Tuesday, December 20, 2011
So, this morning I went for my 4 mile run. It was 37 degrees and I was cold. At least I was for the first mile and a half. After three quarters of a mile I started to sing songs to myself (in my head, not out loud) to keep me occupied and keep my mind off of the cold.
First I sang "The Ants Go Marching One by One". Then I sang "Ten Little Teddy Bears All In a Bed." Apparently it worked because at the mile and a half mark I didn't feel cold anymore. Oh, the air around me still felt cold, but I no longer felt a chill.
But, I still had 2.5 miles left to go. So I sang "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall." That lasted me until I had less than half a mile to go. Was also the first time I can remember ever actually finishing that song.
Anyway, I finished my 4 miles in a little under 39 minutes. Then, my cool down was literally a cool down. I walked fast on my cool down. Usually I finish the .54 miles of my post-run cool down walk in about 10.5 or 11 minutes, but today I was done in 9. It was cold and I was ready to get inside.
After I got back inside and checked my watch, I couldn't help but chuckle to myself and shake my head at the same time. The last couple weeks while I've been sick, I've been running almost exactly 10 min/mile pace. As I recover I know I will be speeding back up to something close to a 9 min/mile pace and hopefully faster as I continue to train.
Unfortunately, I run for distance, not for time. So, if I continue to speed up, all my runs will end sooner and I may end up falling short of my fitness minutes goal.
Such an odd dilemma. Improve and risk falling short of my goal, or aim for the goal and ignore improvement for a couple weeks.
Or there's always option C - suggested in a comment on my last blog. If I fall short with my scheduled runs, then add an extra workout to get me enough minutes to hit my goal.
One way or another, I will get there!
Monday, December 19, 2011
Two or three months ago, while training for Ragnar and doing a lot of field work for my job, I had already blown by my Spark America yearly fitness minutes goal. I raised it from 7,000 to 12,000 minutes, but figured I would still be able to hit that with room to spare.
Well, after possibly hurting my IT band running Ragnar and reducing my mileage while my wife trained for her first half, I took a couple of weeks off, here and there, to try to rest my knee and IT band. Next thing I knew, it was the middle of December and suddenly I'm in danger of not hitting my goal of 12,000 yearly fitness minutes.
Last week, I jumped back into my training for my next half in March and it looks like I will make it to my goal as long as I don't miss any workouts. This includes making sure I get in my long runs on both Christmas Eve and New Years Eve. If I get those in, I should make my goal by about 20 minutes. Almost too close for comfort, but I should be able to get it done.
Now it's time to "make it happen."
Thursday, December 15, 2011
This morning my alarm went off at 4:45am for my scheduled 5 mile run...
4:45am - I'm so warm and cozy in my be- crap, is that my alarm?
4:45 - Got up and turned off my alarm.
4:45 - Realize my throat is still sore. Curse the fact that I haven't gotten rid of this darn cold, yet.
4:46 - Begin to mindlessly get dressed in the clothes I had set out the night before while trying not to wake up my wife or my 18-month old daughter.
4:47 - Checked my thermometer and phone to verify the temperature. Crap, it really is 35 degrees outside. I continue putting on all 3 layers of clothing.
4:49 - Woke up my wife by blindly trying to find my watch and the rest of my running gear in the dark, but instead knocking them (and other things) off my dresser and onto the floor. Loudly.
4:51 - Re-discover that trying to go to the bathroom quietly is not possible without sitting down.
4:51 - Re-discover that the toilet seat is ice cold this early in the morning.
4:55 - Head downstairs for a glass of water.
5:01 - Put on my running shoes.
5:03 - Gather my gloves, hat, keys, etc so that they will be ready to grab on my way out the door.
5:04 - Realize I need to use the bathroom before I leave and will probably be late starting my run.
5:11 - Put on my gloves and hat. I should've start running 1 minute ago.
5:12 - Realize I didn't grab a stick of gum and run to the kitchen to grab one and then pop it in my mouth on my way to the front door.
5:13 - I open and close the door as quietly as possible to keep from re-awakening my wife and or waking daughter. Once it's closed and locked I have no idea if I've succeeded until I return in approximately an hour.
5:14 - I finally begin my 5 mile run... about 4 minutes late. I better not run slow, again.
I'm wearing a knit beanie, a running shirt, a long sleeve running shirt, a running jacket, athletic pants, calf sleeves, tube socks, running shoes, and a pair of thick knitted and insulated Nautica gloves that I found on sale in Reno in March when I forgot to bring gloves with me (I still ended up running inside on a treadmill, but that's another story). I haven't ever worn these gloves all by themselves, so I'm not sure how warm they are. They seem like they should be warm.
I'm only wearing the one pair of gloves instead of wearing my Under Armor running gloves layered underneath them for a test. The Under Armor gloves are great until it gets below 40 degrees. Below 40 I have a hard time feeling my fingers by the time I've finished two miles. I'm hoping I can use these gloves alone instead of wearing two pairs.
I put them on and they seem thinner than I remember them being. That makes me nervous, but I head out, anyway.
With-in 30 seconds, my left eye begins watering as usual. Tears continue to stream out of my left eye for most of the first mile. I wonder if the few passing motorist think that I'm crying while I am running.
As my tears begin to freeze, I think about how I could still be sleeping in my nice warm bed. I may actually be crying, now.
After 3/4's of a mile, my eye stops watering, but the phlegm begins to rise in my throat from the cold I am not quite fully over. I spend the next 3/4's of a mile coughing up nasty phlegm.
Almost to the two mile mark. I've stopped coughing up phlegm, but suddenly almost swallow my gum. Almost.
My left eye has started watering again.
Begin to think that this monologue may make a good blog post.
Being to wonder if I will remember this all in a couple hours when I finally have time to write it down.
Starting to get tired. I wonder if this cold will ever finally go away so I can get back to running my usual speed.
My knees are cold.
But my hands are not. At least my gloves are working... so far.
I wonder if I will find any loose change along the route to add to Coach Nancy's virtual wallet.
Nearing two and a quarter miles, a beat-up pickup truck suddenly roars out of a side street just ahead without warning. Glad I was still a few yards back.
At 2 and a half miles, I arrive at an intersection I will have to cross twice (straight ahead, and then to the right), but find I have arrived out of sync with the lights and end up jaywalking both times. Fortunately it's early and there are very few cars.
And no cops. I nearly crossed against the light right in front of a motorcycle cop about a month ago at this same intersection.
Between 2.5 and 3 miles, my nose starts to run. I didn't bring any tissues, so I have to use the snort and spit removal method. Not pleasant for me or any of the random passing motorists. I try to snort and spit inconspicuously.
As I approach the next intersection (with a stop sign, fortunately), I will have to turn right to cross the street. I see headlights in the distance and wonder who will reach the intersection first.
I win! ...because the other car was driving slow and also because it turned off onto a side street.
At 3 and a half miles I turn right at a stop sign and head back towards home.
Behind me I hear a car approach and turn left. I can tell that it never slowed for the stop sign. I try not look back and instead pretend not to have noticed.
My nose is running again. Time for a few more snort and spits.
I wonder if I will finish this run at or faster than a 10min/mile average pace. I also wonder if I will need to speed up in order to accomplish that pace.
One mile to go.
I haven't found any loose change, yet.
I see a white Mazda Miata turn into a construction area and the proceed very very very slowly. I wonder if the driver is lost. I've never ever seen a construction worker driving a Miata. Especially when it has to be parked on a filthy dirt construction site. Maybe his truck is in the shop and he had to borrow his husband's car. Maybe it wasn't a Miata. Oh, hey, look, something shiny!
Drats, just some shiny trash.
More phlegm wants out and I have to cough. Nothing is coming up and it's just making my throat hurt more.
Finally, a productive cough. Time to do more covert spitting.
I pass a bald guy in a heavy jeans jacket that I see on most mornings. I wave and we both say good morning. Even tho he seems to be wearing more clothes than me, he looks a whole lot colder. He should probably be wearing a beanie.
Sometimes I wish I had less hair so I could wear a beanie without messing up my hair. I don't have a lot of hair, but wearing a beanie always makes it lay flat and look smooshed and matted. I have to choose between hair products and a beanie. Working in an office means the beanie usually loses.
That's sad because my wife tells me that I look hot in a beanie. I believe just about everything my wife tells me.
I heard a joke the day before. "A woman has the last word in every argument. Anything the man says after that is just the beginning of a new one." Sounds like there's some truth somewhere in that joke.
Hey, only a half mile to go.
Are car behind me turns right and then I hear it and another car honk at each other. Based on their arrangement, I can't possibly imagine why they are honking at each other. I keep running and pretend I didn't notice.
Time to start speeding up. Hopefully I will make it in around 10min/mile.
Look at the beautiful sunrise. Reminds me of the song "Little Fluffy Clouds," by The Orb. Except this is a sunrise, not a sunset.
4.8 mile mark - Hey, look at all these cool Christmas lights.
4.9 mile mark - Hey, the lights on our house look nice.
5.0 mile mark - Hey, look, more Christmas lights.
5.03 miles - Finished! Now time for my 10 minute cool down walk. I sure hope I don't freeze!
Back in the house - I'm sure glad I went for my run.
Boy am I cold, time to take a hot shower! But not til after I check myself out in the mirror and get on the scale to see how much I weigh.
I'm sure glad I went for my run!
Friday, December 09, 2011
This past Tuesday, I ran for the first time in a week and a half. I have been trying to let my IT Band heal (which I think is the problem) ever since running on banked roads during my first leg of Ragnar. It seems to be getting at least somewhat better. I don't have a roller, but I have been able to use the stairs or a chair on a couple of occasions and that seems to have helped.
Anyway, it's nearly winter, here in Las Vegas, so Tuesday's run was a chilly one. My indoor/outdoor thermometer said 29 when I left, but WeatherBug showed 25. Either way, it quite cold and easily below freezing.
I only ran 3 miles and tried to take it easy with my first run after my two weeks of rest, but still managed to finish with a 9:30 min/mile pace which I was happy with.
On Thursday it had warmed up and was only 35 for my 4 mile run. Still very chilly. I tried to take it easy, again, especially since everyone in our house had come down with a cold. My body was a little achy and tired from being sick. I was already trying to run at a nice recovery pace, and that combined with my head cold and muscle aches slowed me down to a 10:30 min/mile pace. I could tell that I started out faster, but in the last mile and a half, my cold and achy body took its toll and I knew I slowed down, but I didn't want to push myself while being sick and risk wearing myself out and extending my illness.
That being said, I was very happy with my time. If I can run a 10:30 min/mile recovery pace while sick then I am definitely getting in better shape and should be ready to get some PR's in the not-to-distant future.
Getting up and running when the temperature is at, near, or below freezing is very difficult, but I managed to do it last year, and I have no choice if I want to keep running. It's funny how all summer I look forward to it being colder, but then when it's cold I can't wait for the weather to warm up. It's never good enough. The temperature is always greener...
Anyway, after my wife ran in the Las Vegas RNR - and after reading a bunch of race reports on SP - I remembered that the RNR races (and other larger races) have pacers that you can run with. I've struggled in my last two halves with trying to break 2 hours. I ran 2:04:30 as my fastest race time, but I also ran 2:02:30 in the gym while definitely having a lot more energy and effort to spare. I know that I if I ran with a 2 hour pacer, I should be able to easily break the 2 hour mark. However, I don't have any large races scheduled. Looks like I will need to continue to rely on myself and my own pacing. And if I can do it on my own, shouldn't it make it that much sweeter?
I am looking forward to some sweetness.
Thursday, December 08, 2011
My wife ran in the Las Vegas RNR Half Marathon this weekend and had an excellent race!
We had planned this race ever since I ran it last year. My wife watched me finish while holding our then 6-month old daughter. This year it was my turn to watch her finish while holding our now 18-month old daughter.
The biggest issue, tho, was working out the logistics of me and our daughter being there. Last year, the race was in the morning and my wife arrived after it had started and was there in time for the finish. This year, the race started at 5:30pm and my wife's expected starting and finishing times put her expected finish well after our daughter's bedtime. That was going to be a real problem since this was going to be a real special moment and I really wanted to be there and she really wanted our daughter to be there.
In the end, we decided it was up to me to make a race-time decision. I made the decision to go for it and dressed up our daughter as warmly as possible (3 layers of clothing) and made it to the finish line about 20 minutes before she finished.
We signed up for the race tracker text messaging service and it worked great. I knew exactly where she was and could calculate her pace to figure out approximately when she would arrive. She had been nervous that based on her training pace, she would run it in over 3 hours 45 minutes. I told her that the race-day energy would get her moving faster. She kind of seemed to believe me, but not wholeheartedly.
As her texts came rolling in, I could see that she started out faster than her usual pace, but still a little slower than her usual starting pace, but then as I got the next updates I could see she was speeding up little-by-little.
As chance would have it, I met "Nana" in Mandalay Bay parking garage around 8:30pm as we arrived at almost the exact same time. She was there to cheer on both of her daughters (my wife and her sister). Once inside the Mandalay Bay, Nana helped open a path in the massive crowd of runners who had already finished and were going the opposite way we were. It was like fish swimming upstream, but we made it through without incident.
We were hoping our daughter would fall asleep in her stroller, but she was too entranced by all the crowds and lights and excitement going on around her.
After making our way to the finishing chute at around 9pm, we manged to find a spot behind a few people who left after just a few minutes and left us a nice gap right along the fence. When it drizzled a couple times, I got nervous about keeping our daughter outside in the cold and rain, but it didn't last that long and I had brought a big blanket that i draped over the stroller to keep her warm and dry (along with her 2 layers of warm clothes on top of her pj's).
I tried to watch for my wife, but had to spend most of my time keeping my daughter occupied. I had taken her out of the stroller for a while, but had to put her back in once it began to drizzle - and she was none-to-happy about that.
Then, suddenly, my wife appeared on the other side of the railing and yelled and waved and we jumped up and down and waved really big. As she continued on to the finish I could see her begin to cry happy tears. We met her and her sister a few minutes later and we gave her great big hugs and I told her how proud of her we were and also that she finished around 30 minutes faster than she had expected! Later on, I figured out that she had actual sped up throughout the race! Negative splits! She did awesome.
Other than fighting her way through the walkers on the course and the crush of people exiting through the Mandalay Bay, she had a great time. The crush of people was scarier for me and Nana trying to wheel an exhausted 18-month old toddler back out to the parking structure 2 hours past her bedtime, but thank God I had Nana with me. With her help - and the help of some benevolent strangers - we were able to find an alternate way out to the parking garage that didn't involve 6 flights of stairs.
My wife's goal for the race was 1) to finish, and 2) to the run the entire way. Her only other wishes were (in this order) for 1) her daughter to see her finish, and 2) her husband (me) to see her finish. She wore her camelbak and didn't need to stop for water and succeeded at her first goal, and I was able to make both of her other wishes come true. And being able to be there to see her finish after all her hard work and training was amazing. I can't express how proud I am of her. She not only achieved her goals, she also exceeded her own expected finishing time and managed to run negative splits (very impressive!).
Now, suddenly, after what was supposed to be a once in a lifetime event, she feels she could improve on her time and is thinking about running another one. Hmmm... that sounds very familiar to me. :) I had the same plan. Now, here I am 3 half marathons later with 3 more planned!
I love you, honey! You are awesome.
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