Thursday, November 22, 2012
I set the alarm for 5:30 to give myself time, but woke up early and rolled out of bed about 4:45. That's okay, because I still got over 7 hours of sleep. It also gave me enough time to have a normal breakfast routine including pullups du jour (close grip pronated today) and pushups in the intervals between fixing and eating the various parts of breakfast. I skipped the TGU/windmill combos and KB snatches because I expected to get plenty of exercise later in the morning.
Daughter showed up at 7, and we hit the road. The early start for walkers was informal and not well organized, but she got moving a half hour ahead of gun time for the crowd. The organizer had not put much thought into a formal early start for walkers until I talked with him last night; I expect he'll have something better thought out in advance next year.
Forecast for 9 AM was 40°F and sunny, with 6 to 8 mph southerly winds, Forecast for 10 AM was for 48°F. As near as I can tell, the forecast was very close to dead on. It was great running weather. I set out to just run at a comfortable pace, without worrying about people passing me or me passing other people. I did better with the not worrying part this year than last year. Early on, I noticed a guy swapping places with me who was breathing pretty heavily. I realized that was how I had been breathing in this race 264 days ago; but today I was pacing to breath easily.
The original plan had been to run intervals. Then I thought, for a race I can increase them from run 4, walk 1 to run 5, walk 1. Then I thought that maybe I could run a mile, walk a minute. At one mile, my time was 6:22, 8 seconds faster than last year. I felt pretty good after a mile, so I kept running. I passed daughter a bit after the 2 mile mark, and waved to her. By that time, I was thinking in terms of running 20 minutes, because one of my goals is to run 20 minutes continually 3 times a week. Stupid motivational tricks strike again.
At 20 minutes, I was close to 5K, and I wanted to see a running split. That turned out to be 20:22, or 12 seconds faster than last year. Well, that would slow when I got to real intervals. Partly on general principal, partly for cardio, I took a one minute walking bread at 21 minutes. Then I thought I should run 5 minutes and walk at 27; but at 27 I could see the 4 mile mark. Stopped for 2 small glasses of water at the 4 mile water station, then took a short untimed walking break before starting to run again on the downhill. Took my 3rd walking break, a timed 1 minute, at 33 minutes. Late in the race, I took another untimed, but under a minute, walking break at 40 minutes; then I ran for the end.
I sprinted the stretch where I could see the clock at the finish with the seconds ticking toward 43 minutes. Didn't quite make it; final time was 43:05. That was 47 seconds faster than last year, for an average pace of 6:57 per mile. I was impressed. I ran the full distance last year, took walking breaks in the second half this year, and actually covered the second half faster this year than last.
I'm more fit in general this year. I'm also a bit wiser. I probably could have run the full 10K, but I'm sure I finished in better shape for taking the four walking breaks.
The strategy of turning off the intervals, but turning on the readout of time, distance, and pace every minute worked well for an organized race, particularly where I was changing the walking intervals as I went. That was the point of the every minute readout on the app. But now I need to reset the app to reading out less frequently, as I don't want those frequent readouts for solo runs, walks, or intervals.
The real runners showed up this year. Last year's time surprised me with a first in age group. This year's faster time was more than 3 minutes behind the age group winner. Also, the over 50 male (who doesn't qualify for age group because Over 50 is worth more) would have been in my age group, and came it at 35 minutes and change. (Can't look up the change right now because the timer's web site maxed out its bandwidth. Not terribly shocking, on a day when they timed ~6500 participants in two major local races.)
The most noticeable body impact immediately after the race was tight calves. I could tell that I haven't been running this far regularly. But that is a good training effect, and one that's pretty easy to deal with. Long stretches, adequate rest, and build the regular mileage slowly.
The bad foot and sore thigh did not complain at all during the race. Afterward, the bad foot was no worse than after a routine run. The sore thigh lets me know if I try to run a short distance now; I'll see how well it recovers over the next two or three days.
If the recovery goes as well as it might, I'm about ready to start running continually instead of doing intervals. I'll still have to pay attention to the thigh and foot, and back off as needed.
After the race, there were bagels, Greek yogurt, bananas, coffee, and water available. I took a banana, a container of Greek yogurt, and a bottle of water because that was what I wanted. I noticed a contrast from a year ago, when I took a bagel and wondered where the c ream cheese was. This year, the bagel is too expensive given what else I wanted to eat today. I hadn't expected any insights to my dietary habits out of the race, so this was a small bonus benefit.
Because my daughter took over 2 hours to walk the course, I had plenty of time to get back and greet her at the finish line. But because she was participating this year, I don't have any photos of myself. Maybe there will be some professional photos available in a bit for a price. If so, I might have to actually buy some.
Overall, I'm happy with my two year tradition of running a race on Thanksgiving Day. I'm ready to make it three years in another 371 days.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
The boss let us out of work early today, which let me get more pre-Thanksgiving stuff done. With the extra hour and a half, I cruised by the bread outlet to pick up 3 loaves of whole wheat bread for $3.60 on the manager's special. They also sent me home with a free custard-coconut pie. I read the nutritional info. If daughter doesn't want it, I can work it into the eating over the course of a week.
Then I swung by Aldi to pick up some bagged salad and green peppers. Daughter wants a salad tomorrow after the 10K, and this will ensure that I don't run out of ingredients. I've already got enough onions and chopped baked chicken breast on hand.
That put me past 5, and it was time to go pick up packets for tomorrow's 10K. Well, "packets" might be an overstatement. There were the long sleeved tech shirts, because I got our registrations into the first 200, and the bibs. That's it, but that's what was important.
I spent some time chatting with the organizer. Daughter projects walking 10K in 2 hours. The estimated awards ceremony is 1 hour 45 minutes after the gun. Organizer says daughter could easily be the last person on the course at that pace, but the local police are good at following the last person and the road won't be re-opened on her.
They also offer an early start for walkers who think they need more time. I'll see what she thinks about that tomorrow morning. If she has accurately estimated her pace, I could start an hour later than her and pass her on the way to the finish line.
Now I've got my gym bag mostly packed, and my running clothes laid out. Time to wind down for an early bedtime, because I need to be up earlier than normal to get breakfast and have time to drive to the race site tomorrow morning.
Yesterday and today have been light days physically. I got my 10K steps in, but didn't get to 11K either day. Time constraints and the need to do other errands squeezed out heavy weight lifting, though I did get my pullups and pushups in. But I'm as rested as is reasonable for running a 10K tomorrow.
Mr. Testosterone is going to tell me to run all the way. I might let him convince me to run longer intervals. Just have to see how it goes.
Tomorrow should be fun, even without a traditional Thanksgiving feast.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
An odd thing happened today. The planned intervals came off exactly as planned. I did 6 cycles of run 4, walk 1, followed by a shorter run to get home. That covered 4.29 miles in 31:49, for an average pace of 7:25 per mile.
A year ago, I would have considered 7:25 to be in the range of acceptable paces for a continual run.
The bad foot still isn't 100%, but it isn't complaining loudly. The sore thigh is a little less sore, and closer to feeling like a normal training effect. If history holds to form, I could do intervals again on Tuesday, but then the thigh and/or foot would act up and Thursday would be contra-indicated. Since I'm committed to a 10K on Thursday, I think I'll stick to the plan of no running between now and then.
That leaves walking for cardio, and weight lifting so I can feel like I'm doing something for exercise.
I lifted weights yesterday morning. Did squats, shrugs, and bench press as the major leg, pull, and push lifts, respectively. Did each of them with more weight than last time. Yes, I realize this is a re-entry phenomenon and that pretty soon (probably the next cycle through the rotation of lifts) I won't be able to increase weights every time. That's okay. It will take a while to squat as much as I used to, but I'm already benching and shrugging more than I did the last time I was lifting regularly.
The squats definitely work the sore thigh. That may be why I'm not squatting as much; I'll see how that goes as the thigh recovers.
Yesterday evening I went out and bought a pair of the next bigger dumbbells, 45 lbs. I'm almost ready to use those for incline chest presses. I also talked with the guy at the fitness store about dip belts to add weight to my pullups. I see myself buying one in the not too distant future, but the DBs and the dip belt didn't both fit in the fitness equipment budget right now. For now, I'll play with some ankle weights I bought years ago but never used to add weight for pullups. When the 10 lbs. of ankle weights I have aren't enough, it will be time to buy a dip belt.
This adds yet another maintenance puzzle, figuring out how much weight is enough. There will be a point somewhere that I can't train beyond. Probably somewhere before that point, there will be a point where the risk of injury outweighs the benefit of training to lift heavier. Recognizing what those points are is a puzzle, and I hope I don't have to solve it the hard way.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
This is a weekend of transition in my routine. My daughter got a transfer from her job working 9 to 6 or 11 to 8, Saturday to Wednesday, to a position that works 8 to 5, Monday to Friday. That moves our weekly visit to Taco Bell from Friday evening to Saturday noon; but the bigger impact is it moves her laundry from Friday afternoon while I'm at work, to Saturday afternoon. This, in turn, makes me spread my laundry out between Friday evening, Saturday morning, and Sunday.
Nothing is certain in life, except that things change. When life changes, we all need to adapt to the change. This change in my daughter's schedule is not one of the bigger events that you might think of as a life change; but I need to adapt to it. If I don't, something that I don't control will happen. Things that could happen if I don't think about how to adapt might include laundry not getting done when it needs to (either mine or my daughter's, or possibly both); not seeing my daughter as much, if she finds an alternative laundry solution; a degradation in the father-daughter relationship; or possibly something else that I can't foresee. All things considered, it's better to adapt and try to guide the changes down acceptable paths.
Today the adjustments to change went well. I got a load of laundry done last night, and got the bulk of my laundry done this morning. Having a time limit on the washer and dryer meant I couldn't leave the house until the last load I had to do was in the washer; so I lifted weights while laundry was in progress and walked after the last load went into the washer. Daughter got here on schedule a bit before noon, we had lunch, and had a nice long afternoon chat before she went on her way.
There's a lesson here for maintenance. Part of adapting to life changes is adjusting when I exercise, and what kind of exercise I do. Yes, I wanted to lift weights today anyway; but without the changed schedule, it wouldn't have happened in the morning. Part of adapting to life changes is to keep the food intake under control, even when life changes social patterns. I came in right where I planned to eating today, but it wasn't going to happen without tracking what I eat and making thoughtful adjustments to adapt to the schedule.
I even got my 10K steps in today, in spite of a totally sedentary afternoon and the fact that this is a non-running day for me. I accomplished this by walking 5K in the morning before daughter got here, and going shopping in the evening. I picked up some things I need, but which could have waited till tomorrow; but I also added about 2500 steps to bring the day's total up to where it should be.
It's been a good day. It remains to be seen whether this change in schedule will work well over the long haul, but it went well today. I'll try to replicate what I did right today in the coming Saturdays; but I recognize that life will change, and things won't always be like this.
And when life changes, I'll adapt. In the past, part of the way I adapted to life changes involved eating more. I choose not to adapt that way now. I want to maintain my weight, and maintain my fitness. So I will adapt thoughtfully, in ways that let me do this as life changes around me. I'll do this because maintenance is not steady state; it requires frequent adjustments.
And sometimes those adjustments are more than tweaking the calorie range, but also include revising the regular schedule of exercise or meals. I'll make those adjustments, because life *will* change. It's up to me to make sure I change with it in ways that enable me to continue to maintain.
Friday, November 16, 2012
When I last blogged, the plan was to run intervals and possibly lift weights on Thursday. Thursday turned into a rest day instead. It started with the light jog up and down my hallway in the morning. I could feel the sore thigh a little more than I liked, and the bad foot was worse than it had been on Tuesday. If it had only been one or the other, I'd have run the intervals anyway; but with both, I decided to give the legs another day of rest. I can lift weights in the evening instead.
Evening came, and I needed to sit and do nothing for a while to recover from a de-motivating work day. Yes, it's possible to have those de-motivating days even when I work at home. I ended up calling it a rest day to let the beat up body recover. Of course, rest is a relative term. I did get in two half hour walks, at about a 14 minute per mile pace. It was hard to walk slower in the good walking weather.
I took Friday off work, and thoughtfully turned off the alarm that was set for 6 AM. Got up at 6:47, and went about the morning routine in a relaxed and dilatory fashion. The foot and thigh felt better. The sun was shining, and the temperature was right around freezing. Projected high was in the upper 40s F. It was the same kind of day we had on Thanksgiving last year, when I ran my first organized 10K.
With some uncertainty, I decided to run my intervals with a notch up. I moved to walk 4, run 1; and I set out to keep it up for 10K. It helps that I can trust RunKeeper to tell me accurate distances on the iPhone, so I don't have to map it out in advance. Also, I can run a squiggly route around the neighborhood with opportunities to bail for less distance.
So I didn't have a firmly planned route in advance. Just before the one mile point, I made a decision to throw in the big hill, from the easy direction. On the back side, I ran one of the three small hills. At the tail end of the route, I added a small amount of distance to complete 50 minutes (gotta grab that 10th Spark Point), and it came out to a total of 6.41 miles:
It went well. As expected, the first running interval felt long after doing all those 3 minute running intervals. In hindsight, looking at the elevation chart, that might be because I was running up a hill as tall as the little hills I've trained on; I just never thought of that particular stretch of road as a hill. The end of the third interval found me on the down side of the big hill, and feeling like I could keep running. I slowed to a walk anyway. On the flatter portions of the route, I didn't try to run fast, and when I paid attention tried to not run particularly quickly. So I ended up with an average pace of 7:48 per mile, which isn't a huge increase from my run 3/walk 1 pace. I guess I must have successfully slowed the running somewhat.
Later in the run, I began feeling my calves. They had a familiar training effect soreness, so I gave them extra time on the post-run stretching. I also made sure that I stood or walked gently quite a bit for the next couple of hours. I've learned the hard way that sitting continually on that kind of tired is a Bad Idea.
The big question is what my legs and feet will feel like tomorrow. Tomorrow is a non-running day, because I ran today. My current thinking is to get a shorter workout, maybe 6 full cycles of run 4, walk 1, on Sunday; then not run again till the 10K on Thanksgiving. But that's a tentative plan; I bear in mind that the last plan I articulated didn't happen as intended.
Still and all, even if the legs and feet react poorly to the increased distance today, I have 6 days till the 10K. I'm optimistic that I'll be able to repeat today's effort by then.
And the weight lifting? I think I'll skip it today in favor of lifting tomorrow. That will make me feel like I'm doing something on a Saturday even if I'm not running.
At any given point, this probably sounds like a well thought out, disciplined approach to rehab and training. But from where I sit, it feels like I'm making this up as I go. And that just has to be good enough.
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