Category Archives: Running

Today On The Run #14 That 10 Degree Difference

Things are finally starting to get warm again in Brentwood.  The day time temps are in mid to high 70s.  More importantly, the morning temperatures have been in the mid 50s. After an eternity of cold and wet (by California standards, sorry my east coast friends) it feels good to lose a few layers and be able to use my fingers after getting back from a run.

Its pretty amazing how different 45 feels than 55, given they’re not all that far apart.   At 55 degrees, I’m almost thinking about ditching my light running gloves.  I think I’ll stick with long sleeve but light tech shirts for a few more weeks, then with any luck it will be back to short sleeves again.

In the sad, but true category.  I realized that a fair number of my running shirts pre-date my kids. I’m slightly amazed that my 2007 Mountain Goat race shirt (which I happened to run in for my one and only marathon) still looks pretty good, even it has some serious permafunk baked into it after 11 years of service.  I’m kinda surprised that its pretty loose these days; I’m not sure if its because I’m smaller now or its just super stretched out.  Probably time to drop some bucks on new shirts.

Today On The Run #13 Gobble Gobble

Running up on wildlife in my early morning runs is nothing new.  I see and hear all sorts of critters skittering off into the shadows as I plod my way along.  Thankfully, I still haven’t met up with any coyotes or mountain lions that supposedly lurk just beyond my normal running routes.

Yesterday morning, I was cruising along the second half of my route. Not particularly motoring along, but still getting by at a comfortable pace.  One podcast had just wrapped up and there was a few seconds of dead air before the next one started up.  In this brief interlude, I somehow spooked a turkey and pretty much jumped out of my skin when I got an angry gobble in return.

I’ve spooked turkeys before, but normally you can get pretty close before they fight back. The turkey in the instance was off in the shadows where I couldn’t make them out at all.  I quickened my pace a bit fearing for an ambush from the rest of his pack.  With a sigh of relief, I made it away unscathed.

I ran through the same area about 20 minutes later on the way back to home and braced myself for another barrage.  But, the turkey had moved on.

Today On The Run #12 – 365 Days!

On Wednesday, March 21, I marked the completion of 1 year of running every day. No days off.

Yes, those numbers are accurate; all runs are cataloged in my Garmin Connect profile.  Even I know how much I run, 3600 miles in aggregate form still wows me!

I don’t know just how I pulled it off.  There were definitely days where I just didn’t feel like running or time just didn’t seem to be available to squeeze it in.  But, after getting past all the excuses, I had pretty much no regrets about any single run.

Other metrics:

  • 5 pairs of shoes
  • Around 547 hours on the road.
  • 2 mp3 players.
  • Countless podcast episodes.

Thankfully, my current locale makes most running pretty easy for about 3/4 of the year.  The only real trouble spots are the dead of summer and winter.  I’m not a big fan of hot, but most of the time I run outside of the hottest parts of the day.  The cold, where nowhere as bad as it was back in New York, is more annoying than problematic, except for a few days.

We had a nice little teaser of spring a few weeks ago.  Temperatures were in the high 50s at 4am.  Then the cold came back;  low 30s are pretty annoying.  Then, it got a little warmer, but the rains came.  So, far I’ve been able to time it so I’ve only gotten light to moderate rain during my runs.  The current short term forecast is looking pretty good, warmer and dry. Looking forward to it!

What’s next?

  • Are you planning to stop the streak or cut back on mileage?  No and no.  Everything feels pretty good at the moment, so I’m just gonna keep rolling with it.
  • Are you gonna do any races? Still a question mark at this point.  Even though I’ve got all these miles, I’m not really doing speedwork or dedicated hill work.  Kinda getting the racing itch though.

Today On The Run #11 – I can’t quit you

Confession time.  I try to treat my feet right and replace my running shoes every 300 to 400 miles like I’m supposed to, but I use the excuse that I treat my shoes super nice to string them out as long as possible.  While running is a fairly cost effective form of exercise (especially it you don’t race often), shoes are annoying expensive these days if you want to get anything that will last.

So, I have had these Mizuno Wave Enigma 5’s for a while.  I picked them up on a whim in a chance rambling through a DSW.  $160 list price, clearing them out for $60.  Even if they’re junk, $60 is still a pretty decent deal.

Turns out they were way better than I thought they would be.  They feel a lot different than my normal goto Saucony’s (Rides and Guides) but in a good way.  They’re especially good in the rain; they are a little taller than my other shoes and take a lot longer to soak through.

A few other pairs of shoes have come and gone since I got the Mizuno’s, but I’ve been keeping them around for backups when my other shoes are drying out from rainy runs. They still look pretty good and feel pretty much the same as when I got them.  Let’s pull up their profile in my Garmin Connect gear tracker.

Yeah, yikes, over 1,000 miles!  Most other shoes I’ve had recently are pretty well dead at 600.

Hmm, I see that the Engima 6 edition is on discount at Amazon currently; maybe its time to finally retire my trusty old friends.

Today On The Run #10 – Daddy’s Got Some New Shoes

As usual, I was waaaaay overdue for new shoes.  I’m so bad.  Most experts say that shoes are ripe for replacement after 300-400 miles.  I usually push my to at least 500 miles.  I try to justify that with my mostly road miles routine and the fact that good shoes are crazy expensive these days.

I figured it was time to switching things up.  After a half dozen Saucony’s and a nice but over priced pair of Asics, I wanted to try some Hoka One Ones.  I eventually settled on the Arahis (affiliate link).  Shopping around I found the a reasonable deal at a discount seller. After checking out, I disappointed that shipping was Ontrac and super slow.  Flash forward the 5 days or so, and I check order tracking.  Cool, they were just delivered them 10 minutes ago.  Strange, I didn’t hear the truck and nobody rang the bell.

Waited another day to see if tracking was just wrong and still nothing.  Got in touch with Ontrac, and they said, “yeah we delivered it.  If you didn’t get it talk to your seller.”  We do have a problem with package theft in my area, but I have the feeling that Ontrack never even delivered it.  I happened to use PayPal to pay for the purchase, so I had some buyer protection with them.  Other than having to wait a couple of weeks, the refund process was pretty painless.

While waiting for through the refund process.  I found another seller for the shoes (for an additional $10, sigh.)  Again, shipping was slooow.  But, these shoes actually made it to me.

Initial impressions on the Arahis:

  • They’re super chunky. They look chunky in pictures, but in real life, they’re even more so.  Feel like I’m strapping on Frankenstein’s boots.
  • They’ve got lots of padding.   The first run or two, they take some getting used to because you hit the ground a lot differently.
  • They have an odd angle on the heel.  Don’t notice it when I’m running in them, but when walking have weird feeling that I’m gonna tip over backward.  Probably a feature for me in the long run, because I tend to drag my heels anyway.
  • Loads of room in the toe box.
  • A little light on the padding on the tongue.  I don’t tie my shoes super tight, but after the first few times out I had sore spot on top of my left foot.  Not sure if just me getting used to them or what, but seems to have cleared up.

Will follow up on them as I continue to beat them up.

Today On The Run #9 – Stupid Stuff You See Running

These days, I mostly run the same route each day; most of the time in the early morning, way before sun up.  Despite feeling like I’m half awake when running on the early shift, I’m so used to my route that I can probably tell you where every crack in the road is and when there’s a new set of donut marks at an intersection.

One morning, I was out running in some light rain.  An odd sparkle caught my eye in a gutter.  I wrote it off as a reflection from an oncoming car’s headlights and didn’t think any more about it.

The next day, and the same odd sparkle caught my eye, again.  Ok, its your mind playing tricks on you (or I’m having a geo-fenced stroke of some sort.)  The next day I was curious to see if was there again.  It was.  Ok, probably not a stroke, and pretty sure its a real world object.

The day after that, I happened to be running during daylight hours.  I slowed down a bit to survey the area.  What ever it was wasn’t bright enough to see in day light or discern from the normal gravel and assorted muck normally in gutters, especially without my glasses.  But, easy enough to pick out was a deflated purple balloon.

After some pondering, I guess it was some kind of LED used to light up a balloon.  Does that even exist?  Yep, they’re called LED party lights.  Mystery solved.

So, the new game was to see how long the light would remain, either until the battery eventually gives it up, or the units meets up with the weekly street sweeper.  It hung on for over 3 weeks. Then it was gone.  The gutter in the area looked cleaner than I remembered, so I imagine that the street sweeper was the culprit.

Guess I have to find something new for my OCD riddled brain to obsess about.

Today On The Run #8 – Get your streak on!

Still rocking the Runner’s World 40 Days of Awesome Streak.  Today is day 18.  I’m at 185 miles total.

I don’t really need the streak for motivation, but every little bit helps when the weather makes me want to stay in bed more than freeze my face and fingers off running in the dark.

The Runner’s World community is pretty amazing.  Everybody gets a needed slap on the back.  The folks just starting running and struggling to finish 1 mile per day or the folks running marathons (or ultras) already are more or less equal.

I’m totally inspired by stories of other adult onset runners finding the magic of the run. The folks who do all sorts of crazy stuff to keep their streak going.  I’m also humbled by the folks running through real winter, when I all I do is complain constantly about moderate cold in my area.

The stories of finishing their first mile without walking, finishing first real race, or getting a new PR by minutes are uplifting.  The stories of people breaking their streak due to life events or injury weigh heavy on everyone.  The group is there for everyone.

Streak on!

Today On The Run #7 – Radioactive Man

The Mrs asked me what I wanted to for xmas.  Hmm, replace my dead mp3 player?  Another pair of shoes?  Better running gloves?  Decisions, decisions.

I’m really bad about safety gear.   I used to wear a safety light, but the last one I had ate batteries so much, I stopped wearing it because it was always dead.  The few pieces of running gear that were reflective have long since stopped after about a zillion runs through the washing machine.

So I told the Mrs, “I’d like to have a Noxgear Tracer 360 safety light”.  I’d seen them go flying through my Facebook feed a few times, but thought at $69, it was a little overpriced.  But, during cyberweek deals, it was $25 off and free shipping with Amazon prime.  Ok, sign me up.

I hate extra gear when I’m running, so finding something comfortable is a challenge.  Despite what it may seem, the Tracer is super comfortable.  It’s super light and after you get the straps adjusted, it stays put well enough that you can forget you’re wearing it.  It is also not self-distracting, even when you put it one flashing or color changing modes.  I’ve had it out 4 times now and I’m pretty pleased with it so far.

Light output is hasn’t changed after 6 or so hours of run time, so hopefully it won’t require battery changes too often.  Battery changes should be less of a hassle; there’s an easy access battery door that holds 3 standard AAA batteries.

I don’t yet have a feel for if it helps with my general visibility yet; mainly because I don’t see a whole lot of cars in my early morning runs anyway.  But I think it helps at intersections; folks tend to disregard stop signs when they think nobody is looking.  With the Tracer on, I have folks seem to stop and wait for me clear the intersection.

If you’re a dark times runner, check out a Tracer 360 for yourself.

Today On The Run #6 – Therapy

If you don’t follow Runner’s World on Facebook, stop reading now and go follow them.  Tons of good content.  You’re welcome.


 

The Best Therapy Is Right At Your Feet

A great article that describes connections between running and mental health.   It might sound kinda like mumbo jumbo to non-runners, but to me, it is very accurate.

Getting out the door almost every morning at 4:15 to run is tough, I won’t lie.  But, I never, full stop, regret going out on a run.  Even the days where the run doesn’t go well, or end up as planned, I always feel better than when I went out.  Calmer, more relaxed, relieved.

A recent realization for me is that running is both physically and mentally addictive.  If I don’t run, I’m all twitchy on the physical side and feel like I’m not centered mentally. Neither of those problems are super terrible, but easily avoidable simply by running. I’ve had real “runner’s high” a few times and I can tell you that it’s great, but finishing a 10 mile run when it’s 40° out and rain is coming at you sideways, is even better.

Even though I normally run with an mp3 player and some podcasts for distraction.  I usually have something in the back of my brain to ponder.  Sometimes it’s something work related or some challenge to work for/with the family.  More times than not (at least as often as working something out during a shower), I can make measurable progress on the thoughts during the run, and better able to tackle the problem.

I’m pretty committed to running (though my wife thinks I should more likely be committed to a mental facility) since I run every day.   Crossing off days on your calendar is super motivating;  my current streak is 243 days.  To help get me through the holidays, I also signed up the Runner’s World 40 Days of Awesome group, where the challenge is to run at least 1 mile per day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s day.  The streak period hasn’t started yet, and I’m already jazzed reading about other people using the challenge to extend their streaks already in progress.

To the non-believers out there, all I can say is that you have to try and stick with it for a while to get the real results, both physically and mentally. But, for anything that’s really worth it, you always have to work at it.

Today On The Run #5 – Daddy needs a new pair of shoes

Running is almost an affordable sport/exercise/pastime.  Well, except for the shoes.

Every runner and running shoe combination is different, but most experts set a baseline of about 300 miles for a shoe.   At that rate, I’d be replacing my shoes pretty much once a month.  That’s not so terrible, right?  Well, retail price for any middle of the road shoe these days is $120.  Going for discounts and closeouts, its hard to find good stuff for under $80. Going for the high end, and retail starts at $160 and still finds ways to climb.

I’m frugal (and/or cheap) so I really push my kicks to their absolute limit.  I tend to get at least 500 miles out each pair.  Even with that many miles, the shoes on the outside still look pretty new due all road miles and my climate.  They also tend to feel ok;  at least until you try on the follow up new pair and realize how thrashed the old ones were.

How I keep track of miles?  Oh, that’s super painless with Garmin Connect.  Set up a profile for your shoe and then it’s just 2 clicks to tag the shoes to a workout.  I’ve tried to track miles for shoes in the past, but was never successful.  Doing it with the Garmin makes it pretty much a no brainer.

Above are 2 recent pairs.  The Saucony’s where a great pair of shoes; rode them all the way to 671 miles.  They wore great and still even felt good.  The ASICS (with the distinction of being the most expensive shoes I’ve ever purchased, lawd have mercy) still have some more miles to go, as they’re only at 420 miles.   They are a little heavy, but super cushy.  They’ve been demoted to the back up pair.

I’m curious about the wear pattern around the big toe on both those shoes.  I checked some other kicks I have lying around and don’t see a similar pattern.  If it was only one pair or two pairs from the same maker, I’d be tempted to just wave it off.  But 2 different shoes, back to back, seems like there might be a problem there.

My current daily drivers are Saucony Guide 10s.  They’re feeling pretty good.   They’re super tight when they go on, but stretch out to be comfortable during the run.  I do kinda wonder if they run a little different size-wize than the Ride shoes that have been my recent go-tos.

Geez, I guess it’s time to put some more shoes on my wishlist, the holidays are coming fast.