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Friday, December 30, 2011

Unsatisfying Last Run of the Year - 2.1 miles

2.101 miles run
0.25 miles walk
total: 2.351 miles
course: home treadmill

Why so little? Very slow too.

Not enough sleep (all week). Didn't hydrate or eat well. Stress. And residual tiredness from the previous run. Not that complicated. It adds up. 

However, as the last run of 2011, this is still good. I didn't skip it when I didn't feel like it.
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See you in 2012!

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Canonized and Funky - 4.727 Miles

4.272 miles run (40:15 - 9:25/mile)
0.500 miles walk

total: 4.772 miles
course: home treadmill

I was not as tight as I expected from the previous run, and, in fact, felt very good. Why? I don't really know, but I'm willing to believe it could be because my overall mileage is still low, my recovery time is two days, and my longest run wasn't especially long.

All of this will accrue, and aching, tired days are ahead if all goes well. Strange to say that but it is true. Stranger still is that I look forward to this. It means I'm still at it. Consistency. I thought about my tea drinking friend. His recent post about preaching tea to the choir has flavors of consistency as well. He sticks at it, keeps trying.

In the meanwhile, regarding tonight, things went well. Spotify was treating me well as I sent songs from iTunes to Spotify (iTunes is not available on my phone, and I'm learning to prefer Spotify). Used an old playlist, and got down to Wild Cherry, finished with a walk to Pachelbel's Canon.

A few videos. The last is a funny look at a famous classical piece.

Wild Cherry - Play that Funky Music

Johann Pachelbel - Canon in D Major

Comedian/musician Rob Paravonian - Pachelbel Rant

"Goal?" Asks the Tea Drinker

A friend (see his tea blog, 39 Steeps) I showed my progress and regress of running and weight over the last few years -- I have a long spreadsheet -- he asked what my goal is. Seeing a steady number of runs, he suspected I'm back on track. I'm only back on track if I stick with it, and that's yet to be seen.

But, as far as goals go -- when I began this re-entry into running a few years ago, I boldly proclaimed I would break 20:00 for the 5K. Git as low as 21:35, but still a better than solid minute and a half off. That's a long time. And, I mentioned more than a few times I wanted to run a marathon fast. Not an unreasonable goal if I put the work in, but I didn't.

Lack of steady training was certainly one cause. Other factors might be at play, like age, diet and so forth, but not one matters if I am not consistent.

So, I told him my goal is simply consistency. Naturally, I want those other things, but I don't have much of a right to stake a claim unless I am otherwise getting in regular runs.

For now, regular runs will be every other day. That's on purpose. The next step up is four days a week, per some kind of specific schedule, with two days in a row somewhere in there. If I manage that without getting hurt, then five days.

If I'm good with five days for a while, I expect three months will have passed, and it will be early March. I should begin to see an impact. By then, no matter how weak my runs are, I will have logged some real miles, and enjoy some cardio fitness, and maybe a a pound or two lost.

Consistency, had I applied it in all the major blank spaces in the last year, will have given me so much. If I had run, say, 100 more days at no more than five kilometers on those days, I would have 310 miles behind me, and as much as 10 lbs lost. But -- I didn't.

So, to consistency, and beyond!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Besides Running, I Write Folk Tales: Join the Conversation

Some of you might know in my offline life, I'm a writer. Mostly, speeches and marketing material, but I also have been writing short stories that are regularly published by AOL Patch.

My author page:  Please click, then like the page.
I discuss writing, literature, folk tales, humorists, as well as include updates about writing projects. Plenty of discussion regarding my Bluster County tales project, a series of loosely connected stories told in the manner of Garrison Keillor and Mark Twain. You'll see links to related videos, free books, events and other things that might be interesting to you.

Join the fun.

Monday, December 26, 2011

6.4 Kilometers (I looked it up) - 4 Miles

4.00 miles run (38:43 - 9:41/mile)
0.25 miles walk

total: 4.25 miles
course: home treadmill

I missed yesterday. The goal is to run every other day through New Year's, then evaluate if slipping another day in every seven is a good idea. But yesterday was Christmas. A busy schedule dominated the day. I slow cooked ribs and chicken, with a myriad of Hungarian dishes as well. Celebrating my Lord's birth is more important to me than running. Was a beautiful day for those of you who managed running.

Today, I added 0.90 miles to my longest run. My legs are still getting used to this, and four miles is a genuine workout.

I'll be tight tomorrow. These days between are precious.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ran a 5K an Hour Ago. You? 3.108 Basement Miles

3.108 miles run (29:14 - 9:24/mile)
0.392 miles walk

total: 3.50 miles
course: home treadmill

I sort of ran a 5K today. In my basement, dim lights and laundry piled next to me. Not really, of course. I have no delusions treadmill running is the same as outside running, but it is cold, I wanted to tune out and just get it done. Which I did.

If it were a 5K, I would have not come in last. I'm looking forward to knocking out miles at 8:30/mile and longer, and this, though a minute off, is encouraging. I felt OK on this even of Christmas Eve.

All said, I'm up to just over 17 miles for the month, on pace to finish with 31. I'm satisfied with that even though I can name a few friends with 30 milers as their Saturday run. I can name 100 more who never do squat and are suffering from inactivity. That was me last month. I'm one skipped run due to laziness away from this status.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Machinery? Bah! 2.75 Miles

2.752 miles run
0.248 miles walk

total: 3.00 miles
course: home treadmill
I'm sitting here eating Raisin Bran, feeling the warmth of a workout slide through my body. It is a good feeling.
I have a nice treadmill, and have a comfortable home. There are nicer treadmills in nicer homes, with fitness coaches, massage therapists and all the rest that some people might enjoy. OK, everyone would enjoy. But, not everyone has. My point -- all that doth not fitness make. A good run is not complicated. Better devices, even better shoes won't get it done. Those things can limit injury, or help the run be more enjoyable, or a faster recovery time for hard workouts, but nothing replaces sweat.

I don't begrudge the guy with all that. I too, compared to many, just by merit of having good shoes and the treadmill, have more than so many runners. Just look at the Ethiopians. Or Kenyans? Look how the lack of technical running has impeded their efforts. ;)

I wanted to run longer. That's a good temptation. It means progress, But it is a dangerous temptation. Run too far now, and next month I'm back where I started.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Just Under 30 Minutes - 2.5 Miles

2.506 miles run @ 9:42/mile 0.300 miles walk

total: 2.806 miles
course: home treadmill

Today, I actually broke a sweat. I did other days too, but those were over so fast I hardly knew it began.

Sped it up a skosh after the first mile after starting at 10:00/mile. I decided on a new self-rule. If it ever gets so fast from nudging it faster that I must turn the speed down in order to finish, the next run I stay at the intended speed. Not an issue today, but it was close.

My goal needs to remain just getting on the treadmill every other day. After the new year, I reserve the option to add days, but I still have almost two weeks for that. Six more runs until 2012.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Warmup vs Progress - 2 Miles

2.0  miles run
0.25 miles walked
total: 2.0 miles
course: home treadmill
Some might look at my mileage here and see "warmup." I see it and see "progress." As you expect, my speed matched my distance. Something just under 10:00/mile.

Progress? Yes. I ran a mile December 9. Today I did twice that slightly faster, with another quarter mile to ease things down. I have run five times. Today finishes off just over 815 miles. That might be 890 calories, or over a quarter pound lost.

No, no, not a lot, but I ask all of you fatties out there if you did the same thing for a year, what would happen? You'd be thinner, feel better, and smile more often. That's what I'm hoping for.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Coffee, Caffeine and Running

In today's New York Times
How Coffee Can Galvanize Your Workout

Can a cup of coffee motivate you to relish your trips to the gym this winter? That question is at the heart of a notable study of caffeine and exercise, one of several new experiments suggesting that, whatever your sport, caffeine may allow you to perform better and enjoy yourself more.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fitness Reality Brought Me 1.75(1) Miles

1.751 miles run
0.251 miles walked

total: 2.002 miles
course: home treadmill

There I go again, including minutia. Why? Easy: It is more than I ran all last month. That .001. Will it make a difference? Of course not, but I do wish I had run that 1/1000 mile last month.

I have run four times this week. 5.5 miles run. Strange to know that's the total for the week. Add in the .05/mile walked and I'm still under 6 miles. That's just a reality I gotta face until it is safe to increase.

What's your fitness reality?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why I Keep a Running Blog - 1.25 Miles

1.25 miles run
0.15 miles walked
total: 1.40 miles
course: home treadmill
Yeah, yeah. Why am I including such an insignificant detail -- that I walked 14% of one mile?

Because, simply, this is my blog. Mere self-indulgence isn't the point. I would tell it better then. Pride? I hope not. Kind of embarrassing, if you think about it. Can't brag about running a buck and a quarter.
And that's the point. No, no, not the embarrassing part. I mean the part in which I put it out there. I'm vulnerable. I do keep a private spreadsheet of all of this, but in being out there, two things happen:
1) My pride remains in check.
Instead of my little secret, good or bad, I have things nicely digital. The ups and the downs.

I had one person once tell me to cool it regarding how much I blog about running. That hurt, because they had the impression this was "Look at me, I'm doing well." To the contrary. Look at my last few posts: under 5K. I used to warm up longer than that.

2) It keeps reality in check.
There are a few realities. By logging things publicly, there is a sort of accountability. If, say, I decide to go ultra, what's the cost? Let's say my knees and all survive. Those hours of training whither away at things more important to me, like reading to my boy.
  • Age, knocks and bruises through the years, paying the consequences of bronchitis a few times -- the physical stuff.
  • Time: faith, work, family -- the stuff that isn't running.
Running is a good thing for me, but it needs to be the right amount. I don't buy into the "all things in moderation" myth. The right amount, whatever that is. Not more. Not less. If nothing, then that's the right amount.

Sure, it is good to track progress, or to backtrack a log to analyze an injury. But there's more to life than a PR, isn't there?

If you run, know why. If you invest your time in it, know what's not getting invested in. Simple displacement. Every hour run is not tossing a ball with your boy, or having dinner with your spouse.

Don't lie to yourself and say, "I'm healthier at 80 miles a week." Are you? If you are running quick 6:30 miles, not counting prep and warmdown, you are looking at over 8.5 hours each week. Add in shoe shopping, showers, drinking Gatorade. Nothing wrong with that if the rest of life is in check.

I've been down the road of investing too much. I don't want that to happen again. Yeah, I'm a long way from too much, but it all starts with one mile, doesn't it?

Do the math.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

150% More Than My Last Run - 1.5 Miles

1.50 miles run
total: 1.50 miles
course: home treadmill

Starting is somewhat easy. It really isn't easy, but it is easier than continuing, don't you think? I'm still starting, so I can't say it has become particularly difficult, but it wasn't easy either.

My face is red. My thighs ache a little from the last run, and standing for three hours at an art gallery last night. Standing is easier than running, unless you've just been running. Or, in my case, hadn't been running much at all.

All I can say is I ran. Not fast. Slow, if you think about fast and slow in terms of running. Not far, if you think about short and far in terms of running. Just ran.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

One Mile Equals One Mile

1.002 miles run

total: 1.002 miles
course: home treadmill

That's it. A mile. See yesterday's post for context. Basically, trying to do something. Anything. Before New Year's Day.

It hurt. I went slow. Exhausted. Add more out of shape type words.

Friday, December 9, 2011

New Years Resolutions - Why, Why Not, What Now?

What attracts us to New Years Resolutions? Unverifiably, I say the desire for improvement matched with psychological permission. That is, for whatever reason, making the needed changes without the ceremony of a year change is otherwise difficult. Why?

Maybe we feel pressure to remain status quo.

All our friends smoke, so we don't want them to be on a health guilt trip when we do what we know we should.

Similarly, if we are tubby and need to lose weight, and know we need to eat better, less of it, and exercise, our chunky friends might feel put off. It won't help when they see evidence of us looking fitter and trimmer, and simply feeling more confident, with more interest in the opposite sex.

What about running? Any regular reader of this blog knows I've been on and off again. And that periodically, I get on one-man bandwagon and say, "Yup, this is the year." As 2011 winds down, and 2012 approaches, I am thinking of all of this again.

Today is December 9, 2011. It is a Friday. I'm drinking coffee, sitting in my home office. Snow is outside, apparently from a gentle sprinkling from early this morning. Enough to sweep. Not enough to shovel.

Do I wait until tomorrow? Do I wait another three weeks, to start on New Year's Day?

If I don't -- if I start again, in three weeks I'll likely have put 25-30 miles behind me. Not much, not even enough to lose a pound. But, the three weeks following, I might be fit enough to have run another 35-40 miles, totalling 60-70 miles. Those last 35 miles will be different than the first, as I will have begun to find a rhythm.

Of course, I also know the danger of early enthusiasm, injuries from starting too quickly, and the realities of a life which would now incorporate the time required to work out.

I have the tools. I know what to do. Shoes, shirt, treadmill - check. Will I?

I don't know yet.