Category Archives: Running

Today On The Run #3 – Good bye, Trusty Friend

2017-11-17 06.17.01

SanDisk Clip Jam 8Gb 2/10/17 – 11/17/17

I was listening to podcasts (my normal persuasion) and the player started to make a crackling noise in the headphones.  Then it skipped a bit, then dead air.  Checked it out, said there was no sd-card inserted (where the podcast I was playing was located.)  That can’t be good.  Maybe the sd-card died?

Switched to music stored on the device itself.  Played fine. Phew.  Then, more crackling, skipping, and the whole right channel departed.  Limped it the rest way home.

Tried to turn it off, none of the buttons were responsive and the screen is frozen.  It was also starting to get warm.  It eventually powered, off.  I think the battery ran out.

Manner of death was probably moisture. The display was kinda hazy. While I don’t take it when there’s rain in the forecast, I’m pretty capable of drowning it with my own sweat.

Play on, trusty friend; you’ll be missed. 😢

Today On The Run #2

I’m pretty thankful to have the time, energy, and fitness to run as much as I do.  It also doesn’t hurt that I live in an area where it’s pretty feasible to run all year round.  So, I rack up a lot of mostly trouble free miles.  A lot, in this case means, more than 3,000 miles in the last 12 months.

I’m not superman by any means.  I have cranky hips, knees, and ankles.  Nothing debilitating. I’m pretty sure that’s kinda normal with most runners, especially those of my vintage.  The cold does present a challenge though.

A few years back, I thought I was having a stroke or something weird, because out of the blue my fingers went pale and started to tingle.  It was the middle of winter, but I was just sitting comfortably in my relatively warm house at the time.  It was worrying enough that I went to urgent care.  After a good going over and an MRI, a slight scare over lyme disease, they said it’s Raynaud’s phenomenon, basically extreme numbness in extremities.

The last year we lived in CNY, was one of the coldest February’s on record.  Something like 18 days where the high was in the single digits or less.  That wasn’t terrible, because it also generally doesn’t snow much when its that cold, so you don’t have much reason to be outside.  When it was teens and up and there was lots of snow, is what I dreaded most.  Turns out that vibration is also a Reynaud’s trigger, like when you’re using a rickety old snowblower.  A couple of times, I eclipsed from numbness into pain and had to take a break.

For me, lately, the cut off temperature is about 50 degrees.  Above that, I’m pretty ok without gloves.  Below that, the timer is ticking;  I get about an hour before my hands turn into dysfunctional claws.  While I’m running, I’m fine outside of my hands just feeling a little tingly.  When the run is over, untying my shoes and unlocking the door, are comically frustrating.  Then, there’s some screaming in the shower as the feeling slowly works its way back into the fingers.

It’s been glove weather here in my neck of the woods for a couple of weeks now.  I think the insulative properties of my current running gloves have just about evaporated at this point.  They feel fine for the first half of the run, and then it’s like I’m not even wearing them after that.  I guess it’s time to start the search for another pair of fancy wicking (and likely expensive) gloves again.

Today On The Run #1

Welcome to a new series on the blog, Today On the Run.   Just short quips from the today’s (or yesterday’s) run.  I’m putting them here so they’re a little easier to read in serial fashion and not limited to just 140 characters.  Here we go, Today On the Run #1.

In the middle of my run, I was in a nice neighborhood, with big houses and fancy cars.  Saw some tail lights ahead on a parked car.  Kinda strange at 5:30am, but not something completely out of the ordinary with folks prepping for long commutes.  Oh, there’s a guy standing behind the car.  Brace myself for potential trouble.

Turns out it wasn’t a car, it was a stretch limo and the guy was the driver waiting for his rider.  First time, I’ve seen this.

Took all my restraint not to jump in and say, “ok, let’s roll!” I don’t know if I’ll be able resist if I see them again.

Log Entry

This Week in Running – v9

Preface

Ooops.  I sort of drop off the planet there for a while. Unfortunately, my weekends have been tied up with other matters and I haven’t had a chance to put together weekly recaps.  But, fear not!  While the writing paused, the running kept chugging right along.

On the Road

Week 6

I ratcheted up my daily run to just over 6 miles.  I also finally got the route I intended for a long run of just under 12 miles.

Total miles for the week: 47.95

Note: Garmin does weekly stats for Sunday to Saturday; I’m too lazy to re-total things for Monday to Sunday, so I’m gonna use their totals from now on.

Week 7

Even ending the last week with a 12 long run, I still pretty energized and started the new week with 6.3 miles on the Iron Horse Trail.  Being relatively flat and running out in the mid-morning hours means I can actually see where I’m going and get decent speed going. The reset of week days, it was back the 6 mile daily driver.  I intended to do a long run on Saturday, but overslept.  So, I filled in with another speedy run on the IHT.

Total miles for the week: 42.68.

Week 8

After a couple of solid weeks, my body revolted and told me not to run on Sunday to start the week.  Got normal 6 miler in Monday through Thursday. Friday, bumped the daily up to 6.7 miles.  Trying to stick to that 10% increase rule I read about recently on a Runners World article.  Surprisingly, my body didn’t even seem to notice.  Woke up at normal time on Saturday, heard the driving rain, rolled over and went back to bed.  Never did make it out.

Total miles for the week: 30.74

Week 9

After the day off, I was sprung to get back out.  I went out for my now normal Sunday run on the IHT and found a couple of (unknowing) challengers out the trail.  One guy was just a little faster than I was comfortable with, I kept pace for a long while and then got past him.  That 8:23 average pace was hard earned.

The weekday dailies are still coming in at 6.7 miles.  No major problems and they seem to go by quickly.  For the only the second time since I’ve been running in the early morning, I ran into another runner, in the dark. I said hello, trying carefully not to spook him.  Hey grunt a slightly surprised, hi, in response, and turn off at the next side street.

Friday night, I carefully monitored my food intake to make sure I’d be ready for a long run Saturday morning.  But, I got to sleep later than I wanted to, and had a kid who woke me up twice.  Regardless, I was still able to get out the door.  Even with the careful preparation, my guts were about 50/50 on the idea.

Everything went OK.  I did the same 12-ish miler that I did a few weeks ago. It was somewhat easier because I knew where the all the turns were this time. But, the high miles from the week kinda took their toll and long inclines felt like I was really slogging. In the end, I pulled in a 9:40 average pace.  I’m gonna call that a win for only my second run at that distance.

As I approached the end of the run, I got a special treat.  My long run window now intersects with sunrise. I’m not sure if it was as dramatic as it seemed, but I remember trudging around in the dark and then as if someone flipped on a switch, it was pretty much daybreak.

Total miles for the week: 51.59

Hint of the Week

Go like Runners World on Facebook.  Tons of free and useful content every day. You can thank me later.

Gear Review

So, I’m moved on two my second pair of shoes in this streak.  This time, I’ve gone back to ASICS GT-2000 v3.  Yes, I did get the screaming lime green pictured.  I figured that running in the dark most of the time, I might as well go with the most highly visible option.  The last time I was a for real runner, I had good luck with their GT lines, so I thought I’d give them another shot.

After wearing Saucony shoes streak to date, the new shoes felt good, very different.  They have a very cushiony rebound, but at the same time are very stable.  There’s little to no sliding around in the back of the shoe.  This turns out to be a blessing and a curse; the stability makes running a lot easier, but I’ve developed a blister on the edge of my instep.  I can’t even remember the last time I had a blister. Hopefully, that’s only a temporary thing until I get used to them.

I also like the tread on the new shoes better than the Saucony’s.  The grooves are bit wider so they’re not magnets for continually picking up small pebbles, that scrape continuously as I try to shuffle along.

So, for now, the jury is out, but I think the new ASICS’ will be serious contenders after I get used to them and get a little more broken in.

Wrap Up

All in all, I’m happy with where I’m at this streak.  Other than a blister or two, everything feels fine.  Except for that once a week faster run on the IHT, I’m not really working on speed; but I’m still watching my average pace tick its way down.  I don’t think I can ask for too much more.

This Week In Running – v5

On the Road

Another week of fairly uneventful base runs.  5 editions of my regular 5.9 mile route.  Its nice to see the time ticking down bit by bit every day.  I’m not really fixated on weight, but I’m pretty sure that’s going down, too; but our scale is a box somewhere that I haven’t been able to locate after the move.

For the long run, I was shooting for something over 10 miles.  I ended up with 10.5 miles, but kinda by chance.  I was running in a new neighborhood and the light up street signs were not lit, so I ended up taking a few wrong turns.  I eventually got kinda back on course, I found that the road I intended to run on was:

  1. Very narrow.  Thankfully no cars at 5:15am.
  2. Very steep, with a peak in the middle.
  3. Very dark.  Trees overhanging the street and zero street lights.

I think I’ll skip that road again, at least outside of daylight hours.

I felt understandably tired after the run.  But the surprise a little later in the day was angry hips.  Was kinda bothersome for a bit, but faded before the evening.  Calves and ankles remained cranky a little longer.

Got to sleep too late last night.  Alarm went off this morning, I turned if off and went back to sleep for another 2 hours.  After messing around with the house and getting the kids rolling, I was able to get out for what I thought was gonna be an easy recovery run, but ended up with a pretty fast run on the Iron Horse Trail.

I’m pretty pleased that folks on the trail are a lot better at sharing the trail than I remember on the Erie Canal Trail back in New York.  People happily scoot over to let me by and there’s minimal silliness like folks trying to run or bike 4 people wide.  Nice!

Mini Review: iPod Shuffle 4th Generation

After 8 years, my 2nd generation iPod shuffle finally hung it up.  Still seems to work, but it no longer charges.  After being stuck in the red status for a week, it finally puttered out. It was the perfect player for running;  simple, small, and light.  My only real complaint with it was that you have to use iTunes to load it, rather than just treating it like a plain ‘ole USB drive.  Oh well, it was a noble run, but all good things must come to an end.

Enter a new 2016 4th generation iPod shuffle. I thought the newer players were the same as the older ones, with new guts (and another button, for Voice Over), but it turns out they’re pretty different.  Almost impossibly, they’re smaller!   Slightly smaller than 1 square inch, noticeably thinner, and lighter than my old one.

Outside of Voice Over (which I don’t really care about), the other major difference in how the player works is support for playlists.  I didn’t really care about playlists because I only listen to podcasts these days, but having a way to keep music separate from podcasts may change that.

The way they handle podcasts is overly clever;  they automatically group them into autocreated playlists (by default.)  I suppose that makes sense if you’re into binge listening.  The rub comes in that you’ve got episodes from 4 different podcasts on the player, you need to switch playlists to hear them (by holding the voice over button, which is hard to do when you’re running and the player is clipped on your back.)  Otherwise, it just repeats the podcast(s) in the current playlist.  I think you can get around this problem by making your own playlist with your podcasts in back in iTunes and then sync it over, but I haven’t had a chance to try it yet.

Accessory-wise, the ear buds (not ear pods) are worthless to me and my big ears.  I think the charging/sync cable is an improvement.  Now its just 2″ long with headphone style connecter on one side and USB on the other, instead of a long cable and dock.  Sync is also noticeably faster (evident since most podcasts filers are 10’s of Mb.)

I think I paid $39 for my old one.  This one was $49 (before 5% off with my Target Red Card, woot.)  Thought that was a bit more than warranted, but then I realized that old one was 1Gb and the new is 2Gb.  For podcasts, 1Gb is plenty, as I swap content out weekly or so.  With 2Gb (and playlists) I can also bring some music along for a change of pace as well.

So far, other than clunky podcast playlist thing, everything is working great.  Hope I can get another 8 years out of this one.

The Wrap Up

Things are going pretty well, so I’m not gonna mess with the program too much.  I’m gonna try to add another half mile to the daily.

I think I should probably start scoping out my next pair of shoes.  These ones have about 250 miles on them. They’re holding up pretty well, but I think they’re about half a size too big;  my feet slide around a bunch after everything gets warmed up and stretch out.  Probably give some Asics a shot.

Pain is only temporary, pride is forever.

This Week In Running – v4

Nope, I haven’t dropped off on running, but I did stop manually updating on dailymile.com.  You can now follow me at the Garmin site, instead.

Its been another wet week. Drizzle is no fun when its 50 degrees and breezy out, morning after morning. When there’s good chance for rain, I usually leave my music player at home. Without the distraction, runs seem to take about twice as much effort; but, it with nothing else to do, it helps me focus on my breathing.

On Tuesday morning, the rain was coming down by the bucket at normal departure time, so I did some work, and bumped the run to mid morning.  It was kinda weird to be running in daylight.  I also tried out the Iron Horse Trail to get around traffic that I don’t normally incur.  The trail is pretty good for running;  not too much foot traffic and mostly flat except for places where the trail bridges over major streets.

I chatted with another guy on the trail for a bit on the way back.  He asked about the Rochester Marathon on my hat. I said I was new to the area and getting back into running.  I said I thought my marathon days were probably done.  He said, “me too” but went on to say that he’s moved on to Ultras.  I chuckled. He gave me some pointers on where to run and to some local groups where I might find other running mates.  I admit it was kinda nice to get a welcome back to the running community.

Yesterday, even though the radar was clear, I still ran into a couple patches of annoying drizzle.  Added another half mile or so to the long run for the week.  Unfortunately, the route I took ended up being on a no-pedestrian divided highway.  Worked out OK at 5am, bought probably won’t try it again.

Today, I woke up at normal time, listened to rain for about 5 minutes, checked the radar, rolled over, and went back to sleep.  I really didn’t want to take the day off, but I figure I’m overdue and on the road to hurt if I don’t anyway.  So, I used my surplus energy to work on some other delinquent projects around the house.

Even with the day off, I still pulled in 32 miles; fairly respectable.  There’s some dry weather in the forecast, so hopefully, I’ll be more motivated than I’ve been.

Chomping at the bit to get out in the morning…  Lets rack up some more miles!

This Week In Running – v3

Running

Mercy, another week gone by already?  Time for another update.

In a word, miles, lots.  39 to be precise.

Garmin_Connect

Monday through Thursday were my previous daily driver route.  Friday, I added another 1.3 miles to the daily driver.  Saturday was my old long run.

Sunday was supposed to be a new long run, but I found myself out in the sticks with no street lights and pulled an abort maneuver.  There was also a ton of debris in the road from the storm last night.  Oh, yeah, that was also a monster hill.  I turned around at the peak on this chart:

Garmin_Connect

Things have been going pretty well.  My back is mostly back to normal except for the odd twinge now and again.  My feet are pretty tired and my toes are sore at the end of the run, but I think that’s from my shoes being half a size too big (I should have remembered that Saucony’s run big.)

The big problem this week was chaffing.  There, I said it.  The day it rained it bit during the run, my shirt ground up my nipples.  That’s always fun when you get into the shower.  The other days, its been skin on skin as my thighs duke it out.  Hoping some new running shorts should sort that problem out.

Gear Review

The last few weeks I’ve been running with a Garmin Forerunner 10.  Yeah, its kinda chunky (its actually bigger than the iPod shuffle I use for music when running) and not particularly feature packed.  But for $80, it does everything I need and is super easy to use. 2 button presses to start a run, and 3 when the run is done.

The start up time is pretty quick most of the time, but once or twice its taken a few minutes to find out where it is.  I haven’t had any incidents where it loses its place in the middle of a run though.  I don’t have a gauge on how accurate it is out on the run;  it seems to have trouble around big buildings (output looks like I’m running a little drunk.) Out in the open though, it seems to line up with Google maps pretty well.

The computer side is pretty straightforward.  Install a driver, plug the watch into its charger, and plug the charger into a USB port.   The daily part is just the last 2 steps, everything else is automatic.  Your data ends up on the Garmin Connect website.  I haven’t messed around with it all that much, but it seems to have all the pretty charts that I like. Check out my profile page.

At one time, it would have also been possible to upload directly dailymile.com (where I tracked my stats up to now.)  But it needs a browser plugin that’s no longer supported on the Google Chrome browser.  I tried to get it work with Safari instead.  It doesn’t give any errors, but can’t seem to find runs on my watch either.  I’ve been doing manual entries on dailymile after downloading from the watch.  Eventually, I’ll give up on that and just use the Garmin equivalent for sharing.

Wrap Up

Looking forward to more miles this coming week.  Even though its been really wet the last few days in the Bay Area, I’ve lucked out that it wasn’t raining (outside of a little drizzle) during my runs.  Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Let’s do this thang.

This Week in Running – v2

The good:  Yep, still at it.  Broken 100 miles for this streak on Wednesday.

The bad: My back is taking forever to get back normal.  Its to the point where it doesn’t bother much or at all during the run.  But after I’m done, I look kinda like Edgar the bug from Men in Black hobbling down the street.

The ugly: black toenail.  Either I need some new socks, or my current running shoes are half a size too big (probably should stop buying shoes on woot.)

Another 7 days, and another 7 runs.  Nothing particularly eventful, one way or the other; that’s kind of a good thing I think.  I’m not pushing things real hard, but I’m not taking it super easy either.  Something must be going right, because the time on my feet seems to fly by.

I’m pretty comfortable with my weekday routine route.  Its got just enough hills to keep things interesting.  Leaving at 4:25 its pitch black when I start and its just beginning to start to brighten when I return.  I’ve got a blinky light I wear on the back of my hat so folks coming up on me from behind can see me.  I’ve been doing without a headlight, but I’m seriously considering getting one as a lot of the streets where I run have limited street lights.  I’m less concerned about oncoming folks not being able to see me than I am about me running off the road or turning an ankle in a pothole.

At that hour of the morning, car traffic is pretty light.  But, through some strange cosmic alignment, me and the drivers always seem to meet up at intersections at precisely the same moment.  I try to wave the cars through (1. I’m not that important, 2. car vs. human, car wins.  It doesn’t matter if you’re right or wrong;  if you get hit, you get hurt.) Most drivers gladly hurry by.  Some drivers look at me like I’m from another planet, that a pedestrian is yielding to them.

Ok, that’s enough rambling for now.  I gotta go get moving again before I cease up.

Go big, or go home.

This Week in Running

The streak lives on.  Today was the 21st consecutive day I’ve been running.

Had some rough days this week.  Last week, I had a non-running related injury to my back (not sitting correctly when holding a squirmy 4 year old during a nebulizer treatment at the dr’s office and strained something in my lower back)  Its been haunting me, but its every so slowly getting better.   I had a sympathetic pain in the foot opposite where my back hurts for a few days, ouch.  I’m to the point now where I feel it when I start and it goes it almost goes away after the first mile or two.

Thursday morning, I woke up on schedule and it was seriously raining and pretty windy.  Wind, rain, and 45 degrees, not such a great combination.  But, I checked the forecast, and it said things were going to calm down right about the time I normally roll out the door.  I was skeptical, but sure enough, the clouds parted just about the time I opened the door.  As usual, I was glad I got out in the end as turned out to be the first the day that my pace started to tick back down.

This morning, I wanted to stretch things out a bit and try a new course.  I intended to do something in 5 to 5.5 mile range, but missed a turn (can’t read street signs in the dark without my glasses, dammit) and ended up string things out to 6.7 miles.  The route I’ve been doing has a tiny hill in one spot. This route had a long and steady climb.  I got up it without much fuss, but could definitely feel it in my legs and lungs.  One of the roads I was on (Gregory Lane) has some pretty steep crowning on the edge of the road, may try to avoid that part next time.

Onward and upward.