Monday, June 13, 2011
Because I the summer weather, and an upcoming half marathon where we have to bring our own containers, I decided to try out a Camelbak hydration backpack to see if it would do the trick. Of all the choices from hydration belts, to hand-held bottles, to backpacks, it seemed the most appealing, to me.
I was worried it wasn't going to arrive in time for my first real summer test when the high was going to reach past 90 on my long training day for the first time. The weather had been hotter on other days, but I never had to run 13 miles in it. Fortunately, it arrived on Friday afternoon. Just in time!
So, I ran my 13 mile training run on Sunday using my new camelbak and it worked out pretty well.
I wanted one that held a decent amount of fluid for a 2-3 hour run, but that was as close to minimalist as I could find (I didn't want to add too much extra weight), so I got the 70oz Classic which is 2 liters with just enough backpack to cover the reservoir with only one small pocket in the back.
I filled it up with about 8 ice cubes (thanks for the advice!), mostly water, and about 14 oz of gatorade. The pack insulated well and the ice really helped as I was still getting cold drinks during my cool down run over 2 and a half hours later.
It took a couple miles to adjust the shoulder and chest straps so that it felt semi-comfortable, but once I got past my second mile I didn't need to adjust it again.
At the beginning, when it was full, it would move a little bit and i had to tighten the chest strap pretty tight to get it secured, but once I got past three miles and had taken a couple mouthfuls every mile, it was no longer a problem.
I knew I had been running my long runs a little too fast, so I consciously decided to slow down. Add to that fiddling with a new backpack, and I actually ended up running at about the perfect pace. Hopefully my pace was more influenced by me than the backpack.
I drank a couple mouthfuls at every mile which was enough to keep my mouth from drying up the entire time, and when I finished, there was still plenty left in the pack for me to quench my thirst and still have around 12 ounces left when I got back to the house.
Based on the amount of fluid left after my run, I either need to drink more during my run, or I can get away with filling up with less fluid at the beginning (which might be nice since the back felt better after 3 miles of drinking).
More testing will ensue in the coming weeks, but it looks promising for use during my half in August!
Friday, June 10, 2011
Summer has finally arrived in Las Vegas.
Mid to upper 90s for the next 10 days and the long-range forecast should be for highs of 90+ - with a good helping of 100+ heat - every day until September or October.
The lows this week never get below 70 and will soon be marching into the 80's.
The heat is on!
So, I am glad my camelbak has arrived. I found the most minimalist style at the cheapest price that I could find. I will need it for all those long, weekend runs when it's almost impossible to leave the house before the sun comes up and it's still 80 degrees at dawn.
I hope this works out because I can't imagine what else I'm going to do other than try and run 10-15 miles (that's between 55 and 83 laps) on a tiny indoor track at the gym. Yikes!
I've got my fingers crossed, my sunglasses on, and a handful of Bondi Bands. Let's do this.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
I decided last night that I was bored with my long run route, but I wasn't sure where else to run. After thinking it over, in the end, I decided to try running laps around a smaller loop. What loop that would be, tho, was undetermined until this morning.
I have a loop that I regularly run that is four miles and with the half mile route to get there, I end up with my standard 5 mile run route I run twice a week. Today, Instead of running that 4 mile loop, I ran a half mile further north to the next largest street and that turned my 4 mile loop into a 5 mile loop. Together with some road construction detours and my run to and from the loop, I calculated that my run would be at least 11 miles and probably closer to 11.5 miles.
For my long runs, I usually start off slow to make sure I don't wear myself out too soon. Today, i started out at my typical 5 mile run pace, instead, and decided I was going to try to keep that pace.
I timed splits for a) the first 3/8 mile that it took to get to the loop, b) both 5 mile loops, c) the last mile, and then d) the last 3/8 of a mile to get back to my starting point.
Here are my splits:
3/8 mile "warm up": 3:51
first 5 mile loop: 47:13
second 5 mile loop: 46:56
last mile: 9:27
3/8 mile "cool down": 3:23
Total time for my 11.75 run: 1:50:48
The warm up and cool down are in quotes because they were not intended as such. I am surprised, but happy, that I ran my second 5 miles slightly faster than my first (even accounting for a slight difference in location of where I took the splits). The first lap felt great, like I could keep running that pace for a long time, but on the second lap I could feel the energy being sapped from my body after the 8 mile mark.
In the end, I ran a 9:33 pace which is a pace that would break my half marathon PR time where I averaged a 9:40 pace. I kept my pace up the entire time without trailing off at the end and with only a mile and a half more to run, I know I would have broken my half PR! This pace wouldn't have broken 2 hours, but my legs were still a little tight, and with the adrenaline of running under race conditions, I might have had the energy to do it.
All in all, it was a great run!
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Along the highways near the City of Hope - an independent biomedical research and treatment center famous for its work in the fight against Cancer - they advertise on billboards using the word "Canswer".
I have a friend who was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was in his 30's who was successfully treated at the City of Hope. He's been healthy and in remission for over 5 years, now. Since then, I didn't give cancer much thought, except for the billboards I see when driving by on the way to my parents' house that make me smile with the knowledge and hope of the people fighting hard and making breakthroughs to help people fight against and maybe one day cure cancer.
Two years ago, the mom of one of my wife's best friends was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. She was given a year to live, but only hung on for half of that. I could only imagine the heartache and heartbreak that her friend and her dad felt, first finding out the news, then losing her so quickly.
Then, one day, I got an e-mail from my dad. My mom was diagnosed with cancer. Funny (but, not funny-haha) how different it seems when it happens to you. Different from when it happens to someone else. Different from the stories in the newspaper or in magazines or on TV. There were no dark clouds or ominous foreshadowing. There was no depressing soundtrack or eerie silence. The camera didn't cut in for a reaction shot and then zoom out for context.
Cancer comes in so many different forms. Big, small. My mom's cancer was fortunately small and very localized. Her doctor originally thought it was just a benign polyp on her intestine. After some tests they determined it was cancerous, but non-aggressive.
After I read the e-mail the world didn't pause. I didn't cry. I didn't turn white as a sheet. There were no angels suddenly appearing to minister to my tears. I was a little unsure. I was a little stunned, maybe also a little in denial. Maybe I am finally becoming an optimist, I don't know. Needless to say, I was not as shocked as I would have expected. And the world continued on around me as if nothing happened.
Before she started treatment she went on her Christmas vacation to visit my sister and her other grandchildren. Even during treatment she didn't lose her hair or turn into a skeleton or a shadow of her former self. She has continued to work the whole time and still does aerobics twice a week.
Now, she's already gone through 6 weeks of chemo and radiation to shrink the tumor. We waited two months since then for her surgery to remove what's left and that day is finally here. Even the surgery seems somewhat underwhelming. The tumor shrunk enough that they can do the surgery laparoscopically. Yes, she will still have to have a portion of her colon and intestine removed - which is scary - but, they will not have to seriously cut her open. It seems more like knee surgery than cancer surgery.
But, if I have learned nothing else in life, it's that no outcome in life is certain. So, today we pray. And once today is over, then we pray for her successful recovery from surgery and her remaining chemo. Regardless of how non-threatening and uneventful this whole cancer scare has been to me (i know it's been scarier and more real to my mom and my dad), life cannot be taken for granted.
So today we pray for my mom and also pray for the day when we will no longer need a "Canswer".
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Well, so much for that blog-a-day bit that I had going. A business trip to Reno from the 8th to the 11th nipped that right in the bud. I did no blogging during the conference (too busy) and then didn't have the time, energy, or motivation to write any more once I got back. It's been almost a week since I got back and I'm just now finally goading myself to write this, otherwise it could be another week, at least.
So, here's the 4-1-1 on what's been going on to get us back up to speed.
After running my 9 miles on the 7th instead of the 8th, I had two much needed rest days. Those days allowed me to travel to Reno on Sunday and then rest on the first day of my conference. Prior to that weekend, the temps had been pushing into the 90's, but a nice cold front came thru on Sunday and cooled things off considerably. The weather for Reno was even cooler and even included a winter storm warning! I made sure to pack warm clothes for some chilly morning runs.
Monday morning we went for a tour of the I-580 construction and it blew snow/ice on us for most of the morning. That kept up for most of the day and I was not looking forward to running in the early morning freeze on Tuesday. Luckily, the hotel had a fitness center that opened at 6am! $7.50 for 24 hours of access to the fitness center was music to my ears. I planned breakfast with my co-worker at 7:30a, so I hoped I would have time to get in my 5 miles and a shower and be on time for breakfast before the first session started at 8:30a.
So, Tuesday morning I woke up and was at the fitness center just after it opened at 6a and hopped on the treadmill. My two rest days had done the trick and my legs were feeling great. However, the treadmill was not my friend.
The treadmill was touchscreen and was very cranky from overuse, so the screen needed to be pushed hard and in exactly the right place. Not really the best scenario for trying to stay steady enough to get that belt moving at the right speed while running.
I started off at 5.5mph and less than a quarter mile later my shins were screaming. Now, I've run on many a treadmill two years ago, but have not touched one in the past year. Only when I first began running did my shins scream this loudly and I was certainly not expecting this. My plan was to run my scheduled 5 miles, but I knew I might hurt myself if I did.
As I ran i began to run with I would call lazy and sloppy form - with my feet landing awkwardly - but it helped my shin pain to be at least bearable. By 3 miles I was running at 6.5mph, but I knew that I was not meant to run the full 5 on this treadmill. I pushed myself at 7.5mph for the fourth mile, and then did a long cool down walk. Turns out that was probably a good idea as I barely was able to make it back to my room and then down to breakfast on time as it was.
Meals for the conference were on per diem, so my plan was to eat cheap and save the money I didn't spend. I did a great job of that on Monday, and having dinner provided definitely helped. It was mostly table hors d'oeuvres with tiny plates and that helped keep my portions reasonable.
Tuesday morning after my morning workout, however; my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I overdid my breakfast. The rest of the day, I managed to make up for it, somewhat. Lunch was provided, but it was a lunch meeting and I wasn't leaving to go back for seconds. In the evening we went out to dinner on the way to take another attendee to the airport and had a rushed dinner. Again, having dinner early and rushed made me prioritize what I wanted to eat and even tho I didn't choose to order the healthiest food, I didn't force myself to finish it all. I didn't eat the best on Tuesday, but I definitely limited the damage.
Wednesday was the last day of the conference and I was tired I felt the need to take advantage of the time to myself to get some much needed sleep. That, the weather, and the whole treadmill-shins debacle meant that I decided to sleep in and take a rest day instead of run 3 miles on the devilish treadmill or in the 30 degree weather in a strange city.
Wednesday was also a decent day for eating. Coffee service with small croissants and fruit was provided in the morning. I stuck to some OJ and a few croissants and kept my breakfast in check. Lunch on the way to the airport I definitely overdid at Taco John's, but the ginger ale and peanuts on the plane really helped keep my appetite in check for the evening. After my wife picked me up at the airport, we planned to stop and pick up dinner on the drive home, but our daughter was throwing a fit (in her defense, she was tired and hungry and tired of being stuck in her car seat), we decided to just head straight home which was fine with me since I wasn't really that hungry and it meant we instead had a small home-cooked dinner.
So, all in all, I didn't eat the best during the conference, but I mixed in some bad meals and some good meals and some mediocre meals. By moving my Sunday run to Saturday, I only missed one day of running - which was an optional day, anyway. Thursday morning I was back to running without missing a beat.
When Sunday the 15th rolled back around, it was good weather, again, and the extra rest was going to be just what I needed... except that I spent an hour and a half weeding on Saturday and my hamstrings were tight like rubber bands, again. I did my scheduled 10 miles, anyway. I ended up running slow, again (just like my 9 miler) with a 10:30 min/mile pace. It got the job done, but it was disappointing to have to run over 10min/mile pace, again, plus it made my hamstrings even tighter.
Monday was a needed rest day and then this morning I ran my scheduled 5 miles. Another cold front is pushing through and I had to pull out a long sleeve shirt and gloves! It sure feels nice to run in the cool air, again, but I do need to get some warm weather runs in to be ready for the 10k that's the end of June. Back on topic, I decided to push my legs a little to see how well they could perform while tight and tired, and to see if maybe it would loosen them up a bit. It turned out to be a pretty darn good run. I finished my 5 miles in just over 46 minutes and my legs have been feeling better all day, so far.
Yesterday, I mapped out a virtual 5k route. Either this week or next I will have to give it a shot! I'd also like to get in some test miles and some speed training, so hopefully my hamstrings are on the road to recovery. This upcoming weekend will be another odd one with a bunch of plans I have to work around, so I may end up with another long Saturday run. With this roller coaster Spring weather, who knows if I will be sweating or chilling!
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