Friday, February 25, 2011

The call of nature... and we're not talking birds here, folks!

Well, this might be a slightly embarrassing topic, but let’s face facts here: I haven’t met a person yet who hasn’t had the call of nature come knocking (inconveniently so, I might add) during at least one of their runs. For me, this is an occurrence that happens much more frequently than I would like - right in the middle of my run. Some of you may in the past have wondered why I run at home on my treadmill so much… well, now you know.

However, the grim reality is that if you are a runner, chances are that at some point in your future you will have to be away from the comforts of your treadmill and your own personal, richly appointed (aka your favorite toilet paper) bathroom. It’s a fact of life… get used to it.

However, the point of today’s blog is not to make you vow to never run in the great outdoors ever again, but to get you thinking about just a few little facts of life and precautions that will make your adventure into the great outdoors a little more bearable.

Reality #1: Running, aside from the aforementioned treadmill workouts is an OUTDOOR activity. With this, come other certainties, such as the fact that Murphy is going to strike maybe not today, but at some point… you will need to go the worst when you are at the absolute furthest distance from the warmth and comfort of your home.

Reality #2: Porta-potties are a fact of life for the runner. Despite all your past experiences with these little blue silos of organic-chemistry-in-action, know that the porta-potty is actually your FRIEND. In fact, I highly recommend scouting out potential new running trails before you actually begin pounding the pavement/dirt/gravel. You need to know if the trail offers porta-potties, how many, and how far between. A little knowledge goes a long, LONG way here. If you’re really lucky and are on a well maintained and developed trail, you might even be so fortunate as to have an actual restroom facility at your disposal. Don’t count on this, but just consider yourself fortunate when you encounter indoor plumbing… and keep going back to run on that trail… you’ve found a treasure!

Reality #2(a): Not all races offer port-potties. Yes, fortunately, most of the larger and longer races do, but this isn’t an automatic. It is a good idea to obtain the route of the run from the race coordinators ahead of time and determine where there might be an emergency pit-stop available, such as a city park on the route, a hospital, a hotel, or even a McDonald’s.

Reality #3: When running on trails (this does NOT apply to running in neighborhoods), there is no shame in finding a bush… or tree… or rock… assuming any of the above are big enough to provide a bit of modesty. However, a word of caution here. Please carefully survey the entire site before tugging down your compression tights… I can’t emphasize this enough. Look 360º in all directions and then take a moment to lift and lower your head to see what’s above or below you. What might look like a well hidden spot might actually be very exposed if there is an unfortunate curve in the trail or if there are houses situated high on a bank above the site. You want to discover these flaws before having to try to pull back up your tights at a frantic pace… compression tights & speed just don’t mix well.

Reality #4: Always carry a little extra tissue (facial or toilet) in your pocket or your sport belt or your sock or your bra. The time you forget to carry this is the time the little blue silo will be completely depleted of its stock of TP… besides, it’s always good to have a little tissue on hand to blow your nose, thus avoiding the unsightly (however macho it may be) snot rocket. Oh yeah… a little tip here: keep your tissue in a zippered sandwich baggie - nothing like a little sweat to prove exactly HOW absorbent the Charmin really is.

Reality #5: Your running/compression tights will NEVER return to the same location and degree of comfort that you had worked so hard to establish prior to stopping at the little blue silo. No amount of twisting, tugging, wiggling, or jumping will return the crotch of your tights to their original position… GET OVER IT… with a little time back on the running trail, they will settle into a new location that will at least allow you to get through your run with a minimum of chub rub.

This blog wasn’t meant as a way to scare you. No, outdoor running definitely has some advantages tht the treadmill will never have: sunshine (at least part of the year), fresh air and possibly some very nice (or at the very least, interesting) scenery. No, my intention here was merely to get you to think about planning a little more to get the most out of the great outdoors. And now that you know what to expect and how to prepare… get out there and get running!

Today's Run
Miles: 6.36
Time: 1:15
Pace: 5.1 mph
Treadmill  Run (kind of ironic, isn't it?)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Words to live by: "Don't doubt the Fartlek"

Okay, hopefully you weren't expecting the secret to enlightenment from me or anything crazy like that. The best I can possibly hope to offer you is a little encouragement and wisdom on your way to health, fitness, and maybe being a little bit better runner.

Actually, this phrase comes from my brother. As you may have already heard, last weekend, Heather actually beat him during the 5K even they ran... which included a nasty hill. Well, my brother was a little frustrated that he was bested by a girl - his wife nonetheless - but in the end he had to admit one very important thing... that he would never again doubt Heather's inclusion of fartleks into her training schedule. Working these sprints into her routine has really upped her speeds... and I think her overall fitness level.

Today was my second set of scheduled fartleks and I must confess it was NOT a pretty sight. Not sure that I can analyze exactly what happened, but I think I started out with my first one way too fast. My ego was far outpacing my legs with disastrous results. Instead of doing a series of 6 x 800m fartleks, I ended up only doing 4 x 800m with the last one being at a pace not too much above my normal running pace. Talk about having my ego knocked down a few pegs!

Fortunately, after a few minutes of recovery walking - after feeling somewhat light-headed during the fartlek portion of my workout - I was able to pick up and do the rest of my time (goal of 75 minutes) running at my normal pace... or even up just a bit. It occurs to me to wonder if I could have done a little bit more since I was able to ultimately recover and finish my run, but at the time I felt pretty thrashed and I wanted to live to run another day!

Still, no matter how bad the fartleks were in and of themselves, they did ultimately achieve the desired effect, which is to improve one's overall time. Yesterday I was able to run about an additional .1 mile (I know, I know, not a lot, but still, it all counts!) from what I would normally run on a 75 minute run day.

I will try the fartleks again next week, keeping yesterday's dismal display foremost in my mind... not to continue to punish myself, but as a reminder to not get too far ahead of myself. Like the actual race itself, my training needs to be a well paced marathon (or half, in my case), not a sprint out the gate that ends in a blazing crash & burn.

Here's to all of us remembering to channel our inner the tortoise... with just a wee bit of the fartleking hare thrown in for good measure!

PS. I was surprisingly (and blessedly) pain free after my elliptical workout of Tuesday. I added another 10 minutes to it today. I hope my good fortune continues!

Yesterday's Run
Miles: 6.25 (including 4x800m fartleks)
Time: 1:15
Pace: 5.0 mph
Treadmill  Run

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Yipee! My elliptical machine is fixed!

Thanks so much to my brother and dad who repaired my elliptical machine for me over the weekend. It had been out of commission for a few months, but I finally found the parts required online at, ordered them and then with a little (okay, a lot) of elbow grease and ingenuity the thing finally got repaired.

Alas, this was not a repair for the casual handyman. But fortunately for me, my brother is a former bike repair mechanic, plus his home workshop is way beyond that of the traditional home workshop. That, coupled with the the fact that he loves to always figure out a way to make something work and is pretty tenacious about it (these days he is an Engineer - no surprise there), sometimes to the total frustration of Heather who has to drag him in from his shop by his ear.

Anyway, the elliptical machine is fixed and since today was a cross-training day for me, I jumped on it for the first part of my workout. To be honest, I had forgotten about what a really intense workout the elliptical can provide, especially if  you up the resistance level just a bit. I'm guessing after being away from it for a while, I might be feeling it a bit tomorrow. I'll let everyone know!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Me? Make a plan? Why didn't I think of that before?

As I inch my way nearer and nearer to the goal of completing my first half-marathon in May, my sense of wonder and awe at the people who run full marathons on a regular basis has dramatically increased as well. That's not to say that I didn't previously recognize their achievement in running a marathon, it's just that now I have started to run a mile in their shoes - at least sort of - and I'm getting a better sense of what kind of commitment they have to make to their training schedules.

This is the first time in my life I have ever set an actual schedule for myself with specific goal to meet each week. In the past I have always just increased my time and/or mileage as I felt like it, knowing that I had run x number of minutes every other day for four to six weeks, so maybe it was time to bump it up a bit. It was pretty arbitrary and certainly not very goal driven. I knew, somewhere in the back of my mind, that I would like to get back to running 10K's someday, but that was as far as it ever got. Nothing was written down and I certainly wasn't pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Now, I have very real, very measurable, very written down goals for each week, and barring something unforeseen such as a bad cold or the flu, I hope to be able to stick to this schedule.  Not only that, but each week when I do my long run, I am definitely stepping outside of my comfort zone, both literally and figuratively.

My comfortable, familiar distance for most of my runs at the moment (as most of you who check my progress probably already know) is right around six miles, or just a little more. I can make it to seven miles without too much trouble, but after that, I'm not sure if its physical, mental, or more likely, a little bit of both, I really start to struggle with the pain and pushing through those barriers that I haven't ever had to push past before. It's been very eye opening, and like I said, I have developed a whole new appreciation for people who put themselves on a training regimen in order to achieve their goals of a full marathon or even a half... making a plan and setting specific goals is certainly not for sissies!

Below is my personal training plan/schedule. As I've said before, it's adapted from Jeff Galloway's training schedule for half-marathoners. However, I have extended out the number of weeks just slightly in order to give myself just a bit more time to prepare.

Today's Run
Miles: 9.01
Time: 1:52:10
Pace: 4.8 mph
Treadmill  Run

Friday, February 18, 2011

Apps... Part 2

As I said, in Wednesday’s blog post, I have recently defected from the Apple iPhone platform to an Android phone… and while I’m not here to discuss the benefits of one or the other, I am enjoying my new phone quite a bit. But today more to the point, I wanted to discuss the Android calorie tracking app I’m using, which is aptly (if somewhat un-original) called “Calorie Counter.”

This app is currently offered (free of charge) and supported by a group on the web called This is an online weight loss support community that is completely free of charge… and I understand it is their intention to keep it that way. The app tracks your calorie intake as well as your exercise and activity expenditure. However, the big difference here is that it breaks down your entire day’s calories… for ALL activities - sleeping, resting (while awake), and then for any other activities you care to enter – all based on your current weight. The only thing I can liken this to would be a Body Bug or Fit Bit tracker. However, here you have to enter all the expenditures manually, instead of having a chip that does the calculations for you. This will require that you be absolutely honest in your data entry, or your calories won’t reflect correctly.

As you enter your foods for each meal, this app will graphically show you the % of RDA that you have achieved, based on a 2000 calorie (FDA guidelines) diet. It will also show you your input vs output of calories for the day and for each day in a chart-style daily calendar. This took a little bit of getting used to for me, because although the total number of consumed calories shows up on your food journal, it doesn’t show you there where you are vs. your overall output for the day. The food list is fairly exhaustive, including LOTS of restaurants as well as supermarket foods – including many of the supermarket brands, such as Western Family & Kroger. This could be a big help in these economic times when many of us are trying to cut back on our overall food bill in part by using the store brands. You can look items up based on whether is restaurant food, supermarket food or a popular brand of food and there is a decent search function as well.

The big difference in the food entry options is that you can enter any portion or part of a portion you want… broken down to the 0.1 part of a serving. If you want to enter a partial portion, you just tap on the area and the number pad pops up, including the decimal point. This app, like Tap & Track, has a recently eaten foods list. The one thing here that I find a bit frustrating is that if you’re entering your lunch, the options that pop up on the recently eaten list are only the recently eaten lunch items. But still, the food selection tool is very easy to use and is, like the Tap & Track, customizable, where you can add your own recipes to personalize your database of foods.

The exercise entry tool is nice too. It is easy to use and will let you enter your exercise based on hours and/or minutes. There seem to be many activities to choose from, the most useful for me being a bunch of options for running based on how fast you run… anywhere from 5 mph (me! J) all the way up to the super speedy 10 mph guys/gals (my guess here… if you’re running 10 mph, you’re probably not needing a Calorie Counter!). The overall list is maybe not quite as comprehensive as the T&T, but it still covers most of the activities, even including deskwork and shopping.

As I said above, Calorie Counter has an online presence at It also has the option to sync your phone to your online account similar to the T&T.  Fat Secret is a whole world unto itself, which I really haven’t taken the time to fully explore yet, although I fully intend to check it out soon. Their tagline is “All things food & diet,” and they offer an online community, including lots of fun challenges thrown out by members of the community. Although I really haven’t used this app very long, I am really liking what I’ve seen so far. It’s maybe not as “pretty” as the iPhone app, but what it lacks in visual appeal it definitely more than makes up for in the flexible functionality.

  • It’s FREE
  • The food log is much more flexible than Tap & Track
  • Shows ALL of your calories expended for any given day
  • Not as many exercises/activities to choose from
  • Does not take your gender or your age into account when calculating calories. I don’t know yet if this will make a big difference in the grand scheme of things. I’ll try to keep you apprised of this.
  • Does not offer BMI calculation… no biggie, but still if you want it, it’s not there

 Today's Run
Miles: 6.15
Time: 1:15
Pace: 4.9 mph
Part Street/Part Treadmill  Run

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm addicted to Apps!

Okay, I admit it, I love finding new apps that provide even more reason for me to be addicted to my phone. A couple of years ago, I received an iPhone for my birthday and from that point on, I was hooked. Like so many people, my phone has become another appendage that is more or less attached to my body full time… Check out this picture… even during a family vacation to Puerto Vallarta this fall, I was hooked… fortunately, as you can see, I wasn’t the only one with a similar addiction problem!

Well, a couple of weeks ago I switched operating platforms… I am now an Android user and my intent for this post isn’t to tout one platform over the other (Apple vs. Android) because they both have some pros and cons, but more to the point, I want to look at a couple of the Calorie Tracking apps that I have personally used with each phone. I love having the convenience of my food journal in the same place that I keep everything else. I'm rarely ever without my phone (I feel naked without it), so I'm rarely ever without my food journal!

For the iPhone:
I was using an app called “Tap and Track.” It is offered for $3.99 and is created by Nanobit Software and like most apps of this sort, it tracks your daily intake of calories as well as your expenditure during exercise or activity. It has a feature that allows you to adjust how much weight you’d like to lose (or gain… as if!) each week up to two pounds and then it gives you the recommended calories for the day based on your gender and your weight and the amount of exercise you are doing. It graphically shows you where your RDA breakouts are falling for proteins, carbs & fats. It also can generate reports to show you your caloric intake vs. output over time. 

For entering food into your daily journal, it has a fairly comprehensive list including most major restaurant chains. You can enter serving amounts as well as partial serving amounts down to 1/8 of a serving. It also allows you to put in your own recipes for anything that isn’t already listed in their huge foods list. You also have the convenient option of pulling up recently eaten foods if you tend to eat similarly from day to day. There is also a quick entry feature if you don’t want to enter anything but the calories for an item and don’t want to look it up. With this feature, you need to know the calories and it’s just a quick add without any of the additional details. The other little bonus feature here is that for each day’s foods the app also assigns a “food value” which is basically the WW points for each food. The last time I used this app, the food value was still based on the old POINTS system, and I’m not sure if they have switched over to the new values or not.

For entering your exercise, the list of available exercises and activities is again pretty long. Most of the exercises are included and if you know your calories burned without having to look it up, there is a quick entry feature. 

Tap & Track has an online presence and they also have a feature where you can sync your phone app to your web-based account. On their website, they claim you can use this app with most of the diet programs out there, including Atkins, South Beach, and Protein Power. I cannot confirm this as the only thing I did was track straight caloric intake. They also have a Facebook page for those of you wanting to join their social network. Overall I found this to be a good app and would recommend it if you are on the iPhone OS and don’t mind the outlay of a little bit of money.

  • Like most things for the iPhone, it is very easy to use and has a quick learning curve
  • You pick the amount of weight you’re aiming to lose per week, based on age, gender and current weight
  • BMI calculation is one more measurement this offers
  • Partial serving sizes only break down as far as 1/8 serving, as long as it’s less than ½, it will break it down into small portion sizes, however above ½ serving, it only offers ¾ as the only other option available
  • Calories expended during exercise don’t have enough offerings… if you run slower than the pace they have as “running” or walk faster than the pace they have as “Walking” your calories burned will be off. I often had to compensate by putting in 30 minutes of running and 15 minutes of walking for a 45 minute jog pace.
  • The app costs $3.99 – not a huge expense, granted, but in the world of 1000’s of free apps, it is a consideration.
For tomorrow: Calorie Calculator – the Android App I’m currently using - stay tuned!

Today's Run
Miles: 6.17
Time: 1:15
Pace: 4.9 mph
Treadmill  Run

Monday, February 14, 2011

Very Useful Recipe Calculator

I know there are many different recipe calculators out there, but I just thought I'd share one with you today. I use the calculator at Spark People/Spark Recipes. I find it to be pretty comprehensive and it breaks out all of your nutrition for you, not just fat, protein, & carbs. It's a pretty easy recipe calculator to use and I find that they have most of the ingredients you could ever hope to need, plus they have a myriad of different measurement options available. For instance, I put today's green smoothie in the calculator and when I put in apple, it asks if you want it as one whole apple and what size, or if you want it measured in Cups of apple... it might even have the option for oz. too, I don't remember specifically. You can also change up the number of servings and you can then see how this affects the calorie and fat content.

Like I said, I was calculating my smoothie and was pretty blown away by the nutrient content in the smoothies. Just for those of you who have any doubts about the value of smoothies in your diet, here's the breakdown for today for just ONE approx 20 oz. green smoothie.

User Entered Recipe
  2 Servings
Amount Per Serving
  Calories                                   250.7
  Total Fat                                  3.9 g
      Saturated Fat                        1.2 g
      Polyunsaturated Fat              1.9 g
      Monounsaturated Fat            0.6 g
  Cholesterol                              5.0 mg
  Sodium                                    61.3 mg
  Potassium                               720.4 mg
  Total Carbohydrate                  53.7 g
      Dietary Fiber                         8.7 g
      Sugars                                 27.8 g
  Protein                                     6.2 g

  Vitamin A                                 67.2 %
  Vitamin B-12                            0.0 %
  Vitamin B-6                              16.6 %
  Vitamin C                                 41.0 %
  Vitamin D                                 0.0 %
  Vitamin E                                 9.4 %
  Calcium                                   6.0 %
  Copper                                    10.1 %
  Folate                                      17.8 %
  Iron                                          17.0 %
  Magnesium                              12.0 %
  Manganese                              30.6 %
  Niacin                                      5.4 %
  Pantothenic Acid                      2.9 %
  Phosphorus                             4.7 %
  Riboflavin                                10.1 %
  Selenium                                  1.9 %
  Thiamin                                    6.2 %
  Zinc                                         2.7 %

Today's Run
Miles: 9.01 (Holy Cow!!!)
Time: 1:51
Pace: 4.9 mph
Treadmill  Run

Saturday, February 12, 2011

One of my (many) guilty pleasures

I have a confession to make here... and hopefully all of you, if you don't completely understand, will at least have some sympathy for my plight.

I seemed to have developed an addiction to television weight loss programs. I was actually a late comer to the Biggest Loser fan base. I didn't have much interest in the first several seasons and I didn't really understand the appeal. In fact, I've only been following it for just a few seasons, but now, I confess, I'm absolutely hooked. I don't ever miss a single episode... and while I rarely watch them live (since I don't have the patience to sit through all the commercials, the only exception is usually the finale), I DO watch them almost religiously, catching each week's episode within a day or two of when it airs, either with "On Demand" cable or online through Hulu.

I wish I could say that the fascination with weight loss reality shows stopped there, but it doesn't and there have actually been a couple of new entries to the weight loss reality show programming lineup: "I Used to be Fat" on MTV and "Heavy" on A&E. Both of which I also now watch with as much regularity as Biggest Loser and enjoy immensely as well. Fortunately, they are formatted quite differently than Biggest Loser and they each have their own demographic, so it's really not like you're watching a bunch of iterations of the exact same show.

I'm embarrassed to reflect too closely on why I might now be so hooked on these shows or even more to the point, why it has only been a more recent phenomena with me. I suspect that the recentness of it has something to do with my own weight loss journey and that up until a few seasons ago (with Biggest Loser), I wasn't willing to hold up a mirror to that reality which was my life... in other words, I didn't want to examine the fact that I significantly overweight with serious weight related health issues starting to peek up over the horizon. Why I like these shows so much now might be an even bigger mystery... Yes, I do like to see them succeed in their weight loss journeys, but even more, I perversely enjoy watching the struggles they have and seeing their personal trainers harassing them mercilessly. Does this make me a little sick & twisted? Probably... but like I said, I prefer not to examine it too closely. Just know that I DO like the fact that the contestants lose weight and I am amazed at their accomplishments when all is said and done.

Now, I can also say that these shows usually provide a huge inspiration for me to get off my still somewhat squishy backside and to get up & move. Often, I will wait to watch Biggest Loser until a non-running day (I work out six days a week, but only run three of the six) and then I will drag my aerobic step into the living room and watch BL while I step. Really, it's the only way I can watch these people lose 10 or 15 pounds in a week and not feel completely jealous or inadequate.

Another time I'll give you my whole diatribe on the unrealistic expectations this show sets up for those people watching it who want to achieve similar results in a similar time frame, but, no matter, that doesn't stop me from watching and enjoying Biggest Loser or any other weight loss show that comes down the line... 

Yesterday's Run
Miles: 4.5
Time: 56:27
Pace: 4.8 mph
Street Run

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Are we warm yet?

Heather and I went out running this morning. Fortunately, it wasn't raining or even wet, however it was pretty darned cold! Okay, some of you may say, 31º isn't really that cold, but it was so foggy out this morning... and that has a significant effect on how cold it feels, never mind what the thermometer says. The cold on days like today sinks under your skin and down deep into your bones, then it seems like it takes forever to get warm.

Both of us were decked out in several layers of clothing, including both of us wearing jackets, which almost never happens. Plus we were also wearing ear coverings and gloves... again for both of us to be in this much gear, you know it's pretty cold... it seems like most of the time at least one of us is warm enough to go without some of the above listed attire... and it seemed like anytime we even thought about trying to take off the gloves or ear coverings today, it took almost no time to start freezing again.

Then, to make matters worse, I drove the 30 minutes home in wet (aka sweaty) clothing. Yes, I had the heat going almost full blast most of the way home, which helped, but the minute I got out of the car every ounce of reserve heat escaped. Fortunately, there was a nice hot, shower waiting for me at this end of the run! However, I must confess that my fingers haven't ever completely warmed back up. Maybe it's time to go find a fuzzy, warm cat to use for a hand warmer. They're usually pretty cooperative as long as they think they're getting petted... and who am I to tell them otherwise?!?

We're getting together for a run again tomorrow... twice in one week... unheard of... but who cares, it's always good to run with Heather. I feel like she pushes me a little more than I might if I were just out pounding out the miles on my own... and that's a good thing. I definitely feel like I've been getting noticeably stronger the past couple of weeks which is always a good thing... and I'm pretty sure that running with my sis-in-law is a big part of the equation.

Tomorrow's reward for a week of strong runs for us? Lunch at Bob's Red Mill! Definitely one of our favorites... always (relatively) healthy AND yummy... we won't rub it in with our DH's... at least not too much!

Today's Run
Miles: 6
Time: 1:11
Pace: 5.1 mph
Paved Trail Run

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A-fartlek-ing we will go!

Yea! I did my first series of fartleks today! That being said, we're still trying to adjust around my house to saying the word "fartlek" with a straight face!

I didn't do a ton today, but I did 4x800m (about .5 mile) today. Ideally, when you do fartleks, you want to go at a pace that pushes yourself just a little beyond what you're normally comfortable running. For me, this meant keeping a pace up of around 6.0 to 6.2 mph, which I know to many runners would be their normal jogging pace, but for me, that's pushing it pretty hard. In between each one you can do a resting walk or jog. Jeff Galloway suggests about 2:30 to 3 minutes between each 800m fartlek, so I tried to stick to the 2:30. By the final (4th) fartlek I was feeling pretty beat up. However, if I think about it, the fact that I was able to continue running at my normal 5-ish mph pace for another 40 minutes after that means I couldn't have been TOO much the worse for wear.

Initially when I got done with my workout today I was a little disappointed with my seemingly average pace... as you'll see below, it's nothing special for any given workout for me. However, after I was completely done and off the treadmill (and the oxygen had returned to my brain), I remembered that today's 75 minutes included a 5 minute warm-up at a much slower pace... so when you take that into account, the other 70 minutes were actually pretty good. I think if I take out the warm-up my pace came out to about 5.1 mph, which is a little better than normal... yea! My pace wasn't so bad after all.

The main point of the fartleks is to try and bring a little speed into your endurance runs. Ideally, you would be able to carry this surge forward & fall back pacing into a race, which would ideally allow you to run the entire race at a little better pace than straight line pacing might. I'm not sure how rigidly I'll be able to adhere to that principle, but I think that doing these speed intervals is good for my training, no matter how much of the actual technique translates over to race day.

In the meantime, I think I will try saying the word "fartlek" at least 15 times a day in order to desensitize myself... no one in the running community will take me seriously if I can't at least fake a straight face when I say it out loud... no matter how much I'm cracking up on the inside!

Today's Run
Miles: 6.18
Time: 1:15
Pace: 4.9 mph
Treadmill  Run

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Oh, my aching legs!

I skipped running on Thursday this week so that I could run with my favorite running buddy, my sis-in-law Heather, on Friday.

If you read Heather's blog "Will Run for Coffee" and hear her complaining about the hill she has to run that is behind her house. My recommendation... believe her when she says it's painful! We ran a four mile route yesterday around her house, including the killer hill directly behind.

Let me tell you, pretty much the entire run was a tough one. It's four miles of nearly nothing but hills - steep inclines, shallow inclines, little hills, big hills, some you go up, some you go down, but all in all, very little flat surface!

I can't remember the last time I ran such a tough four miles. Last night my legs were sore as if I had run a much longer distance... makes me think maybe I should be doing this kind of run a little more frequently. Yikes!!!

Fortunately, Heather was right there along with me and cheering me on the whole way. Although this might not make the hills any easier, it certainly makes them more tolerable (saying the word 'fun' here would definitely be overstating the matter) and makes them go by much more quickly. Thanks Heather!

Then, we rewarded ourselves with a trip to Panera for lunch... a very good balm for my (invisible) wounds!

Yesterday's Run
Miles: 4.0
Time: 51:25
Pace: 4.7 mph
Street Run (lots of hills!)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Brr... I'm freezing!!!

Well, the last two long runs I've done I've noticed a new phenomenon that I've never encountered in my experience as a runner... I'll usually cool off for a few minutes after I've changed out of all my ultra-sweat-soaked workout clothes and then go shower. Well for the second time in as many weeks, I spend the entire length of my shower so cold... it seems like I just can't get the water warm enough to overcome how cold I am. Since I've only noticed this for the last two weeks during my long run days, I started putting two + two together today. Thinking about it, I realized that this is probably not a unique experience... after all they give marathon runners space blankets at the end of a run. So, I ended up trying to poke around online to see if I could come up with the answer.

Here's what I've come up with so far:

  1. I'm probably letting myself get too dehydrated during a long run. I'm not sure of the exact physiology here, but everything I've read in different articles and in various forums suggests that, especially for long runs, you need to make sure you replenish your fluids during the run.
  2. I'm probably not getting enough nutrition during long runs... again it affects your body's ability to regulate itself. Apparently, you should also not be having whole "natural" foods during or immediately after (w/in the first 15 minutes or so) a long run, it can be hard on your stomach. Hence, the need for energy gels & cubes. (Okay, I confess to having a kind of d'uh moment on this one...)
  3. Your body heats up during a run, but then when you stop running your body immediately cools off, dropping several degrees rapidly... and apparently this can include dropping down to below 98.6º
  4. Don't forget the problem of wet clothes. Tech clothes will help with wicking moisture away from your skin during the run, but after a run, wet clothes are still, ultimately, wet clothes whether they're 'tech' or not... and sitting around in them for too long can also lead to a reduced body temp. Like I mentioned above, I usually change out of my wet clothes immediately, so this most likely isn't where I'm getting chilled, but it is certainly something to keep in mind..
Now that I've learned a little bit more about long runs... stuff, I confess I probably should've known before setting out on one... I will take some extra precautions during next week's run and let you all know if I think it is helping me keep my body a little better regulated.

Today's Run
Miles: 8.56 (new personal distance record... you guys are probably getting sick of me saying this already!)
Time: 1:46
Pace: 4.85 mph
Treadmill Workout