Sunday, January 22, 2012
What a difference a day makes! When I went out for my run this afternoon, it was 30° F (-1° C) with winds 8 mph from the SSE. During the course of the run, it warmed to 34° F (+1° C). The sun was shining, and the road shoulders were mostly dry.
In light of the dry shoulders, I decided to give my new running shoes their inaugural run. I have worn these shoes only around the house a couple of evenings, the theory being to let the soles adjust to my feet. But I can see the tread on my old running shoes is quite worn, so it's time to break these in.
My bothersome thigh has been bothering me less, so I risked running without ibuprofen. It took about a mile to warm up to where the thigh wasn't noticeable, but that was okay. When I hit the first significant hill, I gave myself permission to run slower. Got to the decision point between a 4.6 to 5.x mile run versus 6+ miles, and decided commiting to 6 miles was foolish. The total run mapped out to 4.88 miles in 37:02, for a 7:35 average pace. It was slower than that on the later part of the run; I got a split at 2.05 miles (before the first significant hill) of 15:07, for a 7:22 pace before slowing for the hills.
I could have added some distance to put it over 5 miles, but declined to do so. As I was approaching my driveway, my concerns were irritating the thigh that is now noticeably better, and breaking in the new shoes slowly enough. It turned out that the thigh was feeling pretty good in spite of skipping the noon dose of ibuprofen; but my forefeet were feeling the effects of breaking in the new shoes. This is no worse than I experienced during 5K training, but it's clear that cutting the distance off where I did was the right call. Never mind that my cardio conditioning would have let me run 6 or 7 miles; cardio is not the limiting factor today.
In other news, yesterday and today I am back at a happy weight. I had put on between 2 and 3 pounds before cutting my calories by 200 per day. In hindsight, I may have underestimated several episodes of free pizza and free donuts. Fortunately, with tax training over I won't have to face those particular temptations for a while.
Now the fitness dance is seeing how slowly I need to add mileage, and when I might need to add the calories back to the diet. I think I can be ready to run a half marathon on April 29; but right now I'm not thinking in terms of being competitive in my age group. That still might happen; but giving in to the testosterone and trying to deliberately make it happen is dangerous.
So first, I think I'll finish breaking in the new running shoes. That should keep my mileage down to where the thigh can keep getting better. Hopefully the shoes will be comfortable about the same time the thigh is totally normal.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
17° F (-8° C) isn't that cold when there's negligible wind.
Got up early, went through the morning routine, and hit the road at 6:50 AM. There had been an inch of snow overnight, so I wore my screw shoes. Because of the footing, I started with no warmup, and reminded myself to run slow at first for the warmup.
I ended up running slow the entire run, because of the footing. That was okay, but it was a bit of a balancing act between running fast enough to stay warm and running slow enough to be safe. When possible, I ran in the traffic lane; but I saw more traffic than I hoped for that early on a Saturday.
At one point, I found a pair of snowplows coming my way in tandem. I ducked into a convenient driveway and ran to the garage and back to pass time until the plows were past. It worked, and after that I had a good shoulder to run on.
My troublesome left thigh wasn't bothersome after the first half mile, but if I thought about it I could feel it. I didn't like putting my heel down on my left foot, though that was necessary when running downhill on a slick shoulder. Between the thigh and the time, I opted for a route just a bit longer than the shortest possibility for where I started out.
It mapped out to 5.37 miles in 48:19, for a 9:00 pace per mile. That's slow, but understandable in the conditions. I think I left enough in the tank to have a short run tomorrow as well; the long run will not return this weekend. Maybe next weekend, if the weather and the thigh cooperate.
After my walking cooldown, I still wasn't cold. So I took some time to shovel the snow off my driveway. By 8 I had the part of the driveway I use shoveled and I was beginning to feel the cold. But my thigh didn't bother me at all while shoveling. This is an improvement from shoveling yesterday, probably because the run got the blood flowing and warmed up the thigh pretty well.
Lesson learned: When there's snow on the ground, shoveling it is a decent cooldown from running that also accomplishes something useful.
I lost four screws from my left shoe and one from my right. However, three of the four that I replaced last time stayed in. I had put the replacements in without washers, reasoning that I was only risking 4 screws and if they didn't poke my feet the replacements cost half as much. They didn't poke my feet, so I will omit the washers from here on out. I expect to be replacing screws every time I have a snowy run, but perhaps I'll replace fewer if they are seated deeper without the washers. Starting fresh on another pair of shoes is still waiting for me to buy a replacement pair of shoes for the pair that is next in line to become screw shoes.
Shoveling the rest of the driveway had to wait until after my 9 AM breakfast at McDonald's with my daughter, but that's okay. I got that done around 11. The day is going well now, and I feel a lot better for having that morning run. Even if the run was pretty slow.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Work is crazy. There's a pile of stuff to do the first half of this year, with not a lot of people to do it and not nearly enough definition on exactly what has to be done.
In spite of the craziness, today I managed to get to the gym at lunch. Did 20 minutes on the elliptical, then some partial pullups and renegade rows. The elliptical is boring. Not as boring as an exercycle, but more boring than the treadmill. But I persevered, because it's low impact and Monday's session seemed to help my thigh. That, and it was cold enough to make an outdoor walk unappealing. A run would have been nice, but today needed to be a non-running day.
Today's elliptical session seemed to help my thigh, too. I'm beginning to believe that the thigh will get better to the point of being totally normal, possibly before the end of January.
Sometime between the noon gym session and this evening, my attitude improved. Instead of trying to make myself become active, I'm now looking forward to a run tomorrow morning. I mapped out a collapsible route, with possible lengths between 4.6 and 9 miles, because I'm not sure how much my thigh will take; but it's time to get out there and find out. Tomorrow's blog will indicate how well this idea worked out.
For now, I need to get to bed. Morning is going to come early, particularly if I want to get a run in before I meet daughter at McD's at 9. Time enough to worry about work tomorrow afternoon while I'm doing laundry.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Recap of the tough week: Sunday I had to take walking intervals during my run. Monday was a planned non-running day, and I binged on free pizza at tax training in the evening. Tuesday work kept me from running at lunch and bell choir practice sucked up the rest of the good weather. Wednesday was horrible cold and wind, and work kept me from even getting to the gym at lunch; but at least I stayed in control of myself in the face of free pizza at tax training Wednesday evening.
Then came today. Morning was cold, besides being way early after being up later than usual last night. During day it got warmer, but also windier. I got a bad jump on the lunch hour, but not bad enough to cancel the run. It just got a little shorter.
It had warmed up to 27° F (-3° C), but there was a strong cold wind from the south. (I like cold winds from the south. They don't bring snow with them.) Got to the gym, and realized I didn't have my warmer compression shirt. I'd originally packed the gym bag for a 46° F forecast on Tuesday. I'd added more stuff for contingencies Wednesday, but missed the warmer base layer.
Oh, well. Make the best of it. I had the light compression shirt. I had my heaviest running tee to put over it, then the midlayer on top. Went with wind pants over the running tights, my heavier gloves, and my lighter running hat. Forgot to pack my lip balm, but I had petroleum jelly in my gym bag; so put a dab of that on my lips.
For the first 5 minutes, I missed the warmer base layer. My arms were a bit cold, but my torso was warm enough. I can deal with that. Turned south along the west side of the river, and it was the strongest consistent wind I've run against so far.
It was also cold. If I had to do it again, I'd wear my warmer running hat. The good news is, the petroleum jelly worked well to protect my lips. The better news is that I didn't need to pull my face cover over my mouth and nose.
Because I had that bad jump, I took the most direct route back to the gym. Presumably because of the wind, my overall pace was a bit slow. It mapped out to 2.97 miles in 22:19, for a 7:31 pace. Not an earth shattering performance, but a lot better than I got in yesterday.
As forecast, the snow started coming down just before I left work. The synoptic snow isn't supposed to be a big deal, but we should get lake effect snow on the back end of this storm. It will be a cold and uninviting day to run tomorrow; but I can make tomorrow a non-running day. If the schedule works out, maybe I can get in to the gym to lift weights and do a bit on the elliptical.
Right now it's really hard to keep my motivation up for staying active. Blogging about it helps.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
By a little bit, anyway.
A conference call ran into the lunch hour, so I missed running and even a gym visit. I did get a half hour of walking in, so the 10K steps weren't an issue.
I held myself to the planned 3 pieces of free pizza. At the crucial moment of temptation, I broke out the bag of almonds I had brought with me. It was enough.
I'm missing my bedtime goal today, so I'll take an extra couple minutes and post this blog. Now I *have* to get a run in tomorrow. If it doesn't fit in at lunch, at least I have the evening.
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