Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What day is it?

Feb 9
I like to stick to my schedule. Looking at the weather forecast heading into this weekend though, it was pretty clear that my schedule wasn't helping me. Saturday: 26 F, 50% Chance of Precipitation; Sunday: 7 F, 80% Chance of Precipitation, Windy. The more I thought about it, the more I thought why not just run my 9 miles on Saturday. So that's what I ended up doing. Friday night it looked like I might even be able to run on the roads by my house, but by Saturday morning enough snow had fallen to remove that from being possible. So mid-morning I headed into town to see if the roads were clear enough to run there. The road that I start my long runs in town on, Sunnyside Dr., is usually pretty clear. I figured that if North Blvd. looked bad I could always just mark out a 2.25 mile section of Sunnyside and run that back & forth twice. North Blvd. was looking like a two track through the snow, so I ended up marking the small loop on Sunnyside Dr. with my car.

I got to my mom's house and geared up. This was my first time using bodyglide. I wasn't sure how much to use. The stuff looks and feels like stick deodorant, no smell though. It didn't feel all that slippery, but it's supposed to work, fingers crossed. This would also be my inaugural fuel belt/gatorade run. The belt has a tendency to loosen itself while being put on, so I wasn't sure how that would work, had to put it on a few times to get it right. All set, walking down the driveway, time to put on the watch, where's my watch? Where is my watch!?! I left my watch at home. Back in the house, do you have a watch I can borrow? No help. I ended up grabbing my phone, I figured worst case scenario I can look at the time when I start and stop. Walk down the hill to get to my start, very deep snow on the sidewalk, good thing I intend to play in traffic. Mess around with my phone for a minute or two down there and find it has a stopwatch, awesome, what luck! About 2 seconds into running, my bottle was bouncing all over the place. I rotated the belt so that bottle was on my right hip and that seemed to help. The running itself went really easy. The roads were clear in the travel lanes, but the shoulders were mostly snow covered. I wore my yaktrax in case it was slippery, but I don't think I ever encountered any ice. As I approached the turn around for the first time I took off my fuel belt and readjusted it, as it had begun to slip. I was able to put it back on with only a stop for a second or so. After that I didn't feel another peep from it. The rest of the run went pretty smooth. I got sprayed with slush and snow a few times, but I guess that is to be expected when you run outside in February. If cars just stayed in their lanes I would have been more dry, but I know they had the best of intentions. When I approached the end for the final time I pulled out my cell phone. It was no longer on the stopwatch, that's a bad sign. I went to the stopwatch and it was stopped at 17:46, well I guess that's how long that lasted. The pocket on the fuel belt is pretty tight for my phone so the button could have been pressed when I was jostling around. I estimated that I started at about 10:36 am and my phone was reading 12:46 pm when I finished, so I'm calling this 9 miles at a very slow 2:10:00. The important thing was no pain, no nausea. I was tired, no doubt, but not ill. The gatorade had done it's job perfectly and the bodyglide was a winner as well. 8$ for bodyglide feels like such a deal now, heck I'd pay twice that for something that works this good. I made it back to my mom's house, changed clothes, did some stretches, and sampled a peice or two of fresh shortbread, then I headed home.

Feb 10
Today I just wanted to do a recovery run. My legs were a little sore so I wasn't sure what I was going to be able complete. The weather was in fact much worse today so I was very glad to have done my long run yesterday. Horizontal snow, that's all I'm going to say. I mounted the mill some time before lunch and started out at 4.5 mph. Those first couple minutes definitely felt a bit sore, but by 5 minutes I was able to increase the speed to 4.6 mph. At 10 minutes I figured I'd try 5.0 mph and just see what I could push myself to do. The soreness was gone so I didn't feel like I was hanging myself out to dry. I was able to finish 3 miles at that speed in 36:54. A little bit after stretching the soreness in my legs came back, but that's to be expected.

My mother-in-law cut my hair off this evening. The last time it was cut was August 2007. I'm hoping the treadmill in the basement won't be so hot the next time I run on it. What follows can be considered for the record.

(Post Haircut)

(Christmas 2006, my hair was about this length before I got it cut.
Of course this was a good 80 some lbs ago too.)

Feb 11
I weighed 282.4 lbs this morning. That is a gain of .2 lbs this week, bringing my total weight loss to 84.6 lbs. The rest of last week I was weighing 285ish, so to be back in the 282's this morning feels like a victory.

The last couple days I've been looking at possible replacement half marathons. I've found 4 races that could be considered, but none really seem perfect. The first is The Martian Half Marathon on 4/6/08. The race is in Dearborn which is a heck of a drive, but I have friends who live within 10 minutes. (The race shirt is also very worth checking out.) This would be perfect, except my youngest daughter's first birthday party is already scheduled for this day. Next is the National City Half Marathon on 4/26/08. This race is held in Kalamazoo which is 140 some miles from me. The closest person I even know lives 70 some miles away from Kalamazoo. It's possible but it would take some doing. The next one isn't even a half, the River Bank Run 25k on 5/10/08. This race is held in Grand Rapids which is 90 miles away and it's 15.5 miles long. The distance is very intimidating, but right now this is the race that I'm giving the most consideration. The final race is the Run Charlevoix Half Marathon on 6/28/08. It's not too far away, but a half marathon at the end of June is going to be very warm. There are a few half marathons that are run in the fall, but I really don't want to wait that long. So at this point it's come down to a question, is 15.5 miles with a 3 1/2 hour cut-off too ambitious?

Since I wrote the above paragraph a fellow Michigander/runaholic/blogger, Sarah, commented about a half marathon I didn't know existed. I looked at the info and everything about it is perfect except for these paragraphs I found on the official website:
Minimum mile pace for the half marathon: 12 minutes

Due to road closures limitations, there is a minimum allowed pace of 12 minutes per mile for the half marathon. We must clear Huron River Drive by 11:20 AM. Based on the starting time, this requires a 12 minute per mile pace be maintained. If you cannot make this pace for the entire 13.1 mile race, you should not attempt the half marathon, but are encouraged to sign up for the 10K or the 5K.

If I’m not sure I can keep the minimum pace, should I attempt the half marathon?

NO! Definitely not. (see below) Try the 10K or 5K.
I rode the indoor bike tonight on the Upper Body program. It is setup so that you can do exercises while you peddle, but I wasn't interested in that, I just wanted to try a 45 minute workout. The numbness started to get to me so I didn't last much past my usual time. I ended up riding 10.07 miles in 34:15. I doubt I'll try for a longer bike workout again, at least not on the indoor bike.

Feb 12
The treadmill was whining at me again this evening. I could hear it, so I went downstairs and kicked it's ass for 3 miles. When I was done I told it to be quiet or I'd be back for it. My guess is it'll start to get uppity again on Thursday. I ran 5:00 at 4.5, 5:00 at 4.6, 5:00 at 5.0, and 21:28 at 5.1 mph. That last setting surprised me but I guess I just willed myself to finish something I had started. Total time was 36:28, a new treadmill record.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Behind Again

Jan 29-Feb 8 Short Version

I ran and biked a bunch. I found out my preferred half marathon's registration is closed without me included. Long version follows below, but don't feel obligated to read. I know I need to start posting more frequently, these long ones are killers.

Jan 29
I couldn't take advantage of the weather yesterday so there was no way I was going to let today escape without a run outside. It was raining lightly, but that is a demon I conquered a long time ago. Rain doesn't even feel like a hurdle compared to a foot of snow. It was warm enough that I wore a long sleeve tech shirt over my long sleeve compression instead of my running jacket. It always feels good to run outside, but after being trapped inside for a few consecutive runs it feels even better. I ended up surprising myself by running 3 miles today faster than ever before, clocking in at 36:01. I'm thinking that I've run enough 2.5 milers so now the standard runs will all be 3 milers.

Jan 30
I took an unplanned rest day today because of car troubles. Luckily my wife's cousin who welded my treadmill was available to fix my car. So I traded my bike time for a working automobile.

Jan 31
Today was my first try at 3 miles on the treadmill. I wanted to stick with my previous plan of running as much as possible at 5.0 mph. I started out with 10 minutes at 4.5 mph before I bumped it up to 5.0 mph. Luckily I was able to keep going without the need for a break in speed. I finished 3 miles in 37:01 which is darn close to what I ran outside a couple days ago.
This run wraps up the month of January. I ended up with 54.8 miles, which isn't a whole lot, but is a little more than I've ever run in a month's time. One interesting point to note in the graph above, back in October I ran almost the same distance, but it took me almost 2 hours longer to do it.

Feb 1
I rode the indoor bike tonight on Program 1. I ended up riding 8.807 miles in 30 minutes.

Feb 2
Similar to Thursday I was back on the treadmill with almost the same plan of attack. The only difference was I only ran 5 minutes at 4.5 mph, then I went 5 minutes 4.6 mph, before running the rest at 5.0 mph. I finished all 3 miles in 36:56. I noticed as I entered this run into my log at that I am now over 200 miles on this pair of running shoes.

Feb 3
After last weekend's epic treadmill journey I was in no hurry to repeat myself. I've basically come to the realization that if I'm going to run long I'm going to do it outside. Luckily the weather backed me up by not adding a foot of new snow last night and just overcast skies today. I hadn't mapped out an 8 mile route ahead of time, but I figured I could easily add on an extra mile out and back to the 6 I ran three weeks ago. So when the time came I headed into town. Once I measured out the additional mile I dropped a water bottle in a snowbank around mile 2.7. I wore my sweat wicking hat, glasses, long sleeve compression shirt, running jacket, shorts, and yaktrax on my shoes. The run started out smooth for about 100 feet, that's when the sidewalk stopped being clear of snow. The first 1/2 mile or so is ideally run on the sidewalk because there is no shoulder on that side of the street. After about .3 miles on the sidewalk in the ankle deep snow I had enough and elected to go play in traffic. Luckily the traffic was quite light and I made it to the shouldered section of road without incident. I did my best not to push or be overly concerned with time. I only have very vague estimates of my mile markers so I didn't bother hitting my watch for splits. I made it to my water without incident and dropped it in a spot where I could pick it up on the way back.
The area on the map above marked 'Mitchell State Park' is all businesses, snowmobiles & traffic, so that was a different environment for a run. Lakes Cadillac and Mitchell are connected via a canal that runs between them. It's difficult to see on the map due to the scale, but it runs along the edge of the road that I ran on when I turned right off of M-115. The lakes are frozen this time of year which attracts a lot of snowmobilers and ice fishermen. The canal however doesn't freeze, and for some reason this fact attracts the craziest of snowmobilers. I saw a couple snowmobilers make it across the mouth of the canal on the Lake Cadillac side as I was nearing my turn around. It's actually a pretty common occurrence this time of year. In case you are wondering there are people that don't make it, but I've never witnessed that. Even though my mile markers were a loose idea, I could tell I was slowing down. The time was 52:43 at the turn around. Somewhere in here I started to notice that I couldn't wiggle my toes because the yaktrax were pressing down on them. My head told me that meant that my toes hurt, so for the rest of the run my toes hurt. Everything was uneventful until somewhere after 6 miles. That 6 to 7 mile just seemed to take forever. By the time I hit mile 7 I was starting to get a little paranoid that I wasn't going to make it. I did my best to remind myself that the fastest way home was just to keep pace. I could feel that my legs were really starting to chafe. The pain I was feeling there, the perceived pain in my toes, and the fact that I had been running for over an hour and a half were really starting to wear on me. In the end I was able to quiet my mind and finish in 1:48:21. The walk back to my mom's house, where I had parked wasn't much fun, but I'm glad it was mandatory I would have laid right down otherwise. The chafing hurt the most, other than that I felt fine right afterwards. I changed clothes and drank some water as soon as I got in. Then I did my stretches and I started to get hungry. My mom had made polish sausage earlier in the day and there was a little left so I tried to eat some. After one bite I felt like I was going vomit myself inside out. I got some more water and sat down. The vomitous feeling passed after a minute or two, but I was still really hungry. I ate a cookie instead, thinking that maybe my sugar was way out of balance. I still wasn't feeling right, but I was getting better so I ate a couple more (they were little sugar cookies). Finally after about 10 or 15 minutes of sitting there I felt ok enough to drive. The rest of the day went fine, by the time I got home I was feeling about 95%. I ate a sandwich and was back to 100% a half hour later or so. The chafed thighs seem to be the only lasting pain, but tomorrow will tell.

Feb 4
I weighed 282.2 lbs this morning. That is a loss of 1.6 lbs this week, bringing my total weight loss to 84.8 lbs. I'm surprised that I ended up with a loss this morning, as all this past week I was hovering a little higher than last Monday's weigh-in. I have finally broken a record set by myself the last time I lost a bunch of weight, back in 1999. September of 1998 I weighed 300 lbs, so to lose some weight I tried a basic no-carb plan. It wasn't Atkins or anything, I just avoided carbs as much as possible. By spring of 1999 I was down to 216 lbs, 84 lbs lost. I started dating my wife, got happy, got fat, had kids, got more fat, and last August started all of this. Now I've lost more weight than ever before.

I rode the indoor bike tonight on Program 1. I ended up riding 8.850 miles in 30 minutes.

Feb 5
Today was a tough day on the old treadmill. I ran for 10 minutes at 4.6 mph before finishing out my run at 5.0 mph in 36:49. I'm not certain whether it was tough because I was starting at 4.6 or if I'm just feeling the after effects of Sunday's long run.

Feb 6
I had a crap day. I thought it was going to be good. The plan was to go to the local running store to see about getting a fuel belt and some GU's. First none of the 2 bottle (10 oz) belts were fitting around me. Then we found a one bottle (22 oz) belt that fit, but I was concerned about the concentrated weight of having all the water in one place. Then while I'm talking to the guy about GU's and stuff I mention that I'm interested in running the local Bayshore Half Marathon at the end of May. First thing he says, 'Did you sign-up already?' I start to answer, 'No, I'm waiting to make sure...' He cuts me off, 'You're too late. I'm sorry but it filled up on February 2nd.' Crushed would accurately describe my feelings. I ended up getting a couple GU's and a couple Hammerhead Gel's, on the guy's advice. Though he did caution me that if I start using them my body will start wanting them. His explanation was that my body is trained to burn fat now, but if I use these it's like training my body to burn sugar. Still it's better to use one than to bonk, so I will carry one in my fuel belt pocket. I was so distracted with the bad news about the half being full that I didn't even remember to get bodyglide. (Went back the next day and got some, $8, hefty.) When I got back to work I checked the race website and sure enough registration for the half is closed. So now I'm looking for other races. I've found 4 so far, but none are perfect. I'll write about them later.

I rode the indoor bike tonight on Program 1. I ended up riding 8.919 miles in 30 minutes.

Feb 7
I did the exact same thing as Tuesday and it was still pretty tough. I'm not sure what to do about that. I tried drinking some Gatorade during my run just to see if my stomach could handle it. That seemed to go fine so my next long run I will use some of that.

Feb 8
I rode the indoor bike tonight on Program 1. I ended up riding 8.939 miles in 30 minutes.