Thursday, January 12, 2012
Today my left thigh was bothering me most of the day. It was bad enough to affect my stride when I got out of bed, but got a bit better after I warmed up with my usual Turkish get-ups and kettlebell snatches.
At lunch, I felt the thigh through a 40 minute walk that timed out to a 17 minute pace per mile, much slower than I would walk under normal conditions.
At 9 PM, I realize that the thigh feels totally normal. I don't feel the ache at all when walking or jogging up and down my hallway. What happened?
I took 2 ibuprofen. At 4 PM. After intending to take them before work, and when I got to work, and after the lunch walk, and . . . you get the idea. At 4 PM I couldn't remember whether I'd taken the ibuprofen or just thought about it. Took the cap off the bottle of ibuprofen in my desk, and it still had the factory seal on it.
Sometimes I miss the obvious. I bet this thigh would get better faster if I'd give it a little help now and then. Maybe if I take a second day off from running tomorrow, *AND* use some more ibuprofen, the leg might feel good enough for a long run on the weekend.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I've been reading blogs this evening, and I've seen some interesting thoughts. Consistency, accountability, attitude, zen mode . . . the concepts swirl around in my head.
Today was supposed to be a long day. Off to work, run on the lunch hour, help with tax training after work, rush home and try to get to bed by 10:30. It didn't quite go that way.
Got up this morning, and my left thigh still bothered me. But it wasn't as bad as yesterday, which I took to be a good sign. So I put my pre-packed gym bag in the car, and got a run in at lunch today. It was almost a twin of yesterday's (non-blogged) run. Yesterday, 3.56 miles in 25:04 for a 7:02 pace per mile. Today, 3.55 miles in 25:13 for a 7:06 pace per mile. In both cases, I played with some short sprints mid-run. This is a training concept, but I didn't sprint as far as the training systems I've looked at recommend.
I was more interested in paying attention to how I felt, both physically and mentally. 25 minutes isn't very long for getting into zen mode, but I came close. I really enjoyed the runs, and I enjoyed the sprints. I'm thinking that this is the key to being consistent with the running.
Let's not think about training for a while. For now, let's just concentrate on having fun.
Enjoying the run, preferably with large segments in zen mode, will increase the probability of my being consistent. I want that consistency, and I want to have fun on these runs.
After work, I hustled over to help with tax training. They will feed me there, so I've saved a bunch of calories. It turned out that the pizza was delayed for 45 minutes. Okay, I can deal with that. Then it turned out that an instructor was MIA. Two classes were combined, and we had an excess of assistants. I took stock of the situation, and grabbed the opportunity to leave early.
Pizza, especially free pizza, is a potential binge for me. I got out of there before the pizza arrived. Came home and made myself a salad and a BBQ chicken wrap. I'll finish the day comfortably in my calorie and macronutrient ranges. I was planning to be accountable to myself in spite of the pizza, but that accountability is a lot easier if I avoid the pizza entirely.
Besides avoiding the pizza, getting home early lets me get to bed early. I've been commenting on some blogs about how nice it is to get enough sleep. It *is* nice, and I don't want to give it up. 10:30 is the goal, but I don't want to push close to that. 9:30 would be better.
Wow, that's a real change in attitude from a year ago.
So . . . my Spark life is going pretty well right now. I'm being consistent, I'm accountable to myself, I've got the zen thing going with running, and my attitude is pushing me to do good things. Life is good. Never mind the thigh that will probably take a long time to become totally right; I can deal with that. Never mind work, which has insane requirements this year, both externally imposed and internal bureaucratic nonsense. I can deal with that, too.
It's amazing how little stress I feel when I have the consistency, accountability, and attitude right for taking care of myself.
Monday, January 09, 2012
Today was a scheduled blood donation. I took the full day off work, with the idea being to get my exercise done in the morning, before the blood donation.
Got up early, and could feel the troublesome left thigh. It wasn't very bad, and I could have done a light run; but I decided to walk instead. Running, I would have got past feeling the thigh inside of a half mile. Walking, it took over 2 miles for the thigh to start feeling pretty good. But the aftermath of walking was better; but the rest of the day was better than yesterday after the run and bike ride. I'm thinking it was the right call to make today a non-running day. In addition to arguably being necessary for recovery, it puts me back on schedule to try a long run next Sunday, assuming the thigh issues are behind me by then.
I'd had in mind maybe riding my bike for exercise in the late morning, if it warmed up enough. Instead, I ended up running around to get my daughter's brakes fixed. Fire drills like this are part of life, and it's really nice when they happen on days that I have time to deal with them.
Got to the Red Cross early. There must be a note on my file, because there was no need to call a supervisor after I affirmed that the 48 pulse was because I'm a runner. For the first time in years, there was an issue with the blood flow stopping; but adjustments to the system got the donation completed. I have no idea what I might have done to cause this, or if it's just one of those things that can happen with a runner's metabolism.
After the blood donation, I hustled over to the broker for a financial checkup. Retirement is a mere 10 years away, and there are things to think about doing between now and then. I also got to name-drop the SP web address when the planner asked how I lost 30 lbs.
By the time I got home after that, it was just like getting home after work. Time flies when you're having fun!
Sunday, January 08, 2012
I got up this morning, and I could still feel my left thigh. But now the ache was clearly in the quadriceps. The stabilizing muscles were no longer complaining. So I thought about running while fixing breakfast. My jog up and down the hallway was a little faster than usual, and it felt good. I decided to run.
The original plan had been to take a long run on Sunday, 65 or 70 minutes. But that was before I became concerned about the thigh. The decision this morning was a very abbreviated run of 5K or so, hoping to have a long run tomorrow morning on my day off; or a medium run. I decided on a medium run, leaving open the choice between a very short run on Monday or turning Monday into a non-running day. For now, let's concentrate on running because it feels good. Time enough to worry about running to train for a half marathon when the thigh isn't questionable.
It was 31° F (-1° C) when I made my decision, and the forecast called for morning snow showers. Let's go now, while the roads are still clear. I about have time for 35 minutes running before church. Got outside, and found a dusting of snow on the cold part of my driveway where the house casts a shadow. But the roads were clear.
I ran the route around the section to the west. The wind was from the north and west, different than the previous times I'd run this route; at this time of year, northerly winds bear snow. I ran with some snow in my face on my path westward, but it was light enough to be pleasant.
In light of the thigh situation, I didn't try to run fast or run slow; I tried to run lightly. Late in the run, I added one small side trip to ensure I'd get in 35 minutes. Today's run mapped out to 4.87 miles in 35:44, for a pace of 7:20 per mile. Fair enough.
The better news is, even though I can feel my quadriceps when I walk and especially when I stand up from a chair, it doesn't affect my walking gait. And the run ensured that I got my 10K steps in today, which can be a challenge on a non-running Sunday.
Later on, I put air in my bike tires and went out for a test. Gentle pedaling doesn't bother the thigh. At the end of the 3rd quarter of the Giants game, I took the bike out to scope out a possible future running route. I found some new hills to run, ending up with a bike ride of 6.63 miles. I didn't count the biking as fitness minutes, because a) I don't need the Spark Points today, b) I neglected to look at my watch when I started, and c) I didn't want to feel pressured to exercise continually instead of coasting down the hills.
It had warmed up earlier in the day, but by the time I was out on the bike it was back at 31° F. I don't think I've ridden a bike at that temperature in 40 years or so. I'd forgotten about the challenges of dressing for cold weather bike riding. 31° isn't *that* cold, but the issue of the seal between coat and gloves was brought back to my attention. There's also an issue of proper footwear. Dressing to ride a bike in the cold is different from dressing to run in the cold, and I doubt I'll do enough cold weather bike riding to figure it out.
Still, it was a pleasant enough bike ride. If I'm presented with nice enough weather to ride a bike on a non-running day when I have daylight time available, I may do some cross-training cardio on the bike. Maybe tomorrow morning, if it turns out to be a good idea not to run. But I definitely won't go so far as to turn myself into a cyclist: www.xtranormal.com/watch/12674956/cy
Did I remember to say I'm massively relieved that the thigh issue isn't sidelining me as long as the calf strain during 5K training did?
Saturday, January 07, 2012
As noted in yesterday's blog, today is a non-running day to give my left thigh another day to recover. That makes today something of a placeholder in the exercise scheme. It's also a day to eat toward the bottom end of my calorie range, because I'm not getting as much exercise as usual. Yes, I got my 10K steps on a 2.25 mile walk plus more shopping than I wanted to do; but most of them were cheap steps.
Today was the second day of cooking steel cut oats, and I decided to experiment with possible ways to reduce the labor of cooking and/or cleanup. I learned some things, at the cost of spending more labor on both the cooking and the cleanup today. In the process, I ruined two batches of oats and had the opportunity to clean my stove top.
Today was also the day I got around to pulling all the size XL tee shirts out of the closet to be donated. It may be some time before the bag of tees makes it to Volunteers of America; but I have more space in my closet for the running wardrobe now.
The oddest thing today was the food scale episode. As I was preparing lunch, my food scale appeared to die. It timed out, like it does to conserve battery life. Then it didn't come back on when I pushed the button. Okay, it's a half year old. Change the batteries. No joy. I got one flicker of life, then it was dark. Either it's dead, or the on/tare switch is faulty. in 20-20 hindsight, I recall that it hasn't always turned on the first time I press that switch; this has been going on for months.
After deciding I can live with estimating 30 grams of chicken for my salad (everything else having been weighed before the scale quit), I eat lunch then go buy a new food scale. I recall that I had a bathroom scale that ran on AA batteries, and it was flaky; but the replacement with a lithium battery is better. So I bought a replacement food scale with a lithium battery instead of the same model I have that takes AAA batteries. It was cheaper, too.
Came home, and setting up the new scale is straightforward. It works right, it takes less counter space, and all the dishes I usually weigh things in fit on it and let me see the readout. The switch seems to work properly. We have a winner.
So what to do with the old dead scale? Put it on the table. Press the dead switch yet again. Surprise! It springs to life just like nothing was ever wrong with it! That's weird. So now I have two working food scales, unless the old one quits again. Hmm. Put the old one on a shelf to be backup. The only thing it does better than the new one (assuming it works) is that it has a higher weight capacity. That weight capacity is what talked me into this model last July; but now I know I'm not going to exceed the new one's weight capacity. I weigh stuff in grams, not in pounds or kilos.
With the day's events going like this, it's just as well I didn't run. I can live without knowing what weird thing was going to happen in the middle of the run I didn't do.
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