Monthly Archives: July 2009

Good / Bad

I didn’t post last night because I didn’t actually go out for my run until 9:45. I did a relatively easy 13.5 miles in the dark of night, heading towards the downtown canal to get a little visible light to work with. Unfortunately, the light shown on people I’d rather not come across during my training runs. Let me tell you, a whole ‘nother level of classy individuals walk the downtown canal during the evening hours. To clarify this point – Just a few miles into the run I pass our State Museum which backs up to the scenic canal, has an extremely opened up veranda, and is lit up like it’s perpetually 12 noon. Does that stop a couple from having a BJ session right in the middle of the veranda while anyone out for a scenic stroll (I passed probably 50 people) walks by…or runs by? Nope! Stay classy Indy. 

Anyways…on to more appetizing subjects.

I’m registering for a race this Saturday – the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Circle the City 5k/10k. I’m certainly psyched to get back into race mode, but there are always pros and cons I find myself debating once I’ve made the decision to race. Here’s what I’ve come up with for Saturday.

Good -It’s a 10k race….I hate doing anything under that distance. The speed threshold is always nearly too much for me.
Bad – It’s a 10k race….With the marathon coming up, I find I only want to do 1/2 marathons to really get a definitive gauge on pace and distance.
– My training – With the increase in both mileage and intensity, and the last 10k I ran being a full year ago, it seems to follow that I will be far improved from the last time I ran this distance.
Bad – My training – With the increase in both mileage and intensity, there is a good chance I’ll be pretty flat come Saturday. It takes a bit to get that speed back once you beat yourself up for a handful of weeks, and I’m not sure where I’ll stand on Saturday.
Good – Prize money…It’s always nice to have cash waiting at the end of the race if you perform well.
Bad – Prize money…The race is offering 1000 dollars to anyone who runs below 29:30, which means the top runners from IN and surrounding states (rumors of kenyans coming from NY) will show up to go for the rent/food/clothes money, which means I don’t stand a chance of placing. All I can hope for is a PR and age group placing.
Good – Compeition….With the prize money dangling like a carrot to a donkey, the race will be fast. I’ll have others to hang onto for what I hope is a PR run.
Bad – Competition….see the prior bad.
Good – Music!…The symphony will be playing at the end of the race and African drummers will be playing along the course.
Bad – Actually, there’s nothing bad about drums during a race, or a symphony post-race for that matter.

In all, I’m pretty excited to put the racing flats on again and see what I can do, even if 10k’s aren’t my best distance. I’m honestly not EXPECTING a PR, but I’d sure like to try and go for one, which is why I’ve decided to take today off. I was debating doing something easy, or just long, but after Tuesday’s workout and last night’s 13.5, my legs are just gone. I certainly need the recovery time to be well rested for Saturday. I’ll probably go out for a shorter run tomorrow, just to keep things loose, but that will be it until Saturday. Expect a race report.



Yesterday – 13.5 at moderate pace…1:22. The run was easier on my legs than it was my eyes.
Today – recover


Breakfast – Hot grape nuts cereal w/ slab of margarine, soymilk, and a small dose of brown sugar, coffee
Lunch – Pasta w/ veggie sauce
Dinner – Haven’t decided yet
Snacks – Banana w/ peanut butter, orange, water, coffee

The little victories

Like the pain of a tattoo, I might have forgotten a past grueling workout from my high school cross country days, but regardless, today’s workout felt like the hardest (most rewarding) I’ve ever done. 

On Saturday’s long run Jessie Davis says to his coach that writes these workouts,

“Even with all this racing and high mileage weeks I’ve felt real good.”

The coach chuckles a diabolical, planning laugh and responds, “I’ll remember that when writing next weeks workout.”

I don’t disbelieve him for a second. I was right.

3 miles of warmup.
1 mile at 5:00 flat – then 1 minute jog rest
Into 12 x 400’s, maintaining around 68 seconds, with 1 minute jog rest in between
3 minute jog rest after the 12th 400
Into a final 5:00 flat mile again
4 miles of cool down.

This was going to hurt. Add to that a downpour during the warmup that transitioned to a sweltering, painful sun as soon as we hit the track that turned the air into a heavy humid mass that weighed on our lungs like a lead vest. This was gonna be awesome.

After preliminary stretches and run outs we go straight into the mile, hitting 5:00 flat on the nose, myself feeling quite surprised at the relatively minimal effort to get there. Then we knock out the first 400, the plan to rotate leading positions throughout the repetitions. After the first 40o I question my ability to complete 4 more, let alone 11. We knock out another at 68 seconds and I’m told to lead the third. I decline and compromise, agreeing to take the 4th, just hoping my rhythm will kick in and I’ll be able to effectively lead the group. The 4th comes around and as I doubt my abilities I somehow knock it out on the second. Then going into the 5th I feel as if someone has drop kicked my quads and I worry that I killed the entire workout, coming through the line at 71 seconds. Almost magically I manage to recover my speed and the 6th goes by at 68 again, though I was falling off the group of 3 in front of me. We hit 7 and I although I express my doubts, the group forces me to sandwich in the middle to maintain speed, which somehow I manage….the group dynamic is powerful. Number 8 and I’m told to lead again, but I refuse once, then twice, but Little refuses to relent and forces me to the front telling me, “Mind over matter.” I go out with seemingly fresh legs, hoping to hang on through the second 200 and somehow, beyond my comprehension, we go through at 68 on the dot yet again…though I questioned my ability to hold the contents in my stomach the last 20 yards. All I wanted was to get to 10, but 9 and 10 came and went, this time around 69 and 71, then 11 at 71 again and finally 12 at 73, no matter how hard I tried to make the last one count.

And we weren’t done. We had 3 minutes rest and one more mile, Little and I trying to hold onto 75 second 400’s, but each lap took its toll and we struggled to keep Jessie in any relative distance, his little robot legs and his shortened but blurred robot stride killing every lap and putting more and more distance on us. I rounded the last lap and found the energy to kill it down the straight, but only came through at 5:17, which Matt jokingly (?) blurted out, 

“That was the highest quality 5:17 mile of the day!”

I was certainly satisfied, running in sweat soaked trainers instead of racing flats, killing that workout despite running at my highest mileage weeks yet, and doing it in the thick remorseless air. THAT was awesome.


The veganism 101 presentation at school went smashingly today. I had MOST of the kids interested, throwing in attention grabbing gross out facts about what gelatin is made of when the energy waned, and even getting to make a point about the value of nutritional knowledge by first telling them that Latin was absolutely useless. THAT sure got their attention.



See above…I feel like I’m giving an algebra lesson writing that thing out.


Breakfast – Oatmeal (w/ peanut butter and raisins), coffee
Lunch – Leftover quinoa w/ veggies, mushrooms, green beans, etc., water
Dinner – Umm…havent really had it yet.
Snacks – Coffee, Banana w/ peanut butter, primal vegan jerky, 2 post run gatorades, coffee, ABC espresso cookie

Everything else

A long distance friend of mine called me yesterday and we had a brief, but decent catch up conversation, touching on obstacles, near-future plans, and overall life perspectives. My friend, a bike enthusiast, who rides recreationally and competitively made a comment that struck a chord with me and mirrored similar thoughts I’ve been considering regarding our respective interests. To paraphrase, he said,

“Lately I’ve really been struggling with my love of cycling and just how much joy it gives me, but working in a bike shop has made me realize just how involved it is materialistically and how it tends to conflict with my other perspectives. Like, I just finished reading a Derrick Jensen book and I really feel driven to do something to protect the environment in a concretely active way and I feel like I should be dedicating my efforts toward that end, but I also don’t want to give up my cycling, yet the two seem completely opposed to each other in a way.”

Internally, I thanked him for staying in touch and thanked myself for calling him back, if only to hear him say the very same things I’ve been struggling with lately.

For those of you who knew me (and my politics) before immersing myself with running, you probably already know the rest of this post, but for the rest I’ll offer a little summary for clarification.

I was involved with anarchist culture/practice for many years (not to say I’m not anymore)…and I mean heavily involved. My every day was informed by anarchist politics and my every action was weighed against the effectiveness of creating the world of total liberation I so desperately desired. I went through many emotional struggles debating my anarchist practice, some emotional highs and some emotional lows. Then my son came along, and although that experience only solidified my desires for a world of total liberation, obsessively tending to his needs started the process that took me out of the more communal anarchist effort. I was more concerned with making sure the cloth diapers were washed. Then after moving to the middle of nowhere to save money, I started running again. Then, well, here we are. 

Now my internet bookmarks are comprised of more running sites than anarchist news sites. I make plans to travel out of state for races instead of anarchist convergences. I draw out detailed training plans instead of detailed plans to establish the next infoshop. And, all other elements out of my control aside, I’m more happy than I’ve been in a long long time. I have a lot of hope for my every day, despite the ever present obstacles to financial freedom. In short, I’ve effectively replaced my involvement in anarchist culture with my involvement in running culture…and I’m absolutely fine with that. Mostly.

There are still issues that act to drag me back in. When I hear of my friends getting put in jail by the state, or when I read a particularly impassioned piece of propaganda, or when I read ecologically focused anarchist writings, I can’t help but remember the reasons I was so deeply involved in the culture not so long ago. Basically, because I really believe we are stuck on a speeding train that is going nowhere but off the cliff….environmentally if not socially. 

I’ll spare you the details…this is a running blog after all. 

However, it was a relief to hear that a friend I have great respect for, who is in a relatively similar situation as I am, is currently struggling with the same dilemma. We are so impassioned and entrenched in our sports interests, which give us great success and pleasure, but at the same time we have these moments where we can’t help but understand the relative futility and absurdity of it all. It really puts our efforts into perspective, no matter how rewarding they are to us personally. 

I don’t know, I wish I had a more redeeming point to this post, but I guess I don’t. Ultimately, I don’t have much hope for the shape of things to come, and if the opportunity does arise where I can have an effect on the world in a positive way, you can bet I’ll be right there, but until then I’m quite satisfied riding out the speeding train and making the most of it along the way. That sounds kinda terrible doesn’t it? 🙂

I think that’s what troubles me the most honestly. Running has been such an amazing escape for me in so many ways, but when you leave behind “ignorance is bliss” and now have an understanding of “what’s coming”, that escape is quite troubling. Yeah, I can escape diminishing salmon, deforestation, continued development and capitalist expansion, an ever increasingly toxified ocean, and all sorts of others horrors, but I know that’s irresponsible. Yet, I can’t get away from how exciting and rewarding running is to me on a personal level and how it makes everything else pale in comparison, even when everything else might just be ecological collapse in my own lifetime. Then again, maybe I’m just reading too many apocalyptic books lately. 

Still, to put my ugliness out there, I’m not stopping running for some feel good effort to “save the world”. That’s just how it is. We’ll cross the final bridge when we come to it.


Also, in relation to yesterday’s post….I’m giving a Veganism 101 talk to a class of High School freshman tomorrow afternoon! Maybe more blog fodder?!



10 miles easy – resting after a rough week and the coming high-mileage, tough workout week ahead. Feel less fatigued now, which is good.


Breakfast – Oatmeal (w/ peanut butter and raisins), coffee
Lunch – Leftover pasta w/ veggies
Dinner – Quinoa w/ mushrooms, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, and all kinds of other amazing goodness, w/ garlic bread
Snacks – Cereal w/ soymilk, water, coffee, banana

Super Size me…actually, don’t.

Wow, I watched Super Size Me last night on Hulu. I’ve always wanted to watch it because I’m a sucker for documentaries, especially where the subject undertakes some extremist social experiment, but I didn’t realize this movie was filled with so much food theory as well. I made the decision to watch the film after noticing that the health teacher at the school I work is showing it to her kids. So, imagine my surprise when I realized the main subject’s girlfriend is a vegan chef, and Morgan’s post-Mcdonald’s detox diet was a vegan one. I was even further thrilled to see a section on the nation’s generally accepted school food program, a subject I am intimately familiar with as I empty the lunch trash every day and essentially pick up the packaging discards around school all the time.

I’ve been quite appalled at the school lunch program where I work and the eating habits of these kids since I started working there, so once I saw this film being shown in class my wheels got turning. Today, out on a faster than I wanted to go 11 mile run, I decided that I’m going to talk to the school’s health teacher and see if she wanted me to talk to her class about veganism, in relation to the film she is showing. I figure teachers are always looking for new ways to fill class time, so the long-haired, running, vegan janitor talk would probably keep the kids attention for a little bit right? 

I’ll probably have to come up with a more structured talk if the teacher thinks this is a good idea, but these are some of the main points I would want to discuss with the kids:

1. Longevity is over-rated. Who cares how long one lives if it’s a life of misery and sickness. The quality of life is always what counts and diet is intricately linked to quality of life.

2. Understanding that good food creates a better quality of life is only the first step. Altering your physical environment or perspective of the physical environment is key. You can be aware that apples are better than pop-tarts, but if grocery stores are filled with 15 aisles of pop-tarts and 1 aisle of apples, guess which product you’ll probably end up choosing.

3. Veganism, on a personal level, has helped me limit my food choices to the point that most crap in the grocery stores is packaged excess and I don’t even bother considering them as an option, therefore the ratio of good choices to bad choices is much more balanced.

4. The food industry isn’t about food. It’s about getting your money. Food is irrelevant. Food is simply what’s in the packaging. It’s really about marketing. A marketing executive can jump industries without any process of relearning…it’s all about what the package looks like, not what’s inside.

5. Any system based on money will ultimately serve the needs of money, not any ethical standard. Food is no different. Corporations have no foundational motive to look out for your dietary benefit, so all product should be suspect. 

6. The mind and body are the same entity. Both are fueled by food. Bad fuel will affect both negatively and good fuel with affect both positively. 

7. Food is so far removed from it’s original state that we are now ingesting substances that are not ingested by any other living creature as sustenance. When a predator animal eats a cow, it leaves the hooves, hair, and bones to rot. Humans have turned those parts of the animal into gelatin (jello) and that is only the most obvious example. So technically, corporations are feeding us non-food. The effects of eating non-foods are inherently suspect.

That’s just a start though. Those are some ideas that were running through my head as my legs ran along the ground. 

This subject of food is really fascinating to me now that I work in a school environment. It’s quite depressing to see how little emphasis is put upon the diet of these kids, wherein some of them come from poor families, which are more likely not able to provide them with healthy foods. Unfortunately, the schools are so strapped as it is with money that they are influenced to cut costs on all the school aspects that aren’t rewarded monetarily by the state, which are essentially test scores. And don’t get me started on the value of test scores, not to mention the subjects which these kids are being tested on……I mean really, LATIN?! EXACTLY WHAT DIRECT VALUE DOES LATIN HAVE IN OUR DAILY LIVES? Ok, tangent. But really, how is so much emphasis placed on latin and so little emphasis placed on good food choices, which is not only something these kids need to know on a daily basis, but actually need to consider multiple times a day. Yeah, this health class is addressing the issue to a degree, but what message is being sent when kids are shown bad food choices and then once class is over they go to lunch to eat the most paltry and low-grade crap food I’ve ever seen. I really thought the trash I collected after lunch was brought by these kids from home, but it turns out that the oreo packages, potato chip packages, government cheese, disgusting “hamburgers”, Smuckers “lunchables” pb&j sandwiches, barely recognizeable cheese, and everything else is actually from the food service company we use. I’ll have to get some photos for you sometime…it really is amazing.

And just the other day before lunch an announcement was given over the speakers. It went something like this,

“Students should be aware that they can not refuse the lunch offered in the cafeteria. We are subsidized by a government program and the guidelines of that program insist that every student take a complete lunch. You can’t refuse any portion of the lunch. If you want to give it away to others, that is fine, but you must take a complete lunch. This is a federal mandate and we can’t refuse it or we lose our lunch service.”

The trash cans overflow with uneaten lunches….which may not be a bad thing really. 

Then there are the rules around school about proper behavior, including not chewing gum or candy, which I think is more about not having gum and candy wrappers thrown all over the school (yeah right), but at the same time, I see kids sprinting away from bathroom breaks to the counselors office where he has a full bucket of candy that he freely lets the kids grab into EVERY DAY. This, on top of the Monsters and Red Bulls these kids walk into school with. I mean, I don’t really know how these kids would function without all this junk, but I’m guessing the classes might be just A TOUCH easier to manage.

So anyways, this is just the tip of the iceberg, but I’m interested to see what sort of response I might get if the teacher lets me go ahead with a talk/q&a session. I’ll keep you all posted.




11 miles – supposed to be an easy recovery pace, but after 2 miles I felt loose and ended up moving quickly along the canal downtown, despite the increasing heat and humidity.


Breakfast – English muffin with margarine, coffee
Lunch – Pasta w/ TVP and brocolli, water, bread and margarine
Snacks – Water, Peaches, Plums eaten from a tree on the run, Raw energy bar
Dinner – Homemade chili w/ tofu, zuchinni, other veggies, etc. (Awesome!), homemade bread, peaches and plums

Double post!

Hey…don’t take my word for it…take hers.

Runner’s World dietitian does soy products 101

A rundown of a long run

I was woken at 5:00 by the sound of rain pounding on the windows. Even in my groggy sleep-induced head fog the only thing that crossed my mind was, “Crap. This better stop before I have to get up and do 20 miles.” 

I was smacked awake by the beeping of my cell phone alarm, what some refer to as “the first insult of the day”, but that is only in relation to the work week, where here it could be considered “the first motivator of the run”. I fumbled through the darkened house unlit by any sunlight hiding behind the rain clouds that had stopped falling, but still hung heavy. I drank my coffee, ate an english muffin and jumped in the car, forgetting to give michelle her goodbye kiss. (Yeah, I got crap for that one on the return).

Driving to the meetup parking lot I looked to the sky to see an ominous and, honestly, quite frightening cloud line. I mentally switched to my love of adverse weather, when all of a sudden lightning split the sky. Then again, and again, and again. I debated turning around, but decided after getting up this early I at least owed my other running cohorts the chance to consider a run. I tried to psyche myself up to run in a downpour peppered with lightning strikes, figuring the trees would deflect any deadly blow. Suddenly, I became aware that these are probably the sort of thoughts that preceed the death of any lightning victim. “Oh, I’ll be fine. I mean really, what are the odds?” I wasn’t sure if my desire to run in the rain was passionate dedication or the stupid side of machismo. 

Fortunately, after pulling into the parking lot another running buddy showed up and we both looked to the sky. Our third and final runner for the day pulled up next to us and this time when we looked to the sky, there was a decent sized hole forming above us. The downpour ceased and with just a light drizzle falling we all stepped from our cars to start the run. The 5:45 wakeup time was not to be for naught this time.

With a couple hard workouts earlier in the week we all started off slowly and stiff. Running past the paying entrance to the park we were about to run in we slipped into a trail that fed us directly onto the roads that criss-crossed and wound through the natural scenery. Fearing water logged trails we opted to stay on the roads, unfortunately offering us no cushioning or respite for our already weary legs. 

Still, we ran on somewhere around 7 minute pace. 3 miles in we double backed to pick up their coach and cruised with him for the next 45 minutes, him forcing the pace at times, which helped loosen our legs and make the effort much more pleasant. Soon enough though, after working him up a gradual hill, he fell off the back and we continued on at varying pacing. Despite the rough week we had enough to press on deep into the 20 miles, but the grey skies and overall soreness started to take its toll. 

One mile split read 6:40, but that was after a drop in tempo, so up until then we were probably pushing 6:00 to 6:30 pacing, a respectable pace for a purposefully long, slow run. 

At about 1:20 – 1:30 I felt an early morning hunger creep into my abdomen and made me wish I had eaten a more substantial breakfast. My thoughts wandered to vegan waffles made in my belgian waffle maker. 

The next 30 minutes wore on and on, as if time had slowed, and I caught us all taking peeks at our watches, hoping what felt like the past 10 minutes wasn’t the actual 3 that our watches read. We jumped onto a trail to break the monotony and instinctually picked up the pace, which felt great for a brief period until we hit 1:45 and time slowed yet again. One of the other runners verbalized,

“Have you ever felt like if you laid down, that you just wouldn’t be able to get back up? Or that you just wouldn’t WANT to get back up? I really feel like that right now.” I think we all did. 

We popped out from the woods and made our way out of the park and back to the cars, adding a short stretch of pavement to complete the full 20 miles. We weren’t broken by any means, but we certainly weren’t thriving either. 

I drove back home, fighting the urge to stop at a store for like 50 gatorades, or at the local coffee shop for 80 soy iced mochas. Instead I stumbled into the house, inhaled two bowls of cereal, then some oatmeal, before laying on the floor like we discussed during the run, and debated not getting back up. 

And I repeat, this is still just the beginning.



20 miles – Anywhere between 6:00 and 7:00 minute miles.


Breakfast – 1 english muffin w/ peanut butter, coffee
Post run – 2 bowls of the natural version of rice chex w/ soymilk, coffee
Lunch – Just a bit of leftover pasta from yesterday, coffee
Dinner – Boca “chicken” pattie on wheat bread, sweet potatoes, beets, water
Snacks – Peach, water, coffee, salted edamame

Heard on the run

I need to get to bed for my early morning long run tomorrow, so this is going to be a short one. 

I’ve had a countless number of funny occurrences while out on runs and although these aren’t at the top of the list, here are a couple amusing happenings from the past two days.

Doing my warm up before yesterday’s hill sprints workout I ran through a few neighborhoods on the way to the hill. At one point I came up on a mom on her bike pulling her toddler daughter in an enclosed kid trailer. The little girl sees me running on the other side of the street and says, no, YELLS,

“Mommy! He has no shirt on! Mommy! He has no shirt on! See! Look Mommy! He has no shirt on! Look!”

I was mildly curious as to how the mom would react as it was obvious that her daughter was yelling loud enough for me to hear, but unfortunately she just ignored her and kept riding, probably not wanting to draw any more attention to the awkward interaction. I thought it was pretty funny anyways. I guess they don’t get a lot of shirtless folk in them there parts, which is quite a contrasting perspective as the toddler I live with takes any chance he can get to strip down and run bare-assed around the house or neighborhood, even preferring to go pee in the front yard instead of the bathroom.  

Then today I started up our rail trail, again shirtless, for an easy 10 miles when up ahead I saw a group of girls, most in their pre-teens, but also a couple older ones. I think I hear someone very faintly say,

“Is that a woman?” 

And as I get closer and closer they all of a sudden get quiet and stare at my as I come on them. All of a sudden someone busts out laughing, causing a chain reaction of laughter and I hear exclamations of,

“That’s not a woman! Hah! That’s a guy!”

Then more laughter as I keep running. Ok, so I have long hair, but damn, I wasn’t far enough away for them to not see that I wasn’t wearing a shirt. I mean really. Also, I’m trying to go for “METAL” with my head of hair, but so far I’ve only gotten “hippie” and now “woman”. Not cool man, not cool. 

Anyways, I’ve got plenty more stories like this, but it’s time to go to bed. Got a 2 hour run tomorrow.



10 miles – supposed to be easy, but I ended up pouring it on the second half. Still, I ran just over 6 minute miles. Felt super tight and sore to start the run and not much has changed as I sit here.


Breakfast – Oatmeal (w/ peanut butter, brown sugar), coffee
Lunch – A friend treated me to Eggless Egg salad (tofu w/ sauce and almonds), 2 tamales, Coffee
Dinner – Udon noodles w/ Thai peanut sauce and veggies
Snacks – coffee, water, sweet potatoes, bread, banana