A blooming good run

Where have all the flowers gone? In my mouth.

Today’s run (street): 4.5 miles
Yesterday’s workout (elliptical): 21 minutes

Today is day one of my vacation. Eight days, plus what’s left of this one to do whatever I want everything my wife needs me to do. Actually my list is fairly light and I like having projects. I’m happy to avoid five days of commuting and excited to have more time to run during the week.

I worked from home on Friday and would normally have gone for a 3+ mile run in the morning. An exhausting work week left me low on energy so I ended up doing a short elliptical session rather than doing nothing. That turned out to be a good compromise, because that short targeted workout helped my energy level throughout the day.

This morning I was feeling ready to run, but the wet weather was encouraging me to stay inside. We had early plans and I wanted to get my workout started as soon as possible. The clock was ticking and my wife was doing her treadmill run. The rain started to let up, so I put on a short sleeve shirt and running shorts and got the heck outside.

Today’s route

I had no route planned so I picked a random direction and took off. That direction took me around the middle school and then through the northern part of my neighborhood. I headed south from there and followed a few roads that used to be the main part of my daily run. I felt great and, although it wasn’t an impressive performance, everything (breathing, stride, energy level) was working well.

The wind picked up near the end of my run and that caused the only problem I encountered. The breezes were shaking blooms off the sycamore and dogwood trees and the effect was like white and yellow snowfall. It was pretty, but the tiny flowers kept getting in mouth. I forced myself to breath through my nose and that worked fine. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t have an allergic reaction to all this flora.

I was glad to cover almost five miles today and I hope to go a little longer tomorrow. If the weather stays good, I’m going to try to get out for a run every day of this vacation.

Me and the Tartan track personnas

Counter clockwise and counter-counter clockwise

Today’s run (track): 4.1 miles
Yesterday’s run (street); 3.4 miles
Friday’s run (treadmill): 3.1 miles

It was a busy week and I didn’t manage to get a workout in before Friday. My Friday schedule was jammed with meetings from 9:00 to 5:30, so I needed to get my run done fairly early. I worked from home on that day and was lucky that I didn’t have to do my long commute in falling snow. But outside conditions were slippery, making the treadmill my only option for running.

No surprise to anyone, I found Friday’s run almost unbearable and was determined to get outdoors the next day. The snow on the roads had melted, but conditions were still pretty rough. The local news station showed  a temperature of 30°, so I dressed for moderate cold. It was sunny when I stepped outside and I was concerned that I’d overdressed. A few minutes later I was wishing for another layer.

Saturday frozen face syndrome
Feels like freezing

The moment I turned the first corner on my run, I was hit with a blast of numbingly cold air that gave me an instant sinus headache. I quickly thought through my intended route to determine whether I should change streets to minimize the wind. By the time I’d reached my first mile, I’d heated up enough to manage through the cold. It was a low performance run overall, but I managed to get through my miles and I didn’t get bit once.

I usually reserve my longest run of the week for Sunday, but this morning I had a serious motivation problem. None of my favorite venues seemed appealing (Neighborhood: ho hum, Bethpage: too many hills, Stillwell: too many mountain bikers) and I wasn’t going near the treadmill again. My wife suggested the track and I couldn’t find an argument against that. So off I went.

Although running around the track can be viewed as monotonous, I find it much much more pleasant than the treadmill. At least the track provides sensory stimulation through forward movement. On top of that, I always encounter a different cast of characters as I circle the Tartan track. By the end, I’ve usually monitored their workouts and made up names for each of them.

This morning, it was just me and walking man, a big middle aged guy who was wearing air buds but no hat or gloves. Walking man and I were soon joined by high school running girl who eventually lapped me. But while high school girl had speed, I had endurance, and I noticed her slowing down and eventually talking walk breaks. So I won. Walking man started running, slower than me if that is actually possible. A young guy also joined us, running his laps pretty fast.

I did my first two miles going in the traditional counter-clockwise direction and then did two more clockwise, allowing me to see the faces of the other runners. Most importantly, running that way prevented the humiliation of being lapped by young running man and a young running couple who came by a little later. I did manage to lap the walking-to-running man and a bunch of miscellaneous walkers who’d also come by.

I did a little more than 16 laps and focused on my shortened stride which I’d hoped would enable a higher cadence. It did not, and the end result was an unprintably slow pace. That is, except for the last lap where I said “screw it” and ran about a 9:15. That was when I lapped walking-to-running man.

So, this week it’s been three very different runs with the common theme of low performance. I don’t really care about that, but I sometimes feel guilty for not going out with the, “All you need is all you got” attitude that I had a couple of years ago. I’m really going to try for four workouts this week and may even stretch it to five if my schedule isn’t as insane as last week’s.

Frozen face syndrome

Saving face

Today’s run (street): 3.5 miles

Winter in January can be brutal and we got a taste of that today. The news was displaying 24° this morning and the howling wind made it seem even colder. I debated staying inside and running on the treadmill until I became distracted with a home electronics project. After finishing that, I bundled up and headed outside to face the freezing cold.

“Feels like” winter

I knew I’d be dealing with wind chill, so I went with track pants, two top layers, plus a windproof jacket, mitten-gloves, fleece hat and the buff that KWL gave me. The buff turned out to be my most valuable piece of gear, protecting my face from the 14 MPH winds. No matter how hard I try, I can never get my clothes completely right. My core got fairly warm, but my extremities bordered on freezing throughout the entire run.

At one point in the run, a neighbor yelled from his front porch, “Boy oh boy, this is some cold running weather!” I replied, “Grab your shoes and join me!” He laughed and wished me luck.

Although the roads were clear of snow, there were patches of ice that I was careful to avoid. The wind, cold, and my freezing face tempted me to head home to the treadmill after a mile. I decided to tough it out and was glad that I did. Running a little distance yesterday should have primed me for a more energetic run today. Unfortunately I had trouble generating speed except in those cases when I was running downhill with the wind to my back.

This will be another tough work week and, once again, I’ll need to go into the office rather than work from home on Friday. That will impact my running schedule, but I’ll try to fit in an elliptical session or treadmill run one night this week.

Perfectly pleasant, yet forgettable run

 

Today’s run (street): 3.2 miles

I usually stall before I run on Friday mornings, but I got out early this morning, The rhythm of my neighborhood shifts from minute to minute. Leave too soon and you risk running into a caravan of middle school buses. Leave too late and you’re dealing with the maniacs driving sanitation and recycling trucks. I managed to time it just right today.

Someone described perfect racing weather as 50° and overcast. Those were the conditions this morning. I felt strong from the start, and enjoyed the peaceful experience running along quiet roads. Without the distraction of traffic, I was able to mentally prepare for my first video call of the day. It was just me, the sound of my footsteps and the bare December trees to keep me company.

I made my way around my route and felt as good at the end as I did at the start. It was a completely pleasant run, but so indistinct that, hours later, I’d forgotten whether I’d done my workout. I’m not sure where or when I’ll run this weekend, but I’m glad I got a few miles in today. It may be time to get to the track for some intervals. If I want to break out of my “easy does it” running habit, I need to work a lot more on anaerobic conditioning.

Pre-run generator attack

Now I have two reasons to hate this thing

Today’s run (street): 3.5 miles

It’s never a good sign when you get injured before you even run. That was the case this morning when I was preparing to go out for a few miles. I stepped outside and turned on my Garmin to get a GPS signal before walking to the end of my driveway to get the empty recycling bin. As I put the bin back in the garage, I caught the edge of my reviled generator, opening up a 1″ gash on my knee.

The wound looked serious and I ran inside to dress it. After dousing it with rubbing alcohol and Calahist lotion, I put on a large bandage and secured it with surgical tape. My wife had just finished her treadmill run when I came upstairs to get the tape. She saw my bandaged knee and said, “Did you trip again?” I explained that it wasn’t running related and headed out the door.

The temperature was mild and the sky was overcast, nice conditions for this time of year. I wasn’t motivated to do a long run today, so I did a variation of my regular route. I had initially thought about heading to the high school to run the track, but I didn’t want to deal with people clogging up the lanes. Happily, my neighborhood streets were quiet and I only saw a couple of walkers and one cyclist.

My knee held up fine and I ended up with my third run this week, along with Wednesday’s elliptical session. While they were all under four miles, there’s something to be said for frequency. Later in the afternoon, my son and I did a long walk around the neighborhood. By then the weather had turned rainy, but we wore our hooded running raincoats and stayed dry and comfortable.

We wrapped up our walk by cutting through the middle school and came upon the scene of an accident. A minivan must have hopped the curb and taken out a street light. I don’t think anyone got hurt (just a bored looking cop, tow truck and no ambulance) but it was a weird thing to encounter. Tomorrow is the last day of Thanksgiving break. If I feel up to it, I’ll put in some longer distance.

Marathon day but not a marathon run

I ran 1/6th of this distance today 

Today’s run (street): 4.25 miles

After yesterday’s horrible run I was a little gun shy about going out again this morning. Daylight Savings Time allowed me to sleep until 6:30 AM and still get up at 5:30 and I was hoping the extra rest would help. I think it did. I told my wife that I was worried about having another bad running experience but she dismissed the thought, saying every run is different. I managed to get out of the house early and my Garmin quickly acquired its signal. I wasted no more time thinking about how I’d feel once I got going.

I usually think out my route and distance before I run. Today I took off in a random direction thinking I’d figure it out as I went. I soon determined that yesterday’s struggles wouldn’t carry over to today and I focused on getting through the run as quickly as possible. I was anxious to get home so I could watch the NYC marathon coverage on TV and track a number of friends who were running.

I felt much better today and it was enough to improve my overall pace by 42 seconds per mile. There was a pronounced wind that both helped and hurt depending on which direction I was going. The temperature was 59° but I began to feel the heat due to the 72% humidity. I’d paid no attention to my time or distance and thought I’d only gone about 3.5 miles when I got back to my house. I was surprised to see that I’d run more than 4 miles.

It was fun to watch the the coverage of the elite runners when I got back. I had a half dozen people that I wanted to track and I was excited to find that FS was also running when I looked her up. I enjoyed being able to follow people’s progress by laptop and wished that the network spent more time covering non-elite participants.

Watching the marathon was fun and I keep waiting for the racing bug to return for me. For now I’m happy to run on my own terms. I’m more interested in training to beat my PB for distance in a single run (13.1 miles) and I plan to start on that next weekend. Once I get my base up, I might be looking at 10Ks a little differently.

20th anniversary run and fun

Getting the scoop (or the schmear) at Bagel Boss

Today’s run (street): 3.5 miles

I took the day off from work today because it was my 20th anniversary. Besides enjoying the luxury of sleeping until 5:30 AM and not driving 35 miles and back today, I got in a nice morning run. The weather is currently monsoon-like, but just before 8:00 AM it was cool and overcast with nary a drop of humidity. I like to start my weekday runs at 8:00 because that gives me about 40 minutes between the caravan of high school and middle school buses and the secondary wave of elementary school buses and kid drop-offs.

The buses don’t bother me that much because I can hear or see them coming at a safe distance. I always hop onto the sidewalk in those cases. Parents dropping off their kids are a different story. They’re typically aggressive speeders who don’t even pretend to slow down for stop signs. I stay hyper aware at all times.

This morning I saw a car that was going at least 10 MPH faster than the speed limit almost collide with a car coming around a blind corner from the opposite direction. Besides that, I ran past a house as a car started backing out of the driveway without looking. I anticipated that and she heard my yell loudly and clearly.

The rest of the day was spent doing various anniversary-like things, including having lunch at our favorite Thai restaurant and going to Home Dept twice. We also walked into a location shoot that the local news station was broadcasting from a neighborhood shopping center. I have no idea what they were talking about, but it appeared to be bagel-related.

Tomorrow it’s back to work, which doesn’t seem fair as today felt so much like a Friday. Still, I did get in my run and I’m looking to do the same on Friday morning. We have family staying part of the weekend so I have to remember to grab my Saturday running gear out of the guest room before they arrive.

After the treadmill, any outside run is good

Short and sweet

Today’s run (street): 3.2 miles
Yesterday’s run (treadmill): 30 minutes

I took a vacation day on Wednesday to take care of some stuff. I had a 7:30 AM appointment so I didn’t get a chance to do a workout in the morning. I did get on the treadmill in the late afternoon and had a very rough 30 minute run. I’m not an afternoon runner and the treadmill didn’t make the situation any better. Although the minutes felt maddeningly slow, somehow I managed through it.

It was great to break up the work week with a day off but Thursday was tough and I was thrilled to work from home today. After that difficult workout on Wednesday, I was concerned that today’s neighborhood run wouldn’t go very well. It was a chilly 43° outside and I wore shorts and a long sleeve running shirt. It took almost five minutes to acquire a GPS signal. I began to rethink my gear as I stood and waited.

As soon the Garmin showed ready, I took off. I didn’t notice a woman who was running by my house and I almost ran into her. Had she been running on the left (correct) side of the road, that would not have happened. I could tell I was in for a good run and pushed harder than usual as I ran up the first long road. I ended up crossing paths with that same woman about a mile later and this time I saw her coming.

I had a tight morning schedule and capped my run at a little more than three miles. That was enough. I ended up doing slightly better than average, probably due more to the cool weather than anything else. The Emerging Runner family will be doing a video call with Adventure Girl on Sunday and I may hit the trails tomorrow in honor of that. While she’s tagging peaks in Montana this weekend, I’ll settle for some of Stillwell’s much smaller hills.

Exhausting week and pumpkin-y run

Pumpkin: gourd and shirt category

Today’s run (street): 3.5 miles

I knew I was facing a long, tough week despite the Monday holiday. It seemed to take forever to get to Friday. Besides a busy workday schedule, I had an exhausting Board of Directors dinner on Thursday night that got me home fairly late. It didn’t help that I needed to get in the office extra early on Friday morning. My Friday evening was spent at a fun event called Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns but I was reaching zombie state by the time I turned in.

I managed to sleep later than my usual 6:00 AM rise time and hoped that all those hours of rest would restore my energy level. However, even after eight hours sleep I was feeling run down. Any thoughts of getting out for an early run were offset by fatigue and slight dizziness. I had two cups of strong coffee and it wasn’t until I checked in with the Runsketeers to get a read on how to dress for my run that I geared up and headed outside. By then it was almost 10:30.

Conditions were fall-perfect, the temperature was in the low 50’s and the sun was shining. I wore a long sleeve running shirt with compression shorts under regular running shorts. I also wore a pair of light knit running gloves that kept my hands comfortable. I followed one of my usual routes around the neighborhood and motored along at a comfortable pace. The lack of hard effort and the cool dry air kept me sweat-free throughout half the run. The air had the smell of maple and burning leaves and the pumpkins and Halloween decorations were out in force.

I haven’t checked my Garmin data, but I know today’s performance was unremarkable. Some of that was due to feeling less than 100%. I also know that I’m never going to get back to my old performance level if I continue to run only three to four times a week, mostly at distances between 3-4 miles.

Just a few years ago, I was typically running 6 days a week and logging between 18-22 miles. That put me in a position where I could run a 5 or 10K at a moment’s notice and confidently hit my targeted pace times. Until I can figure out a way to fit in some additional weekday runs, I’ll need to be satisfied with the pleasant, easy runs I’m doing these days.

Garmin design failure no excuse for a new watch

Mis-connection

Today’s run (street): 3.25 miles

Having a day off on Wednesday certainly made my work week go by quickly. Before I knew it, Friday had arrived. Yesterday was an interesting day. Some organizational changes meant that I had a new team to manage. I was fine with that, although I only found out about it that morning. I was thrilled not to have to drive to my office today, and that allowed me to do my usual Friday morning, pre-weekend run.

I work from home most Fridays, and the lack of a commute gives me plenty of time for a run. I had an early meeting happening via Google Hangout that put pressure on me to run and get back in time to look presentable on camera. That meant getting my procrastinating butt out the door early. On the positive side, the recycling trucks had not yet made the scene. On the negative side, our quiet neighborhood was already being overrun by cars and buses speeding their way to the middle school.

It was 64° with a little more humidity than on Wednesday, but it felt cooler. This was likely due to wearing short sleeves this time. The middle school traffic eventually disappeared and I thought I’d caught a break. But right on cue, I saw a stream of cars and buses heading to the elementary school. I avoided those roads and finished up my run.

Later in the day, I took a break to download my Garmin data and discovered the charging-data connector had broken since its last use. The design of the FR210 is a step backward from my old (non-GPS) FR60 that connected to my PC wirelessly and downloaded data automatically. The FR210’s connector has a set of copper pins that match up with contacts on the watch. The connector is held in place by a spring driven clasp. It’s a terrible design and, now that it’s damaged, I’ll need to figure out a way to keep it connected for charging.

Although this would be a great excuse to upgrade to a more contemporary model, I really have no need for a newer GPS watch. A quick search on the web showed that I can replace the connector for $15 through Amazon – so that’s on order. I have my issues with the FR210, but after almost five years, it continues to be a very reliable unit.