Thursday, December 27, 2012
The forecast snowstorm arrived, dropping about 9 inches in my driveway. That's right in the middle of the 6 to 12 forecast, which is high for me. Typically I get less than the lower end of the forecast range. Some of the snow on the bottom was wet and heavy, particularly close to the street; and drifting plus the way I have to clear the driveway resulted in my snowblower barely being adequate for the job. OTOH, I didn't get the forecast winds for this morning, so that made it a little easier. I went out to start clearing the driveway at 7 am:
I got done about 9 am:
By noon I was ready to give up on running due to road conditions. That, and I was cold. Clearing the driveway is cold work, and walking between the car and various merchants while running errands was cold. But as I came back from an errand about 1, I saw cleared shoulders on part of a potential running route. What the heck. I got out to run about 3:30, and ran the shorter winter route because I was more confident of shoulders being clear on that one. Tacked a bit of distance on to the end to make 25 minutes, and it came out to 3.61 miles in 25:09, for an average pace of 6:58 per mile:
For reference, from the crest of the big hill at 1.66 miles to the bottom at 2.05 miles is a drop of 107 feet. The relatively slow second mile featured most of the uphill stretch of the big hill as well as the worst footing of the run. "Worst" is a relative term here; it wasn't like running in fresh snow, and I was OK in ordinary running shoes.
This isn't as far as I would have run under better road conditions, but it was a pleasant run. The only down side was that my phone rang, and I was wearing wired headphones to hear the app instead of a bluetooth headset; so I couldn't answer it. That turned out to be a good thing. If it had been my daughter, I would have wanted to talk to her while running; but it turned out to be work reaching out to grab me. I addressed that issue after cooling down and before stretching.
All in all, it's been a pretty good birthday. Normally, I ignore my birthday because it's overshadowed by a much more significant birthday; but I see from comments on my Spark Page that my sister sounded the trumpet today. And that's okay, too.
Life is good.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
It's Wednesday, a non-running day. I took a 40 minute walk in the morning for cardio and steps, and lifted weights this afternoon. It wasn't a great weight lifting session; I had grip issues on the third set of Romanian deadlifts, and I wasn't able to do 45° incline DB chest presses with as much weight as I thought I should be able to use. But it was a weight lifting session, and even a session like this helps maintain the strength. There will be better sessions in the future.
Tomorrow is a scheduled running day. The weather may interfere with that. We are forecast to get 6 to 12 inches of snow overnight, and another 1 to 3 inches during the day tomorrow. My new running shoes have not yet arrived, so I will face the same options for dealing with snow tomorrow that I had to think about yesterday.
The snow has started as I write this, and the way it's falling is consistent with the forecast. I frequently get less snow than is forecast, but this isn't lake effect snow. It's a storm that moved up the Ohio valley. I'm more likely to get as much as forecast from this type of storm. And the important thing isn't really how much snow, but how well the roads are cleared. I need those shoulders to be cleared to run in straight running shoes, and I need the early snow to be cleared to run even if I make screw shoes to run in. Screw shoes don't do a lot for running in even 3 inches of snow.
The other runner in the office tells me it's all good. He describes running in snow as being like running on a sandy beach. You don't go as fast, but you work harder to maintain a slower pace. I might get an opportunity to test that theory.
Meanwhile, the plan is to wait and see what tomorrow afternoon brings before making a decision. I have the early morning to clear my driveway, and I have a 9:30 appointment for an oil change in my car. After that is out of the way, many of the current unknowns about the weather will have become known.
By noon, I should have a firmed up plan. Either I'm running and have a plan for what to do about however much snow we get, or I'm walking. We won't get so much snow that I can't walk.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Saturday I ran in the snow. While I got my run in, the situation pointed out that I need to do something about footwear for running in the snow. Sunday I got to the local running store and ordered another pair of shoes. Yes, ordered. My reality is that my size won't be in stock. Monday I checked at Dick's. They had the shoe I wanted on sale, which means my size wasn't in stock. I left without buying anything.
This morning I woke up and saw snow on the driveway. Sigh. The snow arrived before I was ready to deal with it. I considered my options: Run in straight running shoes. Put more screws into last year's screw shoes to replace the ones lost on Saturday's run. Turn my walking shoes into screw shoes, leaving me with no stability shoes to walk in until my new running shoes come in.
Well, it's Christmas. Traffic will be light even if I wait for daylight. So I had breakfast, then went out to clear the snow off the driveway. There was only a half inch of medium weight snow. The road showed wet traffic lanes, with a snow or slush coating on the shoulder. I expect I can mostly run in the traffic lane, and retreat to the shoulder in the face of oncoming traffic.
Got out to start running about 8:15. It was 30°F (-1°C) with N wind 9 mph. This is weather I understand, and it was easy to dress appropriately. Went to run a standard winter route of 4.63 miles. I can do this same route Thursday, run 8 miles on Saturday, and still be adding less than 10% to last week's mileage total.
There was a bit more traffic that I expected, but it wasn't bad. I encountered 11 oncoming vehicle and had 8 overtake me. The only moderately concerning situation was the time an oncoming vehicle and an overtaking vehicle arrived at about the same time on a steep downhill. I slowed, retreated to the shoulder, and ran a few paces as a heel strike runner. Got through it.
Total time was 32:23, for an average pace of 7:01 per mile. The little hills didn't seem to be as big a deal as they were last year on this route. The pace and elevation chart and the splits according to RunKeeper are:
For reference, there is a 64 foot rise from the low point at 2.5 miles to the crest of the hill at 2.73 miles.
My bad foot complained about this run, but I had a totally sedentary afternoon watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas and some episodes of Dr. Who with my daughter. It's possible I'll need to forego my planned run on Thursday; I'll have to see how the foot is doing then.
I note in passing that TV is truly a Lack of Exercise Machine. It's not quite 5 PM, I've run 4.63 miles and done a good walking cooldown this morning, and I haven't hit my 10K steps yet. That's one seriously sedentary afternoon today.
All in all, it's been a good Christmas. I got to candlelight services last night, got a good run in today, and spent a lot of time with my daughter. I couldn't ask for anything more.
Monday, December 24, 2012
I could write a typical Spark blog for today. The scale has me below my desired range for the second day in a row. Perhaps I should increase my calorie range. I lifted weights today, weighing 164.8 in my workout clothes, and I squatted 165 lbs. Squatting my weight is a new accomplishment, made possible by having a lower weight than I had when I first started lifting. Woo-hoo.
I could write all that, expanded somewhat, on Christmas Eve. I could do that because Christmas Eve is low key for me. I'll go to Christmas Eve services later, and sing in the choir; but I have no major social obligations or family celebration. So most of the day could be devoted to paying attention to my fitness journey.
But this Christmas Eve, I'm in a somber mood. When I was out driving to get a few groceries this morning, I turned on the radio. The local news was all talking about a story where not much was known, and people were calling in with what they had seen. In the drives between various shopping stops, the story unfolded. Firefighters in Webster, New York answered a burning building call. When they got there, somebody shot 4 of them, killing two. The initial report of 2 houses burning grew to 4 houses destroyed and 4 more damaged by flames by the time I quit listening. Apparently it was three hours from the initial call before the situation was resolved to the point that firefighters could actually fight the fire.
Somehow, hearing this as it unfolded, before everything was known, makes it hit very hard. And the fact that it's local makes it hit hard. I've been at the place where this happened. My first thought was that this spot was picked because of limited access to get in or out, a military or terrorist consideration. I know someone who is a volunteer firefighter in the next town over. It's possible that his unit might have been called in to fight the fires after there was no longer an active shooter.
That makes it more real to me than the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Maybe I'm shallow, but it's more real because it's closer, and I know the area. And because I heard unfiltered eyewitness reports before I read the composed news stories that organized facts into a coherent pattern.
I turned on the radio briefly a few minutes ago. The local radio personality who had covered the breaking story read these words from a familiar Christmas song:
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."
This final stanza is a call to faith, in the face of insanity and evil and the apparent lack of peace on earth. I am wrestling with this, finding no other answer than the one God gave to Job. (For those of you who didn't read that far, God refuses to explain anything to Job.) Still, I pray that Wrong may fail, that Right prevail, with peace on earth, good-will to men.
May it be so.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Today is Sunday, a traditional day of rest. I'm not much of a traditionalist.
Every mainline fitness program in existence calls for regular rest days. I'm not much for following canned programs, as I tend to have conflicts messing with a regular schedule. I tend to wing it, and fit the various elements of a fitness program in when I can. Sometimes I take a rest day from exercise because I have too much going on at work, and just can't fit the exercise in.
So if I don't rest on Sunday because of tradition, and I don't schedule regular rest days, what does a rest day look like?
It starts with a good string of exercise days. I had that last week, culminating in a 8 mile run yesterday morning. Then after that run, I shoveled snow. The day before I had lifted weights. Last night I noticed I had over 18K steps on the pedometer. The day ended with 18,678 steps. I had to look; this was the fourth day since I started tracking in July 2011 that I had more than 18,000 steps. The only day I had more than yesterday was September 15, 2011, at 18,706. That was the day I strained my right soleus in 5K training. I re-read my blog from that day, and knew I needed to back off the steps today.
Today, when I got out of bed, my body felt pretty beat up. And it would have been a non-running day on general principle, even if my bad foot hadn't told me in no uncertain terms that it wasn't going to run today.
Between the bad foot and a body full of DOMS and minor aches, I decided to skip the kettlebell work this morning. And I decided to defer the next major weight lifting session till tomorrow, since I want to take tomorrow off from running anyway to stay on the Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday schedule.
I didn't give up my usual pullups and pushups, but I gave myself plenty of time between sets. And I figured if I got my 10K steps in today, that's enough. I took a 2 mile walk before church, and another walk of a bit more than a mile after church. My pace came in right around 15 minutes per mile, which is slow for me these days. There's a clue that I need the rest. The two walks, plus a dab of shopping and normal daily activity walking, will put me around 11K steps for the day. Good enough.
Late this afternoon, I felt better than this morning. But my rational side knew that keeping the remainder of the day for rest was wise. So I sat down to watch football, which is a great way to avoid activity. That got me through the afternoon and evening without being tempted to do something stupid. Last week, I deliberately left the TV off so I wouldn't be inactive; today I found it's a good tool to encourage intended inactivity.
Taking stock: The formerly sore thigh is essentially all healed up. The sore shoulder is still a little sore, but well on its way to 100%. This morning's various other aches have faded, and I expect they'll be totally gone tomorrow morning. I think the bad foot is not quite as bad as it was last week on Sunday after running 8 miles on Saturday; but it's still an indicator that I shouldn't push that long run to be longer just yet.
I have all of this week off work. Last year, when I had a stretch of time off in December, I started running 5 days a week. In 20-20 hindsight, I see that's where my injury problems started. No worries about a repeat; this year I will strictly hold to 3 days a week running in spite of having the time off. I'll try to fit in 3 weight lifting sessions, but if my body tells me it only wants 2 sessions that's OK.
And it's time to do the end of year household and financial maintenance stuff that doesn't directly relate to fitness. If I control how much I exercise, I should have enough time for that.
Oh, yeah. There's some sort of holiday thrown into this week, too. I'll find time to enjoy that holiday, without blowing my nutrition plan out of the water and without overdoing the exercise side of things.
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