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Zorch

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So, 2016 has been absolutely nothing like I expected.  After a wild but mostly awesome(barring the persistent back issues) 2015, 2016 kicked off with a completely unexpected breakup.  The aftermath of that has been okay on the whole - or at least better than one would reasonably expect in this situation.  January and early February were mostly staying afloat.  Late February into early March were marked by my first foray back into the dating world in several years, and served as a reminder of how much I've changed(mostly for the better).

 

Mentally where I really turned the corner though, was a little over a week ago.  Despite being pretty beaten-up psychologically early this year, I never deviated from my training schedule.  I did cut a few days short because the mental willpower just wasn't there, but I did pretty damn well on the whole.  The weekend before last, I turned up for a local 5k, and just decided to go for it.  Ended up shattering my PR.  Needless to say that was a big step forward, mentally.

 

So, what does this challenge entail?

 

Smash PR's

 

1. I've got a 10k coming up, and I'm going to smash my PR.  My 10k PR is a very pedestrian 46:39.  I should really be able to drop this by 2+ minutes if I stay healthy and keep training.  Stretch goal is to be able to hold a 7-minute mile for 10k, which would mean 43:30 - which would be utterly amazing.  Sub-43?  Okay, just let me dream.

2. Due to aforementioned back issues, it's been a while since I've deadlifted. Back in 2014 I used to be able to pull 400+ lbs(which looked pretty silly given my frame).  Not looking to go for PR's here, but at least after the 10k, to start putting in more work on deadlifts and barbell squats.  Because Beast Mode.

3. Decide if I'm going to sign up for a half-marathon in the fall.  Because if I sign up I'm going to train and smash more PR's

 

Be good to myself

This means "all of the above" - body, mind, etc.

1. Eat well.  My diet has admittedly been all over the place the past couple months - from unintentionally dropping 7 lbs over 3 weeks in the wake of the breakup(wasn't hungry), then eventually gaining back about 5 of it, albeit not in the healthiest of manners.  I want to eat the way I did the last time I was single(albeit slightly less dogmatically) - healthily, but sufficient to fuel an active 190-lb adult who plans on smashing PR's.

2. Sleep Well.  7-8 hours every night.  In bed by 11, preferably 10:30.

3. Limit Alcohol.  This goes with #1 and #2 above - it's all about feeling and performing at my best.  Exceptions to be made when out with friends and/or on dates.

 

Take care of my ****

1. Work on the damn thesis.  Call my advisor this week, get an experiment plan laid out over the next week or two, schedule a committee meeting.  Just get that **** done.

2. Find a new house.  Decide where I want to live.  Get the mortgage pre-approval.  Start checking out houses

 

 

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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Following along.

Current Challenge Original 1,2,3, R 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51

52,53,54

"By the Most-Righteous-and-Blessed Beard of Sir Tanktimus the Encourager!" - Jarl Rurik Harrgath

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I like your title. Also, great goals and the best of luck with the consistent 7 minute miles. That's some fast 10 k-running in my book. Following.


"There are some good things to be said about walking. Not many, but some. Walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed." Edward Abbey

 

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Thanks for the kind words, all!

 

On 3/31/2016 at 9:44 PM, Zirakzigil said:

Those are some great 10k times and goals! Sub-7? Amaze!

Sub-7 is definitely a stretch goal and by no means a sure thing.  I probably need another ~10 seconds/mile beyond where I was in March to pull off a sub-7 10k, possibly more than that given that this course is decisively non-flat.  I give myself a less than 50-50 chance of hitting it, though still a pretty reasonable shot.  I'm going to do what I generally do when I try for a PR, which is to go out at a pace that gives me a shot at the PR if I can run a good 2nd half of the race.

 

Anyhow, a few random updates from the last couple days:

  • Got ahold of my thesis adviser yesterday - I'm going to be putting an experiment plan/proposal together this weekend, and calling him next Wednesday to discuss.  Then we'll schedule a committee meeting, get their buy-in, and go to work(hopefully)
  • Trying to figure out where I want to look for a house, choosing between a longish commute to be in/near the community I'd really like to be in, or staying with the shorter commute, saving an hour per day, but staying in a place where it can be harder to meet people that I have much in common with.
  • Left hip is acting up a bit, as it sometimes does when I train a lot and get a little worn down.  Need to be careful(and do my stretches) over the next week or so.  I cut short my training run on Thursday.  Today was better, but still not great.  The good news is that while my joints didn't feel fantastic, my lungs seem to be feeling pretty good about the pace I'm going to attempt, I hope.  Right now I anticipate Monday being interval work(800's most likely), Wednesday being a Tempo run, and Friday being something lighter-duty so that I'm fresh for the race. (Sun/Tues/Thurs are lifting days, next Saturday will be an off day)

 

 

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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So, I've missed a few days posting on here - the long and short of it is that life has been insane.  General summary below:

 

  • Work has been unreasonable.  I've been working 12-hour days, and there's this passive-aggressive pressure for people to work 14-16 hours a day.  We're in a situation where we're under a time crunch, and management is(in my opinion) mishandling it - rather than allocating more people work on the problem and/or scheduling shifts so that some of us come in earlier and stay later, right now everyone is trying to brute-force things and work obscene hours, and management is tacitly endorsing it. I'm not playing that game. I've basically drawn a line and taken off at 8PM every single day.  Some people may be upset by this, but I'm doing this for my own well-being.  Quite frankly I'd have more sympathy if this weren't the same mistake that's been repeated several times.
  • Nutrition has still been all over the place, owing to stress, irregular schedules, and co-workers ordering food for lunch meetings/when folks are working late.  Need to be better about this.
  • On the upside, I had a really good tempo run on Wednesday, albeit on a treadmill - 5 miles at a 6:58 pace and didn't feel like I was at the edge of my capability at all.  I'm going to do some light/lower-volume interval work today as my last run before Sunday's race.
  • I'm leaning towards signing up for a bunch of races over the next several months as motivation to continue pushing myself.  Need to do that, as well as make a final decision on the half-marathon in October.  I had been waffling about focusing on strength vs. speed this year, but given my good recent results, I really want to see how far I can push the envelope when it comes to running.  (Of course, the answer will be also tied to the fact that at 6'6", 190 I'm fighting the laws of physics pretty hard when it comes to distance running)
  • Being in your 30's and single in a small town isn't particularly fun.
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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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5 hours ago, Zorch said:

Being in your 30's and single in a small town isn't particularly fun.

 

Being in your 30's and single in a small town isn't particularly fun.

 

Both together is just torture. 

Current Challenge Original 1,2,3, R 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51

52,53,54

"By the Most-Righteous-and-Blessed Beard of Sir Tanktimus the Encourager!" - Jarl Rurik Harrgath

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Hooray for Friday!  Oh wait, I'm going into work tomorrow.  Crap.  At least I'll be at the 10k on Sunday.  And I signed up for a 3.4 mile race next Saturday as well.  Beyond that there's a couple races in may, one in June, and (tentatively) the half in October.  We'll see what the rest of the year has in store.

 

I was kind of in a pissy mood today - need to be careful about that. I was probably a bit too confrontational in a meeting earlier today with some influential people, and need to be careful how I come across.  Sleep deprivation didn't help, nor did the fact that right now my frustrations are basically bottled up because I don't have anyone I'm comfortable talking to openly about them.

 

After work, I did my last running workout before the 10k: 8 400's at a 5:27/mi pace(treadmill).  Felt pretty easy on the lungs overall, which has me feeling optimistic for the weekend.  Tomorrow's going to be a rest and recovery day, most of which will be spent at work.

 

 

 

 

Both together is just torture. 

No kidding.  Which is why right now I'm leaning towards one of two likely decisions: decide to accept a long(~45 minute) commute in order to live in a community with more people that I have things in common with, or alternatively, get the hell out of here(after finishing my Masters') to some place across the country.  I think the latter is still rather unlikely, but I'm at the point where I'm going to do what I need to pursue my own happiness, through whatever path it may take to get there.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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It's race day(or race morning)!  Breakfast is done, about to hop in the shower, and figure out how I want to dress for 10k in 30 degree weather, in order to not freeze at the starting line, and not cook in the 2nd half of the race.

 

Will have an update on results later today.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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1. I've got a 10k coming up, and I'm going to smash my PR.  My 10k PR is a very pedestrian 46:39.  I should really be able to drop this by 2+ minutes if I stay healthy and keep training.  Stretch goal is to be able to hold a 7-minute mile for 10k, which would mean 43:30 - which would be utterly amazing.  Sub-43?  Okay, just let me dream.

 

 

I RAN A 43:10.  That's THREE AND A HALF FREAKING MINUTES faster than my old PR at this time, and a 6:57 pace.  I am so pumped about this - and this has given me a few more goals to chase this year at various distances.

 

Now my mind's going to crazy, crazy places - like whether I should entertain the idea of training to go at a sub-7 minute pace in a half marathon.  That would be ****ing amazing.  It will also probably require more than the 20 miles/week I'm currently putting in.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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So, haven't been on here much lately.  Mostly because work's been insane.  12-hour days are still the norm.

 

I'm feeling pretty beat up physically right now.  The 12-hour days don't help, nor does not giving myself a lot of recovery after running an extremely aggressive race.

 

But the real reason I'm feeling sore is that yesterday I did barbell (front) squats for the first time in a long time.  Holy $#@! are my quads sore today.  It's the good kind of sore, except that it's also really, really awful to deal with when you're trying to run 800 meter intervals, which I did today.  I got through them, but... ow.

 

And now I'm going to bed.  Because I'm tired.

"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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...and so this year I get to redefine what is "normal" and "possible".  I ran a 3.4 mile race yesterday, and clocked in at 23 minutes even, for a 6:47 pace.  To boot, the course was hilly(it's a loop, with nearly 250 feet of climbing), and I normally suck at hills.  I was still sore(and had a bit of a quadriceps strain) from squats and 800m intervals the previous couple days, and it simply didn't matter.  Sub-7 paces are the new normal.  This is despite my nutrition being all over the map, and my being a bit heavier than my "fast" weight right now as a consequence of that.

 

Coming into this year, I had run a sub-7 pace exactly once - in a totally flat 5k back in 2014.  So far this year, I've been sub-7 in every race(including 2 sub-7 halves of a 10k!).  So, what next?  From today's results, gaining ~20 seconds/mile would put me in a pretty small group of runners at a lot of the local races.  So there comes the next target - go sub-20(6:25ish/mile) in a 5k, or perhaps closer to 6:35-6:40/mile in an 8k(coming up late May).

 

The bottom line is that the formula of a heavy dose of 800m intervals and tempo runs is working, and working well.  Come warmer months I'll be spending more time outside, with which may come an increased temptation to do more steady state runs, but I need to stay with what's working. Right now it feels like I've discovered my own version of the "secret sauce" for running speed, and it feels great.  If I can tighten up my nutrition on top of that, I can't wait to see what I can pull off.

 

...and it's super nice outside this weekend.  Time to enjoy the weather!

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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Those are some really great race times, considering your standard from a year or so ago. I have no doubt that you can keep getting faster, and handling those uneven terrains. Keep working that secret sauce, and it'll work for you.

 

What do you feel is missing in your nutrition? I know eating at work can be a pain. I too suffer 12-hour days, and it took some decent pre-planning to make sure I've got enough food each day.

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What do you feel is missing in your nutrition? I know eating at work can be a pain. I too suffer 12-hour days, and it took some decent pre-planning to make sure I've got enough food each day.

 

It's mostly stress, and my handling it rather badly.  The work schedule doesn't help, but that's really an excuse.

 

 

As far as "what's missing?" - really it's just a matter of my grabbing calorically-dense treat foods at the end of long, stressful day, etc. - a classic case of poor dietary choices in response to stressful/emotional situations - in this case a particularly brutal stretch at work, combined with my being single for the first time in several years.   The good news is that throwing myself headlong into training as a response to this has paid dividends - but I still have some more work to do around finding mental peace/serenity.

 

On a positive note, in the past couple weeks I've made progress on that front - and hitting new PR's certainly hasn't hurt.  Making progress on things I believe are worth doing - running, my thesis, etc - gives me something to build on.  I'm also taking a bit of time to "reboot" mentally - asking myself what I really want my life to look like, so that I can be true to myself in terms of what I do and who I surround myself with.  I want to be me - not the person that people want, but the person that I am.  And I want to be in a place where and with people who respect that.

 

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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... The brutality of these workouts is getting to me, just a little bit.  But that's what prepares me for race day.

 

Did another set of 6 x 800m intervals today, a few seconds a mile faster than last Thursday.  So unpleasant, yet so productive in helping me get faster.  Going to do a 5k in early May(have not yet decided which.  There are at least 6 within an hour or so drive), followed by an 8k in late may.  End goal is to try to get to a sub-20 5k by mid to late June.

 

Still procrastinating on the thesis work.  Bad Zorch!  Need to set up a committee meeting in the next week or two.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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... The brutality of these workouts is getting to me, just a little bit.  But that's what prepares me for race day.

 

More pain in training means less during the event.  You're on the right track, I think, even if you're starting to feel the suck!

MSM013-2.jpg

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 [ Level ?? ] Thunderbro Maximus of the Thunderlords Legion

BRUTALITY 13 | FINESSE 12 | GRIT 13  | INSIGHT 15 | MOXIE 13

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"By the Well-Oiled-and-Meticulously-Groomed Beard of Rurik!" - Tanktimus the Encourager.

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I love this many times over!

 

Today was an interesting, productive day.  Got some free time to parse  through a few things at work, throw data around and root out the cause of a problem we've been having for a while(fixing it is going to be trickier - but hey - at least we know what's causing it now).  I also got roped into running a relay race this coming Sunday.  It's entails a cumulative ~10-12 miles on my part, split over 3 legs and at least half a day.  Will be a fun springtime run, and I'm going to get to meet a few new people to boot!

 

Other than that, it was a pretty mundane upper body lifting day at the gym.  Oh, and my garage door broke.  Because $#@! happens.

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"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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So I return from a 10-day hiatus, due to...

 

1. Life

2. Spilling coffee on my keyboard, which caused it to cease to function for several days until it dried out. Yeah, that happened

3. Life

 

Last weekend was crazy, from working on Saturday to celebrating multiple family members' birthdays Saturday evening, to getting up at 4AM to get my $#@! together to run a relay race on Sunday.  Good news is I ran 2 of the 3 relay legs at a sub-7 pace - the first comfortably, and the last barely(on dead legs and into a headwind), and the one that I didn't featured a 400 foot climb into a 15 mph headwind, which is pretty much mother nature(and the course itself) giving you the middle finger.  All in all I had a great time despite the punishing runs, and I'm really glad I had the opportunity to run.

 

Of course, this left me pretty exhausted, because I had zero free time for the weekend.  Despite this I didn't take an off day from my workouts - though Tuesday's intervals were punishing.

 

Then came Thursday... and life basically gave me the middle finger for a day.  I'm slightly prone to vasovagal events, which basically means that once every year or two my nervous system decides it can't be bothered with properly regulating my blood pressure and pulse.  I'm apparently more vulnerable to this than most, since my baseline blood pressure and pulse are really low anyways.  I ended up passing out at work(thankfully I felt it coming on, so I was able to get to the floor so I didn't fall and hurt myself), and ended up having to refuse an ambulance ride, since when this happens I'm generally fine within an hour.  But... ugh.  The stress from this happening basically hit me like a freight train, because passing out at work for no particular reason other than that your CNS decides to screw with you, really sucks.

 

Of course, Thursday night I also had planned to chat with a new potential romantic interest.  She was a no-show.  Kind of annoyed/pissed off, I went for a run - 5 miles at a low-mid 7 minute pace.  Because that's what I do when I need to free my mind.  (Friday I found out that I hadn't been stood up, so much as she came down with something rather nasty and flu-like, and ended up asleep at that time.  Thankfully I tend to be one to give people the benefit of the doubt rather than being vindictive in these sorts of situations.)

 

Which brings us to this weekend.  Weather's forecast to be so-so, but I plan to get in as much running and outdoors time as possible, given that it's about the second weekend since January where I haven't had to work.  And I'm going clean up my place, because it's about time for that to happen too.

 

I'll write a summary of this challenge later today.  Objectively, I did really well with my running but fairly poorly with most other aspects of the challenge.  The good news is that with work calming down a bit(I think) over the next several weeks, that life as a whole is going to be more enjoyable and under control, which will make it easier to manage my diet, my thesis, and most other aspects of my life.

 

 

"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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So, today was pretty awesome.  Went for a run late morning, and pretty much just felt like flying.  Flying as in, I just ran 5.2 miles at a 7:06 pace and it wasn't a race,just a training run.  I can't wait to see what happens when I put the hammer down at the 5k next weekend.

 

In the afternoon I went for an ~8 mile hike.  Enjoyed the serenity of being in nature.

 

On the topic of the challenge itself: how did I actually do?

 

On 3/30/2016 at 10:25 PM, Zorch said:

Smash PR's

 

1. I've got a 10k coming up, and I'm going to smash my PR.  My 10k PR is a very pedestrian 46:39.  I should really be able to drop this by 2+ minutes if I stay healthy and keep training.  Stretch goal is to be able to hold a 7-minute mile for 10k, which would mean 43:30 - which would be utterly amazing.  Sub-43?  Okay, just let me dream.

2. Due to aforementioned back issues, it's been a while since I've deadlifted. Back in 2014 I used to be able to pull 400+ lbs(which looked pretty silly given my frame).  Not looking to go for PR's here, but at least after the 10k, to start putting in more work on deadlifts and barbell squats.  Because Beast Mode.

3. Decide if I'm going to sign up for a half-marathon in the fall.  Because if I sign up I'm going to train and smash more PR's

 

Crushed this - Went 43:10 in the 10k, got back into squats a little bit, signed up for the half in the fall, as well as a bunch of other races (and inadvertently broke my 8k/5mi PR in a training run today.  Upcoming in the next period I have 3 races - a 5k next weekend that mostly a benchmarking race, and then a 3.5 miler and an 8k later in May.

 

On 3/30/2016 at 10:25 PM, Zorch said:

Be good to myself

This means "all of the above" - body, mind, etc.

1. Eat well.  My diet has admittedly been all over the place the past couple months - from unintentionally dropping 7 lbs over 3 weeks in the wake of the breakup(wasn't hungry), then eventually gaining back about 5 of it, albeit not in the healthiest of manners.  I want to eat the way I did the last time I was single(albeit slightly less dogmatically) - healthily, but sufficient to fuel an active 190-lb adult who plans on smashing PR's.

2. Sleep Well.  7-8 hours every night.  In bed by 11, preferably 10:30.

3. Limit Alcohol.  This goes with #1 and #2 above - it's all about feeling and performing at my best.  Exceptions to be made when out with friends and/or on dates.

So-so on these objectives.  Totally nailed #2, and was a little more hit and miss with #1/3, but getting better towards the end of the period.  Work's settling down now, so taking care of myself going forward should be a little easier as well.
 

On 3/30/2016 at 10:25 PM, Zorch said:

Take care of my ****

1. Work on the damn thesis.  Call my advisor this week, get an experiment plan laid out over the next week or two, schedule a committee meeting.  Just get that **** done.

2. Find a new house.  Decide where I want to live.  Get the mortgage pre-approval.  Start checking out houses

 

Sucked it up here.  Made fairly minimal progress on the thesis(but plan on getting the formal experimental plan done this weekend and out to my advisor on Monday).  On #2, I've been holding off a bit.  I have the general plan(location etc.) at this point, but right now life just needs to settle a little more before I embark upon that path.

"Restlessness is discontent - and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man-and I will show you a failure." -Thomas Edison

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Well done on that run, you're gonna kill that 5k.

Current Challenge Original 1,2,3, R 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45,46,47,48,49,50,51

52,53,54

"By the Most-Righteous-and-Blessed Beard of Sir Tanktimus the Encourager!" - Jarl Rurik Harrgath

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