Saturday, February 27, 2010

Two 7-milers: One awful, one good

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From Dan:

I've talked about this before, but I have a tumultuous relationship with running. It's not like any of the other relationship with any of the other hobbies and activities in my life. I play guitar, for instance. I don't hate myself when I play, and the guitar doesn't hate me -- I'm just mediocre at it. Both of us are OK with that. I like to take pictures. Sometimes they're nice, sometimes not, but I've taken thousands of pictures in my life and I'll continue to do it either way. They're the kind of relationships that are adult, mature, mutually comforting. Sometimes we hit snags, but we talk out our shit and process it, work toward improvement so we can continue the relationship until we're old. I'm not a complicated person.

Running with me is like those goddam dramatic quarter-life crisis relationships you see on TV. One little thing happens and voices are raised, and we turn shallow and immature. "What do you mean, I can't hit my target pace? What are you trying to say?" Or: "It's raining out? I'm supposed to be out there an hour and a half! You think I appreciate that?" Or: "I've been doing this for years! Why haven't I gotten better? It's because you think I'm fat, isn't it? Say it!" I log a bad run and I say, "You know what? Screw this -- we're done." Then I storm out of the house.

It isn't always negative. When I run and it goes well, I'm excited -- it's all I want to do. I sign up for races and I log on to Twitter and try to cheer on my friends. It goes badly and I think I've been a clown. Sometimes the difference between those extremes is a matter of 5 minutes of overall time or less.

Long story short, on Thursday I tried to run a 7-mile interval run. I was lashed by a pouring rainstorm and heavy wind. It was pitch dark when I left and I stumbled into ankle-deep puddles in the broken sidewalks and potholed streets you find everywhere in Fall River. I stopped frequently to walk, catch my breath, and gnash my teeth in frustration. I asked aloud -- there was nobody around to hear me, because as I said, the weather was shit -- who the hell in their right mind goes outside to run 7 miles in a rainstorm, and why I was continuing to put myself through this kind of nonsense when running is supposed to be an enjoyable activity. I was soaked to the bone. My feet audibly squished with every step. About 2 miles in, I had to stop and hitch up my running pants because the bottoms were so soaked with rainwater that they began to sag into dangerous territory. I asked, "Who am I putting myself through this for, because it sure as hell isn't me?" So I ran home after less than 3 miles and was a miserable bastard for a while.

Friday, under better emotional and meteorological circumstances, I ran 7 miles and I felt much better. I ran through some wet snowfall, but I didn't get as soaked and it was actually sort of nice. I didn't hit my targets, either (it was supposed to be a relatively fast interval run), but I'm fine with it. I got a painful worn-out spot on the back of my right heel, but I ran through it and put a Band-Aid on it. So we've made up.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Podcast feed weirdness

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If you've recently checked out the 4 Feet Running podcast on iTunes, you will have noticed that three things are screwed up:
  1. The author of the podcast is now "noreply@blogger.com (Dan)"
  2. All podcast episodes are now dated Feb. 24, 2010
  3. Episodes 1, 2, 3, and 4 are in reverse order
I switched RSS feeds and some things got wonky along the way. At least all the shows are still available for download! Right...? (If you find something is missing, let us know.)

Here's what's going on with the other problems:
  1. This is is some weird thing with Blogger. I tried fixing it to say "Nik and Dan" again but it hasn't worked so far. If that doesn't work, I think I know a way at least to get it to say "noreply@blogger.com (Nik and Dan)" -- not perfect but closer. [Edit: This is now fixed.]
  2. I reposted all the episodes on that day. Even though I back-dated them, the posting date still isn't right. I can't fix that, but I plan on adding the proper dates into each episode's show notes so it'll be clear.
  3. Beats me. I posted all the episodes in the right order. We'll have to live with it.

So hold tight and we'll get it all fixed up. I think.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

run happy

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Now I have my Brooks ID uniform too!
(Myrna's excited too)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We're in the Brooks ID program!

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Hey, remember all those times during the podcast when Nik and I went on and on and on and on about how much we love Brooks shoes? Turns out they like us too! They accepted us into the Brooks ID program! The ID stands for "inspire daily" -- so here's your daily dose of inspiration.

Run happy!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day run

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Nik and I have both been in iffy moods regarding running lately -- Nik's left ankle has been bothering her (more on this in a sec), and I've been exhausted from long tedious hours of work. So it's been a little tough for both of us.

Valentine's Day morning, we put on our screw-shoes and went out for an icy 5-miler, the last run in my step-down week (Week 4 of the NJ half-marathon training). Nik's ankle is sore in the Achilles area, so we left the dogs at home. As soon as Nik put on her screw-shoes and started to walk, she felt the ankle starting to nag her. She suspects it may be because her screw-shoes are an old pair of Brooks Dyads with close to 400 miles on them -- she normally ditches them just after 300 or so. I told her she could cut it short if she needed to, but she said she'd power through it.

Me, I had a spectacular run. We took one of Nik's usual 5-mile routes, a beautiful one that takes us to downtown Fall River, over to Kennedy Park, and along a boardwalk that winds along the edge of the Taunton River. We ran past some dude in a doorway downtown holding a purple left-handed BC Rich Warlock electric guitar, just holding it around his shoulder -- couldn't take a picture of him, unfortunately, even though it would've made a spectacular portrait. Someone else in a doorway (lots of people in doorways that day) told us it was a great day to go jogging. It was -- I felt pretty strong and confident throughout the whole thing, settling comfortably in the 11:30 to 12:00 pace range for long stretches. That qualifies as "fast" for my slow ass.

Some patches of ice and snow (particularly on the hills) threw off my average, and we stopped for a while to take pictures of seagulls perched on sheets of ice floating on the river, but we still managed to finish the 5-miler in just over an hour. Overall I tend to be more interested in how I feel than my pace, and in that respect it was a huge success for me. But Nik's ankle is still hurting -- she's changed her NJ marathon plan to make sure she won't put too much stress on it.

Nik and I have joked on the podcast more than once about how crappy Fall River is, about its crime and garbage and slummy neighborhoods. But there are days when it's actually pretty.

This is in an industrial area of the waterfront, by a huge mill. I think it's abandoned. Most of the mills in Fall River are empty, but the buildings are weirdly pretty in an Industrial Revolution kind of way.

Unfortunately, photography flattens out cityscapes like this. When you're here on Ponta Delgada Boulevard looking over the highway, you can see some pretty nice Fall River highlights -- the old Durfee clock tower, a church steeple, mill smokestacks ... the on-ramp to 195...

Part of the 5-mile route also takes you under the Braga Bridge, which connects Fall River to the (mildly) swankier people in Somerset.

This boardwalk takes you from the Battleship Cove area all the way to Bicentennial Park about a mile away (past that big red building).

Seagulls were standing all over sheets of ice on the river.

A seagull giving me a clever little "Go F yourself" look.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Episode 73

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It's the end of 4 Feet Running as we know it, and they feel fine! In this final episode:

- Nik and Dan read strictly feedback from you, the listeners

- No other news, to be honest -- just your e-mails and voice messages

- A huge thanks to everyone who wrote us, called in, left a review, listened to the show, interacted with us in any way, from us, Nik and Dan, and Stanley and Myrna

Follow us on Twitter: Nik and Dan
Friend us on Facebook: Nik and Dan
Friend us on the Daily Mile: Nik and Dan

- Enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The cure for sticky nipples

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Dan here. My nipples are killing me lately. In the winter the skin gets sort of dry, which is a pain in and of itself, but it seems to make nipple-chafing during runs much worse. Plus, I'm on the end of a stick of Body Glide -- actually using what's left in the plastic bit that holds the stuff in. I've been using Band-Aids because they're what I have in the house, but I keep worrying that it's a waste of Band-Aids and one day I'll slice my finger of and there won't be any left when I need them to stanch the bleeding.

On the advice of fellow badass @keeponrunning, I decided to try duct tape. I have hair on my chest, which would deter most mortal men from applying an adhesive to it. But I figured if I just use a small piece and take it off in the shower, I could minimize the pain I'd feel later. So I dug out an old roll of duct tape in Nik's collection of art supplies, cut off three pieces and stuck them on my nipples. (The third piece I threw away because it got stuck to itself, silly.)

Went for a 3-miler. No chafing. Perfect, right? Got home, popped into the hot shower and started to peel off the tape, and immediately I began to regret it -- the plastic backing slipped right off, but the sticky residue still coated my nipples like a gooey film, gumming up the hairs encircling it. Soap didn't help at all, even when I turned up the heat to scalding and used a hard-bristled scrub brush. I tried pulling off tiny strings of goo with my fingers, but it barely came off. I'm not trying to make this sound hot. It just happens to deal with nipples.

I informed Nik of my situation. She promptly fell over in her chair in hysterics. Between crying jags she told me her roll of duct tape had been through several scorching summers in the attic and had mostly melted. She only kept the roll to use as a paperweight. I could see she was going to sit back and enjoy the situation as opposed to trying to help me.

So I turned to the Internet. Being a nerd, it's where I go whenever I have a problem. At this point, I'll turn things over to my Twitter feed, where I began to live-tweet the situation:
- OK, first and LAST time I ever use duct tape as nipple guards. I've got fking glue residue all over them and I can't get it off

- My shirt's literally sticking to me

- They're covered in duct tape goo. Tried nail polish remover, didn't work. Tried scrubbing w/ soap, didn't work. A scrub brush didn't work
[Several minutes later]
- I'm up to peanut butter. I'm going to put peanut butter on my nipples in the kitchen and hope the neighbors don't look in. Thanks, life. FU.

- I could probably try to unstick it with more duct tape, but I have a hairy chest. I didn't picture myself getting a waxjob today
[Several minutes later]
- So far the thing that's working best is more duct tape. @painternik thinks this is hysterical, by the way
After dabbing at the tape with MORE tape, I did succeed in removing a tiny bit of the goo and several strands of hair. I got several suggestions from followers on Twitter to use Goo Gone (I didn't have any), lighter fluid (I didn't have any), and olive oil. Nik suggested that the thing to do might be to wait it out -- let the stuff dry out and flake off on its own. That could take days, I thought. Meanwhile my T-shirt was sticking to my body.
- I think I'm gonna try the olive oil. Back in a sec

- Wonder if it matters if I use extra virgin

- So I, what? Put olive oil on my nipples and let it sit for a while before wiping it off? This is sounding filthy. I'm not spam, honest
At this point, @kelownagurl asked me to take a picture of myself. In other words, share topless photos of myself on the Internet covered in food products and sticky goo. How come if I asked women for things like this, it would be frowned upon, but in my case it's OK?

I tried one picture. It looked porny. I deleted it immediately.

Anyway, I soaked a paper towel in vegetable oil (I had olive, but it's extra virgin, and so too expensive to waste on nipples) and began dabbing myself with it. To my surprise and relief, it slowly began to melt away the tape goop, with the unexpected bonus that my chest began to smell like french fries. After a few minutes, it was all off and I was nice and smooth again.

So that's this week's Running Tip: if you've got sticky duct tape residue coating your nipples, rub in vegetable oil liberally. I swear I'm not trying to make this sound hot.

Thanks to everyone who helped me out with the suggestion.

Believe it or not, I may try duct tape again, but from a fresh roll this time that hasn't been through heat extremes. I'll report my findings after a 5-mile tempo run.
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