Sunday, December 18, 2011
This morning's weather was 17° F (-8° C) and fair. Wind was reported from the west at 4 mph. I'd decided last night that I wanted to run before church this morning, so I got to bed early and was up before the alarm, if a bit later than yesterday. Since I had no intention of making this a particularly long run, it was okay that I didn't hit the road till 7:11.
This is the coldest temperature I've run in, but the wind turned out to be a non-factor. I did an experiment for lower body clothing. I'm pretty sure my warmer compression tights would have been fine, but I only own one pair. So I wore my lighter tights plus warmup pants. The idea was that if this wasn't enough, I could bail out and still get a run in this afternoon. As it turned out, my legs felt cold at first (a rare thing) but were fine through the run. Other than that, clothing was just like the run at 23°.
Yesterday's snow had blow away or sublimated. I saw frost on the grass and on parked cars' windshields, but the sidewalks and roads were dry. I did see some ice on creeks that I crossed and in a gutter at one point; but since I wasn't running in the gutter or wading in the creeks, that was no problem.
I was too early to see the sunrise on the big hill, which I ran in the more challenging direction. Then I added in my 3 smaller sections of hill work, and took the most direct route home. Added a small amount at the end to make 40 minutes, but miscalculated and only came out to 39 minutes. It mapped out to 5.19 miles, for a 7:31 pace per mile. That's a little slower than I would have guessed, but not bad for the temperature. Perhaps if I'd done more of a warmup instead of just starting slowly to warm up, the pace could have been better. But I wanted to be *running* in that temperature, not marking time doing figure 8's in my driveway!
After the virtuous morning, I was surprised by the Christmas Tea after church. Yes, I'd been told it was this week; but I bailed on choir practice Wednesday as part of a hectic week, and hadn't thought about it. I could have indulged a bit and fit things in, but . . . after church is hard. I take a bag of almonds because I'm going several hourse without eating, and I'm hungry then. Today my almonds remained uneaten and I sampled this, than, and the other very tasty, high caloric sweet thing. I lost count at 8.
I'm more bothered by not keeping track than by the excess. I came home and estimated the excess as being equivalent ot a slice of pecan pie (for the nuts, fat, and sugar) plus 6 ounces of chocolate chip cookies (for the chocolate, carbs, and more sugar). That came out to 1337 calories, which might be either high or low. I don't know. From past cheat days, I know the pattern should be that I'm getting plenty of carbs and fat but not enough protein.
So, on to diet repair strategies. When I get home, I'm hungry. Even after eating probalby two meals worth of calories. So, lunch is a salad (heavy on the chicken breast, light on the dressing) and cottage cheese. Mid afternoon snack was tuna and a banana. I don't know why the banana, but that's what I was craving. Maybe my body needed the potassium.
Dinner and evening look normal, and the planned food for the day comes out in the odd situation of over the calorie limit, but within ranges for the macronutrients. If my estimate is dead on, it's only about 200 calories. This won't kill me if I go back onto discipline tomorrow. No big deal there, tomorrow is a normal Monday.
Next dangerous day is Tuesday, which features the department Christmas lunch. I expect that to be salad, pizza, and lots of sweet temptations. But I'm thinking about that one two days in advance, so hopefully it will be easier to control myself. Then the rest of the year should be pretty easy to deal with on the nutrition side.
On the running side, the department lunch cancels the normal run Tuesday noon. I'm thinking of running Monday instead (normally a non-running day), then Wednesday and Thursday. Friday should be my last work day of the year, then doing a long run on Saturday (Christmas Eve morning) sounds attractive. It's a plan. We'll see how well I execute it.
Saturday, December 17, 2011
29° F (-2° C), wind NNW at 15 mph, snow showers. A nice morning for a run.
I was up before the alarm, having got to bed early last night with this in mind. After a leisurely morning routine, I hit the road at 6:40 AM. I dithered a bit on clothing, settled on the warmer compression tights on the bottom, the warmer compression shirt plus a midlayer for the top. Wore my lighter running hat, the one without a brim. It's dark, so I actually wore my reflective harness, blinking tail light, and headlamp.
No snow in my driveway. Turned north, into the wind. Right away I notice that I need to pull the windproof mitten shells over my gloves.
The longer term runner at the office had pointed out to me that the course for the half marathon next April has a long uphill stretch that doesn't start until you've already run 6 miles. So I had mapped out a route where I run 4.5 miles before I get to the big hill. This involved a mile and a half running north near the start. If I can handle that, I'm dressed warm enough. At first, I think maybe I should have added a tee between the compression shirt and midlayer, and should have worn my warmer running cap. By the time I finish running north, it's apparent that I dressed appropriately.
I guess it's true; to run in the winter, you should not feel warm when you start.
Early on I found some slick spots. Pedestrian skills for slippery sidewalks learned in the 7th grade come back to me quickly, but the footing means I need to run a bit slower. Okay, I can deal with that. Get to the strip mall I run through, and find a patch of black ice in the parking lot. I slip, but don't go down. Then there's the long stretch of covered, sheltered sidewalk to run while thinking about the implications.
It turns out that the dusting of snow isn't slick at all; it's where the earlier snow had melted on contact and refrozen that's an issue. Okay, I know where that's likely. Driveways and curb cuts are likely to be slick. I recall my grandfather, a great hiker and outdoorsman, hated curb cuts in his older years because they were *sloped* and slick in the winter. He regarded them as a hazard to older people. They're something of a hazard to runners as well, but I can deal with them when warned.
The big hill was no harder than the last time I ran it, perhaps because I was forced to have a moderate pace earlier in the run. After the big hill, the footing in the residential area turns out to be pretty good. I can pick up the pace a little. I added one last twist to my planned route to get in 55 minutes, the intended 10% increase from last week.
There is a coating of snow on my driveway when I get home. This forces me inside to stretch, but that's okay. I just take a longer outside cool down walk.
55 minutes mapped out to 7.46 miles, for a 7:22 pace per mile. That's a bit faster than I would have guessed. Perhaps the enforced slower pace on the front end helped the pace later on; or perhaps I didn't slow down as much as I thought for the slick surface.
I'm happy with the run. I learned I can run with light snow on the ground. I still need to address the cleats issue for when we get more snow, but I am figuring out the details of winter running. It's fun.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Got to the end of the work day, and made the major deadlines. There's still a bunch of follow up stuff to do, but by 5:30 pm that was down to stuff I can defer till Monday.
If I'm going to have a last minute fire drill to do things, a Friday in December is a good time to have it. The structure of Paid Time Off ("PTO") with my employer is such that people are incented to hoard days and use them late in the year. This results in few people being around on Fridays in December, which means fewer interruptions. Of course, I would rather have been one of those people refraining from interrupting anyone; but you can't have everything.
I followed the plan of taking a walk at lunch. It really helped my mental outlook, and it did not prevent me from getting done what had to be done. :) It would have been nicer to be running, but it was pretty good weather for walking, too. And I did need the non-running day today.
I get to have a real weekend! Let's see . . . temp is supposed to be 27° F (-3° C) tomorrow morning, with snow flurries. That sounds like great weather for a nice run before meeting my daughter at McDonald's.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Work was in hurry up and wait mode much of the day. It was a wait period around noon, so I grabbed the opportunity to get a run in. I cut it a bit short, since there was a lot to do back at the office; 2.93 miles in 21 minutes, for a 7:10 pace per mile. Pretty good for the third day of running in a row. And I can't complain about temps in the 50s for running in mid-December, even if there was a light drizzle off and on.
As planned, the three running days were all lunch hour days, which means shorter runs. Tomorrow will be a day off from running. I will *have* to get a walk at lunch, or I'll go nuts at work; but it might need to be a shorter walk. I'll just have to see how the work flow is going in the morning.
Got a final decision on how to handle the non-routine deadline task about 3:30. That let me start cranking things, but it was a bit of a late start.
I did get some of my paid job work done tonight, before I ran into a more complex issue that I would probably mess up if I tried to deal with it at 9 PM. So the work computer is going back into its bag, having done the job of letting me crank some extra clicks and keystrokes after dinner.
One way or another, I will meet the deadlines tomorrow. Then I can have a real weekend, before plunging into the post-deadline insanity of work on Monday. Or perhaps I'll get lucky and things will happen as they should, instead of as they usually do.
Ah, well. I got my exercise in today, and I finished the day in my nutrition ranges, toward the high end of the calorie range. Just have to do more of the same tomorrow.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I'm feeling a time crunch. Monday I had training for my volunteer job doing tax prep and related quality review. That was 5:30 to 9:30 PM, and it ran just a little over. I didn't get to bed until 11:30, an hour past my goal bedtime. Oh, yeah. The pizza with training turned Monday into a cheat day, but not a terrible one. About 500 calories over the top of my range, and my range might still be a little low for as much as I'm running.
I thought about that, and didn't want the late to bed thing to happen in Training Part 2 on Thursday. So yesterday (Tuesday) I went online and did the first part of the certification tests that are less work if I have real software on a local computer instead of the crappy web-based POS software. I figured I'd do the rest tonight, turn in my proof of completion Thursday, and be to bed on time 6 days just like my goal. Oh yeah. Doing that meant staying up till I was getting to bed just before my 10:30 limit, instead of comfortably making up the lost hour by going to bed at 9:30. But I can deal with it, right? I have a plan!
Man plans, and God laughs.
I've got a fire drill at work this week. Friday is a big deadline, and there's been a non-routine task added to the routine fire drill this quarter. Today I got the last piece of information to crank things that will make it possible to meet Friday's deadline. I needed this evening to work on part of cranking things, so I fired up the work computer. All I got done was handling some routine email; but that will save me an hour or so tomorrow morning.
This evening I had the energy audit tech in to finish the home energy audit. He was supposed to be here at 4:30, so I left work early to be here. The tech got delayed by an emergency no heat situation, and wasn't here till 6. So I got dinner and the routine email handled, then dealt with the tech. More routine email after he finished, and a miniscule part of cranking stuff . . . and an email from the boss indicating that there may be a changed decision making me rework some of the cranking. I'll find out tomorrow, but it seems that work is definitely in the mode of Ready, Fire, Aim!
So, just like other blogs I'm reading this evening, I'm experiencing Life Getting in the Way of Fitness Plans. Kind of. I'm still feeling that lost hour of sleep, but I've been back on plan with eating after Monday's indulgence. The good news is, I got a great run in on my lunch hour on yesterday (4.18 miles in 29:10, for a 6:59 pace per mile) and a good run in today (3.63 miles in 26 minutes, for a 7:10 pace per mile). Yesterday I set out to run fast, then kind of lost the idea part way through the run; but I'm happy with the effort. Today was just a run to use the time I had available. Great weather both days, 46° and 47° F and sunny.
I had plans of another run on tomorrow's lunch hour, but that looks like it will not happen given the work situation. I've already sent an email bailing out of volunteer training on Thursday evening. And now I need to get to bed before my nominal deadline, so I'll be well enough rested to have a chance of being in good spirits as I do what must be done to meet the deadlines.
It's the hard decisions that tell us where our true priorities are. It appears that this week, getting some exercise has been a priority. And right now, getting enough sleep has worked its way to the top of my priority list.
Good night, Sparkers!
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