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Cold Saturday Morning Run

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Today there was an organized 5K race about 5 miles from home. It was a beautiful, sunny day at 10 AM when the race was scheduled to start. The course was advertised as flat and easy, and runners were invited to dress in costume for the Christmas season.

I wasn't there. I had thought about this one, 9 days after the 10K I ran on Thanksgiving, and decided that breakfast at 9 AM with my daughter was more important. Looking forward, I have one issue or another with the schedule of all the local races for December. I might make the cheap snow run the evening of Wednesday December 21; or I might decide that this is too much to add to the end of a work day, even if there is no choir rehearsal that day. Then in January it's tax season, and adding organized races to my commitment as a volunteer would be foolhardy. Chances are, race season is over for me until April.

That doesn't mean I won't run. The plan is to try to keep running through the winter; it just won't be organized events.

In lieu of the organized 5K this morning, I hit the road at 7:12 am for a run before meeting my daughter at McDonald's. This is kind of a bad start, so Spark time got squeezed out of the early morning. It was 25 F (-4 C) and clear, with minimal wind. I decided to wear my warmer compression top plus a midlayer, and my warmer compression tights plus running shorts over them for the pocket and a place to hand the cell phone. I dithered a while, and settled on my lighter running gloves.

If I had to do it again, I'd add another light layer on top. I don't know whether I'd take my warmer gloves. My torso was chilly for the first mile, and whenever I was headed into what little wind there was after that. My hands were cold for the first two or three miles. I'm told that if I'm warm when I start running, I'm overdressed; I wasn't overdressed today.

Ran the big hill, the hard direction. As I approached the peak, I saw a glow on the eastern horizon, but no sunrise. I started a minute later than last Sunday, but it's also 6 days closer to the winter solstice. Then as I got past the peak and some obscuring buildings, I saw a beautiful half disk of the sun on the horizon. I think I'll have to get moving sooner if I want a chance to see that again next week.

Traffic was light enough that I could cross the major road in stride, twice. On the way back, I ran all three of my smaller training hill segments, but in the reverse direction of what I usually run them. That was different. The stretches that are usually downhill were uphill, with surprises about where it was harder or easier. The stretches that are usually uphill were downhill, some of it fairly steep. I learned to take a shorter stride with a quicker cadence to keep the speed up and reduce the impact on my joints.

There was frost on the grass, and in the later part of the run I saw frost on the residential streets where there is a lot of daytime shade. I even saw a patch of ice on one of the sidewalks. All of this was easily evaded, as traffic there was nonexistent.

I thought I was running rather slowly later on, and it didn't feel natural to pick up the pace very much. So it wasn't a huge shock when the run mapped out to 6.25 miles in 46:45, for a 7:29 pace per mile. That's toward the slow end of training paces, but it's all good. I don't need to run as fast as I can every day, and it felt good to keep running that long. It also occurs to me that I might simply be less efficient at 25 than at 40. Or maybe the head cold I started to come down with last night did something, though I didn't notice it during the run. As colds go, this one is pretty mild.

25 F is my coldest run to date, and I have not exhausted my wardrobe for running in cold weather. If there is little wind and the roads are dry, I think I could dress to run down to 15 F (-9 C) with what I already have in my closet. The interesting part will be figuring out what to do when there isn't dry pavement, there's precipitation in the air, and/or there's significant wind at these temperatures.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 12/4/2011 4:39AM

you are not a running addict if you prefer a nice breakfast with your daughter over an organized race : )

It is amazing, what difference a few degrees and presence/absence of wind can make, isn't it? emoticon

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CAROLJEAN64 12/3/2011 5:10PM

    I am so impressed with your dedication to running. I am sure that it is a great stress reducer for you. What do you think about as you run?

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BELSNICKEL 12/3/2011 4:29PM

    You've a life worth admiration, I enjoy blogs, I look forward to reading about a father and daughter run. Just like that will happen. Keep up the good work. emoticon emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/3/2011 4:26PM

    Good for you... seeing the sunrise again. As I recall, you are not a natural morning person... but I love greeting the sun!

This morning I had the periodontist, a quick trip home to change and then my personal trainer session at the gym. Whole new workout, taking me deeper into the free weight area, to the far machines. I like what this trainer does, she's creative. And keeps me challenged. And surprises me because she makes me do things that I would not choose to do "on my own"... and I find they are not as difficult as they were the last time I tried them at home (side plank, for example)!

Anyway, I'll get the second workout when the snow stops. We got big wet fluffy flakes, and they have predicted 3 to 5 inches. First storm of the season here... I'm very glad it waited as long as it did.

emoticon emoticon

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Thinner Jeans

Friday, December 02, 2011

Today was a day off work with no major commitments. I relaxed much of the day, and had a nice chat with my daughter, who came over to do her laundry. I got a 52 minute walk in, but no panoramic photo from the top of the hill because of the wintry mix in the air. 34 F (1 C) with snow that wasn't sticking on the ground. As I walked, because today is a non-running day, I thought that this was really better weather for running than for walking. Oh, well. I can run tomorrow.

Late afternoon I geared up to get groceries. One of the bad things about eating healthy is I have to do this more often. It's just not possible to buy a two week supply of bananas! As I headed out, I realized that I had more time than I'm likely to have for a couple of weeks, so I may as well get a disagreeable task out of the way.

I went shopping for clothes. Specifically, I wanted jeans and flannel shirts.

I'm currently wearing the thinnest jeans I've worn in many years, Lee relaxed fit 34 x 32. I've worn as fat as 38 x 32, but right now the 34" waist is a bit loose. So I poke around the racks, and find Lee regular fit in 33 x 32 and 32 x 32. I wonder . . . before I was married the first time, I used to wear Wrangler 32 x 32. The slim, fit a cowboy jeans. I don't see Wranglers around here, but I don't see very many guys built like cowboys either.

So I take the regular fit jeans into the dressing room. The 33 x 32 fit comfortably. I can get into the 32 x 32, and I could probably wear them; but they're a tight fit. I'm not sure I might not have another inch to lose to make them comfortable; but if I do lose that inch, 32 x 32 jeans will be around forever. You don't always find a 33 inch waist. And moving from relaxed fit to regular fit is really a bigger change than moving from a 34 inch waist to 33 inch.

Put the jeans back on the shelf, and tried on flannel shirts. They're in the meaningless small, medium, large, XL sizes. Turns out I fit a medium. Go back, grab two pair of 33 x 32 regular fit jeans, and two medium flannel shirts, and get the heck out of the store. Grocery shopping after that was routine and uneventful, other than the expected Christmas shopping slow checkout lines.

As it happens, the flannel shirts I liked came with a gimmick, packages with a tee shirt. I'd just as soon pay a dollar less and not get the tee shirt, but there it is. I now have two dark blue, size medium tee shirts. I wear large. Just for giggles, I try on the tee shirts when I'm putting clothes away.

The medium tee shirts fit. My existing large tee shirts have become too large to fit properly, and I didn't notice it until I put on a shirt that fit right.

Sigh. I suppose I should go shopping again, and get medium white tee shirts to wear under my business casual and dress shirts. Not today. That trip will have to wait until I have the emotional energy to deal with Christmas season checkout lines again.

Meanwhile, I need to haul some old 36 x 32 relaxed fit jeans and large long sleeved shirts somewhere to donate them.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BELSNICKEL 12/3/2011 4:49PM

    As much as anything we are learning how to get our priorities straight, I learn so much from you and others, You accomplished a lot of good today, emoticon

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KRISZTA11 12/3/2011 5:10AM

    Wearing size M is a wonderful feeling : )
There were no clothes for me in ordinary stores,
2.5 years ago I had to go tho special stores for overweight women (even if I had the smallest size there), and now I can buy M and sometimes S. Feels so good...
Donating my "fat" clothes never occurred to me.
I always put them away on the highest shelves, and so far I always had to take them out again.
I'll consider dumping them now. : )

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FROGGGY13 12/3/2011 2:40AM

    It's interesting to read about a man's clothes shopping experience. Good for you! I envy the men's sizing; women's sizing is messed up, even here in Europe, and you really have to try everything on.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/2/2011 9:28PM

    Commitment to maintenance is giving away the "fat" clothes! But beware, there can be a reaction!

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BRAVERUDE 12/2/2011 9:04PM

    Good job!!! I also had to buy a smaller sized pair of jeans today...a size 4!!! Happy weekend!

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The view is spectacular from the top of the hill

Thursday, December 01, 2011

. . . and the wind is the most brisk there, too.

The contractors got done a bit past 3 PM today. The basement looks much better. The mold is gone, there's white anti-mold paint on the cement blocks, and the place is much lighter. The most important part doesn't show, and that's fixing things so that water will flow properly to the sump pump instead of accumulating inside the block walls. Time will tell, but this is supposed to prevent the conditions that were favorable for mold growth in the first place.

The afternoon was sunny, with a temperature of 46 F (8 C). Not quite tee shirt weather for running, but definitely shorts weather. I wore a light compression shirt, and put a sleeveless tee shirt (should that be called an "i shirt?") over that for torso warmth. That worked out well as I went out to run in the sunlight.

Ran the big hill the easy running direction, because this was not the time of day to try to cross the major road while running. There was enough traffic to notice, but normal running safety measures of staying on the shoulder and running against traffic were sufficient to avoid close calls. There were some buses that didn't move over, but I had enough room for comfort.

The big hill was harder this direction than the first time I ran it, probably because I was running faster to get there. After the big hill, I took 2 out of my 3 minor hill stretches on the way back. By the time I got to the top of the 2nd, I decided not trying for all 3 was the better part of valor. Still, this is progress. After the hill work, I felt I was running more slowly; but later, after some flat distance, it was natural to pick the pace back up.

I was approaching 44 minutes as I came back to my driveway. Well, let's add a little distance to get that 9th Spark Point. Turned out traffic wouldn't let me cross my own street when I wanted to, so I ended up adding time to 46 minutes instead of 45. That's good, too; the result mapped out to 6.32 miles, or a bit further than 10K, for an average pace of 7:17 per mile.

I'm much happier with my activity level today than I was yesterday. I also got to see a nice view of the valley from the top of the hill. Since tomorrow needs to be a day off from running, maybe I'll walk back to the hill with a camera. Or maybe not. The weather forecast calls for a slushy accumulation of less than an inch. I'll have to see how accurate that is; if it's just a little colder than the forecast, there could be some pretty photo ops.

Today's weather was a gift. I can't count on this type of weather lasting through December, and there will be few days in December when I'm free to run in the warmest part of the day. I might even have wet snow or crunchy slush to run in as soon as Saturday morning.

But it's all good. I've got the clothing I need for the near term probable weather, and I'll figure out what to get for the nasty weather by the time it gets here.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 12/2/2011 2:42PM


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MOTIVATED@LAST 12/2/2011 5:21AM

    nice run!

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HEALTHIERKEN 12/1/2011 11:16PM

    Great that you're no longer moldy : )

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/1/2011 7:23PM

    The S word is in our forecast for Saturday! Brrrr! And tonight, dipping down into the teens. Yeah, after a long and lingering respite, old man Winter is going to visit us this year after all.

Glad you got your basement mold problem fixed, hope the solution turns out to be a long-term one! And I know what you mean about the "light" exercise days not seeming like you've been active at all.

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Home Repairs

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A while back, I signed up for a free home energy audit. The audit didn't get completed; the presence of black mold on my basement walls meant that the tech couldn't do a test that might spread the mold into the air. So I got some references, and found that the mold was a symptom of a larger water problem. The good news is that this can be fixed, and I can pay a professional to fix it right.

Today was the first day of the contractor working to fix the problem. My homework had been to move all the clutter away from the basement walls so the contractor can work; that got done some time ago. Today I took off from work so I could be home to let the workers in and hang around to answer any questions. That, and it seemed like a good idea to be here while the work was being done.

The result of this is that I spent most of the day in my house. I got one exercise walk in, comparable to one of my longer lunch walks on a work day; but I wasn't comfortable spending the time gearing up and gearing down from running.

So . . . it's past 6:30 pm, and the pedometer reads 9913 steps for the day. I'll get in my 10K steps, but it's going to be a light day. And it's a day with no running. Okay, the walk was at a 13:33 pace per mile; but it didn't feel like real cardio. The physics geek in me says that even though I'm not working my heart for cardio, walking at that pace still burns the calories from doing the work of moving my body 5K in 42 minutes. But it still *feels* like an inactive day. In a few minutes I'll go to choir practice, which is also pretty sedentary.

I've got another day of this to get through tomorrow. But at least now I know what to expect. I need to take a walk in the morning, just to feel like I'm not crippled. And I have no evening commitments tomorrow, so I'll run in the evening. Tomorrow will be the evening to try out my reflective harness, headlight, and tail light. I expect that it will be approaching dark by the time I start running, and full dark before I finish. If the weather forecast is reasonably close, temperature and wind will not be major issues.

It's a plan. Tomorrow is another day of being home with the contract workers, but it's not going to be another day of minimal steps and no running.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONEKIDSMOM 11/30/2011 9:09PM

    Y'know what I think, bro? I think you've found a new hobby with toys associated! Have fun with the harness and lights... you'll be a jogging Christmas decoration!

I didn't get home 'til nearly 7 p.m. tonight because I stopped at the gym on the way home & played in the free weight room with all those sweaty beefy dudes with the real weights. Oh, there were two other brave women besides me... but mostly you see the marathon men and the football players (yeah, I'm sure a couple of those guys are linemen). I noticed something. They will ask each other if it's OK to move a bench, or take a turn on a piece of equipment... but approach a female working out to ask a similar question?

Hah! Hmmm. So, as a fellow weight room denizen, bro, ever ask a lady lifter about equipment use? Mostly you guys are using much heavier weights than I, but we all use the benches and the cable machines.

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BELSNICKEL 11/30/2011 9:04PM

    Sounds like it was a good day, And it was good ti get rid if the mold. Probably you will sing better with the rest. emoticon emoticon

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Yesterday I hit another new 25+ year low weight. This would be a good thing if I were still trying to lose weight, but I'm trying to maintain. So I added yet another 200 calories to the nutrition plan, and worked to eat near the top of the revised range. That was okay, on a Sunday.

Today it was back to work. Breakfast is bigger than it was in weight loss phase, and I had a snack packed for mid-morning or mid-afternoon, but the calories still piled up at the end of the day. Got them all in, and found enough protein, but I'm feeling stuffed. Not traditional ate everything in sight Thanksgiving Day stuffed, but uncomfortably full.

I think I know what's going on here, but I haven't figured out what to do about it yet. What I think is going on is, I'm burning an awful lot more calories since I started running regularly. And I think I'm actually experiencing the need to eat a midmorning snack and a midafternoon snack like I've read about. I haven't been packing enough food to pull this off, and as a result I'm pretty hungry by 5 PM. If I address the afternoon hunger at work, I shouldn't have to eat as much late, and I won't have that stuffed feeling.

The issue is packing what I'm going to eat during the day on work days. I don't trust the work refrigerator. I think Saddam Hussein might have used it in an attempt to develop weapons of biological warfare. So I need to pack stuff that doesn't have to be refrigerated. So far, I have baby carrots, hard boiled egg, almonds, and raisins. I can vary that to include walnuts (more fat and less protein than almonds) and craisins (nutritionally equivalent to raisins).

You'll notice that the only proteins I can pack are bonded with fats. No low fat cottage cheese, no chicken breast. And of course, the options for buying lunch are terrible near work.

So, what to do? Do I try to pack more protein into breakfast, and not worry about packing carbs for the work day? Or do I look for some way to haul lean protein into work that has so far eluded me? Or do I back off my attempt to have at least 19% of my minimum calorie range be protein, and live with more of the calories being carbs and fat?

I know, there isn't a single right answer. I just have to keep trying stuff till I find what works for me. But I'll indulge in this whine while I'm still looking for a workable solution.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOBYCARP 11/29/2011 8:59PM

    Thanks for all the helpful suggestions. Today I tried taking a can of tuna and a 1960s era can opener that fit nicely in the lunch bag. That worked, and a 5 ounce can of tuna in an afternoon snack is not a problem when I'm trying to eat 3000 calories in a day. There was even room for the last slice of pumpkin pie this evening. Plus, the food was spread out enough to avoid the stuffed feeling.

I was amused when I looked at the tuna can. It loudly advertises itself as a source of healthy fats, but when I look at the nutrition there's just about one gram of total fat in the 5 ounce can, compared to 36 grams of protein by the SP measurement. Talk about lean protein!

I'll take a look at string cheese the next time I'm in the store. I can probably manage that, with tracking. Before tracking, that would have been a food that just disappeared quickly. If push comes to shove, perhaps chicken breast; I suppose I could build a BBQ chicken wrap at home, chill it, and nuke it at noon. Prep time is likely to limit how often I do something like that. Right now, it takes me maybe 2 minutes to load my lunch bag for the next day, including the time spent weighing stuff.

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KRISZTA11 11/29/2011 10:21AM

    I may sound careless, but I do pack chicken breast and yogurt for one working day without refrigeration, and cheese even for 2 days (in tin foil or plastic boxes), and it never caused any harm to me.
Salads will last half day without refrigeration too, if you bring the dressing in a separate box.
We have 2 fridges at the office, but conditions are similar to what you described, and no fridge at all during my business trips, this is why my approach is so permissive.

I usually eat 4 meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and late dinner), 350-500 calories each, and a smaller snack. Sometimes lunch goes over 600 calories - and that feels stuffed, too.

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HEALTHIER_K 11/29/2011 10:07AM

    Good luck with figuring everything out and maintaining the way you want!

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FROGGGY13 11/29/2011 2:11AM

    I work in an actual lab, so while there is plenty of fridge and freezer space, I'd never put my food in there. The food fridge is ridiculously small, so I bring my food in a bag with a couple of "blue ice" packets.
Another thing you may consider is that, while the fridge may be unsanitary, if you seal your food in a ziploc or two, it can still be put in that fridge without the gross- out factor.

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HEALTHIERKEN 11/29/2011 1:20AM

    Candy! Liquor!
Just kidding about the liquor of course--except it's pretty broadly agreed that one or two alcoholic drinks, especially wine, per day can have salutory health effects. For non-refrigerable protein for work--have you tried bean salad? The vinegar in the dressing should keep bacteria under control for the few hours you'd need it to be at room temperature.

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/28/2011 9:23PM

    Tiny cans of tuna with pop top are now available... make a good supplement for workday mini-meals. Low fat, or rather "good" fat, and good protein.

I use "blue ice" to keep my salad chilled until noon. Does your workplace 'fridge have a reliable freezer compartment? Can you buy "Healthy Choice" entrees for lunch? Zap in microwave? Or is that not an option?

Mozzarella string cheese is also a low chilling required option. Blue ice in your lunch bag ought to keep it long enough for noon or early afternoon snack.

Good luck... and whine away!

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