March 31, 2010

Ran a great 2.5 miles in a snow storm

We had about an inch of snow last night, and it snowed all morning. The air temperature, though, was in the high 30s, and the snow hasn't collected on the sidewalks and roads. It has collected on the lawns. A light snow was falling during my run, but I was warm and felt good.

I didn't check my wakeup pulse rate this morning, but I felt good before, during, and after my run. I followed Jeff Galloway's 30:30 (seconds) ratio again by counting steps. I counted steps, not to control the time of walking and running, but to check the accuracy of my guesstimates of how far I should run or walk. I would choose a tree, a big rock, a clump of grass, or a water puddle and then count steps until I got to that point. In the beginning my guesstimates were too long, but by the end of my run, my guesstimates were within a couple of steps of being the correct distance. My goal is to not measure time or count steps but to go by "feel" as to how far to run or to walk. I don't think it is necessary to run exactly 30 seconds or to walk 60 seconds. I just want to run a short distance and walk a shorter distance.

In his blog entry about frequent but short spurts of running and walking, Galloway said that some runners are actually completing a route in less time than they did following the more traditional pattern. I checked that today by using my GPS to measure my mile splits. On February 24, for example, my mile splits were 16:42 and 18:29. I measured my splits on several days, and they were always within 20 or 30 seconds of those times. Today, however, my splits were 15:21 and 15:50. That is, my total time for 2 miles when running until my legs started feeling tired and then walking for a minute or so and then running again was 35 minutes and 11 seconds. Today, using shorter spurts for running and walking, my total time was 31 minutes and 11 seconds, and I felt much better at the end. My pace today during the first mile was a little bit faster, but the pace was significantly faster during the second mile because I started walking before my legs felt tired. If my splits were to be extrapolated to 3 miles for a 5K race, it would reduce my time for the race by about 6 minutes. That would be a significant decrease for a short race. I will continue measuring my mile splits while I experiment with Galloway's method.

My legs felt fine at the end of my run, and this is the first run since January 2009 that my legs felt fine during 2.5 miles.

March 29, 2010

Ran a tired 2.5 miles

Even though my wakeup heart rate was 56 this morning, I was tired as I plodded through 2.5 miles. During the first mile, I followed Galloway's suggested ratio of running:walking of 30:30 (seconds). However, I could tell I was getting tired, and I changed to a 30:60 ratio. That helped. I should have made that change as soon as I realized I was tired.

Aside from being tired, it was a nice run on a beautiful day. The temperature was in the low 70s (F), but there was a 15 mph wind. During the first mile, I had to overcome the wind, and that probably helped me be tired. The main reason, I think, that I was tired was that I only got 5 hours sleep Saturday night. The lack of sleep was due to getting home late at night and having to get up early Sunday morning. I wore my wind breaker during the first mile, and I tied it around my waist for the remainder of the run.

March 27, 2010

I tried Jeff Galloway's suggestion of a new ratio in my run

I tried today running 2.5 miles following Jeff Galloway's suggestion of using a 30:30 (seconds) cycle of running and walking. I ran for 45 steps with my left foot and walked for 33 steps. Later, as I started to get tired, I still ran for 45 steps and walked slower for 30 steps. To make it easier to monitor the time, I started when the "second" digits were 0 and changed to walking when the digits were 30. Sometimes I would run or walk a little bit more than I had planned, and I would compensate by decreasing the number of steps walking. Although, towards the end I was getting tired, and I compensated by decreasing the number of steps running.  I'm hoping that after doing this a number of times, it will become automatic and I'll be able to "feel" that it is time to change. The number 30 likely isn't a magic number, and if one does short spurts of running and walking, the benefits will probably accrue.

Did I go faster? I don't know since I didn't have my Garmin with me, but it did feel like I was going faster. My body-energy was spread over the whole run, and that contributes to a faster speed. I noticed that the limiting factor was my body rather than my legs. It's been a number of months since my body limited my running. Due to a busy schedule today, I only had a dish of Corn Checks and a banana for breakfast at 8:30 am and no lunch or snacks. I grabbed a handful of Corn Checks before I left for running about 3 pm, and I ate an energy bar while driving to the Jordan River. So, my lack of good food may have been why my body was the limiting factor. My legs felt pretty good, thanks to the short spurts of running instead of running until my legs got tired.

All of this reminds me of my time as a Boy Scout. On of the requirements was to run the "scout mile" in 12 minutes. The scout mile consisted of alternating 100 steps of running and 100 steps of walking. The scout mile was not far off from what I did today.

March 25, 2010

Going to change my walking breaks during my runs

I read something yesterday in Jeff Galloway's blog that caught my attention. He advocates taking more frequent but short walking breaks. Specifically, doing 30 seconds of running and 30 seconds of walking for the whole run. The purpose, I think, is to take frequent but short walking breaks to prevent fatigue, thus keeping ones energy level high. I've been running for about 1/4 mile at the beginning of my run, and then, as my run progresses, running shorter segments with walks in between. My signal that I should stop running and walk for a couple hundred feet is that my legs feel tired. As my run progresses, my spurts of running get shorter, until at the end I'm only running about 50 feet before I stop to walk.

I'm going to try Jeff's suggestion during my run on Saturday. By taking walking breaks more often, my spurts of running will be shorter, and (hopefully) my legs won't get as tired.

March 24, 2010

Ran 2.5 miles again

I ran 2.5 miles again, doing 1/4 mile before the first walking break. Subsequent segments of running got shorter as my run progressed. I felt stronger than I did on Monday, but my wakeup pulse rate is high (64) due to not quite getting my 7 hours of sleep.

The temperature was in the low 50s with almost no wind. A beautiful, sunny day. I wore my wind breaker over my short sleeved T-shirt, but I took it off and tied it around my waist during my return to my car.

The Jordan River is over 2 feet lower than it was on Monday. In fact, it looks like it is returning to its low level in the winter. This means the pumping station at the beginning of the river at the north end of Utah Lake has stopped pumping large quantities of water into the river. I've been speculating that the persons who manage the pumping station were trying to lower the level in the lake to prepare for the spring runoff of snow melt. Apparently the level is now low enough that the lake can handle the snow melt. The level in the river should go up again in April and May.

March 22, 2010

This week I'm doing 2.5 miles

I had a nice run this afternoon, but I misjudged the weather. The temperature when I left was in the mid 50s (F), and I thought it would be just right for running with one layer. Last week we had the same temperature range, and the afternoons were pleasant, and I thought today would be the same. I parked my car and got out to run, and I realized there was a 15 mph cold wind blowing (another storm front has reached the Salt Lake valley). I was cold during my whole run. I ran about half the time, and my body and legs felt fine but my arms were cold. A long sleeved, heaver T-shirt would have been about right, or my wind breaker as a second layer). My splits during the first mile were 16+ minutes and 17+ minutes during the second mile. Those times include both running and walking.

The Jordan River is several inches higher. There is a certain flat rock that I use to gauge the height of the water. In the past, the water level has been even with the top of that rock, but today I couldn't see the rock because it was covered with water. We had rain last night, and the pumping station is putting more water into the river to keep Utah Lake from flooding.

March 17, 2010

Ran 2 miles again

I did the 2 miles again, but I was tired and did more walking, probably about 60% walking and 40% running. I've started doing some strengthening exercises for my abs, arms, and legs, and that may have tired my body.

March 15, 2010

I didn't do it, but I ran/walked 2 miles

I didn't run 1.5 miles without stopping, like I did on Saturday, but I did run and walk 2 miles this afternoon. My first walking break was after 1/4 mile, and I took walking breaks every 1/8 mile after that. I ran about 1.5 miles and walked about 0.5 miles.

My wakeup pulse rate was 55, and I felt fine. I had a solid 7 hours sleep last night. The temperature during my run was in the high 40s (F). A great day to be outside.

I went south on my run, and I was able to get a better estimate of the level of the river. The level is the same it has been for the past month. I think my comment on Saturday that the river had risen a few inches was either in error, or the level of the river is down.

March 13, 2010

I did it! I did it! I ran 1.5 miles

I've been waiting 14 months for this day. I ran my 1.5 mile route without stopping. Well, I did stop once on the way our for 15 seconds to look at the river to see if it was higher (I didn't need the rest and could have kept on running), and a second time at the turn around point; the path is too narrow to conveniently turn around without stopping. I stopped and walked 180 degrees (about 5 seconds) and then started running again, not stopping until I was finished.

Fourteen months ago, January 2009, I finished a 20 mile week with a 7-mile run on Saturday. On Monday I could only walk 100 feet. After 5 days in the hospital (blood clots) I was up to 400 feet in my walking. After I left the hospital, my wife and I walked every other day or so, and I got up to a mile and a half. At that point I started mixing in some running. I could tell during the late spring and summer that my body seemed stronger, but I couldn't run more that two or three hundred feet before I had to walk. I increased my mixture of walking and running to a distance of 4 miles. The amount of running compared to walking continued to increase, but I still had to stop and walk after running a bit.

When I left home this morning, I never dreamed I would make it the whole distance without walking. I am a firm believer in walking breaks in my longer runs but not in my shorter runs. In the past I wouldn't take walking breaks in runs up to five miles, but I would take them for runs longer than 5 miles. I expect that as I get older, I will take walking breaks in shorter runs.

My wakeup heart rate was 61, higher than I had expected (I have only been getting about 6-6 1/2 hours sleep each night during the past week). The temperature was 36 (F) when I left and 35 when I returned. Snow flurries were falling during my run. During the late morning we had heavy snow for half an hour, and I left for my run after the snow returned to just flurries.

The Jordan River looks to be two or three inches higher (5-7 cm) than it has been. It must have close to 10 times the water than it had during the winter. We haven't had our spring thaw yet, and when that happens a lot of water from the snow-melt in the mountains will come down into Utah Lake and the river. I won't be surprised if we have flooding in low places.

March 9, 2010

Ran 1 mile just before dark

Today was my first run since my surgery last week for a Basal Cell skin cancer. I went 1 mile, and almost all of it was running. I did several short walking breaks, but I was pleased that I ran most of the mile. My wakeup heart rate the past couple of days has been 57. We had rain this afternoon, and there was a cold 10 - 15 mph wind blowing from the north. The temperature was in the mid 40s (F) during my run. I felt pretty good during the run. I'm using this week to ease back into my running.

I'm finding out that as I get older, I have less tolerance for cold weather. I used to wear running shorts anytime the temperature was above freezing. Now, I wear long pants until the temperature gets into 40s and during the late fall, winter, and early spring into the 50s. I'm also running slower than I used to, and my body doesn't generate as much heat at that slow speed.

March 2, 2010

My surgery for skin cancer is over

My surgery for a skin cancer took two hours this morning. During most of that time I was waiting for the lab to inspect the layers that were removed (I read an entire issue of a Farm and Country magazine). Only two layers were removed. After the first layer was removed, they could see the roots of the cancer entwined around a nerve. The second layer removed the roots of the cancer and the nerve. The stitches used to close the incision will be absorbed by my body, and I don't have to do any maintenance to keep the incision clean. So far, I haven't felt any pain because of the local used during the surgery, but I may feel some pain in a few hours. The bad news is that I can't run for a week, but I can walk. No heavy lifting for a week, no running, nothing that would increase my blood pressure and thus the chances for bleeding.

March 1, 2010

A great 4-mile run/walk

My wake up heart rate was 57, and I felt great. I didn't go running, though, until late afternoon as the sun was setting. The temperature was about 47 (F) when I left home, and I finished the run before it was dark. I wore two layers, a regular technical T-shirt and my wind breaker, and my running shorts. I was actually sweating on my face when I finished the run.

During my first mile, I ran about 2/3 of the mile and walked 1/3. The great thing was that instead of doing less running during the second mile and even less during the third and even less during the fourth miles, I continued to run about 2/3 of each mile. That means I ran about 2 2/3 miles of the 4 miles. That is the most running I've done in one run during the past year. For breakfast I had two glasses of a fruit drink that my wife made. She had one glass. All together, the drink had an apple, a banana, fresh grapes, frozen blueberries, and orange juice. It tasted great. For lunch, about 2:30 pm, I had a slice of a Costco Pepperoni pizza and an ice cream bar with nuts. I knew I couldn't run on that much food, so I waited three hours and then went running. My stomach was fine during the run, and I felt good. The pizza had a lot of calories, but that was my main meal for the day. For supper I had a few nuts.

Surgery for a skin cancer tomorrow

Tomorrow at 11 am I will have surgery for a Basel Cell skin cancer on my forhead. The surgery is the Mhos surgery, in which the skin cancer is removed in layers and each layer is inspected under a microscope. Layers are taken until the inspection shows no trace of the cancer. Depending on how many layers are needed tomorrow, the surgery could last from 1-4 or more hours. Most of the time is waiting while the inspection is performed, and the surgery isn't very stressful. About four years ago, I had 10 skin cancers removed this way, over a six-month period.

I may not run for a few days, depending on how my energy level holds up.

Take a look at your running form

By way of information, I've added a page on running form to my training site. Improper form is one of the major causes of injury.