February 27, 2008

My recovery week continued with a nice 7-mile run

Last week was a fall-back week of 15 miles/week to give my body extra rest. This week is a recovery week to get me back to the 20 mpw I was running two weeks ago. I ran 7 miles on the Jordan River Parkway and really enjoyed myself. The temperature was in the 50s (F), lots of sun, lots of people using the Parkway, and lots of ducks and geese looking for food from the people passing by. My right leg started getting tired towards the end of the run, and I finished the last mile with a jog/walk.

A family feeding the ducks

During the winter there were hundreds of ducks and geese wintering on the Jordan River. They were anxious for a food handout from people visiting the river. With the warmer weather we're having, some of the ducks and geese are leaving the river and heading to their summer homes. There are, however, many birds still at the river.

When I reached the river today for my run, I saw a father and his children feeding bread to the ducks. It was nice to see the family interacting with the birds, and I took some pictures of them. I gave him the URL of my blog in case he wanted to see the pictures. He can download them by right-clicking each picture and doing a "Save image".

February 25, 2008

My recovery week began with my weekly 5-miler

I ran 5 miles today. The temperature was about 40 (F), the sky was cloudy, and a few drops of rain fell as I ran. The snow is mostly gone, and I enjoyed being outside doing what I've enjoyed doing for 35 years.

I can tell each week that my body is stronger and that I'm regaining the speed I had before my accidents last fall. Today I timed the last 1/2 mile of my run at a 11:08 pace.

Not many ducks or geese around the river, now

With the advent of warmer weather, the ducks and geese are moving away from the river. At least, I'm not seeing the large groups of them that I saw during the winter. We're probably 6-8 weeks away from seeing ducklings swimming behind their mother.

February 23, 2008

My final 5-miler for this rest week

Today was a beautiful spring day. Temperature 50 (F), lots of sun, a great one-layer day. I ran my final 5 miles for the week and ended my rest week. I ran my timed 1/2-mile at a 11:58 pace, the fastest I've run it in quite a while, indicating my body is getting stronger since I just ran at a comfortable pace.

Here is a picture my wife took of me running today.

Next week will be a recovery week to take me back to the 5, 7, 8 miles that I ran last week.

February 20, 2008

Another great 5-miler

This week is a rest-week, and I'm doing three 5-milers. During my run the sky was cloudy, but the temperature was warm, in the mid 40s (F). I had a pretty good energy level and felt fine during the run. I measured my stride-rate a couple of times, and it was 178 and 180. My goal for stride-rate is 180. I started with two layers but soon took off my windbreaker.

Thursday and Friday will be rest days, and my last run for the week will be Saturday.

February 18, 2008

A great 5-mile rest run

I ran 5 miles on the Jordan River Parkway at a comfortable pace. I timed the last 1/2 mile at a 12:20 pace. As with my other timed half-miles, I made no effort to run faster; I just tried to continue the pace I had been using. I had a good energy level and enjoyed the run.

The sun temperature was about 50 (F), lots of sun, and no wind. A perfect day for running!

This week will be a fall-back week

For the past three weeks, I've made good progress in increasing my distance. Three weeks ago I did 5, 0, 5, 0, 0, 5, 0 (15 mpw) and last week I did 5, 0, 0, 7, 0, 8, 0 (20 mpw). I've decided it is time for a fall-back week to give my body some extra rest. So, this week will be 5, 0, 5, 0, 0, 5, 0 (15 mpw). The week after that will be the same as last week, and then I'll continue adding a mile/week to my two longer runs.

Status report on my "arm swinging"

My Saturday run was a great run for "arm swinging". I practiced the "arm swinging" for almost the whole run, and I had a natural synchronization between my arms and my feet.

Today, except for a mile during the warm-up phase of the run, I had the natural sync today, too. During that mile, my arms kept getting out of sync with my legs, and I felt like I was floundering. I had to focus on my right arm and forget my feet and other arm. It wasn't long before I was back in sync with my arms and legs. I noticed today that I was starting to automatically go into the "arm swing" without having to tell myself to do it.

February 17, 2008

My knee was sore today

When I woke up this morning, my right knee was a bit sore from my 8-mile run yesterday, and the right knee was swollen a bit compared with the left knee. For several times during the day, I put Arnica ointment on the right knee and surrounding skin, and tonight the knee felt fine and the swelling in the knee was gone.

February 16, 2008

Increased my Saturday run to 8 miles

I had a good 8-mile run on the Jordan River Parkway. The temperature was in the low 30s (F) with a cloudy sky. Not much melting of snow along the edges of the path occurred, but the path itself was clear and dry. During the last couple of miles, my legs were getting stiff and a bit sore. They have had quite a workout this week, including an hour yesterday evening of shoveling snow on my neighbor's driveway and sidewalk (neighbors are out of town). I ran a comfortable pace of 12:30 - 14 minutes with no attempt to increase my pace. I did practice my arm-swing during most of the run.

February 14, 2008

A great 7-mile run this afternoon

I began my run about 4 pm this afternoon and ran 7 miles on the Jordan River Parkway. The city had plowed the snow that came last night from the path, and the warm temperatures today [a high of 46 (F) ] had dried the path.

I added a mile to my mid-week run, and I ran a comfortable LSD pace. I felt pretty good and had a relatively high energy level, considering I had spent three hours this morning shoveling snow from my driveway and sidewalks. I ran a pace of 12:30 - 13 minutes for most of the run. Mile 5 and 6 were at a slower pace of 13:30 - 14 minutes.

If I'm able to continue adding a mile to my mid-week run and a mile to my weekend run, I will have met my current goal by the end of March to return to my "normal" distances of 5 miles rest run, 10 miles medium run, and 13 miles long run. If I hadn't had the injuries in November/December, I would have met my goal by the end of December. But, I'm still alive and still running, so I can't complain. I'm not planning on running the Salt Lake City Half Marathon in April, because I need more time to get used to the longer distances. It is a temptation, though.

Almost recovered from my November/December injuries

I've mentioned in previous posts that in November 2007 I injured my right leg; not a big injury but a slow healing one. In December I slipped on ice and bruised my back and my tailbone. The injuries didn't prevent me from running, but I had to reduce my speed, the number of times per week, and the distance of my runs.

My back has been healed for several weeks, but my tailbone has felt tender when I did my situps before my runs. In the beginning, I couldn't do the situps; my back couldn't handle the movement and force on it. I could only just wiggle my body a bit. Then, each week I could to the situps with more motion. Finally about a month ago, I was able to do situps with the full motion of my body, but my tailbone still felt tender. This indicated that my back was healed but my tailbone wasn't healed. To my joy, I noticed last week that my tailbone was no longer tender during my situps, indicating my tailbone was finally healed.

After the November accident, my right leg hurt when I would bend my knee, such as sitting on a chair or kneeling on the ground. It felt fine when my leg was straight and when I walked or ran. As my leg healed, I was able to bend the leg more. I'm still not able to bend my leg the full amount, but I'm bending it almost the full amount. The main feeling that I'm having now is that my right leg tightens up during my two-hour runs. It isn't sore, just tight. The left leg, in contrast, feels fine.

I'm getting tired of my "upper body" workouts

We had about 6 inches of snow last night, but due to wind blowing the snow, I had about a foot to shovel off my driveway and sidewalks. By the time I started my "upper body" workout, it was 10 am and the temperature was about 44 (F). Because of the warm temperature, the snow was melting and heavy. It took me about three hours to remove the snow. I'll be glad when spring comes....

February 11, 2008

A really nice 5-mile rest run

I ran 5 miles on the Jordan River Parkway as a rest run and enjoyed myself. There was lots of sun, the temperature was in the low 50s (F), the path was free of ice, and a gentle breeze of about 4-5 mph was blowing. I started with 2 layers but took off my wind breaker for most of the run. I had my running shorts on. There is still snow on the ground, but it is going down fast. My pace during the run was around 12:18, a nice restful pace for me right now.

I experimented with arm movement during the latter part of the run. My right arm goes forward in sync with my left foot. I assume my left arm is in sync with my right foot, but I didn't focus on that arm.

My wife and grandson, Erik, came with me and walked the path while I did my run. On the way home, we stopped at Burger King. I like the BK Whopper Jr. They are small but just right for me, and I get them plain with only lettuce so I don't get calories from yucky sauces, mayo, etc.

February 9, 2008

A better than great 7-mile run

I ran 7 miles on the Jordan River Parkway today, and it was a great, no, better than great, run! I not only added a mile to my Saturday run, having added a mile on Thursday too, but I ran it at a significantly faster pace.

During the first 1 1/2 miles while I was warming up, I ran a pace of 13-14. Then I ran the next 4 1/2 miles at a pace of 12:30 - 13. During the last mile, I ran the first half around 11:30, and I ran the last half a few minutes under a pace of 11 minutes. I had a high energy level during the whole run and felt fine during and afterwards.

The shade temperature was about 36 (F). I started the run with three layers but took off my nylon wind breaker and did most of the run with two layers. It was a little after 2 pm when I began the run.

I experimented with arm movement during my run

During the last half of my run, I experimented with arm-movement. I read the other day that arm movement is very important, because it influences movement of the legs. I've never had good arm movement, although I've noticed that sprinters really pump their arms.

I began to move my arms back and forth in sync with my legs. However, I noticed I was also twisting my body in sync with my arms. I concentrated on pumping my arms while keeping my body from twisting, and it felt like I was running faster. My GPS showed that I was, in fact, running about a minute faster. I need to experiment with this some more before I conclude that my increase in pace was due to my arm-movement.

February 7, 2008

I ran 6 "different" miles today

When I prepared to run this morning, I had to decide where to go. It was just starting to snow, and the temperature was 27 (F). I expected the Jordan River Parkway would have a lot of ice, due to the warm temps yesterday that melted snow and caused water to run on the Parkway path and cold temps last night. I figured that if I got out quite soon, I could complete my run before the snow started to collect on the path. This was important, because I wanted to be able to see the patches of ice and navigate around them. When I got to the Parkway, a 15 mph wind was blowing, and snow was drifting onto the path. I decided not to run on the Parkway, because I didn't want to risk having ice under the drifting snow. I drove back to my house and ran in neighborhood streets.

I had my ice cleats on, and I wanted to find a street that was all packed snow/ice, or a street that was all clear asphalt that I could run without the cleats. I ran a couple of miles checking out the streets and finally found a street that had strips of ice/snow the whole length (1/4 mile) that I could run with my cleats. So, I ran up and down that street for 4 miles. People seeing me through their window probably thought I was crazy. Even though I ran against a stiff headwind, I felt pretty good. In the reverse direction I had a tailwind that tried to push me, but I resisted going faster because I wanted to do a slow pace on the ice. During my run, the temperature got up to 36 (F), and I could tell the snow/ice was getting soft. I enjoyed my run even though it was a "different" run. I didn't get bored because I focused on completing each 1/4 mile leg of the run. All in all, I had a nice run.

After I returned home, I ate breakfast (I always do morning runs on an empty stomach) and then went for a 0.6 mile walk with my 5-year-old grandson. During the first half of the walk he enjoyed stomping on clumps of snow and breaking apart pieces of ice on the sidewalk by using a pencil as a "pick". However, he evidently got cold, because he walked the last half without stopping to stomp snow.

February 5, 2008

5 miles today

Today was a brilliant, sun-filled day, and I ran 5 miles on the Jordan River Parkway. My energy level was low, no doubt due to the snow shoveling I did Sunday and yesterday. My wakeup HR was down to 51, a good sign. Most of the Parkway was plowed and clear of snow. About half a mile hadn't been plowed, but I passed the two plows doing that area just before I finished the run.

About 200 feet from the river, I passed a low-land that was full of water from melting snow. There were lots of ducks swimming in the water. I'm hoping the ducks found more food there than they have been finding in and near the river.

The shade temperature during my run was about 32 (F), and in one shady spot I saw ice on the trail. Not left-over ice from the snow storm, but ice from water that had drained from melting snow. Earlier in the day the temperature was warmer, causing the snow to melt. Then as shade encroached on the path, the temperature dropped, and the water froze. There was a lot of water on the path from melting snow, so the path will be icy tonight. As long as the sun was hitting the path, the temperature was above freezing, but as soon as the sun went behind a building or later went down, the temperature quickly dropped below freezing. Our low last night was about 5 (F).

February 4, 2008

The mother of all upper-body workouts!

We had about a foot of snow Saturday night, and I spent 4 1/2 hours on Sunday shoveling my driveway and then helping several neighbors with their driveways. This snow was a heavy snow, and I paced myself by avoiding heavy shovel-fulls of snow and by pushing the snow across half my driveway and then walking back to the center of the driveway for the next "push". I spent another hour today shoveling from seven driveways the snow that had been deposited by the city snow plows going down the street and leaving a ridge of snow along the side. Tonight my 5-year old grandson and I took a one-mile walk. First, we fed carrots to three horses. Then we walked around the block. The walk was slow because my grandson was having fun walking through the snow and smashing clumps of snow. It was fun to see a kid at play with no cares in the world except stomping on the next clump.

February 2, 2008

I had an OK 6-mile run today

I ran 6 miles on the Jordan River Parkway this afternoon. My body felt really sluggish during the run. I jogged/walked the first three miles to warm up, and then I ran the three miles back to my car. The shade temperature was 30 (F) when I left home, and the sun temperature, I would guess, was in the mid 30s. Some days I warm up after just a half mile, and other days I need two or three miles to warm up. My wakeup HR was 55, 10% above my normal of 50.

Finally getting back to my running goals

By adding one mile to my run today, I've started to increase my distance to get back to my 5, 5, 10, 13 schedule that I had a year ago. My goal is to add a mile each week to my Wednesday run to bring it up to 10, or to my Saturday run to bring it up to 13, but I probably won't increase both runs in the same week. Of course, if my body handles the weekly one-mile increase fine, I'll probably try increasing both runs in the same week to see how that goes. It's unlikely that I'll be ready for the Salt Lake City Half-marathon in April, but I hope to be ready for the Great Salt Lake Half-marathon in August. As part of my speed training for the August race, I hope to run the 5K in South Jordan in June.