Showing posts with label shoveling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shoveling. Show all posts

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Treadmill yes, shoveling no

Today's run (treadmill): 3.2 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 3.1 miles

Winter luck has run out for those of us who prefer to run outdoors. Unlike last year, January was remarkably snow free. We've had some measurable snowfall over the last two weeks that is forcing me to run on the treadmill. I'm no fan of indoor running, but I have to say our FreeMotion 850 unit is pretty darn good. Compared to the noisy and scary Sole F63 that we replaced a year ago, it's almost a pleasure to use. I say almost, because treadmill and pleasure should never be used in the same sentence.

Yesterday was a planned work-from-home day and that worked out well for me. We received about a foot of snow between early morning and noon and I was very glad to skip the slippery commute. Schools were closed in my town and everyone was home. My wife and son did a great job of clearing the walk and driveway during the day. I would have gone out and helped, but as it happened, I was extremely busy with work. Really!

Earlier in the day, I managed to get in some treadmill miles in between meetings. I was more impatient than time-pressed and I set the speed a little faster than normal. I was fine until I began to blip up the speed every 10th of a mile. By the time I finished, I was very much out of my comfort zone.

Between some intensive video meetings and that run, I was exhausted by late afternoon. I also felt like I was coming down with a cold. We had dinner plans and I managed to get through that, but it was a struggle. On the positive side, I got a great night's sleep.

This morning I went back on the treadmill with the thought that I'd get out again with my snow shoes. I didn't duplicate yesterday's intensity, but I pushed pretty hard. I had a lot more energy today and all signs of an impending cold are gone. I didn't manage to snow shoe today, but I did do a little shoveling to clean up the end of the driveway. All by myself BTW.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Shoveling, shoeing and even some running

ER (left), Mrs & ER Jr (right)
Today's run (treadmill): 3.1 miles
Yesterday's workout (shoveling and snowshoeing) 

If I look back on the past seven days in terms of formal workouts and running mileage, it might seem like a low production week. My weekly workout schedule is, at best, a compromise, but I still aim to do at least three runs a week, plus an elliptical session. Occasionally strong weekly efforts come from different places and that was the case this week.

I try to work from home on Fridays, where I can do almost everything I do at the office (including participating in meetings via video chat). This past Friday I elected to go into work because there were a few things I needed to do face to face. I usually fit in a post-work elliptical session on Thursdays, but I got home a little too late that day. So it was all left for the weekend and a big storm was coming...

We awoke on Saturday to a substantial amount of snow and 20-plus MPH winds. I watched the local news at 6:00 AM in between storm related cable outages. I realized that we'd only just begun. Instead of doing my usual Saturday morning run, the Emerging Runner family was out shoveling the first 5" of what ended up to be 23 inches of total accumulation. Our driveway gets much more snow than our neighbors, because of the unique way the wind channels through. The drifts added another foot of snow to our driveway in spots.

The winds were unrelenting and there was a layer of ice underfoot. I was able to stay on my feet and move what I've calculated to be 1.4 cubic tons of snow. Mrs. Emerging Runner probably moved even more than that, because I spent some time in the snow not shoveling at all. I should say near the top of the snow, in my new Tubbs snowshoes.

My wife gave me snowshoes in October for our anniversary, but this was the first time I'd had a chance to try them. After getting my Timberlands securely locked into the bindings, I bravely set out for a backyard adventure.

Tundra ready
The snowshoe kit included trekking poles that were helpful and gaiters that kept my boots dry. I stepped out onto the deck and sank about three inches into what was, at the time, about a 10" accumulation. I trekked around the yard trying to understand if the snowshoes we providing a big benefit over snow boots. Sinking only a third of the way down was better than post-holing. In some spots, where the snow was less packed, it was easy to see how the snowshoes helped.

By the time I finished, the entire backyard was covered with my tracks. I discovered that it was easier to move over the areas where I'd already trekked, because that snow was compressed. I tried to run with them, but it was akin to running on sand. I think I'll do better with denser snow.

This morning we went out for our fifth round of shoveling and faced some big drifts. Once again, there was a wall of snow that the town plows deposited across the end of our driveway. We made short order of that and were happy to see the end of the blizzard.

I have my methods to minimize wasted effort when moving snow, but it still ends up being a lot of upper body work. I really needed to give that half of my body some attention, but I thought it would also be a good idea to run a few miles indoors. I headed upstairs and fired up the treadmill. After watching the news people desperately trying to fill air time talking about the snowstorm, I decided to shut off the TV.

Although I missed one of my running days yesterday, I feel like I put in the equivalent amount of effort (or more) throughout the weekend. My goal this week is to get back to routine with at least three runs - possibly four if I switch my elliptical workout with another run. It was hard work shoveling this weekend, but the effort was well worth it. I'm really looking forward to getting out on my snowshoes again under more snowshoe-friendly conditions.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Take this snow and shovel it

Storm of century year month
Today's run (treadmill): 30 minutes

I'm keeping our weather experience this week in perspective since my friends in Framingham, Massachusetts had to deal with 34" of snowfall between Tuesday and Wednesday. Considering the media hysteria about the "biggest storm ever" coming through Long Island, we only ended up with 16 inches of the fluffy stuff. No complaints here.

Our philosophy regarding snowstorms is to keep up with the volume so you never have to shovel more than 4-5 inches at a time. My wife and I both like to shovel and now our kids are at an age where they can contribute, so it's not a big deal to go out every couple of hours. That is unless the schedule requires shoveling after midnight in blizzard conditions. My neighbor stopped by yesterday to let us know that he saw us out at 2:30 AM and thinks we're insane.

I'm hoping all that shoveling provided more benefit than a clear driveway and amused neighbors. Perhaps a little upper arm development? All told, I went out and shoveled six times, doing my best to push the snow rather than lift it. Still, there were still plenty of occasions to throw shovelfuls of snow over the ever-growing snowbanks. The interesting thing is that I have no soreness from all that work. Perhaps those post-run push ups have paid off.

I worked from home today and managed a short treadmill run in between morning meetings. I had a nice view of our snow covered backyard. That slightly reduced the tedium. The tread jerked so much I felt like I was running outside on the snow covered roads. With more snow likely to come, we really need to get a new treadmill. Otherwise, I'm going to have to get a new pair of Yaktrax like SIOR.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Winter workouts, shovel and machine

Yesterday's workout (elliptical) 25 minutes
Today's workout (treadmill): 4.3 miles

I awoke Saturday morning at 5:00 AM to a coating of snow on my driveway. The neighborhood looked very pretty from an upstairs window and the streets were still untouched by foot, car and plow. I briefly considered getting out and trying a run before the world woke up. As tempting as it looked to run on this virgin snow, I knew it would look less appealing at ground level.

The weather reports called for late morning rain followed later by more snow. I wanted to get the driveway cleared before the rain so I wouldn't end up with a sheet of snow and ice later. I put on my snow shoveling gear (double lined track pants, Timberlands, new Rails to Trails hat...) and opened the garage door to see what I was dealing with.

That snow, that looked so pretty from the guestroom, turned out to be pretty saturated with water. Unlike the fluffy snow that I can push across my driveway with moderate effort, this stuff was pure slush. I approached it strategically, moving small amounts with each pass. I got into a rhythm, but it took a long time to get through it all. My daughter came out to help but the snow was really too heavy for her. She stayed outside and kept me company and that made the time go quickly.

When I finally got inside, I considered whether pushing a few metric tons of slush constituted a real workout. I decided it did - but only to a point. I gave myself a break and did a 25 minute elliptical session, following that with 10 push ups. I would have liked to do more, but enough was enough.

Neither the rain nor snow ever came and I was hoping that SIOR, TPP and I could do our planned timed mile on Sunday. Although the snow wasn't happening, we acknowledged that the track would be in poor shape. I wasn't feeling all that well and questioned whether I'd be up for any workout today at all. We decided to reschedule the Runsketeer Mile until next weekend.

This morning I felt well enough to do a moderate treadmill run and had the brilliant idea to use earplugs to suppress the treadmill's noise. The Sole now sounds the same as standing 20 feet from a 747 at takeoff. Those plugs made a big difference. Although it didn't result in a whisper-quiet experience, it reduced the noise to a tolerable level.

Considering that I went 1.3 miles beyond my mental threshold for enduring the treadmill, I did fairly well with it. In fact, I carefully increased my speed in tenth of a mile increments and managed to get my HR to 87% of max for the last third of my run. Pushing pace on the Sole is tricky, because the tread slips and jerks more as speed is increased. Here's a tip: don't buy a Sole treadmill. Even if it's on sale.

We're supposed to get a ton of snow starting tomorrow night. That will provide the opportunity for another upper body shoveling workout. I'm predicting that I'll need to work from home on Tuesday based on reports. That could give me the chance to do a weekday treadmill run, unless we also lose our power during the storm. At least the elliptical is self powered.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The freezing rain workout

Today's run (treadmill): 3.1 miles

Yesterday morning did not work out for a run. The overnight snowfall was saturated with freezing rain and my schedule was too tight to allow time for both shoveling and doing a workout. I was due to give a webinar later in the morning, preceded by some planning calls. Weather conditions were so bad they closed the schools and I figured that was due to the ice covered roads.

We only received a few inches of snow so I thought I could easily push it off the driveway. That was a bad assumption. The weight of this snow made it hard to move it more than a couple of feet. A full shovel's worth of the stuff probably weighed over 30 pounds. I figured out a way to clear the drive and walk, but it took me three times as long as it did during the last snowfall. After about 40 minutes, my wife was able to join me and that cut the time considerably. No run yesterday, but I did get a good upper arm workout.

The still icy roads made the treadmill my only option this morning. I could have also used the elliptical, but I wanted to run. I had an early call scheduled, so I set the speed slightly faster than my comfort level. If everything went according to plan, I'd be able to finish, shower and still have a few minutes before the start of the call. I ended up cutting it close, but I made it. I was very tired by the end.

I'm in there!
Earlier this week I received my first copy of Footnotes, the Greater Long Island Running Club's (GLIRC) official magazine. That, added to my recently received GLIRC 2014 calendar, made me feel like a real member. It was interesting to see that there are group activities listed in the magazine that don't seem to be on the website (if they are they're hard to find). Looking further, I saw that I was mentioned as a new member. Yay!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Nature's gym: early morning workout

4:30 AM workout (Mrs. Emerging Runner)
The ten or so inches of snow that were dropped on Long Island today provided an excuse to skip my run and forced the need for some upper body exercise. I'm not a big snow-blower fan and hiring people to plow the driveway is a hit-or-miss thing (Are they coming? What if they don't?). Over the years my wife and I have followed a strategy where we shovel the drive throughout a snowstorm so we never have to deal with big accumulations.

In the past we've gone out in the middle of the night to shovel, went back to sleep for a few hours and went out again early in the morning. Those were the days when I needed to get to the LIRR by 6:15 AM to catch the train into the city. I'm happy to say those days are gone. So instead of getting up at 1:00 AM, we went out this morning at 4:30 and dealt with about six inches of snow, freezing temperatures and blowing winds. My glasses alternated between fogging up due to trapping breath in my balaclava and going opaque from the snow freezing on the lenses. It was not as much fun as I'm describing it.

That was the worst of of it and we all went out again later to clean up the residual inches and dig our way past the wall left by the town plows. Through all of that, I got to use many neglected muscles above the waist, but I pushed far more than I lifted. I could have done a treadmill run today but I thought the shoveling workout would suffice as my workout of the day.

I don't think the roads will be in shape for outdoor running tomorrow so I'll definitely be on the treadmill on Saturday. Sunday's temperatures are supposed to reach 41° and that might be an opportunity to get back outside. My 2014 running streak has come to an end all too soon, but 33% of my workouts this year have been upper body! If I could continue that ratio throughout 2014, I'd be in great shape.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Do U really like me or is it just the code talking?

Today's workouts (treadmill): 3.2 miles + 1 hour shoveling 

My Fitbit likes me. I know this because it told me so. Right on the display it said, "I LIKE U." Every once in a while it will tell me something like "LET'S GO!" or "MOVE IT." It's kind of pushy. I think the reason it was liking me right now relates to my double workout, courtesy of today's snowfall.

Believe it or not, this is a color photo
The neighborhood was already covered in snow by the time I woke up and it hasn't stopped yet. I went out early to shovel and was surprised to see 4" of the heavy stuff already on the driveway. It took almost an hour to clear both the drive and the walk. By the end, my Fitbit showed I'd covered over 4,000 steps and almost two miles of distance. I did go back and forth and up and down quite a few times.

After taking a break for a cup of coffee, I changed into running clothes and started a treadmill run. I decided that my morning effort gave me license to set an easier pace than normal. Shoveling all that snow had provided a nice (and well needed) upper body workout and running took care of the balance. By the time I finished my run I was almost to 10K steps and approaching 6 miles for the day. I didn't do it so my Fitbit would like me. But I'm glad that it does.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Does this count as a 60 minute upper body workout?

14" added to the base. Hey, I can finally dunk a basketball!
 I woke up to 14" of new snow and a pile of icy chunks 3' high, 4' deep and 20' wide at the end of the driveway (courtesy of the town plows). My wife and I got out early and spent an hour digging out as much as we could. Even after that point it seemed that we'd barely made a dent. I am happy to shovel for hours but I wanted to wrap up before my neighbor came out with his snow blower that spews a toxic mixture of gas and oil. A couple of roving shovelers happened by and my wife and I decided to hire them to get through the rest. It turned out to be a good investment. The Long Island Railroad canceled many trains and suspended service a few times so I elected to work from home today.

I'm not sure this morning's shoveling constituted a workout but I did work up enough of a sweat that I shed my jacket to help me cool down. I'm thinking about doing an elliptical workout at lunchtime if my schedule works. The irony of working from home is that I often over-schedule calls and I end up with less time than I do when I'm actually in the office. I love the snow but the frequency and volume we've received this year has forced me to run indoors a lot more than I'd like. Worse, I haven't been able run the trails since December and I miss that a lot. I wish I had invested in snow shoes before the winter season. While I'm thinking about it, it would also be nice to have an efficient, environmentally correct snow blower.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2.75 tons of workout fun

It seems much heavier once you do the math
Today's workout (Shoveling): 2.75 tons

I didn't do a formal workout today but worked hard to clear the snow from my driveway no less than three times.  I decided to estimate the amount of snow I moved off the driveway and street, basing my calculation on the dimensions of my driveway, the height of the snow and the weight of water: 7.48 gallons per cubic foot. Compensating for the snow moved by my wife and factoring in the heavier density snow piled high at the end by the snowplows (three times!) I came up with the above number. As impressive as it sounds, most of my technique involves pushing rather than lifting snow and I barely work up a sweat even after 90 minutes. But work is work and we did work.

Speaking of work I ended up staying home and working out of my guest/exercise room/home office using all the tools available to the 2011 business person including laptop, iPad, iPhone, VPN, IM and Webex. It was a very productive day and I thought I might work in a treadmill run or an elliptical session but I found myself without the time to do it. The town did a good job of clearing the streets but they are still too snowy and icy for an early morning run on Thursday. I'm planning to use the elliptical in the morning unless I feel more like running. In that case it's back to the treadmill and hopefully no more shoveling.

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