Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ShamROCK 10K Review

Sunday, March 19, 2017:

Hot.  The high for Sunday was 96 degrees, besting the previous record high for Phoenix AZ by 4 degrees.  This on the last day of winter, mind you.  Of course this is no fault of the race committee, and happily we ran in the morning, not in the 96 degree air.

My Race:

The temperature was probsbly in the low 80's during my race.  I had planned to continue my training regimen, running intervals of about 5 minutes out of each mile, but quickly overheated and gave that up after the first two minutes.  Instead I ran until I didn't feel like running any more, and then walked until I felt OK to run again.  I think that my time may have been about the same as if I had done the longer run segments, but the training benefil may not have been as good.  No matter, it was the best I could do.

I finished the 10K in 1:17:37, first (of 1) in my 75+ age group, pace 12:31 per mile.  I wonder how I might have done in comfortable weather.  We have more races coming up - perhaps I'll find out.  In the meantime the training continues.

The ShamROCK 10K, 1/2 Marathon, and 5K:

We started in a lovely park, part of the Rose Mofford Sports Complex on the northwest side of Phoenix, but almost all of the actual race was an out-and-back along a wide asphalt trail between two canals, one wide, deep, and empty, and the other much narrower but filled with muddy-looking water flowing generally northwest.  

The course included some interesting views across each of the canals, but very little shade.  I suspect the advantage is that no police were required - wherever the trail crossed a street, it dove under the street in a tunnel.

Those short tunnels harbored the only real problem - disrespectful bike riders, some of whom clearly felt that the trail belonged to them, not us pedestrians.  Except for the tunnels, the trail was wide enough for bikes and runners, all going both ways, but space was limited in the tunnels.  I was struck on the arm by one man going way too fast in poor light.  No injury, an inch or two my way and the bike rider and I would doubtless have shared an ambulance.  He didn't hit me intentionally - he was just riding stupid.  Too fast - too little light - too many people - unaware of debris on the ground in the tunnel.

I was a bit surprised by the attitude of a race official when I mentioned the problem of the bike riders.  To summarize:  "Too bad, we told you about it in the race literature, we're not responsible, and there is nothing we can do about it in the future."  Oh well, if you run this race keep a watch behind yourself, especially in the tunnels.  Or carry a baseball bat.

Otherwise this was a nice race.  Everyone was more than welcoming and friendly, especially at the water stations.  Those were every mile and a half, very much appreciated in this extreme heat.  None of the races have a time limit, so almost anyone can run any of them.  I recommend it.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Lots of Runs

Friday, March 17, 2017:

Preview of Sunday's race in Phoenix.  Very warm.  I had intended to run/walk the full race course, but just walked with my sweeties instead, about 4.5 miles.  This was probably about the right thing to do two days before the hot race.

Wednesday, March 15:

Soccer dome today.  For some reason they had it warmed up nicely - the temperature in the pressurized dome is quite unpredictable, having little to do with the temperature outdoors and perhaps much more to do with the whims of the person in charge of the thermostat.  I heard that it was very cold in the dome yesterday, so maybe today was (over)compensation.  Because of the uncertainty I do wear layers, and down to one shirt I was almost comfortable, though shorts would have been better than the running pants that I had on.

I forgot my watch, so regulated the run/walk ratio by counting laps instead of time.  I'll probably do something similar in the upcoming 10k race, run 5 minutes of each mile instead of X minutes of each 10 minutes.  I've recently been running 4 ½ of each 10, so 5 is no stretch.  Also the weather promises to be hot, in the 70's or 80's by race time, so I may ramp down the speed and probably the run/walk ratio to be safe.  This Minnesota boy isn't used to the summer heat yet!  Still snow on the ground where we live.

8:59, 9:11, 9:24, 9:36, 9:49, 9:57, total 4.7 mi in 58 minutes, pace 12:20.

Monday, March 13:

Wonderful Run at the YMCA   A very nice track, 12 laps per mile, or so I believe.  They say 11, but 12 seems closer.  I am still running 10 minute walk/run intervals, six such intervals per outing.  Recently the run portion was 4 minutes per interval, but today I increased that to 4 ½ minutes.  Running almost half of the time, for 5 miles.  Today it felt great, and in fact I enjoyed increasing my speed a little in the last lap.

We are scheduled to do a 10k race soon, 6.2 miles.  I think I could run these same intervals for that distance with no problem.

Mile splits: 11:58, 11:52, 11:29, 11:30, 11:28, total 58:17, overall pace 11:40.  Approximately.

Friday, Mar 10:

YMCA, five miles running 4 minutes out of each 10.

March 3 through 8: 

Three more 5-mile walk/runs and one very hilly 10k walk to the co-op and back, carrying groceries in backpacks.  Improving weather; the 10k walk was outdoors, of course, as well as one of the walk/runs.

Friday, March 03, 2017

Five Miles at the YMCA

Wednesday, March 1, 2017:

First blog post in over a month, but I am doing the running.

Currently I'm running four minutes of every 10-minute interval, six intervals per run.  The average pace, walking and running, is about 12 minutes per mile, so the whole run takes about an hour.

The running (run/walking) part of my training is going well - I do still feel glad when each four-minute run portion is about up, but that's the road to improvement.  I'm happy to start running again when the next run portion is due.  According to my therapist, I should do the one-hour run three times per week, and I have been doing that regularly.  Soon I will increase the run portion to 4 ½ or 5 minutes.

Another part of the training regimen is a set of resistance exercise and stretches.  I do those occasionally, but not as regularly as I should, or a often as I do the runs.  I am still looking for a way to incorporate the resistance and stretches into daily life.

A third part of the program is weight loss.  I am about 15 pounds overweight, but so far have not been able to take off even one pound.  I have a good system if I do it, but find it hard to resist overeating.  I blame the dexamethasone (DEX) for that, in part, as I get ravenously hungry at times after taking the DEX.  However, it's really just a matter of sufficient will power.  I'll have to figure out a better plan - just doing the same thing over and over is obviously not working.

Mile splits: 12:33, 12:35, 11:50, 11:49, 12:11, total 1:00:57

Monday, February 27:

Very Good Run   Running 4 minutes of each of the six 10-minute intervals now, and it's going OK.  I'll be truthful - I was glad when the run portions ended, most of them anyway, but I persevered to the end of each one, even when they were uphill.  Several were - it's a hilly route.  That's how progress is made, though, "no pain no gain."

The distance was 5.3 miles, time 1:06:14, pace 12:30.  That's a good pace, I'm making progress.

Friday, Feb 24:

Four minutes per of running per interval, at the YMCA.  As usual, most of the intervals were ten minutes.  This is the first time I've run four  minutes without walking in years, and I did it for six separate intervals.  It felt pretty good, actually.  I can't wait to get started on this week's running.

Mile splits: 12:08, 12:13, 11:49, 11:43, 11:51, total 59:44

Wednesday, Feb 22:

My "hospital" run with an extra 1.1 miles.  3 ½ minute runs per interval.  Total time for 5.1 miles was 1:08:14, for a pace of 13:23.  This route is hilly and includes a couple of traffic lights.  I did shorten one uphill run portion to 3 minutes, but added in the extra half minute later.

Monday, Feb 20:

YMCA track.  Mile splits: 12:06, 11:06, 11:39, 11:22, 11:18, total 58:19.  Does it add up?  Doesn't seem to add up - maybe I wrote something down wrong.  3 ½ minutes running per interval.

Friday, Feb 17:

Three In A Row  Another good run, this time a little longer and in unusually nice weather.  April in February.

For about the last 7 runs I walked and ran 6 intervals of 5 to 10 minutes, with the run portion of each interval taking 3 minutes.  Today I extended the run portion to 3 ½ minutes, and no problem.  In fact I felt as though I could go longer.  I didn’t do that, because of the risk of injury, but that’s what has to happen - almost continuous running, as opposed to walking, That’s how I will get my speed back.

This month we have been favored with outdoor-running weather several times, and around our house the roads aren’t flat, so on those days, hill training has been unavoidable.  Running uphill is a lot of work, but it does help build muscle for hills as well as for flat running.  And, it feels so wonderful to get to the top of the hill!

4.5 miles in 59:06, pace 13:08, and I had to wait for several traffic lights.  The training plan is working.

Wednesday, Feb 15:

Soccer dome.  Much Better Again.  Mile splits: 13:10, 12:23, 12:37, 13:14, 6:25 (1/2 mile), total 57:49

Monday, Feb 13:

Much Better.  Climbed 50 feet in about 0.2 mile.  4.7 miles in 1:04:29, pace 13:43, with some stoplights.

Friday, Feb 10:

Weary   This was an outdoor run, unusual in February, temps in the 40's.  My legs were pretty weary toward the end though.

Wednesday, Feb 8:

Weary.  Not such a good run today - I did the running but my legs felt pretty weary.

Monday, Feb 6:

YMCA M.  Mile splits: 13:46, 13:35, 12:19, 13:15, 2:33, total 55:29.

Friday, Feb 3:

YMCA W:  Mile Splits: 12:21, 12:04, 12:18, 11:44, 6:29, total 54:56

Wednesday, Feb 1:

Six Three-minute runs.  In accordance with the training plan, I walked and ran six intervals of 5 to 10 minutes, with the run portion of each interval taking 3 minutes.  It went pretty well I think.  I was glad when each of the three-minute runs was up, but breathing was still OK.  In the past, I have been able to run comfortably while breathing at a rate of one full breath in four footfalls. That ratio held true for each of the runs except the last, when I needed a full breath every three footfalls.

I'll stick with three-minute runs until they really do feel comfortable at four footfalls, then advance to 3 ½ minutes.

Splits: 12:38, 13:05, 11:59, 17:19, total 55:02, but the watch got screwed up in the last "mile" so I might have gone a bit farther than the four miles that I am logging.

Monday, January 30, 2017:

Running at the YMCA.  Run portion of each of the six intervals was 2.5 minutes.  Mile splits: 13:38, 13:44, 12:31, 13:25, 1:44 (0.2 mi), total 55:02, average pace 13:06.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Outdoor Run In January!

Saturday, January 28, 2016:

Running:

Trails and sidewalks were almost dry and bare today, and the temperature was almost up to freezing, so I couldn't resist.  We haven't had much snow recently, and the city and (most) citizens have been doing an admirable job of clearing it.  In the few places where citizens have ignored their civic (and legal) duty to keep their sidewalk clear, I slowed to a walk and, where possible, walked around the ice that had formed.  No problem.

Today the run portion of each of the six intervals was 2.5 minutes.  I'll probably do that once more, and then step it up to 3 minutes.  This was a very enjoyable run, so much more interesting than 52 laps around the track at a YMCA or 21 laps in the soccer dome.

Two-mile splits: 28:22, 26:17, total 4 miles in 54:40, pace 13:40.  Gear: Two shirts & a wind jacket, running pants, ear cover, & gloves.  Just right.

Weight Loss:

One element of my training regimen is weight loss, with a preliminary goal of about 20 pounds.  Maybe 25.  I started at 170.8 on Monday morning Jan 16, then down to 167.0 last Wednesday Jan 25.  That was a monthly infusion day though, the infusion including 50 mg of IV prednisone, and I weighed 171 Thursday morning, a 4-pound gain.  Uff-da.  Still, I've been down a little every day since, and today I weighed 167.5.

Well, that's pretty close to 2 pounds per week, which is actually good enough.  History reminds me that I'm likely to get sick if I lose too fast, and I feel great right now.  Two pounds per week would be just fine if I keep it up.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Seven Training Sessions

Each session is about an hour, comprising six walk/run intervals of 5 to 10 minutes, with the run portion increasing by 1/2 minute every three or four sessions.

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017, Soccer Dome

Run portion 2.5 minutes
Mile splits: 13:53, 13:58, 12:33, 13:49, 5:24 (0.4 mi), total 59:36, 4.4 miles, pace 13:33.

Monday, Jan 23, YMCA M

Run portion 2.5 minutes
Mile splits: 12:49, 13:00, 13:36, 12:54, total 52:19, 4 miles, pace 13:05.  Not sure about the miles.

Friday, Jan 20, Soccer Dome

Run portion 2.0 minutes
Mile splits: 13:19, 13:44, 12:22, 13:44, 2:07 (.2 mi), total 55:16, distance 4.2, pace 13:10.

Wednesday, Jan 18, Soccer Dome

Run portion 2.0 minutes
Mile splits: 12:49, 13:04, 13:00, 13:18, 4:29 (0.37 mi), total 56:41, pace 12:58.

Sunday, Jan 15, YMCA W

Run portion 2.0 minutes
Splits: 12:35,12:37, 11:21, 11:32, 8:41, total 4 10/13 mi in 56:47

Friday, Jan 13, YMCA W

Run portion 2.0 minutes
Splits: 12:52, 12:40, 12:41, 12:06, 5:57 (½ mi), total 56:18, avg pace 12:31

Wednesday, Jan 11, Soccer Dome

Run portion 1.5 minutes
Splits: 12:52, 26:05 (2 mi), 13:24, 6:39 (½ mi), total 59:00 for about 4.5 miles, pace about 13:07.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Whole Training Program

As it stands now.  Here Is the outline:

1. Sessions of walk/run, each session comprising 6 walk/run intervals of 5 to 10 minutes, with the run portion increasing by one half minute every three or four sessions.  I'm at 2 minutes of running per interval now.  Sessions are separated by a rest day, and by two rest days after  every three sessions. Start each session with stretches and walking.

2. Regular core exercises and stretches, three or four times per week.  So far, my therapist Katie has prescribed these exercises:
a. Single leg bridge, 30 - 50 reps, each leg.
b. Double leg bridge, 30 - 50 reps.
c. Hip abduction (clam shell) 30 - 50 reps, each side.
d. Stand on one foot for 60 seconds, other foot not touching, 2 reps, each foot.
e. Calf stretch for 60 seconds, 2 reps, each calf.

3. Regular upper-body exercises:
a. Bicep curls.
b. Tricep extension.
c. Low rows.
d. Lateral pulldown.

4. Weight loss.  I'm a 14-year Weight Watchers lifetime member, so that is the system that I will use.  It works if I stick to it.  In addition, I'm temporarily skipping my daily bottle of beer at dinner.  Started at 170.8 pounds on Monday.

The walk/run sessions are easiest for me - I love to walk and run, and have been doing those regularly since December 31.  Core exercises are not so much fun - I've done them a few times, but I'm still looking for a way to fit them comfortably into my life.

I don't think that Katie cares as much about the upper-body exercises - she may have listed those because I raised the subject, and I haven't started them yet.  I have purchased materials for a chinning bar, yet to be installed.

Katie hasn't said one word about weight loss, nor have I, but I was 20 pounds lighter when I did my best running, and that much loss might help my speed considerably and reduce the chance of injury.  Furthermore, running is only one of several excellent reasons to remove my front bumper.

Off and running!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Meet of the Miles

Monday, January 9, 2017:

This is a delightful 1-mile race on the 200-meter indoor track at the University of Minnesota Field House.  It attracts lots of college-age young people and quite a few oldsters as well.  It's also the first of the 13 races of the season-long Minnesota Grand Prix running competition.  I have done this race many times, and enjoy the atmosphere in the Field House, with runners who can do a mile in 4:20 or faster, and others of us who need almost three times as much time.  All are welcome.

Personally, I find the mile distance to be the most intense of any of the races I have ever run.  Nothing makes me (and others) breathe harder than running almost all-out for 8 minutes or so.  For that reason, in fact, and because the air is very dry in the Field House in January, the organizer of this race brings big bags of Halls cough drops.

This time, though, I didn't race.  I incorporated the 1-mile distance into my training program, and ran the first of the 8 laps, walked about three, ran another, walked again, and finished with a third running lap.  It's a poor way to win a race, but it fit the training schedule pretty well.  Time 10:58.  No pains, no problems.

Before the race I did my training regimen for a while, including three of the running portions, so the total was six, just as prescribed by the program.