Run, interrupted

Reset, you bet

Today’s run (treadmill): 4.5 miles

My son is hosting a competition with his buddies today and our basement is filled with the loud noises and trash talking that you’d expect from a bunch of 9th grade boys. Due to this, our morning schedule was compressed and I strongly considered skipping today’s run. Yesterday’s snowfall put four additional inches on top of Thursday’s accumulation and I shoveled a lot of wet, heavy snow on Saturday. By the time I finished, it was after 10:00 PM.

I mentioned to my wife that I was considering taking a rest day. She suggested that I do an alternative workout, either a walk or an easy run on the treadmill. With that in mind, I got myself situated. I set the speed a little lower than yesterday’s and let it go. Things went well, but I felt the tread slip about halfway through the run and then stop. I checked that my safety cord was still in place and there was no power drop. It seemed like the treadmill console had just spontaneously reset.

This reset wiped my distance off the console’s display, as well as my elapsed time. I hadn’t been looking at my distance when the machine stopped, but I had an approximate idea where it was. Based on the speed I was running, and the time captured on my Garmin, I was able to back into the number. I restarted the treadmill and kept going until I reached a calculated 4.5 miles. From there, I reduced my speed to a fast walking pace and increased the incline to 2% for a half mile cool down.

It was a good decision to run easy today rather than put off my workout until tomorrow. With two days in the city this week that interrupted my workout schedule, I would have fallen very short on mileage. No more snow today, so my upper body is finally getting some rest. Do I dare hope to get an outdoor run in next week? More snow is expected on Tuesday, so I’m thinking that’s not likely.

The freezing rain workout

 

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.1 miles

Yesterday morning did not work out for a run. The overnight snowfall was saturated with freezing rain and my schedule was too tight to allow time for both shoveling and doing a workout. I was due to give a webinar later in the morning, preceded by some planning calls. Weather conditions were so bad they closed the schools and I figured that was due to the ice covered roads.

We only received a few inches of snow so I thought I could easily push it off the driveway. That was a bad assumption. The weight of this snow made it hard to move it more than a couple of feet. A full shovel’s worth of the stuff probably weighed over 30 pounds. I figured out a way to clear the drive and walk, but it took me three times as long as it did during the last snowfall. After about 40 minutes, my wife was able to join me and that cut the time considerably. No run yesterday, but I did get a good upper arm workout.

The still icy roads made the treadmill my only option this morning. I could have also used the elliptical, but I wanted to run. I had an early call scheduled, so I set the speed slightly faster than my comfort level. If everything went according to plan, I’d be able to finish, shower and still have a few minutes before the start of the call. I ended up cutting it close, but I made it. I was very tired by the end.

I’m in there!

Earlier this week I received my first copy of Footnotes, the Greater Long Island Running Club’s (GLIRC) official magazine. That, added to my recently received GLIRC 2014 calendar, made me feel like a real member. It was interesting to see that there are group activities listed in the magazine that don’t seem to be on the website (if they are they’re hard to find). Looking further, I saw that I was mentioned as a new member. Yay!

Paging Dr. Bronner, stat!

 

Today’s workout (elliptical): 40 minutes

I spent yesterday in NYC and ended up covering a number of miles on foot. I traveled crosstown for meetings and then WAY downtown for a lunch with friends. I’d bought some gel insoles over the weekend, because I knew I had some city walking planned this week. The bottom of my left foot was still raw from the previous week’s high volume walks and I was hoping the gel liners would provide some protection.

Considering that my foot was sore from the start, I came through the day with far less damage then I’d feared. Still, I hadn’t helped it in any way. By the time I got home I was walking with a limp to keep pressure off the bottom. I immediately pulled our “foot spa” out of the closet and filled it with warm water. This was a lifesaver the last time I did half marathon training. My feet would be sore from 90 minutes of pounding the Bethpage trail every weekend.

A foot bath is certainly beneficial, but the most therapeutic part comes with the addition of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Peppermint Liquid Soap. My old running partner, Adventure Girl, gifted me a bottle a few years ago and I always add a half ounce of it to the water. The peppermint oil did an amazing job of calming the pain and, even hours after I finished, the cooling effect remained.

I soaked for about 20 minutes last night and that allowed me to walk without limping. My foot still hurt a bit this morning, so I opted to do an elliptical session, which put less pressure on the sore area of my foot. Even with resistance set to medium-high, I feel like an elliptical workout is far easier than a typical run. But by the time I finished my 40 minutes, my heart rate was at target and my clothes were satisfactorily sweat-soaked.

They are predicting a 30% chance of rain for tomorrow morning. I hope the odds are in my favor because I really want to get outside for a run. I want to do some intervals so I can support the Runsketeers in a few weeks during our trail race. If I do get rained out, I’ll look to the treadmill to do some speed work, provided my foot can take it.

Boredom is punishment for the medium-core runner

Don’t let the smile fool you

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.25 miles

Whenever I have to run on the treadmill, I feel like I’m agreeing to a compromise. Were I truly hardcore, I would be out in every kind of weather. I used to be much more willing to run outside under bad conditions. In fact, in 2011, I did every run between April 13 to August 7 outdoors, despite rain, snow, ice or darkness. I’ve been less inclined to run in ice and snow over the past couple of years, mostly due to safety issues. Have I mentioned that the drivers in my neighborhood are careless maniacs?

My dilemma, besides feeling that I’ve slipped from hard to medium-core, is how to write an interesting post about a treadmill run. Here is a description of every treadmill run I’ve ever done:

“I turned on the treadmill and hit start. I set the speed to x. I set the incline to x (optional). I ran for a long time and looked at the the treadmill’s display and saw that only a minute had actually passed. I ran for five more minutes and wondered if I could ever be more bored. I ran more and realized that, yes, I could be more bored. I continued until I had a quarter mile to go and increased my speed to race pace. I finished the run and immediately forgot how much I hated the whole experience.”

There really is something to the “runner’s high” concept, when your system releases endorphins after the workout is done. It’s a good thing that happens. Can you imagine if you felt worse after a run? This morning I did my 3+ miles (I could only stand it for 30 minutes today) and felt great once I was able to step off, relax and shower.

I loved that I had the option of running indoors today when the roads were icy. Treadmills are boring and can be hard to write about. But unless I’m willing to harden my core, I’ll be forced to use this machine. And you’ll be forced to read about it.

Nature’s gym: early morning workout

4:30 AM workout (Mrs. Emerging Runner)

The ten or so inches of snow that were dropped on Long Island today provided an excuse to skip my run and forced the need for some upper body exercise. I’m not a big snow-blower fan and hiring people to plow the driveway is a hit-or-miss thing (Are they coming? What if they don’t?). Over the years my wife and I have followed a strategy where we shovel the drive throughout a snowstorm so we never have to deal with big accumulations.

In the past we’ve gone out in the middle of the night to shovel, went back to sleep for a few hours and went out again early in the morning. Those were the days when I needed to get to the LIRR by 6:15 AM to catch the train into the city. I’m happy to say those days are gone. So instead of getting up at 1:00 AM, we went out this morning at 4:30 and dealt with about six inches of snow, freezing temperatures and blowing winds. My glasses alternated between fogging up due to trapping breath in my balaclava and going opaque from the snow freezing on the lenses. It was not as much fun as I’m describing it.

That was the worst of of it and we all went out again later to clean up the residual inches and dig our way past the wall left by the town plows. Through all of that, I got to use many neglected muscles above the waist, but I pushed far more than I lifted. I could have done a treadmill run today but I thought the shoveling workout would suffice as my workout of the day.

I don’t think the roads will be in shape for outdoor running tomorrow so I’ll definitely be on the treadmill on Saturday. Sunday’s temperatures are supposed to reach 41° and that might be an opportunity to get back outside. My 2014 running streak has come to an end all too soon, but 33% of my workouts this year have been upper body! If I could continue that ratio throughout 2014, I’d be in great shape.

A weekend of Yin and Yang

Yesterday’s run (treadmill): 3.2 miles
Today’s workout (treadmill): 40 minutes

My workouts really varied over the last two days and were as different as Yin and Yang. Friday morning had us doing last minute preparations in anticipation of a house full of guests. That, plus calls related to a big business project, almost forced me to cancel yesterday’s run. By 9:30 I was able to break away and switch to workout mode. With little time to run, I opted for the treadmill.

For my Yang run, I decided to go full tilt from the start and set the speed at 6.6 MPH. On my treadmill, that speed feels much faster than a 9:05 pace. Though I feared it might be a hard rate to sustain, I quickly settled into the pace and was able to hang on for the duration of the run. I would have liked to have had a longer recovery period after I’d finished, but I was soon out of time.

Our guests started arriving around noon. My brother and his family were down from Vermont and my mother and her friend were in from Florida. The remainder of the day was spent on non-running activities and after a big dinner and desserts, me and my sister-in law took a walk around the neighborhood. We moved along at a brisk pace, but it was relaxing compared to my run that morning.

I wanted to spend as much time as I could with our guests this morning so I delayed my run until everyone had left. After a busy afternoon, I decided that I needed today’s workout to be more Yin than Yang. Running hard late in the afternoon would probably not have positioned me well for another run tomorrow morning. I’ll admit that I felt too lazy to put on cold weather gear and the thought of an easy workout on the treadmill seemed far more appealing.

I set the treadmill’s incline to 3% but gave myself a break on speed. I eventually brought down the incline when I felt some leg burn. The intention of this workout was not to push to the level of discomfort. Although it’s still only Saturday, it feels like it’s been a three day weekend. I mean that in the best way.

My brother brought me a Keurig brewer and sent some coffee to go with it. I’m looking forward to having a cup of Kenyan to fuel my morning run tomorrow. Good coffee and running, yet another perfect Yin and Yang.

Good friends and good food force a high resistance workout

You’re getting sleepy…

Today’s workout (elliptical): 40 minutes, high resistance

Yesterday’s run was tough, but things got better as the day went on. We spent a good part of the day (and night) with some friends who were hosting a Christmas Day party. Their kids and ours have known each other practically since birth and everyone had a great time. I had what was probably my fifth – and last – beer of 2013. It was an exceptional Sam Adams Maple Pecan Porter that (happily) didn’t make me sleepy. When it comes to alcohol, I’m a real lightweight.

An evening of food and fun made me reconsider taking a rest day today. High calorie desserts come at a price and I had to pay the piper. I decided that the elliptical would be a nice alternative to another freezing run outside, or a boring treadmill run inside. Yesterday my legs felt heavy and I thought the elliptical, with its resistance dialed up, could tax my muscles in a different way.

We will have a full house this weekend, with my brother and his family and my mother and her friend staying at Chez Emerging Runner. I’m going to try to get 4-6 miles in tomorrow and that will leave only six more to complete before Tuesday, in order for me to reach my 900 mile target for 2013. I’m excited to have our guests coming and I’m also looking forward to running the LIRRC Hangover Fun run with the other two Musketeers on 1/1.

This stick is a real pain in the neck

Great gift indeed

Today’s run (tempo): 3.2 miles

Yesterday’s workout wasn’t that intense, so I decided to step it up a little this morning with a tempo run. I woke up with a neck ache that I’m sure was caused by my Brookstone Shake Weight. This is a weighted balanced stick that you shake to (supposedly) build muscle via “dynamic inertia.” I used it a couple of years ago but started getting back aches. I grabbed it out of the closet the other day thinking it might be a good way to work on arm strength without weights.

Whether it was the shake stick or something else, my neck was in pain. It felt like a pinched muscle but it didn’t hurt so bad that I couldn’t do my run. In deference to the discomfort, I decided to keep it fairly short. I started the tempo about a minute slower than training pace and held that for about 15 minutes, gradually increasing every quarter mile until I finished near my current 5K race pace.

After I’d completed my run, I took an Aleve. Even after putting some heat on it, the pain is still there, although it’s not as intense as it was this morning. I’m hoping that a good night’s sleep will get rid of it for good. I’m excited to be doing the GLIRC Clubhouse run tomorrow morning with my running friends, the Petite Pacer and SIOR. I’m really excited about that. As for the Shake Weight, it’s either back to the closet or bound for the trash.

Another run on that thing

 

Today’s run (treadmill): 40 minutes

Not long ago, I was having lunch with some business friends who also said they ran. I espoused trail running and another friend mentioned how much he loved running in Prospect Park. Our other colleague said that he did a five mile run every day on his treadmill. I asked him if he ever ran outdoors. He said that he lived adjacent to a wooded bike trail, but still preferred running on the treadmill. I couldn’t understand that at all.

To be fair, my wife does 45 minutes on the treadmill almost every day and it works for her. Time is important and the treadmill is very efficient. No ten minute process to put on layers and other gear when it’s cold outside. There’s even a timer to help her keep her schedule to the minute. Knowing this, I should have been more understanding of my friend. But he has a trail in his back yard.
Yesterday was devoted to meeting a tight deadline and that meant starting at 5:30 AM to ensure that I’d complete what was needed by 5:30 PM. There was no time for a run and I was okay with that. This morning I had more flexibility and planned to go out in the 24° cold, but my wife warned me that the roads were extremely icy. I have enough concerns about sanitation trucks, school buses and bad drivers in my neighborhood that I don’t like to increase my risk with slick roads. So it was back to the treadmill.
 
I think the treadmill seems harder because it forces a higher cadence relative to stride length. In other words, if I require 174 SPM to maintain a nine minute pace on the road, I may need to run 177 or more SPM to manage the same pace on the treadmill. It’s a lot of extra work to get to the same speed. Still, training at a higher cadence might yield a benefit that I can leverage outdoors. Until they put a bike path through my backyard, I guess I’ll be stuck on that thing from time to time.

The little workout that could

Today’s workout (treadmill): 35 minutes

A little resistance

Work distractions prevented me from getting out this morning and the busyness continued throughout the day. By midday I’d resigned myself to missing any kind of workout. Around 5:30 I was fully caught up, so I decided to do something that resembled activity. The treadmill provided an easy, quick and low key alternative to a run on the street.

I didn’t feel like a run that late in the day, but 35 minutes walking on the treadmill didn’t seem like enough of a workout. I put on some ankle weights, grabbed some hand weights, and set the treadmill’s incline to a 2% grade. I picked an easy running pace and ended up with a far more beneficial workout than I’d originally planned. Judging from the level of sweating I’d done, this was the equivalent of a much faster run done with no incline or weights. I didn’t wear my HRM but I wish I had. I would have liked to see how hard I’d actually worked today.