How to train for a 10km personal best … without bitterness

Apparently running an ultra marathon the week (OK one week and a day of we are to be exact) before your 10km race is a super way to end up doing a personal best …

OK that would not have been possible the first year I did my first ultra marathon … I remember that year it took me a couple of weeks to recover. But also then I did not know about active recovery (ie using biking to recover for example – I had been told to do a jog the day after the race, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that as I was in such pain etc.) and I also didn’t know about the cold/hot water thing, where after a race you basically ice your legs and hips in cold water, then hot then cold, then hot etc. finishing with hot, to basically flush toxins out of your muscles more quickly. I only learned that in the 2nd year. But … now that I do know about that and now that I can recover quicker and continue to make plans to do things immediately after the race (even though for example the first climb 3 days after had some painful moments!) it is definitely a much better way to get through the ugly first few days after your ultra where your legs are puffy with toxins and still have that odd ache from the accumulated fluids.

I signed up for a 10km race on Wed last week which ran yesterday in a town called Annecy an hour and a half from here. People in my running group thought I was a bit nuts to sign up for another race so soon after doing an ultra, but in the end it was really good for me and for the recovery and I think my continued training for the next race at end of October. I didn’t want my body to feel like after the CCC the exercise season was over, since I will have to go 72km again in about 7 weeks.

Rather than feeling tired and worn out as I feared during the race, I ended up with a personal best time in the 10km! Well, at least personal best since I took up running again about 4 years ago when a good time for me was about an hour. (I don’t remember all my past 10k times from when I was younger but I think I did not even sign up for more than 5k races when I lived in Chicago – though I am not 100% sure). Now I am very close to running 7.5 minute miles consistently again over these shorter distances (7.6 minute average for this race, but in fact at the 5km mark I had been running at a 7.4 pace … I slowed over the course unfortunately). This was the pace I remember I used to run 5km when I was in my 20s working as a sexy mean dominatrix …. 

I think a huge chunk of my improvement is due to my weight loss earlier in the season. I just found an interesting calculator on a running website that actually shows how many minutes you save over distance by dropping weight : http://www.runningforfitness.org/calc/weighteffect.php . And this seems to show that if I do manage to get down to my target weight, I could cut 2 minutes further off my 10km time. Not a bad motivator … 2 minutes faster in this race would have moved me from up 7 places in my age group.

So I highly recommend running an ultramarathon of 98km with 5500m of uphill and downhill at altitude the week before your 10km race if you are going for a personal best. Doing that will make the 10km seem like a piece of piss, believe me.

Secondly you will be so used to running through the pain that when you do a faster pace and find yourself breathing hard, you can say to yourself, ‘I only need to hang on for another x minutes, I know I can do it’ with extreme confidence and you will get through it. Especially since it is merely a fraction of the time you needed to say this to yourself to get through the 98km race.

Thirdly your leg strength will not be the limiting issue in your 10km race. Yes I started the 10km still having a downhill quad sore in each leg, and one ankle wondering about downhills … but since the race was basically flat (they claimed it was a rolling course but I challenge them to tell me where the up and downhill was – after all the hills I did last week it was again, unnoticeable to me) these muscles were not an issue.

I did eat 2 Power gels before starting the race, knowing that likely my reserve of carbs was not built up yet and that my muscles might need the immediate fuel but in some ways I think it was simply a bit of paranoia on my part. Also I’d gotten up at 5:30am for breakfast (a good couple hours earlier than normal) so knew that would be wearing off after the drive in with friends. The start was at 9:15. The weather cooperated as well -cool and cloudy so no pounding sun to deal with. I thought I’d maybe feel the ankle but it did not bother me one iota. In fact, during the whole run my legs felt nothing but really strong which gave me a sense of security allowing me to push the whole breathing thing.

The only limiting factor I found that I had this short race was my own V02 max, and how fast would I be able to breathe in a rhythm rather than raggedly while making my legs turn over faster than I was used to. The altitude training had helped too … this race was 500m lower than my home town and 1500m lower than a lot of the race that I did last week. So I started out at a pace that seemed a bit fast but on the other hand, didn’t seem to put me into an anaerobic state where I would hit threshold. Another benefit of running for 22 hours is you get to know your running body pretty well in these kinds of ways. So I was able to find the exact ‘edge’ that I am at right now where I knew how much to push the breathing without getting into a bonk state. I started out with a 2 steps, breathe once pace and I think I finished the last 2km on a single step single breathe rhythm. 

Also, finding hotties to follow is another great inspiration. After about km 4 or 5, I found a very cute French chick running in front of me, with a great ass and basically followed her slim sexy bouncing bum the rest of the way since she was running slightly faster than I normally would have thought to run myself. I hoped to have a sprint left at the end to try to get even closer to her bum, but sadly only had a small one left (I suppose this is another good sign in that I was really running at the edge of what I could sustain over that distance) for the last 400m or so (which finished inside a real track and field stadium).

After I stopped at the end, I felt briefly like puking but that passed in about 10 seconds, and then my recovery was so fast it was not even funny. Another great benefit of training for ultras is your recovery time after less than an hour of running is a walk in the park, even when you push it. I was neither thirsty nor hungry after the 10km. I looked at the drinks stand at the 5km mark and thought it ridiculous and passed at least 2-3 people who’d been ahead of me running at a good pace who broke their whole pace to stop and choke down a cup of water. Another great benefit of having run a mountain ultra done in ‘semi autonomy’.

As we walked to lunch I did develop an appetite. However, it was more of an appetite for the cute men walking all over town wondering which ones of them were available for a shag or not …. I am seriously in sexual deficeit at the moment and need an outlet … ! The more I lose weight the more it seems that I to want to shag …

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Karm-ex

Strange last month. I was contacted by no less than 4 old ex-s that I had not heard from in very many years (10, 15 etc.). Not through this blog of course — but through my other non-bitter blog/home page I imagine, or maybe via LinkedIn or one of those other infernal social networking sites that I have joined, and now feel compelled to update my status on every so often.

I suppose I like Facebook the best, but it worries me the most in many ways, though on that one I’ve made myself more or less invisible to searches actually. Recently read they are advertising anything you buy via Facebook to all your friends if you are not careful (I have no desire to use Facebook to purchase anything and even less now). And it’s too likely to be sold up the river, IMHO, and then you will feel the same loss felt as when Flickr was sold to Yahoo, and it changed from a friendly photographer’s forum to one with censorship of images if you live in certain countries, and way too many people who are just into ‘backslapping’ each other or gathering ‘badge’ style comments that to me are far more meaningless than I could imagine. Or maybe it won’t be sold and will just become another tool in the Corporate States of America to market to you by using all the personal data and quizzes you answer about your preferences, music, film, fashion taste to wring more hard earned cash out of your pocket.

At any rate, most of the exs sent a very short or could say ‘tentative’ hello note, then I replied back with some friendly info on what my life is like now – then either I got nothing or very meaningless short notes back. I don’t really get it? Why bother to recontact someone after 20 years if you are not going to actually then go ahead and share any info back? Really odd. Maybe it was upsetting to them that I was not some poverty stricken wretch in Chicago still scraping by and now have money and a real life that (aside from bitter days) I generally enjoy and that I am living in another country and in fact in a gorgeous mountain town that most people only dream of being able to live in ?

What was up with all things karmic or cosmic that I got 4 people re-contacting me w/in the same week – what kind of synchronicity was going on – were the stars in the right conjunction with Venus or what? It was very strange to have this influx of contacts after all the years of having lost touch, and then I guess a bit deflating to just have it end up like a ‘drive by’ e-mail shooting instead. Buggers.

Oh – and one of the boys I did not lose touch with did compliment me on several long ago experiences we had together . . . which I forgot certain details about and he reminded me of as being rather memorable for him. Quite sweet and rather sexy to re-remember it after 12 or so years  (and to know someone else was not the only one capable of these types of memories) … because of course I have my own memories of things we did which he may also have forgotten in detail but which stick out in my mind as quite memorable in a very very pleasant way . . . 😉

Bitter Remembrance

Go and see the movie Control about Ian Curtis. Great stuff. Beautifully shot by Anton Corbijn. Understated. Reminded me of art school days again … led to re-reading several old journal entries, listening to lots of my Joy Division backlog (I wish I had my LPs over here, but alas, no turntables – I have all their ‘real’ releases and several compilations on vinyl) such as it is on MP3. Love Will Tear Us Apart is just plain brilliant songwriting … but there are so many other gems in there … Ceremony, New Dawn Fades, Control, Transmission, Day of the Lords etc..

Puriel? Bitter Reaction.


Originally uploaded by puriel.

Update on this thread of death – I have heard from someone very very close to David at one point in time and for some time, saying he never contributed to either of his children’s upbringings and was a violent person who treated her horribly. I have also heard confirmation from 2 others, one of them who knew him since high school, that he’d been physically violent with at least 3 women he dated that they knew of. This surprised me, but confirmed my instincts to avoid him some years back were good ones.

On the other hand, I got called a cunt by someone (on one of my Flickr photos of David) who says she dated David for six years and that he never beat her (and she apparently thinks I am only ‘angry’ because I must have been dumped by him over 20 years ago, which cracked me up as I never so much as kissed the man). Well, funnily enough I was able to develop the opinion that here was a potentially dangerous jerk just by getting to know him socially and skipping the whole bad relationship, and going straight for the part where I didn’t want anything to do with him anymore.

She is very upset by me telling my story of knowing him and about my opinion of his actions. She said she knows he did the right thing for himself. Well sure, and that is my point, isn’t it – what is more selfish than the act of suicide? Oh that’s right – a suicide where you waste someone’s last dying gift and also kill someone else who died while they waited for the transplant that was given to you instead – that’s what!

Apparently according to Puriel’s logic, when you meet a person and get to know them over some years, and observer how they behave and react to the world around them and see what actions they take in the world, you still have no right to form your own opinions about that. Hmm. Gosh, guess I will have to sleep on that one a few years and get back to you.

She went through the trouble to create 2 ids on Flickr and make several comments on the same photo (I deleted the later ones because they just repeated themselves and became full of ever more ridiculous accusations and paranoid theories about why I have formed this opinion).

She reminds me so much of the old days. Sigh. The old days. You know; filled with the types of fractured freaks in the Chicago alterno-scene – people so emotionally damaged that they only either loved or hated everyone they came into contact with as they knew no other way to deal with their screwed up lives.

People who kept living by high school friendship rules well into their 20s and beyond. People always living on the edge of their own sanity or drug intake levels, accusing anyone who looked at them sideways of being judgemental and yet being so much more judgemental in their own way of looking at and dealing with daily life and the people in their tiny little self-feeding circles than any poseur could hope to be. Leather people who had ‘safe words’ in bed but only shit words when out of it.

Me, I am just telling a story about someone I once knew; as I saw him and as I experienced him. Sorry world, but that is the way life is.

But you know what, I do know that David had some good things about him outside of the wife beating, violent temper, selfish egotistical behavior and child abandonment. That was his art. But that still doesn’t excuse what he did with the rest of his life or take away from my opinions of him. Conflicted in life, conflicted in death.

And if she really is Puriel, then well – holy fuck ! No worries – David is all set:

PURIEL: an angel who appears in the apocryphal work of the Testament of Abraham, the second century A.D. apocalyptic tale of Abraham’s journey to heaven. Puriel is described as utterly pitiless, with the task of examining the soul of each person brought to heaven for examination after death.

Oh yeah — I guess I am supposed to be impressed that she has tatoos and used to wear latex and is looking all dominatrix like (wonder how old this photo is since the creases on the thighs show it’s been scanned from a print). Oooh aahhh.

Been there, done it girl.

Bitter Death – In Realistic Memoriam (of Sorts)

I recently found out about the death of an old ex-friend, someone whom I’d lost touch with on purpose. He was ‘cool’ – a tattoo artist in Wicker Park when I knew him, and an artist before that. We had a lot in common and David and I came to know each other in a place where the gay scene, the leather scene and the art scene all met up and many damaged but creative, intelligent and original people came to know other. I was a photographer working for several local papers. It was one of the hottest summers in Chicago when hundreds were dying. David gave me his old air conditioner from his shop when he had it replaced, and helped me out in a few other ways when I was struggling starting my business. That summer I photographed him a few times – at his tattoo parlor for a local paper, and in a performance with Ron Athey for another publication and we stayed in touch pretty regularly. We were both bi and artists and in the same group of friends with a lot of the same interests.

But later I found he could be a self-important ass too – I think it was probably drugs combined with ego when he started to get recognition as an important tattoo artist. He took me on one date, and I had a feeling I should not get involved with him. I answered his questions in ways that I knew would turn him off, because I started to get a sense of his egotism and wanted nothing to do with it but didn’t want to directly confront him. In fact, during that evening at a local bar he tried to start a fight with some of the kids hanging around the pool table because one of them looked at him funny. Suffice to say I didn’t want to go home with him, made up some excuse or another and left.

We stayed friends for some time, until he started to date a woman called Lola. At one point there was an art opening for a show that I and several other photographers and artists were in for a charity event. The opening promised to be a major event since it was being held in the very rich area of town at a major department store, with plenty of rich but liberal art buyers in attendance. I decided to bring my friend Charlie with me to the opening. Though he was not from the ‘cool’ scene, he worked at a photo lab (where I used to work) and had as a favor he had printed a very big poster sized lucious print of a portrait of Jiann Kim for me (a portrait I took just shortly after the double overdose on heroin that killed her boyfriend and my friend Max Grey) – something I would have had to pay dearly for if I’d paid for it – and without that gift, I would not have been able to have a piece in the show.

Charlie was a musician but had bad social skills in that he never seemed to realize what other people were thinking of him or how his oddly naive but slightly invasive style of questioning people came across to them. He sincerly complimented David on his tattoos, and strangely David became a real dick nearly instantly as if Charlie had no right to even give him a compliment or something. Charlie asked him where he’d gotten them done and apparently had made the social ‘sin’ of failing to recognize David as an up and coming tattoo artist glitterati or something. It was rather idiotic as far as reactions go. Lola just stood there with her stupid umbrella which she took everywhere (parasol I suppose) and stared, saying nothing.

Charlie, on his side didn’t realize he was being brushed off or dissed by someone who thought he was on a much higher ‘coolness’ scale and social level and just kept on sincerely asking David about his tattoos as he genuinely was impressed – not seeing the irrational irritation that was happening with David (who must have been on some fucking drug to be taking offense at this). David then escalated the whole thing and threatened to punch out Charlie if he didn’t leave him alone. I had to drag Charlie away and told David he was way out of line. That was the last time I ever spoke to David – I thought his treatment of my guest was so shitty that I never dealt with him again even if I ran into him at the same party. On his part, David got in pretty deep with Lola (rumors of heroin use ensued). He also shunned me when he saw me as he was always accompanied by Lola who was a jealous type.

Even though Charlie was not a social butterfly or overly cool, he certainly didn’t deserve that treatment and the way I’d seen David overreact with violence or threats of violence twice totally contradicted other parts of his personality – he seemed conflicted and way too fucked up for me to want to deal with.

But over the years, as you do with people who touch your life and then fuck up, you wonder what happened to them. I saw when I moved to Europe that David also had, and had moved to Amsterdam to start a tattoo business. I thought maybe that was for the best for him but wondered about the whole Amsterdam scene.

Then this year, not long after I posted some shots of David from a Ron Athey performance on Flickr I got an e-mail from a good friend who knew my whole history asking if I’d heard David had killed himself. I had not and was shocked about that. I tried to find out on the internet but only could see his official obituary and some vague references to waiting for a liver transplant and a friend he made while in hospital that he worked a bit on an art project with before he died, so I at first figured maybe he’d never gotten the transplant and started to get despondant and felt quite sorry for him.

Then the story I heard later from a friend who said a close friend of David’s told her what really happened was very much not what I expected, and led me to yet another thought that David had remained at heart a selfish prick. I hate to speak poorly of the dead and maybe someone will correct me, but the only memorials I have seen don’t even mention he killed himself. I suppose most families don’t out of embarrassment or something, but it always seems to do disservice to who the dead really were in life when they do that – like a big cover up.

What I was told was that David did in fact receive a liver transplant. He had at some point apparently contracted hepatitis C which destroyed his liver (that in itself was disappointing to hear from a man who lived through the days of ACT-UP and safe sex awareness, ads about not sharing needles and all the rest but I have no idea how he got it and that was beside the point of what made me really angry.) She said that after the liver transplant he decided he couldn’t live taking the immune suppressant drugs and following whatever diet/health regime he had to follow (ie alter his lifestyle) to keep the transplant. So he got depressed and killed himself.

If this is true, which I have every reason to believe it is – what a fucking waste of a liver transplant. I am sorry but it is so easy to research what it means to get a transplant these days. How could he not have known what it would do to his life and why the fuck did he bother to get a transplant and take the liver that could have gone to another person who would appreciate it when he was just going to waste it by killing himself not long later – that liver could have gone to someone who deserved it.

So David Kotker I do not know not sure why you could never get your selfish ego under control but my opinion about you from the mid-90s was definitely not redeemed in hearing the details of your demise. You were a very good artist and at one point in time you were a friend, but you definitely had inner daemons. Rest in peace. I can hope what I heard is wrong and a bad punk rock rumor – if anyone knows differently (or confirms this) please comment on this post.