Thursday, May 31, 2012

A little longer than planned...

I ran a little longer than I planned to this morning. I was just going to run up to the church, reset the email server which shut off when the electricity went out last night and run back. I thought maybe I might run a little more than that and make it two miles. Instead, I ran up and reset the server, ran through the park at the end of the street, ran back down to Maple, followed it to Main, ran the full length of Main, turned and ran a loop around Lemon Park, jogged through Sixth Street Park and made my way back home. My two-mile-or-less run turned into five-miles-plus. (garmin data)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Easy intervals, hard intervals...

I saw someone at 5:30 this morning I never thought I'd see that early: my wife! I was getting ready to run and she came out and said she was thinking about running. That doesn't happen...not ever! I decided then and there that I was going to wait to run with her. I was an event I wasn't about to miss.

While I was waiting for her to get ready, I did the first seven sets of my 100 push ups workout. She left for her warm up walk when I had two sets to go. I did them and then walked the opposite direction to meet her. My timing was impeccable. I met her and turned around just as her podcast said it was time to run.

Her workout consisted of three minutes running followed by a ninety second walk followed by five minutes running and a longer walk before repeating it all. The goal for both three minute runs is a quarter mile. My wife ran .30 miles both times. The five minute runs are supposed to yield a half mile. I didn't watch the distance on the first one, but she was at .48 miles on the second. It was a good solid workout for her.

When she was done, she sent me on to run a bit more. I ran around the corner and decided to do another set of intervals at my speed. I did three sets of quarter mile sprints followed by quarter mile easy runs. After the third recovery, I ran a hard half mile and then cooled down for another half mile before stopping to walk. I felt pretty good about that workout. I was able to keep my pace down under 7:00 for most of the quarter mile sprints and I was in the low sevens for the half mile. It was good to do some speed work. I hadn't done anything like this in a long while. (garmin data)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hot and sweaty...

I am dripping all over my keyboard as I type this report. It is muggy outside. I slept late this morning, getting up well past 8:00. I drank a little Gatorade, answered the dailymission question, laced up and headed out the door.

Before I felt the outdoor temperature and humidity, I had it in my mind to run the same loop I did Saturday in reverse. I even toyed with running an extra mile beyond what I did to make it eleven plus miles. After I'd been running for five or ten minutes, my plans changed. It was awful!

While I was in town, I ran along the sidewalk beside the highway. I had several kind drivers acknowledge my presence. One had stopped in the crosswalk. He backed up. Another pulled up just before I got to the intersection. She was blocking the crosswalk too, but at least said, "Sorry," when she saw I had to run around her. The next guy stopped before the crosswalk.

Out in the country, I encountered little traffic. I almost decided to go for the original loop, but when I got to West River Road, I turned and ran down to the highway and turned for home. Long distance was not going to happen today.

I ran back to the sidewalk and retraced my steps back toward home. I had no encounters with crosswalk violators, kind or inconsiderate, this time. I enjoyed the run mostly, but was glad when it was done. I tried to stay in the shade as much as possible during my cool down walk. I'm glad I got this done early. It's headed for a high of 87! (garmin data)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Long, slow and cut short...

I was going to run 11.5 miles, maybe 12. I mapped my route on Google maps. I ate a granola bar before I left. I drank some Gatorade and poured some more into my Simple Hydration bottle. I strapped on my Garmin and headed out the door.

I felt fine for the first mile or two. I was running easy at 8:30 pace. Then, I guess, my granola bar decided it wanted to let me know it was there. I felt a bit nauseous. Not bad, just a twinge. I kept running and it went away after a while, but my energy level was lower.

I decided to get my mind off my physical ills by looking around at the scenery. The wheat was golden, the trees and grass as green as green can be. One short section of the road was deeply shaded, trees lining both sides so close that from a mile away it didn't even look like the road could fit through them.

Shortly after I came out of the trees, I met up with the road before the one I'd planned to turn on. I was feeling lousy enough to change my plans and turn early. That meant a pretty nasty little climb which you can see on the elevation chart somewhere around four miles. I made it up and over that and continued on south to 1st Street which would take me east back into town.

I ran the familiar sandy surface of 1st back into town. My plan was to cut across the railroad tracks and run straight back home, but a train was blocking my way, so I ran up to the north side of town on the side streets. I was hoping to get to the crossing at Maple and Main before the train started up again, but I was not quite fast enough. The train started up again as I was running up Simpson. It crossed the tracks when I was less than a block away. I ran up to Main and stopped to rest.

Once the train was on its way, I continued on my way, following Maple until I reached 15K. That's when I gave up. I wasn't feeling all that great and I thought I'd get a longer cool down. I walked up to the church, got some water from the outside faucet, then headed home. I made it without dying, but I was dripping with sweat. I suppose the heat and humidity might have had something to do with how I felt, but I'm still blaming the granola bar since I don't usually eat before I run. (garmin data)

Friday, May 25, 2012

A lousy run...

Usually when I wake up and don't feel like running, I get out there anyway and after awhile I feel great and I'm glad that I started running. Today was unusual. I didn't feel like running, didn't even feel like getting up. I went out anyway and I never really got to the "I love running" stage. I felt lousy almost the whole way. I wanted to quit multiple times. I ran on despite all this. I kept telling myself, "You're going to feel like this for miles during your 100-miler. Just take it one step at a time." I had time for another mile or so when I got back home, but I decided to end it at my driveway. No sense in dragging out the misery. Hope tomorrow's long run is better than this one was. (garmin data)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Exploring the countryside...

It was a beautiful morning for a run. The cool breeze made the air feel fresh as it flowed in and out of my lungs. Only once in awhile were there gusts that made forward progress a little more difficult.

The route I chose this morning was designed to satisfy my curiosity about the road I started down yesterday. I wanted to see what it was like to loop around out in the country. I must say, this particular block was not my favorite. There were far too many dogs, a couple of them rather aggressive. Thankfully, the worst of them were on the other side of a fence.

I stepped on a rock funny and twisted my ankle once during this run. Thankfully, it was a quick dip over and back and didn't hurt at all. It was more of a shock than anything.

After leaving the dirt, I ran back through town. A quarter mile from home I encountered a friend out walking her dog and said hi to the two of them. The dog looked at me curiously and then turned and marched on toward home. I finished up my last quarter mile, stopped my Garmin and walked a block to cool down before stepping back inside to wake my beautiful wife with a kiss on the cheek. (garmin data)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Muggy meandering...

It was muggy this morning! Ugh! I walked down to Dan M.'s house to drop off his bicycle helmet which he left here last night after dropping off a trailer for my wife's cousin to try out. I hung it on his lawnmower handle, then took off running with no particular route in mind.

I zigzagged around a few cars as I crossed the highway, ran along Second Street over to Highway 281 and headed north. I thought I'd run up the highway and do a big loop across NE 20th. I didn't do that. Instead, when I crossed the railroad tracks, I decided to turn in on some streets that I'd never run on before. I wasn't sure where they went and I wanted to know. Turns out they go nowhere. I twice had to turn around at the end of the street and double back. I'm sure the people with the big noisy dogs were happy that I ran by their house twice.

From there I ran north a bit and then turned onto 10th. I had plans to loop around back into town via 10th Avenue and West First, but decided I didn't really have time to do that, so I doubled back again and ran back down the highway into town.

After crossing the tracks again, I took a couple blocks east and then went south for a block before running all the way to where Green tees into Welton. A quick turn or two from there I was at home. (garmin data)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Working out the soreness...

My whole body was sore when I got up this morning. My legs did not want to go for a run. They wanted to lay around all day. They whined and complained when I ignored them, got dressed and headed out the door.

I started running with no particular plan in mind. I just ran and turned when I wanted to.  In the process I made some interesting discoveries. I found that I could run down the street by the hospice and cut through the trees at the end by the special ed co-op and come out on the community college campus. A short time later, I ran around the Holiday Inn Express and stumbled upon a little dirt path that led to the truck stop parking lot. It was nice to find ways to avoid the highway when I want to.

I ran back out on the highway and around the road closed signs to get back into my regular stomping grounds. Running up and over the hill on Maple, I turned on Champa and ran down the Blaine before coming back full circle to home. (garmin data)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Running with my love...

After I finished my 15-miler, I had to deliver papers and then my wife wanted to go for a run. Despite the fact that I could barely move my legs, I agreed to tag along. She is using the couch to 5K program, so we did five or six sets of 90 seconds running with two minutes walking in between. On the last set we ran a full two minutes to get to the corner of our street. This was the first time ever that my wife was pushing the pace for me. I was running just behind her most of the way. (1.76 miles in 19:37)

15 miles...finally!

It wasn't pretty, but I got it done. I ran 15 miles non-stop. That's the longest non-stop run I've ever done. I didn't really have a route in mind when I left the house, so I ran off to the east for a little while and then circled around to the west. When I got to the corner of Maple and Main, I decided I'd go out of town on Fifth Street and take West River Road south to SE 10th and run back along Lake Road to the lake. I did that, took a lap around the lake and then headed back into town taking SE 25th Avenue north to Highway 54. At Wal-Mart, I turned south again and via a series of twists and turns designed mostly to avoid hills I made it to 15 miles. (garmin data)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Constructing a new route...

I took it nice and easy this morning. After yesterday's harder effort, I didn't want to blow up. I took off to the west on Manor and then on School with no particular route in mind. I turned south at Pine thinking maybe I'd go down and loop around Lemon Park, but when I got to Sixth I decided to head east and run out and around Wal-Mart. I did that and then ran west along Highway 54 to the junction of Highway 61. There I discovered road construction. I knew they were going to repave the highway soon, but I didn't know they had things blocked off already. I ran north past the "Road Closed" signs and up to Maple where I had to run across the grass on the edge of the street to continue on. I ran the curves on Maple and part way up the hill to Terrace where I turned south once more and followed the street back home. I ran past home a block or two make my distance an even 4.25 miles. I stopped and walked back to the house for my cool down. (garmin data)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Break the chain...

I woke up before my alarm went off this morning, but still didn't get out the door before 5:30. I had too many things to do to wrap up my SpiBand giveaway and making sure my lower intestines were empty. How's that for tactful?

I stepped out the door at 5:30 and took a minute or so to decide what I was going to do. I thought about trying to draw something with my Garmin, but gave up on that when I couldn't figure out a turtle in my head. Instead I drew a chain making all left hand turns all the way up and back and then running around the outside with a few loops around blocks toward the end to get me to six miles.

I was really pleased with my pace. My splits were 8:20, 8:05, 8:00, 8:00, 7:56 and 7:38. Almost perfectly negative! I would have liked to have tacked on the extra .2 for a 10K, but it was 6:30 and I had responsibilities to take care of. (garmin data)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Playing in the dirt...

When I left the house this morning, I had time enough to run six or seven miles without having to push too hard. I ran at a moderate pace to the west edge of town, turned the corner on First Street and headed out on the dirt. I hadn't run on this road for long while. It was fun to feel the squish of sand under my feet as I ran down the hill, then up. I remembered there were dogs at the top of the hill. I tried to slip past them, but they heard my soft footfalls and barked a bit. Thankfully, their pens held and I didn't have to do wind sprints.

I turned south on West River Road and ran across the railroad tracks and Highway 54 to Fifth. I took Fifth into town and all the way across to Rochester which I took north to Third.

I ran east on Third behind the hospital, greeting a walker as I ran past. We both thought it felt weird that there was no wind this morning. Turning north on Howard, I ran back across the highway and on to home. (garmin data)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

An interrupted run...

I was going to go for a long run this morning, but everything seemed to conspire against doing so. I delivered my daughter's paper route before I headed out. Shortly after I got underway, I saw the ambulance headed into the hospital. Right behind it was a car that belonged to one of our church members. I followed it to the ER entrance and visited with the family for a bit before continuing on.

I ran over to the fitness center where there had been a 5k earlier in the morning. A friend of mine was leaving when I ran into the parking lot. He just started running and he placed third! He was pretty excited.

After he left, I ran back out and tried to follow the arrows on the road to see what their course had been, but I missed a turn somewhere and just kept running.

I ran across the highway and railroad tracks, turned this way and that and then came back across to the northeast side of town. I did a bit more meandering and decided I'd seen enough running. I quit when I reached four miles. (garmin data)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I was sore...I ran anyway...It was beautiful!

I was really sore when I woke up this morning. I suppose it could have been because of the 11 slow miles and 100 pushups I did yesterday. Maybe. I got up and went for a run anyway.

My creaky bones protested when I stepped out the door. Their protests were blown away by the water cannons of habit. I'm going to run if it kills me.

I started out with a plan to run a couple of miles on the loop close to the house. It's a great route because every mile gives me the chance to bail out if I want to. I ran up Larimer to Holly and turned west as usual. I was feeling okay by that time and decided that I didn't need to go back by the house. I would survive. I kept going past Lawrence, my usual turning point for the one-mile loop and ran on to where Holly hits Oak.

Turning south on Oak my first inclination was to run back to School Street and head east back to the house. Once again, I changed my mind when I got there. I ran through the intersection and continued on south.

I ran on Oak past several more intersections and somewhere near the police station encountered a gentleman who was out checking his lawn. I greeting him with a cheery, "Good morning! How are you?" He said he was fine and added, "It looks like you're doing good!" I realized when he said it that it was true. I was doing good. I felt great and I was running smoothly.

Bolstered by the energy that came from that interaction, I rounded the corner at Sixth and headed east. I ran down the hill past the parks and continued on to Howard where I turned north and ran up that stupid little hill. I'd been watching my pace gradually increase over the course of my run and it dropped a bit as I marched upward and onward. It picked up again after I crested and the slope wasn't quite as steep.

My final quarter mile or so was awesome. I might have been grinning from ear to ear as I floated along. I remembered looking at people's recovery workouts when I was first running and being amazed at people who could run the pace I was running. I couldn't imagine that being restful.

Today, 8:45 pace was as relaxing and enjoyable as a day on the beach. Today, I loved running. I will do it again. (garmin data)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Running him out of town...

Chris and me outside Skyline Schools
I met Chris Nicholas yesterday. I opened the door at the school, looked at him and said, "Hey! You're the PacePerMile guy! Chris, right?" I had run into Chris online a few days earlier through a Facebook ad. I couldn't resist the copy which said he would be running through Pratt on Monday on his way across the USA. A click here and a click there eventually took me to Chris' RunAndFinish website.

I introduced myself to Chris and his host for the day, Gene, then submitted to a quick photo with Chris. We talked for a bit before I had to go in for lunch room duty and agreed to meet this morning. I wanted to run him out of town properly. (That's not as bad as it sounds!)

At Skyline Schools with the 2nd Graders
Through PacePerMile's Facebook page and a few other means, we decided to meet up at the public library at 5:00 today. I got up at 4:30, dressed to run, took a sip or two of water and left my house around 4:55. I ran a pretty quick mile to the library. Chris wasn't there, so I stopped my Garmin and settled in to wait. Not everyone is as prompt as me, so I'm used to biding my time.

A few minutes later, I saw someone running up the street. Whoever it was, they weren't pushing a stroller like Chris was. It turned out to be a member of Chris' host family. He wasn't quite ready. I went with his host to their house to wait.

Dan and me just before Chris left to venture on alone
Around 5:30, Chris was all packed up and ready to go. He said his goodbyes to his hosts and we set off down Fifth Street, running down the hill past the Blythe Family Fitness Center and Pratt High. We continued on Fifth until Washington where we took a right and ran to the Kwik Shop so Chris could pick up breakfast - a million bananas, a couple of greasy items, two bottles of orange juice - and Gatorade for the day. A couple of people asked about what he was doing and were duly impressed when they learned he was running across the country.

We left the convenience store and walked most of the way to Skyline Schools. There we met up with Dan, my cycling friend, who was on his way out to pick me up and bring me home. (We were running that far behind!) He chatted with us for a bit before we started running down the old highway headed toward Cullison.

Chris is definitely in Kansas
There was little traffic on the ancient roadway. A car here and there, but nothing compared to what Chris would've faced out on the new Highway 54. As the sun began to rise behind us, the wheat in the fields began to glow. Chris looked at it and had to get a picture. We rolled his stroller a little way into the field and took a few shots before rolling on.

We ran and walked and ran and walked along talking about running and life. It was fun to learn more about this amazing man who aims to raise $5000 for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals as he goes. (You can donate to the cause with your Paypal account by visiting his RunAndFinish site.) We talked about what a rest day like the day before does to your body when you try to start up again. Chris dreamed of crossing the USA again in a few years. If he does that, he's pretty sure he'd like to focus more on connecting with other runners along the way, inviting them to run with him.

A word for the day for Chris
As we neared Cullison, we spotted Dan in the distance. He was walking out to meet us. We caught him less than a mile out of town and he ran and walked us there. We turned off toward the grain elevators, hoping to find a place for Chris to take a pit stop. Before he crossed 54, Dan and I wished him well and walked back to our car. There we found a sign we couldn't let Chris miss. We drove to the elevator and made him run back into Cullison. He laughed when he saw the sign out front. It read, "God promises pace!" I suppose it once said peace, but today, what it said was perfect.

God's peace be with you, Chris! May he lift up your feet and give you pace, too!

(garmin data)

The little band that can...

Keys are a problem. Not always, mind you. When I need to enter a locked building, they come in handy. They allow me to access my office at work and open my car’s doors. They let me gather the mail from the mailbox and gain entry to the EMS garage when I’m on call. The trouble with keys has nothing to do with their purpose. It’s the question of what to do with them on race day or when I drive to a group run that bothers me.

Last spring, I ran a trail half marathon. I stuck my keys in the pocket of the bottle holder around my waist. Somehow they fell out. Thankfully, someone spotted them and took the time to scoop them up. They brought them to the finish line. I was grateful!

I’ve tried putting them in the pockets of a pair of shorts on more than one occasion. The bouncing of them against my leg drove me nuts and I was always afraid they’d escape along my route. They wouldn’t be found and returned every time.

The solution I uneasily settled on when I was at events without a non-running family member or friend who could hold my stuff for me was hiding my keys in a bag and leaving it somewhere at the race start. Most of the races I run in are small, local events, so the likelihood of theft was slight, but the fear of the unusual happening was still there. When I finished my race, I fished for my keys in my bag almost immediately every time.

Then one day I was browsing the internet, I stumbled on SpiBelt’s new product, the SpiBand. It’s simple design appealed to me, so I investigated further. I sent a message to someone at the company and a short time later, a black SpiBand arrived for my review. I tried it out the next morning.

I had trouble figuring out how to make it work at first. I pulled it on and couldn’t find the pocket. When I did, it was fairly straightforward. Put the key in the small slot. Pull the rest of the band back over it. I would advise users to pay attention to what the band looks like when they purchase it, so they can get it back to that shape. That will make it a snap to use.

With my keys secure, I stepped out the door and started running. The band didn’t bobble or bounce at all. I mostly forgot it was there. That’s a good thing in my book. I hate products that keep yelling at me, “I’m here! I’m here!” The only time I noticed it was a little later in the run. The band’s material, over time, made my wrist warm up considerably. It wasn’t getting any air. That’s a minor enough issue, I suppose. I thought I might try the band around my ankle, but it’s not big enough to get over my heel.

The SpiBand fit my smaller wrists snuggly. It was comfortable and worry-free. I wondered, though, how it would work for someone with larger wrists. Would it be too tight or would the material give enough to allow the same excellent fit? I asked a bigger-boned friend to give it a spin. He took it home and tried it. It didn’t go well. He had trouble getting the pocket right on his wrist. It wasn’t too tight or loose. It was just confusing for him. This, of course, does not mean another person of similar size could not find the SpiBand useful.

Several days after my key test, I decided to try carrying a cell phone in the band to see how the SpiBand faired with a larger object in place. It was a little more difficult to get the phone in place, but that could partly be because of the smooth, rounded corners on my old-style, flip phone. I didn’t have a larger smart phone available to me, so I can’t say how it would fit, but my phone stayed in place through my morning’s 5-miler. It was much cooler that day than the key test day so the warm wrist was actually pretty nice.

My final assessment of the SpiBand? It’s a well-made product that does well what it is designed to do. It’s great for carrying keys, but a cell phone might be a little too much to ask of it. The only complaint I have is the breathability of the fabric. I could be the only person in the world troubled by hot wrists, but there may be others who dislike the same. It will not fit over the ankle.

GIVEAWAY: If you would like to enter a drawing for a chance to win a SpiBand, comment below. That’s one (1) entry. Two additional entries can be obtained by tweeting a link to this post with both my username – @openmikey (2) – and SpiBelt’s username – @SpiBelt (3) – in it. That gives you a total of three entries. The drawing for the SpiBand is open to U.S. residents only. It will take place on Wednesday, May 16, at 5:00am. If the person chosen does not respond within a week of being notified here that they are the winner, another winner will be chosen. A big thank you goes to Dawn Ryden and SpiBelt for making this giveaway possible. Comments on this blog are moderated, so don't panic if you don't see yours right away. I have to approve it before it goes live.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5.01 miles in 40:27

it was cold again today! woohoo! i love running when the temperature dips. it was 46 at 5:00 with not a breath of wind. perfect!

i started running with no plan beyond running five or six miles to test out my new zensah compression shorts. they are nice!

i didn't feel especially fast this morning, but when i looked at my splits and my overall pace, i see that i was a little faster than normal. if it hadn't been for mile four, i would've had a beautiful set of negative splits - 8:19, 8:02, 8:01, 8:05, 7:55. that mile had less uphill running than the fifth. what's up with that?!

i only need another 12 miles to be halfway to my goal mileage for the year. i have the sneaking suspicion that i'm going to blow that goal out of the water training for my 100-miler.

Friday, May 4, 2012

10.04 miles in 1:29:34

i woke up this morning to blinking clocks. the electricity had gone off some time in the night. i checked my watch. it was 4:40. "i've got time for a long run," i told myself. i got dressed and was out the door before 5:00.

my original plan was to run out on the dirt roads west of town and circle back by the school on the way home, but when i encountered some sandy spots in town i decided i'd be slipping and sliding if i did that. not my idea of fun.

i ran on the streets and out to the school and beyond instead, then turned around and came back by a slightly different route. i had to make a pit stop at the kwik shop again, so i was a little late waking my wife up. she'll get around and make it on time anyway. i hope.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

7.00 miles in 1:03:15

ugh! the weather conditions - 68 degrees with 74% humidity - made for miserable running. breathing was a chore. i kept it slow and easy so as not to puke or collapse. i was successful.

i wanted to run a cinnamon roll pattern this morning and i couldn't quite wrap my head around where i should start, so i walked a bit before starting to run. i figured out my route about a block before i needed to start it, so i started running there. i ran up and around the champa-maple-stout-green block, dropped back down to cherry and did a cherry-lawrence-spruce-curtis loop before going out another block and doing the outer school-larimer-holly-thompson ring.

when i was done with the first go 'round, i still had time to run, so i went back in and then back out again. i finished with a little champa-cherry-lawrence extension, then walked back home from the corner of lawrence and green to wake my wife up at home. i was only five minutes late.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

5.01 miles in 42:41

i woke up before 5:00. i laid in bed for awhile. i decided i wasn't going to go back to sleep. i got up. i dressed and headed out the door.

at first i didn't have a clue what i wanted to do. i just ran around aimlessly, turning this way or that whenever the urge hit me. about a mile and a half into the run, the aimlessness ended. i started aiming for the nearest restroom. it happened to be at the kwik shop.

after my pit stop, i ran on around the south side of town. i took a few turns i'd never taken before. one of the streets didn't curve around like i thought it would and i ended up back on eighth street when i thought i'd be on ninth. i did a few more turns, then came back to eighth and ran across town till it ended. i turned south a block and picked up ninth where it enters sixth street park.

when i'd run through the park,  i started feeling pretty lousy. the 94% humidity started getting to me, i guess. i ran back toward home, but didn't quite make it before a wave of nausea swept over me. ugh! i made it to five miles and stopped. i was done. i fought back the puke monster for a minute or two while i walked. it was vanquished and i made it back to the house in one piece.