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Long Slow Run

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Today was the second attempt at running slower so I can run longer. I had an idea of what I need to work on based on last week's results. I also kept an eye on my recent running mileage. Last week I ran 15.22 miles. I had 7.45 miles in before today. I figured an 8 to 9 mile run would increase the total weekly mileage less than 10%, but increasing the long run by more than 10% was a concern. So I mapped out an 8 mile run, with opportunities to cut it shorter if the bad foot complained.

Set out after daylight, so I didn't have to mess with the reflective harness and lights. Once I get over 10K, I'm looking at running out of my normal neighborhood, at least for part of the run. Today was a familiar path from last year's efforts at increasing mileage. With a temperature right at 32F (0C) and 6 mph ENE wind, it was weather I know how to dress for. The new thing to work on is deliberately running at a slower pace, with the idea of targeting an 8 minute mile.

Here's the elevation and pace chart that RunKeeper produced:

The green elevation is pretty intuitive. On the RunKeeper site, I can mouse over the chart and see feet above sea level. There is a 103 foot rise from the dip before the big hill to the top of the big hill, over a distance of about 0.4 miles.

The blue pace is expressed as minutes per mile. That makes the higher points the slower pace and the lower points the faster pace, which took me a while to get used to.

And here are the split times RunKeeper reported:

I had RunKeeper tell me distance and average pace every minute, but I turned off the current pace because that doesn't seem to be accurate enough to tell me anything meaningful. As with last week, I started slow and couldn't help speeding up some. The high pace at the start probably reflects some time fumbling to start the app rather than being really that slow out of the gate. The pace for mile 9, being measured over a short 0.15 miles, is probably inaccurate. Or it might reflect fumbling with stopping the app on time.

Over the course of the run, I heard my average pace speed up. Still, some of the splits are a surprise to me. Mile 3 included distance along a strip mall; I may have been a touch slower because of pedestrian traffic. Mile 4 included a sprint to get across the highway between traffic, so I could be on the right side of the street to run the big hill. I might not have slowed down enough after that sprint.

There is more traffic complicating the highway crossings in daylight than there was when I was running this route in the pre-dawn darkness.

The early part of the run didn't really feel like running. It began to feel like a run going up the big hill, where trying to maintain a constant pace increased the effort. After that, the smaller hill was no big deal at the slow pace.

The total run came to 8.15 miles in 1:03:28, for an average pace per mile of 7:47. That's faster than the 8 minute mile I wanted to target, but it's still about a minute off the pace I ran naturally for a 5K on Thursday. Maybe this is just my natural slow pace right now.

After the run, my bad foot reminded me that I'd worked it. It wasn't a screaming loud complaint, but it was an indicator that I really couldn't have run another 3 miles today, even though my cardiovascular system was up for it. I won't be running tomorrow or Monday, and I'm optimistic that the bad foot will be enough better to support a lunch run on Tuesday.

My current thinking is that I won't stretch the long run to very much more than this next week. Perhaps I'll find time for more than a 5K run both Tuesday and Thursday, then still hold the increase in mileage to under 10% for the week. I say this, knowing that plans will change; but the changes are easier to manage if I think them through in advance.

The emotional highlight is that I now have a two week streak of running 3 days per week. I'd like to stretch that streak out a lot longer, but two weeks looks a lot more like the beginning of a routine ability to run than one week did.

Now, off to do more sedentary stuff for the paid job this weekend. But I did make time to get the long run in.

Life is good.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GYORGYB 12/17/2012 1:03PM

    Feels good after doing the long run. It feels that you are moving towards your goals. Good for you.

Hay! what is a "RunKeeper "?

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COMPUCATHY 12/16/2012 8:49PM

    Life IS good! You are doing TERRIFIC with your running. I love is so cool. I didn't know it did all the things you just demonstrated though. Very cool. Keep up the good work! Thanks for the encouragement! Spark on! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MEXGAL1 12/16/2012 9:18AM

    Woo hoo!
Have a terrific day!

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MSLZZY 12/16/2012 7:23AM


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NWFL59 12/15/2012 11:29PM

    emoticon emoticon

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KRISZTA11 12/15/2012 5:25PM

    Sounds great!
I'm glad your bad foot responds well. A two week streak is a meaningful achievement.

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WATERMELLEN 12/15/2012 4:50PM

    Sounds like your bad foot is responding well to your realistic pacing and planning.

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RUN4FOOD 12/15/2012 4:35PM

    Sounds like you had a good run. If your body can take that pace for 8+ miles I don't think I would fight it too much. Let your body tell you when it's time to slow down.

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DALID414 12/15/2012 3:04PM

    Great week.

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GREENGENES 12/15/2012 2:49PM

    Way to go. Looks like you are on your way.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/15/2012 2:28PM

    Woo-hoo! You're learning to slow down to something I'd have to speed up to. Since you follow me on RunKeeper, you can see my efforts for the week just completed.

But particularly encouraging is that two weeks going, 3 days. I'm falling into a pattern that I think is going to become my marathon training rotation: Speed work on Tuesdays (about an hour worth), easy, keep loose run on Thursdays (about 45 minutes worth), and the long-slow run on the weekend, usually on Saturdays.

We shall see how it goes, as they say. I love RunKeeper for the outdoor runs... takes all the concern about mapping it out ahead away, and lets me change on the fly and still get the distance in. I only have it default set to tell me distance and average pace every five minutes, that seems to be plenty for me. I don't feel the need to manage / change pace more frequently. I have a watch to nudge me when I need a walk interval.

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PMRUNNER 12/15/2012 2:09PM

    Way to go!

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LIZRUNS22 12/15/2012 1:28PM

    I recently stared using running watch and can appreciate your detail in the data. I think that less than a minute of variance and concluding 13 seconds faster than goal is a grea achievement on your first attempt. Thanks for sharing!

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RG_DFW 12/15/2012 12:52PM

    Way to go

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COOP9002 12/15/2012 12:25PM

    Nice job on getting your long run in.

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Longer Day

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's just past 9 pm on Friday, nominally a day off. I knew I'd be sitting at a computer working long hours today, so I got a 3 mile walk in before I started. The lunch hour was used for grocery shopping, as was part of my dinner break. I just sent my last work email of the day. Tough day for staying fit.

Step count right now is 11,921. This is in a normal range for working at the office; being there on a work crunch day while working at home shows I made the time to move around. Didn't lift weights, which would have been appropriate from a pure fitness scheduling standpoint. Did get my morning pullups du jour and pushups done.

Essentially, I got the bare minimum of physical activity. That's okay, because today needed to be a non-running day anyway. More importantly, I got enough of the work done that I won't feel bad going for a long slow run on Saturday, even though I need to throw some of the Saturday and Sunday time at work projects.

It won't last forever. I can cope with this for another week, which is about all the piled up projects should take.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NWFL59 12/15/2012 11:24PM


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HEALTHIERKEN 12/15/2012 11:59AM

    Here's to your long, slow run today!
emoticon emoticon

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HAKAPES 12/15/2012 11:50AM

    That is a great approach to deal with the office work.
I noted it down for myself!

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MEXGAL1 12/15/2012 9:16AM

    Hope today is a terrific day for you.

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MSLZZY 12/15/2012 7:23AM

    One day at a time.

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RUN4FOOD 12/15/2012 6:19AM

    Great job doing what you can fit into your busy schedule.

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RG_DFW 12/14/2012 10:53PM

    Stay with it

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BLITZEN40 12/14/2012 10:47PM

    Nice job getting that walk in and great step count, especially for a long day at work! Many of us don't get as good of exercise even when we aren't working. I have a pedometer on my Christmas wish list so hopefully I can track after the holidays. I'm not a gadget girl so even if I get it, using it will be another story. WTG with the morning pull ups and push ups too. I am just now beginning to start feeling confident in the push up world, thanks to SP workout videos. TY for shedding some light on the BMI mystery too. Nice to know it's not fat percentage.

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ALLISON145 12/14/2012 9:42PM

    You did great today! Keep it up!!

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-AMANDA79- 12/14/2012 9:29PM

    Getting a 3 mile walk in is nothing to scoff at. Great work!

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Long Day

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Today is Thursday, a work at home day. Normally, it's a day for a lunch run.

Today the failed webinar was rescheduled for 1-2 PM. The good news, it isn't the lunch hour. The bad news, it ties me to the desk for an hour immediately after lunch, putting a hard deadline on the break. The worse news, it's coming when I have a boatload of real work and don't have time for this pointy haired nonsense.

So I thought about lines in the sand. Got up a bit early, and managed a longer than usual morning walk before buckling down to the sedentary tasks. The idea was, if the work day was a total disaster I'd have enough steps to break 10K on an evening walk. Or an evening dark run, if need be.

The weather turned out to be similar to the day of the failed webinar. At quarter of noon, it was 41F (5C) and sunny, with 7 mph WSW winds. Too nice. I went out and ran a quick 5K, so I'd have time to stretch and eat and still make the pointy haired webinar. The 5K came in right at 21 minutes, for a 6:46 pace per mile. That lands right on the time for my first organized 5K, except I wasn't wiped out at the end this time. And I ran a more steady pace today than I did in October 2011.

The afterglow of the run got me through the pointy haired webinar, then I dealt with the backlog of email that came in while I was tied to the screen. I wasn't totally ruined for real work by the pointy haired aspect, and made decent progress in the afternoon.

Got off the last work related phone call at 5:40. Broke for dinner, then did some light work while catching up on SparkPeople between 7 and 9. Now I'm done for the day, and will make it to bed before 10. In spite of the most recent work email coming in at 8:56 PM. (It's a response to my last outbound email, sent at 8:44 pm. And yes, the other people in this discussion are in the same time zone I'm in. That's the kind of week it is.)

Tomorrow is nominally a day off. I have a conference call at 10, and I really need to get a lot of sedentary work done. I will take time for a longer morning walk, because tomorrow needs to be a non-running day. And I'll make time for a long slow run Saturday, even if I have to work Saturday evening to get everything done.

My line in the sand isn't the bright, clearly defined line my sister has. But I think I have a line in the sand. I *will* get some exercise in, because it helps me cope. And I *will* get a reasonable amount of sleep, because it helps me both cope and avoid rework.

Work is crazy, but life is good anyway.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RG_DFW 12/14/2012 11:03AM


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MEXGAL1 12/14/2012 10:37AM

    Hope today is a terrific day for you!

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MSLZZY 12/14/2012 10:25AM

    Pointy haired nonsense-quite an analogy. But I can
relate when I have to spend time on that and still
am expected to get everything else done on time.
Sounds like you made the best of it.

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RUN4FOOD 12/13/2012 9:40PM

    Sounds like a busy day. Hope Friday is a little less hectic and you get your long slow distance run in over the weekend.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/13/2012 9:19PM

    OK, so it's a fuzzy line in the sand. It still counts! Sleep well.

Tomorrow is another day.

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The value of blogging

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Yesterday I wrote that I didn't lift weights because I thought I might need them to destress after work today.

Today I got home late, and would have just bagged the exercise. I got my steps in, got a nice lunch walk on a non-running day . . . but I'd blogged that I would lift weights.

So I responded to a couple of nuisance work emails from the left coast, then told myself it won't take long to just do 3 sets of squats. After all, squats are one of the more important lifts for a runner.

Half an hour later, I'd done my three sets of squats, and three sets of shrugs. I'd had to back off the bench press because of a sore shoulder, and substituted 3 sets to dumbbell chest presses with light enough weight to go 15 reps. That's not a workout that wipes me out, but it's enough for today.

Along the way, I thought about a lot of blogs talking about avoiding the "all or nothing" thinking. Most of the blogs I've read on that subject were talking about nutrition, but it also applies to exercise. Time was, I would have not done anything because I didn't have time for what I regarded as a full weight lifting workout.

Tonight, I did something. Maybe I didn't do a lot, but I applied some SparkPeople lessons:

1. Avoid all or nothing thinking. Doing something healthy is better than doing nothing healthy. Check. Got some lifts in, including the most important one.

2. Listen to your body. I had to adjust the pushing exercise. Started out with a bench press 10 lbs. lighter than last time, and that was too much. Time was, I would have bagged it; but I didn't.

3. Do active recovery. Stepping down to ligher chest presses let me work the sore shoulder gently. Hopefully, that will help the recovery more than pure rest would.

I might not be doing everything the absolute best way possible, but I think I did better than I would have in a similar situation, pre-Spark. I did better in part because of blogging, both my blogging (yesterday's commitment) and other folks' blogging (active recovery, avoid all or nothing).

I might not always blog, and I might not always find time to read other folks' blogs with appreciation of the content, but today showed the value of doing both those things.

And now off to bed, before coping with more work craziness tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEXGAL1 12/13/2012 9:27AM

    Making commitments though blogging has really helped me!
Good for you getting the weight lifting in.
Have a terrific day.

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MSLZZY 12/13/2012 8:07AM

    It may not have been the most successful day but
you still found time to do something. A very winning

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DALID414 12/12/2012 11:03PM

    Great reminder to ditch the all or nothing thinking.

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RUN4FOOD 12/12/2012 10:07PM

    If you can't do it all, at least do something. That's a good philosophy to live by.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/12/2012 9:51PM

    emoticon Rest well. I'm heading to do the same. Tomorrow we each get our own brand of work craziness, and I, too, will do so knowing I did *something* tonight in the way of strength training, rather than *nothing*. emoticon

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Noon run squeezed into busy day

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My body needed a rest day on Sunday. Monday was a heavily scheduled day, with no time to run or lift weights. And work blew up on me Monday; the outlook is for a lot of time doing frustrating sedentary stuff over the next two weeks.

Today is Tuesday, a work at home day. Some of the frustrating stuff got done in the morning, and the afternoon was mostly lost to conference calls. The high point of my day was taking time to run at lunch.

The temperature was 32 F (0C), with 9 mph WSW winds. It was overcast, with light lake effect snow showers that didn't accumulate. Since the rotation of clothing for this weather landed on a a black quarter zip jacket and black tights for the outer layer, it was a good thing to be running in daylight.

I set out to just run a quick 5K. Got along the way, and it was clear that I'd cover 5K in under 25 minutes. I wanted those 25 minutes, so I added an extra bit of hill to the route. Then it felt so good to be running that I added another bit on the end to ensure I'd make the time. Then I was over 28 minutes at my driveway, so I ran up and down the street enough to stretch it to 30 minutes.

RunKeeper reported this as 4.34 miles, for an average pace of 6:55 per mile. Aside from the typical slower uphill/quicker downhill phenomenon, which was muted because the hill was small, I ran at a fairly consistent pace. Split times were 6:54, 6:57, 6:47, and 6:57 for the first 4 miles.

Then I lost the evening to dealing with household paperwork and work email, with just a dab of progress on the frustrating stuff. But the evening is more bearable for having had that run at lunch.

From a scheduling perspective, it should have been possible to lift weights this eveing. I consciously decided not to, because tomorrow needs to be a non-running day. The way work is going, I think I might really need to lift weights tomorrow evening to de-stress.

On the injury front, the sore thigh is almost completely healthy now. I have to think hard to tell how the stretches on the left feel different than the stretches on the right. The bad foot still isn't 100%, but it's not complaining much or very loudly. I seem to have banged up my right shoulder somehow, either sleeping on it wrong or lifting too heavy; but I can deal with that. A sore shoulder isn't anywhere close to being as annoying as a sore thigh or foot. I should be okay just avoiding overhead lifts for a while and letting it get better.

I still don't know where my line in the sand is for these busy work days, but I'm coping for now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PLMITCH 12/12/2012 10:51AM

    I have had a few days like this recently where work was so hectic that I thought for sure any workout was not going to be possible, but I have found the time to squeeze in a quick run, and I ALWAYS feel so much better afterwards!


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MEXGAL1 12/12/2012 9:48AM

    glad you could fit in a run...I am sure it cleared your head and you felt better.
Hope today is better.

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MSLZZY 12/12/2012 7:24AM

    Your run sounds like it cleared your mind to
thinking of how much better your body is feeling.
Plan ahead and focus on what you can do around
that crazy part of life you call work. It's the best
you can do.

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BLITZEN40 12/12/2012 1:00AM

    Sounds like you've got a good handle on things even with work being unpredictable. Nice pace on your run!

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_LINDA 12/11/2012 11:21PM

    Wow! Well done!!
I am thinking, if you are on the phone a lot, can you get a headset so you can perform some physical activity while talking? I have talked on the phone while on the elliptical, but I have to hold it in one hand and am thinking if there were such a thing as a wireless headset.. Also, my base phone is on my high dresser, so when I talk on it I have to be standing which is one up on sitting anyway as you can do things while on a speaker phone. Also, I use a stability ball for a chair when I am working on the computer, just some thoughts to stave off long hours just sitting.
Nice to know your thigh is okay and the foot is reasonable, but wouldn't you know it, a shoulder nuisance now :P Hope you are a fast healer ;)

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PMRUNNER 12/11/2012 9:24PM

    Pretty speedy! Nice job! If that's a noon time training run, what's your race pace like?

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/11/2012 9:18PM

    Have I mentioned that I'm totally jealous of your work at home days? I do not have that luxury, as my employer does not believe in it. So... by the time I get home and change into running togs, it's dark, this time of year. Therefore, treadmill tonight. Gotta keep the miles at a moderate level even before building the long ones.

Tomorrow is my strength day.

Good job hunting for that line... maybe it's a tic-tac-toe grid? emoticon

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