Running quote of the week

“We run because it makes us feel like winners, no matter how slow or how fast we go.” – Florence Griffith Joyner and John Hanc, Running for Dummies

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.
 

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