October 28, 2010

Maximum Oxygen Intake (VO2max)

Runners who compete need to understand VO2max, how to estimate it and how to increase it. I've added a page on VO2max to my training site: http://runninginjuryfree.org/2008/09/vo2max-pace.html

October 27, 2010

Another 5 miles of running after our first snow storm of the winter

The weather forecast said rain, but when I woke up this morning, there was 5 inches of snow on the ground. The weatherman said it was lake effect from the Great Salt Lake. When I left to go running in the early afternoon, the shade temperature was 41 (F), but the sun temperature was probably in the low 70s, and the snow was almost all gone. The Parkway path had no snow.

I really enjoyed the run, even with a high wakeup heart rate of 62 and only 6 hours of sleep. It's been a week since my last run, and I think the week of rest was good for me. I purposefully didn't run on Saturday because I wanted to give my body more rest, and I missed Monday's run due to schedule conflicts. The cool weather probably helped, too. I was sweating around my hat, but I wore my nylon jacket, and I felt comfortable.

A great day for reading as well as for running

During my run I passed a guy who was sitting on a bench enjoying the afternoon sun and reading a book. As I passed him, I thought, "A nice way to spend an afternoon". On my way back I passed him again, only this time he wasn't on the bench. He was walking slowly on the Parkway path reading as he walked. Seeing him brought back memories of my childhood, when I would walk 3/4 mile to the library, check out a book, and then read it while I walked home. As I passed the guy, I commented that he must have an interesting book. He stopped and showed me his book -- a book on Greek philosophy. He said the book helped him keep his sanity.

October 23, 2010

Taking a rest day today from running

I woke up tired, and my wakeup heart rate was high (62), so I'm taking a rest day today. I slept well last night, but earlier in the week I only had around 6 hours of sleep per night. When I was younger I could handle a few nights of less sleep, but as I get older I am affected more by a lack of sleep. Also, I've been on my feet a lot during the past few days painting a fence.

I got 10 miles of running this week. I'll have to wait until next week for 15 miles.

October 20, 2010

I've run 10 miles this week, 5 more to go

On Monday when I first ran 5 miles, I started at 100th South and ran across the new narrow bridge across the Jordan River to the point where the new path joins the old path (about a hundred yards past the bridge. I ran 5 miles today, but I drove to the East Pavilion and ran to the tunnel under 123th South (I went to the East Pavilion so my 5 miles would take me further south). I started getting tired on the way back, and I took one rest stop about a mile before I reached the narrow bridge. The path from the narrow bridge along the east side of the river to the playground in the city of Draper is a mixture of old path and new path. I found one spot where there is a bench made of railroad ties that is on one of the segments of old path, and I used that bench for my rest stop. There are drinking fountains at both the East Pavilion and the Draper playground.

Today was another beautiful day. The next two days will be great, and then a storm front will move through Utah, bringing snow in the Wasatch mountains, rain here in the valley, and temperatures in the 50s (F). We've been having temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s, but the 50s are even better for running. As long as we don't have lightning, I'll run through the rain if it comes while I out. However, Utah summer rains usually don't last more than a few minutes at a time. So far, this has been a warm Fall -- no serious frosts yet. We're still harvesting tomatoes, string beans, squash, and pumpkins. Also lettuce. Our fruit trees, though, didn't have any fruit at all. We had a wet spring with changing temperatures, and I guess the fruit trees didn't like that.

Changes to the Jordan River Parkway

Today, my run to the tunnel under 123rd South was the first time in over two years that I've been to that tunnel. I noticed two changes to the Parkway.

About three years ago, the Jordan River had a lot of water during the summer, and that water eroded the dirt under the Parkway path at a spot about 100 yards north of the 123rd South tunnel. By the time the damage was noticed, the dirt had been washed away for a distance of 5 feet or so under the path, such that the path was on a dirt bridge over the washout. The path was in danger of a cave-in that would dump whom ever was on the path into the river. The river isn't more that a couple of feet deep, and an adult would likely be OK, but a small child could easily drown. The city of Riverton blocked off the path and graded a temporary path around the spot. I noticed that the temporary path has been paved with asphalt and is now the "official" path. The area where the erosion took place has grown over with grass, and people not familiar with the history of that section of path wouldn't never know the path had been modified.

The path inside the tunnel has been improved. It is a little higher and a little wider. In addition, large rocks line the east edge of the path (inside the tunnel) to keep water from reaching the foundation of the bridge. Now, it would take a pretty high river to overflow onto the path and to continue up towards the foundation of the bridge.

Draper has fixed up the playground area such that it is a nice picnic area with a playground for the kids. There are several tables around the playground (with wooden tops for shade) and grass growing around the area. Not far away is a larger playground that is maintained by the city of Riverton. This playground is on the west side of the river, and a narrow bridge connects the two playgrounds. The old Parkway path used that bridge to cross the river and continue on the west side of the river. Now, the Parkway stays on the east side of the river until it uses the new narrow bridge just south of the 114th South bridge. On one of my runs when I reach the Draper playground, I'll have to cross the river and see what improvements have been made to the Riverton playground.

I saw two garter snakes

On Monday, as I left the tunnel under 106th South, I saw two garter snakes next to the path. I look at them and they looked at me. Then I continued my run.

October 18, 2010

Finally made it to 5 miles in my run

Today was a special day in my running. I increased my run to 5 miles. This is special, because now a 10% addition will be 1/2 mile or more, and that is a significant increase. Also, I'm capping my Monday/Tuesday run at 5 miles, and that distance will become a rest distance. My Wednesday/Thursday run will continue to increase until it reaches 7 miles, and then it will be capped at that distance. My Saturday run will increase to 10 miles and then be capped. That will give me a 22-mile week, the distance I was running before my blood clots in January 2009.

My wakeup heart rate was 55, and I felt pretty good when I left home. I started from the 100th South entrance and ran south for 2.5 miles. I turned around about 100 feet after the narrow bridge across the Jordan River. I ran/walked 95/66 left-foot steps the whole distance. I took two sitting rest breaks, with 1.3 miles to go and with 0.5 miles to go. It was another beautiful day -- slightly warmer than last week, but fine. The shade temperature was in the low 70s (F) when I left home about 10:45 am. There was a slight wind from the south, about 5 mph.

October 16, 2010

One more 4.4 mile run, but further south than where I've been running

I drove to the East Pavilion, the location of the water fountain that I've been using, and ran south for 2.2 miles. I followed the new part of the Jordan River Parkway across the river and south to a non-vehicle bridge that connects playgrounds in the cities of Draper and Riverton. I didn't carry water with me and didn't have a drink until I was finished with the run. I also didn't do any sit-down rests because there weren't any benches on the new path. I used a ratio of 95/66 left-foot steps for running and walking for most of the run, but I got tired during the last mile and changed to a ratio of 45/60-70.

It was nice to have a new path to explore. Eventually, I'll be able to start at 9800 South (my usual starting point), and go further south than I did today, but for now I'll have to park at the East Pavilion in South Jordan or the large playground in Riverton and go south.

It was another beautiful day for running. Eventually the snow will come, so I'm really enjoying my running in these beautiful days.

I checked out the new Jordan River Parkway path at 11400 South

There is a new non-vehicle bridge across the Jordan River just south of the new bridge for vehicles. The Parkway goes under the new vehicle bridge and turns left onto the new non-vehicle bridge. The path then goes south through the city of Draper and finally joins the old path at a non-vehicle bridge that connects Draper and the city of Riverton. There are large playgrounds on both sides of the river at that point. So, now the Jordan River Parkway is continuous and finished from 14600 South north to 9400 South at the boundary of the cities of West Jordan and South Jordan.

I'm glad the Parkway doesn't use the new vehicle bridge, because it would be dangerous for all if runners, walkers, cyclists, roller bladers, etc. were mixed in with automobiles, trucks, and buses on the bridge.

October 13, 2010

Another great running day and another 4.4 miles

The shade temperature was in the mid 50s (F) when I left home, and the sun had only been up for an hour. Today was a wonderful day for running! I continued raising my knees a little higher, and I tried to lean slightly forward (from my ankles not my waist). I also started increasing each segment of running by going from 90 to 95 left foot steps (lfs) and taking the 66 lfs walking that I've been doing. This worked fine until I got into my last mile. I began getting tired, and I switched to 45 lfs running and 40-50 lfs walking. I didn't take any rest stops, but I did get a drink from the fountain on my way back.

The bridge at 11400 South is finished

I found out this morning from a friend, who uses a motorized wheel chair to travel the Jordan River Parkway, that the new bridge across the Jordan River at 114th South is finished and is open to walkers, runners, etc. but not to vehicular traffic. My friend said the path I've been running goes under the bridge and then up to the bridge. On the other side (east) of the river, the path continues south and connects to the old path. In the past I've mentioned a big hill that is part of a detour around some private land. The new path on the east side of the river bypasses that detour. I'll miss the big hill though. It was a great training hill. I need to go check out the bridge and the new path, because I'm concerned about running across the new bridge once vehicular traffic is allowed.

October 11, 2010

An OK 4.4 mile run but not as good as my previous run

My wakeup heart rate was 55, and I felt pretty good. The sky was cloudy and the temperature was in the 60s (F), so it was a good day for running. I felt fine during the the first 2/3 of the run, but doing the last part I was tired and did more walking relative to my running, although during the last 1/8 mile, I felt less tired than I had felt during the middle part of the run. I've been getting about 6 1/2 hours sleep, close but not quite enough.

I remember a few weeks ago when I was running 3 miles. When I reached the turnaround point, I felt tired. Now, when I go past that turnaround point, I feel great. This shows that my body is getting stronger.

On my next increase in distance, I'd like to add 0.6 miles to put my distance up to 5 miles. We'll  see how it goes when I make my next increase.

October 8, 2010

Today was a great run, and I added 10%

The day began with my wakeup heart rate of 52, the lowest its been for 1 3/4 years. The temperature was about 60 (F) when I left, and the sky was overcast with just a bit of sun once in a while. I left home about noon full of confidence that this day would be a good day for running, and it was. I added 10% to make my run 4.4 miles, my longest in 1 3/4 years.

During the first several running segments, I measured my pace at a bit under 13, significantly lower than the 17 or 18 that I ran a year ago (my normal pace is 14-15).  I only kept that pace for about 3/4 mile, because I knew I wouldn't have the energy to keep it up for the full distance. It's like running a race. One has to avoid going out too fast and then running "out of gas" during the last half of the race. I didn't push myself to run the faster pace. It was the beginning of the run, and I felt energetic. For most of the run, I did practice lifting my knees higher.

I'm still using the  90/66 ratio of left-foot steps running/walking. I didn't carry water with me, and I got a nice drink from the fountain on my way back. Also, I didn't take any rest breaks, and I found two golf balls -- what more could a guy ask than that for a successful run!

I saw two explorers come in from the river

Just before I left my car to walk to the Parkway path, I saw lots of ducks fly up from the Jordan River. I thought to myself, "Strange. Must be something in the river." A few minutes later two men came up from the river carrying a Kayak. As I walked past them to the Parkway path, I was tempted to ask them how far they had come on the river, but I didn't ask.

A couple of years ago, I saw a Kayak floating down the river with nobody in it. Unless the owner of the Kayak recovered his lost boat, that was an expensive trip on the river.

October 6, 2010

Had a good run for 4 miles

Thanks to a good 7 hours of sleep last night, my wakeup heart rate was 55, a significant decrease from the 59 I had on Monday and the 60-62 I had last week. I left home about noon and ran my 4-mile route again. The shade temperature was 70 (F) when I left, and I didn't carry any water. I did drink from the fountain at the East Pavilion (both coming and going), and that was enough. The sky was mostly cloudy (rain expected this evening), and it was a great day for running or walking or cycling or whatever you do for exercise.

I've noticed on several occasions, including today, that I feel great for about 1.75 miles, and then I start getting tired. My turn-around point is at 2 miles, and I start feeling tired just before that point. I did take one rest stop during the run today, this time at about 2.7 miles into the run. It appears that my body does great for 1.75 miles, and then it starts to feel the stress of the run. 1.75 miles doesn't seem like much, but I remember a year ago that I was running/walking about 1.5 miles. And I remember January 2009 when I was attacked by blood clots and could only walk 10 feet (couldn't run at all). So, I've made a lot of progress during the past year, and I'm grateful for that progress and grateful to be alive today. I have a friend that I see on the Jordan River Parkway often. He can't walk very far, and he drives an electric cart on the Parkway. He breathes oxygen through a tube. He likes to be outside, and he notices the plants and wildlife along the river. He is doing the best that he can. That's all any of us can expect: do our best and take each day, one day at a time.

I found another golf ball near the Parkway. The golf course is separated from the Parkway by a barbed wire fence, and the golfers aren't able to get their balls that go out of the course.

Riverton students studying the Jordan River and playing sports

As I ran past the East Pavilion, I saw a lot of students from Riverton who were having an outing at the East Pavilion. I saw one group of about 20 students at the basketball court, two groups were at the Jordan River, one group was playing volleyball, one group was being taught by a teacher holding a picture, and one group was sitting on the lawn talking. The students came in three school buses. It looked like a combination of sports and nature study.

I'm reminded of the time my wife and I helped chaperone a school outing to Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts not far from the Connecticut border. At the conclusion of our visit, we boarded our buses and headed back to the middle school. The other bus never appeared at the school. When that bus reached I90, it turned the wrong way and headed toward western Massachusetts. We went to our homes hoping the driver realized his mistake. This was quite a few years ago, and the buses were not equipped with two-way radios.

October 4, 2010

Another four miles goes into the log -- nice run!

I ran the 4-mile route again, and I wasn't as tired as I was last week. The temperature was in the low 70s (F), and that helped. The sky was cloudy with breaks of sunlight during the run, but by the time I finished, the sky was overcast due to a storm moving in. It should be raining by this evening. I took one rest stop just before the 2-mile turnaround point.

I felt stronger on the way back compared to how I felt going out. This happens a lot, and I wonder if it is due to the two energy bars I ate while driving down to the Jordan River. By the time I turned around, my digestive system might have started extracting energy from the food. I did eat breakfast this morning because I knew I wouldn't be going out very early, and I'm sure energy from breakfast was helpful during the run.

All in all, it was a nice run. I need to run the 4-mile route several times before I increase the distance. As soon as I reach 5-miles, I will cap my Monday run at that distance and let the other two runs head for 7 miles.

My wakeup heart rate was 59, a little higher than it was Friday and Saturday. The likely cause of this was that I only got 6 hours sleep Saturday night. I got a good 7 hours last night.

The Chicago Marathon as seen by Andrew

Before you head out for your run or walk today, take a moment to listen to Andrew (one of the visitors to this blog) rap his vision of the Chicago Marathon.

October 2, 2010

Wendy: Keep Your Groove On: Stay Fit During Recovery After an Injury

Before I can go too much into my recovery plan, I should probably explain what I did to my foot. As I said in my last post, I over did it by adding hills to every run. Of course, at first I thought whatever had popped in my foot would heal on its own so I just rested for a few days and tried a short run once it no longer hurt to walk or jog around my living room. That short run was great at first, but ended in excruciating pain. I realized this was a serious injury and called for a visit with my doc. He made a tentative diagnosis of ligament tear, which was wrong, but he sent me on to an orthopedic surgeon who knew what to look for and diagnosed the stress fracture. Unfortunately, the time from the initial injury, to diagnosis and being placed in a boot took over a month. Yep, for a whole month I walked around on a broken foot. Once I had the boot in place, my 6 to 8 weeks in it started.

Nearly everyone ends up injured at some point. Even if you are smart and do not injure yourself running, you still have the potential to step wrong off a curb, get in a car accident by no fault of your own, or be clobbered by a shopping cart on Black Friday, these things just happen. So, what to do when your usual workout routine is off the schedule? Find something, anything, to keep moving! Anyone can do it and it is tons of fun.) I also have good results using a foam roller on sore muscles and tight joints, particularly my ITBand.

Rheumatoid arthritis has taught me a lot about the importance of movement even when we feel it is impossible. Are you sore all over from a marathon? Go for a walk. Stress fracture in your foot? Lift some weights. Chronic illness? Don't give up, do what you can for now and when things are on the upswing, you will improve even more. If you are injured, do something so that once you are healed and ready to get back to training, you haven’t taken a huge step backwards. Taking advantage of an excuse to be lazy will only set you up for another injury. A forum friend said that if she had a cast on, she would just spend 6 weeks on the couch. I can only think about how much hard work it would take to get over 6 weeks of lethargy!

My doc told me I can do pretty much anything I want at the gym provided I can do it painlessly and in my boot. So far that includes the upright stationary bike, elliptical trainer, stair mill (like walking up the down escalator), and almost all of the weight machines (obviously working calves is out.) I am working out 6 days a week with 5 hours a week of cardio, plus weights, and stretching, in whatever

combination meets my needs, (generally the cardio is done in 1 hour blocks.) I now have 3 weeks in the boot done, hopefully only 3 to go, and feel good about my new workout routine. I am also taking supplements of calcium, magnesium, and Vit. D, along with watching the rest of my diet (also so I don’t gain weight on my running hiatus) while staying as active as possible. With limited mobility, it is important to stay flexible too. I love doing something fun like Yoga or belly dancing (which is amazing for core muscles and hip flexibility, I highly recommend this video, anyone can do it and it is tons of fun.) I also have had good results using a foam roller for sore muscles, tight joints, and ITBand problems.

I hope no one reading this ever has an injury to contend with, but if they do, I hope they will remember this and do everything in their power to keep moving, keep fit, and stay strong!

October 1, 2010

My wakeup heart rate was down 3

I've been getting 7-8 hours sleep for the past two or three nights, and this sleep is having its effect on my body. My heart isn't working as hard to supply oxygen to my body.