Monday, December 12, 2011
I spent almost 90 minutes on the ice today. My balance is getting better, but it sometimes feels like 2 steps forward, 3 steps back. Today they had very nice classical music playing at the ice rink, slow and relaxing, perfect to practice slow, flowing movements. I'm finding some muscles that are worked more while skating than while running, espcially glutes.
I realized that I need to do more stretching to be able to do some of the figure skating exercises.
Maybe I'll join my daughter for ballet classes again in January.
I spent the afternoon reminding my horse Blue Eagle how to do some basic maneuvers on the ground for treats. She was very motivated to figure out what I wanted for carrot slices and offered all kinds of new behaviors including shaking her head, lifting one foot, stepping over tires. I'm hoping to have time more regularly for horse activities in the coming months and take Blue jogging regularly while the roads are not icy.
The days are getting so short that it gets harder to fit in as many outdoor activities as I like but only 2 more weeks until winter solstice.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Today was my first run in freezing temperatures. I decided to try a pair of wrestling shoes that I had bought a year ago because they have several qualities of minimalist shoes but are like high-top sneakers in that they cover the ankle and are warmer. The sole is fairly flexible and thin, they have zero heel-drop and no arch support. The material is suede which I can waterproof and I can wear them with an inexpensive pair of gaiters that keep me warm and dry up to the knees. By going one size smaller with a men's size I have enough room in the heel to wear warm wool socks in them. The price was around $40.00 which is still much less than minimalist boots which are hard to find and usually priced well over $100.00
This is a big improvement over running in my winter boots, mostly because the weight is so much lower but also because they are not as bulky.
There are a lot of different models of wrestling shoes and I'm sure this would be a good choice for many minimalist runners in the winter. On ice they can be fitted with my Due North winter/ice spikes easily.
Today I ran 3 miles in them and was quite comfortable. It took me just over 45 minutes to run 3 miles with average heart rate of 133, partly because of the cold, partly because the wrestling shoes are still heavier than what I'm used to, although not heavier than traditional running shoes.
Yesterday I made some improvement in my ice skating. I had asked 3 different instructors for help with changing direction on one skate which seemed surprisingly difficult. Most recommend moving my shoulders into the turn more, leaning more onto one edge etc. but I was not getting much better and they couldn't tell me why.
Yesterday I was watching some other skaters and it looked like they were "steering" with the front of their skate, with the weight on the front part of the skate, something that they weren't even aware of. That was my missing element. As soon as I started focusing on steering with the front of the skate I was able to switch direction fairly easily. Yeah! Biomechanics for dummies again.
In any case, if I practice this a little more I can progress to doing spins and three-turns much easier. This is going to be so much fun.
Friday, December 09, 2011
I ran for exactly 1 hour and went 4.3 miles, the best run since starting the Maffetone method. The weather was beautiful and sunny, in the 40's and I did a couple loops through town, about half on asphalt, half on gravel, very little wind, very little elevation.
I will count this as my long run.
Now off to the barn to do a little horseback riding while the sun is still up.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
This time I was dealing with a frozen hydrant that we use to fill our horse's water tank. The property owners are gone for the winter but I fortunately had a contact person who is a neighbor and a contractor who took care of things and he did so expertly yesterday, digging a 4-foot deep and 2 foot wide hole and replacing the whole hydrant. I spent most of the day at the barn helping out and picking up gravel from the gravel pit. Thankfully yesterday the temps were in the mid-40's during the day. I got way behind on several projects but it all got finished this morning. Tonight temps are going to be below 20 degrees F so we got it done just in time, much better than if it had happened with several feet of snow and the ground frozen rock hard.
Last night we watched the special on "Biggest Loser" where the contestants ran a marathon. I had lots of thoughts go through my head as I saw several contestants that had to be pulled from the race by the attending physicians because they were at very high risk for severe injuries. The question is not if people who are still significantly overweight can run a marathon, they can, but if it's worth the risk. One of the contestants in his mid-sixties walked the whole marathon and that seemed like the smart and admirable thing to do.
All this confirmed to me that I definitely don't want to sign up for a marathon until I have done training runs that are about 20 miles. This could easily take another year even without any downtime for injuries. It really matters to me more that I can still run in 25 years than whether I can run a marathon next year. I'm contemplating making a t-shirt to wear in the March half-marathon saying something like: I'm slow now, but I'll beat you in 25 years.
Today I did a 3 mile run on the treadmill. The first mile I could tell that I had gone to bed too late the night before and felt a little tired, but then the half cup of coffee I drank must have kicked in.
Mile 1: 4 mph
Mile 2: 4 mph
Mile 3: 4 mph
average speed: 4 mph
average heart rate: 133 bpm
My one frustration at the moment is that I'm not getting my e-mail notifications from Spark which means I only have the time to check a few teams for postings every day. I hope the help topic/thread will have some answers on how to fix that.
On another note, I'm so glad we had a big vegetable garden this year. Tonight we were eating broccoli, onions, corn and tomatoes from our garden in a nice stir-fry with some beef and beans. We also still have lots of apples. In a little while I'll go out to harvest the last few leeks. I haven't even gotten to the potatoes and carrots yet, that will have to wait until the grounds thaws a little. In our basement we have quite a number of winter squash, zucchini and onions still waiting to be eaten. A garden definitely makes eating organic affordable and eating in season has been shown to be healthier anyhow.
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