A good way to use a run

Je suis pissed

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

Were this was a political blog, I would be writing a few hundred words about how disgusted I am that a group of cowards killed a bunch of people in Paris last night. But this is a running blog, so I’ll keep it related to that.

I worked from home on Friday and had an early call, so I opted for an elliptical session to save time. I set the resistance higher than usual and really felt the effect of the workout by the time I finished. Another reason I’d stayed inside on Friday was the very high winds that made outdoor running unappealing. I was glad to see that conditions were milder when I got up this morning and looked forward to getting out.

After a couple of cups of coffee and and an hour watching the news, I felt deflated and unmotivated to run. It’s been almost 15 years since 9/11, but I felt the same way I did after all that happened. I got my act in gear just before noon and went outside. The winds had picked up, so I dressed as if it was 10 degrees colder. That turned out to be a good choice because I remained comfortable through the entire run.

Running is therapeutic and I appreciated how it distracted me from the news. I followed my usual Friday route (although it’s Saturday) and, despite dealing with some wind resistance, I got through my miles fairly quickly. The post-run lift put me back on track, and that has carried me through the day. I really hope to get out early tomorrow so I have time to cover a lot more miles, although the today’s three were really appreciated.

Running on a "Beach Day"

The world through my glasses at the end of my run

Today’s run (street): 4.5 miles

If yesterday’s weather was perfect for running, today’s was perfectly-awful. My Garmin, which somehow seems to know these things, reported 97% humidity during this morning’s run. Today’s planned speed workout had to be deferred in favor of a “git it done” neighborhood grind.

When I stepped outside at 8:00 AM, I detected some slight rainfall – drizzle really – that I expected to stop. I expected this because my favorite News 12 weather woman said it would clear up and become a final day of summer beach day. I tend to believe her because she’s a runner and therefore wouldn’t mislead other runners. Well, it rained.

I dealt with the ever steadier rain for the first mile that looped close enough to my house that I could have just gone home and finished my run on the treadmill. By then, the rain’s intensity had dissipated and the sun was poking through. Soon there was no rain, but the enveloping humidity continued the unpleasantness.

One the reasons I don’t like running in rain is that it collects on my lenses and obscures my vision. Humidity has its own way of doing that by fogging the lenses from the inside, rendering the world like a Gerhard Richter painting. When I tried to clear my lenses with the bottom of my sweat drenched running shirt, it just made it worse.

As I ran, I thought about stopping and resuming later when the “beach day” weather arrived. I decided to tough it out, which was a good idea because the skies never cleared and the humidity never dropped. I had hoped that today would be the kickoff to a more focused approach to performance running.

I really want to run – and race – with my buddies (see SIOR’s Cow Harbor recap and the Petite Pacer’s latest post). Before I can join them at the starting line, I’ll need to find another minute per mile in my race pace.

Forced ageism on the treadmill

Demographically insulted

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.6 miles

I knew it was going to rain this morning but I thought I might be able to fit in a run before the weather changed. As often happens on Saturday mornings, I got a little too comfortable settling in with a big cup of Green Mountain Double Black Diamond Extra Bold (thanks again Bill!) and watching the news. Time passed until I finally managed to tear myself from a hard hitting news story about dog racism and headed upstairs to change.

My wife is extremely disciplined about getting things done and that includes her daily workout. When I got upstairs, she was already halfway through her treadmill run. Knowing that I’d planned to run outside, she looked at me sympathetically and said, “You’re probably better off using the treadmill rather than running outside that this point.” A look outside supported that view. I got caught in the rain about halfway through yesterday’s run. Although it only lasted a couple of minutes, I found it extremely unpleasant.

My run went fine. No heroics on the treadmill. I set a moderate pace and stayed with it throughout my targeted time. I got tired of switching the channel between the local news station, MSNBC, CNN and HLN every time they went to a commercial. I changed over to the Music Channels and was amused to see how the display ads differed depending on the type of music selected. The Classic Rock and Soft Rock stations kept showing an ad with an older guy holding a cane, with the headline “Having Difficulty with your Knees?”

Each time they showed that, I felt like yelling, “How dare you infer that I need your services just because I choose to listen to the Steve Miller Band! I’m running!” (actually I may have yelled it once). In the end, today’s workout was exactly what I needed. I’d planned to throw in some fartleks, but SIOR made the point that I should not be focusing that much on speed at this point. Unlike some recent runs, today’s felt energizing and I had no breathing issues or fatigue. Perhaps the warmer weather is helping. And not a moment too soon.

A harder effort, but an easier run

Today’s afternoon snowfall

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.4 miles

I had some early work that needed attention, so I didn’t get to running until late morning. We saw some snow yesterday and I had little expectation that I could get outside for a run. The roads had improved, but not to the point of safety. It was back to the treadmill, once again.

Instead of music, I decided to put on Meet the Press for distraction. That helped a lot, especially the Rand Paul segment that provided some good energy-producing anger. I’d set the treadmill’s speed 5% faster than yesterday’s pace. It felt about the same and I hoped that would continue. Maintaining the same speed throughout yesterday’s run had caused my heart rate to increase 16% by the end. Even with today’s more challenging effort, I didn’t reach yesterday’s 88% of max.

My late start forced a shorter run than I’d usually do on a Sunday. I was fine with it, although I probably would have gone a little longer if I was running outside. Monday’s temperature is supposed to rise to 37°. That, along with predictions of rain, could get rid of the snow that’s been keeping me off the road for so many days (including today’s mini-snowstorm). Clear roads would be a welcome sight, although a return to 11° temperatures is also part of the deal.

Loathing this makes the treadmill more tolerable

Pretty sure I remember this happening before

Today’s run (treadmill): 5.2 miles

Hey, has anyone notice that it snowed? Seriously, the news stations are treating this blizzard like the second coming of Sandy. For most people in the area, it was just a bunch of snow. But I do have sympathy for the thousands who lost their power last night. Sandy happened at the end of October when temperatures were generally in the low 40’s. Freezing temps + no power = misery.

I was thrilled to see that we still had our power when I woke up this morning. The roads were covered in deep snow at 5:00 AM. My town supposedly received 18″-24″ and I was glad that we’d chosen to let our landscaper plow the driveway, rather that go out in shifts every few hours to shovel. I actually enjoy the whole shoveling experience, but this seemed a more practical way to move that much snow.

The snowplows went to work around 7:00 AM and I decided that the streets were no place to be. I debated between the elliptical and the treadmill and chose the latter. Today’s goal was five miles that I would run at a moderate pace. After a string of intense workouts, I wanted to ease up a bit while I still got some miles in. I wasn’t running outside, but the view from the window was postcard pretty.

I have trouble hearing the TV when I’m on the treadmill so I usually watch the news. That’s because it’s more visual with lots of readable information on the screen. But today I just couldn’t stand the repeating stories about the storm. Is it really that fascinating for people to hear that snow had fallen? Perhaps so. Instead of the news, I put on one of the commercial-free music channels provided by our cable company.

I started my run listening to really bad music. Most people like songs that connect them to positive experiences. For example, the music that was playing on a first date or during a fun event with friends will provide more meaning. Sometimes those songs are bad, but you love them anyway. The channel I chose was playing that whiny, tuneless rock from the 90’s that is usually described as grunge. I dislike it, but I kept listening, because it helped distract my enmity for the treadmill.

It turned out to be a very good workout and I was glad that I picked a run over the elliptical. It looks like street conditions are not going to support safe running for the next few days so I’ll remain inside. That being the case, I hope the TV news becomes more interesting. Or the music gets better.