To Cold For Me – I Went Inside – Not Tough Enough

Well Bennie and I headed out the door this morning for our first walk and Mary let me know that the temp was 0*F, with just a slight 5 mph breeze. Nice and warm out there! Needless to say that Bennie didn’t want to walk all that far. Also for his long walk, it was still a pretty short one. He can be a pretty smart dog.

I do want to take a moment to congratulate everyone who ran in the Millinocket Half and Full Marathons this morning. It was damned cold for those distances. Julie and Steph, along with everyone else should be very proud of your accomplishment in those conditions. You are all a LOT tougher than I am :-).

Since the temps were well below my self-imposed safety limit of 20*F (including wind chills), I was not going to be brave like those up in Millinocket and headed to Planet Fitness for a treadmill workout.

In those conditions I prefer the short and t-shirt workout on the treadmill, over the bundled-up clothing required for being outside for more than an hour and half at least for most runners.

After yesterday’s longer run, I wasn’t planning on anything all that hard, more of a 4-5 mile comfortable run. I started out at 7.2 mph and kept it there for 3.5 miles. I was feeling really good and decided to pick-up the pace a little. By the time I got to the last quarter, I did pick it up to what I would love to be my race pace and felt good running at that speed to finish up a 5.0 mile run.

I was fairly surprised at how well the FitBit tracked my treadmill mileage. Through 4.0 miles it had me at 3.9 miles. Pretty close. However, that accuracy went away when I began to up the pace and it read 4.94 for the 5.0 miles that the treadmill showed. Which is a helluva lot closer than my Garmin gets for 1.0 mile, much less 5.0.

So that part of the FitBit is better than the Garmin. Unfortunately, it does not give a chart of the run, so you can compare the heart rate to the pace, which to be honest is something that I would like.

Overall, I was very happy with how I felt during the run and while I am not all that crazy about the FitBit Blaze, I am finding that I do like the heart rate monitor. It gives me a piece of data that I didn’t realize how much I like to have.

The next GPS device I get will have the heart rate monitor built in.

Good run.

Two for the Price of One

I wasn’t sure about what kind of a run I would end up doing this morning. It snowed just enough last night to leave a little white layer on the road around the house that I wasn’t too keen about running out heah.

When I can’t see what is under the surface of the roads out where I live, well it isn’t always nice and after walking Bennie on it there wasn’t any doubt in my mind I was heading to Augusta for either a Treadmill session or a run outside, if the roads were fairly clear.

The temps were supposedly in the 30’s and the wind was picking up from that cold front that is coming in. In other years would be called a Polar Clipper or some other nonsense, lately they have just called them cold fronts, which is exactly what it will bring. Single digits and colder with the wind chills overnight. I even dug out my LL Bean winter parka and faux fur hat – yeah January cold in December, just f-ing wonderful.

But getting back to today’s run, with the “breeze”, it certainly felt a LOT chillier than 30’s. However, the roads were clear and with the temps tomorrow going to be even colder, I figured that if I could I might as well run outside, since this cold spell is supposed to last through next Wednesday. Which probably means way too much time on the treadmill…something I am not really looking forward to, but will make it work.

So I headed out the gym’s door and ran straight into that wonderful breeze. Yeah, just wonderful, I contemplated turning around and getting on the treadmill. However, I was already geared up and outside, so I figured that I would survive just fine. Cold and chilly really isn’t all serious if you are dressed properly – I was.

The first mile was slow, which is what I wanted and then I just ran comfortably for the next couple of miles. I had planned on going to run over by the Commerce Center after finishing up off Leighton Road, unfortunately that wonderful feeling of gotta find a place reared it ugly feeling and I decided to turn back to Planet Fitness and spend a few minutes contemplating the errors of my way.

I finished with 4.62 miles and other than that wonderful feeling, felt really good. I did use Mary’s FitBit Blaze as an experiment and found out that I really am not that crazy about it. I hate that you cannot keep the screen on while running – it is a pain in the arse to frig, fart around to see it. I do like the heart rate sensor, it seemed to work better than my old Garmin 35, but I have no doubt that it is not something that I would run out and buy for myself.

Once I pondered the fate of my running, I decided that I wasn’t finished yet and decided to get on the treadmill for another 2-3 miles – well just because I felt like, not because I needed to. Also I just didn’t feel like getting back outside and playing with the breeze and temps again.

The treadmill pace was a little quicker and the last mile I did pick it up a little to finish up and I wanted to see what running faster would give me for a heart rate…166 – not too shabby and that wasn’t an all out effort, just a hard effort.

Even when I was running comfortably, I was still in the high range for my heart rate and would have to slow down a lot to get into the cardio range. However, I found it pretty interesting that I had 142 average bpm for both runs. Two completely different type of runs.

Oh well, at some point I will need to replace my Garmin 230 and I have a feeling that I will be looking for one with the wrist HR monitor, just to have the data if I want it. However, the FitBit Blaze would not be one that I would consider after using for a couple of days as an experiment. It just doesn’t seem as intuitive and I have to use work-arounds or do things differently than I would like. The Blaze is a few generations back so maybe their newer offerings are better. I do like their website and app a lot better than Garmin’s though.

Two very good runs.

A Bad Day and a Good Run

Some days are better than others and today was one of those days where the running was great, but some other thing were…well to be honest kinda shitty.

A couple of days ago I was out in the back of the garage and was over in the corner where I keep a lot of my “stuff”, when I saw my old Coast Guard garment bag hanging from the rafter and when I check on the bag last summer everything looked fine. It has hung out there since 2001, without any issues – we have a couple of those sonic devices in that area and they worked great for keeping the critters away.

I got to thinking that day that I would love to try it on just to see how it fit, but got busy and forgot about it.

Well I got around to getting the garment bag down this afternoon and when I brought it in the house, Mary told me it stunk – bad. When I opened it up I found out why. The mice had built a large nest in the garment bag.

All my old Coast Guard uniforms had holes chewed in them, or pissed and shit on. Even my shoulder boards were trashed! Everything will need to be thrown out and is not salvageable – other than the jacket buttons and the Eagle on my Hat, which will have to be disinfected.

Needless to say I was more than a little upset!

It isn’t so much that the mice did that, it is what they do. It is more that those uniform items were one of the last physical links to a part of my life that was very important to me. They contained memories of a life and career that not too many people today realize or know about me.

I even have a feeling that the uniform might have been a little too large for me now. When I left the service I was a 36-38 waist and over 170 pounds (just a little pudgy), now I am a 32″ waist and hovering right around 160 and probably in better shape now than I was in 1996 when I retired, just 22 years older ;-).

What really bothers me is that Mary never got to see me wear this uniform, because I hadn’t put it on, since I retired all those years ago. It is a part of my past that she was not a part of and even though I talk about it more than I should, she never has seen me in uniform, other than photos.

This made me really realize that sometimes we need to just do and not put something off or procrastinate doing, because often when you wait, something happens to make it so that you never do get the chance.

It was something that I always thought about doing, but never got around to doing. Now it is too late, unless I go ahead and start over with a new CWO3 Coast Guard Dress Uniform, getting it piped, all the ribbons, boards, etc. I don’t know if I will get another one or not. I am still in denial about it and will need a bit of time to figure out if it is worth the expense to do it or not.

Although one of the little beasties that trashed my uniform didn’t survive the visit to the garment bag. I found him in the bottom already dead, so no I did not kill him. Although if he had been wandering around in there, I have a feeling he would not have gotten to far the mood I was in when I saw what they had done.

I usually don’t go out of my way to kill critters, but this afternoon was the straw that broke the camel’s back and mice became part of the problem and I went to the store to find permanent solutions to them being a problem. It is their time to either move on or die. No sympathy here – not anymore.

Oh yeah, I did have a pretty decent 5.0 miler on the treadmill at Planet Fitness and actually had a pretty good day going, until I looked in that garment bag.

Well life goes on and in the overall big picture of my life this is a pretty minor thing, but it is just another piece of a part of my life that all I have left are a few photos and some memories, which as I age seem to go away as well.

I will have to figure out something else to wear when I cross the bar in 20-30 years, before they get to spread my ashes. Unless I do decide to get a new uniform.

It will be bittersweet tomorrow when I put that bag of my old uniforms in the transfer station to be disposed of like a lot of old memories – to be forgotten and left behind.

Kind of sad in a way.

Cheater Treadmill 5K Equals Hanging On

Today, I did a Cheater 5K and am still proud of how well I ran.

The breeze was coming out of the Northwest, well I guess it was a bit more than a breeze since the weather app said it was pretty steady at 20 mph and gusting higher. When you add that to temps in the mid 20’s, that is well below my personal safety threshold for running outside.

Which meant another treadmill session.

Last night I had a sneaking suspicion looking at the forecast that I would be indoors today and had thought about what I wanted to do for my “faster” session today. In the end I figured that if I had to do a treadmill today that I was going to see how long I could last at race pace (well at least what I would love my race pace to be).

At this point I would love to be able to maintain a sub 7:00 minute pace for a 5K, something I have not done for a while.

However, I am not in that kind of shape physically or mentally at this point in my training. So I will be honest that going in, I didn’t have a lot of confidence that I could do the whole run at that pace, which meant that I wouldn’t do it even if I could do it.

As Henry Ford once said and something that I had posted in my classrooms when I was a teacher.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.

Guess what – he was right.

I did a mile warm-up at 7.0 mph, stopped, reset my playlist – for speedwork on the treadmill I like to listen to Heilung (a German group that I don’t understand anything they say, but the beat is perfect for me and running faster), composed myself and set the speed to 8.7 mph and ran.

The first mile wasn’t bad, actually I felt quite strong and thought that I would be able to get at least 2.0 miles in at that pace.

Err no. I got to 1.10 and I lost my focus. My fault and I know exactly what happened. One of my neighbors got on the treadmill next to me and while I didn’t acknowledge him or anything, I lost it. I got to thinking about a few other things unrelated to running fast on that damn treadmill.

Where is that mental toughness Harold…something as minor as someone you know getting on a treadmill beside you shouldn’t cause you to loose focus that easily. Well it did. I made it to 1.30 and had a choice to make.

  1. Either slow down and change the workout or
  2. Reach out with my right hand and hang on to the treadmill and not change the speed.

I chose number 2.

Yeah, I know that this treadmill cheating, screws with your form, is not exactly running the same speed and all that other nonsense. However, at the same time it forces my legs to keep turning over at a faster than usual speed and while it might be a quick rest mentally, it is a faster recovery period than I would do otherwise.

The rest of the 5K was still done at 8.7 mph, but every 0.1, I would alternate holding on to the treadmill with my right hand and then running hands-free. With that idea in my head I completed the next 1.8 miles.

That is why I call this run a Cheater 5K, since I didn’t do it without holding onto the treadmill, but at the same time judging by how wet my t-shirt was, it was still a quality workout.

I even got a compliment from my neighbor once I got done. I walked for a quarter mile to get the body back to normal.

Then I did a mile cool-down at 7.0 mph.

The Reebok RunFasts did a great job. No issues with the shoes, so I can’t blame them at all for anything – they did exactly what they were supposed to do.

The reality is that

While I did hang-on to the treadmill way too much for the last 1.8, my legs held up quite nicely at race pace for the 5K distance. Which was a huge confidence builder!!! It means that my body CAN DO IT, now I just have to get the brain to figure out that I will not die if I attempt to run a sub 21:20 (it would be a new post-55 PR).

Now I “know” it is possible for me to run that fast, I almost did it today. Every so often I will repeat this workout to see where I am in regards to my readiness to chase after that fast 5K.

The other thing is that I am following another Shaw on Strava and his running has motivated me to believe that I can take my running up a notch or two, even though I am past that 60 age group marker. While I am not in John Shaw’s class by any stretch of the imagination, since I started following him on Strava, his runs do give me permission to believe that I can run faster than I thought that I could. He is older than I am and running much faster times. I have to live up to that Shaw surname and the example he has given me.

Now to loose that 15 pounds, train smahter (control the things I can) and not be stoopid about things that I can’t control. I want to do it, now to actually get out there and do it, without injuring or breaking the old fart’s body. 😉

I will get there, but now to do the process to get there and yes, it is a process.

7.0 Miles on the Treadmill

I had to take the truck in for an oil change and State Inspection sticker from ACAR in Augusta and had planned on running from there down to the Rail Trail for a 7-8 mile easy run. However, when I went by Prehti/Fleherty on the Circle the temps said 27*F. Just cold enough to freeze up any water on roads or the Rail Trail.

At that point, I decided to wait for the truck in the waiting room and head to the gym for a run on the treadmill.

Running for an hour on the treadmill is not my idea of lots of fun, but it is the safer way to get my miles in. I got on and started out slow and then played lots of mental games to get through the 7.0 miles.

I made it and even had a pretty good last mile.

That hour was tough, but it is necessary to be mentally tougher and if I can run on the treadmill for that long, it makes running outside much – not easier, but more manageable.

Again, no issues with the adidas Tempo 9s, although I did slightly change the last lace hole from underneath to over the top and back under. It did seem to ease the top of my foot slight discomfort that I had if I didn’t tie them just right. Just a little tweak, but one that is a good one.

Good run.

Bennie has a touch of doggie flu and that means that when he starts to shake it is time to take him outside. He is a VERY prideful dog and does not want to mess in the house (a very good thing). Which means that it seemed like every couple of hours last night I was walking outside to let him maintain that pride.

It got a bit chilly towards the early morning hours and by the time it was actually time to get up, it was below freezing. Which after all the rain we got yesterday, meant that the roads had a film of slickness on them. So that meant I wasn’t all that thrilled about walking on them.

Bennie seems to be feeling a little better than he was earlier. A very good thing.

The Year in Running Shoes – 2018

This has been a really strange year for me with regard to running shoes. After saying at the start of it that I would reduce the number of shoes that I would run in to around ten, I have run in closer to thirty.

Yeah, quite a lot closer to thirty pair of running shoes, actually twenty-eight and this doesn’t include the VF 4% or a couple of pair of Torin 3.5s that I got to play around with one day for short distances thanks to Sam at Road, Trail, Run. Plus all the ones that I tried on and either didn’t get or didn’t keep.

  • Green – Still in Rotation
  • Yellow – Not sure of their place yet
  • Red – Not in current rotation. Either gone, going to be gone or are legacy shoes that I will put into storage and keep the memories.

As you can see from my running log screen shot that the mileages varied considerably. Some shoes I found out pretty quickly they were not going to work that well for me and others even though they made it to the 50 mile review – they were not really what I was looking for.

Current Rotation

However, as the year went on, I was able to narrow down what works for me and have mostly settled pretty much the following running shoe rotation by December 2018:

  1. Adidas Tempo 9

  1. Reebok RunFast

  1. Adidas Adios 3

  1. Adidas Response Boost 2

  1. Nike WildHorse v1

I spent most of the year searching for a daily trainer that I could run comfortably in and while I have been able to find three to four “go faster” shoes over the course of 2018, finding that daily trainer has been an elusive beast. Well it is has been an elusive beast for several years now, so what else is new.

What kind of running shoe am I looking for as a daily trainer? Continue reading “The Year in Running Shoes – 2018”

8.0 Miles in Waterville

A new month and the last one of the year, so I wanted to get a decent longer run in. Notice I said longer, not long – a long run in my book is something in double-digits. A longer run is between 7.0 and 9.9 miles.

However, running longer around the house wasn’t that great an idea – downback is tough walking and since my bouncing days are long gone I am trying to be fairly smart and not run down there. Also Mary was busy so I couldn’t run to Augusta or Waterville and beg her to pick me up. Which meant that I could drive to Augusta and take a chance on the Rail Trail or head Waterville and have a variety of places to chug along.

I opted for the Waterville option.

However, on the way there I was trying to decide on which course would be the best one today and I kept going by all the usual turns and finally ended up out past Littlefield’s Gym, which made me thing that I would be running from the Alfond Youth Center, since that is the next right.

Sometimes Karma figures things out for you and sometimes it doesn’t.

Unfortunately, when I got to the AYC, all the parking spots were full – there was some kind of activity taking place, so I thought for a second and decided to head up to Colby and park in the Gym lot and take off from the gym. Good choice.

Karma does figure things out and I didn’t have to run up Mayflower Hill that way. See I am not completely out to lunch. 🙂

I got down the road a ways and saw Julie M (another Central Maine Strider and waved and hollered “Hi”, she waved, but seemed in a hurry to get somewhere, so I didn’t bother her. I later found out she was headed into town for an appointment, so she didn’t have time to stop and gab. Then I had to stop and adjust the tightness on the shoes, I didn’t them quite snug enough.

After that it was just a question of getting it done. Although I had to dash to Hannaford (risking life and limb crossing JFK Drive on a Saturday) to find their rest room. Yeah, I know where all those emergency pit stop places are – part of the business for me. Pun intended.

I did run a bit quicker along Silver Street – no added pressure to distract me, but today wasn’t about running faster, it was more about getting the miles in.

The last couple of miles were definitely slower, but I kept going which was the important thing. I even thought about heading down Mayflower and taking the back way back to Colby, but when I got back by the turn, I decided to just finish up 8.0 miles and call it good.

Once I rearranged the snugness on the Tempo 9s, I forgot about them, which is all I want from my shoes. I had other things to keep my mind occupied during that run and not having to worry about my running shoes is huge.

Overall, a very good run.

A Good HIT Workout

One of those days when you feel like things are not going quite the way you planned all day! So I was feeling about half a bubble off-center by the time I was able to get around to getting my run in.

I did take yesterday off. I had my gym all packed and ready to go, but whenever I decided to get going I found something else to do. Tuesday’s workout behind the snowblower took its toll on the old body and I decided that with everything going on that I would just take the day off – it was the correct choice.

This morning I felt a lot more human and while the day was hectic again, I did get to the gym around 1:30. Today was supposed to be a long run day, but I didn’t feel like battling the breeze outside and really didn’t have it in me to do one of those hour and half runs. So I decided to do the speed workout that I missed on Tuesday.

Well sort of…

I wanted to get 6.0 miles in this afternoon, but instead of my usual quarters, I decided to do as many 2:00 minute by a faster than 5K pace with 2:00 rests at my comfortable treadmill pace, until the body said enough was enough. Now remember my Garmin reads things differently and the treadmill was set to 0% incline and a bit quicker pace. 🙂

The 5:00 minute warm-up was just enough to make me ready to run fast. The first 2:00 minute session was strong and the 2:00 minute “rest” pace was fine. By the time I did two more of those things, the hanging on started during that last minute. No mas, No mas.

No more of the 2:00 minute drill.

I did try one more, but slowed back down after a minute – the body had had enough of that drill. At that point I decided that .1 repeats at a .2 mph increase would be better than attempting to beat myself up too badly by forcing the 2:00 or 1:00 minute repeats.

I went through 5K in 23:16 not too shabby that includes a comfortable 5:00 minute warm-up.

However, I am attempting to go beyond just the 5K distance to make it so that it doesn’t seem as bad during my next 5K race. That over distance thinking thing to give me a little more self-confidence that I can maintain that faster pace for the whole distance, not just the first couple of miles.

When I hit the 4.0 mile mark I punched out of the Garmin. I had to stop and walk for a tenth of a mile to get the heart rate back to reasonable levels – I thought that when it hit 176 bpm at the end of that last fast repeat, I might want to back it down a little bit. High 160s I can handle, but I ain’t in my 40s anymore and my max HR if you use the 220 base is 159…well you get the picture.

After that quick little walk, I increased the pace back to my normal treadmill speed and struggled to get the body back to the idea we were not done running yet. It did not like me at all, until I got to around the 4.8 mile mark when it thought I would stop at 5.0 miles.

I didn’t.

I did 5 more .1 hard repeats with .1 rests that the body just said, let’s get this shite over with. Yeah they were hard and yes, I struggled with the short rest, but I pushed through and did them.

Hey, you old crazy bastard doncha know that is how old farts rip and tear things that make it so you can keep running. Naw, I was actually feeling pretty good and the hard workout was something I wanted to finish. I do better with the shorter, hard stuff than I do with the long slow distances. One thing I will say, running those shorter repeats sure ain’t boring.

I guess that is a bad or good dose of High Intensity Training, whichever way you want to look at it. All I know is that when I finished, it looked as though I had gone swimming and it took me a couple of minutes to get recombobulated back in the locker room.

Good and tough HIT workout.

Snowblowing and Treadmilling

This morning was the usual nasty storm day routine, get up walk Bennie before the sun was up, to see what it was like outside, get ready to do chauffeur duty and then plan on doing whatever workout I had planned over at Planet Fitness’ treadmill.

Well two out three ain’t bad.

Bennie’s walk was fairly nasty – the snow was great for snow ball fights and making a snowman, but heavy wet and nasty for moving it around to get it out of the driveway(s). Chauffeur duty went without a problem, 4WD all the way in and just going as fast as I was comfortable driving – so there was a line of traffic behind me – too bad.

On the way over to the gym I had to stop at Wally World for cat litter and the most important thing wine. We have a glass of wine with our evening meal (gotta be healthy doncha know) and there wasn’t any in the house, so I had to stop and get a nice Paisano.

By the time I got out of there the wind was really picking up, which along with the heavy, wet snow I thought it was a better idea to get home in case the power went out (luckily it didn’t). However, that meant that my workout would have to wait.

No need to worry – I got too much of a workout in this morning.

After I got home, I spent two and half hours behind the snowblower. It might sound like something that is pretty easy, but moving that beast around in heavy wet snow is a serious upper and lower body workout. Although it was still snowing heavily, by the time I got done I was completely soaked through all my layers and starting to shiver a little, so I was glad that I was done.

After getting dry clothes on, all I could manage to do was sit on the couch for about 15-20 minutes to warm-up and get up enough energy to help get lunch going. One thing about being so tired is that it lowers my ability to resist indulging in food that I am attempting to avoid.

While I am looking closer at the idea of Low Carbohydrate eating, I haven’t really decided whether it is for me or not yet. There is a lot more to it that I want to understand and think about before I commit to doing anything drastic. However, I am attempting lower my carbs intake just as a matter of course, especially the amount of processed foods that end up going down the pie hole.

I craved the salt and the fastest way to get salt into me is chips, so I indulged.

Then I sat on the couch and the next thing that I knew it was almost time for me to head back out to get my gym workout in – one of those lights-out, nobodies home, kind of naps.

Yeah I had planned on going to the gym even though I had a fairly intense workout behind the snowblower this morning.

The roads were still nasty in Sidney, but got a lot better once I got to Augusta, so the traveling was a lot better this afternoon. Then while changing, I decided that there was no way that I was going to do a quality speed work session as tired as I was feeling, plus the chips and egg salad sandwich were not sitting too well in the tummy. I figured that I would start at 7 mph and see how I felt after a mile and go from there.

Everything was fine until about a quarter mile and while I got another quarter in, I had to make a mad dash for the locker room. That upset stomach wasn’t going to wait. I came pretty close to not getting back out on the treadmill.

However, I still had about an hour and half that I would need to do something else and I was feeling a bit better after my “locker room visit”, so I got back on the treadmill. I started over and figured that it had to be better than the first try.

No issues, after about a half mile another runner got on the treadmill beside me and setup at the same speed. Now this guy looked like a collegiate kind of runner. Young, tall, whippet lean and yeah, me old fat and gray. 🙂

We may have done the first mile the same speed, but he was doing a progression work out and picked up the speed .2 every half mile. I am pretty sure at 4.0 miles to finish up 5.0 miles he cranked it hard – luckily for my ego, I had finished my workout.

Ahhhh to be young and able to run like that – yes, I was and am jealous. It is just part of the aging process to be jealous of those that are now younger than me.

Since he was doing a progression workout, I did a much more conservative one through 3.0 miles. At that point my legs were pretty much toast and I knew that holding a steady faster pace wasn’t going to happen after this morning’s workout. So I decided to do some strides to take my mind off things. I did 4 x 0.1 and 1 x 0.2 @ 9.2 mph to finish up the 4.0 miles.

At that point, I was tired, but still had a lot of time left before I needed to get going, so I did .25 @ 15% incline at 4.0 mph and then went out back and abused the old body on the foam roller for about 20 minutes.

This was not the workout that I had planned, but it was still a helluva workout, when you add in the snowblowing stuff to the treadmill time, it was more than I usually do in a day.

In other words a really good day.