May 23, 2011 § 2 Comments
In what I plan on being a 1-week experiment, I’ve decided to track my food intake for a week. For many years, I have been stuck around 160 pounds. I’m not fat but I do have some extra weight around my waist that I would like to get rid of. I should be doing more core work but I think the biggest problem is that I like to pig out. Too often I eat more than I should because I like to eat.
Out of curiosity, I want to see how much (especially with calories) I actually eat so I’m going to track & post it here. I’ll preface this with two comments. First, I’m pretty boring with what I eat–the same things most mornings & lunch. Second, and I already know this has happened, the fact that I’m tracking what I eat will affect what and how much I actually eat.
|5:30||1 cup Raisin Bran (190) w/1 cup 1% milk (118)||310|
|12:30||Ham Sandwich on Onion Bun (210) w/Mustard (15)
|3:30||Large Apple (100)||100|
|5:30||Peanut Butter Sandwich (350)
1 oz LAY’S® Tangy Carolina BBQ Chips (160)
|7:30||2 Turkey Legs (350 each)
1 1/2 Cups Potatoes (430)
1 Strawberry (10)
A pretty good day, methinks. I did not run but did spend nearly an hour mowing the lawn so that burned some extra calories. The item that surprised me was the 230 calories for a plain blueberry bagel.
May 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
During the tempo part of my run yesterday, this railing leaped out with stunning quickness and struck me in the hip.
Not so bad I had to stop or cut the tempo part of my run.
But I do have a bruise today and think it is prudent to take today off.
I am vulnerable to the Public Works’ booby traps because I tend to run on the dirt next to sidewalks as much as possible–usually I escape damage by playing chicken with the obstacle and veer off only after it flinches–this time it failed to flinch. Like my mother allegedly said about me, “If he had a brain, he would be dangerous”.
The Public Works in some cities want to cull the herd so much that they have resorted to desperate measures–an obstacle like the hydrant in this picture should not get many runners.
But if you–especially if you share a good portion of my genes–are running in a pack, it would be easy to run into it.
Everyone be safe out there–it is not just cars that want to get you.
May 19, 2011 § Leave a comment
I mentioned a while ago that my new shoes feel loose in the heels, especially when I start a run. I did find a couple of resources that have a method for lacing your shoes to prevent just this problem.
Instead of crossing the laces when you bring them to the final holes, you bring the lace from the second-to-last hole to the last hole on the same side of the shoe, inserting the lace from the outside of the shoe.
Instead of pulling the lace tight like shown in the picture, you leave a little loop. Then you bring both laces across the shoe and stick them through the loops you just made and tie them as you normally would.
I’ve tried it for the last few runs and I can tell the difference–you can get the heel tight without cramming the rest of your foot.
May 14, 2011 § 1 Comment
Recently, Mighty Mur Lafferty talked about Leveling Up in her I Should Be Writing podcast. She talked about how one of the things that troubled her in her writing career is that there are not clear-cut mile posts that show you are getting better as a writer. She contrasted that to Dungeon & Dragons-type games where there are distinct and clear levels that characters can achieve.
Running does not have that problem–there is a simple and clear way to measure our progress and status.
This week, I leveled up. I am following Jack Daniels’ training program found in Daniels’ Running Formula. Daniels recommends that runners use the time from a recent race to establish their VDOT (an approximation of your VO2 Max). The paces you run for your work-outs are determined by your VDOT. My paces were based off of a race I did in the beginning of February.
Thursday, I was scheduled to do a three-mile tempo run. I did not look at my watch until I had run a half mile–I was running 45 seconds per mile faster than I was supposed to be and, more importantly, feeling strong. When I went through a mile still running significantly under the prescribed pace the workout shifted into a time-trial. I pushed reasonably hard for the entire 3.1 miles and ended up running about 30 seconds faster than I did in February.
Nearly enough to push myself up two levels in Daniels’ VDOT calculations.
And this was in Practice; “we’re talking about practice“.
It is nice to know that the training is having an effect. Some days, when I’m trudging through an allegedly easy day much slower than my target race pace and feeling awful doing it, worry floods in, “if I can barely run this 6-miler at this slow pace, how am I gonna run 13 miles faster?”
Confidence is nice to have. To have an authority like Daniels or Eric McMillian say that my 5k time predicts that I should be able to come close to my goal time and to have used their predictions in the past and know they are reasonable, removes a burden.
Helps prevent panic.
May 12, 2011 § 4 Comments
Notice anything different?
Yep, that’s right, I got new shoes.
Not only a new pair of shoes, but a new brand (New Balance), a new model (860s) and a new type (stability).
When I saw Dr. Paul Langer, the Running Podiatrist, several weeks ago for chronically tender Achilles tendons, he prescribed three things to try first:
- Heel Drops. I was already doing a variation of these–stand on a stair, hang your heels off the edge, and lift up onto the toes. Then slowly lower your heels down below the top of the stair you are standing on. Dr. Langer, however, recommended a variation where you still lift with both legs but then lower yourself back down with just one leg. The problem I’m having with these is that I’m not coordinated enough to switch from having two feet on the stair to only one with any sense of rhythm. So not only am I failing to do them the way he recommended, I have also stopped doing them the way I was originally doing them. Shame!
- Using a pair of Orange Superfeet Insoles. Took some searching to find a dealer with the orange ones but I found a pair within a week and have worn them on every run since then. Not sure that I’ve seen a change but seems like they should do something. Might not be able to tell from the picture but the insoles that came with my shoes (the top two) are an 1/8th inch of light-weight foam. Not good for much. The orange insoles have a hard plastic piece that runs through the back two-thirds.
- Switch to Stability Shoes. I’ve run in Nike Pegasus for over 15 years–there were a couple pairs of Nike Icarus, a pair of Nike Zoom Extras (Cross Country spikes), a pair of Nike Zoom II racing flats, and a brand-forgotten pair that lasted a week. But for the most part, I’ve worn Pegasus. And for the most part, when I start a new pair I feel good but after some miles my Achilles get sore again. I figured that it wasn’t the shoes’ fault since the pain subsides when I start wearing a new pair. Dr. Langer decided that I slightly over-pronate and shoes try shoes that provide more stability than the Pegasus–gulp! It was a bit traumatic to buy something totally new but I’m giving them a try. I tried on the Asics 2160 which also felt good but the New Balance 860s that I bought had a bit more room in the toe-box and has a less aggressive heel counter.
I waited until after running Lake Minnetonka before trying out the new shoes in case I have trouble in them. But I’ve had them out of the box and been running in them for the last two weeks. I won’t know for a while what I really think but I have not noticed any dramatic change. The first thing I noticed is that the heel seems loose–my heel feels like is going to come out at times, especially at the beginning of a run. Perhaps a different lacing pattern will help.
I’m still in the feeling-out stage with my new companions–there is a lot of excitement and anticipation that maybe these will “solve all my problems” as the shoe dude said although I remain skeptical. But at least I’m slowly working my way through Dr. Langer’s recommendations and things aren’t getting worse.
May 3, 2011 § 3 Comments
Well, other than being wiped out later in the day I don’t seem to have done any permanent damage. I have the normal aches and realized I got dehydrated–didn’t have to make any trips Monday morning after drinking a liter of water on my way into work. Yikes! That normally that leads to 3 or 4 trips.
I did take the Monday off from running to give my various body parts–Achilles, quads, and left thumb some time to heal.
To, borrow from CNN-Sports Illustrated Writer, Peter King, here are some things I think I think after running the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon.
1) Reading others’ stories about the same race is a lot of fun. Gives you a different perspective. So far, I’ve read:
- Julie’s Race Report–she almost didn’t bring any cold-weather gear. Yowzer!
- Chemo-man’s Report–Someone I noticed in the crowd. I need to read more of his story.
- Mark also didn’t like the way the starting mats were positioned and ran with the 1:40 pace group and he passed me somewhere between 8.5 and the finish.
- Alyssa ran a great race in nasty conditions to come within 1 minute of her PR.
- A Vegan Runner and her fiance both run PRs!
- Jen and Willa rejoiced in victory.
- Tenacious (didn’t find her official handle) had a Pyrrhic Victory.
- The winner, Seth Brickley, and I have something in common–our shoes come untied during races except he takes the time to stop & tie them.
- minnetonkafelix’s photos–Some great pictures of the race, a talented photographer with some good photos of the Lake Minnetonka area.
- Official photos of the race. I didn’t see myself in the 400+ pictures but recognized a lot of other runners.
2) This winter needs to end.
3) Whatever fruit punch trauma I suffered in my childhood made a deep and permanent scar on my taste buds & stomach. Red Gatorade, Yuck!
4) I am getting older and slower but maybe not as fast I thought I was.
5) Cross-training and stretching are good ideas.
6) Despite sometimes recognizing good ideas, I can completely pretend like they don’t exist.
7) Opposable thumbs are a nice feature–they make things like tying your shoes, pinning a bib, opening a Gu, and grabbing a cup of water a lot easier. Thanks, Ugg and Eev for evolving them for us.
8) A cold, blustery wind has a way of distracting me from hills.
9) Runners might be crazy.
10) Our supporters and spectators might be crazier–standing around in that cold for a few hours to get a quick glimpse of their loved ones does not sound like fun.
11) Happiness is a pair of warm sweatpants.
12) I probably could use a more closely fitted running jacket.
13) Sometimes my mp3 player is smarter than I am.
.1) I wonder if the person who figures out the proper formula for the number of port-a-potties required for a race will earn a Nobel Prize for physics, medicine, economics, peace, or all of the above?
May 1, 2011 § 2 Comments
Today was not a pleasant day to run. Temps in low 30s and more annoying, we had consistent, considerable winds. We’ve had temps in the 60s at times this spring so dropping back down to the 30s was difficult.
The first word that came to mind at the end of the race today was “fatigue” but that’s mostly because the end of the race is the easiest to remember because of its proximity. Yes, the winds and hills took their toll today but overall, I, as Norm encouraged me, “crushed it” today.
My official time was 1:39.56.6, a good 3+ seconds faster than my “A” goal. And it was no gimme.
I got to the race an hour before the chilly 8:00 start time–early enough that I was able to walk right up and get my race bib. Not a lot to note during my warm-up, I did an easy mile to get the blood pumping, hit the port-a-potties, my mp3 quit in the cold, and I debated what to wear.
One nice thing about the start was they had the Minnesota Pacers there with their signs which made it easier to know where in the pack to line up–find a pacer running about your expected time and jump in near them.
There were some announcements at the beginning and I can not say I actually paid attention so I may have missed something that caused me some confusion but about a minute after we started–about a tenth of a mile–we crossed the timing mats. I figured they were just there to figure out what wave someone had run in and that the actual starting line had been where we lined up. This race was small enough that even those at the back of the pack would have only taken a few seconds to get to the initial starting line.
The first mile went by in a near perfect 7:34 (7:38 was my “A” pace) and then, even though I felt like I was dogging a little, the second mile went flying by in 7:11. When I saw that, I instantly backed off.
The next several miles were all between 7:30 and 7:41, so I was cruising. I was ducking behind others when I had a chance and it was busy enough that there almost always seemed to be someone to run with. There were hills, water stops, and views of the lake.
The one thing that I noticed early on–and this contributed to my confusion on where the official start had been–but early on, definitely by the third mile, my Garmin would signal the end of a mile and then a little later I would see the mile marker. I noticed others’ watches were flagging the miles at about the same point as mine. The race directors had planned to certify the course the week before the race after the finish had been finalized so I wondered if the mile markers had been planned before the official course had been determined–I was hoping that the mile markers were off a bit but that the overall course would be spot on.
Really, the first nine miles went by great–I hit 9 at 1:08:04 (7:34 pace). Mentally, I had calculated that I had a 50 second cushion and I could slack off to a 7:50 pace and still make my goal. I thought at that point that I had it easy.
But that would have been too boring.
During the tenth mile I hit a rough patch. My legs lost all their spunk and a spot on my right quad started to complain. There wasn’t pain but it just didn’t feel like it wanted to work any more. I knocked off the next three miles in 7:44, 7:46, and 7:53, knocking my cushion down to about 20 seconds with at least 1.1 to go. I also didn’t know how my confusion about the starting line factored in.
During the eleventh mile, I had heard some cheer, “Way to go 1:40” and figured that that pace group was behind me. My high school cross-country coach had taught us to never look to see who was behind you–just run as hard as you can. I was running with a sense that I was losing my goal as it was creeping up from behind to pass me.
The 1:40 pacer did pass me during the twelfth mile and I recognized several of the runners near him as ones that had lined up near him at the start so it seems like they really did let him pace them.
But watching the pacer pull away from me was dis-heartening. As was getting slowly but steadily passed from others (the results show I was in 183rd place at 8.5 miles but finished 228th so 45 people passed me in that 4.5ish miles). I clung onto the fact that I had a cushion and that I could push the final mile. When the final mile came, I decided I could push the final 0.1. I tried and did sneak out a 7:23 pace over the final 0.21 miles for a watch time of 1:40:51.
So I had gone from a high of thinking I was going to meet my goal easily, to feeling like I was letting it get away, to being disappointed-if unsure-that I had missed it by almost a minute. And now, I feel a bit revenged in that apparently the race didn’t start until the mats and that I did actually meet my goal.
But regardless, even if 1:40:51 was my real time, it was an amazing run. The thing is, I really don’t have any runs in my recent training to say I was ready to run this fast for this long. I have had 7 runs this year that I have run faster than 8:00/mile–only one was longer than 3 miles and it was only 5 miles. I have to go back to October of 2010 when I ran a 10 miler at 7:56 to really get close to this run. So other than Race-day Magic, I really had no business running like that.
Overall, the race itself was pretty good. The starting line confusion is troubling–especially for a race that is 31 years old and had professional timers. The finish, while not hilly was on a wet, grassy area that was getting chewed up and pretty slick by the time I finished. Not good at the end of a 13-mile race. They had the goodies area roped off and right pass the finish so it was a bit congested. They had the red Gatorade which I cannot drink but water was available too. I didn’t have a problem with the buses but others reportedly did–standing around in the cold would not have been fun. So definitely some things they could improve upon.
The weather is out of their control, as are the deer, which may have run into a runner but I’m not sure about that. The hills are there.
The swag was decent–a decent looking technical shirt and a medal. I don’t really NEED a medal from every race I do but at least it is a bit different. Since I make maps for a living, I do appreciate the fact that both the shirt and medal are maps of the course.
Overall, a good race, I ran pretty well–definitely gives me some confidence heading into Bjorklund in about 6 weeks that I might challenge my PR of 93:39.
UPDATE: Adam Kocinski (one of the race directors) confirmed on facebook that a runner did encounter a deer, writing “He was taken by ambulance to the hospital and suffered a concussion and torn ligaments in his ankle. In lots of pain still…a journey to recovery.”