Saturday, September 30, 2006

Run a mile for those who have no passion.

11.5 miles this morning went very smoothly, no major malfunctions. A nice confidence booster that I was in need of. 3 miles yesterday, did I blog that already?

I went to see the Kaminari Taiko performance last night at Miller Outdoor Theater. You should go, it was great. There's one more performance tonight (Saturday), it's free. The performance also includes pieces by a group called Ordered Steps, who are a stepping group from this area, and they are great too.

I think the Taiko players and the steppers have some kinship with runners because they work so hard, practicing, choreographing, and perfecting their show, and they don't make any money. I'll bet their hobby ends up costing them money. I wonder if their friends understand why they put so much time into it, or if they see the beauty of their vision. Do they practice everyday? Are their free moments hijacked by thoughts of costumes and choreography and rhythms that build up to 10 drummers in perfect synchrony? They must also train their body, ordinary people would have been exhausted half way through the first song.

Are your free moments hijacked by training plans and exotic races in far away places? In the back of your mind, do you think you might just have a date with a certain hill (you know the one)?

It occurred to me that most people don't do anything like that. It's kind of sad.

So, beat those drums extra hard, play your guitar a while longer, run an extra mile for those poor saps that have no crazy dreams.

Listening to: Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint - The Sharpest Thorn (I wore my finest suit of clothes; The sharpest thorn defending the rose)


Friday, September 29, 2006

One day...

Already broke my streak by not running yesterday. HA! Okay, new day, new streak, new Keith, this time for real. This is the last, last time I miss a day, I promise. HA!

3 miles this morning. 11 miles with the club tomorrow, as the last semi-long run.

Vic - I haven't read that article. I let my Runner's World subscription run out last year. I should pick up a copy.

What should I ask Dean if I chat with him? Maybe I should do a special edition of "5 miles with keithrselassie" and come up with some stuff to ask. That would be cool, but I don't think I'll do that. I'm not about to ask him if I can interview him for my blog, that's so cheesy. And there's so much written about him, and so much that he writes in his own blog, what more is there to know anyway?

Listening to: Elvis Costello - Red Shoes (Since you've got me punctured this has been my sentence.)


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

All the good titles are taken.

So many things to discuss.

Work. For some reason, it's 10:15 PM, and I still feel like I should be working. And there's other stuff I need to be doing too, blogging is probably the last thing I should be doing, but I realize I have a responsibility to my peeps.

Dog. My baby boy is recovering pretty well. He's eating and his temp is fine. He's still drinking a lot for some reason, and peed in the house the other day! He doesn't do that, so I'm guessing some medication is throwing off his hydration instinct.

Jet Li's Fearless. Excellent movie. And a very nice retelling of the monomyth that I like to bore you about.

Running. Monday (3 miles), and Wednesday (5 miles). No more off days for me. I remember why I hate rest days, no more rest days for me. I found myself debating whether or not to take another rest day that I don't really need. And this morning, I was all Frankensteiny for like two miles before I found my rhythm. With too much rest, I forget that I'm a runner, and I have no trouble at all with a little 5 mile tour of the hood. One of these days, I might take a rest day, and then two, and then never run again. Flexibility in my training plan doesn't work, we'll just call that experiment a failure, and move on. Back to streaking for Keith.

Dean. Breaking 4 hours now!

Laptop battery is at 2% and the plugin doohickey is at work. Must publish or else!

Listening to: Björk - Hunter (I thought I could organize freedom)


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Last long run...

Two weeks ago, I had a great 20 miler, where I even felt well enough to pick up the pace for the last four miles or so.

Today, I had a great 10 miler, and 10 miles of slogging. What will I feel like on marathon day?

It's 16 days away, so I don't really have time to make significant improvements, but I have plenty of time to screw things up. It's getting more intimidating too. Dean said he wanted to run 4:30 to 5:00, but he's been running most days around 4:15. That's kind of a big difference. I think on a good day, I can run 4:20 to 4:30, but that's assuming that everything goes right. If I have a day like today, it's going to be ugly.

Stupid as I am, I've told everybody I know about this. :) Whatever happens, I'll blog it. Whether I run like the wind, or crash and burn, I'll blog it. Either way, it should be interesting reading.

Listening to: Get Set Go - I Hate Everyone (I bet you think I'm kidding; But I promise you its true; I hate most everybody; But most of all I hate; Oh, I hate you.)


Thursday, September 21, 2006


+ Two more loops at Memorial. Wearing my watch, trying to learn the pace.
- Dean's already running, and faster than he said he would.
- This race could be horribly embarrasing.
+ Saw Sam at the park, Hi Sam.
- Dog sick again.
- Not good.

My poor dog has occupied much of my energy for the last few days. He had been doing well since we went to the vet a couple weeks ago, but on Tuesday, he came down with another rediculously high fever, so it was back to the vet again. They did more blood tests which showed no problems with organ function, so it was unclear where the infection was. This vet thought it was possible there was a tumor, so we also did several x-rays of his abdomen, and they showed nothing obvious.

He's got some different antibiotics now, which are strong enough for blue whales, if in fact, he is infected by blue whales. It's difficult to say if he's improving. He's not interested in eating, and he's very very interested in drinking. He's drank so much, his stomach is distended. I'll talk to the vet in the morning, and see if it's a side effect of the medicine or something.

I've gotten pretty good at getting him to take his pills, I can do it on the first try. Or maybe, he's just realized that the whole ordeal will not end until those pills are in his stomach.

Listening to: Tenacious D - Jesus Ranch (I fell in love with a baked potato. That's when I started the dance, yeah. In France.)


Monday, September 18, 2006

1 lap at Memorial last night, and 2 more today

There's a nice running trail here in Houston called Memorial Park, I don't know if you know it. I don't get up there very often, but found myself there yesterday, when I had some extra time, and tonight when I figured out that the cold front would be making it's way through this evening. Yesterday's lap was a little rough, and I think I wasn't quite recovered from Saturday's long run. My legs were rubbery, and I smelled like ammonia afterwards, which I've heard is what happens when you're too low on carbohydrates, and you start to cleave the amino group off your amino acids and start breaking them down as fuel. That's what I heard anyways, I think it makes sense.

Today was good. Nice and cool.

Maybe I'll start going there once a week, since it's getting cooler, I can go after work. I always find myself going faster than usual, so maybe I can just go there and call it a tempo run. Maybe it's time I moved on from the easy running base-building phase. What do you think?

Listening to: Cranberries - Zombie (But you see, it's not me, it's not my family.)


Saturday, September 16, 2006

I can be your hero, baby!

16 rough miles this morning. It got hot again, apparently.

From the AP:
Dean Karnazes starts his 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days tomorrow (Sunday) in St. Louis. 24 days from now, he'll be in Dallas running the White Rock course with some very inspirational and well-known Texas runners like Keith Kelleher and others.

One more week before my taper.
One more 20 miler to go.
One more challenge remains.

Readers of this blog are well versed in the monomythic hero's journey, so you know that the hero is challenged three times. I believe my first was overtraining. In June, at 6 miles per day, it was too much, and I was burning out, and had to cut back. The second was a recurrence of the pain in the bone we do not speak of. New shoes and some rest days seem to have kept that from becoming unbearable like it had last year right before the NYCM.

It's a bit of a miracle that I'm healthy and focused at this point in the training plan. Perhaps I have had some supernatural aid at some point, which is another common element in the monomyth.

But there's one challenge remaining. What will it be?

Listening to: Enrique Iglesias - Be Yourself (If you can't, can't be yourself what are you living for? You're gonna find someday you gotta run away. You gotta run, run, run away.)


Thursday, September 14, 2006


Yesterday, I went to a seminar titled "The Evolution of Leukemia." It's an intriguing title, but as I imagined, it's really only metaphorically related to evolution. It's based on the idea that a mutation that transforms a cell into a cancerous cell, makes it the fittest cell in the enviroment, enabling it to survive the best, divide the fastest, so the analogy to "survival of the fittest" is not unreasonable.

But it was interesting to me, because the dude emphasized a kind of change in how we think about ways to get cancer, and I think it has some implications for how I should be living my life. Peeps that read my blog know that I run a lot, and I'm in good shape, but if you read closely, you might see that I don't always take care of myself in other ways, like with the types of foods I eat, and I must admit, I have a bit of a self-destructive side.

It's easy when some doctor tells you, you have to take care of yourself better, and you'll have to eat better, because you're a bearclaw away from certain death. But, I'm thinking it would be nice to change these things without the journey to rock bottom and back.

I had a point. I've gotten sidetracked talking about my own problems. Anyway, the paradigm change I was referring to earlier is about how to think about the causes of cancer, and by extension how to avoid cancer.

So, typically, you get cancer by sustaining some damage to your DNA in one of your cells. Most of the time the damage is repaired correctly, and even when it's repaired incorrectly, most of the time the error does nothing. Only when the error changes how the cell replicates, and that error actually improves the rate of cell division can you get something cancerous, and the rate that that happens is very low. (low for sure, but non-zero - there are no zeros in biology)

But with this mindset, the typical method of avoiding cancer is to avoid anything that can damage your DNA. (i.e. ultraviolet light from the sun, carcinogens like cigarette smoke, or asbestos, anything mutagenic, etc. etc. etc.) And, of course, it's good to keep avoiding those things, but maybe we can do more. The data presented emphasize the importance for healthy competition with cancerous cells, the idea being that a vibrant and healthy population of cells is not likely to be overrun by a cancerous cell line because there are very few improvements that can be made to it. Only when the population of cells is crippled by a genetic defect, or by old age, or by malnutrition, is it possible for beneficial adaptations to occur. (beneficial in this case meaning faster growing and potentially cancerous)

Even if I moved into one of those plastic bubbles, mutations, and DNA damage is not totally avoidable, and errors can happen during DNA replication too, which is even harder to fix, so there is always some probability of a cell transforming into a cancerous cell. But, in addition to avoiding the causes of cancer, by not smoking and such, there seems to be more that can be done to promote healthy competition with transformed cells, to inhibit those cancers that will inevitably occur.

I usually have the mindset that if such and such hasn't been shown to cause cancer, then there's no reason to avoid it. Where is the data that Jack-in-the-Box is mutagenic? The bacon ultimate cheeseburger probably doesn't affect DNA repair or replication, but I'll bet it does affect the efficiency and viability of cells in some way, I can tell the next day that something's not right. :)

It helps me to have some rationale to do something, especially to do something I'm not really looking forward to. I'm pretty good at avoiding the really bad things, but not so good an seeking out the good things, even though I do feel better when I'm eating properly. Maybe feeling healthy and vibrant is all the reward you need, but I need my life to be threatened to eat right. :)

There's another long post under the surface about trying to significantly change my life before the scary "wake-up call," but I'm not articulate enough to write it.

Listening to: Macy Gray - I Try (I try to say goodbye and I choke. Try to walk away and I stumble.)

Rock on.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The old ladies love me.

Well, yesterday (Sunday) was a nice lazy recovery day. I did get out and "run" a bit. Maybe a mile or a mile and a half total, but I really just wanted to get outside. I was down on the Seabrook Trails, and I mostly just ran a bit and walked and looked at all the crabs, and explored some of the primitive trails. Incidentally, I mapped out a nicely runnable little extension on the primitive trails near Hester Garden Park, which is where the new butterfly garden is. I'll have to lead my training partners through there next time, it's nice.

And yesterday evening, I spent some time with my old lady friends. There's a couple old ladies in my complex who love me, and always stop by everytime they need some furniture moved or some pictures hung. Yesterday, I guess they went to Ikea or somewhere, because they had a couple of gliding chairs that required some assembly, and they know just who to ask for assistance.

It's funny, you go to assemble a chair, and when you're there you actually find out that there is a chair to assemble, and a picture to hang, and the teevee reception needs to be adjusted, etc... And yesterday, the secondary project took 50 times longer than the primary project! Once I was there, old lady #2 asked me to assemble an entire bed frame with drawers and everything, the kind that starts out as just a bunch of boards and a mess of screws!

But I love old ladies as much or more than old ladies love me, so I did it. And we argued about how much they pay me, and I kept saying "you don't have to pay me" and they kept insisting. Old lady #1 is actually under the impression that she already owes me like $50 for something or other that I did in the past. I can't remember doing anything worth $50.

It occurred to me that it would be wildly funny to just say, "you don't have to pay me, you can just buy me dinner someday." And I could go to dinner with a really old lady. And at dinner, she'd wonder what was going on because I'd keep telling her she looks nice, and keep apologizing for being nervous, and then I could drop some hints that at some point she's going to have to meet my parents.

Listening to: Faith No More - RV (Besides listening to my belly gurgle. Ain't much else to do. Yeah, I sweat a lot. My pants fall down everytime I bend over. And my feet itch.)


Saturday, September 09, 2006

A slap and a kiss.

Hey bloggers. How are you? You look good.

Sorry for dropping off the earth this week. I've been preoccupied with other things, mainly my pride and joy, my baby boy, the one and only Five-Dog! had become very sick, and almost died. Rest assured he has been recovering very well and he is better every day. Nobody really knows exactly what was wrong with him, but the theory is that some infection took hold very quickly and his body never had time to catch up. He wasn't eating, and later he stopped doing everything, and would just stand in one place and make a funny noise. When I got him to the vet, his fever was over 105 and the vet was even afraid he would go into shock and check out. But they got him rehydrated through an IV and pumped him up with some antibiotics and he responded very well.

He's slowly been regaining his strength and he has been making up for all the meals he missed when he was sick. I'm finally feeling comfortable that he's going to be okay.

Another troubling event for the week happened when I was home on Tuesday, waiting on a phone call from the vet, and I was urinating (sorry, but that's what I was doing), and I noticed that my heart was pounding extra forcefully, and then I woke up on the bathroom floor. So that was interesting.

I'm actually not too worried about a little fainting spell, since I think it was just a result of napping, and then rising very quickly to run to the bathroom, but I must have fell in a rather awkward way and I strained many things in both ankles and my left knee. Even now, 4 days later, my ankles hurt a lot if I move them too far to the left.

And while I was on the bathroom floor, contemplating my place in the universe, I recieved the phone call that I had been waiting for. And, from the timeline given to me by the vet, it was clear that at the exact moment that my baby boy was finally breaking his fever and beginning his recovery, I was beginning my own. That may be a surprise to you, but not to me. You see, Five-Dog! and I share a psychic connection, much like Elliot and E.T. Each event in our lives, both positive and negative, affects the other party on a metapsychophysical level.

So, I'm a little beat up, but running well in spite of it.

I ran 7 miles Thursday morning, including three laps on our little bridge. I had a few sharp pains from my incident on Tuesday.

And this morning, I had a great long run, 20 miles! If I run easily on flat ground, my ankles and knee feel fine. There were some difficult miles, mainly between 12 and 14, where my quads were burning for no good reason, and I started to dread the downward spiral of pain and fatigue, but it passed, and I had several enjoyable miles after that point. Perhaps the Five-Dog! was having a bad dream at that moment or something, and then maybe he woke up and found some leftover dog treat that he forgot to eat.

And this long run has done a lot for my confidence. The pace was good enough for a 4:31 marathon, which should let me keep up with old Dean-O for my race in October. Dean says he's gonna run between 4:30 to 5:00 for his little tour de US, which the pace charts say I can do, but there's no real evidence for it, so it's still pretty intimidating for me. Hopefully, I won't have to kick him in the knee or anything to slow him down.

The rest of the week has been a fairly comical sequence of nice surprises and kicks to the teeth.

Listening to: Elvis Costello - River in Reverse (Wake me up; Wake me up; Wake me up with a slap or a kiss.)

Anyway, post too long already.
Keith out.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Here are some wierdos, Let's Fight!

Daytime teevee really sucks! I should go to work. Maury is doing a special on big fat babies - 5 yrs old - 212 lbs. They just keep bringing out more and more big fat babies! It's like there's no end, just one big fat baby after another, with their parents that like to scream things like "You don't know me!" "I don't overfeed him!" "You don't have kids! You don't know what it's like!" And I think Maury requires the babies be dressed in a half-shirt. Maury upsets me. Montel too. At least Springer didn't try to make himself out to be a saint. Jerry was all, "this is my show, here are some wierdos, let's fight!"

Anyway, I ran another loop on the trails this morning, and after 30 miles on those trails this weekend, I'm still not tired of them. I like it down there. I actually felt cold this morning, with a fairly strong wind coming off the bay, and I kept complaining to my training partner, Tonia, that I couldn't wait for summer. We ran easy and even stopped and hung out at Pine-Gully Park for a little while to watch the sunrise, it was beautiful. Speaking of Tonia, she rocks! She brought me some beans and rice and chocolate cake and cornbread, which officially makes her the greatest running partner on earth. :)

Another episode of Maury just came on, paternity test results revealed on air.

Listening to: Page & Plant - Nobody's Fault But Mine (Got a monkey on my back. Got a monkey on my back back back. Gonna change my ways tonight. Nobody's fault but mine )

Keith Keith Keith.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

18 miles for a nice long run

A few degrees makes a big difference. Yesterday's run was great, for 18 miles, I felt like my old self again. Well, not my old old self with all the doritos and excuses, but my new old self with the 'run all day' attitude.

I ran three loops down on the Seabrook trails, starting at 4:30 AM, we needed flashlights to see our way. The mental bugs were biting early on, and I was calculating what the minimum distance would be for it to still be a good run. But I felt a lot better and the last 12 miles or so seemed to float by like marshmallows in a stream of semi-cured Jello on a crisp Colorado morn.

I slept late this morning, and ran another loop on the trails this morning at about 10:00, and I still felt good. That makes about 40 miles for the week, which is pretty good for having two off days.

I hope everybody is having a good long weekend.

Listening to: Ben Folds - Boxing (My intentions become, not to lose what I've won.)

Take care of yourselves, and each other.