Sunday, December 11, 2011
It went pretty much as planned. I got started in the heat of the day, such as it was - 38° F (3° C) and sunny, with a wind out of the south and west. The only minor surprise with clothing was that I needed gloves, while the gloves had stayed in my pockets the last time I ran at 38°.
I felt like I was running slow, especially at first. That was OK for a third day, not having done this before. Fumbled to put the gloves on right at the beginning, running into the wind. Ran the big hill the easy direction, then added distance without noticeable hills to make the run come out over a half hour. It mapped out to 4.37 miles in 32 minutes, for a 7:19 pace per mile. That's faster than I felt like I was running, and a decent pace. This being the third day in a row, I wasn't particularly tempted to stretch that to 35 minutes for the next Spark Point.
No issues from the calves at this point, and I'll definitely take tomorrow off from running.
Sunday, December 11, 2011
It's been an odd morning, and it's still early.
I had strange dreams last night. I don't remember most of the details, but they featured eating snacks at a party and feeling guilty because i wasn't tracking them. This, after deliberately making myself eat to the high end of my range yesterday in honor of my long run.
I had decided that I would see how long I could sleep in past the alarm. The answer turned out to be six minutes. At that point, the text message alert sounded on my cell phone. I'd forgotten to turn it back to vibrate last night. The text turned out to be from my daughter, but no emergency. She's happy that she's healthy enough to return to work today. :)
Weigh-in was at 165.0, a new low and the very bottom of my maintenance range for the Merriest Maintainer challenge. I remember working to get back down to 165 after my first marriage; I think that's the last time I weighed this little. That would be 1983 or 1984, and I certainly wasn't able to run 6 miles then! I probably couldn't have lifted 100 pounds unassisted then, either.
So I got up and started my routine. I noted that the weather was nearly identical to yesterday morning. There's time for a run before church, but my calves are feeling a little heavy. Let's stick with the original plan and defer the run to the afternoon. Jogging up and down the hall while my egg cooks confirms that my right calf is tight with a minor twinge; I need to give it a half day and re-evaluate.
With no running this morning, I decide to vary my breakfast. Instead of my usual oatmeal, let's cook grits. I have them hanging around, and I rarely eat them any more because they don't fit into the nutrition plan smoothly. But the reason they aren't smooth isn't the grits, it's the cheese I normally cook with them. So let's experiment. Try cooking them with milk and unsweetened cocoa, then add raisins just like I do with oatmeal. It worked, and was vaguely reminiscent of chocolate Malt-O-Meal that I recall from childhood.
Oatmeal will remain the staple, but I can toss in grits for variety now. Since this worked, chances are that all the spice variations I've used with oatmeal will work as well.
I don't know what I'm going to do about the weight. I'm reluctant to add yet more calories to my range, as I'm not confidant I'll keep up my current exercise level through the winter. OTOH, I'm coming up on tax season. Training for taxes will feature pizza, which is really easy for me to binge on. Maybe I just let training days be cheat days, and stay on food discipline on other days. That should produce a weight gain over training, that shoudl come back off after training. If it doesn't, I certainly know how to cut calories from the diet to move it along.
OTOH, I can still see a small roll of belly fat and I don't yet see clearly defined abs. So perhaps I have a few pounds that I can still afford to lose. It's nice that they aren't coming off quickly any more; that gives me time to think about how comfortable I am with the revised weight.
Oh, well. Time to be off to church. Then I need to get a run in this afternoon, and think about what I'm doing in the way of food over the next week or so.
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.
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.
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.
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