Mile PR #2

Today’s Run

Time – 38:52
Distance – 4.09 miles
Pace – 9:30 min/mi
Elevation – 82 ft.

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2 mile warmup, 1 mile run on the track, then a 1 mile cool down. New PR, again! 7:20! Apparently, the 7:45 last week was soft because of the wind. I didn’t have much else left in the legs after this, so that’s definitely closer to the top end for me as of right now. Time for a lot of miles and hills to build the speed more.

Hills are speedwork in disguise, they say

I’ve heard that line numerous times. “Hills are speedwork in disguise.” Living on a hilly street is starting to pay off. Every run has at least three hills on the way home. And, because they’re at the end of the run, I’m usually picking it up at the end to get home quicker. This puts more effort into the hills, thus getting me more out of the hills.

It’s not scientific by any means, just an ancillary benefit to my regular running routes. I’m starting to like the available runs here. There’s not as many options as there were at the last place. I had, within a half mile of the old house, 8 different routes that I could go, each of which could be 3–10 miles or more. Now, it’s a mile either direction out of my neighborhood, and still there’s only another 2 or 3 choices another mile after that. The choices are not bad, however, and are safe and scenic.

There will be a lot of driving to running starts from now on, though. It will be good to be forced to add new routes. I could use more time at the track, or on trails, as a part of my running. Those are things that help to improve.

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New Longer Run

Today’s Run

Time – 1:06:19
Distance – 7.10 miles
Pace – 9:20 min/mi
Elevation – 243 ft.

Went out a little further on an out-and-back. 7 miles is a good distance. Tried to keep it easy, but the end was a little tougher as I came back into the wind and had the big hill to get home. Nothing too crazy, but it wore me down more than I would have liked. All in all, the run wasn’t bad, and I need to get the mileage back up.

Some runs need to be longer

Before the move, I had a good, standard run route that I would do regularly which was about 6.5 miles. It wasn’t too far, but it made the shorter, faster runs much easier and put a good amount of miles on my legs. Three of those a week at an easy pace, and I would have 30 miles in the bag with my other 2 days.

I’m needing to push to do that kind of mileage again. 30 miles a week felt like a solid amount that would build fitness and keep my weight in check. Frankly, running that much allowed me to eat cookies. Come on, let’s be honest, that’s what it’s all about. The cookies!

Seriously, though, I like runs of about an hour. They fit well into my schedule, I get a good workout, and I feel pretty positive at the end. I’m not too torn up from a lot of distance, but I get a healthy amount of exhaustion from the run. Plus, when I get home, I can use the excuse of being tired so that I can offer to sit and hold Baby Girl for a while.

She’s growing up too fast.

Missed a Day

Yesterday’s Run

Time – 44:27
Distance – 5.05 miles
Pace – 8:48 min/mi
Elevation – 121 ft.

CookieSleeper
Falling asleep mid-cookie?!

Wanted to go out and run harder for a little longer. This ended up happening, although I burned out pretty bad at mile 4. Not as far as I would have liked, but I still felt good in the legs, and there IS speed in there, somewhere.

Days Go By

I didn’t get to post this yesterday, and I had to skip a run, too, due to another obligation, so my schedule is a little weird this week. I allow for 2 rest days so I have the ability to make up the time. Plus, as I’m trying to get back on track from the baby, the house, and a few other changes, it’s been a little bumpy.

The worst part is missing the amazing weather yesterday. It was in the upper 70’s F and the sun was shining. Having had snow now twice in April (which is NOT normal for this area at all…), the last two weeks have been a real mess. But that’s how it works. If it was easy and always on schedule and on plan, life would be really boring.

In the meantime, sleep has been good to me, so I feel like there’s a real jump waiting in the wings. This much rest is bound to have an affect.

The Measurement of a Run (and it’s not miles or meters)

Today’s Run

Time – 55:41
Distance – 6.12 miles
Pace – 9:06 min/mi
Elevation – 167 ft.

It was a “get out and run” day. It was breezy, cold, and sunny, which makes for a cool, but comfortable, run. The distance wasn’t bad, but I was tired and wanted to be done from the beginning, although it was a little easier in the middle. About mile 4 I didn’t want to do it anymore, but I had to get home, so I was able to just keep going.

Is It Just Another Run?

Sometimes, a run is just a run. There’s not much special for it, other than time spent on your feet. And, on those days when running doesn’t seem like a good idea anymore, loops are better than out-and-backs. With a loop, you have to keep going to get home. Out-and-backs allow you to turn around at any time. The days with mental challenges are the days that I, personally, need a loop course. I have to be able to force myself to keep going in order to get home.

It seems to me that thinking about more things in life as a loop would be helpful. One can’t turn around at any point and start just bringing it in when it comes to life. If that’s the case, then you’re mailing it in, which is not a recipe for success. Seeing the path as a loop means that you won’t see the same thing twice until you get to the end.

Life is different as you go through it. Everyday brings something that you haven’t seen before. We rarely get to go back the way we came, and, even then, it’s still changed in one way or another.

Sometimes when I go running, I pick a new loop, and I don’t know how far I have to go until the end. I have to expend my energy in a measured way in order to be sure that I can get back without injury or severe bonking. In life, I need to make sure that the effort I put in doesn’t wear me out too much, or I lose focus, desire, and the drive to get things done. Bonking on the run is like burnout in real life. Too much will wear you down.

Success is a measured effort put out over time to accomplish goals. Running success is the same. Consistent training over time will equal quality growth and increased ability. That’s why it’s never “just another run.” It’s the measured effort.

Why I Hate Running

Yesterday’s Run

Time – 41:15
Distance – 4.24 miles
Pace – 9:43 min/mi
Elevation – 187 ft.

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Little Buddy hates running, too.

Easy day following a harder day. Just tried to keep my pace from speeding up into the tempo run range. It didn’t feel bad at all, and my legs were really solid. I’ll be back into the rhythm soon.

Why I Hate Running

To be clear, I don’t hate running all the time. I hate a lot of things about it, though.

I hate that I’m still trying to get away from the fat kid I was when I was younger, and he seems to always be right behind me. I don’t remember him being that fast, or having this kind of endurance. I keep getting pushed to get out the door because I need to put him in the rearview mirror and keep him there.

I hate that it seems to take forever to get faster, despite all evidence to the contrary. Last year in July, I was running 2.5 miles at 12–13 minute per mile pace. It’s 9 months later, I’m doing 8’s and 9’s for my miles, and I know that 12–15 miles is a reasonable long run. Perspective is hard to get when you do something regularly without taking time to sit back and view the work being done.

I hate the fact that I like doing this so much that I find myself daydreaming about taking a run when I’m in the car on the way to work, or in the evenings while winding down from the day, or that I find myself running in my dreams. This is getting a little obsessive.

It is, however, pretty cool that get to keep running, in spite of the fact that I seem to hate it so much. Maybe I’ll go for a run after breakfast…

Running Isn’t Simple, Is It?

Today’s Run

Time – 38:30
Distance – 4.30 miles
Pace – 8:56 min/mi
Elevation – 131 ft.

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Got out the door again, despite the desire to stay in. Ran a little harder than I needed to, but it felt good. Just a quick out and back to get the routines down again.

Running isn’t simple, is it?

Running seems like it should just be a simple thing. You put on shoes, shorts, and a shirt, and go run. It’s like that most days. Maybe a treadmill if necessary, or a long shirt or hat if cold, but the process is simple.

Sometimes, though, it’s a lot more complicated. There’s the bargaining, the convincing, the affirmations that “Just do it, you’ll feel better. Promise!” It can be a chore that seems like it never ends, because you know that you have to do it again tomorrow. It can be like a thief that steals time, daylight, or the ability to get work done around the house. It can involve watches that track everything but spy satellites, running clothes that wick and comform and don’t smell, and shoes that were designed by NASA and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

Running isn’t hard, though, because running isn’t the outcome. It’s the means. That’s where my confusion was for a long time, and still is on occasion. I don’t run because of the run. I run for the other things. Years with my wife and kids because of health. A body that is stronger and will not fail me as quickly. A mind that needs the relaxing quiet I find on the roads and trails. My outcomes from running are the reason I run.

Ben Kenobi was Right

Today’s Run

Time – 57:23
Distance – 5.78 miles
Pace – 9:56 min/mi
Elevation – 187 ft.

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Slightly warmer means outdoor run. Easy pace for 40–60 minutes before tomorrow’s workout. It was hard to keep up the pace, and my legs felt heavy. Not tired, just heavy. The food intake the last couple of days hasn’t been the best, so I’m pretty sure that’s not helping.

I love waffles

To be more precise, I love gluten-free, blueberry toaster waffles. Cook two of them twice so they’re crispy, cover one in chocolate hazelnut spread, and the other in apple cider or strawberry vanilla jam…I could eat these everyday.

But that wouldn’t be healthy, of course. They’re calorically dense, have limited nutritional value relative to fruits and vegetables, and get a little pricy when not on sale at the supermarket. They are good though.

I’m realizing that my running was starting to look the same. 40–60 minutes of comfortable running 4 days a week with another “long run” that’s 75–90 minutes isn’t a menu for success and growth. It’s, at best, maintenance. I’d probably get a little faster, but not much. And it would take a really long time to get there.

There’s a running site out there called Let’s Run. It is probably the best source for track and field/road running news on the planet. These guys get it right. They also have their World Famous Message Boards. These are probably the worst place for anything resembling reality. Think of it this way, the message boards are the Mos Eisley cantina of the internet. In other words, “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” Be cautious.

There are, however, nuggets of truth and good information sprinkled throughout the trolls, smugglers, posers, and self-proclaimed near-Olympians. I’ve read more than a few reports of people who, having run the same every day, didn’t improve much over a period of time. When adding speed work and more definitive long runs, they jumped in speed and endurance. This is the real live data I’m seeking.

Of course, the old adage, “Your mileage may vary” applies, but the intention of looking here isn’t to figure out how fast I’m personally going to get. It’s to reinforce the idea that the workouts matter, even when tired legs get in the way, or the desire to run in the cold isn’t there, or the treadmill starts to look like a medieval torture device. It’s the motivation that if I just keep running, things are going to happen.