Running quote of the week

“I felt like I was breathing like a freight train and everything hurt, [but] somehow it didn’t bother me. The joy of moving and getting started overwhelms the negativity.”– Lauren Fleshman

Saturday, October 31, 2015

One run interrupted, one run horrible

Today's run (street): 3.3 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.2 miles

Happy Halloween. It's hard top be spooky when you go out trick or treating at noon, but I saw a lot of little witches and goblins during today's mid-day run. We have weekend visitors and I delayed my workout so I could spend time with our guests this morning. It may have been the late start, but this was possibly my worst run of the year. More on that in a bit.

I had hopes of covering close to 20 miles this week like I typically did a couple of years ago. My vacation day on Wednesday got me off to a good start and I added to that on Friday morning. Since I work from home most Fridays, I use the time I normally commute to get in my miles.

That system had been working well until one of my work colleagues decided that early Friday morning was the perfect time to reach me. In those cases, I've either let the call go to voice mail or kept it very short. I was about a mile into my run yesterday when I heard the phone ring. I almost ignored it, but once I saw who it was, I knew I needed to answer. Ten minutes later was on my way, although my momentum was lost and a new work issue was on my mind.

Today was a different story. I wasn't feeling my best throughout the morning and hoped my energy would return by the time I was ready to hit the road. I got off to a slow start as I left my house, so I figured I'd keep it easy. I could tell right away that I wouldn't be up for my targeted five miles but hoped I'd gain strength throughout the run. Instead, I felt increasingly fatigued and even reached a point where I wanted to stop. Although I only covered a little more than three miles, the run felt endless.

I was thrilled when I finally reached my driveway. The run was a disaster, but at least I got it done. I looked forward to a relaxing afternoon that eventually gave way to a house full of Halloween-partying teenagers. It's been a noisy evening.

Tomorrow is a big day for two of my friends, but for different reasons. KWL and his wife will be running the NYC marathon and I'm wishing them perfect race conditions. Runsketeer SIOR will be celebrating yet another birthday (she's quite elderly) and plans to watch the marathon from her favorite spot in Queens. I'm hoping that tomorrow's run goes better than today's. It could hardly go worse.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

20th anniversary run and fun

Getting the scoop (or the schmear) at Bagel Boss
Today's run (street): 3.5 miles

I took the day off from work today because it was my 20th anniversary. Besides enjoying the luxury of sleeping until 5:30 AM and not driving 35 miles and back today, I got in a nice morning run. The weather is currently monsoon-like, but just before 8:00 AM it was cool and overcast with nary a drop of humidity. I like to start my weekday runs at 8:00 because that gives me about 40 minutes between the caravan of high school and middle school buses and the secondary wave of elementary school buses and kid drop-offs.

The buses don't bother me that much because I can hear or see them coming at a safe distance. I always hop onto the sidewalk in those cases. Parents dropping off their kids are a different story. They're typically aggressive speeders who don't even pretend to slow down for stop signs. I stay hyper aware at all times.

This morning I saw a car that was going at least 10 MPH faster than the speed limit almost collide with a car coming around a blind corner from the opposite direction. Besides that, I ran past a house as a car started backing out of the driveway without looking. I anticipated that and she heard my yell loudly and clearly.

The rest of the day was spent doing various anniversary-like things, including having lunch at our favorite Thai restaurant and going to Home Dept twice. We also walked into a location shoot that the local news station was broadcasting from a neighborhood shopping center. I have no idea what they were talking about, but it appeared to be bagel-related.

Tomorrow it's back to work, which doesn't seem fair as today felt so much like a Friday. Still, I did get in my run and I'm looking to do the same on Friday morning. We have family staying part of the weekend so I have to remember to grab my Saturday running gear out of the guest room before they arrive.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Eco challenged and rainy run

Imagine this car much dirtier
Today's run (street): 3.5 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 5.3 miles

Yesterday was extremely busy and I didn't get a chance to post anything about my run. Although I'd made a goal of breaking out of the confines of my neighborhood at least once every weekend, I didn't have time to do that on Saturday. I decided to cover some less familiar ground on local roads to make the route more interesting. And it was a little interesting.

After running a mile or so around my own neighborhood, I headed over to the adjacent business park to run the main loop. On my way out of the park, I noticed a rough looking Delorean making its way slowly up the road belching thick black smoke. Obviously a problem with the flux capacitor. With all the gleaming Deloreans shown in the news this past week because of Back to the Future time travel date, this seemed ironic, not to mention environmentally unfriendly. I thought those things ran on garbage.

Soon after that, I began to notice that many people's homes still had their sprinkler systems going despite the pact that we're in late October and the temperature was in the mid 40's. It seemed to be the day for eco-criminals, but the beautiful fall weather helped offset my annoyance. I covered more than 5 miles, which was my plan, and got home in time to stay on schedule. Our evening plans kept us out late, so the blog had to wait.

This morning I was hoping to run at Stillwell Woods or at the wooded trails at Bethpage, but the possibility of rain discouraged that. When I stepped out around 8:00 AM for a run in my neighborhood, the light rain was beginning to increase in intensity. I considered getting my waterproof running jacket or even taking my workout indoors. I decided to stay out despite the wet conditions. The rain was steady, but it wasn't a downpour. I did regret that I had my Kinvaras on instead of a more water friendly shoe.

Rainy run
I ended up fairly soaked, but it was more rain than sweat. I had one experience with a driver who was frantically trying to get his car into the drop off circle of the middle school so he didn't have to park in a lot that was 50 feet further away. As I ran through, I could tell he was focused solely on getting past the other cars. I yelled "Hey!" so loud that he practically slammed on his brakes. These people drive like animals and that's an insult to animals.

The Emerging Runner family caught up with Adventure Girl via Hangout  a little later and it was great to see her. She recently ran a 54 mile unsupported Ultra! That's 40.9 miles farther than I've ever run at one time. I think I'll make a goal of running longer than I ever have in a single run. That would be 13.2 miles. Hey, I may even go for 14!

Friday, October 23, 2015

After the treadmill, any outside run is good

Short and sweet
Today's run (street): 3.2 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 30 minutes

I took a vacation day on Wednesday to take care of some stuff. I had a 7:30 AM appointment so I didn't get a chance to do a workout in the morning. I did get on the treadmill in the late afternoon and had a very rough 30 minute run. I'm not an afternoon runner and the treadmill didn't make the situation any better. Although the minutes felt maddeningly slow, somehow I managed through it.

It was great to break up the work week with a day off but Thursday was tough and I was thrilled to work from home today. After that difficult workout on Wednesday, I was concerned that today's neighborhood run wouldn't go very well. It was a chilly 43° outside and I wore shorts and a long sleeve running shirt. It took almost five minutes to acquire a GPS signal. I began to rethink my gear as I stood and waited.

As soon the Garmin showed ready, I took off. I didn't notice a woman who was running by my house and I almost ran into her. Had she been running on the left (correct) side of the road, that would not have happened. I could tell I was in for a good run and pushed harder than usual as I ran up the first long road. I ended up crossing paths with that same woman about a mile later and this time I saw her coming.

I had a tight morning schedule and capped my run at a little more than three miles. That was enough. I ended up doing slightly better than average, probably due more to the cool weather than anything else. The Emerging Runner family will be doing a video call with Adventure Girl on Sunday and I may hit the trails tomorrow in honor of that. While she's tagging peaks in Montana this weekend, I'll settle for some of Stillwell's much smaller hills.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Recovering on the Bethpage trail

Today's gear. Black is the new black.
Today's run (Bethpage Bike Trail): 5.6 miles

As the song goes, what a difference a day makes. The work week was exhausting and I counted on Saturday for recovery. Unfortunately, I felt ill all day with a pounding sinus headache that persisted throughout the evening. This morning I woke up feeling one hundred percent better and looked forward to getting outside. While Saturday's perfect weather gave way to much colder temperatures today, conditions were still great for a run.

According to the local station, it was 33°, so I pulled out my Opedix running tights, Alpine Design quarter-zip top and ASICS lightweight running beanie. Not my warmest collection of gear, but good for today's weather. I also wore my Saucony Triumph ISOs thinking they would be warmer than the Kinvaras. It turned out they aren't and next time I'll remember to wear wool socks.

I wanted to cover 5+ miles so I went to the Runsketeer staging area off Haypath. I ran south to Bethpage Stage Park and turned around at the start of the north trail. The Bethpage bikeway is a rolling path with a couple of steep but short sections between the park and Haypath Rd. I know the constant elevation change is great for conditioning, but I always dread those hills.

I ran north all the way to Old Country Road, passing many walkers along the way. Most were bundled up against the cold. There were surprisingly few runners and cyclists so the path was relatively clear. My gear kept me perfectly comfortable with the exception of my feet that felt the chill when the wind was blowing.

Today's route
I would have liked to cover another .4 miles to make it an even six, but I ended up back where I started and felt good about how I'd run. Yesterday's workout contributed to my fatigue that lasted throughout the day, while today's run is still producing energy. One day made a huge difference, and I'm happy to be ending the weekend feeling this great.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Exhausting week and pumpkin-y run

Pumpkin: gourd and shirt category
Today's run (street): 3.5 miles

I knew I was facing a long, tough week despite the Monday holiday. It seemed to take forever to get to Friday. Besides a busy workday schedule, I had an exhausting Board of Directors dinner on Thursday night that got me home fairly late. It didn't help that I needed to get in the office extra early on Friday morning. My Friday evening was spent at a fun event called Rise of the Jack O'Lanterns but I was reaching zombie state by the time I turned in.

I managed to sleep later than my usual 6:00 AM rise time and hoped that all those hours of rest would restore my energy level. However, even after eight hours sleep I was feeling run down. Any thoughts of getting out for an early run were offset by fatigue and slight dizziness. I had two cups of strong coffee and it wasn't until I checked in with the Runsketeers to get a read on how to dress for my run that I geared up and headed outside. By then it was almost 10:30.

Conditions were fall-perfect, the temperature was in the low 50's and the sun was shining. I wore a long sleeve running shirt with compression shorts under regular running shorts. I also wore a pair of light knit running gloves that kept my hands comfortable. I followed one of my usual routes around the neighborhood and motored along at a comfortable pace. The lack of hard effort and the cool dry air kept me sweat-free throughout half the run. The air had the smell of maple and burning leaves and the pumpkins and Halloween decorations were out in force.

I haven't checked my Garmin data, but I know today's performance was unremarkable. Some of that was due to feeling less than 100%. I also know that I'm never going to get back to my old performance level if I continue to run only three to four times a week, mostly at distances between 3-4 miles.

Just a few years ago, I was typically running 6 days a week and logging between 18-22 miles. That put me in a position where I could run a 5 or 10K at a moment's notice and confidently hit my targeted pace times. Until I can figure out a way to fit in some additional weekday runs, I'll need to be satisfied with the pleasant, easy runs I'm doing these days.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Holiday run by any name

All clear on the local roads
Today's run (street): 3.6 miles

Happy Columbus Day. Or as some people are calling it, "Indigenous People Day." I know there's controversy around that. What's really important is that I had the day off. Between my working from home Friday, the weekend and then today's run, I was able to string together four consecutive workouts for the first time in weeks.

The good thing about running a lot is that your body gets used to it and it's easy to get into rhythm. I liked the experience of running on a weekday morning without squadrons of parents swarming the roads to drop off their kids at school. No buses either, and even the garbage trucks were silent. The time went by fairly quickly and I ended up covering more ground than I'd planned.

Later in the day we stopped into Trader Joe's at the Gallery at Wesbury Plaza. While there, we walked over to SA Elite. This is basically a running discount store and a great place to find bargains if you time your visit right. Today I looked at ASICS running vests that were on sale for about $20. It was a really good price, but I didn't like the way the collar fit, so I took a pass.

Purple-y purchase
My wife was luckier and found a pair of ASICS Kayano 20's for a great price. Her GT-2160s have at least 700 miles on them and I've been after her to retire them. I have a pair of Kayano 20's that I use for recovery runs and love them. I think she'll appreciate this new pair just as much.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Runsketeer run with a Vonnegut twist

I miraculously remembered to take our selfie
Today's run (Bethpage bike trail): 4.5 miles

There's a short story written by Kurt Vonnegut called "Harrison Bergeron" that summarizes today's Runsketeer run. In the story, the main character is saddled with government-provided "handicaps" to counter his intelligence and athleticism and ensure an egalitarian society. In my case, it was my speedy friends who were recovering from recent races that allowed us to all run together the entire time.

TPP and I met up on Colonial Road around 7:30 AM to start things off. Our plan was to run to Bethpage State Park and connect with SIOR who who would join us around 8:00. TPP and I took off at an easy pace that allowed us to chat as we made our way south. It seemed like we covered the 1.5 miles in three minutes. We arrived at Bethpage a few minutes before SIOR, but soon enough her semi-tractor trailer of an SUV pulled into the lot.

We made a plan to run south for four miles out-and-back which would give me and TPP a total of 5.5 miles. Due to TPPs intense duathlon yesterday and SIOR's marathon last weekend, everyone was happy to run my pace. It reminded me of the first time we ran together at Eisenhower Park, when I was better able to keep to the pace they'd set. Like before, the time went by quickly and we ended up turning around after 1.5 miles. That resulted in a total of 4.5 for me and TPP.

The route
There are a lot of hills in that section, so despite our leisurely pacing, we did a good bit of work. The last part of the southern path is a half mile hill with a 3.4% grade that I always dread. It was no picnic today, but I did fine. About halfway up the hill, SIOR caught up to a Facebook running friend and they traveled together as TPP and I took the lead.

Although we didn't cover our planned distance, I think we were all happy with our runs. Me especially, due to the Bergeroning of my running buddies. SIOR drove me and TPP back to our cars. I played navigator and SIOR really appreciated that.* Later, at Starbucks, I realized how lucky I was to have survived the short ride after she'd told us that she views highway driving as a competitive sport. TPP views it as a chess game, which is slightly more comforting.
* Editor's note: She did not

We did meet up at Starbucks. As usual, I arrived last because I'm a fan of speed limits. While they were waiting for their fancy mocha latte skinny no-caf drinks, I sat with my basic coffee and watched the guy to my left eat the biggest pile of something covered in syrup that I'd ever seen. I didn't know Starbucks had that on the menu. It's like an IHOP with better coffee.

We probably covered 50 topics in the same number of minutes, including that fact that TPP's sister was running the Chicago Marathon today. We wrapped up around 10:00 to get to our days started. This is TPP's first anniversary with paramour and sometime Runsketeer JC, so they'll celebrate tonight. SIOR brought more chaos into her household today with the adoption of a puppy from a rescue shelter. I'll continue to celebrate my son's 16th birthday with the family tonight.

Tomorrow's a holiday and that should keep the streets relatively clear for a neighborhood run. I'm glad to have the opportunity to run four consecutive days. After Monday, I won't get too many chances for a workout until next Saturday. No working from home this week.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Unremarkable run on a milestone post

 
Today's run (treadmill): 3.5 miles

It was nice to sleep later than 4:00 AM today, and my current schedule made a 5:30 wake up seem indulgent. We needed to start our Saturday early and, despite the crisp fall weather, I ended up running on the treadmill. Our morning plans limited my time and using the treadmill saved me precious minutes. I didn't mind too much because low humidity plus the high powered fans on my Life Fitness machine would keep it pleasant.

I tend to dread treadmill runs because they are the least stimulating type of running. I say that knowing how interesting it is to run a dozen 1,600 meter ovals to cover three miles on the track. Even so, the track does offer some visual distractions and provides a real sense of physical progress. Watching TV while on the treadmill can distract me for a while, but I eventually get fed up with commercials and turn it off.

Today's treadmill run was actually pretty nice. I knew I wouldn't be on that long because of my time constraint and the first mile went by faster than expected. I started at my leisurely 60 minute pace (the speed I run when I expect to stay on the treadmill for an hour or longer) but upped that incrementally until I was in the 9 minute range. It always surprises me how easily I can run faster paces when I try. It's the effort of sustaining those paces that works against me. I can do it, I just don't enjoy it.

I got through my short-for-a-Saturday run this morning with time to spare and with a higher regard for the treadmill. This unremarkable run happened to fall on the day of my 2,000th post so yay for that. Tomorrow the Runsketeers will reunite for the first time in weeks. SIOR is taking it easy after last weekend's marathon in St. George, UT, and TPP nailed 2nd in her age group at this morning's Ceder Creek Duathlon. Even with their recovery top of mind, I'll still be hard pressed to keep up with them.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Wrong day for a runner's mullet

Not a good choice for 63°
Today's run (street): 3.2 miles

My new role at work is turning me into one of those people who need to schedule meetings in 15 minute increments. Some of this is due to absorbing a lot of new groups and responsibilities all at once. In the short term, it will be long days. Things should ease up eventually. Last night I left the office a little later than I wanted. By the time I got home it was too late for a run or a workout.

I worked from home today and that saved me approximately three hours of total commuting time. I started working at 5:00 AM and took a break around 8:00 to do my run. It was 63 degrees outside but it felt cold in my house. I probably should have gone with short sleeves, but I went with long sleeves on top and shorts on the bottom. It's what I call a runner's mullet.

Halfway through my run I renamed it the "runner's bad decision" because the low clouds had given way to sunny skies and I was heating up fast. My distance target was modest and I knew my run would be short enough to bear the heat. About 2/3rds through my run, my cell phone rang. It was my office and I had to think about whether I'd cop to running when I answered it. Luckily it took so long to fish my phone out of my SPIbelt that the call went to voicemail. On the bright side, that short break cooled me down nicely.

The fact that someone was waiting for me to respond motivated me to pick up my speed. I covered the last mile much faster than the previous two and I was back home and on the phone in 10 minutes. I'm glad I had the opportunity get my run in today. Next week will very tight and I'll need to go into the office on Friday. Monday is a holiday so I'll get to string four runs in a row. That's good because, after Monday, I'll probably go run-less until next Saturday.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Knight sighting on my run

This jacket is actually neon bright
Today's run (street): 5.25 miles

While it wasn't a great week for running volume, I was glad to get a couple of decent runs in over the weekend. Yesterday's treadmill workout was the right way to go. For some reason, the running experience on our Life Fitness machine is much better than on our old Sole F63. Today I had the opportunity to get outside and was rewarded with perfect weather conditions.

 
Rain wasn't expected but the skies were low and cloudy with 55° temperatures and a 9 MPH wind. That was a chilly combination, so I decided to wear my new running windbreaker. Its high visibility orange color would stand out on a dark morning. I was concerned that the jacket's lack of venting would build up heat as I progressed through the run. I managed to stay comfortable by opening up the front zipper and letting in wind-cooled air.

I wanted to cover at least five miles today and that meant running on almost every street in the neighborhood. Not much to report, although I did encounter some guys dressed like Templar knights running around inside a small park with an un-costumed guy following them. I assumed they were filming their own sequel to Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I was tempted to stop and take a picture, but I was moving along well and didn't want to stop.

I received my replacement charging clip for my Garmin F210 this week and was able charge my watch without having to precisely position rubber bands to attach the broken unit to the watch. As I mentioned yesterday, my work schedule is getting a bit tighter. I'm committed to getting back to at least four workouts a week and will need to do one or two before my work day -- or after. Easier said than done.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

More work could mean less workouts

Today's run (treadmill): 3.4 miles

A couple of years ago I left a long term job with thoughts of working only when I felt like it. I started consulting and found myself just as busy. Still, without a daily commute into the city, I had far more flexibility for running. After one of my consulting engagements turned into a permanent role, I found myself spending more time working and less time running. This week I accepted a promotion at my new company that greatly expands my responsibilities. The downside is that it will further restrict my workout opportunities during the week

As a result, I missed working from home this Friday. Worse, I skipped my usual Friday run that kicks off my weekend activity. Besides dealing with another long drive to and from the office, I'm feeling the guilt of going from four workouts per week to only two this week. I intend to resume my working from home on Fridays, but my new role involves a lot of interaction with people. As I transition to this position, those discussions are best done face to face.

At least I'm home on Saturdays and it was good to run regardless of what else was happening. "What else" turned out to be driving rain and I found myself on the treadmill for the first time in at least a month. I have no love for the treadmill, but it met the need. The outside temperature was 53° and the guest room felt cool and comfortable. I locked into a pace and set my mind on a time to finish.

The treadmill has a great fan and it made a big difference when set to high. The miles went by surprisingly fast. I turned off the TV after the first ten minutes because the noise was beginning to bug me. That was an improvement and before I knew it I was ready to stop. I won't have a high number of miles this week, but after five days off from any type of exercise, I felt good about today.

While my 3-something mile treadmill run was a decent workout on a rainy day, my fellow Runsketeer SIOR managed to run 26.2 miles high in the sky in St. George, UT this morning. Not only that, she did the marathon in around 3:30 on a course that required running up and down a volcano.
 

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