Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A forced day off

Today I'm forcing myself to not do any exercise. I had gotten in a really good groove, and had worked out five days in a row, including three consecutive running days. I want to keep going, I want to take advantage of the inertia, but I know my injuries this year were likely due in part to over training, so I'm forcing myself to take a day off. What a drag! I can't let one day become a habit though. Tomorrow I absolutely must be back with the program! The couch potato to 5k program is intended to take 9 weeks and I've already condensed the first three weeks training into 15 calendar days. I don't want to push that too much, but not exercising is a bummer! :(

Sunday, July 24, 2011

9 mph - Wow!

Today's running hovered between 6.5 and 7.5 miles per hour. Just for fun I thought I'd try for 9, just to see if I could. Yes, indeed I could but it was extremely difficult. My legs aren't used to moving so quickly! I noticed too that the faster I went, the stronger I pumped my arms, whereas when I'm in the 6-7 mph range, my arms are more along for the ride. It wasn't pretty - I was sweating profusely, breathing loudly and probably grunting at some point, nevertheless I ran 9 mph (for about 30 seconds!)

9 mph = 6:40 miles, which isn't even that fast when compared to race winners. The last time I watched the New York Marathon, the winning women averaged 5:20 for the entire race. I have a newfound respect for their mad skills. Heck, even Georgie W. averaged 8-minute miles during his morning runs with the Secret Service. (Why in the world do I know stuff like this???)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What a difference a year makes

I have a few times saved on the iPod stopwatch, the marathon of course, and three other runs that I was particularly proud of, including July 5, 2010 when I ran seven miles in 1:11:44 and I felt incredible after that run. It was over 90 degrees outside and I managed to run 8 or 9 minutes faster than I had the last time at seven miles. 54 weeks later, the 5K program limits me to running in 90 second increments. What a long sad decline from where I had been.

Yet I just spent a few days in Ashland, Ohio where I had attended grad school and all of my friends who had been there last year asked how my leg was feeling. Heck, even the program director asked how I was feeling and if I was running again. It was 52 weeks ago that I was there, unable to walk from point A to point B and biking quarter mile distances to go to class.

It's all a matter of perspective. I can't do the hour long runs right now, but I can run at all, I can move without pain and I'm on my way back. Besides, if not running 7 miles is the worst thing in my life, I have a whole lot to be thankful for!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Why wait?

I've been exercising, but not taking anything too seriously. My running has been sporadic at best and making absolutely zero progress. I had accepted months ago that I wouldn't be able to repeat the marathon this October. I thought about perhaps restarting the Couch potato to 5K program to end in time for the Run through Hell on Halloween Eve, then I asked myself, "Why wait? What are you waiting for? Get in 5-6 mile shape so running a 5k is easy."

On Monday I restarted the program. It's slow and tedious, but it works, and it's been working great this week. The plan was the same for the three days of week 1 - run 60 seconds, then walk 90 and repeat for 20 minutes. I've gone further distances each time and I feel strong during the run. The best part is that I used to struggle to run 6 mph, but now that I'm focusing on good form running, in particular taking more steps, not longer steps, my rate has increased dramatically. I start the run at 7 mph and increase to 8 or 8.5 mph. Wow! I didn't think my body was equipped to run a 7-minute mile for any amount of time.

With changing running or walking every minute or two, I'm spending the first couple days on the treadmill because it's convenient and easy to have the clock right there, and it's remarkable to notice the difference between good and bad form running. Regardless of the speed, when I run my feet are light and the sound minimal. When I'm slowing down to a walk, however, I'm throwing down my feet and it sounds like an elephant is on the machine. The noise discrepancy is even greater in the Vibrams.

My joints feel good, my bones feel good. Running again is definitely a good thing :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A strange email

My brother emailed me this morning at work to let me know that the Y had called him to say they found a pair of my shoes. Calling him makes sense because when I buy a new pair of running shoes, I write my name, his phone number, my health insurance company and blood type on each shoe in permanent pen. That way, if I'm hit by a car or otherwise rendered unconscious, an emergency phone number is available (assuming I haven't lost both shoes...). This was the first time, however, that anyone made the call.

I was completely baffled because while I have a lot of shoes, I didn't realize any were missing. My gray Mizunos were in the car and my Vibrams were in the living room, so I was curious as to which shoes they had found. My only guess was a pair I had donated to the shoe recycling bin and forgotten to scribble over the contact info. It was with great curiosity that I went to the gym this afternoon to see which shoes had been found (and unknowingly lost).

It was.....the cursed pink shoes!!!!!! ach! No wonder I didn't notice they were missing! I can't even fathom how I left behind the shoes - or when I last wore them. It must have been months! My best guess is that I sat on the bench and changed my shoes, then they got pushed under the bench and left there. Much more exciting than the shoes was the pair of wool socks tucked inside. I had been thinking I was short on running socks, but I figured they were all dirty.

I thought about donating the shoes but I took them to wear when I cut the grass if nothing else.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Bucket list #23 - about half done

Visiting Colorado marked another state I've been to, and another step closer to visiting all 50 states. Here are some good pictures of the city:

The 16th St. pedestrian mall, planned by IM Pei.

The view from the dome atop the Capitol.

Cow statues. Mooooooo

The US Mint. No, I didn't go inside - security was worse than an airport. I'll watch the National Geographic channel :D

The flagship REI store

Rain outside REI

A big blue bear peeking into the Convention Center.

I wonder though, does it really count for visiting Colorado? I saw one city, I didn't go into the mountains, I didn't ski. By the same logic, have I really visited Minnesota? I went to the ballpark and the mall for an hour. Does spending 6 hours in a state mean I've seen it? There are other states I'm not sure I've visited. I think I drove through Arkansas en route to New Orleans, but I'm not sure, and if I got out of the car, it was only to get gas or buy snacks. I changed planes in Arizona, but I don't count that. I need to develop some criteria!

I have visited:
New Jersey?
New York
North Carolina?
South Carolina?
Wisconsin (drive through only)