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Longest and Coldest Run to Date

Saturday, December 10, 2011

After yesterday's deliberately easy run, the plan today was a relatively long run. As things turned out, my daughter texted out sick from breakfast this morning. So there was no time pressure.

I woke up before the alarm anyway, but was rather leisurely about the morning routine. The idea was to run in daylight since I had no time pressure anyway. Ended up hitting the road at 7:19 AM. The sky was clear, and it was 23 F (-5 C) with a wind reported from the west. Bearing in mind last week's run at 25 and less wind, I added a breathable tee between my compression top and midlayer, and I took my warmer gloves. That worked out well.

Hit the road, and my hands were cold. Okay, the warmer gloves have a mitten part to put over the fingers. Pull it over, just as designed, and the hands are warm enough. Head off and think about the route. Let's do the big hill, and all the little hill parts, plus the cross-hill road in the little hill section. Do the big hill the hard direction, which puts the little hills the reverse direction to what I usually run, just like last week.

Turn to go south toward the big hill, and there's wind in my face. A cold wind from the south, when you'd expect warm from that direction. It's been happening a lot this fall. Well, deal with it. By the time I was halfway up the hill, the wind wasn't in my thoughts any more. The hill is still long, but I can run it. At the crest, my late start was rewarded with the very beginning of sunrise. I saw more of the sunrise as I ran down the other side of the hill.

I really like seeing the sunrise while I run.

A little over two miles in, I turn to go west. My hands are warm at this point, so I strip off the mitten layer. The hands are instantly cold, going into the west wind. Deal with it, I'm not running west for very far. Sure enough, the hands are warm enough when I turn north, and aren't an issue on later westbound segments. Do the little hills. No surprises this time, I know where the challenging parts are this direction. Think about the route, and decide that I want to run for 50 minutes. That will be longer than I've run continually, and should turn out to be the longest distance I've run as well. And I'm done with the hills.

The piece I added to make my 50 minutes turned out to feature an incline. It's not a terrible incline if I do it early in the run, but I could tell it was there after doing the hills. Well, the half marathon that I'm thinking about for April 29 has real hills. If I want to run them, I need to train hills. Suck it up and drive on.

Ended up back in my driveway at 50:45, and the route mapped out to 6.83 miles. That's a 7:26 pace per mile, quite acceptable for the first time I've run that much time or that much distance in one piece.

It turned out that I could have made it to McDonald's at 9, by skipping recording the run till after breakfast with my daughter. That's something useful to know for future weeks when daughter is healthy again.

I'm thinking that starting January 1, I'll stop tracking walking distance on SP and use the mileage tracker only for running. The walking miles don't seem particularly important any more, other than as filler to get my 10K steps in on days with shorter runs. I'll have to think about a weekly goal; the 10 miles I have in there now is pretty easy to hit even if I only run 3 days.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 12/10/2011 9:49PM

    Brrrr! That sunrise thing sounds awesome!! You have become such a running maven . . . and over such a short period of time!

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HEALTHIERKEN 12/10/2011 2:34PM

    Inspiring blog! You're an amazingly dedicated fitness fiend : )

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FROGGGY13 12/10/2011 11:40AM

    Sounds like a very good run!
By the way, I think it's great you have weekly breakfast dates with your daughter. I wish I could do something like that with my dad (we live too far apart), and that I'll be able to do that with my daughter when she grows up.

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KRISZTA11 12/10/2011 11:22AM

    emoticon to running such a great time in the cold.

I assume you didn't have problems breathing in the 23 oF cold air, as you didn't mention any.
That's great news for myself : )

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/10/2011 10:56AM

    So you're seriously thinking April half? Will you do Sept as well? Reason I ask is that I have this niggling thought at the back of my mind that after my Tri in July, I might consider trying a "maintain fitness" plan and take some time off work to come do the Rochester half in September.

Still a "baby" thought... but you know how these things can take off... let me know when sign-ups are available and I can think some more in the meantime.

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Friday Morning Run

Friday, December 09, 2011

Yesterday I noticed I was walking in weather that was really better for running, because I'd run two days in a row and yesterday was a day off running. I got some comments, including a description of a 5 day a week running pattern of 3 days run, day off, 2 days run, day off. If I think about that, it would be natural for my three day stretch to be Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, because I'm doing shorter runs on my lunch hour during the week.

Of course, I missed that opportunity this week by not running yesterday. So now I'm looking at the three day stretch being my long weekend, Friday-Saturday-Sunday. Well, let's just see how it goes.

I slept in this morning, till about 7:15. That's an hour and a quarter after the alarm, but I got to bed an hour later than I intended last night. My body soaked up nine hours of sleep, but today I don't feel any of the lingering effects of the cold I started to catch a week ago. That's really quick for me to get over a cold, and I'm happy with that. Being fit and getting excess sleep seems to be the way to go!

Being up an hour later than normal, I saw snow flakes in the air and a coating of snow on the grass out my window. In the past, this would have kept me indoors. Today, I went through my normal breakfast routine a bit more leisurely than normal, then set out for a run. Let's see . . . 32 F (0 C) and snowing. There's a bit of snow sticking to the driveway. Doesn't look like much wind.

I know how to dress for this, but had to make compromises. My running wardrobe is built on the assumption of running 4 days a week and doing laundry weekly. I'll need to buy more compression shorts before I run tomorrow, and I used ordinary white crew socks instead of the good wool running socks today. Other than that, variable weather bailed me out and I have enough of everything.

With one thing and another, I didn't actually start running till 9:15. By then, the snow had melted off the paved surfaces. There were still a few flakes in the air, but that quit before I'd run a mile. I saw the sun dimly through the southern clouds as I was eastbound, and after I crested the big hill the clouds thinned enough that I cast a shadow. It's turned out to be a much nicer day than forecast.

Bearing in mind that I want to run three days in a row, and I want a long run tomorrow, I omitted the little hills and tried to arrange my route to run 30 minutes. With a variable pace and inaccurate calculations, it turned out to be 31 minutes mapping out to 4.32 miles for a 7:11 pace per mile. Good enough. We'll see how that affects my pace tomorrow morning, when I'd normally expect to be in the 7:15 to 7:30 range on a route of 10K or a bit more.

The only minor disappointment is that if I'd got to bed at 9 instead of 10, I could have seen what running was like with snow falling. Oh, well. I'm sure I got lighter traffic to deal with out of the deal, and that I'll have plenty of future opportunities to run in the falling snow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 12/9/2011 8:26PM

    Lovely blog . . . makes me look forward to cross country ski season, upcoming!! Till then: gym.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/9/2011 4:52PM

    Your sister the weather wimp has done events in snow, but workouts beyond shoveling outdoors? Nah! Bah, humbug! In *this* I am the family exercise Scrooge. I love my treadmill. It tells me exactly how far I've gone, how fast I'm going, and it keeps me away from the dreaded allergens in those seasons and in the warmth and dry during "inclement" weather.

However, I did the State Farm 10 miler last March in snow, at a speed walk, mostly, with Hot4Fitness. It wasn't so bad. One of these days, I might get around to doing workouts in "bad" weather, but you'll have a hard time convincing me to give up Ariel, the siren treadmill.


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3016DEBRA 12/9/2011 3:57PM

  You're a real inspiration!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HOT4FITNESS 12/9/2011 12:56PM

    Great job!! Some o the best blogs are about our expereinces on this journey. Thanks for sharing yours.

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KRISZTA11 12/9/2011 12:14PM

    Great workout!
What a beautiful morning you had...
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Walking in Good Running Weather

Thursday, December 08, 2011

I ran on my lunch hour Tuesday and Wednesday, which made today a non-running day. As I was walking part of the route I might otherwise run, I noticed a cold wind from the west and south. It wasn't that cold, maybe 36, but that wind made it feel colder. I cheated and ran up the incline to a bridge across the river, just to generate some body heat.

It really was a nicer day for running than for walking. Did I really think that? The guy who could walk 6 or 8 miles but couldn't run 2? Yes, I really thought that as I was walking my lousy 2.5 miles at lunch.

The past few weeks I've been mostly taking Thursdays and Fridays off from running, then running Saturday and Sunday. But I have tomorrow off work, spending a "use it or lose it" paid day off. Days off require some attention to activitiy to get my 10K steps in, and the weather forecast for tomorrow is like today was . . . only plus snow showers. Better weather for running than for walking.

Hmm. My sister says flexibility is important in scheduling exercise. That has the ring of truth. Maybe I can try running three days in a row, if I don't make them all long runs. Certainly I've developed to the point where running 3.5 miles two days in a row doesn't make me feel like I can't run the third day; I've just been cautious about getting those rest days. Worst case, maybe I turn Sunday into a walking day. At least it's supposed to be sunny Sunday afternoon.

Of course, this weather that looks better for running than for walking is *normal* December weather here. If the rest of the month turns out close to normal, I could end up running 5 days a week instead of 4. That sounds like an obsession, maybe almost an addiction.

Are there any 12 step programs for running addicts? I'd guess that they're aren't; you'd have a hard time getting a running addict to stop after only 12 steps.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 12/9/2011 4:37AM

    I usually run 3 days -rest day- run 2 days- rest day, that's a week,
and it works well for me.
Of course, my pace of 12 min/mile is far less stress for the muscles and joints than your fast pace, so I'm not sure.
But if it feels easy and there are no side effects,
then why not?

Watch out for signs though.
If running takes so much time that it compromises your work performance or social life, then you are in trouble.
But I don't think you would go that way. : )

I remember one colleague of mine who got fired, because he was so addicted to playing World of Warcraft online.
He told his line manager he was not sure if he can attend the week end conference (where he would meet important clients), he has to ask his clan leader first - unbelievable lol.

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    Ha ha! That's funny. I am a member of the "Walking is not enough for me anymore" Club too. I used to be very satisfied with racking up the miles walking. Now I am hooked on running and I have to go.

12 Steps is not enough! How about 12 miles? (Maybe someday)
Have a nice day off!

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/8/2011 7:48PM

    Could see that last sentence coming a mile away!

Hiding from the slippery flakes this evening and thinking about flexibility in terms of a "weather wimp" vacation day... or not... tomorrow. emoticon

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To sleep, perchance to run

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Last night I was tired enough to go to bed just before 8 PM, without blogging on SP. Ten hours later, I was up with the alarm clock. Today I felt pretty good. The cold that I started to catch on Friday is almost gone.

I remember colds that would stay get better on weekends, then linger all work week long until the next weekend. What's different this time is, I'm more fit; and I'm much more disciplined about bedtime. Now I know that when I'm healthy I need 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep per night. My body soaking up 10 hours of sleep tells me that it has work to do taking care of that cold.

And it did work. I'm using less cold medicine, and functioning better than with past colds. I ran on Saturday and Sunday, the first two full days of the cold. Took Monday off from running as scheduled, and had lousy energy like I might expect on a work day with a cold; but today was much better. Back to running at lunch and functioning normally.

I could give a description of the lunch run, but it wasn't anything unusual for these days. Forecast temperature was 38 F, and I neglected to look at the actual temperature; but the forecast was probably close. It was overcast with a noticeable but not oppressive wind from the north and west. I dressed for the run, and felt good running 3.52 miles in 25 minutes.

The interesting thing was a comment in the locker room as I was gearing down for my shower. Another guy was gearing up for his run. His buddy asked him what his winter goal was, and he said, "I want to never touch a treadmill this winter."

Here's a runner. There is no question that he's going to run; the only question is, will he run outside or will he be forced onto the treadmill? His goal is to keep running outside.

That's where I want to be. My winter goal is to keep running through the winter, outside. I think I can do it, if I get enough sleep to make recovery from illness quick and easy.

Speaking of which, I should wind down and get the sleep I need tonight.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BELSNICKEL 12/7/2011 7:40AM

    Are there indoor places you can run that do not include a treadmill? emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/7/2011 7:07AM

    Funny about that "never touch a treadmill" comment... I've noticed in "normal" life I have developed a similar attitude about elevators! I don't want to be cramped up in a small compartment with a lot of people if I can avoid it. Stairs are wonderful things.

Glad for your good sleep and quick recovery. Spark on! emoticon

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KRISZTA11 12/7/2011 4:18AM

    It's so good that you can sleep 10 hours, it will surely help getting well!
And your body fights infection stronger too : )

Good luck to running outside all winter!
I hope winter weather will not be cruel enough to stop you : )

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RG_DFW 12/6/2011 9:22PM

    Good luck, I'll look forward to hearing about it.

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Being fit and having a cold

Sunday, December 04, 2011

I began to come down with a cold Friday evening. So far, this cold isn't a raging terror. I don't know how much of that is just that this is a mild cold, and how much is that my body can deal with it better because I'm pretty fit. I've never had a cold while I've been this fit. (Okay, I've never been this fit before in my life, unless it was in my early 20s when I was working a job that involved manual labor and I wasn't paying attention to fitness.) I also had the luxury of being able to go to bed before 8 last night, and get over 10 hours of sleep; that had to help some.

I think today is the peak day of the cold. I felt relatively lousy when I got up. Took some cold meds, did a few tentative kettlebell swings for a routine warmup, and decided I wasn't up to my morning TGUs. Got breakfast, and stared at the Spark Points. Went back and did my TGU/Windmill combos with a 35 lb. kettlebell instead of the now-usual 45 lb. KB. 35 lbs. makes them pretty easy now! I felt good enough about that to do the KB snatches with the 45 lb. KB; they were harder than normal, but I could do them.

Today was a day of early to church for handbell practice before playing in the service. I noticed that I was tired standing as long as normal; that has to be the cold. After handbell practice comes the pre-service choir practice; I sat for as much of that as I could. I didn't feel as robust as usual, but a church service is not physically taxing.

By the time I was headed home, I thought I was ready for a nap. I ate at Taco Bell rather than face the prospect of fixing my own lunch. With those calories inside me, I felt a whole lot better.

Light bulb moment: I've been reading advice for years about eating 4 to 6 small meals per day instead of one large meal. This advice is generally aimed at weight lifters or people training for sports. I'm running 3 or 4 days a week. I've noticed a need for morning and afternoon snacks at work. It's a long time from breakfast to the end of the church service.

Heh. I'm already taking a small bag of almonds (28 grams) to eat after church. I suspect the cold just magnified the effect of not having a morning snack.

I'm feeling so good when I get home, I look at the weather. 56 F and sunny. Perfect running weather. I've read many times that if your cold stays above the neck, you should exercise as normal. That describes my cold, so let's use this gift of weather. If totally healthy, I'd wear shorts and a tee shirt; my concessions to the cold were wearing a long sleeved light weight compression shirt, taking another dose of cold meds, and using my allergy med to control the dripping nose. That worked out.

Yesterday CAROLJEAN64 asked what I think about as I run. I never really paid attention to that, until she asked. Today my thoughts were mostly on the state of my health, how much I could run, whether I was pushing too hard, whether I could handle the little hills (the big hill being out of the question today), how long I could run, and whether adding a little more time was unwise. I guess I'm not to the point where I can just run and meditate, or run and compose my next novel. The answers that popped out of these thoughts were, the cold wasn't particularly noticeable once I was running, I could push it to run 30 minutes but it probably wouldn't have been smart to push for 35 minutes, I could handle all three segments of little hills (but didn't know for sure until after I'd done two), and I declined to add distance at the end to make it a 35 minute run. Maybe I could have added the distance, but this wasn't a day to take a chance with pushing it.

The run came in at 4.32 miles in 31:30. That's a good time, long enough to cover 30 minutes but not long enough to tempt me into keeping going for one more Spark Point. That works out to a 7:18 pace per mile, which is faster than I felt like I was running but still not the faster end of my training pace. I think that's about right for my condition today.

I'm looking forward to this cold being gone, because it has reduced my energy level. Some of the stuff I think I ought to get done on the weekend hasn't been done, because getting more sleep became a priority. But the analytical part of my mind notes that the cold didn't manage to squeeze out either weekend run, though it did tone down the Sunday run. That tells me something about where my priorities are, and fitness is up there where it belongs.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTHIER_K 12/4/2011 5:30PM

    Feel better soon! My son is sick with a cold, so I hope he doesn't give it to me like he usually does.

I wonder if this was our last nice day before winter...

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WATERMELLEN 12/4/2011 5:09PM

    I was amazed at how seldom I got sick once I was fit . . . and also how long standing allergies disappeared. (Flu shot has helped a whole bunch also).

Too bad the kettlebells can't double as the handbells . . . there's gotta be a market for a crossover product!

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/4/2011 4:45PM

    Regarding fitness and health, my own observation is that I am not completely immune to the bugs that go "around"... but I bounce back from them more quickly. I had occasion the other day to go over my absences from work in the past year, and discovered that I only had one true "sick" day in 2011... a few doctors' / dentists' appts (which we can count as "sick" time), but only one true out day.

This compares to four the year before (two each time, both with my sinus allergies), when I wasn't yet training to run! And 9 days the year I had surgery (that doesn't count as much... 5 days in a fell swoop for recovery). I'm having to ponder whether the fitness doesn't help even with the allergies (despite my whining about them)!

Glad you're bouncing back. Amazing. Who knew these little benefits were coming our way?

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KRISZTA11 12/4/2011 4:45PM

    I'm sorry you got the cold.
But it's good you had such a nice warm sunny weather to run with a cold.
Get better soon!

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