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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Chasing the Giant Silver Snowflake (and Getting a Mile PR)

1.5 miles wu
1 mile hard (6:20)
2.7 wd

total: 5.2 miles
course: College of DuPage Fitness lab

How is a 6:20 would be so, so hard? Age 41 is part of the reason. Lackluster workouts for two months hardly helps either (last 60 days, ending yesterday, equals just 104 miles). Just the same, I take my hat off to myself (OK, few real runners are impressed, so I'll hold back the self-congratulations). Tonight, after a 1.5 mile warm up at 9:31 pace, I stopped, gathered my breath and minor calf stretch or two, and set the machine for 9.5 mph. It was slow getting up to speed, and near the end, I jacked it up to 10 mph. Balanced out to 9.47 mph/6:20. Dropped :02 from my August 28, 2007 PR of 6:22.

I'm encouraged since a month after my 6:22, I hit my current outside 5K PR of 22:00. I am not reading this as prophetic, that I am ready to a 22:00 next weekend if the weather were warm. I am reading this as I have generally maintained my summer speed gains. That, with Monday's 2:50 half mile is merely a good sign, that though I have not had the quantity or intensity as I did in July and August, God has decided not the set my gains off into the netherlands just yet.

While running the mile, dealing with pain with around 600 meters to go, I focused on the giant silver snowflake taped to the south window. My bandana is on, as you might expect, horizontally, helping level set my head. I don't bob like I did in high school, but I do go up and down. Some, I guess, is to be expected. I don't know how much is too much.

After the mile, I ran an easy 2.7 miles, then hit the weights.

Weighed in at 134.4 lbs. My weight is steady, which is OK now. I can attribute this to lifting weights and gaining strength through running, but also, my lower mileage. A few more miles a week should resolve this matter, and, I'll get those in as I can.

My pulse had shot up to 192 when I checked it immediately after my mile.

A salute to those losing weight through the discipline of a careful diet. Below is Dinah Soar's blog on her own challenge. Running is enjoyable for me, and an easy way to manage weight. Even if I only walk a few miles, I lose several hundred calories. Still, for those foregoing the exercise, losing weight can still be done. Don't look to me for tips about all that, or to Dinah for that matter. See your physician for real advice. However, check out her blog to learn the reality of the struggle, and be encouraged by the common effort.

Staying the Course (Diary of a Not So Mad Housewife)


Dinah Soar said...

Hey, thanks for the shout out...just got around to reading the comments you left at my blog...Dane's words to "eat less food" ring in my ears...sometimes the simplest messages are the best, eh? I'm enjoying reading your blogs too...thanks for sharing.

I think I'd like to take up running just for the pleasure of it...may be a little too long in the tooth...(57)....was doing some interval stuff, you know, walking, then jogging a number of steps...initially the effort was almost too hard...but it got progressively easier and I began to understand why people actually enjoy running...about that time I developed a problem in a heel tendon...when it heals I hope to give it another go....looked into the "couch to 5K" stuff.

Resilient Hawk said...

A fellow running on my club just celebrated his 60th birthday. A few others are in their late 50s. I'm 41.

The pleasure of it is my reason. Working out to lose weight is, of course, a great way to go, but the ride is easier if it is fun. I do take running seriously, and want to run fast, but it can be fun at any speed.

Endorphins are among the more famous causes of pleasure during a long run, but hardly the only one. There is the companionship/fellowship of other runners (no different if you walk together). For me, I often sing when I am running outside alone.

Benefits from running, like most exercise, extends well beyond the physical. Stress is released (I guess that is largely physical, but there is a psychological sode of it as well). There is the 'alone time' factor - a big thing for me, as I am very involved with people all day at work. There is communing with nature, and I am not going all new age here, but just referring to seeing the beauty of things growing, alive, as well as feeling the fresh bite of December wind, watching the leaves turn, and knowing, if for just an hour, you've been somewhere else besides inside.

The couch to 5K stuff is a big thing. Take it slow, but take it. If finishing one is a goal, go to a local running store, and get a flyer of one a few months out. There are races every weekend probably where you live (I'm just west of Chicago, so my options are a-plenty). By choosing a date to run, you can work carefully toward it.

And, wear shoes that are intended for running. This is important, as the way we run is not just faster walking. Ankles, knees and your back will appreciate this.

You can find books at Borders or that understand the beginning runner. All will say, "Start slowly, add miles slowly, and stretch carefully."

The rest, if you do the rights things, just as with weight loss, will come in time.