Mother’s Day soaker run

Gray skies are gonna clear up

Today’s run (street): 3.5 miles

Happy Mother’s Day. In the spirit of the holiday, I got going early so I could get my run out of the way before celebrations ensued. These celebrations included gestures of giving, such as making the bed before my wife could and putting up a shelf that resembles a surf board for my daughter. That one was trickier than it sounds. I plan to empty the dishwasher too. But don’t hold me to that.

It was dark and gloomy before 7 AM and I thought about using the treadmill for a nanosecond. I quickly decided that running in the rain would be a preferable choice. Out the window, the precipitation seemed minimal, although the weather report warned that Long Island would be getting more rain. I put on my new running rain jacket, the Spira XLTs that I use in wet weather and some wool socks that came in handy during the run.

Predictably, the rain started to pick up the minute I stepped outside. I mapped a route that looped around my immediate neighborhood. I figured that if the weather got really bad, I’d never be more than a half mile from my house. I put on the jacket’s hood and took off. Despite the 49° temperature and the high humidity, I still felt a little chilly. I knew that my jacket, with its lack of venting, would warm me up as I went on.

My 1.2 mile loop

I expected to be the only one on the road this morning and was surprised to see people out walking and riding bikes. I suspect those people scurried for cover once the skies opened up. The humidity began to fog my glasses. Between that and the rain, my forward visibility had been reduced to to less than 30 feet. But 30 feet was all I needed.

Around mile two, my fogged view prevented me from noticing some pooling at the intersection of two connecting roads. I cursed when I felt the water saturate my right shoe. The only thing worse than running in the rain is running with soaking shoes and socks. Fortunately, I had a pair of Ballston socks that can get soaked and still provide warmth and blister protection. It wasn’t the most pleasant feeling, but neither is running in the rain in general.

My three loops totaled 3.5 miles which I thought was a decent effort on such a miserable day. Had I waited a few more hours, I would have been running in sunny, but windy conditions. But I got my run done by 8:00 AM and my Fitbit captured over 7,000 steps in the process. Time for more Mother’s Day celebrating. For the record, I did empty the dishwasher.

Running and workout at Hotel d’Emerging

“Feels like” 52° only in one direction

Today’s workout (elliptical): 30 minutes
Yesterday’s run (street): 3.3 miles

This weekend I bookended a couple of workouts around a family visit. Yesterday morning I got out before our guests arrived and covered 3.3 miles in the time I had to run. It actually worked out to 3.333 miles according to Gmaps. So basically I ran 1/3 of ten miles. It sounds better when I say it that way. In that spirit, I paced 1.333% more than an 8 minute mile. That sounds much better.

My Boxing Day run was even quieter than my Christmas run. I’d expected the neighborhood to be overrun by people heading out to the stores to return gifts and shop for bargains, but I guess they all decided to sleep in on Saturday. No complaints here. I assumed the 52° temperature meant mild conditions and I wore short sleeves and shorts. That worked great when I was heading south and west, but running in any other direction was darn chilly.

We took our guests to the Orient, a local place that the New York Times calls the best Chinese restaurant on Long Island. If you live on Long Island you should go there. When you do, say hello because I’ll probably be there. Holiday visits are usually about food and there was plenty to be had, along with some great conversation.

Once we bid our visitors adieu, I considered a run. The weather couldn’t decide if it was going to rain, so I elected to stay inside. Since I’ve done some form of workout every day since last Tuesday, I thought I’d take it down a notch and do an elliptical session.

I know people who think that the elliptical is harder and/or more boring than the treadmill. Not me. Even when I set the resistance to high, I actually find the workout relaxing. That’s probably because (unlike the treadmill) the elliptical is quiet and it’s not likely to act like a giant body sander if I slip.

I’ve really enjoyed being out of the office this past week and I’m looking forward to another week of vacation. I’m hoping to maintain my workout streak all next week, into the new year. I’m going to try to get to Bethpage one morning and perhaps run Stillwell another day. The more I run, the more I want to run.

Non-traditional Christmas day run

Wacky weather: roses on Christmas day

Today’s run (street): 3.75 miles

Nothing says Christmas like 94% humidity on top of 57° weather. That’s okay, at least it was dry and clear for my morning run. As expected, there were few cars on the road when I went out. I only saw one other runner and a few people out walking.

As I made my way around, I saw people packing cars with gifts or arriving at houses to drop them off. I could hear people’s voices and Christmas music coming from homes as I passed them by. The warm weather didn’t match the holiday, but everything else felt like Christmas. I pretty much floated through my run and was disappointed with my overall pace. This run was really more about the experience than performance, so I didn’t let it bother me too much.

Before the stir

Since we don’t follow Christmas traditions, like having a big family meal with turkey, ham or fish, we went a different way. My daughter and I made tofu stir-fry which is more modern vegetarian than old testament traditional. It was a big hit and we finished with homemade frozen banana sorbet with chocolate truffle sauce. Time to start watching calories again.

I’m not exactly streaking, but I have strung four nice workouts in a row and I plan to continue that through New Year’s, if possible. We have guests coming to stay this weekend and I’m hoping I can get in my runs without disrupting our plans. I just need to get out and back before everyone wakes up because I’m the only one who knows how to use the coffee machine.

A little tradition and a lot of food

All I want for Christmas is a towel

Today’s run (street): 3.5 miles

‘Tis the day before Christmas, one of my favorite days of the year. Office worries are set aside as people look forward to a few days of fun and family. Although the holiday falls on Friday, we celebrated today, with a special lunch and our annual viewing of the movie Elf. Christmas isn’t a religious holiday for us, but we love it all the same. There’s still more to come with dinner, however, I’m not sure I’ll be ready for another meal until tomorrow’s breakfast.

I’m not due to return to the office until January 4th. That seems like a long time from now, but I know it will go by quickly. It’s only Thursday, but I’ve managed to get in three workouts already this week. I was on the fence about my run this morning, thinking I’d keep it to just a couple of miles. I know I’ll have plenty of opportunities to run during my break. I ended up covering more distance than I planned because it felt easy. The weather (61° and cloudy) would have been perfect for running but the humidity bordered on oppressive. That’s something I’ve rarely experienced on December 24th.

I’ll get out for an early run tomorrow morning. It’s a tradition I started in 2008 and I always look forward to it. My neighborhood is usually so quiet that I cover my entire route without seeing a car. My other Christmas day tradition is to remind people I encounter on my run to be careful if I see them walking with their back to traffic. That didn’t turn out so well last year so I may give into the scrooges this year. In the meantime, I wish my friends, family and awesome Runsketeer buddies SIOR, TPP and KWL a wonderful holiday tomorrow. I hope Santa brings you great running in 2016.

Turkey day run before the turkey

Time to ring the dinner bell

Today’s run (street): 3.5 miles
Yesterday’s workout (elliptical): 30 minutes

My Thanksgiving day run is done, but there’s no turkey trotting for me this year. Hooray for Runsketeer buddy TPP who had a 5K PR this morning in Oyster Bay. Had she finished ten seconds earlier, she would have averaged sub-8:00. TPP just keeps getting faster and I’m at the point where I’m happy that I’m not getting any slower.

I have day confusion due to the mid-week holiday and keep thinking it’s Saturday. I worked from home yesterday and kept confusing it with Friday. But it isn’t and it wasn’t and I’m happy to have a nice string of days off where I’ll get some workouts done. Yesterday was a busy morning at the office and that required me to participate in a few Google Hangout meetings. I sneaked in an early elliptical session to kick off my week’s activity.

Despite the fact that today will be a major meal, we went out for a get-together dinner last night. It was really great, but social rules forced us to all order dessert. I felt like a stuffed turkey by the end and decided that I’d skip dessert today. Ya, right. There’s homemade bread pudding, pecan pie and turkey cupcakes (happily not made out of turkey) in the refrigerator. Those are just the treats I know about.

In the spirit of burning calories, I went out this morning in fairly chilly (39°) weather. I’m not the biggest fan of running in my neighborhood, but it’s a very civilized experience on holidays. No aggressive drivers dropping off their kids, road-hogging school buses, landscaper rigs or sanitation trucks forcing me onto the sidewalk. Just the quiet of a late fall day.

According to my Garmin data, my first mile and last half mile were my fastest this morning, even though I’m still plodding along for the most part. Despite that, my run seemed shorter than the distance I’d covered and I was thankful for the hot shower that followed.

Dinner will be served soon and I was excited to see what my wife and daughter cooked up for today’s feast. I would have helped them, but there’s a perception that I tend to get in the way. Besides that, I have to entertain. A lot of people are out of town this year, so our guest list is fairly moderate and I’m glad for that. You could even say thankful.

Tomorrow is Black Friday but I will avoid the stores and take advantage of another (hopefully) quiet morning. I keep thinking about the trails and may go out early to Stillwell or Bethpage. Happy Thanksgiving to all and good luck to all you turkey trotters and streakers (I mean you SIOR). I’d write more, but dinner awaits.

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.

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.

Atone deaf

It’s not kosher to sample this artwork

Today’s run (street): 3.25 miles

This seems to be the week for religious observance and celebration. Apparently the pope is in Washington D.C. today (you’d think the news would cover that). Today is also Yom Kippur, a holiday dedicated to self reflection and atonement. I don’t personally subscribe to any religious dogma, but I do think there’s value to taking a day to appreciate what you have. My kids have the holiday off from school, so I took the day off as well. Not that I’ve done much reflecting or atoning.

I suppose I did a little of the former during my morning run. It was a cool 64° with low humidity. I miscalculated on my gear and wore a long sleeved shirt with running shorts. I was comfortable at first, but began to regret my clothing choice after a half mile. Fortunately, there was a strong breeze coming from the northeast that kept it tolerable most of the time.

Given the holiday, I had the roads pretty much to myself. I gave thanks for the lack of school buses and maniacs driving sanitation trucks and atoned for not doing speed work on a day that would have been perfect for it. I didn’t push too hard, but still ran a little faster than my current normal. The low humidity probably helped there.

Yom Kippur is a holiday where observant people fast until sundown. I broke that rule about fifteen minutes after waking up this morning. Maybe earlier, if drinking coffee is also out of bounds. In between not reflecting and atoning, we took a drive over a nearby college to see a great exhibit by the artist Kevin O’Callaghan. The above picture is an example of his work. In the spirit of fasting, I didn’t take a bite.

Cow-leg running science explained

Leg stomach-ache

Today’s run (street): 3.8 miles

Happy Labor Day. It’s always nice to have a three day weekend, although I keep thinking today is Sunday. It sure felt like a Sunday when I went out this morning, and I appreciated the car-free roads. I almost skipped my run in favor an elliptical session, but my wife encouraged me to get outside and I listened to her. I’m glad I did.

The reason I’d considered forgoing my run was because I woke up with an acute pain in my right calf. According to Dr. Google, this pain was emanating from the Medial Gastrocnemius. I always thought gastro meant stomach, but apparently there’s also a gastro in our leg muscles. It sort of makes sense because cows have multiple stomachs and they also have calves. Science is very logical.

I was a little concerned that the calf pain resulted from wearing my new Kinvaras that are lower and flatter than the Triumphs. I’ve never had trouble transitioning to zero and near-zero drop running shoes, but I was concerned that they might be the culprit. I decided to keep it under four miles today, and if the pain got worse, I’d work them in with even shorter distances.

My first steps off my driveway were pain-free and that was the case throughout the entire run. I continue to like the feel of the shoe. Compared to both the original and the K3, the K5 is equally comfortable. But the K5s are more responsive and have a smoother toe-off.

Hours after the run, my calf feels fine. I don’t know what caused this morning’s soreness, but at least I know it wasn’t the shoes.

Conditions good, gear low

Gateway to the Middle school (literally)

Today’s run (street): 3.25 miles

I’ve been both run and workout free since last Sunday and only have myself to blame for it. I should be doing runs or an elliptical session before I leave for work. I often think about running a few miles after I get home. For the most part I’ve done neither, so most weeks I end up cramming it all in between Friday and Sunday.

On Fridays I usually feel pressure to get out early. I work from home on those days and I need to be fully focused on business by 7:30 or 8:00 AM. My company was closed today for Independence Day and our holiday extends through Monday. That took away the pressure of an early run and triggered my tendency to procrastinate before getting outside. I managed to stall until almost 10:00 this morning. Fortunately, the temperature and humidity were still very comfortable.

I usually keep my Friday runs between 3-4 miles to save time. Today I had more flexibility. Despite that, I ended up doing a short run. I started well, but soon had difficulty with my stride. I couldn’t get out of second gear and the effort felt very hard. There are some runs that are so enjoyable that we resent the practical need to end them. This wasn’t one of those runs.

It wasn’t all bad. The streets were empty, probably due to my late start and the fact that the school year is over and the buses are no longer running. Although I didn’t feel I ran well, I was happy that I got out on such a beautiful day. I’ve changed my route lately to finish through the middle school and that loop provides the opportunity to add another quarter mile to my regular course.

The weather on Saturday looks to be cloudy (my favorite running conditions). Humidity levels seem lowest between 8:00 and 9:00, although I’d like to get out earlier. I’m thinking that a visit to Stillwell Woods might be just the thing to get me into another gear.