22 days straight.

I am doing John Bingham's 100 Day Challenge, seeing as how I have a bad tendency to let all training slip by the wayside far too often. More days than I'd care to admit (especially after sleeping through Saturday morning running group), I've had to take the dog out walking late at night. But so far, I've colored the first 22 blocks on the shoe in--I ran a very slow 5K on December 31, so I had a head start on this New Year's resolution of sorts.

Link to PDF of shoe chart

Note of irony: I've lost most of my holiday-gained weight by going alcohol-free this year. Tonight, I tried to buy some O'Doul's Amber, just so I could have something beer-ish-tasting. Got carded (of course), then the cashier pointed out that my driver's license had expired. She couldn't sell it to me. "Even O'Doul's?" I said. She said, "No, because there's a small amount of alcohol in it."

Imagine that. Fifty-five years old, and I get carded. And since it's expired and therefore invalid, I suppose (ahem) that I used a fake ID.

 


First race of the year.

So. I guess this is my second race in the 55-59 age group, and first one in this calendar year. So many upsides to this race. For starters:

  • Fourth in my age group. Fourth out of 10! I languished at or near the bottom of most every race I did last year. (And I finished 6th out of 8 just over two weeks ago.) On December 31, I ran a very sluggish 34:24. Today, 32:02, better than two minutes faster. Not a super-fast age group, and a deceptively hilly course (Woodland Street is, for large parts of it, a long damn incline). But I ran at what was obviously a pretty good pace for me at this point in the year.
  • I did not feel the need to walk at all (other than through the one water stop on the course). That hasn't happened in I don't know how long.
  • I weigh about 8 pounds less than I did on January 1. That helps.

Day 3.

I inadvertently but fortuitously got a head start on the 100 Day Challenge (i.e. 30 minutes of activity for 100 consecutive days) having run a very slow 5K race on New Year's Eve.

Today, I ran (OK, ran-walked-ran) for 30+ minutes and followed it up with 10 pushups and a 30-second plank. The gratuitous screenshot is just the stopwatch; apparently not enough memory on my phone to reload MapMyRun.

File_000


Still hopeful.

Despite long-winded discussions of pessimism vs. optimism, which one reads from time to time, I remain at heart an optimist.

I am hopeful for myself, hopeful for my family, hopeful for the world. Cynicism just wears me down.

And so...

Though I'd promised myself that I would take the advice of a friend who always waits until the last possible moment to sign up for races, I've already signed up for several past favorites and for another that I've had to back out of (and yes, that's one of the few races that offers a full refund for cancellation).

The 2017 race calendar, as it stands right now:

February 11: Hot Chocolate 15K. I like this distance. I suppose anything over 10K is mind-numbingly long for me, but this one ends sooner than a half-marathon. Also, this race was cold as hell last year, and if you're going to run a long damn time, then at least when it's that cold one does not overheat.

April 15: The Smitty 15K. Great flat course. Sponsored by a dairy, last year was the first time they added the 15K distance to their usual 5K and 10K. They ran out of ice cream for those of us who ran the longest distance. I was not happy about that. They've promised to fix that situation this year.

April 29: Run Rock 'n' Roll Nashville Half-Marathon. Big race. Too big. I made the bargain-hunter's mistake of signing up for this race right after I'd finished the 2016 race. Plus, there's always the potential that it gets hot as hell.

May 29: Chattanooga Chase 8K. Favorite race of all time.

August 27: Rocketman Triathlon. I am considering this my A race for the season.

Leaving out a lot of races that I used to do (or used to sign up for and bail on), especially the sprint triathlons. Restraint can be a good thing.

Speaking of optimism, here's something I want but am unlikely to get: abs like Iggy Pop.


The blues.

The Rich DelGrosso book (linked at right) is a revelation, at least in the first few exercises. I have done something similar to this in my brief study of jazz guitar, but I really feel like this will help me take great leaps and bounds in my playing. People forget about blues' connection to bluegrass, but read anything about Bill Monroe and you'll learn the truth.

Plus, as though I needed to tell anyone, the blues is the foundation of rock and roll. So while I've mostly been doing these exercises on an acoustic mandolin, I'm fixin' to bust out my J. L. Smith electric and run that bad boy through my amp. As much as I'd like to be unplugged, my DNA has unshakeable electric rock and roll on the double helix.