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Finding new ways to screw-up

Friday, December 04, 2009

LOCATION: San Francisco, CA
DISTANCE: Not Measured
COMPANY: Alone (As Always)
TOTAL TIME: 1 hours and 15minutes (Mostly Running and Some Cool-Down Walking)
PACE: Moderate
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Fair, Temperature 49°F, Feels Like 48°, Wind 4 mph WNW, Humidity 69%.


I arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday, December 1st. When I first got to the Bay Area, I had a terrific run (see last blog entry). On Wednesday I used the hotel exercise room and spent about 35 minutes on an elliptical machine. I also did a lot of stretching to improve my flexibility.

I went for another run the next day. My super human status was pretty much gone! My legs were sore! I forced myself to run at a good pace. Unfortunately, my legs decided to they had had enough and abandoned me after an hour.

The Olympic gold medalist marathoner, Frank Shorter said he liked training at high-altitude because it kept him from beating himself up. I hear you, Frank!


Running in San Francisco

Thursday, December 03, 2009

LOCATION: San Francisco, CA
COMPANY: Alone (As Always)
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours and 15minutes (Mostly Running and Some Cool-Down Walking)
PACE: Fast (Really Fast!)
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Sunny (Clear) Temperature 60°F, Feels Like 60°F, Wind 4 mph NW, Humidity 52%

ELEVATION: 53 ft (7939 ft lower than Bailey, CO - where I usually run)

I am currently in San Francisco on business. I brought my running shoes with me. After I got settled in my Hotel, I sailed out the door for a run. There is a gorgeous boardwalk around the end of an inlet nearby. I decided to do interval training for about 45 minutes. When I started running I found that I could breathe! I felt like I was drinking the air. Oxygen flowed into my lungs in huge cool gulps. I picked up the pace. I expected to hit the wall where I would be completely out of breath. There was no wall! I picked up some more speed. There was still no wall! I hit the gas and felt like I was flying. I was in a time warp! I am not bragging. (Well, maybe a little.) My ability to go really fast surprised me! I mis-timed my run. I thought I had been running for 45 minutes. When I got back to my room the clock showed that I had been running for 1 hour and 45 minutes!

I am pretty sure that good citizens of San Francisco thought I was kook! I was dressed in running shorts and a sleeveless shirt. Everyone else looked like they were outfitted for an arctic expedition. I did get some odd stares. The temperature was 60°F, which would be a veritable heat wave where I live.

I mean no disrespect to those lucky runners that live in warm climates and low elevations. Running takes hard work and dedication anywhere.

I wanted to find out if there was an explanation for being able to run so fast. I did a Google search and found out there are actually high-altitude running camps for competitive runners. These camps are typically located between 7000’ and 8000’ in elevation. Runners spend quite a bit of money for a couple weeks of training at high-altitudes in hopes of increasing low-altitude performance. I live and train at 8,000’ and it doesn’t cost me a dime.

I am sure if I moved to San Francisco I would soon lose the high-altitude training advantages. I know I would revert to be my pokey self!

Where I normally run every breath burns like fire. Sometimes a white frothy stuff comes up from my lungs that I have to spit out. (Sorry, I know that is gross). I can feel my heart pounding in my chest. I don’t breathe as much as I wheeze. My wind conks-out way before my legs. I get tired just trying to breathe. I actually kind of like the strain. Once when I was in college I gave blood. The nurse told me to avoid physical exertion and alcohol. Of course, I went running and then hit the bar! I am a glutton for punishment! (I have never claimed to be a grown-up!)

Why could I run faster than a speeding bullet? Here are some high-altitude adaptations I found on the on the web:

1. 30 to 50 percent more red blood cells than at sea level.

2. Diphosphoglycerate (DPG) increases within the blood cells. (This is an organic phosphate that helps oxygen to combine with red blood cells producing higher concentration of oxygen in the blood.

3. More capillaries in response to altitude improving the diffusion of oxygen to muscles tissue.

4. Since I have lived most of my life at high-altitude I likely have at least a 20% increased in lung capacity. (I have wondered why I am able to blow lung test devices off the scale.)

5. Changes within red blood cells that makes them more efficient at unloading oxygen to the tissues.

I have to go back to the frozen high-country on Friday. For now I am going to enjoy being a far better runner than I actually am.



Running temperature 24°F -- Dang! That is really cold!

Monday, November 30, 2009

DATE: November 29, 2009
TIME: 3:00pm
LOCATION: Platte Canyon High School Track
COMPANY: Alone (As Always)
TOTAL TIME: 50 minutes (Stretching, Running and Walking)
PACE: 12 min/mile
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Cloudy, Temperature 24°F, Feels Like 18°F, Wind 6.1 mph NE, Humidity 54%

ELEVATION: 7991 Feet


I am kind of following Couch-to-5K program. I decided to adjust the intervals for distance instead of time. I set a run/walk pace that would allow me to cover 400m in 190 seconds. I ran for 70 to 90 seconds, which I followed with a brisk walk for 120 to 100 seconds. To keep the pace and make up some time, I had to run a few 400m laps all the way. Unfortunately, on the last lap the LCD on my timer froze and went blank! Rats, I hate it when it does that!

I rediscovered my stride. I let my left foot crosses in front of me, which is a natural quirk in the way I run. My left foot also points inward as I run. My right foot lands straight. I have a slight heal strike but I roll quickly to the ball of my foot and give a good push with my calves. I let my calves do a fair amount of work to push me forward. I had been trying to get my left foot strike the ground “properly”. I think my attempt to make my left foot land straight may have contributed to my left hip injury.

This run felt very good. I walked for 5 minutes to warm-up. I stretched after the warm-up. I walked a lap after the stretching. I wanted to get my muscles warm. The temperature was so low I wanted to be sure I was good and warmed-up. The wind and cold was stinging my face.

My wife is a runner. We never run together because we run so differently. I am faster. She has more endurance. She did not run today. She draws the line when the mercury drops to the low 20’s. She stayed inside and used our elliptical trainer for her workout.

I really enjoyed running in the frozen wasteland. I was the only thing moving. Except for the wind, everything was so quiet and still.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BSTAKINGACTION 11/30/2009 10:14AM

    Thanks for adding me as a friend, reading my blog, AND posting your run info, Bruce. I love reading about what other runners are going through. You know, your evaluation of your stride is really interesting. I've been trying to pay more attention to mine as well...IT band and hip/foot pain indicate I'm favoring one side over another. Glad it was a good run for you!

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MYSOLDIERSWIFE 11/30/2009 1:03AM

    this is great news! i'm so glad you are running agian- even if it is slow and in the freezing cold. i have a coach that has a weird foot quirk too- his one foot is turned way in and he was a runner in college. i think some people just naturally move a little differently- there's nothing wrong with it as long as they don't hurt themselves. keep moving and try to stay warm :-)

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Bruised, Battered but Running Anyway

Saturday, November 28, 2009

DATE: 27Nov09
TIME: 4:00pm
LOCATION: Platte Canyon High School Track
DISTANCE: Unmeasured
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour
PACE: Slow
WEATHER CONDITIONS: Wind: 9 mph, Humidly: 35%, Temperature: 36°F, Feels like: 28°F
ELEVATION: 7991 Feet


"non sum qualis eram” (I am not such as I was)

This was my first real training run in over 4 months. In July I injured my hip during an 8 mile timed run. After two months of PT the hip pain subsided. I have been able to keep some of my cardio fitness by using an elliptical trainer. In mid-October I got clobbered and dislocated several ribs. Not good!

Although not quite healed, I wanted to run. I decided to loosely follow the Couch-to-5K running plan. I figured the C25K program would allow me to ease back into running. I am so beat-up I started on W1D1 (Week 1 - Workout 1). I did the following:

• Brisk 5 minute warm-up walk
• Stretch
• Intervals: Jog 60 seconds and quickly walk for 90 seconds for a total of 30 minutes
• Brisk 5 minute cool-down walk
• Stretch
• 3 minute slow walk

Total Time: 1 hour

I am unbelievably slow! I was barely covering 200 meters during a 60 second jog. I did the math - I was doing an 8 min/mile pace. However, I could not have kept this pace for much more than 60 seconds. I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest. Breathing is not all that easy at 8,000 feet. Breathing up here is really hard if one cannot take a deep breath. Surprisingly, I started to breathe better as I continued training. I had a lot of chest congestion before I started to run. The congestion eased after about 20 minutes. I could go a bit faster then. The C25K program calls for 20 minutes of interval training. I pushed a little and did 30 minutes of interval training.

My hip is not 100% but is tolerable. My IT bands and hamstrings still lack any semblance of flexibility. My stride has lost any vestige of power or smoothness.

The temperature was a bit on the cool side at 4 degrees above freezing, which did not help my flexibility, or lack thereof. I was wearing sweat pants, a pull-over skiing jacket, thermal socks, gloves and a turtle fur headband. I had to weave through the snow on the track a bit. There was quite a bit of elk and deer droppings on the track that I had to avoid.

Overall I felt pretty good. Even though I am back at square one, I kind of enjoyed just moving again. I may have a chance to be a wiser and more conservative runner. I am not the runner I was.

“Respice post te! Hominem te memento!" (Look behind you! Remember that you are but a man!)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYSOLDIERSWIFE 11/28/2009 2:06PM

i know how hard it is to take it easy-- you are doing so well and being smart about this is key to not hurting yourself again! good for you taking it slow- being a little slow isn't that bad- it helps you learn patience! :-)

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CHARGER25 11/28/2009 12:07PM

    The temperature alone would have stopped me....plus being the worst distance runner in the US. I ran track in HS and part of the way through college....Yea, I was was the wimpy little sprinter that thought running a lap was long distance.

Love the Latin, reminds me of elementary school

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SEAHORSEA 11/28/2009 2:26AM

    I admire your perseverance!! Kudos to you for your hard work.

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PRINGLE12 11/28/2009 1:47AM

    great, you are back on!

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To Trot or Not

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

There is a Turkey Trot tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day, of course). The "Turkey Day 5K Run/Walk" starts at 9:00AM. My wife wants me to go. I am not so sure. The rib sprain that I suffered in October doesn't bother me much anymore. I still can't breathe worth a hoot. Every time I take a deep breath I have a coughing fit.

Here's the deal.

I don't need to breathe very much to slowly jog the 5K. I will have to resist the urge to run like I am being chased by a tiger!

I think I am going to do the Turkey Day 5K Run/Walk. I will try and act like a responsible adult and not hurt myself. There is a first time for everything!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYSOLDIERSWIFE 11/27/2009 11:50PM

    good for you! how did it go?

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