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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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Rest Day

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Today is Sunday. It's a non-running day, after the long slow run yesterday. The plan was to get a walk in the afternoon, and lift weights late afternoon or evening.

I got up this morning with DOMS from lifting weights Friday. Didn't have that yesterday, dunno why it delayed more than usual. The DOMS was gone by the time I got out of church, but how creaky I felt this morning was a clue.

As is typical on Sundays, I got to mid-afternoon without very many steps on the pedometer. Took a 5K walk at a gentle pace to ensure I'd get my 10K steps in. Set out to lift weights just before dinner.

I was tired. Felt like napping. That's another clue.

So instead of lifting weights, I went to dinner. Felt better after I ate something, but still decided to let the weights slide. I think my body is telling me it needs a rest day today. Of course, "rest" is relative; I did my usual pullup du jour (chinups today) and pushups in the morning, and I do have over 10K steps on the pedometer; but I haven't run, I haven't lifted weights, and I even skipped the Turkish getups this morning.

I'd like to say I'll get back to things tomorrow, but that's unlikely. The work outlook is that I won't have time for a run or a weight lifting session on Monday or Wednesday this week. So I guess I have to be sure to get the scheduled run in on Tuesday, and lifting weights would be good too.

But . . . it will be a late evening Monday and another late evening Wednesday. If I end up short on sleep, the weight lifting may have to slide till Thursday or even Friday this week.

I'll survive. Next week shouldn't be as crunched as this week, and I should be able to get back into things. But I needed to write this out to fix it in my mind. I don't expect to find time to blog tomorrow or Wednesday, and Tuesday is uncertain. Just have to see how the work week goes, and do the best I can on the fitness front.

From a scheduling perspective, today would have been a good day to lift weights. But the body needs a rest day now, so a rest day it is. There will be time to pick the weights up again later in the week.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAKAPES 12/11/2012 5:03AM

    I noticed similar patterns.
Good sleep
= less hunger
= more energy for exercise
= more consitent in tracking
= overall things go smooth and fast

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MSLZZY 12/10/2012 9:34PM

    I took the day off, too, sorta.

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RG_DFW 12/10/2012 10:25AM

    The old saying - Life is what happens when you're busy making plans. It seems to fit perfectly, at least for me.

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MEXGAL1 12/10/2012 9:57AM

    yes, important to rest the body.
good for you to listen to your body.
Have a terrific week.

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ALLISON145 12/9/2012 10:59PM

    Great job listening to your body! I need to get back in tune with mine that way.


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_LINDA 12/9/2012 9:37PM

    Good for you listening to your body even if its at an inconvenient time!
Maybe a busy work week is jus what you needed to dial it back for a bit for some recovery.

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RUN4FOOD 12/9/2012 8:47PM

    Rest is an extremely important part of any exercise plan.
Good luck getting your exercises in the rest of the week.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/9/2012 8:45PM

    One thing about exercising now that I'm a "senior" is that I have to pay attention when the body says "rest". Good job.

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Learning to Run Slower

Saturday, December 08, 2012

On Thursday, I thought about having a dawn run today. That didn't happen; the run didn't start till about 8 am, when it was light. I like having daylight to run in, anyway. Since I don't have the 9 am appointment on Saturdays that I had a year ago, I can afford to wait for daylight to run.

My morning light jog up and down the hallway showed my bad foot to be better that it has been in a while. I could contemplate a longer run, given all morning to work with. But let's check the mileage. I have 8.6 miles in already this week. I only ran 7.25 miles last week, but I ran 14 miles, with intervals, a couple weeks ago. If I parse 7 day intervals, I ran 13.4 miles in 7 days starting with the Thanksgiving 10K, then had to take a regular running day off.

So, what to do? I want to get back to running 3 days a week. I'd like to build the ability to do longer runs on weekends. But I don't want to increase the mileage enough to make the bad foot crap out on me. I decided to compromise. I'd run 10K or a bit more, but I'd try to learn to run slower like all the training plans call for doing on longer runs.

First try at learning to run slow is to use the tools I have. I set RunKeeper to give me a readout of distance, average pace, and current pace every minute. Current pace isn't very accurate, but average pace and distance are good enough to work with.

When I got started, it was 41 F and cloudy, with a very light fog, negligible wind, and wet pavement. I did a short warmup, trying to keep it slow. Found a pace that felt kind of like jogging across a street to beat the light, without a lot of urgency. Started the real run at about that pace, and kept my stride short.

At the one minute mark, RunKeeper reported an average pace of 9 minutes and change. I ignored that, because the first average pace always seems to be slow. I think this has to do with the inaccuracy of starting the app versus starting the run. By the time I put my gloves on at 5 minutes, I was getting average paces a little over 8 minutes. That might not be as slow as the experts say to run, but it's a significant slow down for me.

RunKeeper reported a distance of 0.98 miles at 8 minutes. Cool. I'd manage to stay over an 8 minute pace for a full mile. By then I'd gone up and down a gentle hill, and hardly noticed. I was at the bottom of the big hill, going the easy direction.

The big hill wasn't any big deal at the slower pace. It turned out to be about a mile from the low point before it started to the bottom of the other side. Since I was running the easy direction, the other side was a fairly steep downhill. It was hard not to speed up. RunKeeper announced 2.0 miles at 15:56, and the average pace after that was always below 8 minutes.

By the 4 mile mark, I was having trouble deliberately adjusting my pace in fine detail. I was still running slower than my typical weekday run, but faster than I set out to run. I just couldn't slow to an 8 minute mile. Along about 6 miles, my bad foot mentioned that it would be good to stop soon. So I went home by the most direct route from that point, with a bit of a slowdown near the end as I fumbled with the iPhone to look at what the app reported.

Total time turned out to be 51:51 for 6.62 miles, for an average pace of 7:50 per mile. This was characterized generally by running a little faster later in the run than early in the run:

The blue line is pace, expressed as minutes per mile. A high point on the blue line is a slow pace, and low point is a fast pace. It's clear that I'm slower uphill and faster downhill (duh!), but I also see a gradual pace increase over the course of the run. When I'm not trying to run slow at first, my pace slows over the course of a run this long. I'll have to think about that, and think about what marathon runners mean when they speak of "negative splits."

The green line shows elevation; if I mouse over the graph on the RunKeeper site, it shows feet above sea level. I see that the big hill has a total rise of 100 feet from the bottom to the top. Hmm. The map for the Flower City Challenge half marathon shows a rise of 103 feet over a bit more than a mile, while my training hill has a rise of 100 feet in about 0.4 miles the hard way. Good enough for training, I hope.

The RunKeeper site also gives me splits:

Mile 1 - 8:09
Mile 2 - 7:47
Mile 3 - 7:46
Mile 4 - 8:06
Mile 5 - 7:34
Mile 6 - 7:43

Mile 4 was some little hill work; RunKeeper reports a net gain in elevation of 41 feet. It looks like those hills helped keep my pace down, but otherwise I wasn't very good at holding to an 8 minute mile.

Still, I have to call this a success for a first attempt at running slow. Assuming all goes well with the bad foot, which is feeling pretty good right now, I think I'll try for an 8 minute pace again next week. Maybe I'll get better at it with practice.

Yeah, I've seen the recommended slow paces for long distance training. Right now, I don't think I can make myself run a 9 minute mile. But an 8 minute mile seems possible. Maybe if I can learn that, I can learn a slower pace later.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MIRAGE727 12/9/2012 5:35PM

    I have to do the same thing in embracing a slower pace. Thanks for sharing. This has been most educational!

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KRISZTA11 12/9/2012 2:13PM

    Well, about 8 min/mile is still slower than your usual pace,
I hope it will help relax and recover your foot and thigh.
I wonder if you will have to dress warmer if you run slower in the winter!

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MEXGAL1 12/9/2012 10:18AM

    Just listen to your body!
Have a great Sunday!

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RG_DFW 12/8/2012 9:08PM

    Good work

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GREENGENES 12/8/2012 9:02PM

    Sounds like a good start. My regular pace is about 8 minutes per mile and I typically run 3 to 5 miles and I seem to be pretty consistent throughout. I can't seem to get that to budge either direction though.

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MERRYMARY42 12/8/2012 8:26PM

    take care of that foot, and I think you are fantastic, me, am good at a 22 minute mile, not much better emoticon

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RUN4FOOD 12/8/2012 5:31PM

    Sounds like a good run.
Glad your foot didn't give you any problem. There is hope in that.
If you could hit an 8.5 minute pace on the first half and an 8 minute pace on the second half that would be a great negative split.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/8/2012 4:35PM

    Here's the deal: if your race pace is sub-7, 8 is a plausible training pace. 9 would be "better" according to all the experts... but we do what we can.

In my case, my best ever race pace is 9 minute miles for 5 miles. My so-called "magic mile" is 9 minutes. They are telling me to do long runs with a 13 minute pace. This morning? 11 minutes 15 seconds average over the whole run.

And that includes my 5 minute walking warm up and a quarter mile walking cool down! Mostly, Runkeeper tells me I'm running between 10:30 and 10:50 splits except when I do a mile that includes significant walking (warm up, cool down, and re-warm up following potty stop).

So in any real sense, I'm about a minute and a half off my race pace for my long run today. And I'm OK with that. It felt easy. It felt "zen".

Sounds like yours did, too. I think both of us have to be careful to factor in that we are still relatively "new" runners, not vets of five years or more... we're still finding our natural fit stride!

I feel like I'm about a year behind you, even though I may have started sooner!

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