Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jan 31

Since I ran yesterday, maybe not the best idea to run again today. Haven't done a back-to-back yet this year. I think I may be able to handle the occassional one now, though. I thought about doing it in the morning, but I was stiff - morning stiffness, I think. That makes racing in the morning hard. I'm always warmest at night and most in the mood for running at night.

Today, 9pm, 5 on the treadmill in 39:14, 7:51 pace. Progression run. Splits> 24:08 for 3, 7:37, 7:28. Wore soccer jersey, sox, 1224's w/ arches. Left ankle had been the one hurting for days (where the peroneus longus connects to the ankle, or maybe the one right under that), but it was the right ankle that kind of got cramped up, as if the shoe was way too tight, but that's not it. Dunno. Wasn't terrible, but it wouldn't bee good over a long distance. Got tired for the last few mi, but I attribute that to the pace and the running (and the Step workout CD) I did yesterday.

I might've had 2 multi-hour naps today. Felt washed out after the 2nd. Needed the sleep.

So that's it for my first month! I did 62.9 mi, an ave of 2.03/day. If I kept this up, I'd hit 740.6 in the year, a bit under my 'reachable' goal of 750, and far from the reach goal of 1000. I'm happy, though, and I think I can ramp it up as I get stronger.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jan 30 - p


I was excited to have a chance to run out in the snow again, so I woke up early (8am) to hit the most snow (and to avoid any who may complain about someone running on their golf course). I overdressed - it's supposed to be "feels like 16," but the base layer, tech long sleeve shirt, and fleece on top was too much. The leggings and soccer warmups on the bottom were fine. Gloves were necessary, but after I got going by breathing through the buff, the buff got too hot. For shoes, I wore the 3's w/ stab, just because I didn't want to get newer shoes dirty. I debated between a beanie for warmth and a visor for snow blockage, and the visor won.

As for gear, I wore my Garmin, since I knew I'd be paving my own paths on the golfcourse, making even not as helpful. I also drew out a map of the course I expected to take (which I pre-planned with mapmyrun) and put it in a UA play armband, something that I guess QB's usually wear to remember the plays during football. I bought it because I figured it may be good to have track workouts on there, so that I wouldn't have to stop all the time to pick up or pull out a sheet of paper - I could just look at my arm instead. It worked well, especially because the plastic cover blocked frozen rain/snow that would've otherwise soaked a bare sheet of paper.

It was slow going on the snowy roads. I've forgotten how slow it goes. Energy and time is wasted as the snow slowly absorbs your landing (which is good for the joints, on the bright side), and you slip back a bit when you try to push forward. With that said, it gives you a good workout. after 35:50, I had only gone 3.5 miles, a 10:14 pace - phew! Part of the slowness came from the many steep hills I encountered - it was a golf course, after all, and my city isn't that flat. My heart was working hard, and my body got tired - a good part of that may be a lack of good sleep lately, and some dehydration - woke up very thirsty and didn't drink much. Pre-run fuel was Total cereal and granola. I stopped often to take pictures. Afterwards, I thought about going on a walk, but my joints were groaning, so I gave it up and went home to eat and take a hot shower. I can feel that my body worked hard - it's tired. So much work, so little mileage, though. Oh well. I just have to believe that even though my numbers haven't been particularly good lately, I'm building up strength and endurance that'll show up later, maybe when I'm less tired.

Friday, January 29, 2010

CM Half Hype 1 - Plans

My heart is beating uncontrollably right now, and I've just been lounging in bed. I decided today to go for the Country Music Half Marathon. It's just a bit tempting to sign up for the Full, since it's only $10 more... they really jacked up the Half's price. But I'd just be happy to finish a half, considering the past 6 mo, and there's no way I'd be in full shape by less than three months... maybe only if I risked all kinds of injury by going at last year's rate of mileage increase. So the half...

I'm excited to be traveling up there with a de facto team - 6 so far... make it 7, and we'd have an XC team ;) It'll be great. We'll leave Fri morning, go to the Expo for packet pickup once we get there (I love Expos and schwag - one of my favorite parts of races), hopefully get a decent night's rest somewhere, and then run at 7am the next morning, followed by maybe exploring Nashville a bit and then the big concert that night. It's always funner training for a team, and the comraderie should be fun during the trip.

Already, I'm getting so excited, starting to plan. I love to plan, if you remember all the posts I did leading up to even a small 5K last year, the only race I did in 2008. It's part of the race experience... as the Saucony "We know because we run" ad reads, "26.2 is the short part," or in this case, 13.1. So a million plans are already swimming in my mind, and as I watch highlight videos on Youtube from previous CMM's, my heart's racing.


Many of these questions, I won't answer until maybe a week before the race, when I know more about my fitness and race-day conditions. But here are things I'll be thinking about...

1. Goal time... I really want to break 2:00, because it would be sad to be slower than I was for my first half, which I ran after a 6-week time off from running due to injury, after walking about 4 miles in the previous 4 hours and getting zero hours of sleep the night before. Last year, I was in 1:45 shape, but it'd be tough to get back into that shape with the new kinds of injuries I've been having. So Maybe 1:50-1:55 is my doable goal. Sub-1:50 would be awesome. Something to consider, though, is that April 24 will be kind of hot. Last year, I think it was 80ish - YIKES!!! "Your marathon time is likely to slow by three percent for every 10 degree rise in temperature from 50 degrees F ("

2. Wardrobe... depends on whether I think sports bra or singlet would be cooler. When it's sunny outside, I usually stay cooler with a shirt on, to block the sun. When it's overcast, though, sports bra feels awesome. If I do a singlet, I'll probably use my XC wear. With a sports bra, I'll wear my Pton one, with 5-pocket race shorts, which would be very convenient for stashing keys, money, Gu, etc. I probably won't wear a visor because it seems like it may produce wind resistance, even though I usually love visors. I'll probably wear shades, because I dislike sun in my eyes very much - it also offers wind protection for your eyes. If it rains, I'll probably wear a visor but no shades - I love visors in rain.

3. Shoes...
I'll probably need support for the 13.1, so I think I'll go with my trusty 3's. Since my old ones are pretty compressed and spent and basically retired, I'll break out my new ones and break them in over the next 3 months. I won't always train with them, since I think variety is good for stabilizer muscles and injury prevention. Which insoles to use, though, is another question... probably either one would be fine (stability or arch support).

4. Gear... If I go with the bra, I'll have the 5-pocket shorts, in which case I may just use my Race Number Belt, since that's lighter. If I go with the singlet, I may wear the Nathan Shadow Pak so that I have somewhere to stash stuff. I may wear the Nathan in either case, though. We'll have to see, because Nathan has more of a chafing risk. I haven't decided yet about wearing a Garmin. Yes, it's useful to see my pace, but it is kinda heavy, and I may get too tired to look at it much anyway. I figure I'll be getting mile splits and seeing mile markers anyway. So probably won't bring it.

5. Fuel... One thing I applaud about this race is their choice in fuel. The sponsored drink is Cytomax, which doesn't have any of the nasty HFCS that Powerade and Gatorade have. Plus, it has extra goodies. For fuel, they offer Gu, which has worked well for me, and which is faster and easier to take in than Shot Bloks or similar gummy products. I therefore probably won't bring any fuel of my own - maybe just something small for pre-race, because I tend to get hungry ever 3 hours.

6. Pacing... No matter my goal time, I think I'll aim for a negative split. There are a few reasons for this. First, you usually run faster with a negative split, since you aren't fatiguing yourself in the first mile. Second, as an added bonus to the first point, the race will be more enjoyable, since there'll be less pain in the later half (even though I'll be going faster), and I'll be happily passing and just getting stronger, rather than fading, a psychological and physical whammy. Last, it would be difficult to run that fast in the first part of the race anyway, due to crowding, so rather than wasting energy weaving around people, I'll just mostly ride out the crowds (although it will be hard to resist the urge to weave around slower people) and then pick it up later on. If I want a 1:55, I'll need 8:47, 1:50 is 8:23... 8:47 looks very reasonable, at least in cold weather... hard to say how my body handles how weather, though. 10% extra is killer. Let's see... 6s per min... is 48s... oooh - so even if I'm back in 8:00 shape, I'd be running an 8:48 at 80 degrees. Now, I don't think it'd be 80 degrees at 7am, so I'd think things would be a little better, but considering that I probably can't get back into 8:00 shape safely in time for the half... eh... Okay, just checked another source (NOAA), and the average mean temp for April is 60... not terrible. 3 degrees per min... times 8... 24. So 8:24 if I'm in great shape... that's the 1:50 mark. And 1:55 is probably more likely. We'll see how it goes, though. Just negative split. Get through the first half, then pick it up if I'm feeling good, especially in the last 3 miles.

7. Extras... I'be been thinking about taking a camera with me, to make memories. Cons: adding weight (pounding on my joints) and time (2 seconds per mile per pound, I think I read somewhere). Pros: it'll be a slow race anyway due to weather, it's an out-and-back course on some parts so I can see my friends passing by, making memories. So this is TBD. Similarly, maybe I'd want to bring a cell phone, if I wanted to check up on my friends during the race, maybe coordinate a hello if we can estimate when we'll pass each other - so that'll largely depend on whether they bring cell phones.

8. Music... Research has proven that music makes you go faster (moreso than tv, even - so it's not mere distraction. another study showed that pace changed as music tempo change, with the relationship you'd expect), but iPods are usually banned. There'll be 50 bands along 26.2 miles, so probably 25 for us. I am somewhat considering earplugs, not because I don't like country - I like it okay, but because I'm really scared of loud music, ear-drum-busting loud music. I'll probably suck it up, especially since ear plugs may get uncomfy.

9. Training... This topic is worth its own blog post, but so much is up in the air, so I can't say that much anyway. A big key is not getting injured. I need to build up endurance. Earlier this year, I mentioned a plan of a faster run (5k), a base run (5mi), and a long run (8+) each week, but I don't know if my body can handle that, at least at this point. I've only had one week like that so far, and I've yet to get close to doing it again. I think my body's been tired for the past few weeks - I should sleep more. Anyway, I'll do what I can. As long as I don't get injured, I'm pretty sure I can finish - it may be awfully slow, but I'll finish, and that'll be its own victory. With tapering, it's hard to taper when you aren't really running much in the first place. For fulls, 3 weeks is recommended, but I'll probably do 2 weeks, with maybe 10 mi/wk and 6 mi/wk. So little, but if my mileage doesn't increase, that's what it's going to be.

10. God... This half will be special because I'll be going with fellow believers, and we can pray together race day and leading up to the race. I especially need to be reminded on where to keep my focus in running and in life, and they'll be good for me. There's some Christian country music, too. On a Youtube video I watched, one of the bands was playing a contemporary Christian song, which should be inspiring while we're out there sweating it out.

That's it for now. I'll probably add things, change my mind about things as I go on, referencing this post.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jan 27

Hit the XC course again. Got out from work 30 min earlier b/c went to work at sunrise. Wanted to gauge whether I could handle 13 by late April. Plus, my body was feeling delightfully sore, arms and legs, from the step CD (the kind of step that's a literal step, like you see on 80's fitness videos) and from Jillian Michaels's Burn Fat Boost Metabolism CD. The first has lots of arms, and both have lots of squats. Both are pretty enjoyable, so I'll probably alternate. Anyway, soreness is almost like an itch, which is relieved by flexing to stretch it (I guess because when the agonist muscle works/contracts, the antagonist relaxes/stretches a lot? I don't know. The soreness feels good and strong, and it makes me want to go out and work some more. So to the course, third time in 4 days.

5 mi in 43:15 - 8:39 ave. Splits> 8:44, 8:36, 8:41, 8:34, 8:37... a bit inconsistent, but since this is an ill-defined course, I do slightly different routes (I may stay more towards the edge of a curve one time vs another), so it's understandable. I started running at 5:20pm, feeling somewhat stiff (due to soreness), so I was surprised to see yet another best for the loop (at least since 4 days ago when I started tracking my times for this loop). The reduced mud and increased sunlight/visibility helped, I think. The first 3 loops went by like normal, but starting with the end of 3, I could tell that my heart or diaphragm or something was working overtime, and I thought "poor heart!" I don't know if it was just accumulated tiredness from this week, or if it was that blood was being diverted to my tummy to digest the fibery hummus on multigrain bread (and half a grapefruit) that I had eaten on my way to the course. But my cardio system needs training, so that's good that it was getting worked. Endurance is the first step to a 13. I probably could've handled a sixth lap, but since my muscles were fatigued, I didn't want to risk them giving out and not absorbing the pounding that would've come with an additional lap. Wise choice, I say - live to run the next day.

Oh yeah, since I was out there so early, I saw their softball, track, and M and W lax teams out practicing. I happened to be wearing a soccer uniform (soccer shorts, jersey, and sox, even!!!) of their school colors, so I even blended right in. They probably wondered who I was, but I look like a high-schooler, and I was wearing their colors, so maybe they thought I was a new foreign exchange student or something - haha. The coincidence of the colors (and full soccer ensemble - the only clean tech shirt I had left was a soccer jersey), crazy.

While running, I listened to a Phedippidations episode on Jacqueline Gareau, winner of the 1980 Boston, whose victory is often overshadowed by the fact that someone had originally stolen the win by jumping in the race in the last mile. Steve mentioned how his Running Legends are marked by incredible grace and humility, and JG's no exception. Hearing her talk about why she likes running... she's really likeable and unassuming and gracious. Check out the podcast ( What is it that makes champions/incredible athletes like her like that? They have every right to think they're awesome, but they're so outward focused. It puzzles me. It makes them all the more admirable.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jan 25

So last week's hunger, weight gain, emotions, haha... just natural fluctuations. No worries. Too bad that it's something you just have to deal with, but at least you can expect it and know just to wait it out and blame it on the hormones. Very strangely, when it seems like you'd least expect to want to run, I always seem to want to run the most, and I feel the strongest doing it. I tried to wiki the hormones involved to figure out why, but there's just way too much going on for me to understand. The body is crazy - that's all I have to say.

So the run... I was feeling sick and it was a long day at work, and I was tired... and did I mention sick feeling? So I rushed home, rushed to change, and drove to the HS XC course. Usually, I'm anti-driving places just to run, because the beauty of running is that you can do it anywhere, making it convenient and eco-friendly. However, I don't get the chance to run in daylight often, and if I rushed, I'd probably get in a few miles as the sun set. I got started at 6pm, just as the sun was setting, and I worked off of the fading light.

It was windy today - 22mph!!! (bringing the "feels like" to 41 degrees) I don't think it was that bad when I was running - I would've been blown over, but it was chilly during some of the gusts. I started in a tech tee with a long sleeve super light and porous jacket, and soccer sox, with 4's and arches on the bottom. I broke out the retired 4's because my 3's are still soaked from yesterday. Lucky for me, the puddles were far less deep, and only a little water seeped into my shoes. The first two loops were lit well enough to go through the forest trail, although the second loop was so dark that I had to walk down the slippery downhills. Treacherous. My last and third loop, I just went around the fields an extra time - based on the time, it seems to be a minute short cut. Oh well.

Felt great, though, like a real run, even though it was short. I was craving for a run, and I got a nice, satisfying shot of it. Saw the goats again, too! They're so funny. And I didn't even notice any of the symptoms that had made me miserable earlier today - all gone!

Splits> 9:03 (about as fast as my fastest split yesterday... wonder why... the course was drier? I was looser? warmer?), 8:57, 8:01. Based on an 8:50 pace and 55s of missed running time, I figure I was about 0.1 mi under. So that's 2.9 mi in 26:02, a 8:59 pace.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jan 24

An incredible run, following an incredible service.

To get the church ready for 40 Weeks of Community, the worship service today was focused on the church's Celebrate Recovery program. In CR, people suffering from any kind of addictions or hurts come together to share with and support each other as they find healing in God's truth and love. I've never been, but it seems very similar to what I had at school with the Eating Concerns group.

Let me tell you, I left church today feeling like, "YES - that's what church should be." People from CR took turns sharing their testimonies, some of them with gut-wrenching stories about their very personal struggles, very real and honest accounts of how different problems led them to seek comfort or security in worldly, but natural things that we can all identify with. They talked about how that did not fill them and only left them going down a spiral until they realized that they needed help and found healing through CR. We all struggle with stuff, every one of us has something that burdens us and chains us down, and we want to keep it inside for fear of what people will think, of what that'll do to our image, but as long as we struggle with it on our own, with our own power, with worldly means, stuff usually gets worse. When we bring those things to the light, though, people can come and help us and support us, through prayer, counseling, and just comraderie - telling you that you don't have to go through it alone. It's like a fight - if you keep your issues under wraps, the Enemy has you all to himself, and he'll do all that he can to convince you to keep the problem hidden, so that he can wreak all kinds of havoc on your life and your faith. But get help, and not only do you get fellow believers to come and fight with you on your side, but you're allowing God to come fight with you, too, and the Enemy doesn't stand a chance. Those people who shared did something very counter what the world wants us to do - they boldly stood up and told people about how God was working to rescue them, and God was glorified BIG TIME.

So the run... last week, I wimped out on the post-church run I had planned because after I left the building, it felt too cold and it was rainy - what a wimp, haha - never again. I was determined to today, injury-prone spots willing, since I haven't run outside in... 3 weeks! I miss being out in the daylight... can't say "sun," since it was raining. Any daylight is good, though. I think there may be something to Seasonal Affective Disorder (clever, whoever named it), so I try to take advantage of my only chance to see the sun on weekdays by eating/reading out in my car, rather than staying in my windowless building. So after church, I ate a Protein "and Greens" Bar (250 Cal, much of it from PB , 26g Whey Protein, and 18g sugar - more sugar than I normally like, but it's overall a good balance, and a surprisingly good taste, and I had a terrific run.)

Anyway, temps were "feels like" 34ish, so I started off with my Philly tech tee and a fleece on top, a visor to keep out the rain, soccer sox, and 3's w/ Stab. I chose the 3's because they are already stained... not "dirty" really because there's no dirt you could knock off of it, and I knew I'd be running through very deep puddles and mud (and so I wore them to church... nobody looks or cares - I like comfort and practicality).

So I went to the gate between the church p-lot and the high school, but the path was a 20-ft long clay/mud puddle maybe 8in deep, so I started to climb the fence. It took quite a bit of balance, and on the other side, it was a farther drop than on the church side, due to some erosion from the rain water. So on my jump down, my right hamstring got snagged by the chain link, and my mind just went back to the people who were sitting in their car watching. It stung, but when I rubbed my hand along it, there was no blood at the time.

So I started running, and everything felt pretty good. My inner calves had been sore during the service, but no biggie. There are quite a few deep puddles and rain drainage creeks to plod through, but that just made it epic. I listened to my iPod during the runs - new podcasts I'm trying out, since I've listened to probably 150 hours of Phedippidations and have caught up with all the shows that interested me. I like Dirt Dog's podcast - he's an ultrarunner, getting ready for a 100er - so cool. Anyway, it was pretty, just watching the rain come down all over the huge football/soccer fields, with the wooded area in the background. Just as I finished my second mile, total surprise... I LOOKED UP AND SAW A BILLY GOAT right next to me on the other side of a fence - no joke. He had a blue collar with a bell around his neck, and I just stared at him in shock for maybe 10s before I just started laughing at the randomness of it. I thought he was just a stray animal that left a farm or something, but it was actually a pent up area where the school must've been keeping 2 goats for some class. Never saw them before on my previous runs, and I definitely did not expect it. He probably thought I was coming to feed him, because on the rest of the loops, he stayed in his hut with his other friend, to stay out of the rain. Poor goats. They're my friends now.

So the run went on, with the rain shifting between periods of moderate rain, downpour, and total stops. Downpour is always the funnest, but all are nice. For miles 5 and 6, I finally started to develop some nagging spots, but since it was cold, I couldn't really feel them, and just the excitement of the run made me want to keep going. I love the part of the course that goes through the wooded trail. I don't like the steep downhills, though, since it adds pounding. The last couple loops around, things got pretty slippery, with the mud and the leaves, so I had to be very careful to not slip and fall flat on my back, but I made it. I stopped at 6 miles, when my legs felt banged up and tired enough to not feel safe doing another. It was a slow run due to the mud (even on flat ground, it's sometimes like you slip back a couple inches each time you toe off) and the puddles, but it was good practice for stabilizing muscles, and it was just FUN.

Afterwards, I had to walk back a ways onto the course to retrieve my fleece, which I ditched after 2 mi. It was wet, but I was all wet anyways. The fence scrape wasn't enough to draw blood, but it did kind of expose capillaries a bit, so that my shorts got stained, kind of, although it's hard to tell with the reddish mud splatters on it. Oh yeah - know what? There was another gate 25 ft to the right that I totally forgot about and didn't see, haha, so I took that way on the way back. Luckily, I had a big plastic sheet in my trunk, which I used to cover my seat for the drive home, to protect it from mud and water. I turned up the heat, since I was getting cold. Assessing the damage afterwards, things seem okay so far, hamstring included. I took a warm shower and refueled with milk, spaghetti with marinara and garlic, a carrot with hummus, and a banana.

Splits> 18:23 (mi 2), 9:17, 9:14, 9:07, 9:03... so I sped up as I went... that's good. The first loop was especially slow as I had to figure out where the trail turned (since sometimes multiple clearings look like trails) and how to manage large puddles (some hesitation at first, but eventually just plowed through, leaving my sox and shoes water-logged, adding the weight I had to carry, making the times even more understandable). Ave: 9:11/mi, including the points where I hesitated, and maybe even the goat staring.

I was somewhat surprised that things went okay today because yesterday, I bought a stepper to give me more flexibility with some of my exercises, and I did the workout CD that came with it. It was actually of a decent quality - from Gold's Gym. I did 2-legged squats, which I haven't done in forever - over a year, maybe 2 years, since my knees usually can't handle it. My left knee was crackling, but things seemed okay enough to go through with it. There was also a lot of upper body work, like planks and pushups - more hardcore stuff than I'm used to, so my arms are sore - it felt good running with sore arms today. I didn't run that day b/c my left achilles hurt to walk on in the morning, so yes, today was surprising.

The day before yesterday, a 60 min strength session> 275 crunches/side, 40/40 leg lifts, billy bands, PT elastic bands - 35/side, 35-25-20 quad dips, 25-20 pillow, 30 pushups w/ arm raises, 15 tridips, 30 superman, 2min 6in (record matched), 2:00 plank, 1 min side planks. I noticed that my quads and shin muscles were more defined than before, so maybe the tiredness and increased hunger from this week was a result of my body building up. I've gained about 4lb since the beginning of this year - only 3 weeks. Some of that is prob from regular bio fluctuations, but muscle mass is probably part of it. Yay quads, especially with those squats.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

FAITH: How He Loves Us

(David Crowder Band)

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Yeah, He loves us,
Oh! how He loves us,
Oh! how He loves us,
Oh! how He loves.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jan 21

A risky (but I was desperate to try) 4.0 in 31:59... an easy calculation - 8:00/mi. Splits> 8:27, 8:11, 7:56, 7:24. Vented cotton tee, soccer sox, 3's w/ Stab. Had HRM on for first 3 mi, but had hard time keeping it on. It was fine on a recumbent bike, but with the bouncing and torso rotation, it slipped too much by the end. While it was on, though, numbers ave'd 180. Weight-bearing exercise can work you harder, although your joints take a beating.

I was able to run, because today, my left foot stopped feeling sprained. My left lower back was strained this morn - usually, if my back has issues, which isn't often, it's my right (from sciatica 3 yrs ago when doing demolition work in NOLA). So no worries, since it's not a chronic thing. I was also able to run because I gave my legs a good massage right before - tibialis anteriors are tender.

About 3 miles in, stuff started hurting, but picking up the pace can help you feel it less. About 9:00 on my left ankle, running up towards my knee, that strand of something is tender, as is my left butt... like 7:30 ish wrt my thigh - IT. I think the two are connected somehow, but maybe only indirectly. Rt leg fine, though. Had to try to run more pronated to make the left leg not hurt.

Tried to bike a bit afterwards to cool down after a bit of walking, but my knees didn't like that. I'll try to stretch well tonight.

Good to run, though. Felt good cardiovascularly.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jan 20

Woah, rough day, one of those where when you're kind of on the other side, you think... 'wow, somehow I survived it'. Anyway, body's kind of banged up, I think due to the barefoot trial and the subsequent run that felt good at the time but probably put further stress on already stressed systems. My left ankle feels sprained, and my rt hip has issues. I don't think it's a coincidence that a bad mental outlook comes when things don't look so good health-wise (joint-wise but also the general burnout feeling and increased appetite). A friend giving his senior testimony back at school once said that he had to ask himself, "Is circumstance my God?" It seems like it is for me too much.

Running wouldn't work out, but I was interested in trying the recumbent bike again after I overdid it to the point of knee injury last season. It went pretty well. My right piriformis is knotted now and my left IT band? is tender, but things were running smoothly for about 75% of the workout. I was reading Running Anatomy while I biked - it's nice to be able to read while biking - usually I can only either look at pictures or listen to my iPod while running.

Stats: Lev 9, 15.7 mi, 490Cal, HR range 154-164 (-170 in last mi) ave a/b 159. The HR monitor on the machine wasn't very accurate, I think, but I brought my Garmin, which was far more consistent. I prob should use the HRM more - it's an interesting tool that can give you a lot of glimpses into how you're doing. Not only can you gauge relative effort within a run as you tire, but you can watch the HR required for a set-distance, set-paced run drop as you increase your fitness. Maybe I'll try using it to run from now on.

Did 50 5lb dumbell rows, 15 forward arm raises, and uncounted lat pulldowns afterwards to even things up a bit.

FUEL: Jillian Michaels (youtube her seminar talks), said to be cautious of something that either doesn't have a mother or didn't come from a ground... a cheeto - what's the mother of that? a cheeze-it? I laughed hard.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Jan 17

Treadmil> 4.4 mi in 35:27, 8:03/mi pace. Splits> 8:30 for 1 mi, 8:00 for the next 3.4. Setting out for the fitness rm, was unsure of whether the run would work. Still hurts to walk (the toe-off), but less so than it did prior to yesterday. Surprisingly, I didn't feel it at all right from the first step - dunno why. Did wear shoes the whole time, but went with the Brooks Trance 8 - haven't used it since months ago on the first trial run on the tread. Went for that b/c it feels lower to the grd than the others, perhaps making forefoot more possible. It, however, does have a pretty high heel. Things went pretty well, though. I could tell that it was less cushioned, but it went okay, with tweaks in form (esp increasing hip rotation) helping whenever kinks arose. It was more difficult than usual, prob b/c my legs are still recovering from Thursday's barefoot trial. With that in mind, I'm not concerned. My lower back muscles had to work hard to keep good form. I've been kinda tired lately - dunno why. Decent sleep - 7 hrs-ish for the last week, but not necc restful - immune sys down a bit.

I was not looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, but the run changed that - it's incredible. A single run makes me feel like I've come back from a wonderful vacation. Thanks, Lord.

Yesterday: 50 min strength, incl PT. 200 crunches/side, 20 tridips, 2:30 plank, 1 min side planks, bily bands, 40-15 quad dips, 50 pillows, elastic PT, 25 superman, 90s 6in, 25/40 leg lifts.

Been eating more lately. Even though it may be natural, because perhaps my body does need it as mileage ramps up, it's concerning. It takes more to make me full. Could just be that my tiredness makes me want quick pick-me-up's. Prob mileage-related, though. Much of the fueling came from kettle chips, though (2 bags in 1 week). My weakness. Oh, so good (jalapeno cheddar) but so bad. haha.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gait Analysis: Barefoot vs. Shoed


For these experiments, I tried 1. The Saucony Progrid (motion control) with Stability orthotics, 2. Asics Gel Evolution 3's (stability) with no inserts, and 3. barefoot. I'd start with some 8:30/mi running and then ramp it up to 7:00/mi. I then replayed the video in slow-mo and captured interesting pics.

Results: Things looked about the same between the Evol's and the Progrid. Most of the time, there was an obvious heelstrike. I think it's almost impossible to do much of a forefoot strike in shoes. Note the dorsiflexion, which puts strain on the tibialis anterior. If you look at my shins, you'll see prominent tibialis anteriors, so I believe it. It almost hurts to look at that picture. Just think of all the force going directly up the leg. POUND.

Now, imagine the form of the red line, except with even more overstriding. That would create such a braking effect. So can we find form that is not only easier on your body but also makes you faster?.....

YES!!! Look at the Barefoot Gait. The knee is bent rather than straight, allowing some muscles in the thigh to absorb some of the shock, rather than sending it through the knee. The plantarflexed foot also allows the arch and muscles in the lower leg to absorb shock. This looks like good running. The forefoot and toes are ready to push off again, since they're positioned directly under the body, rather than overstriding (and braking).



In this experiment, I examined my pronation running in 1. Saucony Progrids, and 2. Barefoot.
Result: It's a pretty sad picture in both shoes and barefoot. Things are more obviously awry with shoes, though. That angle, the inward roll of the shoe, just makes my eyes hurt. Poor body. And these are MOTION CONTROL SHOES WITH STABILITY ORTHOTICS!!!

Things only look somewhat better barefoot. I guess pronation may be helped by the forefoot strike, since it's not the usual outer heel to inside ball of foot line being traveled, but something more like inside ball of foot then rocking back to the heel ever so slightly then pushoff from the toes again. I haven't studied the mechanics of barefoot running, and this is the first time I've ever tried it intentionally, so that's just my guess.

Something else to note is that my right foot seems to be worse than my left foot. I don't know... it's hard to tell, but something about the right leg looks worse... like it's turned out more or something.

// Post-experiment results: The front of that big knob on my ankles were strained by the effort. In addition to the experiment, I practiced barefoot running for 0.5 mi in preparation for a shift to barefoot running (perhaps)... a slow shift - don't worry. My calves are fine - they're of a decent size proportionally, I think (whereas my quads are smaller than they should be). Also so minor startups of blisters. Hurts to walk because of the strained ankle, but it's not a worrisome thing. I really like it so far. Barefoot running felt like prancing compared to regular running.

/// Even longer-term results: I ended up hurting a lot in the things that connect the ankle to muscles on the outside of the shins for the few weeks the followed the single half-mile run. If I were to shift to bf running, it would have to be incredibly slowly, since a single short, barely-a-run could do so much damage. So I think that overall, the best strategy may be in the middle: forefoot strike in shoes. You'll get about half of the anatomical benefits from barefoot running (a rough estimate from someone who doesn't know much at all about physiology - the use of quads and calves and your foot in dissipating the forces with the bent knee and plantarflexed ankle, but not the natural pronation of going barefoot, or the use of toes or the building of arches), but you also get the cushioning and protection of shoes. The more bf you can handle, the better, but I think forefoot is what's feasible for me at this point.

Jan 14

~ 1 mi worth of gait analysis... see the next post for details.
Immediately afterwards, 5 miles at 8:00 pace, for 40 min total. 7pm. Wore Progrid w/ stab, soccer sox, and XC uniform. Felt pretty good function-wise. A few kinks here and there, but would be fine after slight adjustments in form. I was thinking... I've previously mentioned that swinging my hips more would help ease knee pain, and I (knowing nothing), guessed that it may be a result of fixing a bad Q angle. In the midst of trying to increase butt kicks, though, I found myself also doing higher knees, because from a butt kick position, the path of least resistance was to go straight into a high knee position. High knee is good because it produces a powerful drive forward and puts you in a good position to land forefoot in time.

See for a very, very informative video examining the good and bad habits in form of the top three finishers of the NYC marathon.

So I finished the run. I stopped at 5.0 because 6.0 total was good. I had energy left and could've done more, but I didn't want to push it, and it's good to have something left for a good run next time. I think my rt leg had started to act up a bit, too, so I wanted to minimize that risk.

Afterwards, a quick ice bath. It hurt to walk the rest of the night due to the half mile+ of barefoot running.

Yesterday, a sad 30 min Strength. Sad b/c it was a rough day in general, and the banginess of my knees prohibited running and made me lose hope. The other day, I had posted on "the Good Life", so inevitably, the rollercoaster shot down.

Anyway, the workout: 200 crunches, 30 slow pushups hard, leg lifts, 2:00 plank leaves knees bangy, 2x30 quad dips, 15 tridips, 60s 6 in hard and shaky. About 7ish hrs of sleep all this week, yet felt very tired/unmotivated at life today.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Jan 11

Not a great run... 3.7 mi in 29:10 on treadmill. 7:53/mi. Splits> 8:20 mi 1, 7:55 mi 2, 7:39 mi 3, 5:15 last 0.7. Inner left knee a tiny bit off track, rt piriformis stiff/sore, so stopped short of my goal of 5+mi. Form was pretty good. Tried to glide/ high turnover. Wondering if my Progrid has too much cushioning, leading to overpronation, even with the arches. They feel very comfy, but it's not good for support. I may break out the fresh 3's.

Yesterday: Followed up the 8.6 from Sat w/ 60 min strength. Maybe should've taken a day off today after the 8.6+60minS. Anyway, did 30/35/25 leg lifts/clam, 200 crunches/side tougher than usual prob b/c I did 300/side last time, 2:30 plank, billy bands, superman, 1 min side planks, 30 pushups, 20 tridips, 45 calf raises, 2x45 quad dips kinda shallow, triups, 1 min 6in plus 1 min moving 6in, 50 pillows. Stuff got easier as the hour went on. Rough sleep this week. Had 6 hrs sleep last night plus 4 hr nap to catch up, though that led to having a hard time falling asleep last night.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

GEAR GUIDE: Nathan Shadow Pak

I've only had one test run on this product, but I think that's enough for this kind of product.

Compared to SPIbelt:

The Shadow Pak is very similar to the SPIbelt. I tried to look for reviews of the Shadow Pak vs. the SPIbelt when I was deciding on which one to buy. The SPIbelt is widely used, but I was able to find the SP for a few dollars less. Note, I've never used a SPIbelt, but I did try one on, and it seemed very snug, no-bounce, and comfy. So I was tempted to go with the tried and true product, but the SP had a few things going for it.

Besides the discount I found, it has reflective accents (I've been really into reflective and highly visible gear lately, since I now am often forced to run at sunset on workdays if the season's right, and/or in areas with much heavier and faster car traffic than in my personal running utopia of Pton.

Anyway, the other plus is a built-in ID tag. I've never really cared about ID'ing myself. I figured that if I was found maimed but alive, I'd get medical help regardless, and if I was found dead, they'd figure it out eventually that it was me. Since I don't stray that far from home, that could fly. If I wanted to run in another state while on a trip, or if I wanted to go to a remote area like trails in the mts, I would definitely see it as a good idea, though (actually doing it is still another issue). So I consider it too bothersome to buy an ID bracelet or to stash my Driver's License, but since it's already in the SP, great. Kill yet another bird with a stone.

The SP has a mesh bag vs. the SPIbelt's like... thick spandexy bag. I think either of the two would be fine. I guess your items may get sweatier with mesh, but you also get to breathe better. So that's about even. One benefit of the SP vs. the SPIbelt, however, is that the zipper is at the top of the SP, so things don't spill out. As I said, I've never tried the SPIbelt, but since its zipper is in the front in the middle, you may have to be a bit more careful about not spilling when trying to access stuff while moving at 7mph. The third point of comparison about the bags is that mesh doesn't expand that much, but spandex does. With the design, though, the two take up about the same amount of space anyways when not full. You could probably force a bit more into the SPIbelt, though.

Test Run with the SP:
I had been concerned that the SP was a knock-off of the SPIbelt that may look visually superior but be functionally inferior. I was most concerned about the bounce. I can happily report that there was no bothersome bounce, though. There is a lot of extra strapping, since my waist is smaller than average, and I had to tuck them into itself, which does make the belt not smooth against my skin. No chafing issues for this distance. 8.6 miles is short, so I never accessed stuff stored inside (this time, I had Shot Bloks and keys). So I guess that's all I can really say for now.

Largely makes my Race Number Belt obselete, since the pouch is more secure than the straps for holding Gu's, and safety pins can easily be used to secure the number to the SP. I guess the Belt can be slightly advantageous in short races that require nothing (due to the lighter weight), like small 5K's where you are totally safe putting your keys in your gear bag out in the open.

// Added 8/14/2011
This is the most popular post in this blog, so I think it's worth giving an update.  It's been over a year and a half since I first purchased this product, and I'm still loving it.  Still no chafing.

If you're wondering about volume, it's big enough to squeeze in my iPodTouch, but if you put that in, that's about all it will be able to hold.  If you were to look at a 3D model of it, it really has a rectangular-ish base (ends are pinched), and the top is the zipper, and the sides would be triangles (but pinched... so a triangle in the middle, but towards the end, they become lines). 

I don't think I've written down contact info yet, because I'm afraid that if I move, it'll be outdated.

I've seen that they now sell it in many different colors.  Black is nice because it matches everything and is less obtrusive for the rare occasion that I wear it out... not while running, but reflective or fluorescent would've been my kind of thing, too.

// Added 9/18/2012
Still going strong, 2.5+ years later, with about 1-2 uses per week, by a fairly speedy (read: sweaty) runner!  I even bought a second one recently, in case anything ever happens to my current one.

Here's a picture of what it looks like, full:

I normally don't stuff it this full depth-wise, but I wanted to give you a sense of the volume.  In it, I stuffed 4 Powerbar Gels and a phone.  It may be a bit awkward if you try to run with it this full.  I typically keep my car key and 1-2 bars or gels in here, and I don't even notice it anymore... I don't think I ever really noticed it, either.  Just for sizing refence, I included sunglasses and a quarter in the picture.

Here's what it looks like, unpacked:

And here's a pic of me wearing it:

FYI, I'm shirtless 99% of the time, even in the dead of winter (I live in the South), and still, no chafing!

Jan 9

8.6 mi in 1:10:45. 8:14 pace. 5pm, 23 deg w/ wc. On feet, 1224's w/ arches; soccer socks and shorts; Philly long tech tee (a bit meshy, so initial wind gusts were brutal); a buff around my neck and mouth for the first mile to keep my hot breath to warm me; Nathan Shadow Pak (first time! See GearGuide); visor and sun glasses; mitten/gloves. The 1224's felt really stiff and uncushioned, which I guess is the point of stability shoes, but it's a lot stiffer than the Progrid, which is prob a motion control shoe, which I'm using now that I've retired my 3's. I do have a new pair of 3's sitting in my closet ready to be recruited, but for now, I'll let my feet play with the other shoes.

Felt kind of stiff today, even after stretching. Probably because PT exercises worked my hips a lot, and I had choppy sleep last night, on top of a week of little sleep. It was also cold.

I went out slowly - appropriate for a long run. Again, from the Dec 19 post on this course, it's a mix of road, grass, and rubber. It's a nice run that goes by a big waterfall (in the middle of the city) and crosses a river a couple of times. There's a woodsy area and other buildings you may expect to see in residential areas of downtown. I decided to repeat the last 2 of 3 legs of the course, to add length to the typically 5.3 mi run. Doing so added 3.3 miles. I was feeling great at around mile 5 and actually sped up. My knees felt a bit poundy at mile 7, but it was okay enough to cruise back to the car at 8.6. I walked a tiny bit barefoot and then ate a sweet potato and a tangerine as I drove back home. No 7 mi chills during the run, but I did get very cold driving back. I was hungry, too, and continued to eat PB and an apple, skim milk, turkey, and popcorn when I got back.

My inner top right knees hurt to walk on immediately after getting out of the car, but it was fine within minutes.

Splits> 8:49 bridge, 6:02 path, 7:16 church <22:08>, 7:21 path (should've taken less time than the prev leg, since this direction is downhill), 6:00 bridge (nice split) <<13:21>>, 5:52 path (sped things up), 7:20 church <<13:12>>, 7:15 path (went by the path many times), 5:46 bridge, 9:00 car (makes sense it's a bit longer than the first leg, due to significant uphill) <22:01>.

I was listening to the Phedip episode about Steve Runner's goal of finishing a 4-hour marathon. The key to that goal would be to train smart and therefore not get injured. So I was thinking, maybe I should care less about trying to get my mileage high and have my source of satisfaction instead be perfectly executing the 10% rule. That thought made it easier to say no to completely doubling today's route, rather than just repeating 2/3 of it. The accomplishment of doubling the route can be something to look forward to for next time. For this time, I can be satisfied by the fact that 8.6 is the farthest continuous run I've done since June. To get back to where I was, I'll just have to double it. To reach my goal, I'll have to triple it. I've already gone from eeking out 1.5 mile runs with difficulty to this rather easy 8.6, so I'm optimistic.

This was my first 'complete' week of the year, since Jan01 was a Friday. Looking back at the runs from Monday, my week has good balance. A 'staple/tempo' run of 5.7 mi at 7:38 pace, a faster 'sprint' run of 3.5 at 7:19 pace, and a 'long run' of 8.6 mi at 8:14 pace. I'll have either 2 S's and 1 rest day, or 1 S and 2 rest days. Maybe I can follow this pattern in the future. Steve Runner's following a moderate consistent plan from the Hanson brothers, but I think there's a lot of value in mixing it up. Hey, what I'm doing is kind of like the Run Less, Run Faster plan developed by GVL's very own FIRST center.

[The Good] LIFE:
I keep realizing more and more how perfect my job is for me.
1. My job is to document things. I lead/coordinate proposals. I take good notes. I like to format documents so that they're user friendly and pretty. My natural tendencies is to document the daylights out of things. See my blog. See my running logbook. See my spreadsheets tracking my running progress. At school, I would basically record every word the teacher said, fearful that if I didn't get 100% of the wording, I might miss an important nuance later on, or forget about something that ends up on an exam.
2. My job pays well. Most satisfyingly, it enables me to help others. It also funds trips to see my friends. It also funds running books and gear, and will later on fund those pricey halfs and fulls. I don't spend money on much else, though. I don't use AC or heating - my apt is 50 degrees right now, and in the summer, it'll be over 90 degrees. My food is also cheap - healthy is cheap if you do it right. Buy the fruits and veggies that are on sale. Oatmeal and cereal is cheap. Milk is cheap. Stock up on other stuff when it's on sale, like Turkey. I do splurge on Dark Chocolate. You can only do so much about their prices. It ends up saving me money to buy all the Dark Choc that I do, though, since I get satisfied by a bit of that (like $0.75 worth at a time) instead of going through a box of chocolate chip cookies or ice cream, which not only costs more financially but also calorically. And I don't spend money on much else besides that.

Sometimes, I work overtime, but even then, OT means that I'm really engrossed in what I'm doing and am enjoying it. I don't get paid for OT, but I like doing a good job on stuff. Even with that, though, I still have a decent time at home. The highlight is usually my run, which these days means treadmill work, since it's dark by the time I get home. Once the summer returns, it'll be painfully hot (so enjoy these temps, even though it's dark!), but I can be outside again going on adventures.

TV generally sucks, but I do like The Biggest Loser (usually can only check the end of it, though) and The Office. Jay Leno's okay. Raymond is okay. Ooh, Lost is coming back soon.

On weekends, I can go running outside. I also usually shop at WF, Sam's, Barnes and Noble, Marshalls, Dollar Tree (for food) and TJMaxx. I usually don't buy things other than food. If I see new books, I may look for them online. It's fun just to look at stuff. And by stuff, I almost always mean running stuff. Running clothes or running books. Food fuels my runs.

And then, there's my 'experimentation' and 'research'. By experimentation I mean documenting my running experiences to see what works, in terms of gear, temps, speeds, surfaces, times of day, preparation, fuel, etc. By reseasrch, I mean the fitness and nutrition-related blogs and articles I read. That helps me know what knew things I can experiment with and use to get better. There's also Phedippidations, which I listen to almost every night as I go to sleep. The content is good. At school, I'd listen to him during workouts and on my way back from workouts and sometimes during fueling and as I went to sleep. I know all of the intonnations of his voice so well and think he's just a nice guy who makes you happy listening to him.

It would make my life better to see friends more often. Usually, after work, I just want to veg, but more friending would probably be better.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jan 6

Progression run on treadmill. 3.5 mi in 25:35, a 7:19 pace. Started at 8:00 and shifted down to 6:50ish by the end. Form was decent, though I could feel the effort my back had to put in, probably b/c I'm more fatigued. Slept about 6 hrs total in the past 2 nights (so about 6 hrs in the past 100 hours). Feel pretty okay, wasn't even falling asleep at work. I slept so much (11+ hrs/day) over break, so my body's well-rested. I don't know how long this can last, though. It catches up eventually. When I get excited about something or am nervous about something, I can't fall asleep, so I just do stuff. I slept 3 hrs one night b/c I was excited about making a mileage counter, kind of like the flip numbers you use to keep score at a volleyball game. The next night, I was up doing stuff for work. Tonight should be a little better. My body can't be particularly happy with me - probably slows much-needed recovery from workouts.

Anyway, back to the run... wore heeled shoes w/o arch supports yesterday... killed. So much pain just to walk by the end of the workday. My knees still a bit banged up - they were super banged up yesterday, especially the left. It's incredible the difference heels and a lack of support makes. Oh, man.

Felt better today back in my normal flat, supported shoes. My knees still felt a bit twingy during the run, but they lasted ok. Didn't ice - already got pretty cold after walking around the pool a couple times to cool down. That's about it. Nothing too exciting today.

2 days ago: 55 min strength, including PT. 300 crunches/side (a record? at least matched), 40/45/30 leg lifts/clam, 60/75s 6in, 35 pushups, 20 tridips, 3:00 plank, billy bands, 70 pillow (left kneee didn't track well), 45 quad dips, 40 calf raises, 4.5 pullups. Highest part of butt (medial) felt banged up today

Monday, January 4, 2010

Jan 4

A satisfying run. 5.7 mi in 43:29 on the treadmill. A 7:38 pace - pretty good! I started w/ 2 miles @ 8:00 pace, then did the last 3.7 @ 7:30 pace.

Form analysis: in the mirror, I looked vertical (no lean, like I usually see when I check myself out [far too often, hahahahahaha - you wouldn't believe it] in storefront mirrors and anything else with a reflection, when I'm running outside). Arms crossed some. I stared straight ahead, since tv usually sucks, and I was too bouncey to read a magazine. I tried to focus on forefoot strikes and high turnover, plus a more butt-kickey motion to stay smooth and lubricated. Unfortunately, though, the treadmill has acquired some issues over break and is now wobbly even at these mild speeds, so I had to stay towards the back right of the maching to minimize wobble, which I think could potentially do serious damage, since it affects the vibrations and impacts that each leg is supposed to absorb differently, and does not mimic real ground running.

It was a nice run, since it was long enough to feel like a run. I think the threshold is around 5 mi for me to get lost in the run. I ended up stopping b/c my right leg had been feeling like Pinocchio - loose and wobbly, not firm like my left leg, and had finally reached a point where I felt I was walking on the threshold of incurring pain. So I risked it another 0.1 mi to see if I could reach 6.2 but decided to stop at 5.7. It was good and decently paced, though. Afterwards, I spent a couple minutes in an ice bath with 14 degree air temps with just a wet sports bra on before I rushed back inside. On my way in, I kept repeating, "thank you, God". Months ago, I would've given anything just to run 3 mi again, and now, I've done 3 5ers in a row, with this last one being pretty easy cardiovascularly.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Jan 2

About 4.6 mi in 40:56. My first? group run w/ strangers. This was in Chs, so it wd be a while until I go back, if I did. The others were in their 50s, so the pace was good given my injuries, but if I ever get back, it may be a bit dragging. The distance was on a new road, so it's not available on GoogleMaps yet. Therefore, the 8:54 est pace is a guess.

Since we kind of shuffled along, I somewhat practiced my shuffle step, which should be more glidey and less poundy than regular running. It requires different muscles.

My rt knee didn't track well on the way back - cambered grass didn't help. Boo. And yet, I wanted to finish with a loop on a rubber track, sprinting straightaways and jogging curves, plus some striders. It'll be a long road to recovery. I generally don't like slower paces b/c it feels like the pounding w/o the cardio benefits. It's supposed to be the norm for your runs, though. I don't know. Seems to me like you have to change your stride significantly. Hopefully, that's what caused knee issues. Boo.

I only slept 2.5 hrs last night then awoke to 25 degree temps to run. I wore soccer warmups (more fitted) with soccer socks for bottoms, the RW tee under a long cotton tee under a wicking sweatshirt (which I took off a mile into it, along with my USATF gloves), and a baseball cap on top.

Yesterday: 2:30 plank (didn't do a 2nd b/c my rt knee was too naggy), 250 crunches/side, 2x60s 6in, 40/45 leg lifts, double band (more reps than last time, and w/ no major issues), 40 slow pushups, 10 tridips, 40 superman.

Friday, January 1, 2010

FAITH: Holiday

You are my holiday
You are right in the middle of me
You are my hideaway
You are home

I’m calling out your name
Oh my holiday
You make my heart new
And I love you!
What it is I’m trying to say
Is you are my favorite part of me

~ Shane and Shane

This is such a happy song (on their Xmas CD). The tune itself just lifts you up. But then the lyrics are just so sweet. God, YOU are my holiday. You're my favorite part of me. In my best moments (they rarely happen), I feel that way. I wish I'd feel it more.

2009 - Year in Review

2009... Started off kicking. Died. Slowly coming back to life.

There are good reasons for hope. 1) The initial rise was like a rocket blasting off. From about 3 months of relative inactivity to 16ers in about 8 weeks. Assuming no permanent damage has been done, a return to prior levels should be possible. 2a) I know more about good form now. Midfoot striking. Short strides, high turnover. 2b) I know more about the importance of strength and flexibility, thanks to AD!

If I can do 13 again, it'll be a victory. I think I'm lacking in endurance now. I have some decent speed, but I can only go so far on speed b/c the tender injured spots will only hold up for so long before breaking down. So if those can heal up, I can build back endurance and be cruising again.

I was glad to finally have a run long enough to actually feel like I was out on a run. To leave the stresses of life behind is one of the reasons I love to run. On campus, it was a delightful retreat whenever academic or social stresses entered in. For the past 6 months, if I was able to run at all, I painstakingly eeked out a couple miles, at each one not sure whether the next step would bring the run to a halt if pain started setting in. So that one run I had at the end of the year on Dec 30 was great.

I ended up with 594.2 mi for the year. 5.8 away... oh man, so close, but I'm happy with that. Surprised, actually, especially considering all the weeks with numbers close to 0. That's 11.4 mi/wk on ave, although the rate for the first 25 weeks was 17.8/wk. I had 441.6 miles in the first half. Almost everything was in the first half. That mileage doesn't include any of the running that happened in frisbee practices and tournaments. Hey - that's farther than the distance from Chas to DC!

My reach goal for 2010 is 1000 miles. That would mean 19.2mi/wk on ave. That would mean stepping up even last year's good half's mileage by a bit. With a more normal sleeping schedule and fewer abberations from normal schedules (like exam periods, vacations [sadly], deadlines, frisbee tournaments), it should be easier in some ways. It'll be harder in that much of it will need to happen on the treadmill, and there's only 1 treadmill for the entire apt complex to share, and it closes at 10pm. Eh, we'll see. Where there's a will, there's a way. 1000 mi would be a bit more than the distance from Chas to Boston. And what a fitting goal... 985.45 miles to Boston.

Oh man, ok... so my goal... a marathon about a year from now that qualifies me for 2012's Boston. I like post winter b/c winter's the best time to train temp-wise. The colder, the better for me (up to 25 degrees). You don't have to worry as much about water, and carrying that water would put extra stress on your joints. Colder also means faster on race day. Not that late Nov in Philly would be warm (sub freezing when I ran the half).

So a doable goal... 750 miles. That would take me a bit farther than Chas to Princeton (726.98 mi). That's 14.4mi/wk. If I run 3x/wk, that'd be less than 5 mi per run. Should be fine once I get back into shape and health.

Let's say I'm in 21:00 5k shape right now, given a perfectly flat course with 45 degree temps. Sub-20... in my dreams. Just playing. Shorter distances do take less time to train for, and as we age, I think we lose speed before endurance, and my strength when you look at the time vs. distance WR curve and time predictor curves is on speed. Um... maybe as I pursue Boston, the 5K will naturally drift towards 20:30.

And mile-wise, I'm happy with the sub-6.

So, the biggest key to meeting the 1000mi goal (and along the way, getting into BQ shape and approaching sub-20) is a decent recovery and staying not injured. That means diligence in stretching and strengthening. I watch too much tv every day - maybe 3 hrs. I usually eat for an hour of that. During the other 2, though, I could stretch. It takes a suprising amount of energy to stretch, especially using the foam roller or elastic band, and usually, you watch tv to totally rest and zone out, but I want to pursue this goal. Stretching is part of the game.

1. I like knowing on Sundays that all over the country (and especially in NJ), there are believers worshipping God, and even though we're far apart, we're together in spirit. We're a family, all thankful for our Savior and good Father.
2. Scripture memory is good. Verses you've memorized will pop up when needed sometimes and can give hope.
3. Dig your heels in, and don't let go.

May be hard to believe, but I'm improving (aka getting less strict).
I eat chicken now, and I'll let some things slide every now and then for special occassions.