Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Run Forty-Three: Road! And birds!

The distance looks pretty ugly - but it was
a pretty decent run. 
Ah, running on the road -- physically more challenging, which is daunting and cool at the same time, mentally very fun but sometimes filled with distractions. The run was going okay -- I was probably trying to run too fast too soon and got winded. According to RunKeeper I was running at a 14:04 minute mile pace at my fastest, but not for very long. I'm not up for doing the math at the moment to turn that into an mph speed, but I know it's faster than 4 miles an hour but not as fast as 5 mph. 

Anyway, I was doing fine -- I had to walk to recover my breath (and I'm coughing now, darn it) but had started running again and was doing pretty okay for my first run outside in a week. I wasn't going to set any personal records, but I was okay. 

Black-Crowned Night Heron -- terrible picture of a beautiful bird.
Then with about 10 minutes of running time left, I saw something that pulled me up short and I did something unwise: I stopped moving. And when I started moving I was moving very slowly. It was all the fault of this guy -- a Black-Crowned Night Heron. The picture is absolutely atrocious (I took it on my phone) but they're beautiful birds and not exactly common around here. And I love seeing cool birds at our relentlessly suburban lake. 

I stopped to look at it, then walked around a guard rail and kind of moved very slowly and quietly to get to where I could get even a crappy picture of the bird without disturbing it. (I'm firmly of the opinion that if I've made a wild animal bolt or flush or flee, then I've done something wrong. And probably something mean, or at least thoughtless.) So I watched it for a bit, and took a few crappy pictures, then thanked it for its time and went on my way. Total delay maybe two minutes.

Having stopped moving, though, I couldn't get my running gear back. 

It was worth it, though. If I ever don't stop to appreciate something like that, I'll have to wonder what I've done with myself. 

Next run is scheduled for Saturday. If the weather forecasters are right, I'll be on the road again. Goal for the run: Try to get back up to my best road distance. If I wind out on the treadmill, my goal is to do better than the last couple of times. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Run Forty-two: Crampy calves, darn it!

Crampy calves kept me a little slower than
I wanted to be. 
I was inside on the treadmill this evening, mostly because I wanted to try and redeem myself from Saturday's run. Not that it was as bad as all that (and honestly it might have been one of my best) but I wanted to get back on the treadmill and do better than when I was running off a delicious lunch. 

I did not succeed with that -- I didn't stretch or massage my calves after Saturday (I've been getting lazy about that). I also didn't eat after running Saturday and having a post-run snack (or getting home in time for dinner) seems to make a huge difference in how sore I am. Anyway, I think the two of those made my legs very very cramp-prone today. I've been finding the last few days that running faster gets me through calf cramps, but that didn't work today. I just couldn't go as far or as fast as I wanted to. 

Darn it!!

All of that said, I didn't do that badly -- this distance is 1/100th of a mile off my best distance over 40 minutes (discounting the wonky numbers from Saturday). So yeah, I didn't do better, but I didn't do horribly worse either. It just didn't feel as good. 

And that's a bummer. 

Next run is scheduled for Wednesday. If the weather report holds, I'll be outside. Goal for the run: Go farther and faster than last time on the road. Goal for the run, if I'm inside: Feel good. 

And now I'm off to massage my calves some -- see if I can work these cramps out.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Run Forty-One: Not a great run, but a good day!

There were treadmill and timing fails, so the
best distance doesn't really count. I don't think. 
I did go for my run yesterday, but didn't get home until relatively late (around 8pm) and then the evening was all discombobulated. And there was some discombobulation with the distance and time numbers with my run, so I wasn't quite sure what to say. 

Basically there was an issue with the treadmill (I accidentally knocked off the emergency stop thing), which meant there was math involved. After 25 minutes of running, math is not my friend. Anyway, I actually ran for about 43 minutes, but I have no idea how far I went in that time (except that it was less than 2.69 miles). My heart rate was really high (above my "max" HR) but my calves never cramped up. 

It wasn't a great run, that much I know. We met up with some friends and had a *huge* lunch -- so even several hours later, I wasn't feeling too much like pushing or running too hard. (And even after running, I didn't have dinner.) I did go at 4.3 or 4.5 miles an hour for 15 minutes, maybe more. So it wasn't *bad*; it just wasn't great. 

Next run is scheduled for Monday. I have no idea what the weather is supposed to be. The way this spring is going, I'm not sure if the weather forecasters have much of an idea. Goal for the run, if I'm on the treadmill: See how far I can go at 4.5 miles an hour. Goal for the run, if I'm outside: Try to run farther than last time. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Run Forty: 4.3 miles an hour was even better!

Best pace and distance on the treadmill! 
I had so much fun going 4.0 miles an hour on Monday that I wanted to see if I could go even faster today. The answer is that apparently I can!! :D I went 4.3 miles an hour for 10 minutes, then another two at 4.0. I walked for a while (13 minutes or so) then went back to running at 4.3 for a while. I even pushed out two minutes at 4.5 mph to finish!! 

The faster speeds felt *so* much better than the slower speeds I've been going! My calves didn't cramp at all and even my thighs felt better. That was much closer to the flying, floating feeling of my dreams of running -- relatively smooth and not a slow, awkward shuffle. I'll get to running like the wind someday. :D 

That was just so much fun!! :D

I eventually started walking because I was breathing really hard and I didn't want to get too winded because once the coughing and wheezing starts it's really hard for me to get my breath back. Because of that, I maybe don't push as much as some other folks do -- I'm hoping that persistent gentle pressure will get my aerobic performance better without the nasty cough. I'm also hoping that when I see my doctor next week he'll be able to make some suggestions. 

Next run is schedule for Saturday. I'll likely be at the gym again -- mostly because the weather is supposed to be stinky but partly because that was so much fun I want to do it again. :D Goal for the run: How long can I go at 4.5 mph, I wonder? :D

Monday, April 20, 2015

Run Thirty-Nine: Rocked it on the treadmill!! :D

Best treadmill ever!! :D 
I could probably have been on the road this evening, but we were expecting severe weather and I didn't want to be a mile from home when the storm started (especially as there's a tornado watch going on in these parts). So the treadmill seemed like a much better choice. 

I also wanted to get on the treadmill and see what I could do at 4.0 mph, my best speed ever (achieved the last time I was on the treadmill). My goal for this run was to start out at 4.0 mph and go at that speed for as long as possible, then see what happened from there. As I'd only done five minutes going that fast, that was a good stretch goal. 

I totally rocked that!! I went for ten minutes at 4.0 miles an hour, walked at 3.5 for about 10 minutes, then spent the last 10 minutes running at 4.0 for a bit and walking at 3.5. My average pace overall was over a minute per mile faster than my previous best treadmill time. 

It felt great!! 4.0 miles per hour really did feel much better than any slower speed I've been doing lately. Honestly, I feel like I could maybe go faster even, which is pretty incredible. 

Next run is scheduled for Wednesday. The weather is predicted to be pretty dodgy again, so I'm likely to be on the treadmill again. Goal for the run, if on the treadmill: See if I can go even faster than 4.0 miles an hour for any sustained time (I'll say 4.2 mph). Bonus points if I do that after going for at least 15 minutes (at least 10 of that continuous) at 4.0. (If I'm outside, I want to see if I can parlay some of this treadmill awesomeness into going better on the road.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Run Thirty-Eight: Almost there...

Missed a best distance by 0.01 mile. Darn it!! 
I was back on the road today and it was good -- I missed a best distance by one one-hundredth of a mile. Even if I'd made that, I would have missed best pace by a few seconds. All of which means is that it was a good run -- about as good as my last one but not better.

Which is more or less what I felt as I was running -- it was a good run on a very nice day. I did get uncomfortably winded early and never really recovered (and I can still feel the run in my lungs). That's not actually true -- by the end of the run, I was feeling pretty good again and could have run more but we were having chili for dinner and it was nearly ready. It was time to go home. 

Next run is scheduled for Monday. I have no idea what the weather is supposed to be like so I don't know if I'm likely to be inside or on the road. Goal for the run, if outside: I want a best pace and distance and I think I can do it, darn it! I can totally do it! Goal for the run, if inside: The same program I laid out last time - Run for as long as possible at 4 miles per hour, then adapt and see how much I can do after that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Run Thirty-seven: 4 miles an hour!

Not great on the whole -- but 4 miles an hour! 
For reasons that sound lame even to me, I was on the treadmill rather than the road tonight. What is in my head is "I didn't want to deal with the gravity out on the road", but of course they even keep the gravity on at the gym. It feels different though -- maybe it's the hills. Anyway, I guess it just boiled down to I wanted to go to the gym today. So I did.

My goal for the run, if I was at the gym, was to see if I could do 4.0 mph. The answer is: YES! :D I did five whole minutes at 4.0, at the end of my run. It felt *really* good too!!

It was interesting, because the 3.6 mph I started out at didn't really feel all that great -- my calves were getting crampy and it felt like I was plodding. I walked for a bit in the middle, doing my best to keep at 3.5 mph while walking, then went back to running at 3.7 before I finished the last five minutes at 4.0. And those five minutes felt really good!

Question for the experienced runners: Does it make sense that going a little faster feels better as far as flow and gait and just how comfortable it was? It almost feels like I'm using more energy when I run slower.

Next time I'm on the treadmill, I want to experiment with that -- how long can I go at 4.0 mph and does it continue to feel good for more than five minutes? (And if so, for how long?)

Next run is scheduled for Saturday. The weather is going to be intermittently rainy and we've got errands to run, so whether or not I'm at the gym or on the road depends on whether it's raining at the moment when it's a good time for me to run. Goal for the run, if I'm on the road: Run farther and faster. :D  Goal for the run, if I'm on the treadmill: It's more of a program than a goal, really, but what I want to do is work my way up to running at 4.0 mph over a couple of minutes (after my five minutes of warmup) then go that fast for as long as I can. After that I'll play it by ear.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Run Thirty-six: Woo-hoo!!

Best pace *and* distance!! :D Slightly different route with
more pretty lake and one fewer hill. 
It was another absolutely stunning evening, so I was out on the road again. It was warm, but not too warm, breezy (shading to windy) and nicely sunny. I figured out a new route that lets me stay by the lake longer and, happily, cut off one of the more annoying hills on my usual loop. (Annoying because I have to go up it and then back down and then back up another hill on the other side -- it feels like gaining and losing altitude unnecessarily.)

I saw some Yellow-Rumped Warblers in a flowering cherry tree, which was pretty and happy. There were flowering magnolias and tulip trees and it was all very springy and nice.

And I went farther in 40 minutes than I ever have before! :D Best pace and distance!! My average pace was below 16 minutes a mile.

Basically it was really cool all the way around. And I had fun.

In the aftermath, my hamstrings are all kinds of pingy -- so I'll sit with my feet up for the rest of the day, watch baseball and draw. Life is good!

Next run is scheduled for Wednesday. I believe I'll be outside again, though it's supposed to be chillier than today and grey, so I'll keep my options open. Goal for the run, if outside: Beat this run. I'm pretty sure I can do it. Goal for the run, if inside: Do some time at 4.0 miles an hour. Beat last inside run. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Run Thirty-five: A Beautiful Day on the Road

I loved being back on the road on a gorgeous day!
It finally feels like spring again (it's been in the 40s and grey all week) and it was delightful to get out on the road today. Typically for spring in these parts, it's quite windy out but once I warmed up a bit it felt nice.

I definitely made my goal for the run. My goal was to beat my best road distance at home (2.44 miles) and I came within a whisker of beating my distance at my mom's place last weekend (2.48 miles). I'm not actually sure how far off I was but something less than a hundredth of a mile. When I'm on the road I don't really look at my distance and speed numbers -- if I'd known I was that close, I'm sure I could have pushed a little harder and come up with another hundredth of a mile, darn it. 

I don't usually mention my weight, because while weight loss is a nice side benefit of the exercising and eating better, it's not exactly the goal. (Not the main goal anyway.) Still, I'm pleased to note that even with several days of vacation (including fast food lunches and Waffle House for breakfast and a birthday party for my uncle), I'm down almost 4 pounds over the last two weeks. 

It's nice to know that a few days of not worrying about it too much won't break things as long as I get back to normal as soon as possible. 

Next run is scheduled for Monday. I believe it's supposed to be nice out, so I think I'll be on the road. Which is cool, because it's a little faster than going to the gym (because I don't have to drive there and back) and it's baseball season now, so I want to be home for the games in the evening. :D Goal for the run: Push a little harder and get that best pace and distance back here at home. I was *so* close today, I know I can do it. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Run Thirty-four: Lowering the Bar a tad

A better showing than expected given how much I walked.
When I set my goals for today's run, I wasn't thinking very clearly. I knew my husband and I were going to an evening baseball game but totally forgot what that would mean as far as getting home late, sleeping very little, and being super-tired the next day. It was actually a little worse than normal, because there was an hour rain delay so the game started late. We got home around midnight and had to get up for work around 5am.

The net result of all of this is I'm even more tired tonight than I was on Tuesday. 

So I didn't push myself too hard, but I didn't totally relax either. I walked about 15 minutes, but I walked at 3.5 mph, so I wasn't going slower than I would have been. I also ran for 16 minutes at 3.7 mph. I might have sped up for the last five minutes, but I can't remember for sure. 

I tried to start running sooner than I did, but my calves were cramping pretty badly. So I just kept walking. 

I signed up for an online drawing class and watched one of the videos while I was running -- it was a 31 minute video (which is why I went for 31 minutes instead of my usual 30). It made the time pass incredibly quickly, but I had to kind of lower my head too much to see the video on my phone and I didn't like what it did to my form. I have to explore how I can watch the lesson videos at eye level. 

Anyway -- I didn't make any of my goals for today's run, but I did actually run and I only missed my best treadmill distance by six one-hundredths of a mile. Which for a day when I was on fumes all day, I'll take and actually be pleased with.

Edited to add: I totally forgot last night to put in my goals for my next run (a sign of how tired I was). Next run is scheduled for Saturday. So are a whole lot of errands and getting new tires on the car. If I can get out for my run before dark, I'll likely be outside as the weather is supposed to be nice. If I'd be going out after dark, I'll go to the gym. Goal for the run, if outside: beat my last at-home outside distance (2.44 miles). Goal for the run, if on the treadmill: I want to see if I can do any sort of sustained time at 4.0 mph, which would be my best speed ever!

Goal for between now and my run -- get rested up so I've got energy for a good run. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Run Thirty-Three: Treadmill win!!

Treadmill, but it went well. 
It was rainy tonight, so I was back in the gym on the treadmill. I really wasn't feeling like working too hard at my run -- we had a busy whirlwind of a long weekend visiting my family (driving a day and a half each way to spend two days of crazy busy there) and I've been exhausted all day. 

I never really thought about not going for a run, but I didn't want to do anything too hard. And running on the road is definitely more physically tiring. 

The treadmill went well -- that's not my best overall pace and distance, but it is my best treadmill distance (the time is slightly off because of an app fail -- this was actually in the same 40 minutes I've been doing) by a  tenth of a mile. I ran for fifteen minutes at 3.5 mph, ten at 3.7 mph, and five at 3.9 mph. That 3.9 is my fastest treadmill speed ever. So I did well. And yet it felt pretty easy while I was doing it. (Well, that last five minutes was pretty tough.)

We're going to a baseball game tomorrow (go, Nationals!!), so next run is scheduled for Thursday. Given that the weather is supposed to be the same as today (rainy) only colder (mid-50s F), I'll likely be on the treadmill again. Goal for the run: Do better than today -- either more time at 3.9 mph or start at 3.6 and step up from there.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Run Thirty-two: New Territory!

I went running first thing this morning in a whole new area (near my parents). Momma was walking and I was running and we kept crossing each other's path.

It was a little drizzly this morning, but plenty warm, so I was happy to be on the road, despite getting damp.

And I got a new "best pace and distance", which makes me super-happy. I didn't feel like I was going along all that well - when I got tired I could feel a little bit of the duckling running coming back (landing on my whole flat foot). As soon as I felt it, I'd shift back up onto my toes, but I had to keep doing that.

Next run would normally be scheduled for Monday, but next week has some craziness (including baseball opening week tickets!)  so its actually scheduled for Tuesday. I have no idea what the weather is supposed to be, so I don't know if I'll be inside or on the road. In either case, my goal is to keep getting better!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Run Thirty-One: That's more like it!!

Best pace and distance!! :D 
Woo-hoo!! That's more like it -- Monday's run was kind of frustrating and a little unsatisfying. Tonight I was on the road again and it was really good -- I did a lot of walking (as I do when on the road) but I still did my best pace and distance. 

I even went along the lake for a little bit and watched a Great Blue Heron flying over the lake. I also watched a Double-Crested Cormorant (I think those are the pretty common ones around here) watching the heron fly past. That actually stopped me in my tracks. 

Then I started running again feeling pretty refreshed even though I only stopped for a few seconds. I love watching herons fly.

Cool run! 

Next run is scheduled for Saturday. I expect that I'll be on the road again. :D Goal for the run: Keep doing better and better!