Monday, January 16, 2012
Today is a non-running day, and also a company holiday. It was a good day to get to the gym to lift weights, for the first time since October. While it's true that I've been concentrating on running to the point that I haven't been to the weight room in three months, it's not all bad. I have been doing Turkish Get-up/Windmill combos and Kettlebell snatches every morning with a 45 lb. (20 kilo) kettlebell. That gives a little bit of work to a lot of different muscles.
I can't expect to lift like I did when I was a regular, and I have that bothersome thigh to be concerned with. I did my squats at a significantly lower weight than I had been using, and concentrated on form. Squats with good form didn't bother the thigh. :) Once past the squats, the rest of the lifts went pretty routinely.
I was pleased that I managed 3 partial pullups with neutral hand grip - start at the top, go halfway down, pull back up. I've never managed 3 of these before. Of course, I still can't pull up from fully extended; but it's progress.
The other spot of progress was on renegade rows. I cautiously went with 20 lb. dumbbells, and completed 3 sets of 10. The progress part is that even though I could tell my arms were fatigued, I wasn't breathing hard or dripping with sweat. That's a cardio benefit from the running.
Since I wasn't wiped out by the strength training, I decided to try out an elliptical machine. This is the first time I've used one for more than two test paces. I set the timer for 30 minutes, but bailed out after 15. One reason I bailed is that the elliptical, like the treadmill and the exercycle, is incredibly boring. The other reason is that the motion isn't like walking or running. It's more similar to a stair step machine than anything else I've done. I became concerned that 30 minutes the first time might give me more soreness than I want tomorrow in muscles I'm not used to using that way.
The interesting thing is, after doing the elliptical my thigh felt totally normal walking. That lasted until I got out into the cold wind, but I already knew about cold and the thigh.
The bummer of today's trip is that I looked around at the sidewalks near the gym. They generally were not cleared before foot traffic compacted the snow, and now there's a lot of ice. It looks like I won't be running on my lunch hour until this stuff melts. That probably means no lunch hour run tomorrow, and maybe not on Wednesday. Bummer.
Oh, well. If I can't run tomorrow, maybe I'll do some elliptical work at lunch. I'm paying for that gym, so I may as well get some benefit from it.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
In the heat of the afternoon today it was 17° F (-8° C) and sunny, with winds at 8 mph from the NNW. I considered making today a non-running day, since I have tomorrow off as a holiday and it's supposed to be warmer; but that would disrupt the weekday running schedule. Also, without a run it's hard to get my 10K steps in on a Sunday.
So on my way home from church, I took a detour to look at the shoulders around the section to the west of my house. They were partly clear, and it looked like I could run with my usual running shoes. I dressed as I had yesterday for a run at a similar temperature, other than the shoes.
I had planned out a potential 9 mile running route for a long run, with several opportunities to cut the run short if it turned out I wasn't up to running that far today. I ended up taking the first such opportunity, sigh.
The run started well. After about a half mile, the thigh wasn't noticeable. I was able to run normally for the most part, pulling my face cover over my nose for a few breaths once when headed into the wind. There was more traffic than I'd hoped for on a Sunday afternoon, but not so much as to force me onto the packed snow for very much of the route.
At 19 minutes and change, I really wanted to slow to a walk. I made myself go to the first mappable point after 20 minutes, and noted the split. That point mapped out to 2.71 miles in 20:13, for a 7:27 pace per mile. Really? And I had to slow down because of cardio?
Walked for 50 seconds, ran for 5 minutes, walked for another 50 seconds, ran 4 minutes, walked 40 seconds starting when traffic forced me onto the packed snow on the shoulder, ran the rest of the route. Total route including walking, 4.64 miles in 35:47 for an average pace of 7:42 per mile including the walking segments. Not bad, give the need to walk; but needing to walk was a surprise.
I don't know whether I'm in worse shape than I was, or 17° is cold enough that I just can't run a seven and a half minute mile for that long, or if I just hit the wrong time of day for my nutrition.
All is not lost. The bothersome thigh is still there, but acting like I can work wiht it. I think I will give up on training for the half marathon and just run as much as feels good. When a long run feels good, I'll do a long run again.
I also found the right way to deal with my toes. I think it was on the Half Marathon team that someone mentioned using Aquaphor. I saw that product in Walmart this week. Active ingredient is white petrolatum, 41%. Heh. I have petroleum jelly, active ingredient white petrolatum, 100%. This cynical cheapskate assumes the other 59% of Aquaphor is marketing. So I put petroleum jelly on the tops of my toes before the run, and they didn't get sore in the places they have before. I think I have a winner there. (An earlier run with petroleum jelly also on the bottom of my forefeet didn't work out as well; I need to limit it to the toes.)
Go to thinking about limiting the running. The past two weeks, I've run about 15 miles per week, with some minor fluctuations. I've also gone from a weight fluctuating between 165 and 166 to fluctuating between 166 and 167. Hmm. The last time I increased my calories, I was running over 20 miles per week. Time to cut the calories back. A pound in two weeks is 3500/14 = 250 calories per day. I'll trim my limits by 200 calories and work with that until I'm running more.
I've mentioned several times that I think I'll need to track calories for life, and the open question is whether I'll recognize a need to cut them in a timely fashion. I think I just recognized the first such need. It's possible that I'm mistaken; but I can always add the calories back if that turns out to be the case.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
I've read in other folks' blogs that disruptions in routine are tough. Today I found out that this is true for me as well.
I have my Saturday morning routine. Get up early, run, meet daughter at McDonald's at 9, pick up whatever groceries I need, go home for lunch. Today was a disruption in that routine. I wasn't meeting daughter at McD at 9, I was going downtown to help with tax training at 8:30.
I got up early, and didn't even think about running. Cleared the overnight snow from the driveway, got through a morning routine much like a work day, and headed off to tax training.
Tax training comes with free food. On Saturday mornings, that means bagels and donuts. I sampled a bit more than I should. When I got home and made my entries to the food tracker, it turned out to be about 900 calories. Even on 3000 calories per day, 900 calories of bagel and donuts affects the rest of the day.
If I'm going to continue to be able to eat 3000 calories per day, I'd better get my running in consistently. It was hard to get myself moving in that direction, with my Saturday routine disrupted. My natural inclination was to do stuff around the house and play on the internet, which would be the normal Saturday afternoon activities. But I didn't have my normal Saturday morning, so doing that would just barely get my 10K steps in.
What with one thing and another, it was past 3 by the time I hit the road for a run. It was 15° F (-9° C), but that's not a new temperature. The only question was what shoes to wear. I chose to wear the screw shoes and set out to run 5K or so around the neighborhood while checking out the condition of the roads.
There was packed snow and crunchy ice on the shoulders of my street. The roads I run on varied from ice to paced snow to wet pavement to a bit of dry pavement. I could have got by with my normal running shoes and being careful; since I was wearing the screws, I tried to keep to the packed snow to minimize wear on the screws.
I could feel myself running slower due to the surface conditions. At times, it hardly felt like running at all. Few of the sidwalks were totally clear. Some had been cleared yesterday and only had today's snow on them; that was fine. Some had been walked on yesterday and had a path broken; that was fine. Some had the full amount of snow from this storm still; those were tough, and got me to run in the street.
Takeaway: With snow on the ground, my normal sidewalk routes are out. I will need to run in the streets. Probably the shoulders going around the sections to the east or west of home would be best.
I did add one segment of up and down a small hill, partly to see what the hill was like and partly to get off the erratically cleared sidewalk. After adding that segment, I didn't know in real time what distance I was running. I also managed to run most of the route without looking at my watch.
It would have been a very nice run if I'd been 100%. As it was, the cold made my weak thigh ache, and the thigh never warmed up enough to stop bothering me. Got back to my driveway in 29:47. I did my walking cooldown along the shoulders of my street, and I could see my footprints from the start and end of the run.
My stride was shorter than normal, due to the surface conditions. At the end of the run, my stride was uneven, longer when stepping forward onto my right foot than onto my left. That's the bum thigh. Hmm. Have to think about that.
Got inside, and my hat and gloves weren't as sweat-soaked as I would have expected. Maybe it's really cold out there? Then I mapped out the run, to 3.45 miles. That's an average pace of 8:38 per mile. Heh. Part of the lack of sweat would be that I wasn't working very hard. My leg may have bothered me for the whole run, but I certainly didn't stretch the limits of my cardiovascular system.
I lost four screws off the right shoe. Three of them were from the same locations I lost screws last time, and the fourth was the extra screw I added after the first test. I now consider the initial screw shoe effort a failure; replacing screws every time they're used isn't terribly practical. I may try again with a different pair of shoes; I have an idea of doing something a little differently, but I think I need to start fresh to try it out properly.
The weather forecast is calling for a cold overnight, with a high of 20° F (-7° C) tomorrow. That means most of the snow on the roads will still be there tomorrow. I'll have to think about how I want to deal with running in these road conditions, given the situation with the shoes and my thigh.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Winter had to put in an appearance some time, and that turned out to be today. I went to bed last night with a forecast for a steady temperature just above freezing today. I woke up to a temperature just below freezing and a forecast that it would stay there all day before dropping this evening.
Add precipitation, and those few degrees colder make a dramatic difference. I actually got 4 inches of snow in my driveway when the forecast had been for 2 to 4 inches! (Usually, I get half of the lower end of the forecast.)
As I noted the last time I saw winter weather, it's a big time suck. I knocked a half inch or so of snow off the driveway this morning. Then at noon the wind was so strong that I ended up not taking much of a walk. I counted it as 10 minutes for SP, though It was too cold to pull up my coat sleeve and look at my watch. The step count was a little low, but I figured to make it up going shopping after work.
Then there was the snow in the driveway. I've had more annoying snowfalls to clear, and no doubt I will again; I figure from a physical standpoint, this one about made up for the lunch walk being short. Not as many steps, but more effort in the steps that were there. Of course, it's still snowing; so I'll need to clear the driveway again tomorrow morning before I go off to tax training.
I've put some thought into running in this weather. I conclude that I don't want to run on the streets in the dark when the plows are still working. The plows won't be looking for runners, and neither will the vehicles following the cars. Time enough to run after the synoptic snow has been cleared and we're only dealing with a day or three of follow up lake effect snow.
I'd rather have snow on a day off work; but if it had to happen on a work day, at least it had the grace to appear on a planned non-running day. I'd resent giving up a planned run for this nonsense.
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.
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