On overtraining and feeling injured two weeks before the Pittsburgh Marathon

Last week’s 16-mile run with the Steel City Road Runners was my longest run during the past two months of training for the Pittsburgh Marathon. I knew that it was about time to start tapering, but I felt that because of my relatively low mileage (mostly under 30 miles a week), I should put in one last hard week of training, and then have two weeks of tapering before the marathon.

Unfortunately, this week I overdid things and today’s 11-mile run was very revealing. I ended that run with a whole slew of real problems that I need to immediately fix, or else I will not be able to even make it to the start line of the marathon in two weeks!!

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Going out too fast yet again in my third Random Distance Run

CMU Random Distance Run 2013

For the third time, I ran in the annual Random Distance Run held on the 400m outdoor track at Carnegie Mellon University. It was a cold, rainy Friday afternoon.

This was also my first race ever while wearing my Luna Sandals (the 7mm Venado).

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Commuting on foot during CMU Carnival week as cross-training for the Pittsburgh Marathon

Last year, I reported on deciding to walk to work and back home during CMU Carnival week in order to avoid the hassles of parking on campus. This year, I decided to do this again, but with a twist.

I considered my commute to be a deliberate part of cross-training for the Pittsburgh Marathon.

Walking on Schenley Drive during CMU Carnival week 2013

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Pittsburgh OvreArts concert "Art songs and interludes"

I heard about a free community concert by a local Pittsburgh music group called OvreArts and decided to check it out, since it promised to perform new works. Abby came along. The program was called “Art songs and interludes”.

Here’s a video prelude to the concert:

And some words from the young composers:

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Boston Marathon tragedy: please avoid the news porn

Since I am a runner (and happening to be in the last stages of training for my second Pittsburgh Marathon, which is coming in less than three weeks), I woke up this morning knowing that it was Boston Marathon day. Also, by sheer coincidence, a fellow Pittsburgher I have never met but follow on Twitter happened to tweet a photo of his running gear while ready to run in Boston, and happened to mention some sock sleeves that he wears that I had never seen before, and I tweeted him for the first time in my life, and I got a reply from him after he finished, and I went and ordered a pair of these sock sleeves online, since I have a tendency toward calf cramping in long distance races. Read On →

RIP Robert Byrne, American chess grandmaster and columnist who gave my childhood meaning

I learned today that the American chess grandmaster and columnist Robert Byrne died last Friday, April 12, 2013. Upon hearing this news, my mind was flooded immediately with childhood memories. The scene I am eight years old, walking alone on a Sunday morning through the woods. I carry some pocket change given to me by my father. My task: go to a local convenience store in town to buy a copy of the New York Times to bring back home. Read On →

My final 16-mile long run before Pittsburgh Marathon featured two radical experiments

The Pittsburgh Marathon is just three weeks away. According to some training schedules, today’s long run should be the last really long one, followed by two shorter taper runs in the next two weeks. However, because I had a late start in training, and my mileage is not all that high (I reached a lifetime peak weekly mileage of “only” 36 last week, before coming back down for this week), I have not yet decided whether to do another really long run next week.

But one thing was sure: today’s 16-mile run with the Steel City Road Runners was going to be important.

I used this run as an opportunity to perform two radical experiments, which succeeded beyond expectation!

Steel Valley Trail

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Singing and playing tango and jazz at an unexpected music party

Henry and Franklin performing El Choclo I suddenly got email from Henry on a Friday afternoon while I was at work. He invited me to join him at some guy’s party in the evening to play some tangos, since the party was going to have an “Argentina” theme. My first thought was that Abby was not going to be able to go, and I myself had made plans to rest up before my very important training run Saturday morning for the Pittsburgh Marathon, but the opportunity to meet some new musicians and other people, and express my love for passionate tango music, made me decide, after consulting with Abby, to attend the party. Read On →

My Pittsburgh Scala Meetup talk on property-based testing using ScalaCheck

Tonight was the third meeting of the Pittsburgh Scala Meetup. Our last meeting was in late February, and we didn’t have a meeting in March. Attendance This time there were only six of us in attendance, but that had its advantages, as it resulted in everyone really participating fully in discussion. Presentation I gave a presentation “Beyond xUnit example-based testing: property-based testing with ScalaCheck” as an introduction to property-based testing, with examples using ScalaCheck. Read On →

My first interval workout before the Pittsburgh Marathon

There’s less than one month less before the Pittsburgh Marathon, yet I have done no interval training for it until today. In ordinary circumstances, I would have been doing weekly interval training for some time now, but I had a late start with training in the winter, and so I simply have not felt ready for hard interval training until this week! Up till now, I have simply been scrambling to increase mileage and survive the long runs without injury and burnout, and this has been challenging enough: last week, I was fortunate to bounce back from clear overtraining. Read On →