September 29, 2010

Ran 4 miles again, but pretty tired

My wakeup heart rate was 63, high enough that I should have not gone out at all, but I did go out. I felt fine up through the 2 miles to the turn-around point. Going out, I took fewer rest stops than I did yesterday, and I used the 90/66 ratio of running and walking. However, on the way back my body gave out, and I took as many rest stops as I could find benches in the shade. During the last 0.8 miles, I gave up and walked back to the parking lot.

During the past two days, I've only gotten 6 1/2 hours sleep. Today I forgot to eat breakfast or lunch, and I was running with my tank almost empty, so to speak. I ate a few handfuls of Cheerios, and a granola bar before I left, but that didn't give me many calories to run on. It seems like I never learn about eating. I get up thinking I will go run first thing, but I get busy on the computer and end up going out in the afternoon (2 pm today). I keep telling myself I need to get up and go running before I touch the computer, but the urge to read email is too strong. Today I was running tests on FeedBurner, and that kept me busy until I finally left to run. I sound like a teenager who is addicted to email, only now the teens are addicted to texting.

The shade temperature when I left was 79 (F), about the same as during the past few days. It was a beautiful day to be out.

September 27, 2010

Ran 4 miles in the mid-day heat

My wakeup heart rate this morning was 55, a big improvement over the 60+ that I had last week (including Saturday). I've been getting good sleep for the past week or so, and it looks like that sleep is finally having its effect on my body.

I left home not knowing how far I would run. The rule of thumb for time needed for recovery from a race is one day per mile. Based on that I would need 3 days. Today was day 2, and I expected I would get tired and abort the run. The shade temperature when I left was 82 (F), and I used the 90/66 ratio of left-foot steps running and walking. I ran at a relatively slow pace, and I took rest breaks every time I saw a bench that was in the shade. My body felt fine, and my legs felt fine, too, although they did get a bit tired during the 3rd mile.

I made a great discovery about running!

On my way back I was thinking about a comment I made yesterday on One guy, who is going into the Marine Corps, has shin splints and came to the forum for suggestions. Wendy, our guest blogger in this blog, said he should be sure his feet hit the ground under his center of gravity. I clarified that by saying that he should be sure his feet hit the ground behind his knees rather than in front of his knees.

As I thought about that comment, I wondered how I was doing in that regard, and I glanced down at my legs and noticed my feet were hitting the ground almost under my knees. I thought that maybe I could move my knees forward a little bit, so I sorta bent my knees a bit more, and lo and behold, I started running faster. In fact I went enough faster that I was out of breath after 90 lf steps. And, not only was I going faster, it seemed easier for me to go that way instead of the low shuffle that I usually use.

I thought about it and decided that I must have lifted my knees more. I know that people who sprint have to lift their knees higher to get more energy into their running, but I hadn't thought about lifting my knees higher during my slow running pace. I ran this way during the last mile of the run and felt fine at the end. I'm going to experiment with lifting my knees to see how it goes for 4 miles instead of just 1 mile.

September 25, 2010

I had a good run in the Pirates 5K

The 5K run/walk sponsored by the Pirates swimming community activity began at 8 am. The sun was just coming up, and the temperature was probably in the high 40s (F), almost perfect conditions for a race. There were fewer than 100 runners and walkers.

On Thursday, my last training run before the race, I took 1 hour and 6 minutes to run 3.1 miles (that time included several rest stops). Because of that, I felt that anything below 1 hour would be a good achievement. I finished in 48 minutes 3 seconds. My son and grandson, who did the 2K walk, accompanied me during the last couple of hundred yards.

I didn't walk during the first half mile, and then I started alternating running and walking. I didn't count steps to control my running and walking. When my body started to feel tired, I began walking. When my body felt better, I resumed running. The course went through the city streets, and about 1/3 was slightly downhill, 1/3 was slightly uphill, and 1/3 was level. I did fine on the downhill and level parts, but the uphill part was more tiring to me, and I took extra walking breaks. The good news is that I didn't stop running to take a rest break. I think the low temperature was a significant part of my doing better on this run.

I like small races, especially if I know the people participating. In this case, I didn't know anyone except my son and grandson, but I enjoyed the small-town atmosphere.

Here is  a video of me finishing the race and of some of the prizes that were given out afterward. My number (657) was drawn, and I received a nice shoulder bag.

September 24, 2010

Running with Rheumatoid Arthritis, in Korea, with Bare Feet

       I am so honored to be invited to blog here; thank you Allen! You are an inspiration!

      Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Wendy, I have been running since spring of 2007, am 41 years old, mother of 2, Air Force wife, live in South Korea, and have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). The last detail is the biggest challenge to my running, but I haven’t let it slow me down. I believe everyone has a challenge that they must overcome to be able to run and what it takes to overcome it is largely the same whether the challenge is working your running around a busy life, or a medical condition. We all have the potential to succeed or allow ourselves to stack up excuses and walk away.

       Currently, my biggest impediment to running is pretty concrete, albeit temporary. I had been running for 3 years in a coastal town where it was flat as the proverbial pancake, so when we arrived in Korea in late July, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to conquer hills! I was so excited that I did not stop to think how much intensity hills were adding to my runs and the result was two stress fractures in my right foot less than 2 weeks after our arrival.

       Over the next few months, I will be blogging about my training plan, progress, goals, and setbacks. Once the injury is behind me, I will continue with stories of my experiences here in Korea as a runner with RA, and how I run barefoot every chance I get.

       If you are interested, the back story about my life with RA and how I got started running it is all in my blog, starting with my earliest posts from 2008. My journey as a barefoot runner, starts in May 2009.

Still tired...

Even though I had 7 hours sleep last night, my body is still tired. My wakeup heart rate was 60 this morning.

September 23, 2010

Ran 3.5 miles again

When I left home and drove to the Jordan River Parkway, I felt pretty good, and I hoped I could do the 3.75 miles again and maybe 4 miles. But, as I neared the first mile marker, I could tell I was getting tired, and I reduced the run to 3.5 miles as I had done on Monday. I mentioned in my previous post that during the last mile of that run I went to a 45/33 ratio of running and walking. I used that ratio during most of the run today. I didn't have a lot of energy during the run, but I felt OK. On Monday my legs were the limiting factor in my running. Today it was mostly my body that was tired. I had a good 7 hours sleep last night, but I need more nights of good sleep to help my body recover.

The temperature during my run was in the mid 70s (F), there was a slight breeze blowing, and there were lots of clouds in the sky but lots of sun, too. A great day to be outside and to be running.

Now, I get to spend the rest of the day scraping and staining the wooden retaining wall around my deck.

September 20, 2010

Reduced my distance to 3.5 miles for running

I felt pretty good when I started, but by the time I had gone about 1 1/3 miles, I could tell my legs were getting tired. I ran to the 1.75 mile marker, taking a couple of rests, and then turned around. My body felt OK, but my legs felt tired. On the way back, I reduced my running and walking from 90/66 left-foot steps to 45/33, and that helped a lot. I was out a couple of hours earlier than I've been going out, and the air was cooler and there was more shade on the path. I took quite a few rests on the way back and didn't push myself. As I've said before, in hot weather I run to survive :)

I found another golf ball and threw it back on the golf course. The ball rolled up to the center of the green, and I thought to myself that it would be neat if I got a "hole in one". But, I didn't. When I left, the ball was visible in the center of the green, but on my way back I couldn't see the ball. I hope the person who got it appreciated a "free" ball.

I only got about 5 hours sleep Saturday night (had to get up early Sunday morning for a 7 am meeting), but I took a nap Sunday evening and got a good 7 hours Sunday night.

September 18, 2010

Nice 3.75 mile run and a golf-ball paradise

I did the 3.75 course again and used the 90/66 left-foot steps, alternating running and walking, all the way. I ran at mid day as I did last Wednesday, and the temperature was about the same 89-90 (F). The results were quite different, though. Today I enjoyed the run and felt pretty good. Because of the heat, I didn't push myself. I took several rest stops, and I drank my four cups of water.

I found 7 golf balls during the run. The first ball was on my way out, and the ball was on the edge of the path. On the way back, I saw another ball that was a few feet from the path. I crawled under the railing lining the path and got the ball. Then I saw another ball a few feet away and further into the trees. I got that and saw another one a few more feet away, still in the trees. I ended up getting 6 balls in those trees. I tossed them onto the golf course. I had one ball left to toss when a dad and two 5-6 year old sons came into view. I tossed the last ball close by them and yelled that there were more balls over about 20 feet away. The sons gathered up the balls. All together I've found around 12 or 13 golf balls in the past four years of running the Jordan River Parkway.

September 15, 2010

Completed the 3.75 mile run...sorta

I finished the 3.75 mile distance, but I walked most of the last mile. The shade temperature was 89 (F) when I left home. The temperature in direct sun would have been 110 or higher. I ran at mid day, and most of the Parkway path at mid day is in direct sun. I carried water (1 cup per mile) and used it, but it was still hot. When I reached the last mile, I could tell I had no energy, and I walked most of that mile, doing a bit of jogging at the first of the mile. I have a slight cold, and that probably has reduced my energy-level. There are two reasons I get colds -- pushing myself too hard in my running, and not getting enough sleep. My problem has been the sleep. I've been getting 5-5 1/2 hours each night, and I need 7 hours. My sleep deprivation finally caught up with me, and my nose started dripping yesterday afternoon. I've been waking up about 7 am regardless of the time I went to bed :(

Running in the NY Marathon this year?

I received an email this morning inviting runners who will be in the NY Marathon this fall to join the Fresh Air Fund-Racers Team. If you're interested, visit the Fresh Air website.

The Fresh Air Fund is looking for runners and sponsors to join our Fresh Air Fund-Racers team for the NYC Marathon on November 7th....This is a great way to participate in NYC's premier race while helping Fresh Air Fund children.

As you may be aware, over the past four years as a NY Road Runners charity partner for the NYC Half-Marathon, our 325 Fund-Racers have raised close to $400,000 for The Fresh Air Fund!

September 14, 2010

Signed up for a 5K race on September 25

My grandson is taking swimming lessons, and his swimming group is sponsoring a 5K run on September 25 to raise money for charity. I thought I'd support him, so I signed up for the race. I specified a small size for the T-shirt so I can give the shirt to my grandson. I'm assuming it will be a cotton T-shirt, and I never wear cotton T-shirts when I run. I thought the grandson would like to have it since the race is sponsored by his swimming group.

Yesterday I timed myself for 3 miles, and it took an hour. That time included several rest stops. I'm hoping during the race I can finish in 45 minutes. The race starts at 8 am, so the temperature should be in the 50s or low 60s. I'll be doing 4 miles per run by then, and I hope I can go a bit faster during the shorter run and do it in 45 minutes. We'll see.

September 13, 2010

Completed a tired 3.75 miles

I completed the 3.75 miles but was tired during the run. I was curious to see how far I could run before I walked, so I ran until my body said to walk. I went about 0.15 miles. I walked for a couple of minutes to recover, and then I went into my 70 left-foot steps running and 45 left-foot steps walking that I had used a couple of weeks ago. During my last half-mile, I went into the 90 lfs/66 lfs that I used last week. I rested several times going out and coming back.

I didn't take water with me, and I was thirsty during the run. At about the 1.7 mile point, I drank from the fountain that I've spoken of during the past few days, both going out and coming back. My turn-around point is at the 1.87 mile point. The shade temperature was 85 (F) when I left home, and I should have taken water with me. I knew the fountain was there, and I looked forward to drinking from it. Because of the extra distance to the fountain and back, I actually went 3.85 miles total.

During the evening, my wife and I walked around the block, about 0.6 miles. The temperature was in the mid 50s (F) during the walk, and the cool mountain air felt great! I said mountain air, because the Wasatch Mountains are just across the valley, and in the evenings and night, cool air from the mountains floods the valley.

Today was not a good day for me to test my body to see how far I could run. I only had 5 hours sleep last night, and I spent a couple of hours painting my porch before I ran.

September 11, 2010

Didn't run but did a short walk

Due to a busy schedule today, I didn't run today, but my wife and I did do a short walk around the block (0.6 miles). Even though it was quite late at night, I felt strong during the walk.

September 9, 2010

Ran 3.75 miles again and ran longer segments

I ran 3.75 miles again. I felt pretty good before I started the run, and I decided to increase the length of my running and walking segments. For quite a while I've been doing 30 seconds running and 30 seconds walking (45 left-foot-steps running and 33-left-foot-steps walking). Last week I increased the segments to 70 lf-steps running and 45 lf-steps walking. Today I went to 90 lf-steps running and 66 lf-steps walking. That is double what I've been doing for quite a while. This shows my endurance is getting better.

I felt fine during the run. I didn't carry water because the shade temperature was in the mid 60s (F) and most of the path was in the shade due to a lot of clouds in the sky. I made no rest stops and only made one water stop (on the way out) to drink from the fountain that I've mentioned in recent posts (no water stops on the way back). All in all, today was one of the best runs I've had in quite a while. I had a good 7 hours sleep last night. My wakeup heart rate was 60, high due to sleep deprivation the past few days. It was a great day for being outside, too!

I saw two families of Quail

On the way out I saw 8 or 9 quail on the path in front of me. As I approached, they went into the bushes. The quail were large, and I assume they were from a litter that was born early in the spring. On the way back, I saw a mother quail and a smaller youngster. That youngster was born later in the spring since it is smaller than its mother. Actually, I can't tell the difference between male and female quail, and I'm assuming the adult quail were females.

September 6, 2010

Ran 3.75 miles & continued running farther

I added a quarter mile to my run, and I continued the longer running that I did on Saturday. A cold front is going through Utah, and the temperatures are significantly cooler than they were on Saturday. The shade temperature during my run was in the low 60s (F). Also, I was out earlier (10 am), and there was a lot of shade on the Parkway path. I felt fine going out but started to get tired on the way back. It wasn't a good idea to increase both my distance and longer runs. Doing that meant that my body had an increase in stress from two sources (greater distance and longer running of each segment) rather than from one source.

Thanks to the Labor Day holiday, there were a lot of people,  mostly cyclists, on the Parkway. It was a beautiful Fall day -- lots of sun and lots of clouds.

Tuck in your elbows when you run and walk

I've been noticing that some people swing their arms across their body while they run. As your arms move across your body, your whole upper body tends to twist. People swing their arms this way, because they keep their arms folded across their body. This type of arm-movement isn't considered good running form, because it takes extra muscle-movement and extra energy to move your arms across your body. The solution is to tuck your elbows in toward your waist such that your arms move in and out in a motion parallel to the direction you're going. By doing this, you can keep your upper body stationary and only move your hips and legs.

September 4, 2010

Ran 3.5 miles again but ran longer before walking

I didn't get out until 12:30 pm (ran the Jordan River Parkway), and the shade temperature was 89 (F) when I left home. I only took two bottles of water with me, and I had to spread each bottle over 1.5 miles. Just before I reached the turn-around point, I finished the first bottle and made a slight detour to a water fountain. I filled the first bottle with water and had plenty of water on my way back.

Due to the heat and the lack of shade on the Parkway path at mid-day, I stopped to rest four or five  times going out. On the way back, though, I felt pretty good and decided to run longer before I walked. For the first two segments, I ran twice as long as I've been doing (100% increase). Then I settled down for a 50% increase in my running and about a 40% increase in my walking. I continued that to the end of the run, and I felt fine, especially good since I was running mostly in direct sun at the hottest time of the day. On the way back, I took two short rest breaks.

I was glad that I was able to run longer segments today. A week ago I started taking a supplement called "L-arginine Plus" that is supposed to increase the Nitric Oxide (NO) in our bodies. The L-arginine and L-citruline amino acids in the supplement help our bodies increase the NO in our bodies. NO is supposed to help cleanse our blood arteries and veins. I need that because an artery in my left leg is plugged up (Atherosclerotic calcification of the lower extremity arteries). In past posts, I've talked about my auto accident, the filter put in my groin area to catch blood clots, and the blood clots I had a year and a half ago. This post is the first time I've discussed the artery in my left leg being plugged up. I learned about that problem about 10 months ago when I had a CT scan of my legs, but I didn't understand the significance of it. As I've learned more about my body, I'm starting to understand that decreased blood circulation is probably the cause of my lack of endurance and my not being able to run very far before I have to walk. I've known that the broken-down filter was inhibiting my blood flow, but I knew that auxiliary blood veins around the filter were being created, and I thought those veins would restore my blood-flow. I now realize that the plugged artery in my left leg is also reducing the blood-flow. I thus started taking the supplement last week in the hope that it would help increase the blood flow. My success today indicates that that may be happening, but I need more time to see if the success continues or if it was just an isolated anomaly.

For those interested, this supplement is based on the research of Dr. Louis Ignarro, who received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1998 for his research on Nitric Oxide. His book is called NO More Heart Disease. Dr. Ignarro determined that the two amino acids were needed as a supplement to help our bodies produce NO. The supplement also includes a number of vitamins and 72 trace minerals. I got the supplement and the book from a local health food store, but the supplement is also available via the web.

September 2, 2010

A concern about running marathons and ultras

I'm concerned about the effect on our bodies of running long distances, particularly marathons and ultras. I've added a new page to my training site that reviews the scientific literature about this matter and gives my conclusions about it.

September 1, 2010

Ran the canal road again

I repeated my run from Monday by running 3.5 miles on the canal maintenance road. The shade temperature was about 85 (F) during the run. My wakeup heart rate was high, about 60. I got more sleep last night, about 7 hours, but I've been in a sleep-deficit during the past week; that deficit and my mowing my lawns probably made my heart rate increase. Mowing my lawns is more tiring than my running 3.5 miles. I felt tired during the run today and did extra walking, especial in shady spots. I was out about 11 am and missed breakfast again, but I did eat a few handfuls of Cheerios before I left. I didn't take water with me, and I started getting a mile headache. Since I had no water to drink, I rested a minute or two in shady spots to help my body dissipate some heat.

Saw more ducks in the canal

I saw more ducks in the canal than I did on Monday. As I walked through one shady spot about 200 feet long, I saw 22 ducklings sitting on the canal road. As I approached, the ducklings went into the water, and as soon as they entered the water, they split into two groups. I'm guessing they were from two families of ducks.

A couple of weeks ago, I was walking with a grandson along the canal, and we saw two families of ducklings swimming in the canal. The ducklings were much smaller than those I saw today. As the two families approached each other, the mother of one family began hissing at the ducklings of the other family,  and she chased them away. I guess she didn't want her children mixing with those of the other family. Today, though, the two groups were mixed together while the ducklings were on the maintenance road. The ducklings were about the same size, quite large, and I didn't see larger ducks that would be the mothers. These ducklings are big enough to take care of themselves, and the mother ducks may have flown away for good.

One thing I've noticed in the past is that I never see Drakes swimming in the canal with the mothers and the ducklings. I guess the Drakes are out scrounging for food or something. Before the ducklings are born, I did see pairs of ducks, one male and one female, swimming together.

Saw a large crane next to the canal

I saw a large crane next to the canal. It was about 200 feet away, and I didn't get a good look at it. It looked to be all gray. As I approached, the crane flew away. I haven't seen many birds other than ducks in the canal, and seeing this crane was nice.

I floated two sticks in the canal

On my way out, as I passed the large Cottonwood tree that is on the bank of the canal, I put two large sticks in the water. I then continued another quarter mile to my turnaround point. On my way back I passed the sticks as they neared the tunnel under a busy city street. The sticks had traveled about half a mile from the time I put them in the water until I passed them on my way back. When I was a kid I used to float sticks in irrigation ditches, and I'm still a kid at heart.