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 32°F (0°C) 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.
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.
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 41°F (5°C) 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.
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.
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 (0°C), 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.
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