Sunday, July 31, 2005

Long walk: 8+ miles

We drove up to Green Lane for an afternoon walk today. It was more for fresh air than for fitness. We didn't walk fast at all we just walked and talked and planned future vacations. It was good. We need to do this more often.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Saturday's Lousy Run

After a totally hectic and stressful week at the office I couldn't face the 6AM wakeup call for Saturday's run so I decided to sleep in. The Philly Fit schedule called for 8 miles for the half-marathon and 12 for the full-marathon. I wasn't feeling up to 12 miles so I figured I could do 8 to 10 by myself after a good night's rest.

I was up at about 8:30 had a good breakfast and was on the trail before 10. I was planning a re-run of last weeks run and I hoped to get in about 10 miles running on the shady, gravel trail. Since I was going out for a long time on my own I decided to bring my iPod along for the run. This proved to be a huge mistake. First of all, my armband still hasn't come from Amazon even though I ordered it weeks ago, and that meant that I had to carry it in my hand. Very pesky. But the larger problem is that I just can't run outside with music and maintain the correct pace. I'm all over the place -- fast, slow, dead. Awful.

I wound up doing 6 miles instead of my intended 8-10 and it was a rough 6. I need a running partner, that's clear. The music had me all messed up and I stopped listening after the first 3 miles but I still had to carry the thing and deal with the headphones. Never again!

I got home and did one more mile on the treadmill but by this point I was really frustrated and kind of hungry so I gave up for the day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Tuesday Run - 4 miles

I took off Sunday and Monday. I'd planned to walk on Sunday but I wound up building bookshelves instead and decided it would be smarter for me to finish some chores than leave for a 10 mile walk. I need to start doing back to back high miles but I guess it will have to wait one more week.

Monday, I have no real excuse for skipping -- just lazy.

Tuesday I was actually looking forward to the run. I was hoping to do it outside but the heat index (according to the radio) was 110 degrees so back to the treadmill for me.

I was hoping to stay on for 40-45 minutes but was uncomfortable and bored pretty quickly (what a surprise!) The first 20 minutes were fine -- nothing special. I decided just to hang on until 3 miles and then call it a day. That was the plan but when I hit three miles and was walking to cool down I had a surge of energy and remembered a conversation I had with Brian about running a 10 minute mile. He thinks it would be easy for him to do it and I scoffed and said no way. I was curious if I could run a 10 minute mile so I walked until I hit the 3.25 mark and then put the Foo Fighters on the iPod and started running at 6.0

It was pretty fun! It's amazing how much faster that feels than the speeds I normally run! Anyway, I didn't stick it out for a whole mile -- just a half -- but it was a nice end to the workout and I think I might incorporate this kind of thing into training. Maybe next time I will try to run a full mile -- I think I could if I wasn't already tired/burned out from the first 3 miles of the workout.

Anyway, with the extra fast half, my warm up walk and the cooldown periods I covered just over 4 miles.

10 miles on Saturday

Wow. I'm really being a lazy slacker with this blog.

Saturday morning I met the Philly Fit crew for a 10 mile run. I was a little worried since I haven't done a long run in several weeks. Luckily, the weather was pretty nice, much less humid than usual, so things were looking good. There was a fairly small crowd today and I found that there were even fewer people than usual who ran at my pace. I did manage to hook up with a buddy just before mile 2 and we ran together for most of the day.

The first two miles [out and back on the Perkiomen towards VF] were good -- nice and easy. Things started getting a little tougher at mile 3 where we hit the gravel and the slighly rolling hills. They don't last long though and the next few miles weren't bad either. The rocky path and the shade make for a nice run, I think. Less pounding than the paved trail and a lot less hot. The last mile before the turnaround was a little hard but I think that was mostly because we saw the people heading back. Somewhere between mile 5 and 6 I had my first Accel Gel. YUM! It was chocolate flavor, which I normally don't like, but this was surprisingly tasty. It was thin with an oddly gritty consistency but I kind of liked that.... it was a little less slimy than Gu because of the grit. Anyway, it was a new thing because it has protein and carbs in it. I'd give it thumbs up.

The return trip didn't go as well as the first half of the run. My partner was having trouble both aerobicly and with her knee and we took a lot more walk breaks than earlier in the day. Eventually it got to a point where I think we walked at least a half mile and maybe more. That's when she just let me go ahead of her and told me not to feel guilty. I did this, just over a mile from the finish, and I it was really difficult to run at that point. All the walking had my brain checked out of running mode so I really struggled that last mile and I'm sure it was more mental than physical.

All in all a pretty good day. My legs felt fine -- I was slightly worried about my IT band at about mile 6 but nothing came of it. I didn't even need ice or Advil.

Time: 2:04. I would have liked to have been faster but ten miles is ten miles.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Surprise 5K aka Phil's Tavern 5K

I decided to skip my treadmill run to go a small 5K near my office.

It was a good decision I think. The humidity had finally broken and it was a pretty nice night.

The 5K course was mostly shaded and mostly flat. It went through a neighborhood where there were a suprising number of spectators and a couple of kids manning homemade water stops. There was one main waterstop which was at an ideal spot since we passed it three times during the race. They even had a kid with a sprinkler hose wetting folks who needed to cool down. That was probably not necessary last night but any other day this week it would have been crucial.

I finished OK -- 33:05 by my watch -- and I didn't walk at all except for when I was drinking water. I thought about walking a lot but the way the course was designed I kept finding a new landmark to run towards so I never totally threw in the towel. I started at the back of the pack and steadily passed people through the whole race. I'm sure I still came in in bottom 20 people but I did about as well as I could.

Tonight I should be back on the treadmill.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

40 minute run

I did a 40 minute run after work yesterday and it went well.

I tried out my new Gel-Nimbus shoes (the bargain pair I got that are one generation older than my new shoes) and they felt pretty good.

It's funny how the first 20 minutes or so go by without much difficulty but then it becomes so hard for me to think about anything except staring at the clock and waiting to get off the treadmill. Sure, my body is complaining a little bit -- I get hotter, slightly more uncomfortable, but really it's not that much of a problem. It's my brain that just can't hack it. Those last 20 minutes were like torture.

Music helps, for sure. I wouldn't have made it through the last 5 minutes if "Lose Yourself" had not come on the iPod. The song is 5:18 (I think) and I just just over 4 minutes left to go. I wanted to wimp out but that song helped me power through the last few minutes. I don't even love that song but somehow it puts me into a zone that I can just disappear into and then all the sudden we were at 40 minutes and I was allowed to stop.

Tonight the schedule calls for "speed work". I'm not sure if I'm going to do that or just run normally. Probably normally.

Total miles: 3.55 in 40 minutes
Best song: Everlasting Love (Gloria Estefan) mostly because it was driving Brian crazy which made me laugh.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Rough Weekend

Wow. What a weekend.

Good news: I finally picked up my wedding pictures, I finished the new Harry Potter book, and the new season of Battlestar Galactica started.

Bad news: it was hot and humid and my running efforts were feeble to non-existent.

I decided to sleep in on Saturday morning and skip the Philly Fit group run on Saturday morning. It was at a new location, slightly farther away, and I was too much of a bum to set the alarm for 5:45. I got up around 8:30 and hit the trail for my solo run about 10am. By this time it was about 80 and some crazy percent humidity. Over 75%. It was brutal. I ran the first mile and a half and though I might die from it. Once I walked it was nearly impossible to make myself run again. I forced myself to complete 4 miles but it may have been the hardest 4 miles I have ever done. It took forever and completely wiped me out. I had great intentions of coming home and doing some miles on the treadmill but housework and Harry Potter got in the way and I didn't do anything.

Sunday morning I met my friend Lisa for a walk at 8 am. It was raining and hot and humid but luckily the rain stopped within the first 10 minutes of the walk. We did a pretty good pace and it was fun to walk. I haven't walked in ages and it felt god. Hot, and sticky and gross but nothing like Saturday. I don't know if there was a difference in the weather or if it was just the running/walking difference but I felt a lot better on Sunday. Amazingly, the walk gave me some sore muscles! Sore in a good way though. I think it's funny that I never have sore muscles from running and I got them from my normal sport, walking.

Tonight my schedule say 40 to 45 minutes at an easy pace. There are heat warnings in effect and it's high humidity again so I think this will be on the treadmill. I hope I can make myself stick it out!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Project Implicit

I was watching an episode of Alan Alda's Scientific American Frontiers the other day and it was all about hidden motives. [If you've never watched it, this is a great little PBS show where they study all kinds of cool things like "cool vs uncool" and "what faces are attractive" and stuff like that. Alan Alda is usually the guniea pig who gets into an MRI machine and looks at stuff and then gets his brain waves interpreted. It's cool if you are a science geek.]

Anyway, this episode was about hidden motives and he was at Harvard with experts who are studying implicit bias in people. They take a series of tests using a computer test where you sort keywords and your reaction time to the sorting indicates your hidden bias. The examples on the show were serious topics like gender and race. It was fascinating. Anyway, they mentioned that you can go to the Project Implicit website and participate in the research project yourself. Of course, I went right away to be a research subject.

Guess what they evaluated me on?

Kobe vs. Shaq

How hilarious! It says they have about 100 pairs of things that they test and you get a pair randomly assigned for your test. (You can take many tests but I've only done one so far.)

As it turns out, I have a strong implicit preference for Shaq over Kobe.

It was fun -- you should go check it out.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Treadmill 5K - 35:00

Nothing particularly eventful today. The run went OK. I spent half the time dying to get off the treadmill but that was mostly because it was hot and not because my legs/lungs were hurting.

I probably should have stuck it out for 40 or 45 minutes but I am a wimp so I gave up and made dinner instead. I'm really looking forward to Saturday morning's run so I can do some long miles and see how that feels.

I think I'm going to have two pretty solid days: 9 miles on Saturday and then between 8 and 10 on Sunday with Lisa and Char. I'm going to really hate the Sunday miles because I'd much rather be home reading the new Harry Potter book. I can't believe how excited I am to get the book!

The Philly Fit coach said that they are going to start doing Tuesday evening "speed work" as a group. I guess that's good but I am sort of dreading it. Hopefully the meeting spot will be easy for me to get to so that I can at least try it out before returning to my dull treadmill workouts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I'm back from St. Croix!

I got back from my awesome trip to St. Croix on Sunday. I didn't do one bit of real exercise while I was there. Mostly I just sat on a beach chair, under a palm tree and watched the waves roll in. Every so often I'd snorkel a little bit or walk up the hill to my room but for the most part I just laid around. It was great.

Monday it didn't even occur to me that I should be running after work. Today I realized that I hadn't run in over a week and knew that if I didn't work out today I was in real danger of never working out again during the week. I had to get back on track. I was pretty worried that I'd have lost a lot of ground with the week off but I actually think it did me good!

I only ran for a half hour but it went fine -- I actually enjoyed it! Who would have thought? I managed to cover 2.75 in the half hour, which is a little faster than my usual pace so I was quite pleased. I'm sure the schedule called for more time and distance or hills or something like that but I was just glad to get some miles on my feet.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Saturday Run - 7-8 miles?

The run today went great! The humidity broke and it wasn't too hot. We ran out the Betzwood Trail then on the road and then back to the parking lot via the river trail we took last week. It was nice because the 2nd half of the run was in shade.

I didn't follow the walk/run intervals but tried to just keep slugging along without stopping except to take drinks. This worked out well and while I stopped a little more towards the end of things I ran a whole lot more than I did last weekend.

I timed myself from the start of Betzwood to the end of the river trail. My estimate is that equals about 6.5 miles. Time: 1:13:44

I also ran both ways up the hill and over the bridge so I think I did close to but not quite 8 miles.

Tomorrow I leave for St. Croix. I still don't know if I'm bringing my running shoes with me!