Summer runs ending?

August 26th, 2015

With as hot as our summer has been I actually expect to get 6-8 more weeks of warm(ish) running in. I am starting to feel ready for fall, but I am still liking running in light gear. The rain is supposed to hit us this weekend, it has been a super long time since I have run in the rain and I am looking forward to it. Last week I only managed a couple of runs for just over 10 miles, just seemed to have too much going on. This week is starting to look the same even though I have already matched my totals from last week. But tomorrow may be the last chance for a run this week as I have shows Friday and Saturday night so running is out for both days. I haev a meeting tomorrow with a new client but I think I’ll brave the exhaustion and run anyway.

Pain in my feet continue to be an issue, especially after four miles or so. I am considering talking to the neurologist about it during my yearly check-in, but then again I can probably live with it at this point rather than taking another medication. I think a better approach might be acupuncture, something I have been considering starting again, especially once my new insurance plan kicks in next year.

My shoulder has been really bugging me after that fall the other week. Feels very similar to the pain I experienced after I was hit by a car ten (?) years ago. It’s time to make Dr. Szeto’s magic shoulder stretches a consistent part of my routines.

Weekly goals

August 16th, 2015

Today is the start to my running week and I got it off to a good start with a solid 5 miler at 9:42 pace. The run could have been faster but looking at my run report I am really happy with the consistency of my pace (fastest mile 9:27, slowest 9:51), that’s only a 24 second difference!

I wanted to speak to my current goals for running. Overall I want to keep the running going for fitness reasons without any specific training goals. One thing I have done this year towards that was to shorten my avg running distance from 7-8 miles a run to 5 miles a run with the hope of being more regular about it. I have also embraced shorter runs (around 3 miles) on days I have been concerned about my energy level post run when I have rehearsals. I would like to keep my weekly totals around 20+ with a max of 30 miles a week. I don’t see a need to go beyond 30 and I think my knees will thank me (not to mention the rest of my body.)

I’ve really cut out the long run from my weekly runs and I’d like to get those back into the rotation as well as the occasional track workout. If I could do either once a week I’d feel successful!

My goals overall are very light, but I think that is ok

Big tree fall down hard

August 7th, 2015

First off there was no fifth run in a row yesterday. Spend a day (which became a rest day) drinking hard cherry cider and eating pizza, not a bad way to go at all! I also ended my no-cannabis rule too, so streaks ending all around which is fine as they were going to eventually one way or the other. One of the things that prevented me from running before my indulgence in cider and pizza was that I have been wanting to go to the track and run some straights and curves. I haven’t done this in a long while but I got it stuck into my head that I wanted to. Now I don’t think a fifth day in a row of running when one isn’t used to such streaks is a good idea at all. I wanted to be a bit more rested and ready to do the interval training. All in all, yes it is just an excuse for not running yesterday, but a valid one. I’ll take it and took it.

So that brings me to today. Is it now the sixth day in a row? No, excuse destroyed. Did I not fuel up yesterday? No, tons of pizza and cider carbs, excuse left by the curb. Was it too hot out? Uhhh, yeah actually it was as I procrastinated long enough for the heat to set in. Yes, an excuse! But not one I relied on. So out the door I went, heading north through Creston Park across Powell on my way to the recently refurbished Cleveland High School track. One of the things that make track running extra tough for me is that it is two miles away, so any track run automatically has four miles included. I guess I could drive or even bike but driving is something I don’t really do and seems lame for a run and biking is well biking for four miles which has its positives from a cross-training approach (though the distance isn’t really far enough to feel much benefit). But if I had taken either method of transport I’d be feeling much better right now, not just from the soreness of an interval run, but because I was that big tree and I fell hard.

About a block away from the track I was cruising along listening to talk radio speak on the great duh-bate. I must have been distracted as I hit a sidewalk crack (which I am usually on the lookout for due to the many we have in Portland in trade for our shade) and I went down hard. Usually I am able to roll through such stumbles, but this time I went down fast and hard and my inclination to tuck and roll caused me to land with a crack right on my elbow..The only thing to do is roll right back up and continue to run and with blood trailing down my arm I did just that. Initially my hip was pretty sore, I guess I balanced out the elbow abuse with some hip abuse. But it wasn’t too bad (yet!) and I kept on running to the track where I got in six laps of straights and curves (sprint the straight portions and recover on the curves).

I didn’t go super all out on the straights and instead pushed myself solidly but not to an extreme. At one point my watch registered 197 HR, but I think that was a anomaly (189 was my previous high chasing Fig and a pit bull while running) and I feel like I may have approached 180 or so. I was a little discouraged that I wasn’t able to get down to 144 (my goal for the resting curves) and instead was starting my sprint portions around 150-52. I will look for that to improve as my overall fitness increases. I initially set out to only do a mile at the track, but I ended up adding two more laps to that before I headed back. I set no speed records on the two miles back, but the last .6 lap came in under 10 min mile pace, so that was pretty good.

As I sit writing having rehydrated and showered the soreness is really setting in. My right hip is killing me. My cool down hip stretches were really rough but I finished them all. I think it is mostly just bruising on the hip and my elbow will take some good scabbing to return to normal, but it should be fine. Hopefully the pain I am feeling in my hip will recede (I know it will eventually…) after taking a couple of Ibuprofen and maybe dome targeted cannabis (indica strain for pain) later tonight. Oddly I feel really fuzzy headed, almost as if I hit my head, but I know I didn’t. I think it is just teh exhaustion of the hard run coupled with the heat and some tension in my neck after the fall.

I just read an article on a supplement called Cogniq that Steven Hawkings is taking to increase cognition. I am really curious. I would normally be a huge skeptic, but Hawkings makes me less so. The places it is for sale on the Internet make it look as if it is one of those gluten-free jellyfish pills but I am curious. Skeptical but curious.

Not so fast, fast, faster, fastest!

August 5th, 2015

That was my last four days of running. It’s odd cause usually four runs in a row would yield the opposite order. But no this week. I started Sunday at a 10:17 pace and ended the string with a 9:19 pace. The run today felt great, the whole time it was as if nothing was holding me back. No air resistance, no tired muscles, no sore feet (well honestly that did come later, but I am finding myself getting through it better lately, imagining my feet as cotton balls a trick I picked up from Qi Running to will away joint pain and stress.) In the same backwards pace order vain this run almost had each mile be quicker as well, something that rarely happens anyway, but in my regular route which saves the hills for the end it’s extra strange. But I’ll take it. Tomorrow I may try something I don’t think I have ever done: run five days in a row. I am already surpassing a recent goal of 20 miles a week and I don’t necessarily want o creep up on my self-set max miles of 30 a week, but then again a heavy running week has not been something I have been doing as of late. Still I need to regulate and I may end up doing just that.

I keep running, if not blogging

August 4th, 2015

It has been awhile since I last blogged here. The last post I said something about it being hot. Well its still hot, so it can’t have been that long ago. Today when I ran this morning it was actually really nice out. I got a good sweat on, but I didn’t manage to wreck myself. Sunday, however, was a different story in terms of wreckage. I added an extra mile to my normal (these days 5+ miles) route and felt terrible afterwards. I also didn’t really have enough to eat to support any kind of run, so i am sure that had a lot to do with it. Ok, I also did some yardwork before and after I ran. Oh yeah, and I didn’t sleep well that night. And… Ok that’s enough. The run sucked and that was that. But I made the best on it on Monday and went out again and even pushed away the initial thought of doing a short run to accommodate the previous day’s exhaustion. I am really glad I hit the streets and left that crappy run in the dust where it belonged. I even managed a sub 10 min mile pace (which didn’t happen on Sunday!)

Today was the third run in a row and it felt really good. No signs of the pains of Sunday and I even brushed up against my goal pace of 9:30 (9:31, dang it! Five seconds off!) I was in a really good mood too after have several positive transit experiences (unusual due to my usual curmudgeony running bias!) I had done 30 minutes of qi gong before I ran and then several times I have done that before running I have noticed an improved running experience, both mood-wise and physically speaking. And to top it off I am actually blogging about it!

One interesting/different thing that is going on with me right now is that I have taken a break from medical cannabis. Partly to keep a clearer head while by wife recovers form a minor surgery she just had, but also it has been something I have been thinking about doing. It has been a week now which may not seem like a lot of time, but for someone who had gotten used to enjoying his meds every night it makes a difference. Positives I have noticed: waking up is a bit easier (though not as much as I would have thought), I go to bed earlier (though the cannabis seemed to help me sleep better), I wake up earlier (see go to bed earlier), I read more as opposed to watching tv. Negatives I have noticed: foot pain, cramping and discomforting sensations appear to have increased, bad TV seems really bad, slight rise in general irritation with people (very slight, people often already irritate me!). Overall it has been pretty easy to deal with not having the habit, and I enjoy not having to look forward to medicating (oh, let’s call a spade a spade: getting high. I really hate the concept that it is just “medicating”). Oh another positive raises it head, I can be justified in my disdain for potheads (a big reason I do it by myself and don’t really like socializing)! The lessening foot sensations issue has been a major benefit for me with cannabis and I think it is going to win out, the benefits are too high (ummm, pun intended?) I’ll finish out the week with a clear head (and lungs) and then decide if I want to continue. I am leaning to no.

Running in the heat – new normal?

June 30th, 2015

Portland is experiencing a really hot dry spring/summer. Stuff is blooming in the yard that usually doesn’t happen until the end of summer, the lawn has a golden August glow already. I have been getting my runs in when I can get up early enough to avoid the worst of the heat and I have experienced a modicum of success! yesterday I weighed myself before and after, turned out I was losing a pound of water every mile. I guess it is time to break out the water belt! I have been reluctant as it is falling apart and while it still works ok and I am able to clip it it will soon need to be replaced. IIRC the darn thing was super snug last year (in the only position I can get the belt to stay in), considering that I am not smaller this summer, I am skeptical I can use it in non-muffin top comport.

I am really worried that this heat and dryness we have been dealing with this year is the new normal for us. Have our weather patterns really shifted? Some think so, so think it’s an anomaly. I tend to lie in the latter camp though I think the effects of our existence on earth is a huge contributor if not the absolute cause.

Today’s run was the longest I have done in a couple weeks and the first time I have come in under 10 min miles. I wasn’t pushing it at all (occasionally I would pick up the pace a bit) and I really focussed on not giving into the desire to walk. I kept telling myself that mini-goal marks were just around the corner. I crushed it. But I also sweated a ton which felt really good. But I am rehearsing tonight and a bit concerned that I will be pooped. I have been pushing my rule abut not running on music days because I am finding it a convenient excuse for not running. I have to find a compromise. Actually I have been working on discovering what that is through running shorter distances (4-5 miles as opposed to 8+). I have had mixed results, but some positives have been encouraging.

On the injury front I have little to report, mostly just soreness in the legs, but nothing else glaring; yet, anyway…

Back to an average run

April 21st, 2015

Lately I have had a good amount of success when it comes to running improvements. Yearly PR after PR have fallen, everyday has show a new level of physical performance (wow that sounds really good! Way better than the reality!) While this is a great thing at some point it has to end. Improvement has to peak somewhere, sometime. We reach plateaus that aren’t easily broached. A malaise starts up as the falling PRs become a thing of the past. Why am I no longer improving? Waaaaah! So that isn’t going to happen with me. I am fine with an average run and today was one of those despite my pace being faster than 9:30. Run felt great, I feel great, and I didn’t push myself beyond what I can comfortably deal with (especially with a rehearsal tonight).

Knowledge from the numbers can be a tricky thing. It can be illuminating and inspiring. It can also be depressing and discouraging. Still I think ew are better off knowing what is going on with our runs in order to maximize what we get out of them. Plus it is kind of fun sometimes trying to run down a PR, heck even holding back on the running to maintain a low HR can be fun (maybe I have gone off the edge here.)

It’s getting to that time of year when I need to start dragging water around with me when I run. Slow sips really help with the dehydration issues from a hot run. Gotta drag it out of my equipment crate! Actually a new water bottle carrier is probably in my near future as my old one was getting pretty worn and crappy (IIRC the belt has to be attached with safety pins (just like my HR strap)). New gear!

Day later, new PR – 9:01 pace

April 17th, 2015

Funny, I had a feeling this would happen but I didn’t expect it to happen right away. Yesterday’s 9:11 pace run was a pretty stellar one for me and I figured I was reaching the edge of my pace improvements. The run felt fast and strong, but tough. So what happens today? Throw in some good weather, a rebif injection (questionable to me that I see exercise improvement during injection day, but for me I see some strong evidence), clean running clothes, good night’s sleep and two pieces of toast and I give you 9:01! So close to under 9, but I’ll save that for another post (tomorrow?) My run felt slow starting out, but I had a feeling that I was going somewhere quickly when my first mile came in under 9 (8:59). Mile two logged in at 8:49, sweet, faster! Mile three, boom, 8:48! Faster still! I fiddled with my watch during mile 4 and reset the lap (1/3 of a mile at 9:09) and the next mile came in at 9:16. The last 3/4 mile came in at 9:10 with a total for the full 5+ at 9:01! I feel really great about that! Under nine feels like it is coming up in my future!

The other nice thing about looking at today’s run report is that after correcting my weight I am getting a larger calorie burn reported as well, about 140 calories more for 185 as opposed to the default 150 on my watch. Not that I am actually burning any more cals, but it looks good a couple columns over from that 9:01! Other numbers of note, avg HR was 161 which is hight for me. Last four runs avg HR (there were a couple runs where my strap slipped) was 157, 157, 152, 151). Overall a great week of running (with two sunny days ahead) 20.5 miles with an avg pace of 9:16. Avg MPH of 6.6 (that doesn’t sound too fast!) Love my Garmin (in the sun anyway with no errant rain drops)!

Avg Page 2015 PR

April 16th, 2015

Today’s five miler was the fastest pace of the year at 9:11 and it should have been a little faster. I stopped at a busy intersection to wait for traffic to clear and paused my watch. 1/3 of a mile or so later I realized I hadn’t started it back up. Well that whole stretch was downhill and I know my pace had picked up, dang it! Not only did I miss out on some miles (well a 1/3 anyway) but I missed out an adding in some faster paced steps. Oh well, just makes the next PR that much more attainable! I recently made my weight more accurate on the watch (it had me at 150 and I am really closer to 180+), the higher weight showed me burning over 100 more calories on these five milers, so I was glad I switched. Then a few runs later I noticed my calories were back down again. I realized that when I synched my watch with the computer to transfer my data that it was also synching my personal settings which were still wrong in my training center program. Ugh. So I switched the numbers on both so hopefully now it won’t decide that I am 30 pounds lighter (until I actually am! Not that that is a goal – 170-175 is more of a goal).

This has been a good week of running so far. I have gotten three 5+ mile runs in all faster than 9:30. I haven’t had any recovery issues other than knowing I worked out that day. Today I added in a short qi gong workout after my run, something I really like to do if I have time. I haven’t been as consistent with the qi gong as I have been in the past, I would like to get back into doing that on a daily basis again.

Back running again

April 14th, 2015

So after a week of being sick and a week of being generally busy (and still recuperating) I have gotten my stride back. Or I should say I have gone running 3 out of the last 5 days. The funny thing is that on the first day I thought to myself don’t worry about your pace, just get out there and run … which I did … and then a couple miles in I looked at my watch and I was cookin’ along at a 9:10 pace. I was really surprised and I decided well if I have gotten this far, I might as well keep going and I ended up with a 9:19 avg pace for the five + miles I did. It felt great and I was really happy about it and then the soreness kicked in and I need two days off before I could make myself run again. Yesterday and today were both under 9:30 and I felt fine after so I feel like I didn’t do too much damage to my fitness level with the break.

The runs have all felt strong throughout though I have felt a little more exhausted in the evenings than I would like especially when I have other things to do. The rehearsals after a run are especially difficult, but even having to do something other than be lazy at home can be a bit taxing. Still I remind myself that I am doing much better than a lot of folks out there with ms and I get by on the gratitude. Tonight’s extra-curricular activity involves going to a business association meeting which I can do tonight because big band rehearsal was cancelled. The only problem is I am not sure what time or place it is being held at. We’ll see how it goes!

I have been experiencing a weird ms symptom (I think) lately in my thigh. Essentially the large muscle in my left thigh has been experiencing some pain. I have read that msers often experience odd pains, sometimes this comes in the form of a burning that only occurs on the surface of the body. This is what I seem to be feeling in my right thigh. It comes and goes and doesn’t seem to be universally associated with running, though sometimes it does and the extra soreness from running adds to the weird feeling. A couple of times I also felt a numbness in the area, sort of feels like my thigh is asleep. This sounds like a common complaint that others have had and it isn’t too bad yet so I think I will just keep an eye on it.