Giving humidity its dew

The muggy trifecta

Today’s run (track): 3.3 miles
Yesterday’s run (street): 3.4 miles
Saturday’s run (street): 4 miles
Friday’s (street): 3.2 miles
Last Sunday’s run (street): 3.7 miles
Last Saturday’s run (treadmill): 3.25 miles

There are two periods during the year when running conditions are consistently good. One of those times is late September when temperatures begin to drop and the stifling humidity starts giving way to crisp fall air. The other time of the year is around April, when spring starts to take hold and I can transition from quarter zips and track pants to lighter gear with fewer layers. But all conditions are temporary. By late June, short sleeves and shorts essentially become survival wear.

This weekend the dew point has been at or above 70°, a point that news stations characterize with words like tropical, uncomfortable and intolerable. Running in those conditions is extremely unpleasant. I suppose there’s an actual limit to the amount of moisture wicking fabric can wick and I think I reached that point during each of my last four runs.

Even though I ran early, the temperatures were close to 80° and the difference in feel between shade and sunlight was huge. Some people thrive on these conditions, but to me it’s krytonite. Not that I’m Superman or anything. Give me freezing cold temperatures any day. Except not when it’s freezing cold and windy because my face hurts. Let’s just say late September and April are really good for me.

I ran around the neighborhood Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This morning I needed a change of scenery and headed to the track. It was early enough to avoid the direct sun but not the humidity. I wasn’t moving too quickly but speed is relative. A nice couple had started walking around the track and at one point the guy said, “slow down, you’ve already lapped us twice!” I laughed knowing how abysmal my pace really was.

I’ve managed four runs over the past four days and I have to admit that my running improves when I run more frequently. I’ll squeeze in a fifth run tomorrow morning to celebrate our country’s independence and then be back to running on Friday. If the dew point drops below 70, I will be happy but my expectations for that are pretty low.

My first winter run but it’s still weeks away

Face freezing run

Today’s run (street): 4.3 miles
Yesterday’s run (treadmill): 3.1 miles

Brrrr. There are still twelve days until winter, but this morning it felt like January. Even with moderate wind, the 30° temperature felt like 23°. Yesterday morning was a little milder, but still very cold. Due to that (and an early work schedule), I opted to run on the treadmill. I felt like I should get outside even though today’s conditions were even worse than yesterday’s.

My treadmill experience on Friday was actually pretty good. By wearing only running shorts and cranking the fan on my treadmill to maximum, I remained comfortable through most of the run. I set a challenging pace and put on a cable music channel in the hope that it would distract me from the usual tedium. And wouldn’t you know it, it did. Time didn’t stand still as I’d feared and I got to the end faster than expected.

I knew it would be chilly today so I took a little extra time to decide what to wear. Wool running socks, check. City Sport track pants, check. A Nike DriFit base layer, winter weight half zip, lined winter beanie and ASICS mitten gloves rounded out the gear. I added a thin buff that I could pull up to my chin when the wind hit straight on.

Even with that getup it still felt frigid when I stepped outside. Fortunately my Garmin acquired its signal immediately and I was on my way.  A half a mile in, I was still waiting to warm up. The cold wind amplified the low temperature and made my sunglasses feel frozen against my skin. I didn’t began to feel comfortable until I was halfway through the run.

It looks like tomorrow’s weather will be more of the same so I’ll do my best to protect my face from the freezing wind. I know there’s always the treadmill option, but I’ll tough it out as long as I can. If this January is anything like the last, I’ll be spending plenty of time running indoors.

Snow good reason to run outside

Pretty snow. Awful run.

Today’s workout (run): 1.2 miles, (elliptical): 25 minutes

Just a snow flurry moving quickly through the area, nothing to worry about. That’s what they were saying at 6:00 AM when I started planning my morning run. The news stations began reporting heavy snowfall had started in NYC around 6:30. I naively assumed it wouldn’t reach Long Island for a while, nor did I think we’d have much accumulation. Wrong.

After a cup of coffee, I made my way upstairs to change into running gear. I saw that my wife was already on the elliptical. I also noticed that the snow was coming down pretty hard. No problem, I’d dress for bad weather and wear my Cascadias for traction. After all, running in snow is fun, right? I took one more look at the elliptical and considered that option before heading out into the winter wonderland.

This was to be my first run since New Years Day. I’d resisted the temptation to resume workouts once my sciatica pain began to lessen and targeted today to start. The soreness remains, but it’s minor. I knew that the inch-plus of snow would slow me down and provide a softer surface than pavement. I hoped that both factors would help minimize the chance that I’d re-aggravate my injury.

The temperature was in the mid-20’s with moderate wind. I made my way through the neighborhood, keeping to the sidewalk for safety. Between the spongy snow and uneven sections, that seemed equally risky. By the time I reached the top of the first road, my feet began to feel numb. The volumes of snow blowing around made it hard to see and I felt sinus pain where my freezing glasses touched my face.

I’d intended to run about three miles but the growing discomfort changed my mind. I redirected my route and returned to my house after covering 1.2 miles. By the time I returned home, it was almost white-out conditions. So much for a fun run in the snow. Even with my Opedix and under-layer, three top layers, a waterproof running jacket, headband and cold weather beanie, I was uncomfortably cold.

I quickly headed upstairs and shed most of those layers before jumping on the elliptical. Compared to the cold, slippery conditions I’d just left, the elliptical experience felt great. I completed a 25 minute session and capped it off with ten push ups. We had a nutritionist in the office yesterday and I talked to her about fat burning efficiency with aerobic, cardio and weight bearing exercise. The nutritionist told me that strength focused workouts are the most effective way to reduce body fat while maintaining muscle mass. Thus, the push ups.

Tomorrow should be free of snow but still still extremely cold. It warmed up into the 30’s this afternoon so there’s a chance the roads may be clear of snow. Last January there was so much snow that I was forced to use the treadmill for over 70% of my workouts. The current condition of our treadmill makes that an unappealing option. In the meantime, I’m back to running and that’s the progress I’ve been hoping for.

A little Xmas contribution to my 2013 mileage

A white-ish Christmas

Today’s run (street): 3.3

It’s Christmas day and even though it’s a Wednesday, it really feels like a Sunday. That being the case, I was prepared to go out for a long run this morning. When my wife mentioned the combination of 20° temperatures with a wind chill making it feel like 11 degrees, I considered an indoor run. But I had counted on running outside today along the quiet, snow-dusted roads, and I decided to deal with the cold by adding extra layers.

I thought about how wearing compression pants under track pants, along with three upper layers, might slow me down. Since I wasn’t planning to go out for a fast run today, a little speed restriction didn’t bother me at first. I made my way through the first few roads at a jogging pace and encountered some bundled-up couples who were taking a Christmas morning walk. They greeted me happily when I went by. My present was not giving them a lecture about walking on the wrong side of the street.

The conditions made the going tough and my face was beginning to freeze. It can be very uncomfortable running with glasses in the cold, especially when the wind is hitting head-on. I own a balaclava, but it restricts my breathing and traps moisture that causes my glasses to fog up. Besides that, the tightness at the sides creates a fit issue at the temples that can tilt the lenses and distort my view. I haven’t worn contact lenses in 20 years, but days like today make me miss them.

At around the one mile point I began to tire. I was running easy so I didn’t understand it, but I definitely lacked energy. It could have been the cold or the extra weight of so many layers, but I just couldn’t generate much speed. I toughed it out and ended up covering 3.3 miles. I’d planned to go longer but I was glad to finish when I did. It was nice to run without needing to share the road with cars, trucks and buses, but I was somewhat disappointed with my performance.

Mileage history (2013 projected)

My speed and stamina have taken a dip since the Hot Chocolate 5K and I wonder if I need to take a few days off to rest. I may do that tomorrow, but I need to get back to schedule after that. I’m 12 miles short of hitting 900 miles for the year, which means I’ll need to cover at least that distance in the next week. Even so, I’ll end up running 41 less miles in 2013 than 2012. But that would still be 100 more miles than I ran in 2011.

Kinvara 3 discomfort – is it me or the shoe?

Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles

Quit pokin’ my plantar!

Winter returned to the New York area overnight and I stepped outside this morning into 30° temperatures. I wore the new Kinvara 3’s to see how they’d feel after my feet had an opportunity to recover from a weekend of long running. I expected the new shoes to perform in a similar way to my original Kinvaras, and they did, but I also experienced some discomfort underfoot. Much to my chagrin, the mid-sole was poking noticeably against the sock liner on the lateral plantar fascia (top left side) of my foot.

I’ve had a similar issue with my second pair of Hattori’s that cut in on the medial side, prompting me to retire them after only 70 miles. My other pair of Hattori’s fits me perfectly after 300 miles of running. The problem with the Kinvaras could be more related to me than the shoes, and I’m hoping it isn’t a design or fit problem. I went up 1/2 size on the Kinvaras because the Mirages feel slightly too snug in the toe-box, and I expected the same from the K3’s.

Perhaps that sizing up created a vertical alignment issue that resulted in this issue. I’ll run with the Kinvara 3’s again tomorrow and, if the problem continues, I’ll switch back to the Spiras for a few days. I really do like the Kinvara’s design and by the end they did feel more comfortable. I just know that if the issue continues I’ll probably end up passing them over for other, more comfortable, options.