Shouldering pain from a long day on the streets

Relief is imminent

Today’s workout (treadmill): 30 minutes + 8 miles walking

I had planned to be in the city today and tomorrow, but some meetings have shifted to next week. I consolidated the remaining business into today’s schedule, making it a very long day. NYC is a big place and my meetings are often located many blocks apart. I try not to use the subway unless it’s raining, or I don’t have enough time to walk.

My workout was really tiring this morning and I was concerned that I’d pushed too hard. I knew I would be covering a lot of ground on foot and I’d also be carrying my laptop. Today I went from 33rd to Union Square, up to 54th, down to E. 34th and then back to Penn.  I wasn’t feeling great when I arrived at my first appointment, so I went down to the subway and put $5 on my MetroCard. I wanted to be prepared in case I wasn’t up for walking forty-five blocks uptown to my next meeting.

After lunch with some friends, I was feeling much better and did my walk as planned. My Fitbit is now showing 11 miles and 21,900 steps for the day, including this morning’s treadmill run. I’m really feeling it in my shoulder, probably because the weight of the laptop caused some additional strain. I really could use some rest and naproxen sodium. I’ll decide tomorrow whether to take an unscheduled break.

City trek dwarfs morning workout

And the day ain’t over…

Today’s workout (elliptical): 25 minutes + 7 miles city walk

I figured I’d be covering some ground today, but I had no idea that I’d travel over seven miles in the city on foot. My meeting locations varied between east 53rd Street and Spring Street, with a couple of other spots in between. I could have used the subway, but I didn’t see the point of that when I could just as easily walk.

Before I left for the city, I did an elliptical session. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I’d be getting a second workout later. The Fitbit recorded a couple of miles from the elliptical and, fortunately, I remembered to bring it with me when I left the house. I’d forgotten to take the Fitbit on Monday when I covered significant territory around Manhattan. The Fitbit recorded none of that, causing me to look like a slacker on the Fitbit dashboard. But today was a different story.

Should have that distance number over 10 miles tonight

An eight mile workout on top of another

Supremely lucky

Today’s workout (elliptical): 30 minutes + 8 mile walk

It’s another beautiful day in NYC, but I ended up doing my workout indoors this morning. No matter what, time always seems to influence action. I needed to make a mid-morning train and I’d squandered the early morning hours putting the final touches on my new business website. The elliptical made the most sense in terms of time efficiency, so I picked that over the road and the treadmill. If I’d known how much walking I would do today, I may have skipped my workout altogether.

My travels took me all around NYC today. With exception of a subway ride from Penn Station to Chamber Street, I walked up, down and all around. When I got back to Penn at the end of the day, my Fitbit showed 18K steps and 8 miles walked. My feet were fairly sore, but that’s what recovery shoes are for. I put on a pair the second I got home.

The purpose of my trip downtown was to visit the Manhattan County Clerk’s office at 60 Centre Street. I needed to do some legal work related to my new business. The Clerk’s office is located in the basement of the Supreme Court building, and it looks like it hasn’t been renovated since the 19th century. Seriously, go there and see for yourself.

It turned out that the filing (and its sizable fee) was unnecessary. Except for the cost of a subway ride, I came out well ahead. I walked from Centre Street to midtown, and eventually, back to Penn Station. Today showed that not every workout needs to involve aerobic intensity to make an impact. Sometimes it’s a matter of taking some steps – maybe eighteen thousand or so.

My go to workout for running injuries

Cures all running ills

I decided to substitute this morning’s run with a walk that I did on the treadmill at a 5% incline. I’m not fully convinced that my injury is related to my IT band. That’s because I don’t really know exactly where my IT band is. All I know is that the problem suddenly popped up, got worse and then steadily improved. From everything I’ve heard about Iliotibial band syndrome, it doesn’t improve that quickly. Besides that, the Wikipedia definition states that ITBS is a lateral knee issue and (thankfully) that’s not part of my problem.

The reason I chose to walk was simple. In the almost-five years that I’ve been running, I’ve noticed that there’s no injury that walking hasn’t helped. It may be the reduced impact, plus some physiological intangible, but a good walk seems to be the best method to combine conditioning with recovery.

Hours later, the pain and soreness have fundamentally subsided. I’ll continue to apply ice and some massage via a small roller that I have. If time allows, I may take another walk, this time around the neighborhood after dinner  If a little walking helped akready, a little more can’t hurt.

The problem of running too fast

I have two friends who tell me they simply cannot run slowly. When running alone, they claim to always push their pace to a level of discomfort. They have a difficult time easing up when their coaches tell them to slow down during training sessions. If these guys weren’t two of the nicest, most secure people I know, I’d chock it up to macho posturing. After thinking about it, I’m beginning to understand their perspective.

Unlike my friends, I can run slow anytime that I’m asked. But ask me to walk slowly and you’ll get a different response. I often find it maddening to walk the streets of NYC, especially in midtown where I work, where my path is constantly obstructed with dawdlers of every type. I’ve always been a fast and impatient walker. This trait that makes for efficient travel across the city, but it can really annoy others who aren’t in a rush.

I envy my fast running friends because I really do enjoy the experience of moving swiftly on a run. I just have trouble sustaining an urgent pace unless I’m in a race. I’d always assumed that a person who can walk fast for miles would also be able to run fast for long periods. Sadly, that’s not the case. I know I’ve become competitively complacent since October’s Town Of Oyster Bay 5K. Perhaps now is the time for me to start picking up the pace.

Anniversary walk on the Bethpage trail

Today is my anniversary and I didn’t have time for a run this morning. I felt a little guilty about that until my wife suggested that we take a walk on the Bethpage bike trail. We headed over to the park shortly after the kids left for school and made our way to the trail extension.

I run at Bethpage almost every weekend. It’s my favorite place for longer runs because the trail allows me to do distance training without needing to cross busy roads. The extension that runs north of the original bike trail has three segments. The first runs through an area that used to be an unpaved trail and terminates at Haypath Rd. That’s the section we walked this morning.

It was fun showing my wife the route that I run on weekend mornings. The leaves have started changing and it felt a lot like fall. It was a nice change to cover this route at a walking pace. We covered about three miles on our out-and-back route. I still feel a little guilty for skipping my workout, but the bike trail proved to be a perfect choice for an anniversary walk.

October made me a runner

Burning up the treadmill four years ago

October has been a significant month for me in my history as a runner. Modern history I should say, because my running experience in the early ’90’s (and before that) is hazy and undocumented. But in August of 2008, I took my first running steps during my walking workouts. I steadily increased the ratio of time I spent running during my walks, all through September, and then into early October.

The reason I know the details of my early progress is because I’d used a Nike+ wristband and chip and I’m still able to look back at my workouts and see the histograms that show my pace and distance. It’s interesting to see the first run/walks, where I traveled at about 15:00 min/mile, with short sections dropping into the 10:00 range.

A scan of the log shows that I averaged 9:34 per mile on October 21, 2008, making that my first full run over a mile with no walking. One year later I ran on a relay team at the Cape Cod Marathon where I achieved a then-personal record distance of 8.75 miles (over two relay legs). Two years after that, I took my big spill on the driveway at the end of a morning run that scraped me up so badly that I still have scars a year later. You have to take the good with the bad.

I guess the longer your running history, the more you’ll have to look back on every month. Still, I’ll always look at October as a most important month, because that’s when I truly became a runner.

I love running, but do I actually love the run?

Race walking: not the best of both worlds 

Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles

Back in the early ’90’s I lived in the city and walked just about everywhere that I needed to go. It would be nothing for me to cover 20 miles or more on a weekend. My wife is exactly the same. We’d walk 90 minutes a day back and forth between our office and our apartment on 74th Street despite rain, snow, heat or humidity. It kept us in great shape and it was easy because we both enjoyed the experience.

I thought about that on my run this morning as I made my way around my regular route. I was pushing myself harder than I had prior to re-employing my heart rate monitor and my resulting pace reflected that extra effort. I was pleased with my performance, but it occurred to me that the enjoyment of a hard run comes when you’re finished, while a brisk walk is usually enjoyed in the moment.

I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy a good run. When I’m on the trails I can really appreciate the experience with all five senses (well maybe not taste) and I do appreciate the feeling I get when doing an easy run on a crisp fall morning. It would be interesting if I could enjoy every run the way I do when I walk.

On the other hand, the sense of accomplishment, endorphin rush and the athleticism that comes from a run is something that cannot be easily attained by walking. I suppose race walking could fill that void but, frankly, it just seems a bit silly.

Wackos and backward walkers at the track

Round and round (and round) we go

Today’s run (track): 1 mile warm up, 8 x 220 M, 2 mile run = 4.15 miles

I finished my training for this week’s 5K with some speed work on the local high school track. I’m always ambivalent about track running because I find the experience excruciatingly boring. At the same time, with its precise measurement and flat surface, the track is a great place to run intervals. Plus, there’s always an interesting cast of characters to help distract me from the tedium.

The temperature was in the 70’s and the humidity was moderate when I started my workout, with a warm up mile that I completed in 8:19. I wore my Hattori’s that I’ve kept in the closet over the last few months while I ran with the Spira’s, Kinvara 3’s and my Brooks test shoes. The Hattori’s felt fantastic and I’m tempted to go back to them as my regular trainers.

My track-mates included a guy who had about a decade on me, running shirtless. He was covered in sweat and moving at an impressive pace. I wondered how long he could keep that up. Pretty long, it turned out. I suspect he’d been at it for a while when I arrived, and he continued for the first 20 minutes of my workout.

Also on the track was an older Asian woman whom I’d seen before. She circles the track walking backwards. I’m not sure why, but that’s her thing. There was a stocky guy with long hair and a beard walking the whole time I was there. I noticed that he’d switched to a trot around the time I was leaving. I also saw two or three other fitness walkers, some fast and some slow, whose orbits coincided with my laps at various points on the track.

One of the walkers was a guy in his 40’s who I first noticed when he ran the steps in the grandstand. I expected to see him run when he got to the track, but he walked. He did a couple of sprints and, oddly, it was only when our paths crossed (I’d reversed direction on the track). Was he trying to prove he could run as well? He looked angry the whole time he was there and I noticed that he sped out of the parking lot in his big BMW, with gravel flying, after he’d finished his workout. What a wacko.

I felt good running the 220 splits and averaged 7:01 for that mile. I know I could have done better than that, but my goal was to generate some speed without injuring myself. It had been a while since I did any speed work. I did the last two miles closer to a 9:00 minute pace and I was satisfied with what will be my last training run before Wednesday.

While I’m ambivalent about the track, I can almost guarantee my runner’s high after a workout like that. I count on that to help me through the less-than-stimulating experience of running in circles.

Why do I walk so fast and run so slow?

Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles

Yesterday morning I took a walk with a colleague to Central Park to scope out locations for our division Fun Run. She’s a fast fitness walker, but I was able to keep up with little effort. I typically walk faster than anyone I know and I always have. It’s easy for me and it probably has something to do with my long stride length. So, why then, am I such a mediocre runner?

Before I started running I used to think that I’d be fast, simply because I walk fast, but four years of history tell me that’s not true. I sometimes wonder if there are things that I do when I walk that get lost in translation when I run. My stride length when running always seems short to me and I know my cadence is typically 8% less than the ideal of 180 steps per minute.

This morning I went out again on a cool morning run and moved along fine, but I barely cracked the 9:00 range for my pace. I know that if I’d put in more effort I could have improved by 30 seconds per mile, but not much more than that. It would be great if I could apply my walking speed to running, but I don’t see an easy way to do that. And, no, I have no interest in race walking, whatsoever.