Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Failure Pile In A Sadness Bowl


Today's title is courtesy of Patton Oswalt, in case it isn't enough for you, know that I have alternates:

Fat 2, Me 1 - End of 1st Quarter
Fat Wins Battle; War Declared Not Over
Supreme Failure As Related Through Injury

Please know that this makes me very sad and angry to write about. It was a beautiful day. Cold, but that really isn't an issue for me especially given the reason I was outside. The plan was to run my 5 mile route. Since I didn't have a long run last week (race) I wanted to do 5 one more time before I increased my distance. I hopped in the car and planted my water bottle at about the 2 mile mark. Back home, right from the first step things felt different. Instead of mild discomfort on the top of my left foot, there was a little pain. Dull, but there. I continued anyway because I'm young and I'm supposed to be resilient. I wasn't pushing myself I was just running comfortably. I got the dirt road portion out of the way first (1.05 miles) in 14:15. Who cares if my foot hurts, what a good time for not pushing hard. Somewhere over the next mile though the pain upped the anty. It was starting to be an obvious pain in my foot. I contemplated cutting the run short. No, I'm young and it's an advantage. I finished the next mile in 13:46. Even with the pain I'm really cruising. By now though I knew the pain was at a level that could not be ignored after this run. In fact I knew that this was probably going to be my last run for at least a few days. Shortly after the 2 mile mark the pain seemed to dissipate. Then about 3 minutes later it came back in a sharp stabbing wave. Then it was gone again for about 15-20 seconds. The waves kept coming every 20 seconds or so. After a couple they were painful enough that I actually made noise when they'd come even though no one was around (they were just that painful). I had an epiphany close to about the 2.5 mile mark that maybe my left shoe was just tied too tight. I stopped and loosened it. A couple steps later the pain was back. Near the 3 mile mark the pain got so intense that when a wave would come I'd actually have to stop for a second. At 3.13 miles my watch said 42 minutes and change. Even with the pain and the stopping I was going to shatter my previous 5 mile time. Then as started back up the big hill I had just run down, my foot went into full revolt. Painful stabbing pain with every step. I could no longer run. I walked up the hill. It didn't hurt nearly as much to walk, no waves, just a little dull pain. At the top of the hill I tried to run again. It lasted for about 2 minutes. It hurt too much to keep running. Luckily I was within a 1/4 mile of my wife's parents house. I walked the rest of the way in mild pain. My mother in-law is a nurse for a surgeon and a podiatrist. Unfortunately the in-laws weren't home. Still I was able to use her phone to have my wife drive a mile down the road and pick me up. I felt like such a failure. Once home we called the MIL and she recommended I elevate the foot, wrap it with an ace bandage, and take ibuprofen to reduce inflammation. Later in the day she came by to look at it. There really isn't much to see. The area looks bigger/swollen compared to my right foot, but some people don't have feet that match exactly. Having it wrapped in the ace bandage made it hurt a very small amount, about the same as having a shoe on. She said I shouldn't need to keep it wrapped, but I should get it checked out. That was already the plan. Since it didn't hurt to just sit there we had ruled out the emergency room a long time ago. It costs a lot more and there isn't much they can do for my foot no matter what is wrong. So the plan is of course no running and go see my doctor tomorrow. Before bed my wife and I read about stress fractures online. Everything that was described... yeah that's my left foot.

I weighed 308.6 lbs this morning. That is a loss of 4.4 lbs this week, bringing my total weight loss to 58.4 lbs. I didn't eat great this weekend. We went to a local Mexican restaurant on Saturday night and they make their own chips and salsa. The chips are all warm when they bring them to the table. They are impossible to ignore. Next time I'll have to ask them to bring a smaller quantity, cause I turned into the chip destroyer. We didn't get a refill though. Then Sunday's dinner wasn't much better as I had to have a second helping of lasagna. So between that and Thanksgiving and the foot thing those next 8.6 are going to be a tough row to hoe.

I left work early to go to the doctor. He listened to what I had to say and said what I feared, that it sounded like a stress fracture. He sent me across the clinic to get an x-ray. The troubling thing about stress fractures is they don't always show up on x-rays. Sometimes you don't see them until after they've healed. The bone looks different once it's healed from a break. He said if the x-ray didn't show anything thing then he could order a bone scan. That would turn out to be unnecessary though. After consulting with another doctor at the clinic he was pretty sure that the x-ray showed a stress fracture near top of the middle meta tarsal (closer to the ankle than the toes). My first question was how long would I have to be off of it. He said that he wanted to see me again in a month and they'd do another x-ray. My second question was what can I do? He said I couldn't run. Can I walk for exercise? No, no load bearing exercise on your feet. Load bearing, so no biking? While biking would be better than running or walking, I'd still rather you not do any of that for the next month. You could swim. Great I can swim, thanks doc. So that's pretty much that.

There are some very limited options for swimming. They are either costly or of questionable legality, also I don't like swimming. I shouldn't say I don't like swimming, I do, I just don't want anyone else around. I also don't like to move much in the water, I prefer to stand or float. Seriously folks I swim like a hippopotamus. Swimming is out, and we won't even mention the familial logistical nightmare it would pose. I know I need to keep my chin up and figure out a way to stay active. Right now though, it just makes me sad to think I can't run. I'll post something when something happens, but things will probably be slow around here for at least a month. The next doctors appointment is already scheduled for December 19, and it can't come fast enough.

The Very Last Good Thing... For A Time


Since the last few runs have been getting done in less time I figured that today was a good time to increase the mileage of my regular runs to 3 miles. The weather was nice, cold, but nice. I'm beginning to dislike the dirt road portion of my run. This fall it has been pockmarked with uneveness and is often a giant bog, not fun. Today it wasn't bad, but I'm seriously thinking about figuring out what the equal distance would be if I just stayed on my road the whole time. Getting back to the driveway took 16:04. At the time I didn't know it was exactly 1.22 miles, but I knew it was over a mile so I figured it was a reasonable time. The next .8 miles went away in 10:06, which I knew was faster than usual. I also knew that with a total time of about 26 minutes I had a chance to run the last mile and finish in under 39 minutes. I kicked up the effort a notch or two and it did the trick. I actually ran the last mile in 12:02 a new PR for me. The total time was 38:12, ridiculously respectable. Way later in the day I picked up a cheapo aeroline cold weather long sleeve compression shirt at Dunhams. Tomorrows long run should make an excellent test for it. My left foot is still attached, walking bothers it more than running.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Running Immunities


It was snowing this morning when I left for work. It was snowing when I got home too, but there wasn't much accumulation so it must not have snowed all day long. I decided that I'd run outside. I just feel like I should push the outdoor running as far as I can. I know a time is coming when it won't be an option. It was damn cold so I decided to try running with a winter hat. The winter headband I bought is too small for me and it puts too much pressure on my brow. Once I started I could tell that this was definitely the coldest weather that I've ever ran in. It took a while to get my breathing into a good rhythm. Of course that could have also been labored by the fact that I was running faster than usual. I got confirmation of this when I got back to my driveway (.7 mile) in 9:37. I knew I couldn't keep up the pace and I felt like I slowed when down on the next stretch. It seemed like it took forever to get to the last mile marker (.8 miles from driveway) but it only took 10:24. With both of those very encouraging times under my belt I knew I had an opportunity to finish the day up with one of my fastest times. I felt like I had the energy so I went ahead and laid it all out there. On that last mile it's becoming routine for me to feel like the road is vacuum tube that I'm being sucked down. Like gravity or something is just pulling me down the road. I knocked out the last mile in 12:47 making for record total time of 32:47. Besting yesterday by almost a minute felt pretty darn good. The hat ended up working pretty good. I did get a little sweaty, but it was way better than the headband pushing my eyes closed. The thing with the top of my left foot is still there. It felt better to walk with shoes on today, running hasn't really bothered it still.

I still haven't gotten sick. The rest of the family is on the mend. The kids aren't really experiencing the kinds of symptoms they were and sick wife is getting her voice back though she is coughing more. This is still a running blog. I just wanted to mention this because it appears running has staved off a nasty bug at least for a good week so far. The plan is to do the weights routine tonight, it should be uneventful.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sailing The Asphalt Seas


I weighed 313 lbs this morning. That is a loss of 3 lbs this week, bringing my total weight loss to 54 lbs. Stringing another loss onto my little streak that I have going here is pretty encouraging. It's got me thinking that I might be able to get under 300 before the start of the new year.

I had the day off from work today, so I was even more lazy than I would have been. By the time sick wife got home from work I was ready to get out for a little recovery run. Since my legs felt fine I figured my normal 2.5 mile route would be good. Once I had my running shoes on I noticed that the top of my left foot was hurting. I took it off and put it back on but the pain was still there. It wasn't severe it was like I had my shoes tied too tight, but they weren't. I ran anyway and about two steps in I totally forgot about it. I wasn't pushing at all so I was a little surprised that my odd little splits I do all came back very average instead of slow. I finished in 36:47 with no walk breaks.

I did my weights routine, it was uneventful. I must say that the most surprising thing about the last few days is not my recent 5k accomplishment. It's that I'm not sick. Both the kids have mucus/congestion nastiness going on for the past 5 days. Sick wife is on day 2 without a voice and lots of coughing and congestion for her too. Yet I am (knock on wood) feeling tip top. I thought for sure I'd be sick by now. I haven't even really been trying not to get sick, I figured it was a foregone conclusion. I still give goodnight kisses and I'm horrible at remembering to wash my hands. I've heard that exercise can stimulate the immune system as well, but this seems extreme. Maybe the sickness is manifesting itself as the pain on the top of my left foot. It's still there, and it seems to hurt more when I walk with shoes on. Running, I know it's there but I wouldn't call it pain. I have a vague memory of having this pain some other time, before I started running. It must have went away on it's own, as I didn't go to the doctor then. I'm not worried, but I'm going to keep an eye on it in case it doesn't dissipate soon.

I was on my way home from work, still about 10 miles away, when the first raindrop hit my windshield. Then another. It was already quite windy out, but the temp wasn't bad when the wind wasn't blowing. I reasoned with the weather gods that if the rain could hold off long enough for me to get out and running then they could torture my all they wanted once I was warmed up. Apparently benevolence won out (that or happenstance) because those raindrops subsided a mile or two south. I was able to get home and get on the road rather quickly. As I was walking out to the road I suspected this wouldn't be a very quick day as the wind was really blowing. Weather.com had the winds yesterday at 22 mph. After a tenth of mile though I could feel that my pace felt faster than usual. I was back to the driveway (.7 mile) in record time, 10:18. The mile stretch from .1 mile before my driveway to .1 mile after the last mile marker was all wind. I figured that this would really slow me down as I felt like a giant sail out there. I was surprised though at the last mile marker (.8 mile from driveway) because there was another record time 10:52. With the wind at my back the last mile was a piece of cake and a record for at home, 12:30. The total time was 33:40. I was obviously pretty happy with the days results. It was very encouraging to see that I could break a 13 mm on my own. I have been wondering when I should increase the mileage of my regular runs up to 3 miles. I think the next time I break 34 minutes total will be my cue.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tortoise & Hare Turkey Trot 5k

I've included every minutia and tid bit of the day, so if you want to skip ahead to the portion labeled the race, no one will ever know.

5:30 AM - Time to get up. I slept fine. Sick wife slept awful. No mercy from me, I declared vehicular departure in 30 minutes. Sick wife humored my declaration by sleeping while I showered. I ate a bowl of oat meal and made sure to pack an apple and banana for later.

6:02 AM - Pull the car out of the garage with sick wife and gear all loaded. Anticipation and nerves are starting to hum. It's raining, but we are headed south where there is supposed to be a lack of precipitation.

8:18 AM - Sick wife needed two bathroom breaks on the way to our runner friends house. Not vomit breaks, just regular bladder the size of a teaspoon breaks. Rain finally ceased a mile or so before we got there.

8:24 AM - Runner friends are ready to go when we get there. So it's back in the car for some caravaning. The rain starts again after 5 minutes.

9:15 AM - The parking lot is full. We are directed to park along the side of the road. There is a paved trail parallel to the road, about 100 feet away. Many women are running on the trail. Off in the distance in the middle of a feild we can see a mass of humanity. The womens 5k started at 9:00. Runner friend's wife is running the 10k and that begins at 10:00. Runner friend and I don't run until 11:30.

9:16 AM - It's cold outside. Not as cold as when I ran last Wednesday, but still frigid. Commence bundling. Luckily it wasn't raining. Though it would threaten to rain the rest of the day it never did.

9:25 AM - Sufficiently bundled we waded into humanity. The main area was probably a 1/4 mile from where we parked. First things first we headed for registration. Amazingly easily. What's your name? Ok here's your bib number and shirt. Make sure you grab your chip that corresponds to your bib number from the boxes over there.

9:35 AM - Everybody is checked in and has their chips. Lots of food and water out. The cliff shot people have a table with free packs of their stuff. Runner friend samples some and says it's good. Due to my self imposed caloric restrictions I avoid it all as much as possible. Runner friend has no caloric restrictions, being a lifelong runner, and makes sure to consume my share.

9:45 AM - Let's find a map. The map is confusing, but eventually we figure out that the 10k is two times counter clockwise around the paved hike-bike trail. The 5k is one time around clockwise. I'll include the map here, but like I said it's confusing. For example the start/finish was on a gravel road/two-track that is not shown on this map at all.

9:55 AM - It's either getting colder or we're not moving enough. We all shuffle over to the start. Runner friends wife is a little nervous, having not done a training run in a couple weeks, but this is a woman who has run three marathons. The start is very sparse. Just a stake in the ground next to the gravel road/two-track a few hundred feet away from the finish. No chip timing mat, everyone starts at the same time. The finish is all done up with an inflatable archway and two timing mats. It just seems odd the start looks so random.

10:00 AM - And they are off. So we head across a bunch of sporting fields to a point on the trail so we can cheer on runner friends wife.

10:08 AM - She comes by for what will be the first time, we cheer.

10:10 AM - Runner friend gets a call from non-runner friends, "We are nearing the finish line, where are you?" We start walking towards the finish, but can't see them. Non-runner friends, "I'm holding a red umbrella." We scan the horizon, not a single umbrella in sight. Seconds go by. I spot them as he walks out from behind a pavillion that had been blocking him. Sure enough he is using a red umbrella as a walking stick. Note to dear readers: If you tell someone you are the one with the large red umbrella, you will want to have it open, or risk being ridiculed (at least in my company).

10:28 AM - Runner friend's wife hasn't passed by the trail again yet. We assume we've missed her and position ourselves so that we can better see the approach to the finish.

10:29 AM - We are proven wrong in previous assumption as runner friend's wife comes by on the trail, luckily we do not miss her and cheer. She's looking strong and is on a great sub 10 minute mile pace.

10:31 AM - 10K leader comes in as we move closer to the finish.

10:56 AM - Runner friend's wife comes in for her finish, we cheer. As we walk yet closer to the finish line I spot my mom, her boyfriend, and my grandpa. Greetings commence, most of these people have met before. Lots of congratulations go the way of runner friend's wife, deservedly so.

11:00 AM - Runner friend, his wife, and I head for our cars. It's time for us to get ready to run and for her to get ready to stand in the cold.

11:10 AM - Shoes, chip, gloves, watch, compression shirt, long sleeve tech shirt, number pinned, and track pants off. It is in fact colder with just running shorts on. We do a little warm-up jog to the port-a-potties. Runner friend gets his first look at my pace. I lay claim that if he wants he could run actual circles around me as I run the 5k. Runner friend has a running pedigree that is unparalleled, but since it's my first big time 5k he's going to run at my pace. I tell him to dress warmer than if he were going to run it himself as this shouldn't work up too much of sweat for him.

11:15 AM - Bladder's emptied in a socially acceptable location, we proceed to the cheering section. Picture taking commences. Fruit of labor appears below. Also in the background you can see the gravel road that we start and finish on, but does not appear on the map.

11:28 AM - We line up in what appears to be the back of the pack. I do a very minimal calf stretch, my typical minute before running routine.

The Race - I'm not going to time line this. The air horn did it's thing and the crowd lurched forward. It took a few seconds to get to the start poll, I wish I knew exactly, but we'll get to that at the end. We were finally running, we were getting passed a lot though. I didn't look back after we lined up at what we thought was the back, but by my estimation about fifty people passed us in the first 1/4 mile. When the large throng in front of us disappeared. I looked back and confirmed that we were alone. I told runner friend that we were it. He said yeah but not for long. There were a couple tall guys wearing wrestling sweatshirts ahead of us walking already. It took another minute or so to pass them. As we passed them wrestler 1 said "Yeah we'll go slow at the start and then speed up and pass a bunch of people at the end who are starting to fast." Wrestler 2 said "I don't care about passing people, this is my race, it's against me to finish." Wrestler 1 waited a second or two and then said "Well I'm gonna pass some people." It was funny to hear out loud. That's the type of battling logic that one normally only hears in their own mind. We never did see them again till it was all over, they did finish. I'm not sure if wrestler 1 got to pass anyone. A couple more minutes went by and we came up slowly on a guy that was running and walking. Every time we'd get close to him he'd run fast ahead then he'd start to walk. After a few cycles of this we sped up and just passed him. Never to be seen again. I could feel the pace was fast but it didn't feel as fast as when I run a 13 minute mile at home. I guessed it was about 14, which for me is awesome for a first mile. For whatever reason I have a tough time getting my training runs started at much more than 15. We came up on the first mile marker and it felt quick. I looked at my watch and told runner friend that they messed up the mile markers. He asked how I could tell. I said cause we just ran that first mile in 12:14, and that is not possible. He laughed and said we were going at a good pace and to just keep going. I was absolutely baffled. We may have passed another person in there I can't remember anything but astonishment. The hike-bike path was paved. It ran through the woods and there were a couple bridges, all very picturesque. Somewhere into that second mile I got a little side stitch. I was able to make it go away with a little controlled breathing. Suddenly I could hear someone talking on the loud speaker back at the finish. I looked at my watch it was 15:25, we figured that was probably them announcing the winner. Slowly over the course of about a 1/2 mile we approached 4 people that were running side by side by side by side. They were run walking, but mostly they were talking. It was a cross between plastic surgery and (what I took to be christian) mission trips. It was all boils, growths and the lord. It got to a point that I almost wanted to walk just so I wouldn't have to hear it. Then we came to a hill and they slowed down. It was our chance and we passed them. A little ways past the top of the hill we hit the second mile marker. I knew we were going a little slower, that hill had taken it out of me, but the time said 12:56. I told runner friend and he was all encouragement. Shortly into that second mile we got close to where we had parked the cars and then a step or two past that was 4/7ths of our cheering section. They were taking pictures, like this one.

We are in the middle, runner friend is waving. You can see 3 of the 4 mission surgeons behind us. The two guys ahead of us had just been running with a woman they knew. She was talking about other people that had already finished the race, kids I think of the guy with the hat. Over the next 1/2 mile or so we got closer and closer to these guys. Eventually we passed them, but that didn't stay for long. I don't think we slowed down I think it was just getting towards the end and they had saved a little in the tank. So about a minute after we passed them they passed us and were gone. The last 1/4 mile or so was on grass and gravel which felt like an annoyance after having run almost 3 miles on asphalt. We hit the last mile mark at 12:45, again more amazement. There was a little uphill we had to go before we got to the home stretch. As soon as we popped up that hill we could see the clock. We both knew it was going to be under 40, this gave me a real boost. Runner friend was trying to better gauge it, he said if we kicked it in we might make 38 something. I said, "Alright lets go." And I ran as fast as I possibly could, faster than I have ever ran in my life, I was sprinting... for about 200 feet. The problem was there was a good 400 and some feet to the finish. So I had to slow down. As you can see in the picture below we crossed the finish in 39:09.

The group of people standing behind us on the right side of the road is our cheering section. The person in blue standing on the left side of the road is runner friend's wife. Immediately after crossing the finish line I felt vomitous. I put my hands over my head and tried to walk it off. It took about 2 or 3 minutes for it to pass. I've never felt that before I suppose it could have been from our fast pace, but I think it was more from the sprint as I have never done that before. Congratulations abound as is want to happen when you bring a bunch of family and friends to a race. My hope for this race going in was that I'd be able to run the whole thing in 42 something. It felt really good to have completely decimated my previous time and that goal. Another round of picture taking ensued.

I blamed runner friend for the great race and he blamed me, as you can see there was plenty of blame to go around. There wasn't much food left by the time we were done, but there were water bottles and free massages. I took one of the former instead of the later, but runner friend's wife got a massage and she said it was good. We hung out for a bit and confirmed that the official time was 39:09. Unfortunately when we crossed the finish line I wasn't thinking about my watch so I didn't remember to stop it until a minute or so afterwards. I wonder if my actual time would have been under 39, it would have been close for sure. I had unsmartly over scheduled the afternoon so we couldn't go have a big celebratory lunch with everyone. Instead we hit a subway and visited my great great aunt who lives in the area. The ride home was long. I wasn't sore but I did get tired. The only thing I'd do differently in the future is plan a meal with everyone afterwards.

Preperation Running


I did my weights routine, nothing eventful happened. The kids have contracted some kind of sickness, runny nose for one and lots of coughing for the other. This makes my wife think she should stay home with them. Her logic is that no one wants take care of a couple of sick kids. I think she underestimates the gravitational pull of circling grandparents.

At first I wasn't quite sure how to handle today. After I thought about it though I figured I'd be ok if I ran my 2.5 mile route as long as I didn't try and push for a fast time. So that is what I did this morning, 2.5 easy miles. I finished in 35:48, which I thought was perfect considering how little effort went into the run. This run brings my total mileage this week to 15. Next week will be less, since I am running the race on my long run day. I figure that will be ok though as I have been building weekly mileage for the past 7 weeks. In other news my wife has now also contracted an illness from the kids. I fear that I may be next. Actually it's not a fear at all, it's a certainty. My grandparent theory from yesterday proved positive today when my mother in-law put her foot down and guilted my wife into letting her watch our kids. I have a good mother in-law (and know that I say this even though neither my wife or her read this). So what this means is that my wife will be able to join me at the 5k tomorrow. My running friends are also on board, as well as a couple of non-running friends that live in the area. Through a strange confluence of events my mom, her boyfriend, and my grandpa will also be in the area and are stopping by.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Statistical Anomalies For Dummies


I noticed something interesting after I entered Wednesday's run into my log at runningahead. The week of 9/30/07 - 10/6/07 I ran 10.6 miles in 2:58:50. This week as of Wednesday 11/4/07 - 11/07/07 I ran 10.02 miles in 2:29:06. Sometimes it's difficult to look back on the logs with the right frame of mind, but that kind of improvement is undeniable. I need to remind myself of these numbers next time I have a slow day.

Got home and the precipitation was at bay, so I decided to brave the cold temperatures and go for a run outside. After yesterdays success with compression shirt and cotton long sleeve, I figured today I would be fine with compression under long sleeve tech. It felt colder than yesterday, but the temp was probably the same. I think the worst part of the last couple days has been my ear protection. I have sensitive ears that are easily bothered by inclimate weather. I bought a fleece headband for these occasions when I would need protection from the cold. I must have a big head though cause it is way to tight and really restricts me from turning my head. I need to go to my mom's house and dig out my old ski stuff, I used to have a knit headband that fit perfectly. I tried to start todays run a little faster than normal. The dirt road that I run for about a 1/2 mile near the beginning has turned to a giant mud pit. It's not much fun dodging mud puddles and sodden ground, but it does seem to make that part go faster. Today in fact was the fastest I've run the beginning, got back to the driveway in 10:41. I could feel that I had been running faster in my legs. I hit the last mile mark in another fastest time at 11:01. Running that last mile has turned into the funnest part of my run. I always seem to run it pretty quick. I finished the last mile in 13:19, giving me a shocking total time of 35:01. Yesterday felt really fast and today to shave almost a minute off seems pretty improbable. After doing a little math in my head I now think I have a real shot of finishing Sunday's 5k in 42-43 min. Tomorrow is a planned rest from run weight/exercise day. Saturday I'm going to do a very easy 2.5 miles, but I should be able to go early in the morning so that I will have more than 24 hours between that and the 5k.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Cold Fusion


I did my weights routine, nothing eventful happened.

It was really very cold by the time I got out of work today, weather.com had it at 32 F. Precipitation was non-existent though and that counts for something in my book. I figured since the roads were clear and the obstacle was only the temperature, I should probably give the roads a shot. Since this was the coldest weather I had ever run in I really wasn't sure how many layers to wear. I knew my legs would be fine in shorts. I decided on compression shirt, cotton long sleeve shirt, and fleece jacket. It took about .3 miles before I noticed I was sweating. Since I pass my driveway at .7 miles I knew I could just hang the jacket on our mailbox. I wasn't sure how I was going to handle the mp3 player since it was zipped into the jacket pocket, but then all of sudden the battery died. So everything got simple I could just shove the wires into the jacket and jettison the whole thing. I hit the driveway at 11:27, quicker than the last few times. Running without the jacket took about .1 miles to feel fine. I knew it was cold, but I never really felt cold. I passed the last mile mark at 11:24, the fastest I've ever ran this stretch by 3 seconds. This made me think I might have a chance at running this 2.5 miles faster than I've ever done it before. The last mile I can always seem to run a little faster. I did my best to not think about the time and just tried to use every bit of energy I had. Instead of treating the small hill near the end like a hill (slow down, shorten stride, keep breathing even), I just ran like normal up it. My legs were burning a little bit after that, but I was about a tenth of a mile from home so there was no point in slowing down with the driveway right there. I finished the last mile in 13:03, a PR for the mile by 1 second. Total time was a new best of 35:54. I was most surprised about that mile time because my previous mile PR's came from when I would take a walk and then just run a mile. Having it come after I've run a mile and a half is surprising, but I guess it proves to me that I am getting faster. For the first time I feel like I might have a shot at running Sunday's 5k faster than my first one.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Weekend Blog Dump + Weigh In


I did my weights routine, nothing eventful happened. Word on the street is Santa Claus has an exercise bike with my name on it. I look forward to that as opposed to what I did today.

I ran my 2.5 mile route today. I got a new pair of running sun glasses and the weather gave me opportunity to try them out today. They are just cheap-o plastic sunglasses, but they worked great. My times weren't especially encouraging at the driveway (.7 mile) 11:52, or the last mile mark (1.5 mile) 11:45. I think part of the reason is the dirt road I run a portion on was recently regraded. It had become riddled with potholes, so it was time, but the surface quality has gotten a lot worse when it comes to running. Now it's all loose and feels like running in sand if I get too close to the side of the road. So that's what I'm blaming my bum times on, unless somebody else has a better victim, I mean idea. I did finish strong though, ran the last mile in 13:24. The total for the day was 37:06.

The plan today was to run 5 miles. Ambitious is what I called it. Foolish is what my wife called it. The route was very similar to the one I run almost everyday, I was just going to go about a mile further down the road. Plan solidly in place I planted a bottle of water on the side of the road at the 2 mile mark. That way I could have a drink and then toss it across the road for the 4 mile pass. Since I was running at about 11:00 am and I knew it would take about an hour and fifteen minutes, I wasn't quite sure how to fuel. I ate oatmeal for breakfast, then about a half hour or so before my run I ate an apple and a banana. I never did bonk so I think I will stick with this fueling plan for next weekend's 5k. The run itself went really well. It seemed to go by faster than the last two weeks runs, but to be exact it didn't. Having the water at 2 miles was perfect. There is a pretty big hill on this route. I get to run down it at about mile three, but then at the turn around it's right back up it I go. It just gets steeper and steeper with every step. Just when you think it can't possibly get any worse, it's done. Though ideally it wouldn't be there, it's actually in a great place on the run. I was good and warmed up by the time I hit it, and afterward, everything else was easier. I finished the run in 1:15:52. Overall it is a great route, I hope I get at least one more opportunity to run it this year.

I weighed 316 lbs this morning. That is a loss of 4 lbs this week, bringing my total weight loss to 51 lbs. Hey alright, losing more than 50 lbs seems like a little milestone. I've noticed muscles in my legs that I never knew existed. I am now exactly a hundred pounds away from the lowest adult weight I ever got to back in 1999 when I did no-carb. I'm willing to bet though that I am more fit now than I have ever been, even with that extra hundred hanging on.

After work today the plan was to run 2.5 miles on my normal route at home. Unfortunately the weather was being rather uncooperative. The rain was getting harder the closer I got to home. Then right as I was pulling in the driveway it turned to snow. Definitely not what I wanted to be out in for 36-37 minutes. As I pulled into the garage I remembered that we have a perfectly good treadmill in the basement. Having only been on it once since I started running outside I was not looking forward to it. This winter though I know it will have to be my home so I have to bite the bullet sooner or later. I've read about people that run their long runs on the treadmill that start out at a comfortable pace and then up it every ten minutes. Since I wouldn't be running for very long I decided to up the pace every 5 minutes. I'm not sure why but it takes a lot more energy for me to move at a slower pace. I log all my runs in an excel spreadsheet that figures out my average MPH. Looking back at the last week my average was 4.0 so I figured if I started at about 3.7 then the middle of my run I'd be about 4.0 and by the end I'd be at 4.4 with an average of 4.0. The running went fine. The five minute progression worked out well. I did the first mile in 15:49, the second in 14:35, and the last half in 6:56, for a total of 37:20. I wonder if I could start my next run out at 3.8 and get the whole thing done a little quicker. I guess I'll see as the weather looks grim for the immediate future.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Copy Cat

Another day, another 2.5 mile run. The weather was very cooperative, 41 F, full sun, no wind. I decided it was warm enough for no gloves when I got home. Right before I left I took some chicken out of the freezer to defrost. About a tenth of a mile in to my run my hands were ice blocks. Apparently handling frozen meat and then going outside in 41 F weather does not give them much opportunity to be anything but frozen meat. They stayed that way for a good twenty minutes. By then they either warmed up, or I didn't care, it's tough to remember. I was back to my driveway in a completely average time, 11:41. I hit the last mile mark in more average fashion, 11:39. The last mile went really smooth and was done in 13:56. I thought I had screwed my watch up when I got done because the total time was exactly the same as yesterday, 37:16. Sure enough though there was yesterdays workout and here was todays and the times were the same.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Where's The Running Moon?


I ran one heck of a convoluted route in town tonight. Avoiding the hills in town is becoming difficult, but I think this was probably my last run in town for the year. What with snow coming soon enough I was going to need to shift Tuesday to an off day. So I've come up with a workable schedule that will put the off days on Tuesday and Friday after this week. By the time spring comes my body should be more prepared to handle some hill workouts and then I know right where I can get them.
So anyway I found a route that snaked through the neighborhood and stretched 2.56 miles. I didn't feel extremely fast, but I felt consistent. None of that urge to walk garbage from Sunday. At times the wind was really trying to work against me, but that was ok because it gave me a little push at the end. I finished in 38:56 with no walk breaks.

I was back at home for this afternoons 2.5 miler. It's interesting how things change in the running department. It's like there is an ebb and flow to the energy that is impossible to figure out. All day long it was dark and rainy, which led me to really not looking forward to the run. I got home and geared up though. Started and the rain and wind were both sporadic. I felt good though. Fell in that really solid groove early. It felt like I was flying, but I got back to my driveway in a time that was completely average, 11:35 (read: higher than previous times). No matter the groove was holding up strong. I pushed a little harder, sure that I would reach the last mile mark in record time. When I turned up there though just another average time, 11:44. Not a problem I'd have the wind at my back for last mile and it would probably be a PR. Another tenth of a mile and I started to get that bonk feeling (light headed and shaky). It didn't make sense though because for once I actually remembered to have a snack this afternoon. I figured maybe I was just pushing too hard. I tried to slow down but the groove was so effortless that it would have taken more energy to slow down. Luckily the feeling subsided within a minute or so. About a 1/2 mile from the end the wind died, so much for the extra push. I did get to witness a meteorological oddity though, the sun broke through where I was running yet there were dark clouds on all sides of me. I ended up finishing the last mile in respectable, but not record fashion, 13:57. Total time was 37:16 with no walk breaks. So like I said at the beginning, figuring out the ebb and flow of running is definitely something that is beyond me. Good days turn bad, bad days turn good, and sometimes it feels like a good day and the clock says it was really more like an average day. It may sound like this frustrates me, but it really doesn't, I'm just happy running felt so easy today.

I almost forgot to mention Halloween. Our kids are young enough that we only go to a couple houses, just friends and relatives. Still the amount of candy available and given to them is ridiculous. I was able to keep the candy from myself until the last house. My wife's parents had bit o honeys, I couldn't resist. So I had one. It was really good. It's got to be some kind of record for me though, only one piece of candy on Halloween.

In other news I found another race, yeah no one saw that coming right. The Tortoise & Hare Turkey Trot is being held on 11-11-07. There is a 5k and 10k, it looks like I'll be running the 5k. My running friends should be able to come and run it with me, so that is good news. Also oddly enough my mom has unrelated plans that put her near the town that this race is held in (a good 2 1/2 hours from where we both live). So it looks like she might swing by to do some cheering. Sometimes it surprises me how things work out, two weeks ago I thought it would be 2008 before I did a race, now it looks like I'll have two in by the middle of November.