Saturday, November 19, 2011
Last Saturday, I set out to run a bit longer than I had before. I ran for 45 minutes, and came in a little bit short of running 10K. That gave me confidence that I actually could run a full 10K without slowing to a walk. So on Monday, when my brand new Paypal account became active, I signed up for the Race with Grace 10K on Thanksgiving Day. (For the non-US readers, that's next Thursday.)
Today was my long training run for the 10K. I mapped out a route that is 6.3 miles, or just a bit longer than a 10K. I figured if I still felt like running near the end of that route, I could always add distance. Didn't get quite as good a jump on the time as last Saturday, but still got a respectably early start at 6:46 AM. Temperature was 41° F (5° C), with a noticeable wind from the south and west. By the time I finished, the morning sun had shown its face. I didn't notice the sunrise; I think that happened while I was westbound.
Last Saturday, I deliberately ran slower early in the run because I didn't know whether I could run the whole way. Today, I just went out and ran. It made a bit of a difference to the pace. Final result, 6.3 miles in 45:51, for an average pace of 7:17. I got splits at the first four miles of 7:10 or so (landmark not totally accurate), 14:20, 21:24, and 28:40. I didn't have a good landmark for mile 5 or 6, but I know I slowed down some in the middle of mile 4, and remained slow for all of mile 5. That was the part that was uphill into the cold wind. At least it wasn't both ways, as in the classic walk to school.
Overall, that looks like an average pace of 7:10 for the first four miles, and 7:28 for the last 2.3 miles. No extra distance got added to the route. I was ready to quit running some distance before I got to my driveway, but I managed to keep going the full route.
Implications for the 10K on Thanksgiving: I should be able to keep running for the entire distance. It should be possible to meet my goal of running the 10K in under 46 minutes.
The plan now is, a shorter run tomorrow, possibly with a little hill work. Monday off. Lunch hour run on Tuesday, take shorter route and don't push. Wednesday off. Race Thursday.
Things that might hurt my time in the real race: Worse weather, which won't be known till race day. Unfamiliar course, which might be harder than where I've trained. Possible large turnout resulting in slow time to start and in an initial traffic jam. Running too hard early keeping up with better runners and then flaming out and having to walk a lot. Not being as good running on one day's rest as I was today running on two days' rest.
Things that might make my time better in the real race: Better weather, which won't be known till race day. Course easier than I've trained. Competitive aspect getting me to run faster, but not so much faster that I flame out.
It should be fun. I've seen the posted times from last year's Thanksgiving Day Race with Grace 10K. If the same people show up, I should not be in competition for an age group medal. But I'll be happy to run all the way, and be as fast as I was in training.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Not much went on today on the fitness and diet front. It's a non-running day, and my 38 minute lunch walk didn't feel like I was really working. Then I mapped it out, and it came to a 13:37 pace per minute, walking. Not that long ago, any walk faster than 15:00 per mile felt like a workout. I'll count this one for fitness minutes.
On the diet front, I put a snack in at mid-afternoon. I was still hungry at dinnertime, but it was a more reasonable hunger than the past few days. I'll pick this strategy back up on Monday, for work days. One more small step toward figuring out maintenance.
Tomorrow morning I plan to try to run a bit further than 10K, as my last long training run before the 10K on Thanksgiving. It will also be the first time I've ever run a full 10K; but there is little doubt that I can do it. I ran almost 10K last Saturday, and I'm well enough rested. The forecast is for about 36° F at run time; I've run at this temperature before, so what to wear is no mystery.
And now I run into the flip side of getting up early to run; I need to get to be early enough to be well rested in the morning. Since my body is telling me it's bedtime before 9:30 tonight, I think that will work out well.
Good night, and Spark on!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
This morning the scale said 166.6, which happens to be a new 25+ year low weight for me. Now, my scale is only really accurate to a fifth of a pound; the next tick up or down from here would be 166.8 or 166.4, respectively. But still . . . that's a pound lighter than yesterday, and two pounds lighter than a week ago.
Minor difficulty: I'm in maintenance, not in weight loss mode. While it's okay for the weight to drift down as I try to find what weight would be most healthy, this looks like the pace I was losing when I was trying to lose weight. Only now my range is 600 calories higher, and I'm eating them.
What to do? For today, I ate toward the high end of the expanded range. I trust that this, plus normal fluctuation, should produce a higher weight tomorrow. Longer term, where does that calorie range need to be? Logically, it should move up and down as I get more or less exercise; but I don't have a good means to measure how much exercise is worth how many calories. (If I did, I wouldn't still be losing 2 pounds in a week!)
The mantra has always been, feel good. Run longer, stay strong. Don't be hungry. Do all that, and don't worry about the weight still coming off. Hmm. Today I might have been hungrier than I should be in the afternoon. I need to do something to address that, like pack a 200 to 300 calorie snack to eat in mid-afternoon at work. Breakfast, morning snack, and lunch seem to be covered adequately already; but I still have a lot of calories left for dinner and evening.
Either that, or I have to cut back on the running. I'd rather not do that; I'm having too much fun running to like the idea of cutting that back. And it's already time limited on weekdays, due to runs being on my lunch break. And I want to keep my long run this Saturday, which should be the last long run before the 10K I committed to on Thanksgiving.
So I guess I need to figure out the food aspect. Maybe I need to eat more, but first let's see if I can distribute the calories differently across the day on work days.
Monday, November 14, 2011
I took this afternoon off work to donate blood. In theory, I could donate on company time when the blood drive comes around to my workplace. In theory, I could donate on Saturdays, when I don't have to work anyway. In practice, I sometimes want to go lie down for 20 minutes an hour after donating. That would be a problem at work. In practice, the Saturday schedule at the donation center is frustrating and erratic. So I take a half day off every 8 weeks, and it works out well.
This time, things are a little different. I'd forgotten that the last two donations, I'd taken a full day so I could exercise in the morning. So I hustled home at noon, got a 5K walk in (42 minutes, a 13:30 pace per mile), quick shower, and grab lunch. Ended up 5 minutes late for my appointment, but the Red Cross is very forgiving about that.
Bearing in mind that I'm a runner now, I tried to make myself nervous to pump the pulse when the nurse took it. Well, that kind of worked. I got it up to 46, from my usual deskbound pulse of 42. The next question was, "Are you a runner or a swimmer?" Yes, I'm a runner. The nurse called for a supervisor to override the program and let me donate.
Blood pressure was 90 over 60. I asked how low it had to go to preclude blood donation, and was told 80 over 40 can't donate. But I could, and it went quite routinely. I even had one of the fudge cookie thingies in the canteen, in addition to some raisins. This works because I have a very generous calorie range in maintenance.
So it looks like becoming a runner isn't going to prevent me from donating blood 6 times a year. I'm happy with this. Given a conflict between my health and blood donation, I'd go for my own health; but it's much nicer to not have the conflict.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Early on in my time with SP, I noticed on a day that I was down that I was also tired. I'd seen the much-touted goal of getting 8 hours of sleep a night, and it didn't speak to me. I couldn't really control how much sleep I got. I had to be up early in the morning 5 days a week, and unless I wanted massively reduced income that was a fact of life.
But while I couldn't control how much sleep I got, and I couldn't control when I had to get up most days, I could control when I got to bed. I had this new web site with motivational tools. So I made a goal to get to bed by 10:30 PM six days a week.
I now have a 14 week streak of getting to bed by 10:30 at least six days a week. That's more than a quarter of a year. How's it working out?
I have become a synthetic morning person. Wednesday choir practice runs till 9, and I don't want to work on anything hard after 8:30. I can come home and still (usually) make it to bed by 10:30 on Wednesday. I am sometimes up with the alarm, instead of using the snooze multiple times. And sometimes I wake up before the alarm goes off.
My alarm is set for 6. This morning I woke up at 5:15. I could have rolled over and gone back to sleep, but I'd been thinking about trying to run longer; and getting up earlier meant I could start the run earlier, and thus have more time before my 9 AM breakfast at McDonald's with my daughter. (Second breakfast in this case; I have the healthy breakfast before I run and then an Egg McMuffin at 9.)
Being up early got me out the door and starting to run at 6:39 AM. Four months ago it would have been unthinkable for me to be out of bed at that time on a Saturday. Today, I had checked in with SP, done my morning TGU/windmill combos and KB snatches, eaten breakfast, checked the weather, and dressed to run in 36° F weather by 6:39. That's 21 minutes earlier than my target start to run 5.2 miles, so I tacked some extra twists onto the beginning and end of my standard 5.2 mile loop.
When I got back to my driveway, I had been running for 43:45. Stupid motivational tricks kicked in. I ran up the street a ways and back to get to 45 minutes and that 9th Spark Point. I figured I ran a bit over five and a half miles.
It mapped out to 6.12 miles, for a 7:21 pace per mile. That's pretty good for deliberately running easy so I could keep running longer than I have to date. At that pace, I could do a 10K in under 46 minutes. I could have run for 10K this morning, and I might have if I had realized how close I was. I'm about 90% decided to sign up for a 10K on Thanksgiving Day; the holdup is that the easy way to sign up requires payment by PayPal, and my account isn't set up yet. (Yes, I'm a dinosaur who ignored PayPal until something came along that was either pay via PayPal, mail a check to a nonprofit that won't cash it quickly, or drive 15 miles out of my way during normal working hours.)
As far as pure time goes, I could have fit running for an hour into the time if I were trained to run that long continually. I think I'll get there, but one of the lessons from 5K training was don't try to do it all at once.
The interesting thing is, the long run would not have happened without being up early. After breakfast with my daughter, I do a dab of grocery shopping then dive into weekend household chores. Fitting a long run into Saturday afternoon would be a non-starter. Sunday afternoons are a bit easier, assuming I get the weekend chores done on Saturday; but when I have run 5 miles on Saturday, a longer run on Sunday hasn't worked very well. Long runs on weekday evenings are out because I have other evening commitments, the roads are dark this time of year, and drivers won't be looking for runners. I'm fitting my weekday runs into lunch hours, which limits the distance to the 3 to 3.5 mile range.
Maybe next summer, when I don't have evening commitments and we have lots of daylight, I can train more long running on weekday evenings. But I'm not willing to plan that far ahead right now. The current plan is to find a way to keep running through the winter. If I get that figured out, time enough to worry about training with more daylight when the daylight gets here.
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