Daunted by the howling winds

Today’s run (street): 3.6 miles

I cannot believe that tens of thousands of people ran the NYC marathon this morning. It’s not just that the marathon distance (26.2 miles) does not compute to me (it doesn’t, but that’s for a future post). I’m more amazed that people spent so many hours running the course while facing 20-40 MPH winds. I will admit that those conditions were too much for me to deal with this morning. Feeling like I was running into an invisible wall wore me out and I ended up cutting my run short.

The unrelenting sound of wind whipping through the trees prompted me to dress warmer than I normally would for 46°. Things started out well and I had high hopes for getting in my planned distance. I decided to first run the perimeter of my neighborhood that includes Jericho Turnpike and South Oyster Bay Road. I briefly considered crossing one of those main streets to open up my route to different options.

I ended up staying on South Oyster Bay Road and enduring the cracked and buckled sidewalk that was especially scary because it had a layer of leaves that hid potential tripping points. I made sure I kept my step high to avoid any mishaps. By the time I re-entered the neighborhood from the south, I started to get frustrated with the wind that reminded me of the miserable experience I had at last year’s Long Beach Turkey Trot.

I struggled to make it to the mid point of my neighborhood and planned to make a beeline home. Along the way I saw a yellow recycling bin being blown across multiple yards, trash cascading from containers and leaves flying in every direction. Despite that, I decided to take a detour that added another half mile to my distance. I was disappointed to fall far short of today’s goal, but I didn’t see the sense in battling the wind monster any further.

As I ran, I thought about friends who were waiting on Staten Island for their wave to be called. The news showed thousands of people patiently huddling under makeshift blankets trying to remain warm. Once they were able to go, they faced the same conditions that I did, but would need to run over seven times the distance that I covered today.

Congratulations to my friends who braved the weather and the marathon course. You are probably very tired, but you did an amazing thing. Even under perfect conditions, this would be a tough race. I hope the celebrations will far exceed the pain.

Deflated by my run

I know that feeling

Today’s run (street): 3.4 miles

Yesterday I wrote about my tendency to always get sick at the end of the year. I made the mistake of saying that I’ve avoided that situation over the last few years. This morning I woke up with a painful migraine-like headache that has kept me exhausted throughout the day. No amount of analgesics, decongestants, running or showering has helped the situation. All I can hope for is relief after a good night’s sleep.

We have guests staying with us this weekend and this headache hasn’t helped my sociability. I’m doing the best I can under the circumstances. I thought a run might help the situation, but when I went out this morning I immediately regretted the decision. After a half a mile I knew it would be a struggle to get through even a three mile run. I had the opportunity to cut it short when I looped around to a road that’s close to my house, but I couldn’t bring myself to head home.

I ran as fast as my leaden legs could carry me. My head was pounding and the relief that I thought might come from aerobic breathing never materialized. Along the way I noticed how many lawns were covered by deflated Santas and snowmen. Apparently these large balloons are the new decoration standard. I’m guessing that people wait until dark to inflate them as part of their Christmas display. It amused me to see house after house with what looked like colorfully dressed people passed out on the lawn.

I was happy to end the run, but I felt no better after the workout. In fact I felt worse. The rest of the day has been filled with activities and my participation has been on the low side. I regret the timing of this annoyance because I only see our guests a few times a year.

The Ho Ho Ho Holiday 5K happened today and, because of our schedule, I’ve had to miss it. I guess that worked out in its own way because I would not have been in shape to race this morning. The Petite Pacer ran it today and I’m betting she had a much better running experience than I did today.

Business exhaustion + run exhaustion = redemption

Wheel of redemption

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.1 miles

I thought that leaving my job might profoundly change my life. Actually, it has, but not exactly in the way that I expected. I’d imagined myself taking leisurely runs on the trail each morning, followed by a variety of activities that I’ve put off for years. Despite those expectations, my running schedule hasn’t really changed. Highly anticipated activities, like returning to playing my classical guitar, have been put on hold. I may not be getting up at 3:30 AM anymore, but I’m working harder than ever.

Much of my attention has been diverted to a consulting practice that I recently started. Creating a business requires many steps, ranging from setting up legal and business resources, to selling services to clients. So far it’s been energizing, but all the meetings, calls and proposals can wear you out. That became evident this morning when some work I was doing distracted me past my scheduled run time. After forcing myself to stop, I realized staring at web code for hours had given me a pounding headache. Instead of a run I felt like I needed a nap.

We were up late last night, but I’d found it impossible to sleep past 6:00 AM. I’d planned to go to Stillwell for a trail run. Soon enough, I started self-negotiating to shorter distances on local roads. The wind was blowing hard outside, further eroding my motivation to do my run. I started thinking about forgoing my workout altogether.

In the meantime, my wife who was similarly tired from our late night, had completed her workout and taken a shower. She said it made her feel better, although she felt her run was harder than usual. Inspired by her, I made my way to the guestroom to face the treadmill. I made no pretense that I’d make it a speedy run. This workout was far more about maintaining commitment than improving fitness and conditioning.

I started by running a pace that was 15% slower than usual, and stuck with it until the display showed one mile. From there, I began to increase the treadmill speed every couple of minutes. By the time I’d reached two miles, it was feeling like five. The experience of watching the readout slowly tick toward three miles was torturous, especially since I’d increased my speed to a relatively brisk pace by then.

Considering the short duration, I haven’t had many runs that felt as hard. I was thrilled to kick down the speed after 3.1 miles for cool-down. Although I was wiped out, I was also energized, and my headache was gone. This workout felt like redemption and I was very pleased that I didn’t skip my workout. On the downside, I realized that I’d failed to transfer my Fitbit to my running shorts so I didn’t capture all those steps and distance. I may have lost all that data but I gained back some self esteem. 

Liquid exhaustion

Yesterday’s run (treadmill): 30 minutes
Today’s run (street) 5.25 miles

Circuitous route

I was tired on Thursday morning and (no surprise) my run was slow. Yesterday morning I felt the same, so I skipped my morning run altogether. I’m not sure why I lacked energy on these two days but it definitely affected my motivation to run. After a half day in the office I headed home feeling more inclined to work out, so I took the opportunity to fit in a 30 minute treadmill run.

Despite yesterday’s brutal heat and high humidity, I remained relatively dry during my indoor run. Credit goes to the big fan we’ve positioned directly in front of the treadmill. I didn’t push my pace but, by the time I reached my planned finish time, I was completely soaked with sweat. I’d placed an icy glass filled with Gatorade G2 on the side table of the bed to drink after I’d completed my run. As they say, I was keeping my eye on the prize.

This morning I took it outside with no planned route, but an intention of running five miles. The dew point was approaching 70 by the time I set off and I tried to keep a sustainable pace that would allow me to cover my planned distance. I hadn’t matched my normal pace since Wednesday morning’s run. Today was no different but my focus was on distance, not speed.

The hot sun and the moisture in the air wore me down, mile by mile, but I still had enough in the tank to cover 5-plus miles. I’m accustomed to being sweaty after these long runs, but today it looked and felt like I had stepped out of a lake as I walked into the house. Every square inch of skin was wet and my clothing was completely saturated. Although I felt no aerobic strain during the run, I was still breathing heavily five minutes after the finish. It was more exhausting than I realized.

I’m on vacation this coming week and I hope to get a chance to run in Washington DC while we’re there. If that’s not practical, I may need to settle for the fitness center in the hotel. It’s less stimulating to run indoors. But, with this weather, I’ll fully appreciate the air conditioned experience.