RSD 74

I finished my tempo run (a repeat of Day 6 for those keeping score at home) and it was taking me a while to catch my breath after several steady intervals, a little faster than my 10k race pace. I had waited for the sun to almost set, so it didn’t feel quite as warm as this same run last week, but the humidity had exponentially increased and it was a sauna. That said, I felt good about hitting my target paces and I pushed through .. mental toughness, your body can do what your mind / self-talk says it can’t, blah blah blah. 

Best part of the run was during the last interval: there’s like 30 seconds left in the set and Rochelle says, “do not give up on me now!” and Kewella immediately sings “shut the fuck up”. Oh how I would have laughed if I’d had any breath left.

Felt a little dizzy while stretching, so I decided to sit on a beachfront bench until I stopped feeling woozy.  Seemed longer than it was (maybe only a few minutes), but I wasn’t recovering as quickly as I thought I should. All I wanted was to walk home (literally less than 5 minutes), drink some cold water and get into the shower.

Got up to walk, felt dizzy again, so I sat down.  I started wondering if it would be stupid to ask someone to walk back to the flat with me, just in case I crashed. And then I started wondering how I would say this, or at least how I would say it in Spanish (I probably have the vocab, but I’d hate to have somebody think a sweaty old man was saying, “please come back to my house with me so you can make me feel better.”)

Things started feeling a bit more normal, but as I was crossing the street another wave washed over me, so I sat down on a different bench and did some stretching and breathing there.  I’m now basically catty-corner to my building, but don’t really want to risk it.

An elderly man took a seat near to me.  He was sweating through the collar of his shirt. It was only in the mid-80s but the 75% humidity made it feel like it was about 95° (according to the phone, according to me it felt like a gazillion).  Unpleasant at best.

After resting for a bit, I headed past the old guy offering a smile and a nod. He looked a little out of it, but nothing extraordinary.  I took a seat on the steps of the building just past him, as I was still feeling a little out of it as well.  I was looking at the stats on my Strava app  to see if they really warranted feeling so washed out. 

An old woman in a billowy housedress came up to me, with a young man in tow who seemed more-than-a-little developmentally/intellectually challenged. She began speaking to me in Spanish.

My first thought was she was going to ask for money (which I had none, having just been on a run right in my neighborhood), but she said, “My husband was driving and is now feeling very faint, can you please call 112 for me?”

112 is the Spanish equivalent of 911.  

Suddenly I’m not so dizzy anymore.

Her husband was the old man who I’d noticed looking quite out of it, sitting a few yards away.

I dialed the number and gave her my phone, telling her she should talk as I don’t trust my Spanish in such a situation. (I could have done okay, but better the first responders get the news from the horse’s mouth, as it were.)

Of course, my AirPods were still connected to my phone, so she couldn’t hear anything.  I ended up calling back 3 times before figuring out how to disconnect them (it’s easy once you know how) and she was able to get an ambulance.  I figured at this point they’d have blocked my number for crank calling them so many times in a row, but no. We walked over towards her husband while she was explaining the situation.  

The man (who I now knew was Victor, aged 73) decided he needed to lie down and almost rolled of the bench. Pobrecito.  I helped him steady himself and kept my hand on his leg to make sure he knew someone was next to him. I offered to go across the street and get him some water, but she had a bottle in her bag and started washing his face and neck with it to help him cool down.  He didn’t want to drink any.

While we were waiting, a local cable company guy pulled up in his truck, and jogged over to us, phone at the ready, and asking if an ambulance had been called.

I saw a police car driving by and waved to them, but they didn’t see me.  Cable guy saw me waving and ran over to the police car and summoned them over.  They came over, asked some questions, and called for an ambulance even though we’d said one was coming.  

He had no chest pain, just felt dizzy and faint.  As I still did, but now i had a bunch of post-run, quasi-crisis endolphins swimming through me, so I was fine.  Ten minutes before, I’d have thought about asking if the ambulance was running a 2-4-1 special.

Victoria (Vincente’s wife) tried to force a 10€ note in my hand for my help. That would have been the world’s most expensive local call. It took several refusals for her to put the money back into her purse. She did make me take down her address and phone number.  They have a bar in near Camp Nou and she told me if I ever needed anything I should come visit or give a call.

The ambulance arrived, they talked to him and got him to sit up slowly.  He was able to walk to the vehicle. Victoria hugged me goodbye, kissed me on both cheeks and I headed back to the flat.  I was going to be late for my appointment, but random good deeds take priority.

Earlier that day, I was reading old journal entries from about this time of year, 5 years ago.  I was just beginning to think about staying in Barcelona and had been worrying about living alone, what would happen I got sick or had an accident … what would happen if Larry got sick or had an accident since he’d be living alone part of the year as well.  I still worry about such things.

I got into the elevator and thought about the kindness of strangers and how randomly I got thrown into helping look after someone when I thought I was the one who might need looking after.  And the relief of it all, and the beauty of people taking care of each other, an old woman trying to give me money for something that did not need compensation, a 30-year old boy with the mind of a toddler who was just happy to be out and about talking to men in uniforms, not understanding his dad was ill  … I don’t know, I just welled up in the lift.

Somebody in the building must have been chopping onions.



The rollercoaster of Week 2

Or: the Montaña Rochelle of half-training.

This week had its ups and downs.

RSD 65

Monday started off with one of the worst runs in recent (and distant) memory.  A relatively early sprint session that I really didn’t want to do, but decided to stick to the program and put in the effort before I headed off to Port Aventura for some real montaña rusa fun.

Lesson learned …. Continue reading “The rollercoaster of Week 2”

One down, 13 to go

That’s a wrap on Week 1.  I’ll do Week 2 then start over, as I’m doing a 12-week program over 14 weeks.

The stats:

  • Four official programmed runs: 16.67 miles (Run 4 was way longer than prescribed, but whatever)
  • Total mileage for the week (7 days, #keepthestreak, #rwrunstreak): 20.98
  • Avg page for the week: 10:00/mile (I have no idea if this is going to be relevant, given the speedwork, tempos, and increasingly long endurance runs, but it should be interesting to track.

I need to clean up the formatting on the above, but … another day. 

Some take aways from the week:

  • I’m super stoked to be doing this program with Rochelle.  I know I’m going to have to work hard, but I know it’s going to give me the results I’m after. I went longer than scheduled (and planned) last night and discovered my slow-ish easy run pace was a bit faster than the Corre Barri I did in October 2016.  Let’s see how I do in the next one … scheduled two weeks before my half.
    Continue reading “One down, 13 to go”

What the buck?

RSD 62

I really wasn’t feeling it today. It was a long week of padel classes (taking) and the end of a longish 3 weeks of intensive English classes (giving) and I had pushed myself at Cool Cycling during the afternoon.

And today was intervals, which means sprints when training with Rochelle.

It was only a half-hour workout. I knew I could do it, but I just didn’t want to. I thought about swapping out today for a one-and-done. #keepthestreakalive

“Bob,” I said to myself. “It’s day fucking three of a 14-week haul and it’s way too early to start swapping out the plan.”

“I know, I know. I’ll do something more than a mile, and if I don’t I’ll make myself do something humiliating.”

“Like give Ted Cruz a blow job?”

Continue reading “What the buck?”

Vamos a Valencia

RSD 58

If one were to listen to the universe or believe in signs, one might be cajoled into believing today’s Day One Run (in which we will not address how words that don’t look alike can rhyme, #englishishard) was not meant to be.

But fuck you Universe … I finished it anyway.  And I’m over the moon.

I’ve been waiting for quite a while for today.  It’s exactly 14 weeks before the Valencia half, and there’s been a new 14-week program in the pipeline for a good long time now.  Based on some chats I’ve had, for now it seems said program is basically the fitness equivalent of Godot. Or the man my realtor says is coming to fix the bathtub that he broke several months ago.

Rather than dwell on what’s not gonna happen, I’ve decided to go back to my old pal Rochelle and follow her 12-week half training program. She had me huffing and puffing and wheezing and sometimes swearing when I used her 10k program, and not only was I pleased with my results, but downright surprised. I made gains. I set PRs. I had fun (in a masochistic sort of way) doing it and I got faster and stronger and I started feeling like a runner.

So here we are. Me and Rochelle. The next adventure begins. Continue reading “Vamos a Valencia”

Saturday surprises

RSD 63

I was supposed to do about a 40-minute easy pace endurance run.  I knew I wanted to get in at least 5 miles, because I’m trying to hit 80 miles for the month and the more I did Saturday night, the less I’d have to do over the next couple days (one of which is supposed to be a rest day, but the streak is the streak).

So I did Rochelle’s track, then paused the FrickBit and cued up a running playlist on Spotify.  My right kneecap said, “nope, I don’t think so” when I started back up, but after about 20 yards of favoring it, the twinge went away.  Sort of.  This does not bode well.

Got to what should’ve been the finish and needed a little bit more to go to hit 5.

Got to 5 and thought, well, why not 6? My knee was back on form and I felt like I could keep going and when I got to 6 about 6 I said, why not just make it a 10k?

And I’m glad I did.  Especially because, after looking up some past race times, I was surprised to discover that my “easy running pace” (not a jog) was a little bit faster than the race pace Corre Barri in October 2016.  Let’s see how I do in the next one, which is scheduled two weeks before my half.  These Aaptiv programs really do the trick.

A nice finish to the week’s 4 programmed runs, now let’s just see what I do for my rest day (at least one … streak rules and all) and how next week stacks up.

I feel pretty good about it all right now.

Empecemos de nuevo

Okay … I started running again after last year’s failed attempt to get into the swing of things for the Barcelona half.  So now that I’m running, I guess I’ll start writing about it.

Made this happen a while back.  I’ve even booked the hotel. #priorities

Did this yesterday. A PB / MMP … shaved a bit off Bombers with not too much running but a lot of cross-training (spinning and padel).

Did this last month.  A surprisingly good (for me) PB / MMP

Official training doesn’t start until July 22 (waiting on a new 14-week 10k-half training program from my friends at Aaptiv.  But that gives me plenty of time to build up a stronger base, get a little faster and play with some longer slow runs.

And then there’s this, which started today and I felt so incredibly sluggish that I thought … how can I even think about 13.1 miles?  But this shall pass.  Post-1ok partum, I suppose.  And my legs hurt.




So, yeah, I guess I’m a runner again. Even though I don’t really feel like it today (nor do I really feel like a writer, but I’m doing that as well … just with a different project today … well, I’m supposed to be but doing this instead).

We shall see.

T-152 days

Oh, hello demons. Welcome back.

Three and a half miles, done and dusted.

The good:

  • 3.5 miles without stopping.
  • Felt like I could have gone a little longer and a little faster.
  • Didn’t get too hung up on the demon thoughts that usually get me down when I start back up with running.

The demon thoughts:

I could be so much faster if I’d kept up with this. I’m so slow. I’ve always been slow, I’ll always be slow, I hate being slow. Dad used to run when we lived in La Habra and I was, what, 14 or 15 then, which made him mid- to late-30s and I’m twenty years older than that now, fuck me I’m so old. And slow. But at least I’m starting over. I hate starting over, but isn’t every day just starting over again.  Every run is starting over.  It’s just you’ve had a few months between runs.  You’ll be back on form in no time.  Or not. There’s no way I’ll be able to get through 13.1 miles at the same speed (or faster) that I did last year (technically less than a year ago) but that’s okay, the joy is in the accomplishment, not the time.  That’s such bullshit, who really believes that?  Tomorrow is supposed to be a pace run and I know there’s no way I can keep up a race pace for more than a couple miles, let alone 5 of them, so we’re already going to have to modify the plan.  And that’s okay, but wouldn’t it be better if I were already in running  mode and could just stick with the plan rather than having to worry about it (do you really “have to” worry about it, Bob?  Is some one making you worry about it?  Give yourself a break.  Fuck off, voice of reason, these are demon thoughts, not be reasonable thoughts. You know, if you paid more attention to this book you’re allegedly listening to, you might have time for all these thoughts. ADHD running club, rules are rules.

You know, those kinds of demon thoughts.

And then the big one, which maybe I’ll write about another time.

 Why do you have to have all these goals and tracking systems and gadgets?  Can’t you just go out and run and enjoy it?


Distance 3.51
Distance to date 3.51
Route: up the beach and back, half way between end of beach and beginning of Park Forum
Listening to: “Things we Lost in the Fire”

60 days to go

Cross-train (not to be confused with Crossfit)

Yonder program says today is a x-train day, and the weather is a bit shit, so it was off to Cool Cycling for a spin class.

Yonder Fitbit says it was a decent workout.  500 calories in less than an hour.  I told Will (yonder instructor) we should aim for un mil calorías during the class, but I guess I’m happy with half of that. 😉

Yeah, I could have gone to the gym or done something on my one. But here’s the thing about going to a class:  I end up working harder than I would if I were doing something solo.  And when I thought I’d my limit today, he nudged me on not only with the usual ¡aguanta!, but today there was, “Sí, puedes, Bob … puedes.”

I wan’t so sure, but it seems he knew better.

I felt a little bad about going today, knowing I’d be the only one in the class, but turns out a 1-2-1 spin class isn’t so bad. He’s working as hard as I am (not like a trainer who you pay to count and hand you weights, not that there’s anything wrong with that.   I don’t mind teaching 1-2-1; in fact, I enjoy those classes.  But when you’re expecting a group and there’s only one person … it can be a weird dynamic.

But there we were, and the task was before us.  Work hard, feel like dying, feel better for doing it once it’s over.

Afterwards, he told me he enjoys the classes with only one or two students.  Why?  He says he gets the chance to really focus on them and pay attention to how they’re doing and what they need.

So, thanks for the focus. It was the hardest I’ve  been pushed in a spin class here in Barcelona, and he upped the choreography from what I have had in other sessions.  I guess he’ll be teaching Zumba spin soon.  Y’all come and watch me spin right off of yonder bike. Comedy cardio.

61 days to go.  I guess I actually will have to get out and run tomorrow.