Archive for the ‘getting back into running’ Category

Is it really fall already?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Looking back at my last comment I can’t believe it was in June and fall has now, errr fallen. I still am finding my schedule getting in the way of running but there are several factors that I think may actually contribute to me running more: the weather has cooled and I now have more options other than running first thing in the day and I have had one rehearsal cut from my week due to our attempt to focus on our full-length record. All good news and hopefully I will take advantage an get out more.

Another aspect of me potentially running more has been my eating habits. Foe the last couple of years I have found myself eating more at night. In the last month I have rededicated my efforts to not doing that and instead not eating after seven at night. This has made for some uncomfortable stomach rumblings but a much more comfortable stomach in the morning. I’ve lost a couple of pounds as well which I am sure will help the running. I haven’t really gained a whole lot, in fact I have liked the extra girth in my frame to ease my rebif injections. But, enough is enough (for weight gain that is) and I am heading in the opposite direction.

In the last couple of weeks I have noticed a possible ms symptom while running. My gate has felt a bit unstable at times, but not consistently so. It is probably nothing, but something to note regardless. It certainly hasn’t been to the extent I experienced when I had the big issues seven years ago or so. I also aren’t experiencing a drag in my legs like in the past, its been more of a discomfort or should I say slight lack of confidence in my gate.

On other items of late I participated in an ms study regarding exercise. I wore an accelerometer for a week and kept track of the times I wore it. Initially I was excited (and so were the researchers about my participation) because of my strong feelings on the positive effects of exercise on my ms. The funny thing is I actually didn’t run once during the week, but I am sure that is ok as I will be doing it a couple of other times during the upcoming year. I also had to fill out a questionnaire before and after I did the accelerometer stuff. I’ll be curious to hear more about the study and the results they find.

Eight miles, mostly smiles

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

I have been having a weird lack of enthusiasm for running this spring. Partly I have just not really had the time, but then on days when I do have the time I find myself making excuses for not doing it. Weird. I have had lapses in my desire to run in the past, but they have always passed. Perhaps this one is out the door as well! I ran eight miles today and felt pretty good, it was a slow run but my energy levels kept up and I felt really good. Yesterday I did six and felt great then too. Perhaps it is just a matter of getting through the slump and back into a space where I want to run.

It is odd, one of the things that always bugs me when I stop running for a period of time whether it is a week or longer. I start to feel fat and sluggish. I think this time this has been a stronger feeling because I think I have been eating more. So while I might have gained a pound, it feels like a lot more. Then today after a couple of good runs I feel thinner. I am a lot less likely to over-eat too. And, my main food bug-a-boo – eating at night – isn’t nearly as appealing. The phycological effects of running are really quite remarkable. I wonder how much of that is to blame on the loose fitting shorts I am wearing today!

One bad thing these last couple of days running has been my feet which have been extra achey. I am considering moving onto a different type of shoes, perhaps one that is more comfort oriented. There are soem nike models that are supposed to be really good. I have been opposed to running in nikes partially in reaction to the bad press the company has gotten about its labor practices (but if I am really concerned about that I better take off more than my nike shoes!) but more for their reputation with their running shoes of not holding up. Still, the comfort might be worth it.

Back to it

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Seems like I have done a number of these “getting back into it” posts this year. I think most runners go through times when they stop running for a period of time whether it is due to injury, weather, life, etc. The problem I was having with my back plagued me for a good week or so but after some rest the pain and stiffness have abated. If I remember correctly when this has happened in te past I have been out for longer. It is possible that this particular strain was just less of an issue. It could also have been less of a strain since it didn’t really happen associated to a particular lifting event. Either way I am glad to have it in the rear view mirror! Just in time to enjoy soem warmer weather too.

Yesterday was the second day in a row I have run. The first day back I ran with my running partner and she worked me pretty hard. Our runs together have been really fast (for me). Prior to her injury to her leg we used to do more distance focused runs. Now with her slowly adding miles to build back endurance with her leg we have been running shorter runs once a week. To offset this we seem to really be pushing the speed. This is a good thing for me since I am really trying to increase my speed. Not sure how good an idea it is for her and her poor leg! I think we will be slowing down on the runs soon. I’m gonna have to work up my own speed workouts soon.

Saturday I bussed down to the waterfront to meet up and then I ran home. I think this works better with the speed portions than running down to the waterfront (5 miles) then doing a shorter fast portion (2-3 miles). I at least don’t poop out in fron of my partner! I had to stop and walk a number of times on the way back. I hate doing that but it is really important to listen to your body and not let the running ego get in the way.

Yesterday I went out with the intention of doing a shorter run, but I felt pretty good so I upped it to 10k. I went pretty slow on the run but it felt pretty good though I was pretty exhausted for the rest of the day (the gin fizzes I had didn’t help that aspect!) Today I am going to go out and enjoy the nice weather we are finally having. I need to get moving on that so I don’t wimp out!

Getting back into running

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Recently I have been bad about running, even worse than I have been bad about writing (or not writing as the case may be!) This week I decided that  I would get back into it. I had just bought some new clothes and I was realizing how tight they were.I decided I wanted to wear what I had bought for more than a few days. It really felt like I was ballooning up. I have found my typical pattern is I lose weight and gain a certain level of fitness. On the way to this point I am working hard, doing my running and stretching and what I call the 7:00 fast (no eating after 7).  I seem to do really well doing this. I think the big thing is not eating at night for me. I think those calories really seem to stick to me. But the running is also a huge part of weight management for me so I was determined to not let this peak in fitness end and to try to continue it for as long as possible.

Armed with a commitment to run and the 7 o’clock fast I started out the week with a nothing spectacular junk run. My main goal was to just get out there and do it. I strapped on the water bottle and headed out the door. It was hot but I knew that would be the case and I had my water so I wasn’t too worried. It went fine. I managed my water intake by having sips every so often. Works well for dealing with the heat. I followed that with a recovery run and then an LSD run. The LSD (long slow distance) run was hard, but at only eight miles it wasn’t ridiculous and I went very slowly.

Today marked the fourth day in a row running. This has always been my hypothetical mark for when I feel like I have gotten back into running. Though I have only had a couple of low-mileage weeks and not a long  break this seems to have done the trick. Running feels like a habit again. It doesn’t seem to matter how far you run, just that you do it for the four days in a row. I think I may make it five tomorrow! I hope I do cause I don’t see myself running this weekend, maybe some short easy ones. I have two shows to do this week with my swing band and I need to be focused for them. I find that if I run too hard (and just about any sort of hot run counts as “hard”) that I have trouble concentrating on teh notes I need to play and I get lost in the songs. Normally I don’t have this issue. So no or little running this weekend.

Today’s run was really hot like all of my runs this week. I finish up with the sweat pouring out of me. Just bucket loads. Takes me quite a while till I get to the point where I feel hydrated enough to return to normalcy. Today it took a large glass of Gatorade and a Nuun water but I feel much better. I went on a new route today, well more of a variation of an old route. I went down to the canyon and did the whole run twice end to end. It gets really humid down there in the wetland areas, but really it was only the north side of the canyon that was a scorcher and both sides have shade.

I am going to run (well hopefully) my first 5k next month, part of the course runs through the canyon. I am really curious to see how the race goes as the paths are really narrow. But they seem to think it will be ok. This is the first year they have done it, so maybe they will make changes for next year, or maybe not. However I do I will set a PR as it will be my first 5K. I am a bit worried about doing it as I have a show with my new band the night before, then a show with the swing band right after and then a birthday party right after that. Something is gonna have to give though I think I can actually fit it all together. We’ll see,


Ramping back up

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Once again on the road to recovering my fitness. After two weeks off and before that short runs with the dog, I am ramping up my longer runs. Well not necessarily super long runs but 6+ milers (to start). Getting back into running after a break is always a difficult thing. The runs all seem harder than they used to be and your pace seems slower than you remember it. The frustrations appear around every corner but the only choice is to blast through them and keep going.This time no exception. The good news is that I at least feel like I have stopped on the precipice of falling out of shape and turned back. My health almost instantly feels better, I feel thinner and firmer. It might all be a mental thing, but hey I’ll take what good feelings I can get.

One bummer is that my feet seem to be aching more now. I thought that the two week rest would do some good, but it appears as if just the opposite has happened. Its as if the running develops some sort of barrier to the pain/discomfort in my feet. Taking time off removes that barrier. Maybe I am just no longer used to it and my body is reacquainting itself with the discomfort. I have done four runs since restarting and it actually does feel a bit better, but at first (and maybe I was expecting my feet to feel better from the break) I was dissapointed. Even during the break my feet were bugging me, but those first couple of runs they were barking!

Yesterday’s run was not too fast but my HR was really high through a lot of it. Made me think that I need to get back to working in recovery runs (my goal for the day!). I really would like to get back on a HR training program and perhaps that is what I will do. Time to break out the HR books and get some inspiration. For the moment, a recovery run will do!

I have also been thinking about picking up a pair of Newton shoes which are well known for their ability to mimic the barefoot runner experience while offering your feet protection (and not looking stupid, so damn important!) If they weren’t so damn expensive $150-200 I would try a pair, but I keep getting caught up with the cost. That and the fact that I haven’t seen them locally and would have to get them online. Not that that has ever been a problem for me in the past!

Sure fire way to get back into running

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

I said I would write yesterday when I ran for two days in a row, but I didn’t. Now today, my third day in a row I remembered my sure fire method for starting running and I figured I had better write it down.

I don’t know why I struggle with getting back into running, I have a sure fire method for doing it. I learned it very early in my running days, in fact I think I probably figured it out the first time I got hooked. It’s simple: run four days in a row. By the time you finish you will be hooked again. It doesn’t even matter how far you go, I posit that it works for runners at all levels and distances. The routine of running those four days forces you to work it into your schedule and once it is there, once running is a part of your daily routine it stays. Unless of course one of the myriad of roadblocks gets in the way, but then it is just time to build back up and do those four days.

For me my running days have been around my base run distance of six miles. I have been taking it slow, but I have firm about not giving up. I remember doing it when I was just starting out when I did four days of running a mile or so. I even remember running up the road that led south way from my friend’s farm in the summer. I’d run about a half mile up the road then turn around and run back. The run back was a reward as it was all downhill surrounded by dry golden fields.

So tomorrow will be day four, I don’t plan on getting up early though. I may just have to experiment with three days in a row with a weekend kicker. But I feel good today despite the heat of my run today. I tied a new route which always seems longer. My five miles seemed like eight, mostly from the newness of the route. My estimation of the distance was about a mile or so shorter than my guess. I did run through Laurelhurst park a beautiful park that I used to live a block away from. I used to run with my friend Karen and a run around the park seemed like forever.

Still struggling

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

I have been having the hardest time lately getting up for my runs. I have all sorts of excuses: too hot, sore feet, visiting relatives, not enough sleep, and more. But really it comes down to just not pushing myself to get out and run. Laziness is contagious, or I should sat it builds upon itself. I can easily get into a pattern of running 4 or 5 times a week. The runs will come easily, the motivation is there, everything seems perfect. Then I will break that pattern for whatever reason and I have the hardest time getting back into it. There always seems to be something getting in the way. I think I need to pick up a running book. Reading even a little about running always gets me back into the running mindset. I have an interesting book that is sitting on my shelf as well that I could start reading again. I forget the title but it has to do with training the brain for running. And that is just what I need!

Still recovering

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Yesterday I went out for a second run in a row. I had the entire day to do it so I didn’t force myself to get up early and run in the cold. This, as it turns out, was not the best idea. So I decided to run after I went to the tax guy. To hold me over I scarfed a Clif bar and ventured out to receive the news (which wasn’t too bad). I took the bus, which to go to my accountant takes a couple of buses. On the way back I decided to take a little walk in order to only have to take one bus. After checking the schedule on my phone I realized I had to wait 25 mins which was ok as there is a coffee shop by the stop called Palio that has the best Mexican mochas I have ever had. Unfortunately they also have really good pastries and I found myself ordering a chocolate muffin with granulated sugar on top and a day old bialli covered with tomato sauce and cheese. They were all delicious and the mocha was still the best in Portland. It was only after I finished my bounty that I realized, Oh crap I have a full belly and I was going to go running. To top it off, my allergies go crazy this time of year (I blame the blooming plum trees) AND I am allergic to mil which I had in my mocha rather than soy (I have no idea why I did that).

I was not preparing well for a run.

I got home and piddled around for a few but eventually decided I really wanted to run despite my full belly. I geared up up and headed out. At first I was conscious of my fullness, but it soon went away and I found myself cruising along pretty well. As I got to the halfway point of my base runs I marveled at how nice it was outside. So in direct defiance of my promise to myself to take it easy I took the turn off for the longer run. The run was going really well, my lungs were doing fine and I felt great. I kept looking for the point when my body said “you are approaching the point of running too much, STOP!” But it didn’t happen. Perhaps a belly full of pastries and coffee is good running energy (I doubt it.) I then came upon Reed College and a headed up onto campus only to find myself doing an about face and heading off on my longer Reed path which ends up winding through the canyon. Once in the privacy of the wooded canyon, I even needed to remove one of my layers (which was of course the bottom layer) and tied my shirt around my waist. I continued through the canyon where I was later greeted by a chorus of geese and a lone crane. Everybody was enjoying the day.

Toward the end of the run I did feel a bit of pain in my hip again, more of a tightness. It occurred to me that I was getting a bit lazy in my form and that was the cause. So I refocused on lining up my body correctly and dropping my feet in alignment with my frame and the pain disappeared. The body focus I have established from practicing Chi Running techniques has really paid off and gotten me through a number of running problems, can’t say that enough.

During my cool down it seems like I finally getting past my back pull as I was able to stretch with ease. That night as I lay down watching a movie I went through my horizontal stretching routine and did my rubber band exercises as well. This morning I find myself a little sore and stiff, but everything seems ok. My back hurts a little, but I have a feeling that one I am up and moving around a bit I will feel fine. Hopefully you will be reading another post from me today about today’s run. We’ll see.

Can I even call myself a runner anymore?

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Ugh, this morning I found myself making more excuses to not go for a run. I think the hardest part of falling out of the habit is the daunting feeling of not just running today, but doing it every day. It is more a matter of becoming a runner again than just running today. I think that is the crux of the difficulty in getting started again. The good news is that once I do get going again, I will WANT to run again. It is just a matter of forcing myself to get over this case of the lazies and doing it.

Fighting the excuses is the hardest part. Well no, actually the knowledge that I don’t have to get up early to run is the sweet intoxication that keeps me from wanting to plan a run. I guess it is a combination of the two. My biggest excuse at the moment is my back which is still giving me grief. The thing is I know if I go running it will help to loosen up my back and get me on the road to mend. Right now I am just so damn stiff. I don’t believe it has anything to do with ms, probably more likely age than anything. That and the damn daylight savings time.

It is interesting to me how this collapse in my running has occurred. I had the really busy week where I didn’t manage to get out to run. I kept thinking I had too much to do to spend the time running. Its more than just an hour out of the day to run. Its getting ready to run, cooling down, showering after the run. Takes too much time. So that is how this all started. I believe this week of no running had a totally adverse effect on my system. The I had the stomach flu which added to the misery and that combined with all the time I spent in bed made my back ripe for getting strained. I think all three have not only combined to make me feel physically unready to run, but mentally as well.

So here I sit (literally) trying to figure out how I am going to get past this and get back out on the roads. I honestly don’t think ti is going to take much, once I get past the first time that is. Unless I manage to roll an ankle (which would sadly be fitting) I will be just fine getting back into it. Maybe I need to buy myself a new shirt or something. Nah, I have plenty of running gear. Plus I have my new shoes, even if I don’t really like them that much.

One tactic I have always found to work well is to pick up a running book and start reading. This always seems to get me into the mindset of wanting to run. I have a good one too sitting on my shelf. The problem is I am in the middle of several books already (another excuse…)

Writing this today is making me want to get out there. I think I am ready to begin again. It is going to take a couple of weeks to get back to where I was before, but that is ok. Then I can work on taking some further steps like increasing my speed which has needed some help as of late. Ok, I feel much better. Time to run again. Time to call myself a runner again.