Raw, dark, windy, rainy run

Rain puddle running

Today’s run (street): 5.6 miles

Last night the kids hosted a Halloween party and I did my best to avoid all the holiday related food and the tray of candy by the door. This resulted in a late night, but I wasn’t able to sleep later than 5:30 this morning. I only had a small cup of coffee when I got up, because I expected to be out running in short order. I looked outside and saw torrents of rain hitting the deck and decided to wait it out rather than do a long run on the treadmill.

The time went from 6:30…7:30… and on, but the rain continued to come down. When my wife got on the treadmill to start her run I saw that the rain had slowed down. I took advantage of this break and put on a few layers of running gear. Based on the weather report that said 40° temps and 14 MPH winds, I went for track pants and a long sleeve top.

Before I headed outside, I added my ASICS lightweight running rain jacket. I was sure that the rain would return at some point and I wanted to minimize soakage. It took forever to get a signal on my Garmin – the progress bar kept stopping short by a millimeter before dropping back to the halfway point. After 10 minutes of that nonsense, I decided to start without the GPS locked in, since I could capture distance later with Gmaps.

The combination of thermal and waterproof layers worked well and I followed a loop that was never more than a half mile from my house. I figured that if the skies opened up, I could get back in 5 minutes or less from any point. I know my neighborhood well enough to estimate distance without looking at my watch and I noticed that it took longer than expected to record the first mile. I guessed that the problem locking in all the satellites was affecting accuracy.

It was cold, dark and gray and the rain gained intensity as I went on. The jacket’s hood did a good job of keeping me dry, but it kept slipping forward and blocking my peripheral vision. I stepped in a puddle and was glad I wore Smartwool socks which are still thermal when wet. The winds grew stronger and it started raining harder. I was determined to complete at least five miles and ignored everything except the road ahead and any signs of approaching cars.

Looping the loop

I moved along fairly well considering the conditions and debated whether to add another loop to get me over six miles. Instead, I stretched out my last two loops into connected streets and ended up covering 5.6 miles before returning to my warm dry house. I was a little disappointed in my performance. After measuring my true distance and calculating pace, I had hopes that I broke 10 mins/mile but that didn’t happen. I guess I can blame the wind and the rain, but I know it was really my stride and cadence.

According to the weather reports, tomorrow will be cold, but at least the rain will be gone. I’d like to get out earlier than today and do at least six miles. I probably won’t make 16 miles for the week, but at least I’ll be getting in a couple of decent base runs.

I’m sending my most positive thoughts to friends KWL, NL, FS and other friends who are running the NYC Marathon tomorrow. I hope you all have great races and fantastic experiences. Enjoy every moment, stay hydrated and don’t over-layer!

A chilly, windy, wonderful run

Circuitous route

Today’s run (street): 5.6 miles

Yesterday’s steamy treadmill workout reminded me that we’re not quite done with humid days. All I hoped for this morning was clear skies so I could get outside for my run. What I didn’t expect to see were temperatures in the mid 40’s — cold even for early October. Goodbye humidity and hello dry air. I was thrilled.

45° is chilly enough to wear long sleeves, yet warm enough for shorts. Since I’m more concerned about comfort than fashion, that’s the combination that I went with. The stiff wind from the west made things occasionally unpleasant. Changing direction along today’s circuitous route helped to keep things manageable.

Unlike last Sunday’s long run, I didn’t encounter too many oddities along the way. I did notice that the Justice Monkey sign was replaced by a small kick board that someone had hung in its place. Once again, puzzling and strange. I also followed a skateboarder down one of the longer roads. I tried to stay with him, but was never able to catch up. How fast do skateboards go?

I would have liked to do a full six miles this morning, but I needed to get back in time to meet our day’s schedule. Even so, it was great to be outside and running in the crisp fall air. A review of the run data shows that, despite replacing the battery in the foot pod, it didn’t record my cadence. That was disappointing because I tried to work on that and would have liked to see the results. I’ll probably have to re-link the foot pod to my Garmin 210 to make it work again.

Hoka Clifton (top), Saucony Kinvara 5 (bottom)

Today’s run was a nice antidote to yesterday’s treadmill slog and I hope this cooler weather sticks around until next weekend. I’m starting to think about replacing my Virratas and I’m on the fence on whether to stay with a minimal platform (i.e., Kinvara 5) or join the new wave of cushioned running shoes that Hoka started. After running in Hattoris, Kinvaras, Pure Drifts and Virratas over the past four years, I’m open to a change.

Winter running in mid April

Thick frost on the lawn this morning

Today’s run (street): 6.25 miles

Yesterday’s schedule was rough and it involved an early morning drive to a client north of the city. This meeting and other obligations disrupted my training schedule and they caused me to miss my weekly speed work. I considered doing those repeats today and moving my long run to Thursday, but I didn’t want to space my base training runs too close together.

I was surprised to see that the temperature was only 32° when I got up. At least yesterday’s driving rains were gone, so it was just a matter of bundling up. I’ve gotten used to running in 40 degree weather so I was concerned about a possible recurrence of cold-related breathing issues, but they didn’t materialize. I dressed for the frigid temperature and set out to cover 6 miles or so.

Complex route

Longer runs in my contained neighborhood are hard to do unless you don’t mind covering the same streets multiple times. I mentally mapped out a route that would minimize these redundancies and took off running at an easy pace. I knew that it would be cold, but I didn’t count on the stiff breezes that accompanied it. According to my Garmin data, the winds were at 14 MPH, making it feel like 24° outside. Nothing like pushing your way up a long sloping road with freezing wind buffeting you the entire way.

The run itself was fairly easy. I have no doubt that the Brooklyn Half training is contributing to my endurance. I picked up the pace on the last mile and ran it almost a minute faster than the previous 5. That told me two things: I can run faster when I need to do it and I can find speed at the end of a middle-long distance run. Speed is a relative term of course. My “fast” pace today did not match race target. But it is progress and I’m all for that.

High winds and slow paces

 

Today’s run (street): 3.1 miles

There was a point in this morning’s run when I told myself, after calculating my final pace, to remember how windy it was today. I know from many track workouts how wind can restrict speed. I once ran 400’s where my pace varied by over 15 seconds depending on which direction I was running. Today’s run, in terms of perceived effort (PE), felt much harder than Thursday’s, but I ended up running 10 secs per mile slower.

The purpose of today’s run to was to maintain my targeted half marathon pace over the prescribed three mile workout. That’s exactly what happened on Thursday’s 3 miler, but I barely broke a 10 minute pace today. During the few times on this run, when the wind was at my back, I felt like I was moving. That made me feel good about my form. I’d like to be running the easy 3-milers at around a 9:20 pace, but I’m not there yet.

The Runsketeers are doing a long run tomorrow morning. For me it’s seven miles, TPP is doing 11 and SIOR is doing 16. We’re trying to coordinate our rendezvous so we can all run together. Between our different paces, start times and meeting points, it’s an interesting math problem. The route we chose will be hilly (I’m told). Seven miles of that should help me make progress on my endurance, but I’m expecting to be sore by the end.

Wind induced Turkey Trot flashback

Wind chilly

Today’s run (neighborhood): 5 miles

This morning I saw that the temperature was 33°, but the wind was making it feel like it was 19° outside. I weighed the pros and cons of going out or staying inside. I decided that I’d rather endure challenging winds than five mind-numbing miles on the treadmill. In retrospect, I’m not sure that was the smartest way to go

One of the reasons I chose to run outside was to confront this cold weather breathing issue straight on. By coincidence, the first three base runs I’ve done since starting my half marathon training have happened on the three coldest days. The theory I’m exploring is that cold air is affecting my ability to breathe efficiently and causing me to struggle far below normal lactate threshold. Interestingly, I found something online that said facial cooling triggers the vagus nerve (grow up, it’s located in your face) which can slow up heartbeat.

I’ve had trouble getting my heart rate above 80% of max on these cold runs, so the answer may be in there somewhere. My plan this morning was to run fairly easy, since I did intervals yesterday. I started out feeling okay, but not speedy (which was fine). I was also wearing more layers than a pâte feuilletée and that was probably slowing me down. The wind was brutal and running directly into it practically stopped my forward progress. It was like a flashback to the Long Beach Turkey Trot last November, but happily without the sandstorm.

Race fitness: It’s just a matter of Venn

The two main objectives to my training are to increase my endurance well enough to cover 13.1 miles and improve my stamina to allow me to maintain a targeted pace over that distance. I’ll be honest and say that today’s run did not provide any sign of improved speed, but I was able to handle the mileage better than on Sunday.

Tomorrow’s weather is supposed to be much like today’s. If that’s the case I’m going to stay inside and run my three miles at “pace” on the treadmill. I’ll plan to run longer distances outside and keep the speedier workouts indoors until the weather gets warmer. If that’s what it takes to bridge stamina and speed, I’m willing to spend a little time on the treadmill.

Angels, devils and blogger buddies

Today’s run (treadmill): 5.25 miles

I looked outside this morning and saw that the wind was blowing hard and puddles were forming on the roads. The rain was moderate, but I was concerned that if I went outside to run, I could get caught in a downpour. I weighed the pros and cons of that situation and decided to take the drier path. A few minutes later, the rain intensified and I felt a little better about my choice.

Wet, wind and fog this morning

Even though I knew it was going to be a soggy day, I wanted to keep an open mind about getting outside. The reason for this came from two blogger buddies whose opinions I greatly value. In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that the rain would probably put me back on the treadmill today. TPP commented that I should face up to it and do at least four miles on the machine. SIOR suggested that the three of us do our runs in the rain. I’m not sure if she meant that as an esprit de corps-type exercise or because misery loves company.

I thought about the image of an angel and devil on my shoulder, with TPP saying, “it doesn’t matter if you use the treadmill, just get in the extra miles” while SIOR counters, “don’t be a wimp, run outside in the rain.” I’m not naming the angel and devil in this scenario.

I ended up on the treadmill and covered 5.25 miles, according to the machine’s display. As much as I disparage the treadmill (I think treadmill bashing annoys my wife, who has no issues running daily on the machine) I’ll admit that it wasn’t too bad today. It may have had to do with my mindset, knowing I’d be covering at least five miles. Unlike my usual treadmill experience where I’m ready to explode from boredom by the three mile mark, I passed through that point feeling good that 2/3 of the workout had been completed.

I’m pleased to have completed my longest run of 2014 and I don’t feel too guilty about avoiding the wet and windy conditions. Tomorrow promises to be a better day, with a high of 43° and sunny skies. That will be perfect weather for my first outside run since New Year’s Day. If the ground is dry, I might even consider a run on the trails.

A little Xmas contribution to my 2013 mileage

A white-ish Christmas

Today’s run (street): 3.3

It’s Christmas day and even though it’s a Wednesday, it really feels like a Sunday. That being the case, I was prepared to go out for a long run this morning. When my wife mentioned the combination of 20° temperatures with a wind chill making it feel like 11 degrees, I considered an indoor run. But I had counted on running outside today along the quiet, snow-dusted roads, and I decided to deal with the cold by adding extra layers.

I thought about how wearing compression pants under track pants, along with three upper layers, might slow me down. Since I wasn’t planning to go out for a fast run today, a little speed restriction didn’t bother me at first. I made my way through the first few roads at a jogging pace and encountered some bundled-up couples who were taking a Christmas morning walk. They greeted me happily when I went by. My present was not giving them a lecture about walking on the wrong side of the street.

The conditions made the going tough and my face was beginning to freeze. It can be very uncomfortable running with glasses in the cold, especially when the wind is hitting head-on. I own a balaclava, but it restricts my breathing and traps moisture that causes my glasses to fog up. Besides that, the tightness at the sides creates a fit issue at the temples that can tilt the lenses and distort my view. I haven’t worn contact lenses in 20 years, but days like today make me miss them.

At around the one mile point I began to tire. I was running easy so I didn’t understand it, but I definitely lacked energy. It could have been the cold or the extra weight of so many layers, but I just couldn’t generate much speed. I toughed it out and ended up covering 3.3 miles. I’d planned to go longer but I was glad to finish when I did. It was nice to run without needing to share the road with cars, trucks and buses, but I was somewhat disappointed with my performance.

Mileage history (2013 projected)

My speed and stamina have taken a dip since the Hot Chocolate 5K and I wonder if I need to take a few days off to rest. I may do that tomorrow, but I need to get back to schedule after that. I’m 12 miles short of hitting 900 miles for the year, which means I’ll need to cover at least that distance in the next week. Even so, I’ll end up running 41 less miles in 2013 than 2012. But that would still be 100 more miles than I ran in 2011.

Oh, possum! A return to the road

Today’s run (street): 4.3 miles

Today was my first run since Saturday, when I suffered through a few miles with a pounding headache. A couple of day’s rest followed and I felt I was ready to head out again this morning. We’re supposed to get some very cold weather by Christmas day, but News 12 was showing 34° when I went outside this morning. That temperature was misleading because the wind chill took that down another ten degrees.

The freezing wind made running north uncomfortable and caused my eyes to water. I followed a different route than usual, cutting around the middle school before reconnecting to my local roads. Even though Christmas Eve day isn’t a holiday, it was very quiet throughout my neighborhood. I enjoyed the lack of cars and especially the lack of school buses.

Two day’s rest and recovery from my headache should have provided some extra energy, but it only helped get me through the run. After a while I got used to the cold and I settled into my stride feeling a little stronger. My reverie was disrupted when I came upon a dead possum laying in the road. I gingerly sidestepped that horrific scene that resembled a gray feather duster with a pale pink tail.

The rest of my run was marsupial-free and I ended up covering 4.3 miles, the longest I’ve run since the the GLIRC event I did with my friends on the 14th. I’m looking forward to getting out tomorrow morning when it’s likely to be even quieter. It’s supposed to be chilly and possibly even snowy on Wednesday, so I’ll need to plan accordingly. A run at Stillwell may be a nice place to spend the morning.

Happy resolution, happy morning run

I should design a route that spells out my name

Today’s run (street): 4.5 miles

The outcome of the manhunt for the surviving Boston Marathon bomber ended with a live suspect and no further casualties. As good as that is, it’s important to remember that lots of innocent people were killed or maimed this week in the name of religious zealotry and hate. The Boston Marathon’s joy was hijacked for the benefit of no one. I only hope the city’s powerful reaction to the senseless acts this week will ultimately strengthen the event.

There are a couple of high profile NYC races this weekend and I fear that some weak-minded fool will try a copy-cat attack. I also worry that the London Marathon will have similar threats. I’ll never cease to be amazed by the level of depravity that exists in the minds of some people. Cowards will always look for easy targets.

Okay, back to talking about running! Less than half of my workouts over the past seven days have happened outdoors and I was determined to run outside today. It rained overnight and into the morning, so I waited until the skies cleared before going out. The temperature was 48° around 9:00 AM, so I dressed in shorts, but wore a log sleeved running shirt. That turned out to be a good decision, because the winds were strong from the south and the extra warmth was appreciated.

My Garmin annoyed me (once again) by taking over five minutes to lock into its signal. Standing in the shade of my garage was a chilly experience, but once I got moving I felt comfortable. I elected to run south on Jericho for a change, but the stiff winds forced me to duck back into the neighborhood. It was one of those situations where conditions were perfect in some directions and awful in others. Despite that, I felt great throughout the run.

I didn’t have a distance target, so I just followed roads until I found myself heading in the direction of home. I could have easily run a few more miles, but my son and I are planning to hike later and I wanted to keep some energy in reserve. It was a completely pleasant experience today and, for the first time in days, I was able to think of things other than the events that have played out around Boston. I’m really hoping that this weekend the races will be about the runners, and the stories will be all be happy.

One last run before rest and race

Not exactly an ocean side paradise

Today’s run (street): 3.65 miles

I’m no longer getting up at 3:30 AM. On average, I’m getting an additional two hours of sleep every night. That means seven to eight hours, versus the five or six I had before. I would often supplement my sleep with a 20 minute nap on the train in the morning, but all together, my net rest time is far improved. The downside is that I’m still getting to bed around the same time as before so it’s been taking me longer to fall asleep.

Mornings feel very different these days. Instead of the blur of activities that began with the bleating of my alarm, followed by a fast change into running clothes (and then a run), I can enjoy the morning at a leisurely pace. The quiet darkness at 5:30 AM goes well with a cup of coffee and the local news. The only downside is that it takes me forever to actually get outside or on the treadmill if I don’t have the pressure of the clock.

This morning I spent a long time preparing for what was my last run before my race. My wife couldn’t believe how much I was stalling. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to run. It was just so cold and windy that I didn’t want to go outside. I decided that I’d finish the taper with an easy run and I used that as license to wear extra layers to stay warm.

Running the neighborhood at 8:00 AM is a different experience than when it’s still dark. There are far more cars and school buses to avoid. I took it easy from the beginning and ran my distance at a fairly slow pace. The battery in my HRM must have run out of power, because I wasn’t getting any readings. I sweat a minimal amount across the almost-four miles, but that may be due to the near-constant winds. I am glad that I’d bundled up and worn a wind-blocking layer.

I’m finished with running until the race, and I’ll enjoy resting until then. I may do a light elliptical workout and/or a core session during this period, but I’m done with hard stuff until I’m at the starting line. Right now, they’re predicting 25 MPH winds and a 70% chance of rain in Long Beach on Saturday. Cold, wet and windy. Sounds like fun.