Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Excellent 12 miles

St Croix Valley Rec Ctr (Stillwater
Bubble).  Skating, soccer, & more.
We went to the Stillwater Bubble, where we can run either way around the loop.  For me this is a semi-long run, and I did a run/walk of about four to one, looking for a pace of about 10 minutes per mile.  It worked - the average pace was 10:08 for 12 miles.  This is a Boston-qualifying pace for a man my age if I could keep it going.  And I could have kept going, actually, but not for another 14 miles I’m sure.

Whining: The right hip flexors spoke up in the last mile or two, but this is not likely to be a problem.  In fact, history says that the hip flexors will probably not be a problem in the marathon if they do yell a little during the long training runs.

This was a great run!  I was very tired after hours of snow clearing and other errands yesterday, but today I felt fully recharged.  I changed direction every mile, took water every two miles, and downed a Clif Shot Mocha gel (w caffeine) at miles 4 and 8.

Splits: 20:31 (2 mi), 10:01, 10:02, 9:59, 10:14, 20:16 (2 mi), 10:01, 10:17, 10:07, 10:09, total 2:01:39, average pace 10:08.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hydration Is the Key

I think it is.  I’ve done five different 6-mile runs lately, all at a pace of about 9:45, some of them seeming relatively easy and others seeming more difficult, and I’ve speculated about why.  Now I’m beginning to think that the differences could be due mostly to hydration the day before.

Exercise experts do say that senior citizens are less likely than others to know if they are under-hydrated, and I believe that’s true for me - I don’t feel thirsty when I should.  I have no idea about my hydration the days before the previous four runs, but yesterday I did try to drink more water and eat more fruit (grapefruit, apple, orange) than usual.  Today, that seemed to pay off.

I had a great run, enjoyable throughout, on the indoor track of the North St Paul Community Center.  I did my run/walk this time, running a lap and a half or a bit more, and walking (fast) a half lap or a bit less.  As I’ve discovered recently, I can do six miles at a ten-minute pace rather easily using a ratio like that, more easily than running the whole way at that same pace.

Good run, whining: none.  I do feel a little more tired than usual afterward, but I have a cold and I think it’s more about that than it is about the run.  Remedy: Zinc lozenges, vitamin C, chicken soup, warmth, plenty of sleep, repeat for a week or two.  Sigh.

Splits: 9:59, 9:45, 9:46, 9:46, 9:48, 9:42, total 58:46, average pace 9:48.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Eight Good Miles

I had planned to do this 8-mile run without walking, but I hadn't had such a good run two days ago and I’m a little under the weather from a cold, so I decided to switch to run/walk.  Oddly, though, I was able to go slightly faster for eight miles today than for six miles Tuesday, when I ran without walking.

Why is that?  Possibilities: (1) Maybe the track I used today (Woodbury YMCA) is actually a bit shorter than they say it is.  It seems right, but I've never measured it, and I have measured the track in North St Paul where we ran Tuesday; (2) Maybe, for whatever reason, this was just a better day for me despite the slight illness; or (3) maybe the run/walk approach really does work.  I know I have to use it in a marathon, or I’d never finish, but I’m surprised that the average pace is good at the 6-8 mile distance.  In this case I ran a lap and a half (13 laps per mile) and then walked a half lap, repeat, running the odd 13th lap without walking.

Whining: Nil.  I felt pretty good during this run, and afterward too.  It didn't cure the cold, but also didn't make it worse.

Splits: 10:04, 9:41, 9:40, 9:40, 9:41, 9:45, 9:42, 9:32, total 1:17:45, average pace 9:43.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Another Tempo Run

Almost a race.  This is the third six-mile run in a row, again all running no walking.  This time it was on the North St. Paul Community Center indoor track.  Each of these runs has been more difficult.  The first seemed easy and I didn't breathe hard until the last two laps.  The second was harder and breathing ramped up in the last mile.  Today’s run was hardest, taking a minute longer and calling for race-pace breathing for the last two miles.

Why is it getting harder?  One difference is the time of day - the first run was after breakfast and some yard work, maybe even after lunch, I don’t recall.  But I don’t think that’s what made my run easier.  I suppose the reason is that I just don’t recover as quickly as I once did.  After a little more recovery I’ll try again.  In fact I have an 8-mile no-walk run scheduled yet this week, so we’ll see how that goes.

I felt good after the run though, very little to whine about.

Splits: 9:49, 9:34, 9:36, 9:52, 10:08, 9:50, total 58:49, pace 9:48.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Six-Mile Tempo Run

Two days ago I ran six miles on the North St Paul Community Center track, and today the same distance at the Woodbury YMCA.  Today, though, it seemed like more work.  Is the distance actually a bit longer?  Was I still feeling the effects of Friday’s run?  Was it yesterday’s overeating?  I don’t know, but I was breathing as if it were a race pace for the whole last mile.   The finish time was within 5 seconds of Friday’s time, though, so it’s fine.  Good run, I don't mind some work.

Whining:  Again the right knee complained slightly after the run but not during.  And today the left hip joint ached a bit, as it has done occasionally for ten years now.  I might need to try a different brand of glucosamine supplement.

Splits: 9:43, 9:32, 9:32, 9:42, 9:51, 9:40, total 58:00, pace 9:40.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Excellent Exercise Day

Friday, January 18, 2013:

Begin with an hour of snow shoveling, then repair the garage door which has been coming off its track in cold weather, and finally run six miles on an indoor track.  I should sleep well tonight.

This time I ran in the North St Paul Community Center, six miles without walking.  I wore a wrist band so that I could stay on pace while running the 13 ½ laps for each mile.  The intended pace was 10 minutes per mile, but as usual I found myself running a little faster whenever I took my mind off the watch.  Nevertheless, the wristband helped me to be sure of the lap count for each mile.

Oatmeal beneath

This run felt wonderful, comfortable throughout, never pushed, and I had plenty left for a couple of faster laps at the end.  Breathing was normal at four footfalls per full breath until those last two laps.

Whining: The right knee complained slightly, right after the run, but not during.  Maybe that’s to be expected after more than 200 left-turn corners.

Splits: 9:52, 9:44, 9:33, 9:42, 9:41, 9:23, total 57:55, average pace 9:39.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Maplewood Community Center, four miles.  After Monday’s race my calves were still tight, so I ran and walked fairly easily today, and they got better as I ran.  Time was a little over 40 minutes, probably about four miles, no pains.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Meet of the Miles

Monday, January 14, 2013:

The Meet of the Miles is an annual Minnesota tradition, a one-mile race on the 200-m track in the University of Minnesota Field house.  It’s the first Minnesota Grand Prix race of the year, and lots of my old friends show up, along with plenty of newcomers too.

Normal breakfast, oatmeal beneath,
all organic but the pineapple and banana.
The race is done in heats, each heat covering a range of finish times, such as 4:00 to 4:30 minutes.  Believe it or not, that heat was well populated.  My heat was 7:30 and up, the final heat of the day, and I finished about 7:35.  I knew I could run 8:00, because I had done it recently, and I hoped that I could run 7:00, but thought that unlikely.  Sure enough, the truth was in the middle.  It might help if I trained for that distance.  Anyway I’m happy, and now have a modern target to beat.  I HATE the mile race, it's so intense, but for some reason I actually enjoyed this one.

With about 1.5 miles of warmup, the total for the day was 2.5 miles.

Whining: My left foot cramped up when I got into the car.  Man I hate that.  In the car, there is no opportunity to stretch out the cramp, so you just have to wait for it to pass.  Then both calves cramped up that night, one at a time, but I stretched them out.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Indoor Running

Sunday, January 13, 2013:

Four easy miles on the Woodbury YMCA track.  I have a little 1-mile race tomorrow, so I didn't push too hard today.  Whining: none.

Splits: 9:51, 9:39, 9:32, 9:26, total 38:29.  If the distance really is 1/13 of a mile, then the pace was 9:38.

Typical post-run breakfast.  Blueberries
and oatmeal are underneath.  All organic.

Friday, January 11, 2013:

We three went to the Stillwater Dome to run for an hour.   I ran with Jim and Candy for a while, and at my own pace for a while.  I lost track of laps, but probably averaged about ten minutes a mile, thus six miles.  No pains.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013:

Forty minutes on the Woodbury YMCA track.  Splits: 10:06, 9:46, 9:51, 9:43, total 39:25, pace 9:51.  I suspect that the track may be a little shorter than 1/13 mile per loop.  Anyway no pains.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Silver Sneakers

Saturday, January 5, 2013:

We three all have the same insurance, and as of January 1 we are all in a nationwide program called Silver Sneakers, allowing us access to many fitness facilities, including a dozen or more within a short drive.  We like running on a track in the winter though, rather than treadmills, and that limits the choices somewhat.

Today we returned to the North St. Paul Community Center, not one of the Silver Sneakers locations, but available to us for the rest of this month.  Unfortunately the facility is scheduled to close soon, but it does have a track that we like: 13.5 laps per mile, perfectly cushioned surface, properly-banked corners, clockwise on odd days.  It's narrow, really only two persons wide, but over the years we have run hundreds of miles there.  I'll be sorry to see it go.

Today I did a walk/run for four miles, walking 20 and running 60, at a pace that I'm certain was faster than 10 minutes per mile, but I lost track of laps.  Then in the fifth mile I ran continuously, finishing that mile with a pace of 8:54.  That was a good workout, and my breathing underscored it in that last mile, requiring a full breath every three footfalls.

Whining:  None at all.  I do like that track.  Too bad.

Friday, January 4:

Entirely organic, including the
white and sweet spuds.
We visited the Woodbury YMCA today, checking out our Silver Sneakers options, and to my surprise found it to be the easiest to reach from our home.  We found a "shortcut" that involves only four stoplights.

The track is nice too, 13 laps per mile (unconfirmed), wide enough, with a slightly cushioned surface and banked corners, clockwise on even days.  I only ran one mile, to warm up for the resistance machines, but this track will do.  We'll be back.

Thursday, January 3:

The Maplewood Community Center is a Silver Sneakers facility, though they didn't want to give us full access because we initially signed up in the Silver Sneakers program through the YMCA.  I think that's a misunderstanding of the program on their part, but we didn't try to resolve it today.  They did give us a free one-day pass, and we took full advantage of it.

The track is said to be 11 laps per mile, though I'm guessing it's actually 12 or a little more.  Sometimes tracks are measured around the outside, whereas real people actually run and walk toward the inside.  It's at least three people wide.  Although the corners are not properly banked, it may be OK for short runs. Clockwise on odd days.

I ran for 50 minutes and lost track of the laps, but probably ran about 5 miles.  No complaints.

Tuesday, New Year's day, 2013:

We began our Silver Sneakers membership exploration at the Hudson, Wisconsin YMCA, part of the Twin Cities YMCA network.  Now we can simply show our YMCA card and walk right in at any of the Twin Cities' YMCA facilities.

The track is said to be 17 laps per mile, though I think it's more like 18 or 19.  It has a very hard polished concrete surface, is only two persons wide, and banked only in the outer lane.  Clockwise on even days.  We didn't like this track, so I guess we're unlikely to return to Hudson.