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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Treading in Water Streaming Down My Face

5.0 miles (43:12 - 8:38/mile)
0.4 miles walked

total: 5.4 miles

course: Wardman Marriot, Washington DC

After a long hot day checking out the Lincoln Memorial and other sites along the Mall, it came to time to run. The previous two days were filled with driving, with 10 hours on Thursday and two hours on Friday. My legs took a break since an eight miler on Tuesday, but walking the Mall wasn't exactly sitting by a pool either.

The treadmill had a TV attached to it. I don't how people can run and focus on what's showing, let alone read the captions. Not me. I can listen to music, or nothing at all, but not TV. So I turned that off, cranked the iPod up, and ran in an unair conditioned gym. Although the treadmill also had two tiny fans, neither pointed my way, and were essentially ineffectual. Water weight was lost in a big way.

The run was fine. Not much to describe except that I realize my pace is skewed by the fact that is a treadmill, not a real Earth surface.

The treadmill managed to help me get my legs turning over faster which I hope will be helpful Thursday night at my weekly butt kicking at the Wheaton College track. It will be my first interval workout in months, so confidence is not exactly overwhelming me. This post is post-dated, meaning that it will list as August 29, but I am actually writing it Thursday morning, September 3. That workout is staring me in the face, starting with a 5:30 pm warmup. We'll see how long I survive, if Jim shortens it, or if I manage to do OK the entire way.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fitness is Coming

Resting pulse rate this morning is 46. That's an indicator of progress.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Do You Wanna? I Did. After 8 Miles, That Is.

8.0 miles (73:37 - 9:12/mile [36:18 - 9:05; 37:19 - 9:20])

total: 8.0 miles

course: Illinois Prairie Path

:30 after finish
Current: Clear
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 62%

It was hotter when I started. Much. My time isn't zippy, but for the weather, I'm good.

Mile one was 8:57. Obviously, that was around 15 seconds too fast.

Last week's mileage is at 35.08 miles. That's nice to see. If fitness is going to happen, it will not be by running tidy 20 mile weeks. I'm not sure that 35 miles weekly will get me there either, but at 34 days into this I'm happy.

I was asking myself if a cold orange Fanta would taste good when I was done. Now I know. It did. 270 calories of cool pleasure. Earned every sip.

Tomorrow will be a shorter run, with Thursday as a travel day, and Friday either also a rest day, or on the treadmill.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Linear:Nonlinear Mode Resolution Over 4.36 Miles

4.36 miles run (38:59.64 - 8:57/mile)
0.50 miles walked

total: 4.86 miles

Current: Clear
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 49%
course: COD Loop

Not quite sure how it is I went this fast. My legs felt heavy. My stride is stretching out, but is a long way from loose. I felt some bounce in my toes along with the slugging around of step-to-step. I am improving, and that's a nice way to finish the afternoon.

As I posted to my Twitter account:
The best thing about running with a cacophony of iPod music, traffic noise and my out of shape heartbeat is that in this, my thoughts organize.
As a writer both when working and on my free time, I often think in a linear:nonlinear mode, particularly in my creative work. Writing is a mix of craft and art, and so this tends to drain me of real processing of what I think. Hard to explain that here, but what happens as I run, all the noises are both completely tuned in and tuned out at once, a paradox of associating and disassociating on the same mental plane. The dogs barking, the cars honking, the singer singing and my own thoughts grinding away at yesterday's problems all go away. Things get sorted out.

This settling of my mind is what I need. This is more important than those blessed endorphins, and even more than the physical health benefits. Perspective, emotionally and spiritually, comes around.

1.29% Off, No Coupon Needed

Monday Check-in

138.2 lbs. (down)
51 - Pulse (up)

Lost a couple pounds? Maybe, maybe not. Last Monday, it was at 140.0, but had been fluttering in the 139s. Hard to tell what is reality. Not only is my scale not trusty, if I ran the night before and had not yet replenished my liquids, I might be lighter than reality. Either way, good stuff.

Last week was solid in terms of running. 32.72 miles. Two longer runs on each side, 10 miles and eight miles respectively. Yesterday was a rest day.

Everything is feeling OK, though I am wary of my knees, shin and Achilles. Good rest days and a balance of hard-easy days will help.

The week coming must resolve a complicated schedule, and will not have the quality of runs I would prefer thanks to a travel. A treadmill or two must be the solution.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Eight Before I Ate

8.0 miles (72:58 - 9:07/mile; [36:58 - 9:14/mile, 35:00 - 9:00)
0.50 mile walk

total: 8.50 miles

Current: Overcast
Wind: NW at 4 mph
Humidity: 67%
course: Illinois Prairie Path

Among my better runs. The cool weather helped. My pace was fairly steady, and, to my surprise, picked up the second half. It was a nice feeling knowing I had a few more miles in me.

I run four miles out, and turned around at the mile post.

Crowded morning, although the serious CARA and Glen Ellyn Runners Club runners had all mostly finished. I got out in the late morning.

Someone was burning a bonfire at around two miles, with smoke heavy on the path. A few dog walkers had not-so-friendly dogs on tight leashes.

My total mileage for the last seven days is at a new high, at 37.47 miles, with another 1.95 miles walked. There is a pound of calories sacrificed to the running gods.

Now, time for lunch.

Friday, August 21, 2009

30 Days and 4.3(6) Miles

4.36 miles run (40:40 - 9:20/mile)
0.50 miles walk

total: 4.86 miles

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 69%
course: COD Loop

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 59%

A nice run on what is, in fact, a sunny day on this thirtieth day back into running.

Today was a new kind of day. I had run yesterday in the early evening, and did not have the same span of rest as usual.

While I am not yet fit, I am used to getting out and running, and with that, am trying to think about form, poise, stride and those kinds of things. In two weeks, my plan is to return to the track for whatever workout Jim thinks is a good idea.

Today's Course
Relooking at my 4.3 mile route, which originally I thought was 4.42 miles, it seems to be 4.36 miles. What is accurate? My GPS watch cannot decide either. What difference does it really makes? To be exact, 7.87 seconds per mile. Do I really care? No, because I know the route is pretty much the same. I can compare times in that context. These aren't carefully controlled track workouts. Maybe I cross the street at a different angle, or do not click my watch off precisely when I stop at a street light. Details.

For now, after several seconds of deliberated consideration, I'll move forward by recording the 4.36 distance, and the related pace. I won't back fix my mileage spreadsheet or anything, just as I did not with the 4.42 miles change. I prefer to be exact and accurate as it keeps me honest, but what counts as either is a bigger question than I am capable of solving.

A few runs I call 'COD Loop' for both the stats above and the post tags. That's just a ballpark took to remind me of where the run was. Having a name for every variation is more unwieldy that I want to deal with.

When I run the track, I fudge some as well, not bothering usually to adjust 1600 meters into a mile, but letting it go.

My weight is sneaking down. This morning it registered at a tidy 137.6 lbs. All is going in the right direction, and that's the pattern I need. I don't see how I'll be 135 on August 31 as hoped, but I am on track to get to 125 by May 1.

For David, the Super Chicken theme song (or, watch Jerry Seinfeld singing it), who thought there might not be useful songs for running. I know he likes this one.
"He will drink his super sauce
And throw the bad guys for a loss
And he will bring them in alive and kickin' (puk, puk, puk)"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Usain Bolt Sets 200 Meter World Record (Crushes It) Video


Usain Bolt


200 meters.


Training Aside a Train: 6.0 Miles on a Track Next to the Tracks

2.0 miles warmup
4.0 miles run

total: 6.0

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 52%
course: Wheaton College track

Felt good. Not sure how fast I went (around 8:30s for my first two miles). Ran with the JSRC club for first time in months, though just for the warmup. They did some 150s and 200s while I ran four miles worth of laps.

It was nice to hear the rush of the train through the evergreens.

Not much to say. Spaghetti's boiling.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rainy Nights in Glen Ellyn Do Not Deter My 4.3

4.3 miles (40:59 - 9:32/mile)

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 55%
course: COD Loop

Current: Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 61%

Don't let the 'Cloudy' part fool you. It is pouring rain. Thunder. Some lightening. I'm soaked. That's all right. In November it will rain too. There will be no warm trickles then.

Took a mile to find my stride. I did. The last 800 m felt smooth. I stretched it out some, but avoided a a sprint.

It was familiar and odd to run this complete route for the first time since September 2008. Seven minutes slower than then, but all felt well with Monday's long run mostly rested away.

Some swift guitar playing in the video below. Fans of Phil Keaggy and Stanley Jordan might like it. There's a nod to my old running pal Ulm (see comments in earlier post) who recommend the John Butler Trio as good running music. Ulm runs much faster than I do, so I can see why he chooses it. Fine, bright music either way on a rainy day.

Monday, August 17, 2009

10 Miles in the Rain: Longest Run in Year+

10.0 miles (1:46:07 - 10:43/mile)

total: 10.0 miles

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: SW at 0 mph
Humidity: 83%
course: Illinois Prairie Path southward

It rained. I'm tired. Dirt covers my calves. I'll ache worse tomorrow. That's the bad news.

The good news is I ran farther than I have in a year. Though it did rain from 2.0 to around 3.5 miles, the scent of oak trees surrounded, and the trees protected me from the harshest part of the rain.

My longest run last June (10.11 miles) was slightly faster, but I was in better shape, but today's pleases me because of the challenge of the elements and present level of fitness.

My recovery so far seems OK. Gatorade and mineral water over ice, and a small can of Bush's Baked Beans are hitting the spot as I write. A shower soon will eliminate some of of less savory impacts of my afternoon's effort.

Celebrating the Loss of 0.8, and Usain Bolt (video)

Monday Check-in

139.2 lbs. (down)
52 - Pulse (up)

With a few decent weeks of running behind me, I am starting to see results. The last five days have seen my weight below 140. Barely, but there. The consistency is good to see, especially since I dined out a few times. Not enough yet to claim weight loss exactly, but the slope of the line is headed in the right direction.

I ran 26.75 miles this week, and walked another 4.00. My weekly miles continue to increase essentially by increasing the length of my shortest run. My top distance remains 6.0 miles.

Consistency will remain my biggest hurdle. This morning's run, for example, was waylaid by a thunderstorm. Now, in a few minutes, I hope to grab what looks like a few hours of sunshine. Humidity will be high, and my intended running path might be soaked. Will I last the entirety of my run, or cut it short?

Nothing hurts at the moment, outside of a dull ache in my thighs. My Achilles, while still recovering, seems to be getting used to this running thing.

Need some inspiration? Watch Usain Bolt of Jamiaca tear apart the 100 m WR (9.58), and make Tyson Gay's American record (and third best ever) of 9.71 look pedestrian. Nothing much to say here, except, "Duuude, like wow!"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Looking for My Path, And Getting on Track - 4.75 on a Steaming Sunday

4.75 miles (47:02 - 9:54/mile)
0.25 miles walk

total: 5.0 miles

Current: Haze
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 89%
course: Glenbard South track

All I wanted was a lazing long run on the Prairie Path. The morning dripped with humidity, pretending the cool temperature was in fact cool. I got up late, got out the door late. I couldn't find the place to park my car.

So I went to the track where I knew I could get in a few miles.

I ran out of time, and what had I hoped to be a long run was a medium run. Could've been 5.0 miles, but I lost count. Before you heckle me, try counting 20 laps. It seems easier than it is.

The run itself was relaxed. My miles are sneaking up, and, through this morning's gallop, I'm up to 26.75, plus another 4.0 walked. These dogs are tired. Yesterday's rest day wasn't enough, but I gotta do what I gotta do, and what I gotta do is run through this. In a few months, I will feel like a runner again.

My legs are coming through a tough time of rehabilitation after a months sitting in a crammed desk amid the cacophony of a crowded workplace, and then, a tiny office with barely enough room for air. Too much sitting makes a body wrinkle like an arthritic hand.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Sunsets and Meadows: 5.5 Miles

0.25 walk
5.50 miles run (58:02 - 10:33/mile)
1.75 miles walk warmdown

total: 7.5 miles

Current: Clear
Wind: W at 6 mph
Humidity: 31%
course: Springbrook Prairie

My legs are tanked. 25.50 miles this week, with tomorrow still ahead. As such, tanked and all, with a slow time in my run tonight, a day off is due. Running tomorrow will not add anything not better achieved by resting.

At mile two, I knew it would be a long run. Drenched in sweat, my bandanna was giving way and needed to be retightened. The heat bore down, pleading with me to stop, lay down, and baked. I pressed on. The run required finishing.

The views, as you can see are subtle, beautiful,.but my camera does no justice to the magnificence. The sunset was a tremendous orange ball, with its intensity just low enough that watching it caused no trouble.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Driving Me Crazy at Five Miles

5.0 miles (51:19 - 10:16/mile)

total: 5.0 miles

Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 38%
course: Butterfield Loop

Current: Clear
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 40%

Delusions of youth streamed in as I gave a seven mile loop a hit. The heat/humidity, matched against a poor night's sleep took over.

Today's run involved area roads as opposed to the track I had commonly been using. Brittle grass edged the cigarette littered shoulder. Most drivers slipped blindly passed the thick white stop line, giving my a sheepish look. At 22nd Street and Blanchard, commuters coming home didn't bother to see my crossing, and several times I had to pull back. Drivers Ed is necessary for a few too many.

My pace was slow, but I don't mind. 500 calories were burnt. However, I didn't like that I had to cut the run short. My body wasn't ready for what today offered.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Little Run on the Prairie: 5.5 at Springbrook

5.5 miles (52:48 - 9:36/mile)
0.25 miles hardwalk

total: 5.75 miles

Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 30%
course: Springbrook Prairie

Good friend David Dane, getting serious about weight loss, joined me on a trip to Springbrook Prairie in Naperville, IL. He's new to running, and his knees are still learning what great fun long runs can be. Today, he galloped a solid 1.25 miles and hiked another 0.75 of a mile.

Me - This was my first real run outside in months. This isn't dismissing my adventures on the track, but to be ready to race, I need what the trail offers. In tonight's case, I also needed the challenge of choice. This means that on a track, the most I have to walk if I give up is 200 m. At Springbrook, the stakes are higher. Halfway is 2.75 miles. At the 3.5 mile marker, I was tanked, but knew there was only one way home. Walk or run, two miles laid between my and resting.

The run was uneventful other than a strange guy who wanted to point out my headphones were a bad idea, that he preferred to use the time to think. I agree, and am no stranger to a long thoughtful run, but what I need right now is to free my mind and relax. I think all day. It comes with being a writer. He doesn't know this, and his way is certainly a good way.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Six at Nine Near Ten: Same Old, Same Old of Six Miles

6.0 miles (59:05 - 9:51/mile)
1.0 miles hard walk

total: 7.0 miles

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 99%
course: Glenbard South track

Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 69%

I ran this same distance, same location last week in the same time. Today was slightly cooler, a lot more humid. Not sure how it compares; I felt more or less miserable each time.

I weighed myself before and after: 140.2 before, 137.6 after. If it only worked that easily.

This was my first morning run, starting today at 9:00 am. Tomorrow, I hope to get out earlier.

Another runner came around and did a couple or few miles at 6:00/mile pace. Good to see as I plugged around near 10:00/mile.

At a high school, smoking is often frowned on, but the workers putting in bleachers on the east side of the track, the visitor's side, apparently lit up as I gagged each time I went around the back stretch. I guess Glenbard South High School is OK with smoking on campus so long as it isn't a student.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pulse Drops, Weight Steadies

Monday Check-in

140.0 lbs. (no change)
48 - Pulse (down)

My weight hasn't changed and I don't know why, but that hardly impacts my game plan. My scale isn't exactly top-of-the-line.

My pulse dropped a considerable amount. While this is welcome, like my weight, I don't know why. I simply have not trained enough to explain it.

Took three unexpected days off, and have yet to see what difference this makes. The first day was needed as a rest day, but the next two were the result of rain and heat, plus personal commitments. My return last night was a dreadful exercise in the heat. Today looks to be cooler, but not much, and the humidity is expected to be very high.

With the heat and three days off, my mileage will be lower.

Achilles problem has bothered me less. The three days hopefully helped rest them.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Clouds and Hawks Overhead on Hot 3.5 Mile Run

3.5 miles (36:51 - 10:32/mile)

total: 3.5 miles

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 56%
course: Glenbard South track

Current: Mostly Cloudy
Wind: E at 0 mph
Humidity: 83%

A hawk screamed after a crow as I circled the bright black track. Thunderstorm warnings brooded with nimbus clouds, and I wondered if I would have time to get six miles in.

I had time, but I could only get in 3.5 miles. The black hawk must have smiled thinking he could find me laying like carrion in the first lane on the back stretch if I only I would have run another mile. I knew better, and didn't even walk after my run lest I encourage the bird.

Tonight's 10:32 pace isn't even that good. Fairly enough, it is what I ran, but only because my first mile was 9:57, and my second was 10:14. Mile three = 10:54, and the last 800 was 6:46, or 13:32. I met the day head-on, and the day won.

Tomorrow's another day.

Summer in the City
Lovin' Spoonful

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What To Do On Your Day Off From Running: Mile By Mile

Karina is a fine runner, and more important than that, one who knows who she is why she runs. A fine writer, she keeps a blog detailing not just her training log, but sees parallels into real life. Not that running isn't real life. It is just part of it, and perspective is key to it all.

Karina is fairly new to running -- since December 2007, when she became an accidental runner after trying to lose weight. She lost the weight, and realized she gained a new passion.

Read her blog: Mile by Mile.

(you can also follow it as a networked Facebook blog)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

25 Miles in Seven Days With Six Today

6.0 miles (59:05 - 9:51/mile)
1.0 miles hard walk

total: 7.0 miles

Current: Partly Cloudy
Wind: NW at 0 mph
Humidity: 44%
course: Glenbard South track

Today's goal was to run six miles, to equal April 6, 2009's distance. It didn't matter how slow. SSD. Short, slow distance. I managed that.

I felt well enough, though the last two miles were harder and slower. I weighed in at 142.8 before the run. I can't help but look forward to the same run 10 lbs. lighter.

With 25 miles in the last seven days, recovery is an issue. It will take time before the zip is back. My pulse at night shows residual stress, but will drop in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

iPod Mania: Running Songs for Great Workouts: My List

This list isn't done. This list has only 57 songs. Some you know. Cartoon theme songs? 1980s synth pop? 1960s hard rock? Cheesy movie tunes? All here.

Queen, the Who, all the ones you expect. Plus, a few more. The Flintstones. The Hollies. Saga. The Star Wars bar scene.

Find 3:23 of music - subject to change at whim. Your suggestions are desired. Help me make this 100 songs. Get me beyond 'Eye of the Tiger.' No slow sappy stuff.

Slow Burn - Three Miles Barely Run

3.0 miles run (28:59 - 9:40/mile)
1.0 miles hard walk

total: 4.0 miles

Current: Clear
Wind: N at 0 mph
Humidity: 46%
course: Glenbard South track

Hot. Run done.

The football field was freshly cut. Honey bees all around. A few hurdles in lane two.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Four Miles, Faster, Then Slower

4.0 miles (37:31 - 9:23/mile)
1.0 miles hard walk

total: 5.0 miles

Current: Overcast
Wind: S at 3 mph
Humidity: 52%
course: Glenbard South track

The 9:23s look better than they are. I finished the first two miles in 18:00, meaning my second two were 9:45s. I thought about doing five or six, but it wasn't in me. I didn't look especially hard for it either. All I really wanted was 20 miles in seven days. And I got that.

Time for a much needed shower.

Losing Myself Ounce by Ounce

Monday Check-in

140.0 lbs.
54 - Pulse

I thought it is time to start tracking things again. My goal, however long it takes to get there, to be at 125 lbs. The number is somewhat arbitrary. When I was my quickest, I tipped the scale at 107. I weighed as low as 139 in the last two weeks, but today am 140.0.

As being arbitrary goes, I have my eyes on weighing 125 on May 1. Why 125? Why May 1? May 1 is when the Illinois Marathon/Half Marathon is run. I want to run one or the other, and to run well, I need to be slimmer. Simple as that. 125 is a nice, basic number. As good as any. I do not expect to weigh 135 on May 1, but all of this is in God's hands, not mine.

To get to 125 from 140, I need to average 0.0553 lost lbs a day, or, 0.3871 lbs a week. Things will not be this snug, and hopefully starting with a bang, but I can't dwell on this. It is under two lbs in a month, so it seems all very reasonable, but weight loss is never all that easy.

I want also to lose five lbs my first month. The reason this is plausible is the severe changes I am making when compared to July. First and foremost: lots of running. Since kicking things up again July 23, I have logged 25.4 miles running, and six miles walking - 31.4 miles in all. Not a lot in the bug scheme of things, but moving forward with increased miles. I'll be at 20 miles/week next week, and at 34 miles/week by month's end. That all should get me close to my goal, but who can say?

Right now, I feel good after last night's five miles. Last time I ran I ran close to this was April 6, with a six mile treadmill workout. My Achilles aches a little. No surprise here, but I need to find the right balance.
As “overuse” disorders, Achilles tendonitis and tendonosis are usually caused by a sudden increase of a repetitive activity involving the Achilles tendon. Such activity puts too much stress on the tendon too quickly, leading to micro-injury of the tendon fibers. Due to this ongoing stress on the tendon, the body is unable to repair the injured tissue. The structure of the tendon is then altered, resulting in continued pain. -
Hurdles include injury, time and motivation. Same three big issues for any runner. It is one thing to tick off five miles as a long run, and another to run eight as a long run, with five as the short run. Yesterday's workout took 1:20 from leaving my driveway, getting to the track, running and returning. Then recovery issues are involved. The time adds up. Naturally, if I keep at it, my running time will drop per mile, but there is no getting around the bigger reality of parsing out the minutes each day and finding ways to be as efficient as possible.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Mann, the Boss, and Five Miles on a Track Thinking of Both

5.0 miles (45:43 - 9:08.6/miles, last mile @ 8:43)
1.0 miles hard walk

total: 6.0 miles

Current: Clear
Wind: S at 2 mph
Humidity: 49%
course: Glenbard South track

Current: Clear
Wind: S at 0 mph
Humidity: 51%

Decent night to run. After a two-hour nap mid-afternoon, I found my way to a lonely high school track an hour before sunset. No crows, just a few kids tossing a baseball in next to the high jump pit.

After a somewhat discouraging weigh-in August 1 at 140.0 lbs, I further resolved to focus on slow miles. That's where the fat's burnt, and that's going to do me more good than any speedy three-miler can do.

My first two miles were 18:23, mile four ticked in at 37:00 (18:37/two miles), and I finished with 45:43, meaning I was at 8:43 for my last mile, mostly due to picking it up the last 400.

It is a long way back, but tonight felt good.

To all my friends with whom I spent an incredible weekend. Thanks, guys.
Bruce Springsteen, Blinded By the Light

Manfred Mann's version (live)