to be 20, but the heat just ate me up. Not at all heat acclimated as yet. Today I cooked my brain for an hour and a half in the sun doing yardwork and watering, and plan to go out at around 7:30 again just to do an easy 6K. That will give me 39 kilometers for the week, and 5 days of running. Back handled all the runs except the long one. When I try that again next week, will try to wear my most cushioned shoes. As I said before, don't have any races, sans one evening 5K on the 4th of July weekend that I would do only if my back felt excellent, so no reason to push myself much this summer.
On my Thursday run, I was on the bike trail completing my last mile near sundown, when I looked down and there was a damn rattler spread out across the bike path enjoying the heat from the asphalt, and I freaked and jumped into the road. A guy in a white landscaping truck coming at me, pulled over, and I pointed out the rattler, and he grabbed a hoe from the bed of his truck, walked over, and chopped the head off. He threw the hoe back in his truck bed, and said "have a good one". I would be scared shitless to do that. When I told Deb the story, she told me that she had read that the venom in the fangs is still toxic for an hour after the snake is dead.....I said, do you think that I would go anywhere near the sucker to find that out? I hate those freakin' snakes!