Running In The Dark On Halloween

Today’s Run

Time – 53:59
Distance – 5.4 miles
Pace – 9:53 min/mi
Elevation – 141 ft.

Medium length run, for me, anyway. Nothing too impressive. I ate a lot less yesterday, which translated into some slower miles today, interestingly enough. I hadn’t realized how much I was fueling up for the next day’s running until I didn’t one day. The pace was slower than I expected during those middle miles, but I still had energy to push. Just not as much as I would have liked.

BOO!

Running around in the dark at night on Halloween isn’t as scary as one would imagine. Especially when there’s a huge party in the middle of town for the annual Halloween parade. I ran past the festivities. Loud and fun as always!

I also did a virtual race last night, which was my first. The idea is this: You register for the event online, they send you a race shirt, bib number, and finisher medal, then you go out and run, and when you’re done you record your time on the website. Simple, easy, and so modern-day-internet that it’s almost hilarious. The idea is great for people who can’t get to races, or want to do something interesting for their running. But I think some of the fun with running is going to races. This perpetuates the concept of community through electronic means, which is fine. There’s something for the human touch, the feel of the energy in the group, the sounds, the smells, and visuals.

I’m not replacing my races with virtual races, to be sure, but I have to admit, the finisher medal is pretty cool.

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How Do You Keep It Going?

Today’s Run

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

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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…

A Day Late…

Today’s (Yesterday’s, Actually) Run

Time – 45:21
Distance – 5.0 miles
Pace – 9:02 min/mi
Elevation – 73 ft.

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Who’s that guy in the back?

Day off, then group run with the Runwell group. I started late, caught up to the front of the pack, and hung with them for 2.5 miles. I turned around and decided to keep up the fast pace back to the store. The negative split showed that I can finish fast, even at 5 miles with a LOW 9:00/mile pace. I’m happy with the way that my fitness is coming together! New fastest 5K (27:50) and two mile with back-to-back sub–9:00’s. All of that running at sub–145 BPM heart rate is showing itself.

Why I Believe in Long, Slow Mileage

You can’t type “Running” into YouTube or Google and not come across a video or blog post about the benefits of long, slow running. I was, for a number of years, a mixed believer on the subject. I knew that running a little slower would keep me from getting hurt, but as a triathlete all those years ago, I only had two or three days a week available to run, so I had to make the most of it. Now that I’m only running for the most part, I’m finding that I can’t (and, frankly, I don’t want to) run hard every time I go out.

I like to run. I like to run as often as I can. I would run every day if I thought that I could get away with it, but the Wife and the kids would probably hide my running shoes if I did. Instead, I make it a point to run at least 5 days a week. This means that I have to run a couple of those days back-to-back, which slows down a few of these runs in order to remain injury-free. Plus, as I’ve been getting back into running, hard and fast hasn’t really been a possibility.

The Apple Watch affords me the luxury of knowing (at some level) a relative heart rate. I can, therefore, run based on a number that corresponds to different thresholds. Having done a little bit of internet research, I concluded that my running needed to be below 145 BPM in order to be an “easy run.” This correlated to a pace in the mid–12:00/mile at the beginning. A near crawl by most standards.

Perseverance…along with a willingness to look silly as I shuffled down the road…soon paid dividends. The pace moved to the low–12’s, then the 11’s, and into the 10’s. Thus we arrive at my run yesterday, in which I held it together with the fastest group (not running fast, mind you, but the lead pack, nonetheless) for 2.5 miles. All of this with a heart rate below 156 BPM for that part of the run. This would be how I would expect to race a 10K. It’s that kind of pace!

Apparently, I’m much faster than I thought. I’m not going to be meeting any of my other goals anytime soon, but I’m on the right track. Perhaps it IS time for that mile time trial…

Cash In The Bank

Today’s Run

Time – 31:02
Distance – 3.3 miles
Pace – 9:19 min/mi
Elevation – 78 ft.

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Four days in a row, crossing over from last week to this week. This is supposed to be a rest week, so I’ll take a mile off each run and only do 8–10 on Sunday. Mileage should end right around 25–27 for the week.

Today was quick. Probably much faster than should follow the long run, but I’m finding that my legs are pretty strong. I’ve got to be careful about spending too much of the savings I have in the “Strong Legs” account, or I’ll find it empty and then I’ll get injured.

Paying into the “Running” Account at the Bank of Fitness

Running is like putting money in the bank. If you keep adding to the account, it will grow. If you don’t, there are fees and charges that slowly pull all of the money out of the account. If you run too hard, too fast, for too long, it spends the money in the account. If you race, it spends the account.

Overtraining is just spending more than you make. It’s like that credit card I got in college that eventually became the STUPID decision that took years to fix. Too much hard running will only slow down your running because you’ll have to rest up and wait for healing to get back to normal.

Days like today are fine occasionally, but I’ve got to be careful with the hard stuff. This wasn’t a “scheduled” workout, and I didn’t need to push so much. When you have positive balance in the account, it’s easy to spend a little bit of it. Sometimes fast running feels really easy. I can tell that it’s not taking as much effort to hold a faster speed, and the heart rate is telling the same story. The training is working.

I’ll just keep puttin’ that cash in the bank!

Things You Notice

Today’s Run

Time – 2:18:36
Distance – 13.2 miles
Pace – 10:29 min/mi
Elevation – 382 ft.

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Nothing like this here yet…

Strava says my Suffer Score was “Extreme” at 171. Apparently, long runs can do that. It was a bit tiring at the end and much cooler than I expected with the wind (15–20 MPH from the northwest..that’s cold stuff right there!). I made a short-sleeve shirt and shorts work with my Runwell ball cap, but when I got out into an open area, it was chilly. I’ll have to take wind chill into account more closely next time when I prepare. All in all, for a half marathon distance, it was a good run. I maintained pace VERY consistently throughout. I’ve got that pace and heart rate locked in. I’d like to get to a point where I can run more at “Endurance” pace (below 122 BPM), but that’s a little ways off at a reasonable speed. I can hold this one with proper food and hydration for a long time if necessary. I needed salt and electrolytes near the end, so I’ll need to take that into consideration for the future. I don’t have a source picked out yet, so it’s time to research.

What I Find Myself Paying Attention To On The Run

  • The leaves haven’t turned yet. It’s the Ides of October and the trees are (mostly) green. Lots of leaves have fallen, but the really wooded areas near here have not done much in the way of colors yet. Time to Wikipedia leaf peeping and Autumn leaf color, because I have an addiction to information found online.
  • Cold temperatures have WAY more nuance than they used to. I now understand why you can buy three different version of the same coat at Eddie Bauer with different linings, fills, or thicknesses. I used to only have two coats: one for rain, and one for cold. Everything else was just a fat guy in a T-shirt.
  • Drivers don’t look both ways very often before moving. Sometimes you get a person that pays attention, but most people only look at the direction of traffic that will hit them first. They don’t glance the other way until they are rolling (sometimes its only a crawl, but the wheels are turning). LOTS of people making right turns don’t look to the right, which means they miss people (or runners) wanting to get into the crosswalk. I’ve had to wait on more than a few people who would crush me if I didn’t stop because they won’t look, despite the fact that the crosswalk has the right of way. Thus, defensive running.
  • Nothing is better than running under a blue sky. Can’t be beat…