Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Heart check

I wore my HR monitor today to compare numbers with past experience. The only reason I use it is to keep myself from running too hard, too often. Would that I had known that 25 years ago I might have saved myself from some injuries. My worst injuries were always preceded by extraordinary achievements and over training. I became too fit for my body to withstand, and always broke down.
Anyway, today I averaged 143 BPM for a 9:16 pace. For comparison, the last time I was remotely fit, in 2007 a month after running the Pikes Peak Ascent I was running my 4 mile loop at around 8:50 and 135-140 BPM. So my fitness has a way to go.
By the way, it was warm enough, barely, for shorts and T shirt today. 44 with an east wind, heralding some rain later in the day.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Return of the sun

Crisp patches of frost on some lawns today. An idiot was trying to drive with a one square foot area of clear glass on his windshield. Today was the first weekday 5 miler so I left before C did. Things went all right. My 9:21 average continues. I found my right leg trying to take over and chopped my stride to let the left keep up its share. I think one of my problems has been overcompensation by the right side, leading to occasional problems there. I'm trying to perform toe raises on the stairs to recruit more fibers in the right calf. It is deadly boring but the theory is sound.
Tomorrow back to 4 miles, then 5 again on Thursday. Frank Shorter: "There's no secret. You just get out there and do it every day."
C: "Why are you running 5 today?"
Me: "Because the schedule says so."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Gray Monday

I'd settle for a blue Monday if it meant the sun would come out. Yesterday's storms and rain have given way to gray stratus clouds atop a northwest wind, meaning the penultimate leg today was into the breeze. This week looks to be running under the norm, which will mean tights, gloves and sometimes a cap. In the heat of July I will look back to this time with envy I suppose, though its hard to appreciate now.
This week marks a nudge up in miles: 5 tomorrow and Thursday; and an additional 2 miles each week so that by the end of May I will hit the threshold of 40 a week. 40 seems always to be something of a quantum point. Above it I can see real gains in fitness. But there also comes the first risk of injury. Got to keep reminding myself: no racing or speedwork this year, no matter how strong the temptation.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Wait a minute

The weather has turned nasty since late last week. Saturday and Sunday it was back to tights and gloves in the face of forty degree temps. Today as I skipped the final mile raindrops fell faster and there was a lightning flash just after the garage door went up. I got in my five miles each day and next week the plan is to make the Tuesday and Thursday runs fivers as well. Nothing big time, but the volume is increasing. The annual Get in Gear race happened yesterday. I have skipped it more years than I can count because it has become too crowded to be back in the pack. I think the last time I ran it was 2000, when I paced my former friend Dawn Schneider. I had a run in with a big dumb ox who stepped on my shoes or something. I ran my all time best on the course (32:31) in 1981. I think my one mile split was just over five minutes. Hard to imagine running that fast. Of course, the winner of yesterday's London Marathon averaged 4:46 per mile, which happens to be my mile PR, indoor and outdoor, also from 1981. That really blows my mind.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Juicy Air

The first truly warm morning of the spring, unless I missed a day when I was in California. The temperature on the Cliff Lake shopping mall thermometer was 63 degrees and there was real humidity. The weather people are predicting thunderstorms, then a drastic cooling off for the weekend. Good for running, bad for golf. Speaking of my other favorite sport, I played 14 holes at Valleywood last night with the strong south wind favoring an attempt to go for the par five fourth hole in two. The rest of my inconsistent round was forgotten as I stood on the tee. No suspense here: I had the distance correct with driver/four iron, but ended up just off to the left.
Back to running. Pace average today was 9:10 with a helping wind for the closing mile in 8:40. There was minimal complaining from the left achilles and today's BMI is 25.6. Goal BMI for the record: 21.8.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Winds of spring

This morning there was a stiff SSE breeze, in my face the first two legs of the run, which is desirable if there is going to be wind. On the downwind, return legs the push from behind is most welcome. A solitary thunderstorm cell was pushing across Dakota county, probably hitting Farmington and no threat to me. Nasty weather is forecast for the weekend; nasty for outdoor stuff like gardening, picnics and golf. For running, 50 is nifty as long as there aren't lightning storms or driving rain. I would hate to have to return to the treadmill, but I will if I must.
The average pace this week is the same as last: 9:21. My mind rebels at the slowness of this. Mentally I drift back 30 years to when I cruised morning runs at 7 minute pace or better. Well, you can't cheat the calendar, so I have to accept it. Besides, the slower pace is kinder on the reconstructed body parts, I keep reminding myself. Body weight is at 158, down from an all time high of 166 sustained last winter before being able to start. The goal over the next 10-12 months is to pare off 25 pounds and see what weighing 135 again will do for my speed. It ought to be nothing but good. That will depend upon my being able to dial up the mileage though, because I can't do it with caloric restriction alone. Just eat sensibly and let the running do the rest.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Today, because of an earlier than normal work obligation, I rolled out of bed at 5:30 and hit the road by 6:20 for the 4 mile loop. My trepidations about aggravating my tender heels seemed unfounded. I had enough time to stretch, which is no guarantee that there will be no problems, but it sets my mind at ease. The true proof is when I take the first strides on the gradual incline in front of my house. Given my self-promise to do nothing that will cause an injury recurrence, I am prepared to bail at the first sign of trouble that doesn't adjust in a few seconds.
Why do you call this blog the House of Pain, then?
Because there always will be some, no matter how carefully I structure my runs. Inevitably, when the mileage ramp begins, there will come some decision points. The ramps will not begin until later on, probably mid-May, and there will be nothing abrupt about them. Racing? Forget about it until next year. I won't pay an entry fee unless I'm committed to going at 100%+, and for practical reasons I'm waiting until the calendar pages reveal my 60th birthday. One thing about age group racing, it's a lot easier at the entry point.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I've been here before. How many times, I've lost count. My weekly mileage has reached 30 miles a week and I'm running every day with minimal to no negative feedback from my moving parts. I no longer maintain a written running log, as in the old days of the 70s and 80s. I ran across some running blogs in my random surfing and asked myself: why not? I have my GPS chronometer to record the mileage down to the inch with heart rate graphs if I want to bother to wear the chest strap, but no diary to record weather, mental impressions and the like. I've been a runner for 33 years, more than half my life, and no matter how many times I've been laid low by orthopedic infirmities, the old urges still beckon me out on the roads.
I will let the back story come out in its on time, as if anyone will read these posts. But who knows? Anyway, having become a story teller in another realm, perhaps these diversion can help me practice my craft from a first person point of view.
This morning I ran an easy 4 miles, turning into a chill northwest wind for the return two legs of the loop. It was a day for tights and gloves and I'm hoping it will be one of the last. The forecast is for some highs in the 80s later in the week. That will be glorious.
I am entertaining thoughts of some non-competitive races later in the season, which is a violation of my original intent to do nothing but training this year and save the racing for the fall season after I turn 60 next year. But I enjoy the camaraderie of longer trail races and running them is an easier way to get in a longer run without hassling the logistics of hydration and traffic signals. I'll have to see about that. For now, the watchword is patience.