Monday, June 21, 2010

Running, in the Rain; a Guide

How you too can find yourself looking forward to those gray, cloudy, drizzly days

So, you're reading this blog thinking "this guy is whacked, I'm not going out there in the rain!" Ask yourself this: Why not? The answers will always feel like excuses - go on, try it, answer the question... see, it feels like an excuse doesn't it?

Now that we've gotten past that, lets talk about what you can do to make running in the rain your favorite pastime.


The location for your run can really impact your state of mind. if you are constantly dodging puddles, leaping lakes, and mucking through mud the run will not be too fun - usually paved trails with good drainage work best. I find that level areas provide the best meditative runs, hills provide more challenge. It is also good to find a purpose built trail, especially during prolonged heavy rains - running along side a road can get you soaked as some drivers tend to view the combination of standing water and you as a great temptation. 


If there are electrical storms in the area it's probably best to wait! I tend to prefer a heavy drizzle to a hard rain, but there are times when either are exhilarating. No matter the intensity, rain acts as an "acoustic wash" providing a level of white noise that is great for contemplation or just getting lost in the moment. The world is a different place outside in the rain - it's serene.


If there is one thing that can ruin running in the rain it is cotton. Cotton is the abrasive sponge of the textile industry. If you are dry it's nice and soft, but get it wet and after a mile you'll have chafing that will scream COTTON! to you when jump in the shower. "Tech fabric" is a glorified name for polyester. This is not to be confused with those lime green leisure suits from the '70s. Tech fabric is light and soft, it's only joy in life is to suck moisture off your skin and keep it away. Tech fabric is definitely one of the main keys that turned me into a rain runner. I can be in a complete downpour soaking me from head to toe, but as soon as the rain's intensity abates - I'm dry. Tech clothing from shirts to socks helps keep you dry ( tech socks are awesome for channeling moisture from feet to prevent blisters) and does not cling - no wet T-shirt contests here! One article of clothing really helps in the rain: a baseball cap. You can keep your eyes out of the rain or turn it around to get a good spritz - it is nice keeping the eyes dry on the long runs - on windy days glasses are advisable too.

"Dress as if the temperature was twenty degrees warmer, if it's raining go for 10 degrees" - Eric Sach

How much to wear?  
Temperature is a funny thing - Just standing around in 50 degree weather (Fahrenheit) in shorts and a T shirt is a bit cold. Trust me though, when you are running it is enough.Eric Sach of The Balanced Athlete summed up gear choice quite succinctly "If it's dry out dress as if the temperature was twenty degrees warmer, if it's raining 10 degrees"  The following are rough guidelines, they work well for me, but people are different. 

50 and above
The shorts and Tshirt work up until around 70 degrees, above that I'd switch to a singlet top. 

40 - 50
I'd keep the tshirt, but either put a long sleeve shirt underneath or move to long pants. Long pants and heavy rain make for added weight though, try tights - seriously... guys too (these are awesome for warmth and wicking)

Don the long pants/tights and layered long-sleeve/Tshirt combo. ear muffs are optional. Gloves too are optional, but after the first mile, your hands do warm up considerably.

Under 30
You will need to add gloves - but also you'll be running in the snow - so get some traction devices for your shoes and BE CAREFUL one slip and you might take a few months before you can run again!

Do yourself a favor - if you haven't tried it, give it a shot - Go run in the rain and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Post marathon training is now just running - I'm in need of more discipline. Although my distance is good, my pace is too fast and my runs too infrequent. Too fast of a pace is do-able, but there's a price to pay - small injuries tend to crop up when you are out of the MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) mode. In my two runs since the marathon I've had a night and day difference; The first run was aerobic and slow 11 miles, the second was non-aerobic and fast and longer 13.4 the difference in mileage was small, the difference in pace was large now I'm sporting a sore foot.

This run was relaxed - nice and easy. The pace was slow, but definately a jog. I was not sore after this run, I was ready to run the next day.

Unfortunately life happens and I needed to wait two days to run again. So when I had my chance on Sunday AM to be out of church I ran with The Balanced Athlete on their Sunday AM group run. I brought the camera along and grabbed a few shots...

The group started out at The Balanced Athlete in the Landing at Renton and because it was a glorious sunny day we ran up the Maple Valley Trail. Some did 4 miles, some did 8. I and a few others decided a half marathon would be a good Sunday morning run. The Maple Valley Trail follows the Cedar River for the most part and one of the first portions is a walkway along the bank - the water is just about up to the walkway so you really feel close to the water - makes for some nice cool breezes and wonderful views, the cedar is a quick river that provides a great view from benches along side the path. Sitting and looking was not on the agenda and we proceeded up the river. On the outskirts of the city core, the trail becomes more "woodsy" for a while and the shade is quite nice.
Eric and the crew: Job well done
Righted - but sitting on the wheel lock
The Maple Valley Trail is frequented by a lot of bikers, of late there has been a speed limit imposed on the trail due to a fatal collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian. The City added in a portable radar speed wagon. that at sometime previous a group of folks decided to tip over. the TBA crew would have none of that and righted the hapless machine - no small feat as the low center of gravity and weight from the battery box really provided a nice upper-body workout! Once the detector was righted the crew continued on up the trail.
The rest of the run was uneventful, sunny and warm. I had my Amphipod belt so water was not an issue - it worked out nicely, but I may get some more bottles and a gel bottle for longer runs

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Gollum runs a marathon

Road Trip!

The day started with the sunrise, which normally most Washingtonians are blissfully unaware of. Today was different, not a cloud was to be seen. The burning ball of hydrogen spewed it's radiation indiscriminately striking all around with intense illumination. The sunscreen so cavalierly tossed in the closet last September  would be called upon today.

The preparation for the race was hap-hazard, but complete. Little did I realize I would be so ill prepared for the sunniest day of the year so far. The race started informally - no chips here, my right calf bears a hastily scrawled "281" that is my race number. 

Race materials
  • Sprint HTC EVO 4G for remote tracking via Google Lattitude
  • Garmin Forerunner 305 Onboard telemetry
  • 16GB Ipod Nano with Nike+ system
  • Amphipod hydration belt (20 oz)
  • Strawberry CHOMPS electrolyte/carbohydrate supplement
The race began  heading the wrong way - we needed to head south into Auburn before turning and heading north. the race for the most part followed the interurban trail which is a nicely maintained asphalt trail. The course for the most part is very level. My friend John and his son Jordan showed up at the beginning to cheer me on and followed for a couple of miles cheering me on from their car. The route crossed streets but it mostly followed the green river so a slight decline in elevation over time was to be expected - only two small hills that are over quickly, though with both past the 19 mile point, they were less than welcome. :D

When the race did leave the trail, it went thick into industrial Tukwila/Seattle and then through the urban residential suburbs of Southpark, back to urban industrial west Seattle and then the final 3 miles running up Alki for the finish on one of the most picturesque beaches in Seattle.
twenty miles is the halfway point in a marathon 
The solitude of running can be a great thing, but it can also make your mind your own worst enemy. especially when you start running out of energy.  Having run the race I can say there is incredible truth to the axiom the that twenty miles is the halfway point in a marathon as I felt that all I had was sucked out of me at that point. I was walking and running, my pulse was completely reactive - two minutes of slow jogging at 5 mph would send my pulse to the other side of 150 and walking would only drop it to my target rate. I was using the CHOMPS as Eric Sach had instructed  - bitten in two and allowed to melt in your cheeks. when I noticed my mouth getting dry I'd hit the Amphipod bottles. although after twenty miles I was drinking enough to noticeably "slosh" while running. from 20-23 miles was my low point but was buoyed y the return of my wife and friends who offered water and support , I started to pick back up at 24 only to be admonished a couple of short hills once I hit the each, I pushed and started running again - at that point a great realization hit me - you have it in you if you think you do, you don't if you don't. I started running and did not stop - another entrant was running along side me now - she was doing 22 miles to prep for another marathon, we talked as we ran. I was surprised that I could do either but the camaraderie helped me continue - a shared goal is easier to achieve. My wife and friends were there waiting for me, cheering me on and helping me celebrate a goal achieved. 26.2 miles is a long way, much longer than I thought and something that would have been impossible to do without friends

People who made this accomplishment possible:
First and Foremost Evi Stratton, my wife of 26 years who has supported my wacky desire to run during any weather.
John and Dorsey Marx ( and Jordy too) who have been the best of friends and running partners
Dean Krippaehne for turning me on to "Born to Run" and being once of the motivators to this obsession.
Eric Sach for selling me a pair of shoes and giving me far more in knowledge and guidance than a large pile of shoes would cost.
Tanna Kilgallon for constant motivation and support and advice on running and marathons
The Whole Gang at Nike+ for the monthly competitions that made me strive to do better 
and "TheRapture" from forums who enlightened me to the world of Maximum Aerobic Function training

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Marathon is on!

Woohoo! track my progress in the map to the right - the race starts at 7:30am, so as you are drinking your morning coffee, watch me run - and as an added benefit you now know where to send the oxygen.

I'm hoping this new-fangled technology works.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sunday AM, Running with a New Group of Friends

Sabbath from the Sabbath

This last week has been busy, the Mrs. has had medical issues ( she's back home now and doing much better!) and work has been turned up a notch. Running last week was held to a minimum and I could feel it in my head. Stress was starting to take over. I rarely miss church on Sunday, but with the week being so full I thought to pull a "vacation day".

I knew my day off needed to include running, that was the whole point of the day; Relax, stretch the legs out and do some serious endorphin generation. The question was where to run? My favorite running store, The Balanced Athlete, has free group runs many times a week. One of these runs just happens to fall on Sunday morning. I woke up early Sunday and decided to see if running with a group is different from running solo.

I'm kind of apprehensive about group runs as I'm not too competitive but I don't want to hold the group back - well, it turns out I needn't be concerned. The group runs are comprised of folks with many different types of runners, slow, fast, short distance, long haul. No matter the ability, all are welcome.

I had not logged a run Friday or Saturday, I was itching to put some miles on. I wanted to stay with the group distance wise. It turns out we were spread apart a lot. I was not the longest but I was not the shortest either, I was pretty close to the slowest, although this was definitely NOT a MAF run.

The heart rate was high, but maintainable, I did not hydrate properly, Eric Sach admonished "Next time bring a bottle, and if the run is over an hour a gel would help out to, it will make the run more enjoyable". Word to the wise is sufficient! But all in all it was enjoyable, and much needed. The run ended back at the store and we all went across the street to Cafe Felice for various morning beverages. A great morning meeting new people and creating a goodly quantity of endorphins!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

To Kill a Headset - or - This earBuds for You

Clouds, rain, rain, RAIN, SUUUUN! clouds, rain, rain RAIN!

What a run! I lived up to the domain name today - the term "gully-washer" is apropos.

As I started out I thought I would miss the worst of it - it was looking dark to the south, so I figured I'd head north for the first 1/2 of the run, then turn south after the fatty cumulus had scooted through. Little did I know what was on the horizon to the northeast - the cumulus' kid brother was blowing over just as I finished mile 2. It started sprinkling as I crossed the Green river, then started raining in earnest. I hit Willis at 2.6 miles into the run and turned to head back south, into the thick of this cell. Once I turned, the mild northerly wind that until then had been soaking my back, was now drenching my front - and doing a lovely job of it. There was no hail, but the rain was hard and big. I took my Garmin watch off and tucked its watchband into the waistband of my shorts so that my shirt would protect it from the brunt of the storm. I continued running, listening to a new audio book from called "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" which is a very quirky-cool read. I noticed that the volume started to diminish until it was a whisper. I thought I had shorted out the Ipod. I had not, or at least the internal speaker worked well. My earbuds were toast - at least my Ipod was OK I unplugged and moved on.

The rain stops and sunshine starts - I take this moment to shed my t-shirt and wring it out. I put it back on wishing I could ring my shorts out as well, but discretion is the better part of valor and I decided against that. The sun felt awesome! I did note that my shorts stayed soaked for the rest of the run - afterwards I found the beginnings of road rash on my thighs. As I pass back by my truck (5.6 miles) the warm sun is starting to hide and a cloud to the north appears to be chasing me south. I keep going and find that I am outrunning the squall! Except... I'll have to run back through it to get to my truck... Well... it'll blow over by then.

I head down to 15th ST SW just south of the Supermall (8.2 miles) and turn to head back. The sky to the northeast is dark, and you can see the rain falling from the clouds, heavily. The rain starts as I hit Main Street in Auburn (9.1 miles) There's not a lot of it at the start, but the drops are huge. by the time I get to 15th ST NW it is coming down very nicely, not so much the big drops anymore - this is the medium sized soaker-hose rain that is typical of mid-squall. Up ahead I see that the view is obscured by rain, looks like I will hit the tail end of the squall as I end the run - the rain starts pounding, so much so that my tech gear - made to wick away moisture is now pasted to my body. as I finish the rain lets up slightly but I am a drowned rat! luckily I keep a tarp in the truck, under the back seat. I spread it out and hop in, start up the truck and immediately turn the heater on high-defrost. I am wet.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It is in you

Seriously, activities that you feel are beyond you, are not.

I made the decision to run in a marathon. it was a decision I came to regret. The most I had ever run until today was 13 miles - half the necessary distance. I was ruing my decision, and ruing even more that the marathon was approaching quickly ( 6 weeks from today) I needed to up my training intensity. I needed to produce a quantum change - and jump it up to the next level. Last week I was reminded that the Marathon is coming, I better be ready.

The first question on forums I posted about my marathoner aspirations was "Have you completed any Long Runs?" The poster linking to Hal Higdon's marathon training guide That is where found what I needed, I N-E-E-D-E-D 20 miles. That distance stood as Gandalf in the middle of the bridge telling me "you shall not pass!" After last weekends half marathon at Boeing Field I wanted to try that locale again.

I started internallizing a 20 miler, it would only take 3 times around Boeing Field - I've already done 2. The difference is scale - 13 miles is so much closer to ten, and ten is a long ways! twenty is a double-long ways! The book I've been reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall has me really pumped for distances - but distances the right way. straight up posture, small strides, elbows back, and smile. Following those rules you can go forever, after all as a member of Homo Sapiens we were born to run long distances.

This run saw the return of a friend to the blog - the Aviator. I posted the offer of a "marathon prep" run and invite 3 folks I knew were runners. All but John - the Aviator, had prior commitments. We started out at the northeast corner of Boeing Field and the pace was easy - basic 5 mph MAF run. It was so much better to have a friend to run with. The Aviator noted that the pace felt great, just a jog no more.

We were about 2/3 into the first lap and a minivan pulls in front of us. Out of the drivers window a golf putter extended with a plush carrot dangling from end. It was the Aviator's wife and son motivating us forward with a carrot on a stick. Luckily our pace was slow as running and laughing and clapping can be dangerous!

At the first lap (6.7 miles) John said he felt good with a bit of surprise. I admitted I was still really fresh, we stopped briefly and downed some Gatorade and chatted a bit the Dorsey (Mrs. Aviator) and JJ ( the littlest pilot) and then John surprised me, "Lets go" and we continued on - I thought John would have stayed for one lap - although he's in good all-around shape he hasn't mentioned distance running as being one of his fortes. And so we begin Lap Two. When it gets to be too much John said he'll just turn around.

We jog south on East Marginal Way and I check my Garmin,
"9 miles" I call out.
John is taken aback "That's the furthest I've ever run" he says matter-of-factly.
Sweet! After completing this lap he will have a half-M under this belt too!

Speaking of 'under your belt' the coffee and Gatorade from the morning was making for an uncomfortable bladder. Luckily Randy's restaurant was nearby -we approached "Restrooms are for Paying Customers ONLY" the sign on the door read. I whipped out my cash card!

"How many?" the hostess inquired thinking I was there for breakfast - the manager was standing near.
I said "I really need to use your restroom, can you charge me for a cup of coffee?" The manager flicks her thumb towards the restroom.
"Go ahead" she offered.
"Thank you very much" w00t!
On the way out of the restaurant I again offer a thank you.
"Thank you for asking" the manager's reply.

I get outside and John is stretching on the corner. We're off again! We round the corner of IGA heading back north it starts blowing and raining - that's the way the day has been going, a squall here and patch of blue sky there. With the wind to our backs the rain felt cool, and like we were being pushed along down the road. Within 5 minutes the rain stopped, the sun came out and had it not been for the wind the mugginess would have been insufferable.As we make it to the end of the second lap, I congratulate John - 13 miles is a LONG run and much further than he had ever gone. I downed another 8 oz of Gatorade and started off on the final lap, thanking John for the tremendous support from him and his family.

I had started to notice but did not pay too much attention to my pulse. Although I was still only doing 5 mph, my heart rate was sitting at 145. I knew what was happening, it had to be. I was only drinking every 6 miles. When running, you really can't chug a lot of liquid. about 8 oz is all I could fit in and still continue running. Now had I been able to drink 8 oz every 3 miles my pulse would have been lower, but I was keeping serious dehydration away for now. I passed Randy's for the 3rd time. thinking "I bet this run will burn enough calories that I can eat there". as I passed the half lap point I noticed little aches and pains starting to blossom a bit - ankles, knees, no muscle pain to speak of, just the complaints of joints from all the repetition.

On the back course up Perimeter Road, I was seeing steady heart rate at 145, which is outside of MAF but not raising any further while keeping the 12:00 pace. as I approached the end of twenty miles I saw the Aviator standing there cheering me on. checking my Garmin I still had 2/10th left and high fived him as I ran past informing him of the situation, 40 seconds later I came back and had completed the 20 - a big first for me.

I thought it was very nice of John to wait over an hour just to cheer me on, but actually he'd lost his car key while stretching when I took the "bio break" at Randy's. so after cool down stretches we jumped in the truck and headed down to the south end of the field and found the escaped key.
"Want to go to Randy's for breakfast?" I offered.
"We've worked off enough calories" John replied.
Sure enough the Garmin told me I'd worked off 3317 calories - an amazing number, 1.5 days worth of food!
Getting out of the truck was fun - our bodies were channeling Harvey Corman from the Carrol Burnett show, at first we could barely walk, when we arrived at the restaurant's door we were approximating a normal gate. As we were seated I was disappointed that there were no pull-bars or a crane to get me out of the booth when we were finished.

The 3 egg omelet with hash browns and toast was awesome, the coffee was good too. We ate and talked about this day of firsts. Stretching out the breakfast until we scraped up the courage to lift our sore complaining bodies out of the booth and back to the truck.

Looking back, this day is pivotal. 20 is a lot of miles, so is 26.2. Having done 20 though, a marathon is no longer the scary beast it was the day before. Much like Hermey the would be dentist elf in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I had removed the teeth of the Abominable Marathon Monster.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Needed Run

Has a run ever been "mandatory" for you?

I had one of those this morning - I had some work I needed to take care of after an eventful/stressful day that saw me travel home, then spend 9 hours in the hospital ER - those moments where things are so stressful you remain calm because that's what needs to be. The stress builds up though - there are things in this world that are just plain wrong, and some of those things you have no power over. You are left to do the best you can with what you have. My family is currently working through one of those. The villain is unassailable and always moving forward. You get pictures of what is to come and you can not help but avert your mind's gaze.

In order to be as supportive and helpful as possible, you must guard against the stress - you need to be the rock that thinks clearly and can provide the comfort your loved one needs - you need 3 things - the love of an awesome God, the unity of a loving family and clear-headed peace of mind. My God is awesome and loves unconditionally, my family is as about as tight as it has ever been, so the clear headed peace of mind thing is up to each one of us. I find my way to strength and clarity through running. I think God has placed running squarely before me so I can be as strong as I need to be - I can keep a clear head and see things that will help the situation.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Slow and Steady with Benefits

Being a slow runner isn't all  defeat and demoralization

Especially when you are being passed by lady joggers! =) It does tend to keep the mind happily preoccupied. This is by no means indicating that these ladies would not have worth above and beyond any whimsical physical attractiveness. I would imagine they are very intelligent and motivated people but as they passed me we did not have time for a conversation, so I was only left with  the shallow act of admiring their physical attributes. We must at times deal with these limitations, and for the sake of all feminists I hereby admit my guilt at admiring the fairer sex's functional form.

On yesterday's run I saw a couple running together and the main thing I noticed about the woman was that her foot placement was perfect - her stride was perfect -  yes she was also very cute - but I could tell from looking at the stride, that she was in perfect alignment. One thought came to mind "I've spent too much time at The Balanced Athlete".

That reminded me that I must concentrate on my stride if I want to keep pain free and have the best endurance. If you have a bad stride, you can correct it. you just need the advice of an expert to point out changes you can make. A little turn here, a little change in stride length there, an adjustment to the foot strike. stuff that's easy to do, but takes discipline to keep up.

Information Junky!

Lately when I run I listen to technology podcasts. These are sort of "portable talkshows" discussing the latest tech developements, issues, upcoming products, etc. My favorite website for grabbing podcasts is - a network ran by the only person in the info tech media that could pull it off - and has/is blazing the trail for others to follow Leo LaPorte, Formerly of Tech TV ( a show that Comcast decided was too full of that "information stuff" and not enough "explosions and boobies") anywhoo...

I've been listening to Leo and his compatriots on The Tech Guy, This Week in Technology, Security Now, This Week in Google, Windows Weekly, Free Linux and Open Source Software, and have also branched out to listen to Cnet's Buzz Out Loud. If you want to be current on technology trends - listen to one weeks airings of these shows and you will become an informed person.

And this leads us to is one of the sponsors of Leo's network. I've been hearing about them during the podcast's limited commercial breaks. The commercials harken back to old radio days, where instead of canned script, the podcast participants who have had experience with the product give recommendations and mini reviews - very "live" and refreshing. Extolling the virtues of, the commentators relayed the value of being able to read without having to focus on the printed word. Being a reader I love the printed word, I just don't have the time to exclusively dedicate to reading. I thought that his argument had merit and decided to give Audible a try.

I will most likely provide a review of Audible in an upcoming episode of this blog, but for now it is safe to say that I am hooked on reading with my ears.

The first Book I chose was predictable: "Born to Run" by Chistopher McDougall. based on the one man's search for the proper way to run and finding much more. after an 8 mile run, I'm 6 chapters in. the narrator is doing a very good job. The reading is spirited and conveys a proper feel - much more like story-telling than narrating. The book has drawn me in much like reading paper copy - except that I can still perform other functions - like running, checking for traffic, monitoring heart rate, etc. the audio version has not removed the "mind-movie" effect of the book at all - I am picturing the settings and characters and am quite happily occupied throughout the run.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Life a little stressful? RUN!!!

From the "I need to take my own medicine" department

Life is fun, it provides lots of motivation for a run. Whether you just want to stretch out a bit and work out the kinks, or you are heavy into life and need a "fix" - running provides an oasis of solitude where deep breathing is the norm.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Second Race

Racing is like golf - It's wonderful if you don't take it too seriously

I had an awesome time this weekend. The Seahawks 12K was amazing - what a huge race. it doesn't hurt that even with hills I put in an awesome 9:47/mile pace. It was also a nice morning. Before the race I went to The Balanced Athlete, and chatted with The folks there - Eric, the owner advised me that I would not be needing the long sleeve shirt, just to wear the tech T-shirt I had on over it.

     "It's 50, [during the run] you're going to feel like its 70 degrees"

Having learned to heed expert advise I was rewarded by feeling very comfortable and cool during the race. I went back to the changing room and reset my ensemble - why is it that headphones always tangle in knots? anyway. We talked about who was racing which race - there was a 5K starting a 1/2 hour after the 12K. I was looking at all the folks sporting The Balanced Athlete attire - all shapes, sizes, ages. Eric said - if you are wearing a shirt and you get your picture in the paper, you'll get a free pair of shoes. I'm not sure if anyone did, but I don't think anyone's real motivation was to get a free pair, more to show support to a great establishment that gives back to the community.

At about 15 minutes before the start we all started heading out to the starting line - actually the starting area - if you were planning on running 5:00 miles you needed to be up front. I placed myself in where I thought might be the 10:00 mile section quite a ways back. All the runners were "chipped" so there would be no issues with starting late and the crowd moved comfortably forward. The announcer's voice blared through the loud speakers and became close to painful as I passed by each one on my way to the starting line. I had my ipod in hand ready to click the start button, and as I passed under the start line arch I activated it and then my Garmin - one can never have too much data.

A noticed within 100 meters that I forgot to set my Garmin up correctly as my heart rate alarm was singing, (It was set for 135 and I was not going to see that rate again until a few minutes after the race) a quick change on the run to 165 and I was good to go.  

As the run progressed I found that cadence is really important to maintain. maintaining cadence on hills meant although I was going slower up, I was going faster down. When my body was locked "into the groove" I was running at my best. One failing that I noticed was that I was listening to music that had differing tempos - these caused me to slow or speed up and did not provide for a natural pace. For my next race I will attempt to choose more non-tempo music - music that has an easily ignored tempo like the World of Warcraft sound track.I may even check into specific pace-music to help support and lock in my cadence.

The halfway point greeted us with a trip around the Seattle Seahawks training site.  Seahawk players passed out water and Seagals cheered us on. I re-learned the lesson "Walk through the water line" as breathing water really has a negative affect on your cadence! As we rounded the backside of the facility the Blue Thunder drum line was laying down some serious rhythm.

Heading back the hills seemed a bit steeper, but I was locked in - I popped out my earbud and listened to my body. Setting the pace au-natural worked nicely I put my glasses on top of the brim of my hat and worked on heart rate. Up hills I was fighting to keep my heart under control, and for the most part I was winning the battle. If you are running at a fixed pace, breath control is your only heart rate control. I was passing by runners whose breathing was controlling them - sucking wind loudly. I knew I would be there, but only near the end when I open it up within a 1/2-1/4 mile of the finish.

As the race wound back down by Coulon Park, I started getting antsy. I know the end is near! Should I crank it up? Should I wait and lose those few extra seconds? As the Lake Washington boulevard dumped onto Park Avenue, I thought I could see the starting arch... time to hit it! now I'm looking at 8 mph - 20% above my normal speed. about a minute in, my heart is talking to me - it can keep going, but it's not happy. I find 727 Avenue and turn west I'm passing folks at a pretty good clip now, I turn onto Logan and head north to the start/finish line and it's not there!!!

Apparently my Garmin was right, I was still about a 1/3 away from the actual finish line! Do I slow down? Hell no! My Garmin's heart meter is once again telling me that I have topped 165, after 170 it stops it's obnoxious ringing. I've got under 1/4 mile - more like 1000 feet and here's Blitz, the Seahawks mascot waving us in, I'm running as flat out as possible, but I pass close enough for a high-5 from Blitz. Now I see the finish, I'm about at max heart rate  (178) and running at >10 mph I cross the line and I'm spent - this is the first time since a hard TKD workout that I thought I was going to succumb to nausea, it didn't happen, but it was close!

Walking it out after getting the chip removed was euphoric, I passed on the sports drinks they were offering as euphoria and nausea seemed to go hand in hand. I just wanted to let my lungs work. From what my Garmin was telling me, I was seeing a huge improvement over my last race in December - 20 seconds per mile faster! I didn't stay for the after run block part, but I did stay for a bit and chatted with all the other "balanced athletes" it was a great event, and I am really happy with the outcome and the improvement over December's race.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Running for Effect

Stick with what works, but shake it up on occasion

Last month was a great month for running. March saw 168 miles, that's pretty hard core and I'm thinking April may be a bit less intense. I do have a race coming up next week though, it's a 12K on Sunday the 11th. I should be good to go, I'm going to MAF it this week with a gradual taper heading to a 2-3 mile run on Saturday. I did my best 10K last week hitting 1:01:01 - or 9:45 per mile. That's my first time breaking through the 10:00/mile barrier for a run of that length. With that milestone behind me I can focus on more aerobic base building.

I was helping the folks at the balanced athlete move and was talking to Tammy Bridges She's is an ultra runner, and is very experienced in technique and theory. We talked about aerobic base and how she runs - even with a back injury she's doing ultras and has many marathons under her belt. Tammy told me of her husbands disciplined approach to aerobic base and the the outcomes he has seen by just working MAF - he has a hard time getting his heart up, his pulse just stays low he can run forever and is quite quick - He took a disciplined MAF routine and stuck with it for over a year. I do not think I will be able to be quite so disciplined - I need to blow the carbon out from time to time and I do want to continue racing - so I will look for the slow improvements and be happy with the ability to run.

Running now has become a blessing - it's a part of my day that I can just "be" In a busy world that is a priceless ability. Stress, worries, emotion all seem to fade as the meditative mindset sets in.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two words: "Runners Nipple"

Ow ow ow ow ow!

OK, motivation is no longer the issue, now it's "runner's nipple". Folks who are just getting into running may not know the term, I thought it was quite a humorous malady until it happened to me, well it's still humorous, but painful as well.

A quote from coolrunning's website:

When you have runner's nipple, you know it. Raw, painful, even bloody nipples are tough to miss, though sometimes you won't notice it until you get into the shower only to be treated to a decidedly unpleasant stinging sensation.
Likely causes:
Chafing with a wet shirt or running singlet. Particularly during long summer runs, the constant friction of a sweaty, salty shirt can quickly rub your nipples raw. Cotton is particularly villainous here, since it tends to hold water and become heavy.

Before especially long runs and on hot days, smear a little petroleum jelly on the nipples (or really anywhere there might be some chafing). Wear softer, looser clothes, and avoid screen-printed designs on your shirts and singlets. Especially avoid cotton and instead seek out lighter wicking fabrics like CoolMax.

I noticed when I got into the shower this morning - that whole "decidedly unpleasant stinging sensation" description is pretty spot-on. I'm thinking this is a pretty temporary thing as yesterday's run was pretty unique. Puget Sound is experiencing spring thunderstorms and squalls - I love running in the rain, but when even tech gear is soaked through running becomes a bit problematic. The rain was coming down, coming straight, coming forwards and backwards too, as part of the run was beside a very busy street it seemed like the rain was falling up as well. That brings me to an interesting point, lets talk a bit about gear, the clothes you run in.

For most of the summer while I was hiking instead of running, I wore whatever I had around. Usually my wardrobe consisted of khaki shorts, a cotton tank top and an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt with either my two year old Nikes or tire-tread sandals. For the time, this worked - I was doing 2-3 miles of walking, very low impact, very little need for heat regulation. The cotton absorbed moisture and for the most part it evaporated but as my workouts turned more towards running  I found that I needed to get proper footwear. The link up top right on my site, is the place I first learned about running gear - not just shoes, but clothing as well. and the information has paid off in a huge way.

Cotton is not the runner's friend. Cotton is soft, but it retains moisture and will cling to the skin, acting as a conductor of heat while blocking airflow. "Tech gear" is man made material - that is engineered to wick moisture away while allowing airflow - this stuff IS the runners friend. By wicking away moisture it keeps you cool when its hot and it keeps you warmer when it's cold. Tech gear normally prevents the heartbreak of runner's nipple as the material is light and moisture does not accumulate in it. Yesterday run in the rain however saturated my tech gear and for a lot of the time pasted it to my body - where chafing occurred. After the rain though when the shirt was no longer being saturated it started to perform more normally, wicking without clinging, so I started feeling warmer and much more comfortable. The temps outside were ~40-45 degrees F, and I was in a tech T-shirt and tech pants. While the rain was pounding and the shirt was plastered to me, I was a bit cold. Once the rain let up a bit, the tech gear did it's stuff and allowed a layer of air between me and the shirt which provided insulation. About the only thing that would have prevented the plastering is a running jacket, but I like to run as light as possible.

If you are a new runner and want to be more comfortable please look into the tech gear - check out The Balanced Athlete - they have a lot of great gear designed for the northwest. If you decide to grab some tech gear from anyplace let me know how it works for you. I know I'm sold on it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Days off

When not to run

This weekend starting on Friday I have not run. I don't feel particularly badly about it as I did not feel good on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning. I also decided to nap on Sunday afternoon - the only time that day that was available for a run.

I find myself second-guessing my drive and wonder if this is this is the start of a falling off in motivation. I am planning on running tomorrow, and look forward to putting some miles under my belt. I would expect myself to be antsy - ready to be unleashed on the trail. I am not in that state of mind. I am looking at all the data collected from my running and seeing a plateau in performance improvement that is concerning. I'm wondering if it's time to shake things up again and put some hills and dales into the run. I think I'll do my local hilly 7 mile route and see how it feels. I'm hoping that I will be able to see some improvement since the last runs in January.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tired of Slow


This week I ran. Every. Single. Day. Why all this running you may ask? Weight loss, or the lack thereof. You see, I'm trying to lose another 40 pounds - I originally tipped the scales at 260, I am down to 220 now and want to get down to 180 which puts me right in the middle of BMI Normal land. Last Saturday I weighed myself - I had lost .9 pounds from the weigh-in 2 weeks previous. That is not good enough, I'm running, but I'm eating too, I need to control my intake better. I also need to up my workout intensity. My goal is 2-2.5 pounds per week. If I keep to my goal this summer, when I step on my Wii fitness pad, my little Mii will not puff out after completing the "Body Test".

Yesterday was the shortest run of the bunch - it was a 10K, normally I would do 8 Miles (13K). I didn't wear my Garmin yesterday, but Nike+ recorded the 10K effort. Without the Garmin's cardio alarm, I had an excuse to not worry about heart rate.

MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) training is a great way to build up aerobic base, but it does leave you with an unmet need to run "as fast as you can" yesterday's run was a mix of half hearted self-discipline and the need to rock the pulse a bit. A 10K in 1 hour 8 minutes is not that great of a run, but it did wonders for my heart and lungs - I was actually breathing HARD.

Today I'll try to put in the 8 mile run in MAF with the Garmin yelling at me to keep my heart rate under 135. Every once in a while though, I may leave that watch at home and open it up a bit.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I upped my running distance... UP YOURS!

In my quest to improve my pace times while maintaining a MAF running profile, I kept coming back to a quote that Chuckie reiterated multiple times in the distance running post

Whatever training you have done to this point has not been as effective as it could have been. Usually, I have found, for two reasons :

1) You don't run enough mileage.
2) You train too fast.

I started MAF training at 5.2 miles per run, that worked for a day, but I was not getting the time in I needed so I started busting out 10Ks (6.24M) The awesome part is it worked! the bad part is it worked! I took my mile pace times from 13:40 to 12:15 but I seemed to plateau out right about there - one thing I noticed was that the time I was taking to complete the run shrank - and as it shrank, so did the amount of improvement.

Monday 3/15 I started doing 8 mile runs and the improvement started up fresh. Now I'm at 12:05 and though it's too soon to see substantial improvements I'm feeling and seeing speed improvements at about the half way point it's like I have a second wind and running just works smoother.

My hopefully stable regime will be five 8 and one 10-12 mile run per week, that will bring me up to 50 miles per week which is a goal of mine, but it brings me closer to my overall goal of getting my pace to 10:00 miles while in MAF profile.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Running and Tech part duex

Today's run that Nike+ "lost"
Gear that gets you Going

Nike+ System

Nike is a great big company, they do great big things. They invest a bajillion dollars in fashionable athletic shoes and equipment, they invest a bajillion dollars in advertising.

Apple is a great big company, they do great big things. They invest a bajillion dollars in fashionable computing and entertainment equipment, they invest a bajillion dollars in advertising.


Together they produced the Nike+ system for users of the Apple iPod/iPhone. The hardware part of Nike+ is a basic pedometer. It counts your steps. cool beans! At $29.99 this pedometer is priced competitively with other step counting devices - excepting the fact that you need an iPod or similar device to connect it to - that raises the total price significantly - but many people already own iPods/iPhones for other purposes so we will overlook this trivial fact.


The second part of the Nike+ System is the back-office software that interprets that data using an apple device (iPod Nano in my case)this ingenious coding allows the ipod to transform the pedometer's counter clicks into a nice pile of data - pace, speed, and with user input (weight) it will generate a good approximation of calories burned. OK, this is starting to look better than just a basic pedometer! Do remember that you also have an iPod with you when you are working out, so now you have a device that while blasting tunes, audio books or most often in my case podcasts ( I <3> Leo) will keep track of how far you've gone, how fast you went and will upload that data to a website where you can visualize it and more.


The third part of this little wunder-tech is the Nike website where you upload and store your workout data. This is where this device really shines. the landing page has all the flash you would expect from Nike - the marketing department is in full force and you can quench your swoosh-thirst with a complete catalog of apparel and swag.

Once logged in the home screen shows you your dashboard which contains current runs, goals, challenges, coaches, and an annoying and completely superfluous section called a "mini" - an atempt at wii replication, rather than Nike innovation.


The runs are cataloged graphically by date and distance - the system also asks how the run was - attitude, weather, surface and a space for a comment is available for each run. This section really adds depth to work outs, showing you graphically where you are and where you've been.


The Challenges section is the masterstroke of genius for Nike. where individuals can test themselves in friendly competitions or join teams and compete as groups. This can be a great driver for improvement in the individual - and provides a sense of community ( I had to get that screen-cap in as I was for the moment in the lead :D )


The website is written in Flash, which while looking "really cool and trendy" causes performance issues in most browsers. That aside and the pandering "mini", the overall package is quality. The Nike+ system does what it's suppose to do and does it well, after a simple calibration run, the device is fairly accurate and the mileage call outs are helpful. However the most valuable part of the system to the user is the community, a global and diverse community with friendly camaraderie and friendly competition. Even starting out, you feel like you belong, and you feel compelled to get more exercise! After all is said and done, that is the genius of this product. The device does it's job, but the community adds value that helps the device become more than the sum of it's parts.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

One Month, 100+ Miles

Wow! whoda thunk! This last day of Feb I'm using as a rest day, Yesterday I did 11 miles on interurban which pushed me over the 100 mile mark for the month. I've also completed my first 6-day/week run week. I'm a bit sore today, but that's what this rest day is all about. I'll spend today in church, singing in teh choir and then helping run sound for the evening, I may be a bit slow moving around, but I don't mind. Back at the running tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Running and Tech

Gear that Gets You Going

Part 1

Everyone has seen my Garmin workout links - I love my Garmin, safe to say that without it I would not be as fit as I am and probably not have stuck with working out long enough to see the other side of 5 miles in a run. So what do I find so motivating? What do I find so addictive about my Garmin? Come on in. Lets take a closer look at this piece of genius that's equal parts awesome and win shall we?

The Garmin Forerunner 305

The device itself resembles an oversized wristwatch, and comes with an adjustable chest strap heart monitor. The watch itself has a very decently sized, legible display. The LCD panel is capable of displaying up to four fields on each display page simultaneously and you can cycle through three separate pages. The displays are easily stepped through while running by pressing the arrow keys on the right hand side of the watch. I myself sometimes use the second screen but most often will stay on the first screen. My normal mode is to have Distance, Time, Heart Rate and Speed displayed. The second page has 3 screens - Time of Day, Average Heart Rate and Average Speed. The last screen has Calories, Time of Day, Max Speed, Speed and Calories. Besides having the LCD monitor your work outs, you can set up alarms to tell you if you are crossing a threshold - either speed or heart rate. You can set high/low triggers that keep you in the particular zone you want to be in. I have my alarms set for heart rate - low alarm is 130, high is 135. This keeps me in the max aerobic function zone for fat burning and endurance. The display has a map mode as well, nothing spectacular, you can see your course layed out on the screen, but I have not used that very often due to the software and web content Garmin designed specifically for the sport watches.

Garmin's Web Interface

This is the landing page after you've logged into As you can see it provides a summary of your last 5 activities. The default google view is map, but satellite view is available. If you've visited my blog at all you are familiar with the public activity presentation and all the active content, if not here's my latest workout. I will address here some of the "behind the scenes" features of the website and just how useful this device can become.

This is a listing of all the activities recorded by the device, details are shown and individual runs can be selected via the activity name. but just from an initial glance I can see that my pace is increasing (w000t!) besides serving as a activity warehouse portal you can glean some data just by seeing changes over time.


This view shows all the activities chronologically in a calendar format, the workouts are still "clickable". I like this view as it shows the "holes" in my regime - you can tell at a glance if you need more exercise or conversely you can see that you are chalked full of workouts!


This page does basic data mining, if you want to know what you did last week, last 30 days, last year, etc this page adds it all up for you.

The Garmin 305 is a portable trainer that remembers everything you've done, can tell you how you are doing WHILE you are doing it and can show you the progress you've made over time. Personally I would not be where I am now without it, and I'm more confident moving forward with the 305 on my wrist.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Slow-mo a go go

A new tack for building up speed - running for a heart rate

I am now back on Interurban running on the flat and level. I came across a intense dissertation on target heart rate and exactly why running slow builds speed. It makes sense on a cellular level and since I have a marathon coming up in 4 months I thought it was worth 6 weeks of my time to note improvement. Maintaining a heart rate within 5 bpm (130-135) is not easy - for the first few minutes it is impossible as there is a certain hysteresis as your heart gets used to new demands. So far 130-135 is approx 4.4 mph = a very slow jog, more of a shuffle.

Pulse and breathing

At first the relationship between pulse and breathing seems rather elementary. When your pulse is fast you breathe harder and faster. This is a truth, but the corollary would be that if you breath hard your pulse should race. This is not true. which leads us to the reasons behind breath technique. Breath technique comes a close second to running technique. For a given pace if you focus on breathing more deeply and quickly your pulse will drop. When you think about it it makes sense - the reason why your heart beat increases is due to your muscles request for more oxygen. Your body does not care if your heart is beating fast or slow as long as it gets the oxygen it needs to metabolize nutrients to power the efforts of your muscles. Your heart rate can be an indicator of how efficient the process is. and that leads us to a discussion on the scale of the metaboli-meter...

The heart-o-meter

There have been various articles covering running and training and the opinions all focused on "target heart rate" which is established by the apparently arbitrary calculation available everywhere on the web.
While I took this number as the rate I was to shoot for, I did not know the reasoning behind it. After a modicum of research I believe I've found an answer that makes sense. When your exercise, you move your body by contracting and releasing muscles. To do this your muscles require oxygen and nutrients. Now we must talk metabolism and how your heart rate can be used as a meter to tell you how your body is doing

Cellular communications - your muscles saying "Can you hear me now?"

Mitochondria within the cells provides the cells with energy by metabolizing the oxygen and nutrients (glycogen). When you are exercising aerobically, the mitochondria can keep up with demand, and will actually increase in the cell. However when our muscle use exceeds the ability of the mitochondria to produce energy the cells will excrete lactic acid and shut down. This happens over a period of time and is commonly referred to as "THE WALL" as your cells shut down one by one, your body will slow down. and during that time your cells are shut down, they are not growing mitochondria. Lactic acid build up in the muscles is what causes the day after soreness - it is not all bad, and has it's place in the workout regime.

Intense Relationships

Mitochondria feed your cells, exercising at a rate that the mitochondria can keep up with increases the amount of mitochondria in the cells. With a higher level of mitochondria, your muscles can work harder. Are you picking up what I'm laying down???
Exercise at a higher rate than the mitochondria can keep up with is termed "Anaerobic" and has it's place in exercise - it strengthens the muscles and increases the amount of short term work a muscle can do. However maximizing your mitochondria has a much higher value for distance runners as it allows you to feed your muscles more efficiently and allows you to increase both pace and endurance.

Now, what about that heart-o-meter??

I'll quote the trainer's blog for this so as to capture the thought completely

"As a general guide, and in my experience, this is what I have found works best. Marathon HR will be approx 15-20 beats lower than HRmax (no better). And aerobic conditioning HR needs to be another 30 bpm below THAT (and hence ~50bpm below HRmax) "

That's the theory I'm working on now, maintaining 130-135 heart rate and hoping that over time my pace picks up ( before the marathon, June 5th!)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Back to Fenwick

Hills Suck

No, really they do. Fenwick is an awesome place to work out - getting there is 3/4s the job though when you run there and back from my place. It started Sunday AM, wait , no it started Saturday - I didn't run Saturday as I needed to take my wife to the dentist.
While we were at the dentist she says "How long has it been since you've had a checkup" I shrug my shoulders in a typical male response.
"Since we're here, you should set up an appointment"
"Ok..." I groan. At least its a busy office, I won't need to even think about it for a month.
"Let me check the calendar" the receptionist stares at the screen "Lets see looks like the second week in March is the earliest..." I resist the temptation to shout out "YUSS" and pump my fist.
"Oh wait, you want afternoons? How about Monday at 4:00pm?"
The smirk on my wife's face is not perceptible - but I know its there!

I normally run on Mondays and Saturdays, since my schedule is now trashed I decide to run Sunday between church services. Thinking that I've done enought hills, and I should stretch out a it I'm thinking about hitting interurban for some flat-land running.

Church service starts with setting up. as we were setting up I talked to John - the aviator and sax player in our group. He says he's missing doing the stairs at Fenwick.
"Have you thought about running down there, it might not be too muddy" he says
"I haven't we could check it out after church, I think its about 2-3 miles from my house. Sound like a plan?" He agrees and I immediately think "HILL!"

I have always driven to Fenwick, parked, did my workout, got back in the car and went home. This would be a new experience leaving my car at home. This may be a good thing - It's been a long time since I visited Fenwick - last August-September time frame.

The run starts easily enough, we walk until warmed up then ust into a jog. We discuss technique and run more on the balls of the feet to minimize knee impact. it's working really well, we mix up walking and running but it's running for the most part when we get to Fenwick it's not too bad, the trail is wet, but not soupy. The running is good, and I find that my fitness level has increased - running up the hill still does a number on me, but I can keep going and the stairs are still tough, but I can run the whole trail and only walk on the boardwalk, as it is far too slippery for running. on the way back we walk up the hill on 277th, it's an amazing grade and even walking keeps my heart rate over 150. the hill by my house did not stop me though - I asked John to kick my butt if I started walking on it. all in all 7 miles of exercise. A good day

Friday, January 29, 2010

10 X E6 inches

So I'm keeping my goal of a marathon completed this year, but I'm changing the venue. Instead of the Rock and Roll Seattle marathon, I'm doing the Green River Marathon June 5th. To get a feel for the course I'll be doing a pre-race this February 13th

That's right, I will be running one MILLION inches! that's a little over two MILLION centimeters. I'll need to be on my toes, the marathoner friend at work said she would run it with me, PRESSURE! She's awesome, I'm slow. Maybe she'll bring her hubby along too, us guys gotta stick together in the face of speedy womenz!

Tomorrow if my schedule allows I want to head down to interurban and do some flat running. I've supplanted my normal 5.2 mile flat run with a 6.7 mile hill-fest. Maybe I'll notice a change - a friend at work thinks not "The only thing that gets easier when you are doing hills is doing hills" I hope to put that theory to the test!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Changing it up

Variety is the spice of exercise

Trying to get ready for a marathon without a clue is quite easy, you listen to every opinion and make your own road. Having set my sights on Seattle's Rock and Roll Marathon June 26th, I am living in a deluge of information. The sheer volume and breadth of opinions on preparation is daunting. It causes me to take a little here, and a little there, overall it feels as if I am treading in ignorantly and proceeding on what "I" think I should do.

Eric Sach of The Balanced Athlete says that there will be hills. On reflection it seems reasonable, that in Seattle one might encounter hills. I've been running on level ground though - the Valley of Target Heart Rate.

You can see that when the elevation is not changing much that I can maintain a heart rate quite nicely. Small adjustments in speed will drop or raise it, and with the workload steady, control seems easy. I know that 26 miles on hilly terrain is not the same as 5 level straight miles. Now comes the challenge of the marathon - the only way to complete the marathon is to maintain a sustainable heart rate. The above run is at target heart rate and as you can see, the elevation change is give or take 20 feet. The spikes in the elevation readings above are typical errors due to the limited accuracy of GPS altitude measurement.

Hills toss in a whole new element of challenge:

You can see the predicament - maintaining a reasonable heart rate is a tough to say the least. During this course I ran the whole way, I did not maintain the same speed, but I maintained the same pace throughout - only shortening the steps to keep my heart rate down.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hills: a Revelation of Elevation


I know the feeling, if you run, you know the feeling. The feeling is not one of joy. when you come to the base of a hill and look up you assess your situation. Many thoughts go through your mind at the base of a hill."I must keep running", "How high is my heart rate going to go", and "Breathe, breathe breathe!" I am new to hill running. Interurban trail is my normal haunt and elevation changes amount to about 6-10 feet - which you still feel towards the end of a run. Hills are very usefull things. I have hit a wall running on the flat - 6 mph is the wall. From all I have heard on the internets, hills will help you build your "base". which is to say that if you run hills you will be able to run faster, longer. In running, longer and faster is the goal.

Yesterday I did not bring my gear to work. I still wanted to run so on the way home I figured I'd do a local neighborhood run. What a difference terrain makes! Although the run was almost a mile short of my normal Interurban 5.2 I found that "shorter" does not necessarily mean "easier".

On the flip-side, running downhill is easy, but impact to the body is greater. When running downhill attention to joint health is needed. I try to maintain the same pace throughout the run, but heading downhill I need to shorten my stride to limit the impact and keep the speed from building too much. I'm thinking I may need to make this my regular run, Interurban is easier, but if I want to keep to my "marathon" goal, I want to be able to handle hills more easily. Luckily, in the Pacific Northwest, hills are around every corner.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Goals = Scary

How do you embrace goals?

This year is nebulous. The changes will no doubt continue, but I'm not sure where they are going to take me. I guess that's why I need goals. Goals themselves are great things - it's the work that it takes to reach them that's a real pain. I have set some very intense goals for myself this year - I want to lose the other 40 pounds to get me to a proper BMI. Although that goal is a hard goal to reach, it's not the scariest goal I've set this year.

Wait for it... I'm putting it on the internets to either document my prescient awesomeness or to provide documentation of abject failure.

I will, by the end of 2010,
Complete. A.

There... I've said it. It scares the spit out of me to put that down. Marathons are the environs of the ultra-fit those that run for breakfast lunch and dinner. I am a fat old man with delusions of grandeur. June of last year I could barely run a mile. Now running is a part of my life, but 26 miles is a large task - one that jeers at me, taunting me, whispering self-doubts abound when I contemplate such a large task. But since it is now written, I will either succeed or fail - only time will tell.

Friday, January 1, 2010

...and a happy new year

A Clean Slate

I hope this New Year's day morning finds you well, I greet 2010 with hope and courage. For me, 2009 saw a new direction in my life. 2010 is where we find out where this road goes. I'm not sure, but the way I've been going I can't rule out a marathon this year. My body is acclimating to running well. I ran last Wednesday, Dec 30th and pulled up lame and short - only 3.3 miles and a mile of that was walking. A couple of circumstances made for the not-to-stellar run.
  • Don't eat a big stack of pancakes before you run
  • Stretch, stretch stretch, lather RUN repeat.
Anywho, this morning Jan 1st 2010 I went down to interurban, warmed up a bit then stretched thoroughly. the 5.2 mile run was wonderfully enjoyable. I did not push, I maintained ~5.5mph the whole way my heart rate settled in the low 150s and all was good. I saw a couple of other folks on the trail, but for the most part it was mine. the 5.2 felt really comfy this morning and was therapeutic after that aberration of last Wednesday.

On reflection I'm thankful that I had that abortive run. I found that one bad run means nothing, that the next one is a clean slate - justification through getting off your butt - this is a great lesson to take into the new year. Pay attention to your body, but do not get in the way of yourself. Each and every run is a new chance to prove to yourself that you can do it. You don't have to kill yourself but you do need to be disciplined and make sure that you do not hold yourself back.