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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Not That Far North (But It Feels that Way) - 3 Miles in Hot Gym on Cold Day

3.0 miles run
0.50 miles walk warm down

total: 3.50 miles
course: treadmill at resort in Lake Geneva

Do you remember Bob & Doug McKenzie's Take Off? That's about two guys in Canada. This isn't that far north. Just Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It feels north. It was 2 degrees yesterday when I arrived for a church retreat.

Ran three miles. Not as slow as usual. Started at 9:30s, but spiked it the last mile some. My pulse was fine, never getting above 160, and dropped quickly after I stopped. A sign of moving toward fitness. I ran on a sour stomach, and am happy all was of no consequence.

As pulses go, I was pleased to step on the machine at 60 bpm. A prescription I had been taking has weird side effects, one of which wigged how my heart feels. It raced, or felt like it was racing. Sapped my energy -- particularly as it hit my ability to sleep. Off of that nasty stuff now, trying something different, but I was glad to see my resting pulse rate, after walking, was somewhat low.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Not Exactly a Runner, Holden Caulfield's Author Passes Away - RIP JD Salinger

"I don't even know what I was running for - I guess I just felt like it." - Holden Caulfield, Catcher in the Rye by the recently deceased JD Salinger. RIP.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Listening to George Sheehan, For a Change

Some runs are needed more than others. Monday was a hard day, so Tuesdays run will help purge the gunk.

The day was not so extraordinary. My car didn't catch a flat. Bad news didn't bark down from a supervisor.

Saturday I ran long, and Sunday was shorter. Monday, a rest day, was a good thing. Not only did I need the rest, but I felt bad all day. Headachy and nonergetic. And a potential project seemed to fall through. Quite likely two projects. The third project is still waiting to be negotiated. The job hunt seems nil. And a friend, out of the blue, let me know my way of doing something bothered him, and I entirely missed why. Another friend delivered disappointing news.

Meanwhile, I am mumbling to myself about what I should do next as a writer. Two friends just published their next books. This always hits me hard.

So I face the dilemma. The runner's dilemma. Or, at least, this runner's dilemma. Tuesday's dilemma will be to let the run clear my head. It is 4:13 am, and this all swirls around me. That's why I am posting on my running blog, not my personal one.

I'll sleep in tomorrow. Miss my 6:15 get together with a bunch of guys to talk and pray. I'll wake up, toss down a gulp of coffee, check my e-mail and think about running. Tuesday is a long run.

January's miles are not much by JSRC standard's. There, guys (and gals), run with great diligence. The things I go through - injury (my constant knee and back troubles whenever I move miles too fast), job loss, time, sickness. Somehow, they press through it. There was a day when I could ignore the life around me to run, but now, I, older, I cannot. Part wisdom, I hope. Wha was once was obsession is now a challenge. Partly, I'm not 20. That's where this wholr endeavor began.

This January, I am on track to log over 92 exercise miles, 83 of which I ran. That will be the most I have run in January (or any winter month, I think), since the 1980s. That may not equal the 75+/week some JSCRers run, but I know it is very good for me.

Tueday's run has all this in the mix. I'll go to my usual treadmill, tune in Running Playlist A, and run. If I last eight miles, then good.

What's a run? George Sheehan used to say the first 20 minutes are for the body, the next 20 are for the mind, and the next 20 are for the soul. I think right now, I agree.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Poking Through Four Miles in Midwinter Gloom As I Burn Off Lethargy

4.0 miles run 
1.1 miles walk warmdown

total: 5.1 miles 
course: Cardinal Fitness GE

It is gloomy out there. Rain all night, all day, on and off, melting the resident snow, revealing the groans of winter and gray grass, part dead, part dormant. No sun. It is overcast in a way that would depress a hermit.

Then, and before this really, I am tired. My neighbor woke me in a furious, profane-riddled rage, dropping a few terms only taxi drivers appropriate. Maybe sailors too. Sounds to me like something really bothered him; I don't want to be insensitive to that. At any rate, he woke me. I'll deal with that later, though I'm not sure how.

And I'm also tired because of yesterday's long run. The 13-miles over two days is the most since I did just under 16 miles over two days in September. Certain;y sluggish. That's OK. I'm burning off lethargy.

A change in plans looks likely, too. The plan was to run the Illinois Marathon Half Marathon May 1. Instead, there is a strong chance I'll run the Palos Bank Half Marathon May 2. Either qualifies me for a better Chicago Marathon corral - both are USATF certified.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

First Blister in 9 Mile Run

9.05 miles run
1.05 miles warm down walk

total: 10.10 miles
course: Cardinal Fitness GE

Nice and easy, yes, but four miles into it, my socks, not built for running, were bunching funky so I took them off. The result was I save a ball of my foot blister and traded it for an Achilles blister, right foot. That stinks. Not a bad one as these things go, but is there such thing as a good one? 

Other than that, it was a non-eventful gallop. Also at four miles, I dropped the pace from 9:22 to 9:31/mile. The goal is just to log miles. Speed will find its way eventually. I have time enough for that.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Oops, I Did It Again - Speed Too Soon (But What Could I Do?) - 7 miles

7.0 miles run
0.75 miles

total: 7.75 miles
course: Cardinal Fitness

I needed speed. Ran 3.5 miles LSD pace, then tossed in two 800s (3:09, 3:12) pace for an 800 in between. All treadmill, so real life might find things very different.

Will I hurt tomorrow? There's a fair to middlin' chance of that.

I just couldn't help it.

Otherwise, I done gone run some.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

John "The Penguin" Bingham

I found John "The Penguin" Bingham on Facebook. He writes a colum for Runner's World. Below is a slightly edited version of what I wrote him:

John, I'm a fan.

New/not new runner here. 43, used to run in HS. Ran here and there in until I was 40, decided to get somewhat serious and began the slow crawl to fitness. Was 107 lbs in the 1980s, but at 40, weighed 145 or so. Hardly the 240 you weighed, but none of my 38 new lbs were muscle.

In HS, I was obsessive. In a good way, it helped me keep my grades up (I was a struggling student), but on the downside, I made it far more than it should be. Burned out along the way.

Ran into Olympian Jim Spivey, meeting him through a friend, just as I decided to run again, found out he has a weekly running club here in Wheaton, IL, and showed up one evening. That day's workout was 3x3x400s. I couldn't last halfway, and he pulled me out. Not only was I exhausted, but the meager zip I had in HS was no longer around. My 400s were 30 seconds slower. What was up with that?

I had the audacity to declare that I wanted to run a 20:00 5K. How hard could that be? After all, even well into college, I ran local 5Ks in semi-shape in the 17s. How hard? Very hard. I haven't yet. Squeezed out a 21:35, then ran aground of scheduling, and lost focus. Now, back at it, hoping to have a solid base for a change, run a half, then whole marathon, and find out if, at 43, that sub-20 5K is elusive, or achievable.

All that to say is, your articles are part of that experience. They keep me smiling, but also, I know you've fought through weight loss in your 40s and notched more than a few races. You tell you story well, and it helps.
Runner's World (1-year)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

1,000 Calories Gone - 8+ Miles in Relaxed Run

8.20 miles run (76:48 - 9:22/mile)
1.33 miles walked warm down

total: 9.53 miles
course: Cardinal Fitness

1,000 sweet calories. Exactly. And I do mean sweet calories. Hopefully this makes up a little for my occasional sweet tooth. All gone. That's why my walk distance looks odd; I walked just enough to poke it up to 1,000. 999 just wouldn't do.

McMillan's calculator told me to go slower. This is LSD mode, and I need to treat it as such. Running slower is hard work. My legs like the hop and cadence that comes with a perkier stride, but this is what I need to do. Faster runs are not so far away, and I'll enjoy every inch of them like eating each bite of a New York Strip Steak. Delicious all the way, but for now, this is good. Those 76 minutes will be a nine mile run in the spring.

My recovery was good, as far as pulse rate goes. I'll know better tomorrow how my body reacts. Lots of water will help.

As I add miles, I'm cognizant of potential injuries. I've been careful, but even with a graduated increase, miles are miles. Right now, at four days a week, increasing soon to five, with just 26.xx miles the last seven days, no big deal, but that fifth day, if with it comes six miles, I'll be at 31.xx miles in a week, and then, 35-40 miles quickly follows. This moves into an injury zone. One week here and there may not make an impact, but several hard weeks might.

Soon, it is March. Warm weather will pop up, and I need to exploit these days with path running. Easier on the knees, ankles and Achilles tendon. Just 66 days away from the official start of spring.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mickey Ds and Me: Supersizing a Great Workout - 6 Miles

6.13 miles run
1.07 miles hard walk warmdown

total: 7.20 miles
course: Cardinal Fitness

Might not look like much, but as of today I have run more miles in a seven-day period since September 13 when I completed 22.81 miles over the week. In July, August, and part of September, I had a decent string of workouts.

My goal -- my immediate goal -- is to keep plugging away, and stay healthy. While I would love to zero in on 45 miles/week, if I have only 25 miles/week through February, I will be eons ahead of last year.

I felt easy and good during my run. Keeping the pace slower helps, but so does the fact that I have been getting in there almost every other day.

Having just burned some 770+ calories, plus the amount burnt through weights, I hit McDonalds and sucked them all right back in. You are looking there at the McRib without pickles or onions, a burger without pickles, fries, ketchup, and a medium Coke.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Valerie Bertinelli to Run 2010 Boston Marathon

As reported here, we know Valerie Bertinelli can run. But a half marathon is not a marathon. She's registered to run the Boston Marathon April 19.

Good for her. She has lost a lot of weight by eating right and exercising smart.

Pick your favorite picture of Valerie Bertinelli.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Running with Cliff - 6 Miles Above Below Zero

6.05 miles run
0.75 miles hard walk

total: 6.80 miles
course: Cardinal Fitness GE

Picked up a copy of Cliff Richard's famous, and very happy song "Congratulations." Great to run to. He has a Keith Patridge/David Cassidy thing going on.

Wore my new heart rate monitor. Near the end, I topped off at 191, consistent with what the treadmill HR monitor said. Mostly, I hovered near 165-175.

Watched some gymnastics - ice skating concert thing. Not bad to run to either, with the sound off.

Felt great aerobically, though my hamstring aches still from Friday's weight lifting episode.

Time for pepperoni pizza and Sprite. It may not be the breakfast of champions, but it smells and tastes delicious. Freezing outside, with a windchill way below zero, but I ran nicely inside, working on my toasty glow.

Friday, January 8, 2010

I'm a #4: Weight Training and 6.0 Miles

0.75 miles run - warmup (8:57/mile pace)
weight training
5.25 miles run (9:13/mile pace)
1.0 miles hardwalk warmdown
weight workout

total: 7.0 miles

Matt Gallagher at Cardinal, through his company, Complete Conditioning trained me today on weights. Good guy, good experience. Knows his stuff, and knows what I'm looking to know. One hour with him, and I have a good idea what I need to do.

My priority is to run faster. With this, there are lots of things to focus on, and other things to ignore. I'm built like a runner, not a weightlifter, and have no real knowledge about weights.

I ran slow again just to burn fat. With the weights waiting after my run, I am thankful I had some energy left.

Now, I'm tanked. Outta gas. Tomorrow, I expect to feel it even more. My next run should be Sunday, and I will lift weights again Monday or Tuesday.

Matt tells me, as have some others, that I'm looking at six weeks before I see real results. This would bring me into mid-February. Not too bad. Sticking with it is my goal. I'm not a fan of weights, but trust they will help.

Oh, about being a number 4? Right. I am. No, no, that's not my Chinese fortune cookie message, or an inspection notice found in my new jeans. It is the height of the chair on the Life Fitness machines. Sometimes a little higher or lower, but a 4 is where I start.

The lemonade I made after working out was delicious.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chickadees and Hulks: 4.25 Miles on a Monday

4.25 miles
0.67 miles warmdown
weights - arms, abs

total: 4.92 miles

Vaguely ahead of last year's working out -- this point last year I was in worse shape. That's not saying much as I let things go so much in 2009.

2010 is here. So are hopes of running a marathon. Running one is 'easy' enough, but the desire is to run one well. That's another problem all together.

While I would like to say I am running comfortably 35 miles a week @ 8:00/mile. I cannot. I can say, at least today, I ran smart, despite the need to humble myself. What's that? Yeah. Ego is something I have an abundance of. I need to keep my pulse down to burn fat, even if it means going slower than the two 20-something chickadees flying by on my right and left. It also means lifting only a few lbs when I see huge guys lifting massive amounts. I'm not a big guy. I'm short and, as they say, built like a runner. No matter how strong I get, benching hundreds of pounds will never happen.

Today's run was good. Ran a 9:31/mile pace, picking it up the last 0.50 or so. I left off leg weights as mine ache still. I'll use less weight next time. Added a new ab machine - I use two now. The trainer still has not called, so I'm wandering from machine to machine. Better than nothing.

This does not include the phrase "My little chickadee," as I hoped, but it is fun. WC Fields.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Jello-O Brand Arms and a Tuba Playing "Dueling Banjos" 5.01 Miles in Year's Longest Run

5.01 miles
1.02 miles warmdown walk

total: 6.03 miles

A fib? It really is the year's longest run. First run of 2010.

Where did the week go? A day here, a day there, and now, a week. Bad planning. Lack of focus.

Today, I moderately made up and have the dull ache to prove it. Today was my longest run since November 11 (5.00 miles), or September 19 (5.50 miles), depending how you look at these kinds of things. The usual arm weights, plus leg press and leg curl. In all, a good workout.

I ran a notch slower to keep my pulse in check. I need to remember the principles involving fat loss. I can't say I understand it, but I know that my pulse needs to be near 160, not 180, to burn the preciously abundant lipids.

I looked it up. Jell-O is not an anatomical term. Just the same, my arms are Jell-O. No lift, umph or energy. Typing this post is not small thing.

I intended to post a Jello-O commercial with Bill Cosby, but caught this version of dueling banjos with tuba and an organ.

Theatre Organ & Tuba: Dueling Banjos

Jell-O Gelatin Dessert, Berry Blue, 3-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 24)