Cold Weather Thoughts

Today’s Run

Time – 1:55:08
Distance – 11.0 miles
Pace – 10:27 min/mi
Elevation – 189 ft.

Winter is coming…

Long run in cold weather is a whole new feeling. Especially when you forget your gloves at home. I was a little cold, but I got the miles in and felt good at the end. 33.3 miles for the week. Monday is an off-day, reset the weekly counter for Tuesday.

Shopping for Winter Running Gear is Hard

I went to the store this weekend and picked up cold weather gear. A couple of ear warmers, pants/tights for cold days, and a few more long sleeve shirts. There’s no good way to figure out how much to wear or not wear in the cold. You just have to go running and hope you can get through it with what you have.

There’s a couple of good websites out there for this kind of thing. Runner’s World has a tool that allows you to enter in information such as temperature, wind, and how warm you want to be, and it gives a list of clothing to wear. It’s not bad, but requires a bit of testing to get it to work.

Tina Muir’s blog post on the subject is excellent. She has pictures with the gear she uses, a description for each, and talks about how she personally reacts to the cold to give an idea of what to consider when planning for weather. This one is my favorite site on the subject.

Super Skinny Me does a post on this as well that has a collection of options. This one is a good cross-reference for the other sites.

All in all, I’ve found a few things to me true for me:

* I have cold hands – Years of time spent outside without gloves in the cold have finally caught up to me. I need to wear them if the temperature goes below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
* I can do just a ball cap until the low 50’s, but after that, bets off – My ears need the protection. It’s how I roll.
* Running DOES make you warm – Dress for the temperature and let the running bring you up to warmth. It works.
* Check the wind EVERY time before a run – It makes a difference. And the corollary…
* Run into the wind to start the run, and come home with it at your back – Once you get a little sweaty, the temperature hurts a lot more. Putting it at your back makes it seem a lot warmer. Direction matters!

Running continues to be a true learning experience. Lots to figure out…


How Do You Keep It Going?

Today’s Run

Time – 43:03
Distance – 4.5 miles
Pace – 9:28 min/mi
Elevation – 0 ft.

This way for change!

It got cold today. Here’s the late fall charging in to sweep out the cold. Treadmill time! I went a little quicker today than last time on the treadmill. Most time spent at 6.2 MPH (9:40 pace at 1% grade). The Apple Watch and Strava were actually so close to the treadmill’s numbers that I just kept the watch data and the time in order to see the heart rate information. No trouble at this speed, either. Heart rate was below 150, with a 140 BPM average and most of the run at 145 or below. Even the later parts of the run didn’t feel bad.

Motivation is Hard, Work is Easy?

Putting together the desire to run, and then write about it, isn’t always easy. Getting out the door can be tough. Once I do so, though, I’m good to go. I’ll do the run and the miles. They have meaning. After the run, again, it’s hard to sit down and type. I had to spend a lot of energy on the Master’s class and the paper due there. It takes a lot of brain power to put together good work for that class, which then makes this hard, too.

I enjoy writing about my running, though. It’s a way to get out how I’m thinking and feeling, and to remember what it was like before so that I can see the progress.

Today’s run wasn’t too awful at all. I was surprised to be going that fast on the treadmill when it still seems to be so early in the running for me. I guess, though, that I’ve been doing this since late June, and I shouldn’t be surprised anymore. The work that I put in all those years ago still has value, even if most of the fitness went away. My body can remember how to do this, and the consistency I’ve tried to show over the last few months cannot be discounted, either. Running 5 days a week will cause you to find big gains.

I know that the rate of return on my running will slow down. I’ll stop getting faster as quick as I have been, and, eventually, I’ll just stop getting faster. I’m okay with the idea of that, I guess. I’ll be disappointed when it happens, because so much of me feels like I’ve wasted opportunities to get faster and fitter over this last decade. But my life has changed in so many ways that I can’t complain at all. I’m a father now. I’ve got a loving wife who supports all of my crazy. I’ve been able to find a career that I enjoy immensely and can say that I am reasonably successful at doing. I like where I am, for the most part, and I don’t have anything I need to change right now.

This means that everything will change very soon, because that’s the only constant…

Following A Fast Day

Today’s Run

Time – 54:43
Distance – 5.6 miles
Pace – 9:41 min/mi
Elevation – 131 ft.


Another run after a hard day. Kept the pace down and just put in miles. It felt fine. This was the last major warm day of the year. It was almost 80 degree Fahrenheit today! It was still in the upper 60’s when I ran. Very comfortable, and a little breezy, but not enough to slow the run down too much.

No One Wants to Follow Seinfeld Onstage

After a solid hard day with a great run, it’s hard to think about the benefits or the possibilites of the run on the next day. It’s about putting in miles and just getting out the door. The runs are quiet and simple affairs, with little fanfare.

I got to run in beautiful weather with a good pace and a strong legs. All in all, it was worth the time. I guess that’s all I want to ask for on days like this. Let the run be worth it.

What Just Happened?!

Today’s Run

Time – 58:06
Distance – 6.5 miles
Pace – 8:56 min/mi
Elevation – 196 ft.


Fast. That is the only word I can think of. Ran well, felt great, could have gone longer, but I’m not sure how much. Got to run with Shawn from the Wednesday night crew, which was fun. Thanks, Shawn! New Strava records for this one. Did I mention fast?!

I May Have Blacked Out for a Minute

I’m not really sure what it was about tonight’s run. I was thinking that I’d put a little bit of effort into tonight’s run, and I’d have fun running hard. Then I’d slow down and take it easy after the first few miles. But I just kept going.

And going…

And going…

I ran with the front group. The three of us cruised along and kept up the pace as we separated from the rest. I’m sure that plenty of the people behind could destroy me on their fast days. And that’s alright. The world is full of fast people who run hard. I’m not one of them.

But I got to run fast tonight. I led the group for part of the run, enjoying the speed and the feeling of working hard with others. My legs felt great. My lungs had air. I could really feel the speed was there when I wanted it. This is why I keep running. For days like this when I get to do it right.

There’s a fat kid somewhere in my past that’s shuffling down the side of the road for the mile run in P.E. class. I thought about him in my car on the drive home. I thought about the feeling of being the second to last guy to finish. I thought about the pain of those runs, both physically and mentally, as I knew that I just couldn’t do better. I thought about how, even though I felt fast, I’m not…yet…

And that’s what I’m going to do next. I’m going to be fast. I’m going to do it through days and days, and miles and miles, of running at the right paces. I’m going to run slow when I should, and fast when I can. I’m going to find a race to do that let’s me run hard with people faster than I am to see how good I can be.

Where’s my calendar? I need to find a free weekend. The goal is not changing. I’m still gunning for Squaw Valley in some June in the future. But, until I get there, I’m gonna do this. Because I know that I can now.

Schooling Happens

Today’s Run

Time – 1:00:47
Distance – 5.6 miles
Pace – 10:45 min/mi
Elevation – 0 ft.


Treadmill run today as the temperature took a swift dive and the wind picked up. I went as long as my brain would allow, but, in the end, I cut a little bit off the end to get the run over with. It was very easy to do the treadmill; I kept the pace at 5.8 or 5.9 MPH the whole time, shifting it between the two to change up the speed just a little for my legs. All in all, a normal run. Trials of Miles, Miles of Trials.

The First of Many to Come

Today’s run was the first of many that will look and sound the same. “x.x miles on the treadmill…watched TV/listened to podcast or audiobook X…Trials of Miles…blah, blah, blah.” I’m going to do this a lot. I have to, because it’s the only way.

The way to get good at something is to practice it. You wouldn’t think that running takes practice. It’s why most runners call it “training.” They’re like Allen Iverson. Nobody wants to think about practice. This is why so many overtrain, or train at too fast of a speed. Runners think that they have to work hard every time or it’s not worth it.

The Trials of Miles, Miles of Trials comes from the book Once a Runner by John L. Parker. This is probably the greatest fictional book on running ever written. Or, at least, that’s what runners say. The literary critics have other ideas.

Nonetheless, in the story, the lead character, Cassidy, discusses and lives out the ideal of “Trials of Miles, Miles of Trials.” This concept is that, throughtout the time of “training” as a runner, they must continually do the “good work” until they are strong enough to race and win. They suffer through the miles of running, the weather, the time-suck that is spending time on your feet going from one place to another at speed. It’s about just moving onward, despite everything else, in order to be the best.

That’s what practice is. It’s the work of learning the skill. The mind doesn’t have to be told how to run, however. The legs don’t have to taught. But the muscles, the fibers, the tendons and bones, the heart, the lungs, the capillaries and the blood need to build the skills necessary to be successful. They haven’t done this before. They haven’t run that next mile yet. They haven’t run tomorrow before. So they need to be taught how. That’s why I practice running.

I know that it sounds silly, and is a bit of splitting hairs, but it’s important for my mindset personally. I need to think about how every run is necessary to make my body learn how to do something it hasn’t done before. I wasn’t a runner before, so I’m going to learn how.

Back to school!

First Run in the Rain…And What’s Next…

Today’s Run

Time – 51:12
Distance – 5.1 miles
Pace – 9:54 min/mi
Elevation – 192 ft.

If only I had a whiteboard this big…

Four runs now at sub–10:00 pace. This is becoming a thing. I didn’t want to go out this fast, and had slowed down some, but then it started to rain, so I sped up to get home quicker. The run felt ok. I felt a twinge in my right hamstring, and it’s got me nervous. Tomorrow is an off-day, so I’m hoping that will set things right. The pace felt good, I didn’t have to work too hard, and I enjoyed the run, despite the precipitation. Can’t complain today.


What’s Next?!

In considering what I want/should do next, I’ve got a couple of options, to be sure. I’ve thought about THE GOAL a lot since I’ve started this blog. Each run is building to that one purpose: To run Western States 100 as soon as I can get qualified safely and through the lottery successfully.

In the meantime, however, I’ve talked about other goals and ideas. Running fast miles, running fast 5K’s, running fast marathons…in essence, running fast. One thing that I’ve found which makes the most amount of change happen in the speed department is long, slow miles with occasional speed workouts built in to the plan. Running a lot, at the right pace, makes all of the difference. So, by this logic, more is better, right?

There’s a lot of science to back this up. Tim Noakes, Arthur Lydiard, and others all have written and studied the concept extensively. I’ve been researching this as much as I can to figure out what to do next.

So, here’s The Plan. While it might seem self-evident given my long-term goals, I still need to think it out and say it out loud (or at least, type it out to the world) what I’m going to do to make it real. The plan is to get to 40–50 miles a week of training in the near term (by the end of the year) with a marathon plan after Christmas that will keep my mileage high through April. Then I back down the mileage into the 30–40 miles/week range for post-marathon until June (about 6 weeks of recovery) then start back up with the building to 70–80 miles a week before the 100 miler in the fall. That’s going to be the plan, I think. I still need to hash out a few things around the training periods that will be built into this, especially in the run-up to the race late next year. We have a family vacation that we’ll be shooting for in late November or early December, so an autumn race will fit that nicely into the recovery after the run.

So, that’s The Plan.

I think…

Good Food FTW

Today’s Run

Time – 1:20:47
Distance – 8.4 miles
Pace – 9:43 min/mi
Elevation – 215 ft.

Something of a change…

This is my third run this week under 10:00/mile pace. Time to slow down! I cut my long run mileage by 25 percent for today’s run. Intentional easing off this week to give my body a break before I ramp up to 35–40 miles/week in the next block. I tried to run today a little harder than the “easy run” pace that I’ve been working with lately. This (along with a serious headwind!) caused a slow 5th mile and I dropped pace by 40 seconds/mile. I was able to pick it up after that and finish around the run’s pace for the remaining miles. Long run pace should be a little quicker than yesterday’s run, so this was good. I didn’t bring water or food, and I was feeling it by the end. All things being equal, I was able to make it the whole way without too much trouble.

I Continue to Bury the Lead

Post-run today, I weighed myself and the first number on the scale was a “1”! This is huge for me. I’m super excited that the months of diet, exercise, and changes and choices are coming together.

The Big Moment!

The obvious question might be, “How did you do it?” I’ve talked about it in the past in other blog posts. I’ll say this. Weight loss can be done via exercise, if you are willing and able to do enough to overcome what you are eating. That’s how I lost 65 pounds 10 years ago. Certainly, running has helped me get these last 10–15 lbs. off in the last few months. There is something else, though.

If you fill the engine of your car with bad fuel, it will seize, the internal components will fail, or the engine will just not run with it’s best efficiency. You can’t burn calories long and hard enough if you don’t have good fuel to burn. You’ll eat up your engine, get injured, or worse.

I’m no medical doctor, and I’m certainly not an expert at this, so take what I say accordingly, but this is what I do know. Good food = good body. If you eat correctly, your body will respond as it is supposed to respond to good food: It will run right, burn energy as it needs to do so, and will change in shape.

I once heard something, “Exercise creates the shape of my body. Diet is what I wrap around that shape.” In other words, exercise creates muscle, but if you eat garbage, you’ll be covered in garbage. The first thing I noticed when I changed how I was eating was that the dry patches on skin on my elbows went away. I didn’t change how I was scrubbing them, and I didn’t add lotion to my morning or evening routines (in fact, everything I had been trying didn’t seem to work). Once I started to eat correctly, my skin cleared up, my body responded by burning off the fat and getting rid of the crap that had been hiding out inside of me.

“Healthy food” is becoming something of a misnomer. “Good food” is something that you can recognize when you look at it, instead of having to open the seal (you know, for “freshness”) to get a peek. It resembles what it looked like when it was growing, instead of being manufactured. “Good food” tastes delicious when it’s all you eat, instead of filling your diet with sugars and fats to add flavor (or hide the mechnical taste when it was assembled).

Just my two cents…