Posts Tagged ‘Physical exercise’

Week Two

Posted: December 28, 2015 by Roberts in General Post, Injuries, Running Log
Tags: , , ,

It seems only fitting that the first obstacle to getting back on the fitness wagon would be a sprained ankle. Another sprain. Wednesday before the sun woke up, the ground was covered by a light rain. The ground was soaked, the streets were glistening, and puddles littered the ground. While crossing a large intersection, I stepped into a small puddle. Hidden under the water was a crack in the road. With a single misstep, my ankle rolled and I tumbled down. During the fall, I had a flashback of my fall the previous year in November. Strangely enough, on the other side of the same intersection was where that fall had occurred. That intersection might just be cursed.

While crawling through the intersection all I could think was, “not again. Please don’t let it be bad.” As this scene played out, the man that lived on the corner was getting into his car. Luckily he offered to give me a lift back to my house. Though it was a short three quarter mile run, it was a long three quarter mile crawl. Not my first injury, and most likely not my last. To console myself, I decided I could take it easy with the Christmas holiday over the weekend.

A holiday plus no running, equals terrible results. Sadly, for my weigh in on Monday, I wiped out all my work from the previous week. I’m currently in a competition with my neighbor, whom ever loses 10% first, the other must babysit. For that whole week, I was well in the lead. Now, however, she’s winning. I can’t let this happen. I really don’t want to watch a total of six children (my own three, plus her three).

What challenges or contests have you used to motivate yourself?

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Week One…the second time.

Posted: December 26, 2015 by Roberts in Running Log
Tags: ,

My first week back on the fitness wagon is over. First, the goal setting. What is a reasonable goal in a reasonable timeframe? Let’s start with one of the key elements of my plan, training for a marathon. I’ve chosen to train for the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio. As with all things, we should work to make things a little more awesome. To ratchet up the challenge, the plan is to complete the 4 Way Challenge with extra cheese. It’s four races over the course of three days: a 1 miler, 10k, 5k, and full marathon. That means I need to be race weight by the challenge weekend. That means it needs to be accomplished by May 1st. Time to break that down.

The start date is December 14th and the race is May 1st. That’s 140 days. 140 Days of focused energy on determination. More than feasible. The goal is to lose 82.3 lbs. Seems reasonable. Time to get started.

The first week of weight loss is always the most encouraging. Of course, having gone through this several times before, I know it’s just water weight. That being said, dropping from 288.5 lbs. down to 279.9 lbs. feels pretty good. It won’t always be at the pace, but even half of that should be a decent pace.

I successfully ran three times this week, five miles each, Monday, Tuesday, Friday. To top it off, Saturday was my last race of the year, The Santa 5 Miler. It was a fun race, and I’ll share my thoughts on the event at a later time. There was only one day this week when I did not hit my step goal of 12,000 steps. Next week I’ll get the job done.

Now, next week is Christmas. That means cookies, pies, candy, great food and low willpower. It’s going to be a hard week. This year we’ve started the tradition, one that my family had growing up, where the kids each take a turn picking the Christmas Eve dinner. This year my oldest got to pick. She decided on chicken fried steak. Chicken fried steak? First, where did she even have chicken fried steak? She’s eight and we’ve never served it. Come to find out, she’s had it while visiting my parents. This will be hard to stay on my diet and not derail myself in my second week of weight loss.

How do you endure through the holidays?

I am now two posts behind where I want to be.  With running combined with work, I have just not had the time.  It actually came down to choosing between running or blogging about running.  I am not sorry to say, running won the day.  This blog is to add to my runs, not take away from them.

I had two runs this weekend.  I am proud of both, each for a different reason.
On Saturday I was scheduled to do only a 2 mile run.   I had missed a 3 mile run earlier in the week, so I combined them.  When I left my house, it was perfect running weather. Thirty one lightening strikes later, I was soaked to my core.
As I ran, a storm closed in on the area. I am proud of the run simply because I had many chances to head back as the weather worsened, but I toughed it out.
Mile one: I had seen 17 lightening flashes, but no rain. No one would tell me it was a bad decision to head in. Not feeling even a sprinkle, I kept going since there was not even a sprinkle.
Mile two: A couple waves of rain hit me. If I turn back now, I would be partially dry. My health is important, and no one would think less of me.
The halfway point: I would have been drier if I had gone swimming. The cold wind combined with the rain is a quick recipe for a cold. A quick turn up ahead and I could be at my house in a couple minutes…
Mile Four: There were now more puddles than exposed road. Most of my footfalls landed in inch deep water. Should I turn back?   But then again, people would be impressed I was willing to go this far…

Mile Five: The skies cleared, the storm broke and I was heading home.
So there you have it.  I set a goal, and I didn’t go home until it was done. I don’t care that nobody would have known if I had given up. I would have. That is why I am proud of that run.

Sunday was a different run. I had thirteen miles scheduled. My PR for distance is 13.1. I just picked up a new pair of shoes, time to test them on a nice long run.

I looked outside, and all I saw was rain. There is one thing to get caught in the rain, it is another to start in the rain.  If I could run in the rain the day before, I could do it again. I grabbed my new rain jacket. Strangely, it matched my new shoes and shorts. I was about to go out in style.

Once I was suited up, I headed out. The moment I opened the door, a cold wind cut right through the jacket. It was far colder than it had been on Saturday. I looked up the road and watched the rain come down harder. I went back inside, gave a pathetic excuse to my wife, and took off my gear. I gave up. I choose not to go out.

After sitting down and trying to rationalize it to myself – “Hey, welcome to Quitters-ville!” –  I stood up, redressed, and stepped out into the rain, which seemed to have let up somewhat. I was not coming home until I had finished a half marathon.

Less than a few feet into the run I was soaked. The jacket did nothing. There is no need to rehash the run mile by mile. It was wet and cold. After many staring eyes, being splashed by many cars, and endless deep puddles, the run was done. I am proud of the run simply because I got out there. The greatest obstacle to your own success is yourself, not the world outside. It is merely a decision to overcome that is all it takes sometimes.

At the end my pace was 11’23” and I was about ten pounds heavy with rain water.

Question:

What was the worst excuse you gave to skip a run?

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As of this week I have logged over 1,000 miles since I have taken up running.  That is approximately the distance from Philadelphia, PA to Iowa City, IA or from Paris, France to Warsaw, Poland.  Of course the latter sounds more adventurous, thus the title of the post.  In my mind, it is a great milestone.  The next milestone is at 2,500 Km.

This also marks almost the end of week six of marathon training.  I should still find a marathon to sign up for.  If I don’t find one, I need to map an uninterrupted route around my area.  I can only imagine running around the area with a road map and hoping not to make a wrong turn.

I have completed two runs, both six miles, since the hydration problem on Sunday.  I have also started drinking a glass of water with a Nuun tab before each run.  A reader and friend of mine turned me on to them.  It makes for a fizzy pre-run beverage.  I have also picked up a new hydration belt, Amphipod RunLite Airstretch 2+.  I will write up a review on it later.  Suffice it to say, it was a necessary addition.

Due to work, I have not been able to stick to my running schedule this week.  Of the three runs planned, I kept two.  Of those two, only one was on the scheduled day.  As long as this does not become a habit, it won’t be a problem.  Why does life get in the way of life?

During these runs I have noticed the pace has slowed.  Both runs have been riddled with shin splints.  I have not had shin splints since my early days of running.  What could be the cause?  After thinking about it, I think it might be the shoes, which are starting to wear out.  What do you guys think?

It has been about 400 miles since my last pair.  It is about time.  Well off to another run, and maybe my final run with these shoes.

Question:

What shoes do you run with, and any suggestions?

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This was the weekend of bad runs.  I don’t want to dwell on it so much, just report it and move on.

On Saturday I needed to log 2 miles.  2 miles is nothing.  Well, it’s nothing unless your shins scream in pain for the entire run.  My goal was to beat my earlier pace, 9’42”.  I ended with a pace of 10’31”.  I lost almost an entire minute off my pace.  Deplorable!

On Sunday, the day’s planned run was 12 miles.  If I was feeling up to it, I intended to push for an extra 1.1 miles.   That’s right, I was going for a half marathon distance.  I have only done that once before.  It was time for a repeat.  My legs were feeling better, and I was ready.  Little did I know that fate had other plans.

I run with a Nike Running Hydration Belt, or rather I used to.  It has four bottles and each holds four ounces.  I hadn’t used them since last fall, and when I went to run on Sunday, I could only locate three bottles and only one lid.  What does that mean?  I could only carry four ounces of Gatorade.  That should have been enough right?  Wrong, so wrong.Nike Hyrdation Belt

When I left, 11 AM, the temperature outside was 65⁰.  By the 12:30 it was 88⁰.  By the end, the sun was burning my face.  I was through those four ounces of Gatorade in no time.  Around mile seven I could feel my legs shutting down.  Over and over I kept saying to myself, “just a little further.”  At mile eight my mind screamed back “LIAR!!!!”  My pace dropped from the mid 11s to 13s.  I soon realized I could walk faster.  With no pride, I ended the run.  The final results were 8.9 miles at pace of 11’47”.

That isn’t the worse part.  I now had to walk home.  It felt like a walk of shame.  This has been the second time I have not succeeded in my running goal for distance.  In fact, I normally feel like I can do more.  At first I questioned where my strength went.  After a mile or so I started wondering if I could ever do a full marathon.  Even with a couple short cuts, it was still a three-mile walk home.  I knew I made the right decision since I stumbled several times on the road home.  If I had more liquids I could easily have done the run.  I also should definitely have worn my hat.  So many “ifs” and so little time.   After several mental debates, I decided that I can do the distance.

Question:

What do you do for hydration on your long runs?

I have been using the Nike Hydration Belt with G2 Gatorade.

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Friday the 13th Book icon

Friday the 13th Book icon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not a superstitious person.  The universe does not curse a particular day of the week since an arbitrary date falls upon it.  There are enough irrational people in this world, and I have no desire to be one of them.  I have known quite a few people who claim not to be superstitious, except when it comes to the number “13.”  To combat this, I have embraced the number as much as I can, or at least to notice where the number “13” shows up in my life.  It ranges from my shoe size, my ring size, my birthday (1-3), the fact that I get off at the thirteenth stop on the train, and so on.  If “13” truly was an unlucky number, I would probably be dead by now, given how often it comes up in my life.

Why am I bringing up Friday the 13th when it carries no power to me?  I want to put into context my evening run, and how if I did believe the day was bad luck, this evening would have reinforced it.

With all good curses, things start out small with imperceptible strange coincidences.   Over time it builds until you question your sanity and sense of reason.

Throughout the day a shooting pain had stabbed along my shin.  When the pain occurred it came on so suddenly and unexpectedly, I would almost lose my balance.  After the third time, I started questioning my health.  Did I injure myself and not know it?  Was it a muscle or bone issue?  A great way to start a run.

I owed myself two runs from nights this week when I hadn’t gotten to run, one 6 miles, the other 2.  Given that I have a 12 miler on Sunday, I figured the 2 miler should be on Saturday.  After getting home and having dinner on this Friday the 13th, the earliest I could hit the road was 10:15 PM.  Yes, I am that guy that goes out running after 10 on a Friday night.  If you have been reading, you know I have started focusing on my pace, and not just the distance.  So off I went.

Coming around the bend at the end of mile one, a couple stood chatting on the sidewalk I was running on.  As I approached, they decided to start walking the same direction I was running.  It happens, so I passed them.  Around a mile and half, a minivan approached along the street.  The driver turned and pulled into a driveway along my path.  He didn’t pull all the way in, but left a half a car length to spare.  This blocked the sidewalk.  Maybe he didn’t see me.  The interior light came on, the driver opened his door and looked at me.  As I circled around behind the minivan, I heard the familiar beep beep sound as the rear door began to open, just as I was running by it.  So he saw me, and he still opened the door!  Best case scenario, opening the door forces me to run further in the middle of the street in the middle of night.  Worst case, he was trying to hit me.

My route winds throughout the neighborhood.  The couple I saw earlier must have taken a shorter route since I passed them again.  Over the course of the next couple miles I avoided three other cars parked over the sidewalk and not pulled all the way into their driveway.  Minor annoyances, nothing deadly and in a vacuum, it isn’t worth noting; however it was Friday the 13th.

Passing two and a half miles the couple was ahead of me again.  They approached a corner where the sidewalk and street end at a cross street.  I normally cross the street and make a right.  I noticed cars approaching from the left a little too fast for my taste.  When that occurs, I normally turn left, run for a bit, and then cross.  This prevents me from crossing a street with cars nearby.  That is on a normal night.  But normal does not seem to be on the table for this evening.

The couple stops.  This isn’t them just slowing down, they stop abruptly.  They don’t just stop anywhere.  They stop between the tree and the road, the only narrow “safe” space between a traffic filled road and the trees.  This forces me into the street, and into the path of an approaching car.  As I pass from the safety of the ending sidewalk and directly onto the road, they give me the stink eye, as if somehow I made the mistake of encroaching upon them.

Eventually, I turn down the dead end street that had been occupied by the opossum on a different night not too long ago.  At the end of the street a white car is parked facing me.  The driver flashed his lights not once, but three times.  THREE TIMES!  He then decided to leave the high beams on, though it was a well-lit street.  Are you afraid I didn’t see you, Mr. Parked Car?  Three or four car-lengths out, he started driving, high beams still on.  My night vision is now shot.  I was nearly at the half-way point of my run at that point, thank goodness.

A little while later, I noticed a white car parked on the side of the road.  In the car I could see two small glowing embers.  They would burn bright for a moment and then dim away.  When I saw a few strides closer I detected a scent I haven’t smelled in some time – pot.  These two are smoking up on the side of the street.  It then hits me; it is the same car that flashed their high beams at me.  They aren’t good at hiding the fact that they are smoking.  The area is just flooded with the scent.

By mile four I was in the final stretch.  Sitting at the three-way stop intersection was a jeep.  It sat there, and sat there and sat there.  I needed to cross the street.  Would he turn towards me or not?  Would he wait?  He can’t go straight, that is a house, and left would be near me.  As I got closer, the jeep began to move slowly.  The driver was looking for something on the floor, and obviously unable to find it.  The car began to idle slowly into the intersection.   The car drifted across most the intersection before the driver’s head ever emerged.  Finally he popped his head up and slammed on the brakes.  Any further and he would have been in someone’s yard, and in my path to getting home.  He most likely would have hit the curb and maybe even knocked some since into himself.

The rest of the run was uneventful.  The question is, was the run cursed, or was it good luck that none of those events became terrible accidents?  Next time should I bring out a few lucky charms (no, not the cereal), or should I trust in fate?

My goal was to beat my 6 mile pace of 11’35”.  Results, 10’52”.  Time to celebrate with a chai smoothie.

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Question:

Do you have any superstitions when it comes to your runs?

This evening I decided that for my 5 mile run, I would watch my pace.  I know I can do the distance.  The question is, can I improve?  After reviewing my past two months of runs, my fastest pace for a 5 miler was 10’28”.  I changed a couple settings on the watch, and I was off.

To track my running, I use the Nike GPS Sportswatch.  Its giant screen makes it easy to see my stats.  Every few minutes I glance down and check my progress.  The plan was, if my pace was slower than 10’30,” I would speed up.

After the first mile I cramped up.  I had eaten a Powerbar Energy Bite before leaving, and my body just does not like these things.  They will now be for post-run snacks, or WAY pre-run snacks.  Well, you can’t give up on a race after only one mile.  I checked the watch for my pace, which was still good.

Pushing through the pain, I kept moving.  For the first three miles I didn’t have any problems maintaining a sub 10’30” pace.  Then I met mile three.  Why hello mile three, how are you doing?  You have a gift for me?  How nice of you to bring the cramp back, and with a vengeance too!  No matter what part of mile three I was on, I could not reach my goal.  I needed be able to get back on pace.  But with every step, the cramp worsened.

Turning the corner on mile four, the cramp washed away.  I don’t know what made it disappear, but I’m glad it did.  No time to question, time to run.  I picked up the pace to make up for lost time.

On the last mile I pushed to catch up.  I knew that it would be close, but I also knew that I had a chance if I pushed hard.  I had forgotten to add the statistic “average pace” to my watch for the run, so all I had to judge my progress was “elapsed time” and “current pace.”  Time for some quick math!  Rather, time for some rough guessing.

My run ended in my driveway.  I hit stop in mid step, not wanting a full stop to mess up my time.  My final pace was 10’21”.  That’s right, a new PR for my five mile run.  For all my short to medium runs, I plan on using the pace screen.  I am still going to use the distance screen the long runs for now.

Now it was time for a post run smoothie.  I decided to mix it up, and concocted a chai tea smoothie.  I am not sure what inspired this, other than the box of chai tea mix in the fridge.  I decided to make it simple, since I could always alter the recipe later if it wasn’t right.

Chai Tea Smoothie:

1 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 Cup Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
1 Cup of Ice
1 Scoop Vanilla Whey Powder
1 Tbsp Honey

Step One) Put everything in a blender
Step Two) Blend
Step Three) Enjoy

Easy!  A new PR and a new smoothie… all in all not a bad day.

Question:

When you run, do you run to do a distance, or beat a pace?

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Sunday…my return to the great outdoors…at least to run.  Or at least that was the plan.  In order for me to leave the house for a run my wife needs to be home to watch the kids.  They are a little too small to leave behind while I travel the sidewalks of the neighborhood.  So instead I hit the treadmill again.  The scheduled run was 8 miles.  After the successful sessions with the treadmill, I decided to increase the difficulty and do the scheduled 8 miles.  Not the best move on my part.

After two miles, I had trouble keeping up.  If I only had a couple miles to go, I would like to think I could have pushed through it.  Self-delusion is strength of mine, it seems.  Mission aborted.  So my excuses were: I am tired…I aimed too high for my first long run…etc. 

That evening I decided make another attempt for an 8 mile run.  This time outside, and this time at my pace, not the infernal torture device that is my treadmill.  It was my first outdoor run since the sprain.  I checked the temperature, 32 degrees.  Perfect.  I geared up; running pants, jacket, gloves, hat, GPS watch, and IPod.  It is going to be a great run. 

It started slowed, but I moved my way through the neighborhood.  OK, I can’t expect to be right back to top performance after eight weeks off.  At mile two, I cramped up.  This isn’t the first time this has happened.  Last time, I pushed through it for a mile until it subsided.  Well, that was then, this is now.  By mile four I was done, and couldn’t push any further.  Time to go home.

By the next day my ankle felt as bad the week after I sprained it.  It seems the concrete is harder on my ankle than the treadmill.  Go figure.  Am I doomed to the life of a treadmill?  The treadmill means no interesting encounters.  If I stay inside I won’t see turkeys, storms, a live sitcom,or porn.   I pushed myself too hard too soon.  It seems that 8 miles on the hard concrete was too ambitious. 

Now I need to hold off on the training for a week.  I need to let the ankle recoup.  I plan to change my training from a marathon to maybe a half, or 10k.  It will limit my miles, and slowly build back up.  I wanted too much.  Foiled by the sprain again!

Next Run: Who knows?
Next Race: Kelly St. Patrick’s Day Shamrock 5K

 

Over the past couple days, I feel like I’ve been seeing runners everywhere as I drive home…not just once in a while, but EVERYWHERE!  It doesn’t matter if it is a cool day, or rainy, they’re out there.  As I drove through a downpour, three separate runners crossed the street in front of my car.  They keep finding me, and I want to join them!  If I had been on the road that day, I would have been soaked to the bone in a matter of minutes.  Strangely this appeals to me.  My wife thinks I am crazy.

After ten days of a sprained ankle, all I seem to have is jealousy and anger.  I am jealous of the other runners and angry at myself for allowing myself to get injured.  It was dumb, only a mile and half from home, and I stepped in a pot hole.  Next time, and yes there will be a next time, I will try to run earlier in the day or find a new path.  That road is riddled with pot holes, and I know it.  Since I have been road free for so long, I am feeling a little depressed.  It is hard to control my diet, I am gaining weight, I’m jealous of other runners and angry at small, pointless things.  No, I don’t need therapy.  I need to go for a run.

Today my ankle was bruise-free and no longer swollen (or at least not noticeably swollen).  It is trying to lull me into a false sense of security.  My biggest fear is hitting the road before I have healed and ruining my ability to run forever.  Since I stepped in that pot hole, many people seem to enjoy recounting stories of friends of friends who didn’t allow their ankles to heal, and now they can no longer run.  I need to run.  I NEED TO RUN!  I sound like a drug addict.

Writing the alphabet with my big toe twice a day is not enough exercise.  Not even close.  After reviewing my list of approved exercises, I decided upon the elliptical.  It is tried and true.  It gives a decent calorie burn; I just didn’t want to stress my ankle too much.

After forty-five minutes on the elliptical, I can now say it is good to at least be moving more than a slow limp down the hall.  The fifteen minutes of icing the foot was glorious.  My plan is to keep doing the elliptical until I can run again.  Once I can do that, I am restarting my twelve week program, P90X included.

Update: The next morning my ankle gave me a message written in pain, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???”  Ok, forty-five minutes may have been too long on the elliptical.

The first three weeks finish tomorrow.  They went well.  Only twice did I have to postpone (not cancel) a workout.  The strength training is going well.  I can feel my core, back, abs and arms getting stronger.  I have not lost any weight however.  I need to push myself even harder than before if I want to see better progress.

It is time to post the next three.  Week 4 is called a Rest Week.  I’ll only be logging in 80 miles and and completing a 5k!  What kind of Rest Week is that?  I guess since the P90X portion is Yoga and Kenpo that makes it a rest week.  Then again…it will be EXTREME!

The point of P90X is muscle confusion.  I am looking forward to the mix up.  Not only will it confuse my muscles, it will keep me entertained and not bored with the sessions.

Date Distance P90X
11/15/2011 6
11/16/2011 3 Yoga X – Disc 04
11/17/2011 7
11/18/2011 0 Kenpo X – Disc 06
11/19/2011 10
11/20/2011 0 Yoga X – Disc 04
11/21/2011 Rest Day
11/22/2011 6
11/23/2011 3 Chest, Shoulders & Triceps – Disc 09 / Ab Ripper X – Disc
12
11/24/2011 7
11/25/2011 0 Core Synergistrics – Disc
08
11/26/2011 11
11/27/2011 0 Back & Biceps – Disc 10 / Ab Ripper X – Disc 12
11/28/2011 Rest Day
11/29/2011 7
11/30/2011 3 Chest, Shoulders & Triceps – Disc 09 / Ab Ripper X – Disc
12
12/1/2011 7
12/2/2011 0 Core Synergistrics – Disc
08
12/3/2011 5k Race Back & Biceps – Disc 10 / Ab Ripper X – Disc 12
12/4/2011 10.2
12/5/2011 Rest Day