Introverted Running with a Group?

Today’s Run

Time – 58:50
Distance – 6.02 miles
Pace – 9:46 min/mi
Elevation – 95 ft.

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Group run with Runwell. Easy run again today, according to the plan. 45–60 minutes of easy pace, but I put a fast finish on the end because I felt really good. Got to run with Kip, and we talked about kids, grandkids, and buying houses. Thanks, Kip!

Meet Exciting People

Sometimes, running with a group is hard. But not today. It was good to get together with everyone and enjoy the crowd. Lots of encouragement on the trail, good conversation, and the knowledge that someone was there along the way to help if needed.

Running at night on the trails around here by yourself seems ludicrous. There are NO lights, and there’s no houses, people, or help nearby if you need it. Somebody could jump out and beat you with a bat, rob you at gunpoint, or worse. Plus, we’ve got skunks here, too, and that’s not something you want to wander up on and scare in the middle of the darkness.

I’ve never really run with a group before this year. There as a little time with the St. Louis Triathlon Club years ago, but I was the slowest person by far, and would usually get left behind in a few minutes. I enjoyed the runs because Forest Park in St. Louis was great, but there was not a lot of social interaction. This group is totally different. They are fun and accepting, and the runs are on good trails with about 5–6 different routes, so there’s not really a repeat during a month.

My introverted brain appreciates the group. This isn’t an advertisement for them as much as a recognition on my part that there are groups out there that can be a part of what I do and enjoy, and not feel overwhelming. Again, for an introverted guy, this can’t be discounted. Sure, I’m gonna run 4 out of 5 days by myself, but I like having the option to get together, especially on easy days, to run along with someone else.

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Meeting Old Acquaintances

Today’s Run

Time – 48:50
Distance – 5.04 miles
Pace – 9:41 min/mi
Elevation – 194 ft.

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Do I know you?

More cold running. The marathon training plan said 40–50 minutes of easy running, so that was the plan. Lots of light jogging around the quick loop through town. It felt really easy, and I had to slow myself down a couple of times because I started to go sub–9:00/mile pace. That’s a great problem to have, I think.

Say, aren’t you…?

Out running this evening, I ran into a guy I knew from college. I haven’t seen him in nearly 20 years, and we didn’t get to spend too long catching up because he was with his family, and it was cold. It was good to run into him, though, because he’s been living a couple of towns over for a while, and we had not connected yet.

This made me think about the things you get to see when running. I had read an article on Runner’s World’s website many years ago that was an account by a runner of the adventures he had with his small group of running friends. There was a lifetime of stories, including being chased by dogs and people, finding things along the roadway, getting propositioned from the windows of passing cars, and other strange-but-true tales. There were discussions, debates, arguments, and silence. There was solo runs, runs of two or three, and races. It was a collection of the stories that are gathered over a collection of years.

My meeting last night was another of the stories I get to add to my own collection. It’s not earth-shattering, but it’s another memory I get to keep from my own running life. And that makes it special for me.

Up the Pace

Today’s Run

Time – 1:22:21
Distance – 9.0 miles
Pace – 9:08 min/mi
Elevation – 269 ft.

Ran outside. Tried to run the miles faster to force the legs to work. I was able to hold around a 9:00/mile pace for the mileage, except for a couple of bigger hill miles. This felt really good, and I surprised myself a little bit with how far I could run hard.

Marathon training starts today

As a part of my Strava membership, I get access to training plans for various distances. Today is supposed to be the start of my marathon training program. The program starts with a Rest Day, which is good, as it coincides with my normal day off. There’s 4 planned runs for this week, along with two additional “Rest Days” that can be converted into easy days if I want. I’ll plan to run on one, and rest the other.

The other point to this is, though, that I’m still torn about changing to the half marathon. It’s a distance that I know I can do well at, I have a PR that I’d like to break, and I want to keep working on speed. I’m worried that full marathon training will keep me from getting faster in a way I would like. I’m also concerned that my winter running didn’t have as much distance in it as I wanted.

My first marathon isn’t going to be a world record debut, this I know. But I would like to be able to hit my goals and make a respectable showing. I also don’t want to get injured because I decided to force the issue instead of working up to the distance.

This feels like a lot of excuses. Maybe, in the end, I’m just scared of the distance. Maybe. In a 100 mile ultra, speed is never an issue because there’s no way to go “fast.” In a marathon, there’s room to be quick. I’m not scared of the 100 mile distance. I don’t know why I would be scared on the marathon.

Today’s Run x 2

Today’s Run x 2

Run 1 – Wednesday

Time – 40:37
Distance – 4.2 miles
Pace – 9:39 min/mi
Elevation – Treadmill at 1%

Treadmill run at the hotel. No TV to watch, just a window to stare out into the evening skyline in Kansas City. Didn’t really push hard as this was a recovery run. Every treadmill brand feels different, and this was no exception. A little stiffer, but not bad on the legs.

Run 2 – Thursday

Time – 1:12:09
Distance – 7.4 miles
Pace – 9:39 min/mi
Elevation – 482 ft.

I wasn’t looking to run hard as this was an outside run from the hotel into parts unknown. I had the cold wind at my back going out, and then it was bitter coming back. Lots of hills in KC, and the sidewalks were a little icy in some places. The run felt great, though, and I was able to put in the miles without much thought. I need to add more effort to some of these runs, though. I’m going too easy too often.

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Running while on the road…wait…

Traveling for work makes running more interesting. The running clothes get left in the back of the shower during the post-run rinse to remove the locker room smell, and most runs outside need to be out and back to remove the risk of getting lost. But, new sites are pretty cool, and I got to see thinks that you don’t pick up on from the Uber as you drive by.

When I travel, my blog is going to suffer, I can tell. The hope is to keep putting my runs out there, along with my thoughts, so I can keep it all straight. Time will be the X factor.

In the meantime, I am realizing that I have fallen into the trap of too many runs at the same speed and duration. Lots of 5–7 mile runs at low to mid–9:00/mile paces. This is going to get to be a problem. I need more workouts, and better paced easy runs, to get faster.

What is Productivity?

Today’s Run

Time – 41:16
Distance – 4.3 miles
Pace – 9:27 min/mi
Elevation – Treadmill at 1%

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One mile warmup, 12 x .25 mile with an increase of 1 MPH on the treadmill every quarter, and then a cooldown. It wasn’t easy at the end, but it felt good to run hard. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and I had a lot more strength than I thought I had. I want to be a lot faster than this, but to start at 9:30/mile and go down to 8:00/mile on a continous run makes me feel like I can run hard.

Productive Running, Part 2

In my last post, I talked about the Garmin Forerunner and that it is tracking how “productive” my runs are. Garmin’s website has an overview on the subject:

Is your current training intense enough, or long enough, to help improve your fitness? How do you know if you’re working hard enough to make a difference in the long run or if you’re not pushing yourself hard enough? Training status helps you make decisions about future training by automatically taking into account changes in fitness level, your current acute (7-day) training load and any change in training load with respect to previous training. In essence, it tells you the effectiveness of your current training and provides guidance to help you improve your training decisions.

So, effectively, the watch is keeping track of my last 7 days, reviewing the work I’m doing, and judging how that work reflects on my current fitness. The page also talks about how as fitness improves, the amount of work necessary will increase (seems self-evident, but, then again, “Coffee is hot” as the thermal cup from McDonald’s says).

I can’t believe that this is overwhelmingly accurate. It is a good measure, if taken in context. The watch will show the change in fitness relative to it’s own measurements. I can rely on it to rate itself against it’s own baseline. I’ll need to be sure to continue to monitor how I’m feeling on my own. Only I can judge my effort and fatigue. If I’m tired, or sore, or just mentally ready for a day off, I need to take it, no matter what the watch says.

Oh, and according to my watch, today’s workout was “Maintaining.” Grrr…

Productive Running: The Question

Today’s Run

Time – 58:40
Distance – 6.3 miles
Pace – 9:16 min/mi
Elevation – Treadmill at 1%

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One mile warmup, 4 miles at 8:57/mile pace, then cool down. No fast finish. Just running. No news feels like good news.

What is Productive Running?

My Garmin Forerunner tells me that I am “maintaining fitness” right now with my runs. There’s a metric that shows how each run is supposed to affect me. Now it’s time to research this and figure out what that means.

Blogging for Fun and Profit?

Today’s Run

Time – 1:15:12
Distance – 8.0 miles
Pace – 9:23 min/mi
Elevation – Treadmill at 1%

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Longer run on the treadmill today. 1 mile warmup, then 5.5 miles at 9:05/mile pace. Shifted to 7:59/pace for about a half a mile, then cooldown. It was a good “fast finish” run, and the fast part at the end could have gone on for longer, but I was running out of time.

Finding a Balance

Writing a blog is about finding balance. Not the balance between living life and recording it, or the balance between sitting in front of a computer and spending time with family away from the work. The balance I’m referring to is one of content, or rather, volume of content.

It’s a difficult proposition to write for a blog everyday. I would imagine this is especially hard when you rely on the income generated to provide for yourself and your family. I am not one of those individuals. My content is my own as a collection of thoughts and ideas. I like to go back on occasion and see how I was perceiving my topic (in this case, running), and to let the past help guide my future.

I try to write on anyday that I run. I get to record the stats from the run, and my thoughts on how it went. I also have made a point to include a random collection of thoughts, as much for my sanity as anything else. Some of these posts are so that I can download my brain to somewhere, rather that requiring that The Wife listen to me ramble…

What I write isn’t always Pulitzer Prize material, though. It’s not the best content I could produce everyday, because that is a function of time. I like to give this blog a good shot of my brand of crazy, however sometimes the tank is a little dry. So, you get posts like this.

Regardless of the quality, the thoughts continue to be an extension of what runs around in my head, for better or worse. If I were intending to write for fun and profit, I’d pursue the ideas that Susie Lindau had in her post, “18 Best Blog Tips: New Ways to Promote Your Blog, Increase Traffic, and More!”. She also talks about writing less for better quality in, “How To Be Discovered on WordPress!”.

This isn’t my goal, though. More views would be great. Bigger stats and the ability to monetize would be fun. But my goal remains the same: 100 miles the last Saturday in June…someday.