Running quote of the week

“Runners are often obsessive compulsive, and if they miss some miles, that’s a setback. It’s just a run. It’s not the end of the world.”- Craig Leon

Sunday, March 26, 2017

This run was out of sight

Alone again, naturally
Today's run (track): 4 miles

Most of this weekend was spent celebrating Mrs. ER's birthday. That included a darn good dinner prepared by me and my daughter. My polenta, mozzarella and veggie crumble appetizers, along with garlic sautéed broccoli, were a big hit. My daughter rocked her chicken parmigiana and Francesco's provided the cake, napoleons and rainbow sponge cookies.

Needless to say, we all took the day off from watching our calories. I've done a good job reducing the amount of processed sugar I consume and expected to wake up feeling like I'd overindulged. I actually felt great this morning and ready to cover a few miles. That may have been due to having a full supply of glycogen in my system.

The outside temperature was in the mid-30's with a light wind that made it seem even colder. I didn't feel like running around my boring neighborhood streets again, so I headed over to the high school to run boring laps around the track. In truth, I never find the track boring. Despite the repeatable view and unchanging surface, I appreciate the serenity of the place. That was especially the case on a day like today where I had the entire track to myself.

One likely reason that I was alone (besides the early hour and overcast sky) was the cold. I wore track pants and a couple of sweatshirt-weight top layers that kept my core warm. Even though I brought mid-weight running gloves, my hands were freezing for the first twenty minutes.  It was especially bad when rounding the southwest corner of the track where the wind hit me head on. I didn't bring el bandito mask today and regretted it until I finally warmed up.

Since there was no one else on the track, I was free to run in whatever lane I wanted. Better still, I was able to close my eyes for a few seconds as I ran without fear of collision. I thought I was running straight and was surprised to see that I'd crossed over into the next lane. I've always thought running that way would be a Zen-like experience. Now I know not to try it on the treadmill.

Eyes open is recommended
I ended up doing 16 laps and running the last mile much faster than the first three. When I picked up my pace I felt like my running got somewhat easier. Is there something to that? Is there a threshold of efficiency when running slower actually takes more energy than running faster? I would have put that further to the test but I hit my targeted four and called it a workout. On my next run I'll increase my speed a little more than my natural pace to see how long I can sustain that. It's worth a try and probably a better idea than running with my eyes closed again.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Run interruptions, indoors and out

Tether and lace
Today's run (street): 3.6 miles
Yesterday's workout (elliptical): 30 minutes
Thursday's run (treadmill): 3.3 miles
Last Sunday's run (street): 3.2 miles

This week has been busy. For a change, it wasn't due to work. I took Wednesday and Thursday off for some family stuff, but that didn't give me much workout time. I did manage to squeeze in a treadmill run, but accidentally pulled out the safety tether halfway through. That brought the machine to an abrupt halt. I was upset for a moment because it caused my time and distance to disappear from the display. Fortunately, I'd set my Garmin for an indoor run that captured all that information.

The worst part of interrupting a good run is the drop in heart rate that follows. I've had occasions when a perfectly good workout became a struggle after an unscheduled stop. A few years ago I was on a brisk lunchtime run in Central Park with a friend who asked me to stop so he could shed a top layer. We were at the halfway point on Cat Hill when we stopped. I struggled from that moment on, and ended up cutting our five miler to three.

This morning I was anxious to get outside after yesterday's elliptical session and Thursday's treadmill run. The weather was pleasant, 52° and overcast, and the pavement felt good under my NB Zantes. I hadn't run in them for over a month due to their low platform and my plantar issue. I figured that I'd made enough progress to try them again. They really are great shoes and I had no post run heel problems.

Like the treadmill tether problem I had on Thursday, I found myself needing to stop a couple of times on my run. I hadn't double knotted my laces and they were whipping annoyingly around my ankles. It was no big deal, but I did feel light headed after bending down to retie the Zantes. My recovery from those stops went better than that time in Central Park but it did throw off my momentum.

Today's run
This morning, around the time I was doing my little run around the neighborhood, Runsketeer SIOR was running the Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon. She snagged an age group award and next month SIOR and KWL will be in Hopkinton, MA for the Boston Marathon.

Tomorrow will be colder than today and I'll decide in the morning whether to brave the outdoors or retreat to the treadmill. Either way, I'm hoping to get through my run without any tether or tying issues.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Runsketeers add a new member

L to R: ER, KWL, Bossy McBossy, AA
Today's run (street): 3.75 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 3.4 miles
Last Sunday's run (treadmill): 3.4 miles

Spring is just around the corner, that is if you consider Sunday a corner. But you'd never know it from the weather we've had this week. The "biggest storm of the season" turned out to be about 5" of snow that transformed into 3" of heavy slush once the rain came into the mix. The town plows turned that into a thick wall of ice that took us over an hour to clear. We're getting more snow today, but it doesn't look like it's going to stick.

Yesterday I worked from home and had a great run on the treadmill. I've definitely made my peace with the machine, but I far prefer running outside. This morning I participated in the Syosset Life Time group run that is led by Runsketeer SIOR. I was looking forward to running outside for the first time since late February and excited to see my buddies. We missed TPP who had to work today, but we were joined by a great guy (AA) who fit right into our group.

The plan was to meet at Life Time Fitness at 9:00 AM, but SIOR and KWL, who are training for Boston, were finishing up their "pre-run" at SUNY OW and were running to the gym from there. AA and I arrived at 9:00 and, after we met, I told him that our run leader was on her way. That gave us about 30 minutes to chat before SIOR and KWL arrived. After quick introductions and a hydration stop for SIOR and KWL, we were off.

My Garmin had a little trouble acquiring a GPS signal but our bossypants run leader had us running through the lot and into the adjacent neighborhood before I could start recording my data. I finally began capturing distance, pace and HR after going half a mile. SIOR and AA took the lead and KWL and I followed. Even after running 14 miles earlier (they ended up doing 18 miles today), KWL and SIOR were still raring to go and I appreciated  that he hung back with me.

Today's full Life Time route
Although KWL was taking it easy, I was actually running 84% of max heart rate which resulted in a pace in the high 10:00 range. I never felt overworked but did fade a little close to the end. I managed to spring back enough to finish the last quarter mile in the 9:00 range. Once we'd all arrived at the gym, we made the decision to break tradition and have coffee at Life Time's café rather than Starbucks. It was a perfect place to cool down with plenty of space and good coffee.

Runsketeer graphic by KWL
It turned out that AA is an experienced marathoner and he has done three of the US majors (Chicago, NYC and Boston). KWL has done NYC, Berlin, London and Tokyo and will add Boston to the list in April. SIOR has done Boston, Philly, and a couple of others and is on track to meet her NYRR 9+1 to gain entry into NYC next year. I'm not in their league but I have done three halfs. I'm thinking of doing one race this year to see if I'm ready to return to competition.

One other positive today, besides getting to run and hang out with three great people, is that my plantar fasciitis seems to be abating. I ran in my Kaynos today and used the PF orthotics I bought a few weeks ago. No pain during the run and only mild soreness afterward. I'm hoping that conditions are okay for another outside run tomorrow, but if today's light snow makes for icy roads tomorrow, I'll be back on the treadmill. But as I said earlier, I'm good with that.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Stir frying and treadmill flying

Hot Hibachi on a cold day 
Today's run (treadmill): 3.6 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

A year ago I was writing about running in 59° weather and now we are bookending two March snowstorms. Friday's nor'easter turned out to be kinda lame but it did produce a couple of inches on Long Island. This Tuesday we are due to receive another 12"-18" which just doesn't seem fair. Because winter has been acting like winter I've continued to do my runs on the treadmill.

Although Friday's storm didn't cause too much disruption, it did delay my running schedule. I ended up fitting in a mid-afternoon 25 minute run between meetings. Not much to say about that except I made the mistake of selecting the classic rock channel and enduring back to back songs by Pink Floyd and Rush. On the plus side, my plantar pain was hardly noticeable.

This morning I considered getting outside but the temperature, with wind chill, was in the teens. Running in extreme cold would be fine if I could protect my face as well as the rest of my body. Even with a balaclava I didn't think being outside was worth the sinus pain. I elected to stay indoors which turned out to be a good decision.

My run was great, probably due to taking Pseudoephedrine earlier in the morning for a slight sinus headache. I started out at a moderate pace. After realizing I could handle more, I upped my speed and did the remainder of the run at about a 9:30 pace. That may not sound very impressive, but for me these days it was pretty good performance.

One buff, many uses
Midday the Emerging Runner family met up with Runsketeer buddy KWL and his sister HC at a local Hibachi place for lunch. HC is a master seamstress and the designer-creator of my beloved bandito mask. We had a great time and it was great meeting HC who, like KWL, is awesome. I'm looking forward to our next food adventure.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Hoping for some plantar relief in the Futuro

The futuro is now
Today's run (treadmill): 3.3 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 3.3 miles

Earlier this week I was complaining to anyone in my office that would listen about my foot soreness due to plantar fasciitis. I am fortunate to work in a place that has many experts on health (along with other subjects) and one of them told me she got great results from something called the Futuro Night Plantar Fasciitis Sleep Support brace. The next day she brought it in so I could use it. Some people are really nice.

The brace seems designed to hold the foot in a way that prevents you from pointing your toes when you sleep. Apparently we all do that. Pointing toes aggravates the plantar fascia. That explains why every morning my heel feels like someone hammered a nail into it overnight. Unlike my "night sock" that yanks back my toes, the Futuro brace does its thing gently. I wore the brace extensively on Thursday night and on Friday (because I worked from home) and started feeling some relief.

I was encouraged by the improvement but felt concern that I'd undo my progress if I went for a run. I decided that it was worth chancing a relapse and did a treadmill workout on Friday morning. While I did feel a few pangs of soreness at different stages in the run, I experienced no residual pain. I've continued to wear the brace while in the house and it seems to be helping.

This morning I decided that 20° weather plus wind chill are not an appealing combination. Once again, I did my running on the treadmill. My current routine is to put on a music station and set my speed to a brisk but sustainable pace. No treadmill hating these days as I've learned to appreciate the more forgiving surface compared to pavement. Plus, did I mention the 20° plus wind chill outside?

I've often said that treadmill minutes seem twice as long as regular minutes. Today the time went by quickly. Instead of watching my time or mileage, I now run by songs. Roughly three per mile. Psychologically, it's a much better approach and probably why every runner but me listens to music when they run outdoors. I'm still not doing that.

My buddies SIOR and KWL have been tuning up for the Boston Marathon in April by running NYRR races the past two weekends. This weekend they're running the Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5K up in Washington Heights and will be adding another 13 miles on top of that. With all those hills and a real feel temperature of 13°, it's going to be interesting. That is so beyond anything I'm prepared to do right now. I'll stick with the treadmill, a temperature controlled room and my borrowed brace.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Night socked and soda blasted

This won't hurt a bit
Today's run (treadmill): 3.5 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 1.5 miles

Before you judge me for for my abysmally low mileage this week, please know that I had plenty of excuses why that was the case. And by plenty, I mean two. First was my work schedule that required me to come into the office on Friday. I normally work from home on Fridays, but I had my buddy KWL come for a visit. It was great having him at the office, but I didn't get a chance to do my usual Friday run.

Plantar fasciitis is the other excuse for my five mile week. Despite my purchase of a compression sleeve and plantar orthotics, the pain in my heel hasn't gone away. This discourages longer runs because I'm concerned that I'm doing damage with every step. I don't know if that's true. Even though the Internet has plenty to say about the condition, I've found very little useful information about it.

Saturday morning I followed my usual routine of waking up and limping downstairs to make coffee. The limping hasn't always been usual, but this has been my experience over the past month or so. After I took a few hundred steps, the pain reduced from pointedly sharp to mildly uncomfortable. I started thinking about my morning run and considered driving over to the track where the surface is more forgiving. Then I remembered that I had my six month dental checkup in a couple of hours and went back to drinking coffee.

My dentist recently left the office that we've been using for the last 15 years but we've followed her to her new practice. I met her hygienist who turned out to be one of those judgy types who assume that no one flosses or brushes correctly. There aren't too many things I do well, but one of them is take good care of my teeth. I enjoyed listening to her compliment my excellent "home care" and prepared for an easy cleaning. I wasn't prepared for her.

My foot issue had made me a little grouchy and my annoyance increased when this woman started aggressively going through her routine. I thought about how running has made me patient about situations like this, where you have no choice but to ride out the discomfort. Then things got a little weird. The hygienist used what I can only describe as a miniature sand blaster to power wash the inside of my mouth using baking soda. Ouch and yuck. My tongue felt like it was being hit with shotgun pellets. I was really hating this woman by the time I heard the machine winding down to a stop.

I left the office feeling sorer than when I'd limped in. I headed over to a nearby CVS to buy their equivalent of a Strassburg Sock. The sock pulls back your foot and stretches out the plantar fascia. This is supposed to relieve the pain caused by tightened and inflamed tissue. I put it on when I got home. It was hard to tell if it helped, but I kept it on for about an hour.

Socks of the night: (left, CVS, right, the Strassburg Sock) 
Later in the day I decided I was ready to try a neighborhood run. The outside temperature was in the mid 50's and overcast. Pretty good running conditions. I geared up and headed outside, not sure how I'd feel once I got going. The answer was not very good. My plantar pain was influencing the way my foot was landing and my stride felt awkward. My legs were heavy and my energy level was low. I did my best to put the discomfort out of my head, but I eventually reached the point where I felt I was doing more harm than good.

I decided to cut the run short and hobbled home, discouraged by my poor performance and feeling concern that this pain would prevent me from running for a while. I figured I'd take it a day at a time and hoped for the best the next day.

This morning brought improvement, possibly due to sleeping with my stretchy thing. My energy level was better and I again debated running at the high school track. We had plans to get out mid morning so I elected to use the treadmill and see how it felt. I thought that running with a decline might take some pressure off my heel but that actually made it worse. I switched to a 2% incline and noticed that my landing shifted me closer to mid-foot. After ten minutes, the pain was barely noticeable.

Less pain is not the same as no pain so I kept it fairly short to minimize possible damage. I was happy with my stride and glad I could bounce back from the really bad run I had the day before. I ended up running only five miles this weekend. All things considered, I did what I could.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Embracing the Mindful and rejecting the Beast

I'm giving my Plantar my full support
Today's workout (upper body hand weights): 45 minutes

Happy President's Day.  This morning my daughter and I celebrated with a cup of coffee at Runsketeer Starbucks. She didn't have classes today because of the holiday. I'm off from work for the same reason. I always did like George and Abe.

After Starbucks, I coerced my daughter into swinging by CVS so I could purchase a couple of items that will supposedly help reduce the pain of Plantar Fasciitis. I bought a Plantar Flex Support Sleeve and Plantar Flex Orthotics. When I looked them up on the CVS site I saw that "related items" included Crest white strips, contact lens cleaner and razor blade refills. This Fasciitis thing is pretty complex. Now I understand why my heel pain hasn't gone away quickly.

White strips and support sleeves - a natural combination!
I'm not sure if any of the stuff I got at CVS will help. Another great president, Teddy Roosevelt, said, "The best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." Action is better than inaction. Otherwise the Plantar Fasciitis wins.

I dutifully placed the flex sleeve on my foot and put the supports in my shoes. I decided to forgo a run in favor of an upper body workout. Specifically, the Body Beast workout that TPP gave me last month. I put one of the DVDs into my laptop and as soon as I saw the Lou Ferrigno lookalike, I thought I might be out of my league. The warm-up was fine, but then they started doing push ups (push ups!) before the workout had even started. That did it for me.

Instead of giving up on a workout, I went online and found a video of a woman trainer with less muscles than Lou Ferrigno. Her routine, using hand weights, took 10 minutes and felt more like a warm up than a real workout. I decided to look at a few other websites and found a set of exercises on "The Mindful Body" that looked reasonable. Since every person I talk to uses the term "mindful" these days, I figured I'd try it out.

This routine was tougher than the ten minute warm up and took about 35 minutes to finish. I didn't work up a big sweat, but I know I hit every muscle group in my arms and shoulders. I'm curious to see how I feel tomorrow, as I haven't done a formal upper body workout since the London Olympics. While my arms will inevitably ache, I'm hoping my heel will feel a little better. If so, I'll take that trade-off.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

There's nothing acute about Plantar Fasciitis

This heel pain is making me nutty
Today's run (treadmill): 3.3 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 3.2 miles

If you're ever looking for ways to ruin your appetite, I suggest looking up foot pain on Google Images. I did that, and I'm now confident in saying that the foot is our ugliest external body part. The reason why I was looking at feety things was because I've been experiencing acute foot pain in my heel that the Internet thinks is Plantar Fasciitis. I usually associate the word Plantar with mixed nuts, but this seems to be something different. I learned, in terms of pain, that acute means short term and chronic is long term. At least that's what the trainer person said in an infomercial that I couldn't switch off because the remote was out of reach.

Whether my pain is here to stay or just visiting, I can tell you it's very annoying. I first started experiencing discomfort at the bottom of my left heel about three weeks ago. Interestingly enough, that's when one of my co-workers generously donated his standing pad to me because he decided that using a standing desk was dumb. Prior to using that pad, I had no pain in my heel. It seems counter intuitive that a pad made specifically to reduce leg fatigue for people who stand for long periods would create this problem. But when it comes to feet, all bets are off.

Plantar Fasciitis is a strange affliction. I'm not really sure what it is. As a matter of fact, I don't think anyone actually knows what it is. If you look it up, it's blamed for just about anything having to do with foot pain. My particular problem is when I put pressure on my heel it hurts. The pain is fairly sharp (one might even say "acute"), but it minimizes once I walk around on it. So far it hasn't interfered with my running, although it is noticeable at the start.

I did treadmill runs yesterday and today. They were fairly identical except that Saturday's music had more Sheila E while today's had more Prince. I think Price wrote some of Sheila E's songs so technically they were identical. But I digress. My treadmill experiences have been good of late, mostly because I limit my distance to 3.25 miles. My friends SIOR and KWL and a few work colleagues often spend well over an hour on the treadmill. I can't do that anymore but I can psych myself up to cover about 5K.

Despite this heel pain, I seem to be covering a lot of ground. According to my Garmin 35, I've taken about 14K steps today. A chunk of that was my morning run and another chunk was when I walked to the library to return a DVD. In both cases my heel pain was minimal. How it felt afterwards was a different story. I'm going to look up things you're supposed to do to address heel based Plantar Fasciitis. I'm also going to take a break from my standing mat to see if that makes it better or worse. If going mat-less makes it better, I'm going to give it to someone in the office whom I dislike. Maybe that's how I got it in the first place.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Going horizontal with vertigo

Verti, please go
Today's run (treadmill): 3.25 miles
Last Sunday's run (treadmill): 3.2 miles

This has been a dizzying week for a couple of reasons. One is that I have so much going on at the office that I'm doing five minute meetings in the hallway on my way to other meetings. The other reason it's been dizzying is because I've been dizzy. About once a year (last time was in March) I get a bad case of sinus related vertigo that puts me horizontal, at least for a little while. Aside from the feeling that the room is spinning, there are no concerning effects.

My bout with this annoyance started on Wednesday night. I had no idea it was coming, but right after dinner, I started feeling woozy. It isn't unpleasant, but it does get in the way of walking a straight line across the room. I felt much better on Thursday morning but after a couple of dizzy spells during my morning coffee, I elected to work from home. I would normally run on a work-from-home day, but I didn't want to take any chances on the treadmill.

Today was a different story. I worked from home again because that's what I do on Fridays. Between a restful night's sleep and some sinus medicine, I was getting back to normal. I decided to do a treadmill run. Although the streets are clear, the sidewalks are still snowed under and I didn't feel comfortable without that escape route.

I expected to struggle on the treadmill but ended up doing okay. No dizziness issues and the running felt easy. I suspect that had to do with my moderate pace and the fact that I had two consecutive nights of sleeping eight hours. That doesn't happen too often. With the music station playing some decent songs and a calmer day ahead, my workout seemed to go by quickly.

I don't like admitting this, but my last few treadmill runs have gone very well. I think we're due for spring-like weather next week and that might get me back on the road. This weekend, I'm pretty sure I'll be running inside. But with the Monday holiday, at least I'll get an extra chance for a run.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Great treadmill run. This is not a typo.

Oh, we can be heroes, just for one day
Today's run (treadmill): 3.5 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 3. 2 miles
Tuesday's run (treadmill): 1.25 miles
Last Sunday's run (street): 4.1 miles

It snowed this week and the streets have been very unfriendly for runners. The treadmill likes to use these times to prove its worthiness to me. Over the years I have learned to appreciate the indoor option but that doesn't mean I particularly like it. Our FreeMotion machine has been a big improvement over the tortured Sole F63 it replaced and I am grateful for that. Today it was my hero.

I worked from home on Tuesday. Although I had an early video call, I managed to squeeze in a short treadmill run. Very short. But every mile counts and I'm counting that one. I worked from home on Thursday, but limited my exercise to multiple shoveling sessions in order to get through 13" of snow. It turned out to be a good leg and upper body workout, especially when digging out the huge snowbanks at the end of our driveway that were left by the town plows.

I stayed home yesterday because the Long Island roads were still a big mess. I dutifully hopped on the treadmill and cranked out a three miler, the same distance I would have done had I been able to run on the road. I approached yesterday's run like a 5K, starting easy and increasing speed as I went. The last half mile was run about two minutes per mile faster than I've been averaging this year.

This morning I noticed that the streets were relatively free of ice and snow. Unfortunately, the sidewalks were buried under three feet of snow, leaving no place to escape from cars on the road. I elected to run inside.

For those of you who are expecting me to write about how today's treadmill run was just terrible because treadmills are soooo boring I'm afraid I must disappoint. I put on the cable music channel and was rewarded with some great songs. I only wore my Kinvaras and compression shorts and set the treadmill's fan to "stun", so I felt cool and dry most of the way through. I didn't attempt the same challenging pace as yesterday, so the run felt much easier. Dare I say, enjoyable?

Even though I could have gone longer, I elected to cap it at 3.5 miles. Rather than duplicate Friday's progressively faster pacing that left me worn out by the end, I finished feeling energized. I liked that feeling and the treadmill is my friend. At least for today. Tomorrow may be a different story.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A bad wind blows my run

I feel so good. Wait, no I don't.
Today's run (street): 3.7 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.2 miles
Last Sunday's run (Street): 4.3 miles

As I made my way around my neighborhood this morning, my experience alternated from pleasant to tortuous. It all depended on the direction I was running. As I ran I thought of the song "I Feel So Good" by Richard Thompson that toggles cleverly between nice and nasty. With a 25° temperature as a starting point, and wind making it feel like 17° outside, I prepared for the worst.

I don't know why my face has become so sensitive to the cold this season. I can bundle up for really cold conditions, but unless I wear a balaclava I still have to deal with face freeze. Getting through the first mile was a challenge today and I wished I'd wore the bandito buff that KWL gave me last year. I briefly considered heading home and running indoors, but I figured that only half my run would be into the wind and I'd eventually warm up. I did, but it took a while. With the wind to my back, my running was a pleasure. When it wasn't, it was a pain.

Speaking of pain, I've been dealing with a heel problem with my left foot that may be a form of Plantar Fasciitis. On the advice of KWL I've temporarily switched from my low, flat NB Zante 2's to my well padded Saucony Triumph ISOs that have a more pronounced drop between the heel and forefoot. I think that helped minimize my pain on the run. It also feels a little better after running. I hope it's just an inflammation of the fascia and not something more concerning, like a hairline fracture or a heel spur.

My runs today and Friday were pretty slow. Pre-September slow in fact. I'm not concerned that I'm   backsliding, but it's frustrating in light of gains I'd made during the last three months of 2016. I was running more than 2 minutes per mile faster compared to what I averaged in late summer. I'll conveniently blame today's mediocre performance on wearing too many layers and all that wind resistance. Plus my heel pain and the cold. Let's see how tomorrow goes. I really hope I feel so good.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Am I still emerging?

Can I find self actualization on a magazine rack?
Today's run (track): 3.6 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.2 miles

I do spend a lot of time worrying about safety
When I started running regularly in 2008, I had hopes of becoming a dedicated and competitive runner. I got that half right. If nothing else, I've kept a running routine going for over 8 years. I chose the term "emerging" to describe this blog, with a nod to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. In my case, the bottom level was being able to sustain a run for more than 30 seconds. Self actualization was quite a bit higher on the pyramid.

I had a few years when I competed frequently and my performances benefited from six day a week training. If I was going to self actualize, it would have been then. My goals for running are far more modest these days. This afternoon I was in Barnes & Noble looking at their sparse collection of running magazines that were tucked within an alarming number of gun orientated publications. I thought it would be nice if there was a magazine that was geared more toward mediocre runners. I'd buy that.

I haven't given up on self actualization, but my expectations for what actualization means has changed. My running schedule is typically three days a week: Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If I have another day off (or I'm working from home) I'll add more runs. I still track my performance and care whether I'm running slower or faster than the day before. But I'm not spending a lot of time running hill intervals.

Yesterday morning I did my usual Friday loop before my workday started. I like that route because three miles is a nice distance and I can get through it fairly quickly. Conditions weren't great, with a 13 MPH wind that made the 41° temperature feel like 34°. Even with gloves and a warm hat, I felt uncomfortable when the wind hit me head on. That discomfort probably contributed to my slightly better than average pace.

I'm smiling cause I'm done
This morning I was pressed for time so I made a beeline to the local high school track. I like running on the track because it's flat and the surface is forgiving. Every lap around the track is a notch in the belt of progress and I don't have to worry about being run over. I decided I'd do 14 laps and they passed quickly. Like yesterday, there was a stiff wind (15 MPH) that froze my hands and face every time my direction switched from north to west. Real feel was 26°.

There's always something to see at the track and today was no exception. About halfway through my run, a young couple showed up and started running around the track tossing a football back and forth. They weren't wearing gloves and they dropped the ball more than they caught it, but they seemed to be having fun.

Tomorrow's weather will be more of the same and I'd consider a run at Stillwell but I'm admittedly concerned about taking another tumble on the trail. I was happy with how I ran today and yesterday. Both runs improved on last week's performance. I'm still mediocre but at least I'm still aiming for the highest point in the pyramid.
 

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