Running quote of the week

"Running is my private time, my therapy, my religion." - Gail W. Kislevitz

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The crowded track and the happy trail

Full house in the Bethpage lot
Today's run (Bethpage bike trail): 4.6 miles
Yesterday's run (track): 3.6 miles

I'm very much enjoying my Thanksgiving break that feels a lot like a mini-vacation. I'm happy to have one more day off before returning to the office. We've kept busy this week but I've done my best to avoid anything resembling a mall or store. If on-line Black Friday sales are legitimate, there are a few running related things I'd like to get. But to do that, I would need to make an effort to look at a bunch of websites to find what I want. Why does this have to be so hard??

I ran in my neighborhood on both Wednesday and Thursday and that was pleasant, but I felt the need to do something different on Friday. Running laps at the high school seemed to fit that definition so I headed over to the track. A second cup of coffee delayed my getting outside and I got to the school a little later than planned. Luck seemed to be with me, because it appeared as though I had the place to myself. Just one other car in the lot and its owner was nowhere in sight.

The empty track didn't surprise me. I figured most people would have either slept in or headed out to the stores. I made my way to my starting point and noticed a stream of athletically suited people gathering along the opposite end of the oval. I took off counterclockwise and, as I approached the crowd, I saw that it was the Syosset girls cross country team getting ready to take over the track. "Oh good," I thought, "Now I get to be humiliated by 30 teenage girls who will pass me like I'm walking."

It didn't actually turn out that way. We managed to coexist perfectly. The runners ran together in a clockwise direction and left an open lane for me. I considered running some repeats but due to the crowded lanes, I elected to stick with laps. Running a flat route with little wind, I averaged a few seconds faster than usual.

Yesterday's scenic route
This morning was felt colder than what was reported by the news. I resisted the temptation to bundle up and wore shorts with a long sleeve shirt. I went over to Bethpage with no particular workout or direction in mind. When I got to the park there were a lot of cars making their way toward the lot which was almost full by the time I parked. A big soccer tournament was going on and I saw a lot of runners standing around in groups. There may have been a cross country meet taking place closer to the woods.

I decided to run north beyond Haypath Road and back. There were many people on the trail and I wondered if some organized event was happening. Every runner I encountered gave me a wave or a hello, as did lots of walkers. It was a happy time for people on the trail.

Today's more scenic route
I went as far as Old Bethpage Road and turned around. I ran well and while the hills looked big today, they didn't feel as challenging as usual. My cadence was slightly better than average, so I was a little surprised that my data showed middling performance. That didn't matter a bit to me, because the run felt solid and it was great to be out among the trees, accompanied by nice people.

I can't believe I have yet another day before I have to go back to work. I'm looking forward to doing my fifth run in as many days. So far my Thanksgiving to New Year's streak is 4 days, but it's likely to stop there. I'll see how I feel on Monday morning when I wake up many hours before sunrise.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Effortless Thanksgiving run, but not in a good way

Today's run (street): 3.6 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.2 miles

Happy Thanksgiving! I worked from home yesterday and have been feeling the holiday spirit since wrapping up work on Wednesday afternoon. SIOR is shaming encouraging everyone to do the Thanksgiving to New Year's streak that involves running at least a mile every day. So far, I'm good. I even ran yesterday, and I'm wondering if I can apply that to a day during the streak when I can't run.

Yesterday's run was fairly textbook. Usual route, usual pace. I'm hard pressed to recall anything interesting about it except that the roads were almost completely free of cars. Neighborhood running is much better when schools are out. No buses or parents doing drop offs. I enjoyed having the streets to myself.

During that run, my heart rate was hovering around 75% of max, which did not match my harder perceived effort. I found it interesting that I matched my usual pace with a 6% lower heart rate. Is that an indicator of improved fitness? If so, then why did it feel so challenging?

If you look carefully, today's route resembles a turkey
This morning I went out fairly early when the real feel temperature was 31°. I wore two top layers and track pants. At the last minute I added a fleece vest. That helped a lot, because running directly into the wind was pretty unpleasant. I originally thought about going to the track this morning but decided that a Thanksgiving run should happen closer to home. I chose a different route than normal and looked forward to another traffic free experience.

Like Wednesday, my perceived effort on today's run was greater than my actual heart rate indicated. I was puzzled to see that the Garmin showed my HR at around 71% of max. I felt like I was working a lot harder than that, closer to 80% range. By the time I finished, I'd managed to push it to 79%. My pace confirmed the data and I saw that I ran 50 seconds per mile slower than yesterday.

I'm not sure why my running is feeling a little tough right now. Last night we went out to dinner and saw a good friend. It was a big meal and maybe that bogged me down a bit this morning. If that's all it takes, tomorrow should be more of the same. We had quite the Thanksgiving feast today, put together with the team of Mrs ER and ER daughter. Feeling sleepy now, but I'm sure I'll get my second wind soon.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Runsketeers have the run of a "Lifetime"

SIOR asked me to substitute her face with the first lady's 
Today's run (Bethpage State Park Bike Trail): 5.1 miles

After Friday and Saturday's mild weather, today's 32° (with wind chill) felt darn cold this morning. I met SIOR and KWL at the lot in Bethpage State Park where SIOR was scheduled to lead a run for Lifetime Fitness. Unfortunately, our stalwart pal TPP was not able to join us today. She does very long bike trips with her cycling friends (I suggest she nickname them the Bikesketeers) and needed some recovery time.

KWL and I hung out in my car while we waited for SIOR to arrive. There was a guy dressed for running who was waiting in the lot, but we couldn't tell if he was there for the group run. Once SIOR finally showed up, I tried to subtly convey that we were the Lifetime group by saying Lifetime really loud a couple of times. The guy didn't respond and I'm guessing he looked at us and decided he'd be better off running alone, which he did. That turned out okay because I'd brought fresh pumpkin loaves for my Runska-buddies (baked by Mrs ER and ER daughter) and it would have been embarrassing not to give him one.

With that settled, we decided to run six miles. When I say "we", I mean SIOR. I wasn't sure I'd be up to doing six today and as it turned out, I was right. The plan was that KWL and SIOR would go three miles, turn back and intercept me as I progressed to the turnaround point.

The first obstruction to the plan came about a mile and a quarter after we'd started, when SIOR and KWL saw a sign that the bike trail was closed. We decided that meant closed to everyone but the Runsketeers so we kept going. That meant occasionally squeezing through barriers that reinforced that the trail was closed. We weren't the only ones who ignored the sign's suggestions.

I saw a few other runners and a father and his pre-adolescent son riding bikes. The bike riders ignored the fact that cars come quickly off the roundabout west of Quaker Meeting House Road and I almost witnessed a terrible accident. Thankfully the SUV's driver was paying attention and stopped in time to let these oblivious riders cross. I yelled at the father who didn't stick around to debate me.

Felt like freezing
I decided to run five miles rather than six, and turned around after I'd reached the  2.5 mile mark. I wondered how long it would be until I heard the footsteps of my run mates coming up behind me. I was surprised when I reached the final mega-hill without being overtaken. I made it back to my car and waited for my friends to come in.

It turned out that SIOR had experienced a problem with her toes and needed to walk that off before resuming her run. Soon enough, I saw KWL coming down the final hill into the lot, followed a minute or so later by SIOR. We immediately headed to our post-run coffee spot.

There were no free tables at Starbucks, but SIOR managed to intimidate a couple into leaving. I didn't complain. KWL, SIOR and I covered a lot of topics including fasting and nutrition, Orthodox practices on the Sabbath and how we will survive despite the awful thing that happened on November 8. We spent time talking about guns and the dumb things that happen when people use them (let me be clear - we are not gun supporters). Without TPP, the technology talk was minimal and we missed her. I'm really hoping the gang can get in another run in December

I ended up having a busy afternoon spending more time than advisable in the windy freezing weather. It's not getting any more pleasant outside so I'm going to stay in for the rest of the day. A slice of pumpkin bread and a cup of dark roast sound like a good way to round out the day.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

It's not fair that I have to try harder to run better

Apparently you also need to put in more effort 
Today's run (street): 4.1 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.2 miles

Considering how much I run, I'm not really that good at it. People tell me that I need to run more intervals, do more hill, core and strength training, run longer distances and run more frequently. I'll concede that those things could help, but they all require more time and/or the acceptance of more discomfort. I'm not a physiologist, but I've always understood that if you do something a lot, you get better at it. If I'm putting in a dozen or more running miles a week, shouldn't I see continuous improvement?

My running experience since late summer has been positive. I reduced my intake of sugar and simple carbs and that led to some weight loss. Running with less weight would usually yield direct improvement, but it wasn't until my friend KWL surprised me with a Garmin 35 watch that I started to see gains. That's because I was paying closer attention to my running data, especially heart rate. Using percent of HR max as a guide to pacing myself on runs helped me improve my average pace by almost two minutes a mile.

While I did see a measurable improvement from that, I've still been averaging 30-40 seconds a mile slower than my average pace from a few years ago. I know some of that is due to getting older, but it hasn't been that long since my overall performance began to noticeably drop. Of all the helpful suggestions people have made to me, the point about running frequency probably hits closest to home.

This morning seemed like a perfect running day and I expected to run as well as I did on Friday when I exactly matched my current pace. But today felt much harder. When in doubt, I always look at the data. My average heart rate for my last two runs were exactly the same. Rate of effort was the same -- 76% of max with the last six minutes pushing closer to 85%. Today's run also matched yesterday's for average cadence. The only variable was stride length, with Friday's being a foot longer than today's.

So if effort was the same, why was my stride so short? I did feel fatigued throughout run and that surprised me because I'd had a good night's sleep. There's really nothing that can explain why I did worse today (by 50 seconds per mile) except that every stride carried me 175 feet less every minute than yesterday.

I'm hoping that tomorrow I'll bounce back and open my stride enough to get back to current pacing. I know that some of my friend's suggestions for improvement would yield a quicker cadence which is the other lever I can pull to improve. But increasing cadence is tough and I still maintain that I should be getting faster because practice alone should be enough to make perfect.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A race happened in the middle of my run

Today's colorful route
Today's run (street): 5.1 miles

For no obvious reason, my performance took a small dip this weekend. I hit my average pace on Friday, but came up about 20 seconds per mile slower yesterday and this morning. Saturday was chilly and the wind made it feel like 35°. I know there were points during the run when running directly into the wind slowed me down. Overall, I felt like I moved along fairly well.

The good news, I guess, is that this 20 second penalty still put me a minute and half per mile faster than my abysmal August average. I had plenty of rest over the last two days so I'm puzzled by these numbers. It's not like I've returned to the "running by rote" style that I'd defaulted to after my lower back disc injury in late 2014. It may simply be a case where some runs just go slower than others.

Setting up for the 5K
This morning's conditions felt a little warmer, but there was still some wind. That made the real feel temperature closer to 41°. I dressed appropriately and felt like I was running okay. I started with a loop around the business park where I noticed a bunch of traffic cones on the road and concluded that the were setting up for a race. It turned out to be the Blue Ribbon Run for Prostate Cancer® 5K that goes through both this business park and Syosset-Woodbury Park. I briefly considered running the race, but I was already a couple of miles into my run.

My route today turned out to be interestingly circuitous. After completing my loop of the park that traced miles 1 and 2 of the 5K course, I ducked into an adjacent neighborhood and ran to Woodbury Road where I picked up the tail end of the Bethpage bike trail. I followed that to Froehlich Farm Boulevard and ran through the office park, where both my dentist and my opioid dealing orthopedist practice. I doubled back along Woodbury Road, through the other half of the neighborhood, and finally back home.

I really pushed on the last mile, but the numbers don't reflect my perceived effort. The important thing was that I tried and my heart rate confirmed that. Garmin Connect showed that my cadence was good, but my stride length was about 10% shorter than where it should be to get the speed I want to run. My dad sent me a link to this video in the NYTimes that looks really interesting. I'll try it and see if it yields any performance benefits. I'm going to skip the barefoot requirement because I'm not Tarahumaran.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Neighborhood walkers explain Tuesday's results

Good decisions require good judgment  
Today's run (street): 3.2 miles

Happy Veteran's Day.  This is a holiday that actually means something and I always take the time to appreciate the men and women who have served our country. I'm disappointed that our country will soon be led by a man who has neither served nor sacrificed, but thinks it's okay to insult Gold Star families and expresses disrespect for war heroes, "because they got captured."

As I ran through my neighborhood this morning, I thought about Tuesday's election result and the fact that close to half of American voters voluntarily chose a woman-hating racist over his far more qualified opponent. That had made no sense to me until I rounded a corner and saw two people walking abreast on the right side of the street.

It clearly didn't occur to this pair that they had better, smarter and safer choices, such as the sidewalk. If they absolutely had to walk on the street, they had the option of staying on the left side where they could see oncoming cars rather than trust the drivers behind them. I'd never understood why people will make such clearly bad decisions until I saw the election results on Wednesday morning. I finally understand that many people just aren't smart enough to anticipate the consequence of their actions.

Do I think people who voted in the president-elect are stupid? How about people who walk on the right side of the road and trust that distracted drivers aren't going to run them down? That's not for me to say. But I will suggest that both are examples of bad judgment, something usually correlated to low intelligence.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Run (painfully) interrupted at Stillwell Woods

Scene of the crime
Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 2.5 miles

I never saw the rock that took me down at Stillwell this morning but I knew it would be bad before I hit the ground. I'd been extra cautious throughout the run, scanning my path for roots and artifacts that could trip me up. The section where I fell was directly in front of a fork that I normally follow to the right, but I'd decided to go straight this time. Big mistake. I ended up with a bunch of bad cuts and scrapes and a slightly dislocated shoulder.

Today was supposed to be an easy trail run and I planned to follow that by watching the NYC marathon when I got home. Although the temperature showed 54°, it felt colder. The interior of Stillwell Woods is usually cooler than the general temperature. Knowing that, I elected to wear light track pants, a long sleeve tech shirt and a pair of running gloves. That turned out to be the best decision I made today. As bad as it was, it would have been worse with shorts, short sleeves and no hand protection.

I started off well enough and came through my first mile and a half ready to run another two. I encountered another runner whose path intersected mine as I came up a hill. I pushed a little to gain some distance from him and veered onto another trail to continue my usual loop. I stayed ahead of the runner, but took a loop trail off that path. The other runner reappeared when that loop connected back to the prior trail.

As we ran together, the runner asked me if he was going in the right direction. I said that depended on where he wanted to go. He needed to get to the high school and I told him he'd reach the main field in a couple of minutes and that the ring path would take him back to the main trail head. We said our goodbyes and I decided to do another small loop which led to my unexpected catastrophe.

The scariest part of my fall was feeling my shoulder go out of alignment when I hit the ground. I'd dislocated that shoulder years before playing hockey and later during karate training, so I wasn't surprised that happened. I was concerned about being able to move under my own power, but my shoulder reset itself. I had no idea how much I was bleeding so after I established nothing was broken, I continued on. At that point I only wanted to make it back to my car that was parked almost a mile away.

Red: cuts & scrapes, blue: shoulder injury
The fall deflated my energy level and I struggled to get through the remainder of my run. Oddly, the Garmin data showed that I covered the post fall distance at my fastest pace of the day. Sure didn't feel like it. I got home and took a hot shower before my wife dressed my wounds. I elected not to show a picture of the damage, but the above illustration shows all my impact points. I tried to watch the marathon but my heart wasn't in it. I still have it on DVR so I might watch some highlights tonight.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Giving some credit to my NB Zante V2s

These are a few of my favorite things
Today's run (street): 4.4 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.2 miles

I didn't really think much about running this week but it didn't stop me from having two good runs since last Sunday. Friday was a work from home day and I ran early so I'd have time to shower. I needed to be presentable in video meetings. Although they can't tell I'm wearing sweats, they can still see my face.

It was 48 degrees but the air felt chilly when I got outside. I probably overdressed but the weather didn't make me regret the light short sleeve shirt that I wore under my top layer. The cool weather prompted me to start fast. Looking at my splits, I saw why that pace wasn't sustainable. All the same, I missed averaging in the nine minute range by only a few seconds.

As I ran along, I thought about my New Balance Zante 2s that I bought to replace my venerable Kinvaras. I think the Zantes may be my favorite running shoe of all time. Like the Kinvaras, they are light, low and surprisingly well cushioned. Unlike the Kinvara, they are slightly less flexible and that's why they're working me for right now. The energy return is good and they respond very well on grass.

Since switching to the Zantes, my cadence has increased 1.2% and my average stride length has increased 5%. Some of that increase is due to my focus on heart rate, but I do credit these shoes for helping me move along.

This morning was ten degrees cooler than Friday, but I dressed about the same. That worked out, although, in the 40 or so minutes that I ran, the temperature rose almost five degrees. I tried to push as hard as I did on Friday, but I wasn't quite able get to match yesterday's speed. I see that my pace has increased in recent weeks relative to HR, which I see as evidence of improved fitness. I'm almost 30 seconds per mile faster at 80% HR max than I was a month ago.

I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow but I'm thinking about running in the woods at Stillwell or Bethpage. I'm curious to see if my newfound speed will carry over to more technical terrain. I'd also like to do some speed drills to help further increase my cadence. If I can get myself out early enough, I may go to the track instead so I can run before the crowds show up.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Faster cadence is my next frontier

All clear on Colonial Road
Today's run (Bethpage bike trail): 5.1 miles

I found it hard to believe that the weather on October 30 could be as mild as it was this morning. 64° with a little humidity made for pretty good running conditions. I'd decided to run the Bethpage bike trail and thought it would be a nice change to start in the park. I figured that the season had ended and the were no more admission charges. At the last minute I changed my mind and headed to Colonial Road. That turned out to be a good decision because, when I came through the park, I saw that they were still collecting parking fees.

My plan was to run five miles. Had I started in the park, I would have run to where the bike trail runs under Hempstead Turnpike and come back from there. I haven't run that section of the trail in a long time but that would have been a nice change of scenery. Since I was closer to Haypath, I took off north and did a two mile out-and-back to my starting point. I kept going and ran towards the park all the way to the big hill that's south of the lot. I returned from there for a tidy five.

The good weather conditions should have helped today, but my pace was 20 seconds per mile slower than my current average. Based on heart rate, I should have been faster. I have opened up my stride a little and that's accounted for most of my recent gains. My cadence hasn't really increased and I think it's the key for me to move to the next level. I'm not sure what I can do to address that. I found an article that suggested downhill sprints. That sounds good. Anything downhill is good.

I need to get serious about adding another workout to my weekly schedule. With my current commute, I'm not going back to 4 AM street runs and the treadmill isn't too appealing. My best option is to get in a short run or elliptical session before dinner one night a week. Increasing my running frequency will definitely help. And I have the perfect street for those downhill sprints.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Not every run is stimulating

Four miles in da hood
Today's run (street): 4.2 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 2 miles

Friday morning was cold and blustery and I needed to get out early for an errand. Due to major time constraints, I opted for a quick treadmill run that I figured would be better than postponing my workout until later. I wasn't sure how long my work day would go and it was also my anniversary. I didn't think it would be polite to delay our dinner by doing an early evening run.

I ended up running a couple of treadmill miles and loved that the Garmin FR 35 captured all my metrics without a foot pod or chest strap. I should have gone all out during that short workout, but I chose to start off at my current pace. I bumped up the speed once I reached the second mile and I finished in the mid nine minute range. It was a good use of the small window of time that I had.

This morning's schedule was a little more flexible and the weather was decent. It was 39° when I went out and I wore track pants and two light layers on top. That would have kept me comfortable throughout the run, but the temperature rose four degrees in the 40 or so minutes I was out there.

I'm still not used to starting strong since most of this year I've lacked energy during the first minutes of my runs. I expected to go easy today and was prepared to run a little slow. Somehow I ended up doing better than normal. I'm improving but still running half a minute off my targeted pace.

Today's run was pleasant but my neighborhood roads were not very stimulating. The only interesting thing on my route was the work being done using heavy equipment at the middle school. Steamrollers are cool. I hope to go somewhere more interesting tomorrow and cover about five miles. I may do even more if conditions are good.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Runsketeers take on Eisenhower Park

The homeless guy offered to take this picture but I wanted to keep my phone
Today's run (Eisenhower Park): 6.4 miles

As I selected my gear this morning for today's run with my Runskebuds, I was a little concerned about the howling winds outside. I wondered if the story of the day would be about our group being blown all around Eisenhower Park. The wind didn't turn out to be much of a factor after all, but we did literally run all around the park.

I met the usual suspects in the Bear Park lot (#2). I don't know why it's called that. In fact, there isn't one sign calling it that, but SIOR told us to go there. It was pretty damn chilly and most of us dressed for the weather. One of us wore shorts. Guess who that was. We debated whether to run through the park, over to Hofstra University or along the perimeter of Eisenhower. We decided on the latter and off we went.

We stayed together for about a half mile, long enough for me to think I might be able to keep up my fleeter friends. KWL stayed with me and videoed our progress while TPP and SIOR burned up the bike trail. I did run close to my current pace which is much better than the last time I ran with this bunch. We regrouped around the two mile mark and made our plan to continue circling the park. I naively assumed that would total about four or five miles, but it turned out to be over six.

My splits were fairly even as I made my way around. My slowest mile was my 4th because I elected to run on the grass strip along Salisbury Park Drive because I didn't want to run on that road due to cars. The surface was pretty runnable but the uneven surface slowed me down. The slope at times was a foot higher on my right leg compared with my left.

We regrouped again when we reached Carmen Ave, just short of five miles. My friends fed me a line that we were "very close" to our endpoint. I appreciated that because running Salisbury seemed endless. As it turned out, running Carmen was more of the same. When it spilled out to Hempstead Turnpike, I realized I'd been duped. I had no choice but to keep running and I eventually made it back to reunite with my friends at the Bear lot.

It seems smaller when you're driving around it
We headed to Starbucks, as is our wont, and the place was crawling with Alpha Epsilon Phi sisters who were getting their mid-morning caffeine rush. By the time we got our coffee, the big table was free, so we swooped in. Well the table was mostly free. There was one guy sitting there who may or may not have been a homeless person. He was kind of creepy but we were nice to him.

SIOR sent a group picture via Instagram and Facebook and hash tagged some of our conversational highlights: Garmin, Shoekicker, Sketchers, Underarmor, ASICS, Brooks, Apple, Time Warner, Jeep Wrangler, politics, flashers, clowns, Berlin Marathon 2016. There was certainly more than that, but I thought that was a great summary.

The time went by unbelievably fast, but then again it always does. We agreed to meet again in November and the plan right now is to run a 5K in early December. It will be my first race in two years. I'm not quite where I want to be for a race right now, but I'm getting there.

I love the Runsketeers and today was great as always. They made me run over six miles, something I probably wouldn't have done without their company. Despite feeling like parts of the run would never end, I really liked today's workout. I feel like I'm holding my gains and I know I will soon be a little faster. KWL, SIOR and TPP inspire and motivate me to push harder than I have in a long time. Our Starbucks conversations go everywhere and are always entertaining. I look forward to the day when I can join the conversation while we're still on the road.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Denial of both service and stimulation

Treadmill data more stimulating than treadmill
Today's run (treadmill): 4 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.1 miles

This weekend's weather isn't great for running, but I managed to get in a couple of workouts today and Friday. Yesterday my friend and portfolio advisor (Steve) came by for one of our periodic financial reviews. Before we got down to business, we hit my neighborhood roads for a tidy 5K run.

Steve is a Crossfit guy whose workouts focus primarily on strength training and high intensity activities. Cross-fitters incorporate running into their training, but it's typically 400 meter intervals between squats, push ups and other dynamic stationary exercises. I imagine it would be hard to adapt from intensely anaerobic workouts to an aerobic training event like running. Steve said the first mile is always his slowest. I'm guessing that's due to the heavy cardio aspect of running.

Steve and I ran my typical Friday route and the pace we set seemed challenging to us both. We were surprised to discover that our speed did not reflect our perceived efforts. After Gmapping the route, I calculated that we'd averaged about 10:30 a mile. We did talk the entire time and that's an indicator that we weren't pushing all that hard. According to Garmin Connect, I averaged 76% max HR which is about nine percentage points lower than what I've recorded on recent high 9:00 runs.

After Steve and I finished up, I settled into my work, only to discover that my company's email system was down due to the massive DDoS attack on Dyn. That was fine as I had plenty of non-email work to do and, fortunately, our other systems were accessible through the VPN. By 5:00 PM, our mail server started pushing through messages. I caught up with the most important stuff and left the rest for Monday morning.

This morning the weather had taken a turn for the worse. I'm willing to run in sub-optimal conditions but the howling winds, steady rain and chilly temperatures forced me to accept the treadmill as my only real option. My enthusiasm for today's run dropped a few levels, but I dutifully got on board.  I set the speed to 5.6 MPH and edged it up to 6.1 throughout the run. Unlike running outdoors where you can see your progress, the treadmill provides very little sensory stimulation. I spent the entire time thinking about the wonderful moment when I would hit the stop button.

With humidity close to 100%, I felt all used up at the end. I've been hoping for more dramatic improvement in my performance but I'm leveling right now. Still, at this level, I'm running almost a minute per mile faster than I did in September. Yesterday's humidity was 94% and today's was worse, so I'll blame that for not pushing any harder.

I'm excited that I'm going to see the Runsketeers tomorrow. Per my opening reference to the weather, the winds on Sunday are supposed to be fierce, with gusts up to 40 MPH and a real feel in the high 30's. Should be fun.
 

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