Archive for July, 2010

Yeah, the homemade cookies at the end of the run were, by far, the best thing about the run tonight!

Was dragging the whole way and it was just HARD to fight through the humidity that was out there. I kept hoping for rain, but it seemed to break all around us and not actually ON us. Oh well. At least I got out and did a couple of miles, right?

Still searching for that next goal to keep me motivated. Maybe the His & Her Relay in a couple of weeks? If we can swing it, that might be fun. And I’m guessing Noelle will make me go first, so I can’t let her down!

Now…back to those cookies…I’m always reading that you need to make sure you give your body enough fuel after a run; maybe I should have an extra chocolate chip…just in case.

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Woof. I did not want to be out there tonight. I thought that 48 hours was a good enough rest period for my back-to-back 4 milers. Was I ever mistaken. Tonight’s issues were totally mental. My calves were complaining the entire time, but nothing that I couldn’t have pushed through. No, tonight I wasn’t focused and didn’t have a clear goal that I was out there to accomplish. I suppose I’m at that stage where I want to run but I’m not yet at the point where running is its own reward.

I thought I could maybe gear myself up for the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon relay in October; but they’re all full up (though next year – watch out!). So I’m going to have to choose something else to motivate me. For now, I think I’d be content if I could get my 5k time down below 35 minutes (which was Noelle’s time for her first 5k). And not just once, but consistently. I still need to find a comfortable pace that’s going to give me the speed I want, but isn’t going to totally kill me the next day.

The Bikilas are holding up great (did the beach run on Tuesday barefoot – that was fantastic!). About the only time I notice them is when I step on something that would have hurt if I’d been barefoot and at the end of the run. I’ve noticed that the right sole seems to be wearing a bit more than the left, but I think that’s more a function of me coming down harder on my right foot (I’m right-handed…I wonder if that makes a difference?). So far, the experiment is paying off. I didn’t get anywhere near this kind of mileage last time I tried to take up running.

Run #12: I Wasn’t Last!

Posted: July 20, 2010 in Running

Consider the Beach Run conquered!

I wasn’t last (I was close – but there were at least two people behind me, so I know I wasn’t the very last one to cross the line). Actually beat my time from last night’s 4 miler by quite a bit – came within spitting distance of 48:30 (Runkeeper has 48:54, but that’s cause I couldn’t get to it to turn it off). My pace was close to 12 m/m as well, even with me taking it “easy” in the 3rd mile and switching from 4 minutes running/2 minutes walking to a 2/2 interval (my brain took advantage of my inability to count and tricked me, I swear!).

Running with a big, experienced group was a little bit nerve-wracking (OK, a lot nerve-wracking); but it helped me speed up at the beginning and provided me with incentive to keep things going strong. It was also disheartening to see people essentially lapping me on my first mile; but then they’ve been doing this longer. :-p

Overall, I’m really pleased with my performance. I reached my mini-goal and was able to turn in a better time that I expected. I’ll definitely be adding more group runs here and there to break up the monotony of running alone.

I had the best cheerleaders though – couldn’t ask for a better crew!

Strong run last night – decided to try intervals for the first time to see if I could eliminate some of the lag I’ve been feeling once I get past 1 mile out. Since Runkeeper isn’t really set up for intervals, I settled on 4 minutes running/2 minutes walking; not what the experts recommend but it was going to be way too annoying to have Runkeeper going off in my ear every minute (which would be necessary if I was doing 2/1). It worked really well overall and I was able to keep my time well under 13 minutes. The weather helped out too, since it started to rain about halfway through mile 2 and really cooled me down. Still wasn’t a magic bullet, as my legs still wanted to give out towards mile 3; but I was able to make like Muad’Dib and go all Kwisatz Haderach on myself – the first 2 minutes of a run portion were easy(ish); but when the second 2 minutes kicked in and I wanted to crap out, I just told myself that it was only a few seconds more, I could always run for just a few more seconds. Mind over matter (even if the last few run portions weren’t much better than a walking pace)!

The other big accomplishment last night was that I reached 4 miles! I figured I’d better do at least one 4 mile run before tonight’s beach run so that I had an idea of a) what my time would be like and b) if I could make it or if I’d wake up with some kid poking me with a stick at the shoreline, telling their Mom to come over and see the manatee. My legs are definitely sore today; but I’m hoping they recover by the evening (I wanted to do my long run on Sunday; but forces conspired).

Even so, if I’m a bit slower because of last night’s run, I’m confident that I have the tools I need to maintain a decent pace. Fingers crossed!

Run #10: Intentional 5K Conquered!

Posted: July 16, 2010 in Running
Tags: ,

Ah-HA! Tenth run and I decided to go for broke (especially since I’m supposed to run 4 miles next Tuesday). Queued up Runkeeper, mapped out a route online and pounded out a 5k! I managed to beat both of my “Try not to run like an old man” goals by staying under a 13 minute pace and completing 3.1 miles under 40 minutes (juuuuuuust barely made that one).

My first mile (after I get my breathing down and stop huffing and puffing) has been really good these past few runs, usually well under 12 minutes/mile. But it’s after that mile that my legs get fatigued and my brain starts convincing me to walk more and more. That’s when that pace starts creeping back towards 13 m/m. Now, the third mile tonight was much more solid because I realized I was close to missing my pace, so I pushed to keep it under.

Debriefing with Noelle after the run, she had some solid suggestions. The one that I really want to try next time is to plan my walking intervals so that I’m not burning out my legs early in the run. By halfway through the first mile, I’ve got my breathing down, so I don’t feel like I have to pant like a dog to get oxygen. So I feel like I should go as far as I possibly can before my legs bark at me to stop. A better strategy, and one that Noelle’s successfully used to improve her time, is to take quick breaks (and walk faster) while you’re still fresh; save some of that energy to take you farther. Great advice – especially since my pace was seesawing between 10 and 20 m/m towards the end there (making it a lot harder to recover my pace).

Quick note on the earphones – switched the in-ears w/ the mic for the standard white iPod earbuds (sans mic) and everything went perfectly. Runkeeper didn’t cut out once. I miss being able to use the remote to repeat songs (I’m on a boat!); but I’ll just have to spend some time with my playlist so that I don’t need to tweak on the go (Note to self: Be cruel and insert the Buffy theme in mile 2 and 3). Small price to pay for the hardware to behave the way it’s supposed to. 🙂

OK, so the Voice Control thing is really getting obnoxious. It could be that, once the humidity drops and I don’t feel like I’m running through my own personal Okefenokee Swamp, I’ll be able to use the Apple in-ear headphones again. But totally non-scientific testing seems to bear out what others are saying: sweat gets in the mic/volume control widget and shorts the phone into Voice Control mode. I’ll try a pair of cheapo headphones next run and see if they bear the theory out. I’m finding that I really need my music and my pace notifications and having everything cut out halfway through my run kills me!

Speaking of which, managed to stay under 13 minutes again (12:33…nothing that’s going to rocket me out of the bottom of the pack, but still a good progression for yours truly). I kept up the run for about 3 quarters of a mile, which was a bit shorter, but I was stress eating earlier tonight as we got G ready for his last board-break before karate testing. (I seem to have a ton of excuses as to why I’m off pace, don’t I?). Really wasn’t feeling it tonight; but at least I got out there, kept under 13 minutes, and managed to add some distance in prep for the 4 mile run (which is in LESS THAN A WEEK! YIPES!). I’m really going to have to step things up if I want to come in at a time that doesn’t totally embarrass my family for generations to come.

One last thing, I retract my previous statement, Electro-Mix tastes nothing like the Gatorade you grew up with. It’s crisp and refreshing. Orange-flavored GU Brew tastes exactly like the stuff you grew up with – I swear, one sip and I was transported to every bout of strep and stomach bug I had growing up. I won’t be going back for seconds.

Earphone Issues

Posted: July 13, 2010 in Gear, Hardware
Tags: ,

I’m still having what I thought were Runkeeper issues where the iPhone’s Voice Control feature would kick in randomly during my runs and totally kill my music playback.

After a bit of research, it sounds like this happens with other Apple mobility products (iTouch, iPods, etc). Some people swear it only happens when they’re paired with Apple headphones; others say the headphones don’t make a difference. Supposed causes vary wildly from sweat, to excessive motion, to wind noise.

So it’s not Runkeeper’s fault (which is good – I’m loving the program). And it’s probably not the earphones’ fault; which is also good – I don’t want to shell out more for different earphones. I like the Apple Earphones I picked up last year. Unlike the Shures, they don’t totally block ambient noise, kind of important when you’re out running, I think.

I’ve thrown a passcode on my phone so that I can disable voice dialing (why you need to add a passcode to your phone to do that is beyond me), we’ll see if that works. The other decidedly low-tech option is putting a piece of tape over the mic. I’ll try that next if disabling voice dialing doesn’t work.