December 31, 2006

A fun New Years eve

What better way to spend a New Years eve than with family and friends.

December 30, 2006

Welcome to Jonathan Allen Choate

Yesterday, about noon MST, my daughter gave birth to her third child (my 9th grandchild). In the picture below, he is being held by his older sister, Sophie.

No more running this year

With all of the excitement of a new grandson and our taking care of his two sisters for the next couple of days and our visiting him in the hospital and our getting ready for a family party tomorrow evening and my trying to finish a DVD of a Messiah performance in Evanston, Wyoming that involved my other daughter, I don't expect to do any more running this year. See you on January 1, 2007.

December 27, 2006

One down, one to go

I ran for two hours this morning on the Jordan River Parkway. I was still tired from my run yesterday, so I took walking breaks every half-mile instead of every mile. There was a light sprinkle of rain during the first half of the run due to a storm-front that is passing through the area. According to the weather forecast, we may get a couple of inches of snow tonight. The temperature was in the low 40s during the run. My wakeup HR was 49.

Yesterday I mentioned I had two runs left for this year. This run makes one down, and I have one more run that will close out the year 2006. It has been a good year!

December 26, 2006

Are you working too hard?

I've started reading Running Until You're 100 by Jeff Galloway that Santa brought me for Christmas. Here is a statement from the book that I like.

Mature runners who have time goals can get too focused on running faster almost every run. This often results in injury. One of the first signs is increased stress associated with running, often resulting in motivation problems. At the first sign of these symptoms, reduce mileage and let mind and body get back together again:

Running is not as enjoyable.

You don't look forward to your runs.

When you say something to others about your running, the statements are often negative.

The negativity can permeate other areas of your life.

You look on running as work instead of play.

Two more runs will finish out the year

I ran for an hour on the Jordan River Parkway this morning and enjoyed myself. There were a lot of runners and walkers also using the path. I forgot to measure my wakeup HR, but I felt pretty good. It took the first half of the run for my body to warm up, and I ran faster and enjoyed the run more on the way back. The temperature was 40 (F) when I left home and 44 (F) when I returned. There are about 4 inches of snow still on the ground. That plus a sunny sky made for a picturesque run. Almost like running in a fairy-land.

I'm still a youngster

Here is another quote from Running Until You're 100.

A few years ago, I met a 93-year old runner who ran in the popular Crim 10 mile race in Flint, Mich. He was just as excited about the race as the 20 year olds, and more mentally sharp than some of the younger runners as he talked about it. A recent news clipping showed a 101-year-old man running a veteran's track meet. He set a world record.

After reading about those two gentlemen, I decided I am a youngster after all!

December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas to all!

As the year 2006 comes to a close, I look back on it with appreciation to everyone who has influenced my life during the past 12 months.

Sophie is my 6-year-old granddaughter.

This was the year I retired from full-time work. In my almost 44 years of employment, I've known many great people and am a better person because of their influence in my life. I've always enjoyed my work and have looked forward to each day.

This was the year I took my running to a new level. In the 2 1/2 years since my auto accident and 6 1/2 weeks in the hospital and my first run after the accident of 1/8 mile, I'm running 30+ miles per week. I set a PB in the half marathon of 2:21:16. I'm looking forward to the Salt Lake Half Marathon in April. I'm still running without injury, and I'm still running because I enjoy it and because I want to.

This was the year that I gained a greater appreciation and love for my friends and family.

This was my first year of retirement, and I've discovered that it's great to be an old geezer! They call us "golden-oldies". I'll accept the "golden" part, but I'm still young! Oldies are those over age 100....

This was another year in which I'm glad to be Allen Leigh!

A wonderful run on this beautiful day

I had a great run for an hour this morning. The temperature was 33 (F) when I left and 40 (F) when I returned. The sun was out, ice was melting, and it was a great morning to be outside. I felt more energetic this morning than I have for the past month, and my wakeup HR was down to 49 this morning. I ran at the comfortable pace I've been using all week, and I really enjoyed the run.

A few people out exercising on Christmas

A mile and a half into my run, I passed some picnic areas, and I saw a man and a woman trying out their new snow shoes. Later, I passed a walker, and two runners passed me. I had thought I'd be the only one out on this Christmas morning, and it was nice to see a few others.

Singing tenor again

When I attend church and sing congregational hymns, I usually sing tenor. However, I haven't sung tenor for about a month due to my voice being hoarse due to a cold in my throat. My colds usually begin in my nose and possibly move to my throat, but this cold was just in my throat. No dripping nose, no sore throat, just an occasional cough that brought up thick, yellowish phlegm. For the first month I just ignored it since it didn't get worse and didn't seem to be a problem. However, I did notice that my voice was hoarse and that my voice would crack when I would try and sing tenor.

I finally decided to do something about it and started taking Hepar Sulf, a homeopathic remedy for colds that have thick, yellowish mucus. The cold isn't completely gone away, but yesterday I sang tenor during the congregational hymns.

December 23, 2006

Another nice long run and not quite so cold

My wakeup HR was 51 this morning. I didn't feel super energetic, but I didn't feel tired either. I ran for 2 1/2 hours and enjoyed the run. The temperature was about 33 (F) when I left and 30 (F) when I returned. There was a 10-15 mph head wind going out, and I was glad for my wind breaker. I forgot my gloves, but with the warmer temperature (compared to Wednesday) my hands were ok. The gusty tail wind coming back was nice. I ran my relatively slow comfortable pace that I've been using this week.

A big black dog started to follow me

On my way back, while I was on the residential street that is on the big hill, a large black dog came across the street and started to run with me. After a couple of blocks, I decided I'd better send him home. I stopped and pointed back down the street. In a commanding voice, I said, "Home, go home" and repeated it a few times. He turned and went up a side street. He didn't try to follow me, and he was close enough to home that he shouldn't have gotten lost.

December 21, 2006

The days are getting longer now

Two hours and 14 minutes ago, the northern hemisphere had its winter solstice, the official time when winter begins and the winter days start getting longer. I'm always glad for the solstice, because I like having more daylight even though it will be cold for another couple of months.

Beautiful Utah mountains

This post has nothing to do with running. I ran onto some beautiful photos of the Wasatch mountains east of Salt Lake City, and I thought I'd post the links for those of you who are interested in why Utah has famous ski resorts and famous hiking. My family and I climbed Mt. Timpanogos when we first moved to Utah 13 years ago.

December 20, 2006

Wow, what a run!

I ran for two hours on the Jordan River Parkway, and had a great run. South Jordan City and Riverton City had the snow cleared from the path, except for a couple of access points. On the way out, I ran at the comfortable pace I used yesterday, and on the way back I ran slightly faster. It was on the way back that I experienced the feeling of cruising down a highway as if I could drive forever. I don't get that feeling often as I run, and it is a cool feeling. My energy level was higher than it has been lately, due in part to my getting 8 hours sleep the past couple of nights. My wakeup HR was a bit high (51) this morning, but I still felt great.

As I was finishing the first half and was nearing my turn-around point, I started feeling cold, indicating my body wasn't generating enough heat to keep me warm and propel me down the path. Twenty-four years ago while running marathons, I learned that I would start getting cold after an hour, and that was my experience today. At my turn-around point, I stopped and swallowed an e-Gel pack. I didn't feel cold any more as I continued my run. I ran 9 miles and probably burned about 1000 calories due to the distance and the cold temperature. The e-Gel gave me 150 calories, so I burned a net of about 850 calories during the run. I've been eating more food, via grazing during the day, so I think (hope) I had enough food before I left for the run.

I ran in the late afternoon, and it was just getting dark when I finished. I was glad to finish before it got really dark, because there were patches of ice on the path from melting snow, and I was able to see the ice and skirt around it. The temperature when I left home was 27 (F) and 18(F) when I returned.

Need some gloves during my long winter runs

I'm going to have to wear gloves on these long, cold runs. I usually just tuck my hands inside the sleeves of my wind breaker, and that is sufficient to keep my hands warm. That was sufficient during the first hour of the run today, but during the second hour, my hands got cold. The cold-hands started with me swallowing an e-Gel and thus having my hands in the cold air for a couple of minutes. After I started running I tucked my hands back inside the wind breaker, but they didn't get very warm. When I reached my car, I had a hard time undoing the zipper on my wind breaker pocket to retrieve my car keys -- I couldn't grasp the handle of the zipper very well. In fact I had a hard time tearing the top off the e-Gel for the same reason, and e-Gels are usually easy to open. I have a pair of light, cotton gloves that I wore in Massachusetts, and I'll try them. Also, in Massachusetts I sometimes just wore a clean pair of cotton socks over my hands, and that worked fine, too.

More kids at the "sledding" hill

When I pulled into the parking lot by the parkway, there were several kids sledding down the hill into the parking lot. Apparently that hill is "the" sledding hill around here. In fact it is the only hill around here that doesn't have automobile traffic. The western part of the Salt Lake Valley has a gentle slope from the Oquirrah Mountains to the Jordan River, but the city streets aren't conducive to sledding. During the last eighth mile before the river, the land drops sharply into the flood plain, and that is the reason for the steep downhill into the parking lot.

December 19, 2006

A nice rest run

I ran for an hour on the Jordan River Parkway. There is about a foot of snow on the ground from the storm Saturday night and Sunday, but the path was clear of snow thanks to the kind folks working for South Jordan City. The temperature was in the mid 20s (F) during the run, and the sky was partly overcast. It was a great day to be out.

Sledding in the snow

The beginning of the parkway path is about 25 feet below the adjacent street, and there is a steep hill going from the adjacent street to the parkway parking lot. When I returned from my run, there was a family sledding down the steep hill. They were having a lot of fun!

As I watched them, I was reminded of the time we came up from Phoenix to Salt Lake for a Christmas visit. We spent several hours each day sledding down the steep hill at Sugarhouse park. That was 32 or 33 years ago, and I still remember it as if it were yesterday. I also remember the time after we had moved from Phoenix to Massachusetts that we spent an evening sledding down our driveway (a 30 foot elevation change) using our car lights to see the driveway. We were up until midnight. That would have been the winter of 1976-1977. Ahhh... great memories!

Used a Polar Heart Rate Monitor

My wife and I recently attended a lecture by a man who claims that we can improve our brains by following certain natural methods (exercise, nutrition, etc.). He said that if we exercise and get our heart rate up to 80% - 85% of our maximum rate, we will have an increased level of Human Growth Hormones, and the higher level of HGH will improve the functioning of our brains. He said it isn't necessary to sustain that rate; just get the HR up to that level and then walk to let the HR come down, and then repeat the sequence for 10-15 minutes per day. He said to use a HR monitor to monitor the HR. He didn't say this, but I would suggest that non-runners start out at 40-50% of max and then slowly (maybe 5% per week) increase the rate up to 80%. Of course they should get an ok from their doctor before trying to increase the amount of HGH in their system.

My wife thought she would like to try his suggestion, so we bought a Polar HR monitor. She is a good walker and shouldn't have a problem with 50% of max.

I tried the monitor on my run today. It was interesting to see my various heart rates throughout the morning and then during my run.

The speaker we listened to used the traditional formula 220 - age as the maximum. That value isn't quite accurate, but it is close enough for most of us, and it is an easy formula to use. For my age (71) here is a table of HR rate values and percentage of maximum.

60 40%
75 50%
89 60%
104 70%
106 71%
107 72%
109 73%
110 74%
112 75%
119 80%
134 90%
149 100%

During the first mile, my HR slowly climbed up to 70%, and it remained at 70% for the next mile and a quarter when I reached my turn around. On the way back, my HR was at 71% until the last half mile where it was at 73%. I ran a little bit faster on the way back.

I was running at my comfortable speed, and the HR numbers show that I was running at a restful, LSD pace. I've been running via "feel" for 34 years, and it was nice to know that my "feel" agrees with recommendations for a restful run. I won't be using the HR monitor as a normal thing, but starting in January, I will use it to check on my "feel" during my speed work during the spring. I want to continue running via "feel" but would like the assurance that my "feel" is about right.

By way of information, my wakeup HR was 49 this morning, 32% of max. While using my computer, my HR is about 39% of max. While walking around it is about 47% of max.

By way of observation, I was surprised how quickly my HR came down after I stopped running and began walking for a cool-down. Within 100 feet of walking, my HR dropped about 10 points. I walked about 1/4 mile and did stretches for a couple of minutes. When I finished all of that, my HR was down to my "walking" value.

December 17, 2006

More snow today

Yesterday, while in Evanston, Judy and I considered staying the night with our daughter so we wouldn't be driving home in a big snowstorm. However, at the time the Messiah program was over, Evanston had had no new snow, and the snow on I80 going past Park City was only a couple of inches of slush. We thus decided to drive home that night, and we arrived home 2 1/2 hours later, as explained in yesterday's post. When we awoke this morning, there was about 6 inches of new snow on the ground, and 2 or 3 more inches fell during the day. We were glad that we came home last night, and we were glad the storm came in during the night instead of earlier in the evening.

December 16, 2006

Didn't run today

I had a busy schedule today and didn't run. My wife and I drove to Evanston, WY to video tape a performance of the Messiah that my daughter sang in. There was a winter storm watch for the area we would be driving through with estimates of snow from 8 inches to two feet. I spent significant time during the morning studying weather reports. I wasn't sure we should go, but we decided at the last minute to go. The highway (I80) was dry on the way up with just a few icy spots. On the way back, however, we drove over half of the distance through a snow storm. The snow was only a couple of inches deep, but it caused everyone to slow down. A trip that normally takes 1 1/2 hours at 70 mph took 2 1/2 hours at 30-50 mph. I'm glad we made it home safely. For the benefit of those in other countries, 62 mph is 100 kmh.

Now I have to make time to edit the video into a DVD.

December 13, 2006

Another hour rest run

Normally I run a two-hour medium run, but today I felt tired and reduced the run to one hour. My wakeup HR was 49, and I felt pretty good throughout the morning and early afternoon, but as soon as I started running (about 3 pm) I could tell I was tired. There was a headwind (5 mph) going out.

I picked up litter during the run, and enjoyed being out, even though I wasn't full of energy. The temperature was in the mid to high 40s (F). I wore long pants, which was a mistake, and I got quite warm during the run (taking off my windbreaker helped).

December 12, 2006

A slower but nice rest run

I ran an hour along the Jordan River Parkway and enjoyed myself. My wakeup HR was 54 due to not enough sleep Sunday night (a phone call woke me up and I couldn't go back to sleep. The call was a wrong number), and I could tell I was tired. So, I made it a "real" rest run. The temperature was in the mid 30s (F) during the run, and the sky was cloudy with a 5-10 mph headwind going out.

I set a good example during my run

Since today's run was a rest run and there was a lot of litter next to the path (blown in by the wind), I made today's run a litter-run. A walker saw me picking up trash, and he started picking trash up, too.

Congratulations, Bruce!

My friend from Las Vegas, Bruce, just ran the new Las Vegas marathon. Not only did he get a personal best in making his goal to break four hours, he qualified for Boston with a 3:45:27. Had to run against some strong headwinds, too. Whoopee... Click here to read his race report in the running forum at Take a bow, Bruce, you deserve it!

Bruce has posted several comments in this blog. I've known him for about seven years, via, but we met for the first time this past August when he came up to run the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon with me.

Good news from Bruce!

Bruce is going to wait until 2008 to run Boston, and he would like to come up to Salt Lake City for the half marathon in April. He is anxious to set a new PB for the half. It will be nice to run with him again!

December 11, 2006

A nice rest run

I ran for an hour on the Jordan River Parkway at my comfortable pace, which was slightly faster than on Saturday. Nothing eventful happened. The temperature during the run was in the mid 30s (F). My wakeup HR was 49. We had about half an inch of wet snow last night, but it is mostly gone.

December 9, 2006

Two and one-half hours of running and then a hot shower

I did my long run on the Jordan River Parkway. For the first 10 miles, I ran slightly faster than I did on Wednesday, and then I started getting tired. I slowed down a bit and finished my time, doing a distance of 12 miles. The temperature was in the low 50s (F), the sky was clear, and it was another beautiful day. My wakeup HR was 49.

On the way back, a man and a big dog passed me, and I thought to myself, "He is going fast". However, I soon realized that he had started alternating running and walking, and his overall average was about the same pace I was doing. I thus followed him for the last three miles until he finished his run and left the trail. I still had a mile to go, and I ran until I reached my time-goal, and I then walked the rest of the way (about half a mile) to my car.

Tried eating soup before my run

As an experiment, I ate a can of Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup about half an hour before I left for my run. It had a slight effect on my breathing for the first mile, and then I felt fine. The soup only had 60 or 70 calories, so it probably didn't do much for my energy level. It also had a lot of sodium, almost half of my MDA. I also ate an energy bar just before I started to run, and I ate an e-Gel pack at my turn around point.

Almost had to "adopt" a dog

While on my long run today, I reached the parking lot that is a couple hundred yards north of 126th South, and I saw a small dog running around the path. I assumed he belonged to two women I saw in the parking lot, so I pointed to them and said, "Go". The dog ignored me and continued running around. So, I turned around and jogged over to the women, and the dog followed me. They said the dog didn't belong to them, and that they and several others had tried to catch the dog to see if he had an ID collar. They said that I was the only person who could get close to the dog.

I continued my run, and the dog followed me. He seemed to be a happy dog and ran around in the bushes and on the trail. After about half a mile, I passed a man and a woman and a large dog. The little dog decided to go with them, and I continued my run, alone.

On my way back, I encountered the two people and the large dog, and the small dog was still with them. I decided I'd better get the little fellow back to the parking lot where I first saw him, so I whistled at the dog. He stopped and looked at me and then at the two people who were moving away from him. I whistled again, and the little dog looked at me and then at the two people who were getting farther and farther away from him.

After a few more whistles and the dog looking back at the two people, who by this time were quite far away, and at me, he decided to go with me, and he came running to me. We continued our journey north towards the parking lot.

As we approached the tunnel under 126th South, the little dog was about a hundred yards in front of me. Instead of following the path into the tunnel, he followed a path to the street and its many cars.

As I turned to go into the tunnel, I whistled at the dog and yelled at him, but he didn't come down to me. He turned and started going west on 126th South. That was the last time I saw the dog. I hope he knew his way home. He had a collar but no ID.

December 7, 2006

Felt pretty good during my two-hour run

I ran for two hours, averaging about a 12:30 pace, on the Jordan River Parkway, and I felt pretty good. My wakeup HR was 51, and I had a good sleep last night, plus a short nap before I went out running about 1:30 pm. I had breakfast about three hours before I left for my run (four or five hours would be better), and I had an e-Gel packet just before I left my car for the run and another one after an hour at my turn-around point.

The temperature was in the mid 40s (F) during my run, although the temp was lower when I finished because the sun was setting when I drove in my driveway. The sky was relatively free of clouds, and it was a great day to be out.

Food management, what's that?

A few days ago I was thinking about my running and wondering why I've been so tired the past few days. I had taken rest days and had slowed down, and I still felt tired. I'm not sure why I did it, but I added up my caloric intake for that day, and I couldn't believe my eyes: 600-700 for the whole day. After I had double checked my arithmetic to be sure I hadn't missed some food, I thought to myself, "No wonder I'm so tired!" I need about 500 calories per day (average) just to make up the energy spent in running, plus approximately 2000 calories for normal body functions. That is, roughly, 2500 calories per day, and I got only 600-700.

One of the things I've noticed as I get older is that I don't feel hungry very often. I get busy with my projects and forget about eating, and I don't feel hunger-pangs to remind me to go eat a meal. All of a sudden it's bed time, and I haven't eaten much. So, I'll just think food all day long.

For the past few days, since I realized how few calories I'm eating, I've been making a positive effort to eat regular meals, and that paid off in today's run.

December 5, 2006

A tired hour run

I ran my hour today, but I was tired and went slower. I was tired during my sit-ups and knew I would be tired during my run. My wakeup HR was 52. The temperature when I left home was about 40 (F).

Feed the ducks, feed the ducks, di -di -dum -di -di

In Mary Poppins, they fed the birds. Today, I took some bread to the Jordan River Parkway and fed the ducks. I must have had a hundred of them scrambling to get the bread. Some of the ducks have good eyesight and coordination. One duck caught the bread in the air. One piece of bread went into some bushes, and a duck went in after it.

A white duck with light-brown trim

A few weeks ago, I posted that I saw a white duck that didn't seem to be a Mallard. When I saw it, it was several hundred feet away, and I couldn't get a good look at it. At the time, I thought it had a smaller head than the other ducks.

While feeding the ducks, several of the ducks that came for bread were white with light brown trim on their bodies and wings. The rest of the ducks were the typical Mallard color (brown for females and black/green/blue for males). I don't know what kind of ducks the white ones are.

December 4, 2006

A nice, comfortable rest run

My wakeup HR was 51 this morning. Our low last night was 15 (F), but when I left home for my hour run in mid afternoon, the shade temperature was 33 (F). When I returned home, the sun had just dipped behind the mountains, and the temperature was 31 (F).

I started my run with three layers, but I removed my wind breaker after a mile and a half, and I felt comfortable during the run. However, as the sun was starting to dip behind the mountains, I could feel that the temperature was dropping.

Ducks everywhere

There were ducks on the path and in nearby grass and bushes looking for food. Most of them flew away as I approached, but a few stayed on the ground. I see people feeding them, but only a small percentage of the ducks get food that way. I wonder if any of the ducks will perish during the winter due to not enough food.

There is still half an inch of snow on the ground.

December 2, 2006

My wakeup HR is returning to normal

My wakeup HR was 51 this morning, and I feel pretty good! I'm glad to see the HR coming down, because that means my body is overcoming the sleep debt from last Monday night. So, next week will hopefully be a regular training week.

Ran an hour at a comfortable pace

I ran for an hour on the Jordan River Parkway this morning. The temperature was 19 (F) when I left home and 33 (F) when I returned home. It was a nice run and a nice, sunny day to be outdoors. There is about an inch of snow on the ground, and the Wasatch Mountains are all snow covered and beautiful.

Need to set a new schedule for my training

I decided a couple of weeks ago to focus on half-marathons instead of marathons. Marathons put a lot of stress on ones body, and I don't want to subject my body to that amount of stress. I ran four marathons about 24 years ago and enjoyed them and the training for them. Now that I'm significantly older, I want to run distance without the stress of 26.2, and 13.1 seems about right.

I'm capping my distance at 33 miles per week, so the next phase is speed training. I think I will continue to run LSD during December to strengthen my base, and then I'll begin running fartleks in January. My current thoughts are to run fartleks once a week by reducing my long run from 2 1/2 hours to an hour and running fartleks during that run. I would keep my 1-hour rest runs on Monday and Tuesday and my 2-hour medium run on Wednesday (all LSD). That would give me 25 miles/week with speed training once a week.

I would like to do that during January and February, and then run intervals during March. The intervals would be on Saturday for half an hour. My Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday runs would be the same. April would be a week of LSD (hopefully faster than my current LSD) and then a two-week taper to Saturday, April 21, 2006 and the Salt Lake City Half Marathon. My real goal for the year is the Senior Games in October, and the SLC half would be to check my progress and give me a better idea of the training I need to do before the Games.

December 1, 2006

This week changed from a lower-mileage week to a rest week

In my previous post, I explained that I didn't get a lot of sleep Monday night. On Wednesday, my wakeup HR was 52. On Thursday it was 56, and today it was 54. These changes in HR are normal for me when I don't get enough sleep. I'm hoping that the change from 56 to 54 indicates that my wakeup HR has peaked and is now going down. I've been sleeping well this week, and my wakeup HR should start to come down. If goes down some more tomorrow, I may do a slow half-hour run in the morning.