I was thinking about this while driving in this morning (I just saw that Colbert said something similar last night, but not exactly, so I'll say it now).
I am a runner, and I am constantly injuring myself just because I love the joy and freedom of sport. But, no matter how much training I have done, or how many injuries I have suffered, I always get back up, buy a new pair of shoes and keep going. But, this post isn't about me, this is just the preamble. You see, someone tried to murder runners, their fans, and families this last Monday at the premier running event in the world. That was a HUGE mistake. Of course it has made me sick all week to hear the stories of loss, but also rejuvenated to hear the stores of heroes.
Now to the real points, directed at the person or persons responsible for this crime. Here are 3 things you probably don't understand and will never understand.
1. Marathoner Runners do it for the love of the sport. These are people who run 19-21 miles as their last long run 2 weeks BEFORE a marathon. There are no crowds, no cheering sections, no tables filled with drinks and post race food. There is just them (and if they are lucky a partner) and the road. There is no medal for training for a race, or training in general, they do it because they love it. They are unshakable in that love of the freedom and personal accomplishment. If they are really good and really lucky they might qualify for the Boston Marathon. That's an important point. leading to the next one.
2. Every runner in the Boston Marathon was an elite runner in his or her age group and had to win a lottery just to get in. These are not people who will be shaken by adversity. Most of them have 10 black toes, no toe nails, with legs, ankles, knees, quads, taped up and sometimes just held together with the minimum of original tissue - just so they can run 26 miles repeatedly.
3. Bostonians, probably the toughest group of citizens on the planet (save Philadelphia and New York) came out in droves to watch others run this grueling race, and they will continue to do so.
So my point is, while you tragically maimed and killed over 100 people you will never ever shake these groups of people. They are all heroes and all winners because what they do is out of pure love. What you did was out of pure hate. We all know how that story ends. So I'll end mine right here...
The Literal Run Cycle - Running Sick After Christmas
The Day After Christmas Run is never an easy one. This year it was especially difficult because I have been battling a nasty sinus infection over the last week or so and I have not run for 10 days (and only 2 times in 4 months before that). I have not been completely idle over those 10 days, having done a few difficult classes at the gym, but I have not run during that time. NOTHING has the same effect on my body than a run does.
So, today I took my tired, infection and Christmas treat weakened body to the local track just to get the legs moving for a few miles and to hopefully burn off some of the avalanche of tasty, but terrible for me, food I have been ingesting over the last week. Overall it was a success. I did 5 miles, running (jogging really) 90% of the distance and stopped in the middle to do a few burpees, v-ups, and pull-ups. I can't say it was absolutely the easiest workout I have ever done, but the 5 months ago version of me would have considered in barley a workout at all.
My foot is still recovering from surgery, but I didn't have any pain from the running or the burpees. Afterward it swelled up a bit and the incision/infection point was a little sore, but all in all, it seems to feel 80-90% healed, even if it doesn't look it.
Again, I ran in my Saucony Kinvara 3's. They are my favorite shoe at the moment, and they are stuffed with an extra thick custom insole from Road Runner. My feet feel fine, and I don't have any pain in the bottom of either foot, so, I win! Bonus =).
My sickness - I have been battling a nasty upper-respiratory infection that took me out of commission for a couple days completely, but even though it has not subsided completely I figured I would test out my lung fitness a little. I did not have any ill effects from the run, but I did take an inhaler along that I used one time during the run. The wind was out in force today, and so my allergies were kicked up in full swing. Even with all of that against me, it seems like the actual run was a success and I didn't make myself any worse than I was, in fact, it might have actually helped me as now, 3 hours later,I feel better than I did before I started and might even be able to make it to the double circuit / spin 2 hour class that I sometimes go to on Thursday mornings.
That's not to say that I fetl 100%. Here is a picture of the old tired version of me from right after I finished the run, just then realizing tat I left my mixed bottle of Recoverite at home and would have to wait another 10 minutes before I could get my paws on it.
So, what does this have to do with gaming or 8bitrocket, Producto, Atari, development, etc?I don't have any pithy juxtapositions on running through code bugs and running through sickness (although, now that I mention it, that would be an interesting one for next time).
I have not been working since Friday, but there is some news to report on that front. First, Steve and I finished all of the first draft chapter revisions for the second edition of our HTML5 Canvas book. Second, I received an iCade (Thanks, Jeanne!) for Christmas, so I can play all of the Atari, Vectrex, Activision, and Namco classic games I want (and can afford) with arcade-like controls using the iPad. Third, I started Business is Fun, the Atari history book (like a "Peoples History of Atari") by Marty Goldberg and Curt Vendel. A full review will show up here some time soon.
Happy coding and running to you all. (or what ever you do that makes you both angry and happy at the same time).
Jeff Fulton (8bitjeff)
This is a blog that usually deals with game design / programming, retro-gaming and other nostalgia. It is not a fitness blog by any means, but since running and overall fitness is a big part of what keeps me going on a daily basis, I wanted to start what I hope will be more of an inspirational look at what the life of an avid, but amateur 42 year old runner is like. Right now, I am actually starting over. Literally, starting from ground zero with my running. I had foot surgery on October 4th, 2012 and did not run at all the month before the surgery. I have only started jogging again, doing 5 easy miles 1 or 2 times a week. By easy I mean EASY. I actually walk part of each mile and jog the rest and then repeat. To keep my overall fitness up, I also workout most days of the week, but take at least one rest day to recover. When I could not run, I would walk fast, do the spin bike or the elliptical, and take weight and circuit training classes or see a personal trainer. Because of this, I have been able to ease myself back into jogging without too much difficultly. My heart rate is really good during the jogging portions and it drops dramatically during the walk intervals. I owe all of that to the trainers and equipment at the Beach Cities Health District Center for Health and Fitness as well as the well trained staff at the Beach Cities Orthopedics Physical Therapy (not related to one another).
So, as I would like to figure out a way to relate this series of blog entries to the rest of my life and work, I am calling it the "The Run Cycle". Anyone who has had to do animation of any type knows what a walk or run cycle is. It is a series of drawn frames that when played in succession simulate to the eye a natural walk or run style movement for a character. For a recent project I needed a place-holder for a "run cycle" before the animators created one, so I "borrowed" and cleaned up a set of images I found on the internet. We would never use someone else's work for production, but while in development, I needed something to show the animators what I wanted to accomplish. Here is the "run cycle" that I provided to them as a base.
I actually added the Saucony Kinvara 3's to each frame just for these frames just for this series of blog entries. Saucony is my favorite brand of running / racing shoe. I don't see that many people out there with them, so they are unique and always have the coolest designs. That's what's really important, right, that you look cool while injuring yourself running? Anyway, I chose the Kinvara 2 because it was light weight, but sturdy and flexible. I also combine my shoes with the thickest Road Runner Sports created custom insoles to ensure my feet are as protected as they can be. The new Kinvara's 3's feel like you are running on air and are so light that I hardly notice that they are even on. Enough ad-man slinging for them. They are not paying me for this, but I just wanted to make sure that the bases were covered.
Here is my current pair though, and nestled inside is that thick, comfy Road Runner custom insole:
The game should be in the iOS store some time soon, and obviously, the real one will not use this run cycle, but I like it enough to use it as the logo for this series of blog entries.
So, does the world really need another amateur running blog? No, not really. I am pretty sure there are far too many out there now, and obviously, most people want to read what the experts do, but who knows. Since I am starting at ground zero, maybe I can inspire someone else to get out there, especially someone (like me) who spends most of their time behind a desk all day long.
So, about my most recent run. Yesterday morning, I took off on a wood-chip trail run in Manhattan Beach, but needed to derail to the harder concrete strand when I hit a part of the trail that is being repaired. Here is a map and basic Garmin summary details from this moderate training session:
To compare this to my pre-surgery runs, on a "long run day", or even a moderate run day, my average mile pace would be around 8:00 - 9:00 minutes with some a little faster. Right now, with the walking and jogging, I am at about 12:28. I am not pushing it and really not too tired when I finish, so my fitness it still pretty good. Here is a picture of my current left foot. It has not completely healed, so I am being cautious with it.
My next run is this Wednesday on an all-weather track. I will be doing the same basic format: Walk the first 1/4 or every mile and then jog the next 3/4. Between then and now I have a personal training session that will help keep my body in good working order for when I hit the track.
We also have the launch of our new game into the Apple store, and I am trying to complete the final chapter of the second edition of a the HTML5 Canvas book I am working on with Steve (8bitsteve), my brother. Sometimes it is hard to fit it all in.
One last thing. Let's not forget the names of the 20 little ones and 6 care givers who bravely tried to keep them safe last Friday:
CHARLOTTE, DANIEL, RACHEL, OLIVIA, JOSEPHINE, ANA, DYLAN, DAWN, MADELEINE, CATHERINE, CHASE, JESSE, JAMES, GRACE, ANNE MARIE, EMILIE, JACK, NOAH, CAROLINE, JESSICA, AVIELLE, LAUREN, MARY, VICTORIA, BENJAMIN, ALLISON. May they rest in peace and their sacrifice help make some changes to the current state of affairs in the USA.
By Jeff D. Fulton
Back on the re-hab trail...literally.
From June through July of 2012 I was cooking through a training plan that would have had me doing a personal record time for a 1/2 Marathon. The race was the Rock N Roll LA 1/2 and I was really looking forward to it and then doing even better at the 1/13/13 LA 1/2 Marathon for another personal best. That was to be the ultimate special day because it would have been my deceased father's birthday, and as he is the one that started me on running I felt it would be a great tribute to him to kick some ass in that race.
Unfortunately, my body had different ideas. After a 14 mile run, with Wesley Crews, in August, my foot left foot didn't feel right. The big toe was painful, but ice seemed to do the trick. I did a few more weeks of 30-40 miles planned runs but unfortunately the pain became permanent. Obviously, this proved to me that there was something very wrong with my foot. I was diagnosed with bone spurs and needed surgery right away to correct it. I was told that just letting it go would result in me not being able to run or jog and worse, or it might degenerate into arthritis.
I stopped running altogether in September and had the surgery October 4th. It was much more painful than I ever imagined and the bone spurs were deeper and bigger than the doctor originally thought. I also had complications at the incision point where the stitches became infected. This caused me to become a single-legged, bandage wrapped, iodine and gauze covered limper for the better part of the next two months. I couldn't do much in the way of training on my feet, so I combined some of my own anemic spin workouts, with weights, elliptical, and the rowing machine to make a sort of hybrid, yet really boring set of interchangeable routines that helped to keep the extra weight off but I could feel my fitness level slipping away.
At the beginning of November I was able to start combining limited weight training classes with physical therapy and the a-fore-mentioned hybrid routines to get some version of a decent workout. The problem was that walking fast, jogging at all, or doing anything that resembled a lunge with my left foot would cause immense pain both inside my foot and it the infected incision point.
So, I waited, and did my moderate workouts and physical therapy for the next 40 days until this weekend. Right up until last Wednesday my toe would hurt any time I did a lunge. After my physical therapy session on Thursday that pain almost completely subsided. I was able to do a full weight training session on Friday morning, including the lunges, and only had a very minor amount of pain during and afterward. Since I have what the doctor told me would be my final visit with him this upcoming Tuesday and what he felt would be my final physical therapy appt oh Monday, I figured that I better test out my foot for real...
I so did, today. I went for the first 5 miles I have jogged in nearly 4 months along the wood chip trail in Manhattan and Hermosa Beach. It wasn't a complete jog, I walked 1/4 mile then jogged 1/4 and then repeated that for five 12-13 minute miles. My legs were a little tired about 1/2 though, and my toe hurt a little, but I was able to make it though the entire 5 miles. My heart rate was kept in check because of the spin and elliptical workouts I have been doing, so this turned out to be little more than a mild interval workout. My goal is to do this one time a week for the next month and see how much of the walking can be replaced with jogging over that time.
There won't be any races in my future. I hope to re-build up a base of mileage over the first 6 months of the year and then get back into a few competitions. I don't have a plan other than that. I'm not pre-signing up for any races (lost a lot of $$ on three races during my down time because of that). My hope is to get to a fitness level where I can easily run 20 miles a week, combined with other training, and then just pick up races as I find them to use as workout replacements. No more expensive training plans, no more 40+ mile weeks. Maybe in time I will get back there again, but for now, I plan to hit the trails as much as possible on my jogging (then later running days) and just keep it light and fun.
That's the literal (and figurative) comeback trail. I hope to stay injury free for as long as possible.