Friday, March 14, 2008

The bubble

As an Ohio State fan, if I was on the NCAA tournament selection committee, I would leave out the Buckeyes.

Badger, I've been meaning to say for months that you are by far the coolest poster on "those boards." (By the way, if my home team doesn't make the tourney, go Badgers. Shit, dude, I rooted for Wiscy vs. UNLV last year even though I went to UNLV. I bet Jeff did, too. So did you, Jeff?)

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Maneless Aimless?

I've been seriously considering shaving my head before I leave Jay's place in Savannah. That would be a good time to do it because my face and scalp will still be the same color. (If I wait a month, my scalp will still be 100 percent honkey white, but my face will be brown or purple.) Having no hair would make it much easier to stay clean, too, and I also would not have to constantly lug a pound of sweat in my ponytail.

But I love my hair! Especially since I pulled it back the other night and asked my mom to snip about three inches off the end of the ponytail. I've been wanting to try that for years. It turned out to be a quick, easy, good haircut, which slopes downward toward the front when not pulled back. It's not quite as easy as Hollywood would have you believe, though, like in New Jack City, when Nino's thug quickly snips the mafia guy's ponytail. In reality, it takes at least a dozen small cuts to get through the whole pipe.

I've had long hair for about 12 of the last 15 years.



I was pretty impressed with my feat of having walked 11 miles in 4 hours and 20 minutes last week, but that turned out to be just a qualifying time once Monday came around. On Monday I walked 12 miles in 4 hours and 18 minutes. I began by walking 4.5 miles, then taking a 20-minute break. After the break, I walked another 4.5 miles and took another 20-minute break before finishing with an additional 3-mile "block."

That's a huge improvement. By consistently walking faster than my target pace of 3 mph, I ended up walking an additional mile. (Oh yeah, I also set the tread mill at a slight upward incline, which I hadn't done previously.)

But yesterday, after running around all over Columbus from 9:30 to 2:30, I tried to one-up Monday's distance and time. At 3:00, I started by walking 7 straight miles--still at an upward incline--before taking a 30-minute break. Walking at least 3.3 mph the entire time, it took about 2 hours and 5 minutes (compared to 2 hours and 20 minutes at my usual pace).

My objective after the break was to walk at least another 5 miles at 3.3 mph or faster. Feeling surprisingly good as I resumed my trek to nowhere, I walked even faster than I'd walked before the break, often keeping the track moving at 3.5 to 3.7 mph. After hitting the 10-mile mark three minutes ahead of the pace I'd set for the first 5 miles, my goal became clear: I wanted to hit 12 miles by 7:00 (4 total hours, including my break). If I could manage to reach the 12-mile mark by 7:00, it would be like I never even took the 30-minute break.

Approaching the end of the 11th mile, my ridiculously fast pace started catching up with me. I was hurting; mostly in the ball of my right foot. In 1990 or 1991, after my second stress fracture of a sesamoid bone in the right foot, I chose to have the small bone surgically excised. Despite having no bone to fracture in 2008, all this walking creates the same sensation I experienced before the excision. If I only had a custom orthotic, I think it would increase my daily mileage capacity by at least a couple miles.

Anyway, I decided to stop at 6:43, having walked 11 miles. I could have made it another mile, but there was no good reason to keep it up. I'm not trying to break any records; I'm just trying to condition myself right now, and I've realized I'm in much better condition than I could have imagined.

So even though I didn't reach my goal of 12 miles in 4 hours, I still walked 11 miles in 3 hours and 43 minutes. In comparison, just a week earlier I was happy with 11 miles in 4 hours and 20 minutes. That's a difference of 37 minutes.

Just a week ago, the bad ligament in my left ankle was giving me a lot of trouble, causing my foot to come down flat after only a couple miles. (For those who don't already know, I badly dislocated my left ankle on December 17, 2006 in Quartzsite, Arizona. I never saw a doctor about it, but I'm pretty sure I suffered a seriously torn ligament and probably some broken bones. This seems to be an injury I'll feel for the remainder of my life.) Anyway, my ankle has seen a dramatic improvement in the last week, probably resulting from strengthened muscles near the tear. That's good.



Inspired largely by the day I walked out of Springfield, Oregon with an imaginary Smashing Pumpkins' Gish CD playing in my head, I've been listening to various CDs while walking lately. It should come as no surprise that Gish is the first CD I played. I've also listened to other SP CDs--Adore, Mellon Collie disc 1 and disc 2, and part of Siamese Dream--as well as the Rentals, Weezer (blue album), and Radiohead (OK Computer).

It's interesting how music affects me while I walk. Certain songs and albums give me intense energy boosts, and for different reasons. I plan to write more about this phenomenon in more detail soon, but not right now.

I'm curious to see how some other CDs affect me while I walk. If I get a chance, I still want to "test" a few other CDs, including Tool (Undertow and/or ├ćnema), Iron Maiden's Powerslave, Jane's Addiction (Nothing Shocking and/or Ritual de lo Habitual), the Elevator Drops, and maybe some others (Ben Folds Five?).

Wish I had some Megadeth!!! Oh my god, Megadeth would probably push me to 15 miles in 4 hours. I don't know a lot of Megadeth's stuff, but I know their guitar composition is brilliant. They rock in at least two ways: 1) They just FUCKIN' RAWK!!!; and 2) They rock in the same way Tchaikovsky or Stravinsky or Ludwig van rocks.

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