Tuesday, March 8, 2011

B's Peeves....Jelly Donut Day Edition

I know this is supposed to be a blog about running, but it's my only outlet, so I'm gonna use it to get something off my chest. Here's what's Peeve-ing me today....

Since most of the people who read this blog are my friends and family any way, you all know I lived in Chicago for 9 years and loved every minute of it. That said, I could never figure out what all the fuss was about every year on Fat Tuesday when offices across Chicagoland would explode with Jelly Donuts. Inevitably, there would be a (usually very large) admin assistant with a last name of Kowalski, Wisniewski, or Walczak who would spend the entire day trying to convince me that because they came from a "Polish bakery," they should be called "Paczki," and not just "Jelly Donuts." Baloney.

Look, I'm all for having cultural traditions that center around food. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. A large part of why I run is so that I can participate in these traditions without looking like a Wisniewski by the end of the season. But if you're going to have jelly donuts on Fat Tuesday every year before you make your minor Lenten Sacrifice, then let's just drop the charade and call them what they are.

I figured that a move to West Michigan [where "if you ain't Dutch, you ain't right,"] would reduce the annual dependence on fried dough balls, but alas, they're all over the office today as well!

So to get to the bottom of this, I consulted The Omnicient Narrator- Google. In this case, Google Images specifically. I first googled "Jelly Donut," and got this image in return:

Next, I googled "Pazcki," and got this image in return:

Notice a similarity? Yup, they're exactly the friggin' same! So from here on out, it's not Fat Tuesday, it's not Mardi Gras, and it's not Paczki Day. It's Jelly Donut Day. End of sermon. Homer Simpson would be proud.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Few. The Proud.

News out of Chicago today- the 2011 Chicago Marathon has sold out in a record 31 days! Amazing to think that there are 45000 nut-jobs like me who know by February that they'll want to run 26.2 miles 7 months later. This makes me part of the Few - 45,000 is relatively few compared to, say, the population of China, and the Proud - if by "proud," you mean "nut-jobs."

No major news on the local front, I just thought it was amazing that the race is already closed. You'll see in my first (maybe second) post that I said it normally sells out by early April. It's 3/3, and the only way to get in now is to sign up with a charity or find someone on Craigslist looking to profit from a distance running nut-job.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On what it means to be "in training..."

I left my last post explaining that I was doing plenty of running, but I hadn't started "Training." What's the difference? Glad you asked....

Running is an admirable pursuit. People run in all sorts of ways for all sorts of reasons, but when you boil it down, running is a series of workouts. There's no specific purpose in working out, save for fitness maintenance, weight loss, etc. It's easy to get in a workout on any given day, to work out the morning after getting liquored up the night before, etc.

Training is a mindset. Training is a process by which a person runs with a regular frequency and intensity with a specific goal. Our local YMCA runs a "Couch to 5k" training program which helps people take their first steps toward finishing a 5k fun run. That training program is no different from a marathon program- it provides a collection of runs, rests, cross training, nutrition, sleep, and work/life/exercise balance in order to help its participants achieve a goal, whether it's a Personal Record (PR), winning a race, or simply crossing a finish line. And, yes, that was a run-on sentence. It's my blog, I can run-on all I want.

See the difference? When I'm running, I'll gladly go out and get blitzed on Friday night because I can go to the gym on Sunday instead of Saturday. When I'm training, I have a Friday dinner of lean protein and simple carbs (menus are another post), go to bed at 10pm, and hit the trail around 7am after a specific breakfast. In training, it's important to get those runs done on Saturday so I can cross train on Sunday.

So now I'm "in training" for the Riverbank Run. I've got 10.5 weeks until race day, so I'll run 4 times per week at set distances in order to be prepared but not over-trained on 5/14/11. I'll save the actual Hal Higdon training program introduction for another post, but I'm now basically on the T,W,R,Sa schedule with rest on Friday, cross training on Sunday, and strength training on Monday. Lots of updates coming as I progress...