Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Post Sandy

 I am one of a handful of homes that still has power. I don't have television or my own internet , so thank goodness for my sister Theresa and her Verizon Mi-Fi as that's how I'm able to periodically connect.
I went into work to a building that also had no power. We were bundled up, and tried our best to stay warm while we treated a handful of patients. At 2:00 we closed up shop, and I headed home to my two sisters. One is still recovering from surgery, and the other is tending to her.  The caregiver sister had already went out for a 7 mile easy run, relaying to me all the damage in the neighborhood.  She had made some soup while I was at work, and forgetting that I wanted to go out for a run to attempt to make up for some lost time thanks to Hurricane Sandy, I had a bowl of it.  It was delicious and light, and although I was still chilled from being in building for 6 hours without heat - I started to feel warm again. I threw on my running gear. I put on my long lycra pants for the first time this season, my sports bra, and a long sleeved, high collar tech shirt. I did not put on my compression sleeves for my calves, nor my toe soxs, but I had on my new, larger sneaks. I started all my electronics and headed out for a 5 mile easy run. Too fast, of course.

I forgot is was Halloween. I was constantly crossing the streets left and right trying to avoid the swarms of children, fallen trees, hanging wires, and various road debris. It was challenging. And, I realized I was cold. I had no gloves. I felt my core remained chilled from work, and I wondered why running after a mile and a half already was not raising my internal temperature at all. To compound matters, the soup which I had enjoyed only 20 minutes ago was now making a re-appearnce at the base of my esophagus. Not comfortable at all. So, as usual, I was not going to see 5 miles today. I was not going to even go as far as a 5k. My cell phone told me I had about 15% of battery left, and I knew that if I wanted to save my work to the MapMyRun servers, I'd have to end my run and upload it at that point. I walked about 1/4 mile home.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sister Power..

I ended up with a pair of Brooks Glycerin. Size 6.5. I told the woman in the store what my problem was, she put me on the treadmill in front of the camera with my old sneaks, then compared it to me running in the new ones. I was surprised that my heel did not come out of the larger pair when I ran. I was also surprised by the way the newer pair slightly corrected my medial heel whip. I was sold. I couldn't wait to try them on the road. We picked up some other items. I had a $20 dollar off coupon I picked up from the Cow Harbor 10k - so that came in handy.

My sister and I went out to Bayville and we were going to start together, and obviously run and finish separately. My sister runs about 2.5 min/mile faster than I do, so I knew that going into it. I would never ask her to slow down for me just so we could run together. As far as I was concerned, we WERE running together, but doing our own thing.

Because of the 10k I ran yesterday, and the fact that I had no rest in between, I knew going into this run that I was only going once around the approximate 3 mile route. What I hadn't planned, was that I was going to pull it out at the end again, and achieve another PR. I finally broke that elusive sub-28 min 5k time. Booyah.

Then, as I was waiting for my sister to come around again, I decided to video her coming back.

So, what's the deal? It couldn't be that one silly quasi-tempo run I did 2 days ago. Maybe it was that I held my sister in my sights 1/2 to 3/4 a mile ahead of me on the straights. Or maybe it was that yesterday I had also pulled out all the guns at the end of the run. Does it carry over that quickly?

My Glycerins felt fine - but I didn't go as far this run, so I was unable to test just how good my toes were supposed to feel running in them after 6 miles. Plenty of time for that. I was happy that my sister, my mentor in running, was with me when I finally came in under 28 minutes. The time? 27:19. Go me.


Friday, October 26, 2012

and it keeps getting better...

I took the day off of work today to hang with my sisters. One came up from Minnesota to help care for the other who just had surgery. So, with the pressure of no work today, I was able to plan for a 5 miler, just around my neighborhood. It was cool but humid this morning, and as I approached the 2 mile point, I realized that I could do the 5. I had no where to be except picking up my sister in a few hours. We were going to The Runners Shop in Huntington, NY to shop for a larger pair of sneaks for me. Apparently, my feet swell during longer runs, and that was probably the cause of my blisters and throbbing, painful toes. But I digress..

By mile 4, I was feeling pretty good, and I was very happy that I knew I was going to get to 5.  Especially since I was running around trying to avoid all the crews in the streets. There were Cable and LIPA trucks all around - I'm assuming to make sure things were secure as possible before the storm hits. At about 5.5 miles, I glanced at my watch, and saw that I just might make a new PR for a 10k if I picked up my pace a bit.  I was quite thrilled to have accomplished just that. Could it have been just that attempted tempo the day before that gave me the oomph to give it my all? Very interesting if that was in fact the case.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tempo Tantrums

I tried my hand - or should I say feet, at a tempo run today. After researching a variety of sites and articles on what a tempo run is, I was still confused. Everyone has a different opinion on how one should run a tempo, and what the correct pacing should be. I know that I want to get faster, particularly for my 5k races. I can't seem to come in under 28 minutes. A 26 something would be nice, I'd even take a 27:58.
To make a long story short, I did not understand the reasoning of running 30 seconds slower then my 5k pace if I wanted to get faster.. so I made up my own tempo rules, like the petulant child I am, and felt like I accomplished nothing but getting tired real fast, and not going nearly as far as I would have liked. As I understand it, you're supposed to do the first mile at an easy pace, which for me, is 9:30-9:45. Then, I'm supposed to run the next mile 30 seconds slower than my 5k pace, which was a 9:05. Doesn't that bring me back to my easy pace? I think I prefer fartleks and telephone poles. I've done those, and I didn't have to think too hard about them. The last few long runs I've done seem to have helped with me sustaining a decent pace (slower than my 5k pace) - and I found that I' m able to tolerate a faster pace for short periods of time during an average LR. That may be all I need for now. I've only been running 7 months. There is plenty of time to figure the rest out. I think for now I'll just run.

A change is needed..

Lately, my weekday runs have been piss-poor.  I do my best running in the morning. I am a morning person, after all.  However, my schedule changes frequently. Lately my first appointment on  my running days has been at 9 am instead of 10. Because of the impeding darkness in the morning, I'm apt to wait for the first break of light now, which doesn't leave me much time. I don't like to run when I feel rushed, and I don't enjoy running when I'm tired after being on my feet all day, stretching patients, and trying to catch people as they struggle with their balance.
So, I've been having to run after work on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Could it also be that I'm running longer distances on the weekends, causing me to require longer rest periods? I'm not sure. But I go out planning to run a 5k, and poop out after 2 miles. Or plan for a 5 miler, and give up after 3. On Tuesday, I planned for just that. Could not, did not, want to continue after 3.7 miles. I wasn't too disappointed in my pace, but I was mentally and physically wiped. Could I have done it if I had gone out slower? Perhaps. But something has to change with my weekday runs.. or then, what's the training for?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Oh, my toes.

I love running on the weekends.  I get up at my usual time, have my coffee, a small bit to eat, no pressure. No time constraints. I make a decision how I'm going to run, and just get to it. But I'm always changing my mind and my goals as I'm running.

 Take today, for instance. I was going to do 10 miles, 10 EASY miles. I've been reading that the longer and easier you run, the faster you get. I'm not too sure about that yet, although I have seen some of my miles break the 9:00 mark. But it's not consistent. I decided to try again to start out slow, and just see how I felt. I've been driving to Bayville the last few weekends, instead of out to Wantagh. It's closer, still by the water, and since it's not on the ocean, there are fewer winds.

About 2 miles in, I was feeling very good. My goal of 10 easy miles was now morphing in my head to some thing like 8 faster miles. Then I yelled at myself a little, as I usually do, to stay on goal distance and effort. When I glanced at my Magellan, and saw mid 9's as the average, I felt good that I did not start out too fast again. I decided then to stick with the 10 miles, and I would be happy to stay at the pace I was running.

It started out foggy, but looking straight up, the sky was blue. as I started and made my way down West Harbor Rd, there were mauve colored clouds behind the trees in Mill Neck that resembled mountains in the distance, and it almost made it feel like I was running out west somewhere. It was quite motivating, and I felt instantly relaxed.

It's during these long runs that I've been working on my running form. Since I've been following Chi Running (about 2 months now), I've not needed to tape my knee anymore. My cadence has been averaging 180 spm, my step length is shorter, my arm swing more relaxed, and I've been concentrating on a flick of the ankle and a fore to mid foot strike. Lately, I find that if I add some trunk rotation, the run starts to feel more natural. But I have to concentrate on it. There are some aspects of the form that are becoming more ingrained as part of my rhythm, which I'm very happy about - that's less I have to think about. I'm hoping that as time goes on, my form will be flowing and not something I have to concentrate on at all times.

Every one on the road today was pleasant and courteous. I even slowed down a bit to say a few words to some dog walkers as I admired their hounds. Only the cute ones, though.  And I mean the dogs. :)
There were some cyclists riding in groups of 7 or 8, others, in smaller groups. There was a feeling of camaraderie, and I was glad to be a part of it.
Some where around mile 6 or 7, I can't remember which - a  little voice in my head started chattering again about just how far I wanted to go verses how far I should go.  Ugh. Not again. So, 10 miles turned into 10.5 or 11. I've already run 10 miles twice, and I managed to come in faster the second time.  Why should I run it again? Especially since I could tell I was not going to beat my 10 mile PR of 1:35:00.  I should go further today. Yes. I can do this today. And since I'm running mid 9's, I might as well slow down a bit more and do 13 miles. A half marathon. What? Did I just say that?? It took me probably another mile to reconsider that thought. I did not bring any water with me. I had two pieces left of PowerBar Energy Blasts as fuel. After ingesting one, and then another one quickly after that - I realized how thirsty I was. Running a half was no longer an option. By the time I reached mile 8,   I started having some cramping in my diaphragm, possibly my  stomach, I couldn't tell.  I put a smile on my face, and told myself I had a water/coconut water mix in the car, and when I passed the car again in another mile, if I really needed it, I would stop.
I slowed down a bit more, and soon I was feeling fine. Then I reasoned 11 was only one mile longer than 10, - not really too much of a game changer in my eyes. If I decided on running 13, I'd have to stop and drink, and really - what would be the point of running 13 if I had to stop? So,  I would do 12 miles  today - as a testament of what I could do by slowing down enough to complete a new goal. I was satisfied as I stopped both the Magellan and MapMyRun alittle past 12 miles, and  I walked about 5 minutes to get back to the car. As I settled in for the ride home,  I was acutely aware that my big toes on both my feet were throbbing. This was not going to end well, I thought.

Both toes, the same blister. I also had smaller blisters on the last 2 toes on both feet. I've run about 220 miles on these Brooks, and I have another pair of the exact sneaks that I just recently bought on sale. I think I'll need to break them in, and see if I have the same issue. I don't know if it's a sneaker thing, or a distance issue. I guess I'll have to experiment and figure it out soon. I plan on running another 10k before this year ends - so I'd like to get to the bottom of it soon.

Now, with tomorrow only 8 hours away, do I run again tomorrow? And if so, how far? :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Magellan Active - Activity - 4791

Magellan Active - Activity - 4791

Chicken, anyone?

Don't you just hate it when you've got to run through a 4 way stop sign intersection? I'm always playing a game of chicken at every stop sign I come up to.
Some drivers are great. They wait patiently, and I always make sure to give them a wave of thanks as I pass in front of them. Then there are the drivers that are undecided. They size me up.. how fast am I going? ..and should they make a full stop or barely stop if they want to go before me. Ugh. Only one time so far, did a person make a full stop, and then start just as I reached the front bumper. That was a close one. wtf?
</rant over>

It was a long day for me today, I started my home care early at 8 am. My last was at 4 pm, so I finished up at 5. The day had cooled off considerably, but I was tired. My last patient is a left hemi, so I do a lot of physical, resistive work with him, including his unaffected side. On the drive home, I questioned whether or not I should take the day off from running. After my ten mile run on Sunday, both my ankles were achy, on the inside.  I have been running lately only 3 times a week, but last week I did two long runs (for me) on the weekend, which brought my total to 4, and 22 miles. This was the most I'd ever run in a week. I remained sore into Tuesdays run, and was really sore yesterday. Hmm.. what to do?
But, I couldn't pass up the glorious weather, and it's supposed to rain all day tomorrow, so I wanted to feel good going into the morning. I geared up, capris, compression sleeves, toe socks and my Brooks Adrenaline gts12. I wore a c9 mid layer long sleeve, high collar tech shirt, and went out into the 59 degree day. I've changed over from my LG-HBS700 BT headphones, and decided to wear my Mobi BT headset, as an added precaution to keep my ears warm. I find that although I LOVE running in this weather, I do get cold and uncomfortable. My next purchase will probably be a pair of gloves.
Next, I put on my Magellan Switch Up GPS watch. It quickly found a satellite, my heart rate monitor, and my foot pod. Sweet. I had played with the Garmin Forerunner 405, and the Motorola MotoActiv. The Garmin could not reliably acquire a satellite signal, and the Motorola just stopped working one day. Thank the retail gods for Amazon. They went back - and my last ditch effort was the Magellan, and it's been by far, the best for me. As an adjunct, just in case something does fail, I have my android phone running MapMyRun, while I listen to WinAmp crank out my tunes.

My plan was for 4 miles, and to try to come under 18 mins at mile 2. My biggest problem has always been starting out too fast, and today was no exception. I actually argued with myself to slow down during the first 200 meters. I'm sure just doing that elevated my heart rate somewhat. By a half mile into it, I relented, and concentrated on my cadence and form, and felt my breathing equalize to the effort I was putting out, and hoped for the best. About a quarter of mile before my 2nd mile marker on my route, I glanced at MMR, and it said I was at 16:23.  For some reason, I slowed down.  Don't ask me why, I have no idea. Once I snapped out of it, probably 10 seconds or so later, I decided to go for it, and stopped the clock at 2.02 miles, 17.53.  I sent the workout to MMR servers, and thought I'd can the rest of the planned workout. On my walk home, however, I decided to do some slow, long inclines. I did about a mile and half, and then called it a day. I had a similar experience with not finishing my planned workouts during the week last week, and although I worried for awhile about it before my long runs, I was pleased with what I was able to do on the weekends, so I'm not so concerned for today.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Final Choice..

I love gadgets. It's such a simple part of who I am.  Besides wanting to drop a few pounds, look better, feel good, and be able to eat what I want - I found that running also afforded me another reason to get me with some gadgets.
Metrics and more metrics. All those numbers and times and miles and heart rates and inclinations.. they are all about me and the latest effort I put forth to redefine myself. Watch how I change!  How I get better!  Or, how I failed; what happened?  How did today's effort compare to my previous ones? I can honestly say that I doubt I would be as dedicated to running as I am if it weren't for my metrics.  I even love to say the word, 'metric'.  Don't get me wrong, though. There have been times in my very short running career of 7 months, that I've actually caught myself  with a stupid grin on my face as I found myself relaxing into a comfortable gait during mile 2 (it's always during the second mile).  The runner's high? Elusive to me, it seems. But the gratification of  plopping my tired, sweaty ass in front of my computer when I get home, download the information from my favorite gps watch, and decipher the actual event is possibly, for me, better than a runner's high.

After trying three gps watches, here is my final choice:

The Magellan Switch Up!


Running? Who knew?

I never thought I could ever run. I was a sprinter for a short time in high school - but as far as I can remember, I was not an endurance athlete. My sister started running a few years ago, and I decided, with her encouragement, to give it a try.  "But I was only a sprinter too.." she admonished. I didn't know that either, as I had long graduated when she was entering  high school.  She's running 7-8 minute miles, and although I'm holding steady at a 9:15- 9:30 pace, I shake my head in astonishment every time I come back in from a run.  Simply empowering.
I'd like to share my thoughts on this topic.  You're invited to share this experience with me.