Friday, October 31, 2008

Running At Night, HRM Watch is Dead and Push Ups Update

I decided to go out for a 3-mile run last night. Work has been crazy busy over the past two days (I was at site in Columbia, MD) and eating out a lot since I was not in the office. So...a run was necessary to gain some sanity back.

Of course I kept to the sidewalks on main roads, wore my reflector vest and no iPod, but running at night still freaks me out at times. There's a stretch on Quince Orchard Road - a four lane road with a median and sidewalks on both sides of the street - where there are no street lamps. It is dark!

My HRM watch officially died. Luckily, I have an older one to use in the interim. The older model only shows HR -or- running time -or- time of day - not all three at the same time like my current Polar S120. For $20 I'm sending the S120 into Polar repair for a new battery. I'm hoping this is all it needs. I would love to get a Garmin 305 or 405 - but I can't justify the $300 to $400 price tag.

I have finished out Week 2 of the Hundred Push Ups Challenge. I was not able to get through the Day 3 workout - I did 12, 13 and 10 push ups for the first three sets. Set four I was only able to muster 8 push ups. For the last "max" set I was only able to do 10 - not at least 15. Still, I did 53 push ups today! I'll do another "exhaustion test" this weekend to see what the plan will be for Week 3.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Treadmill 4 Miler

It was a dark, chilly, blustery morning. I knew it would be, so I had my gym bag packed the night before. Good plan!

I learned a few things on my run this morning:
  1. my HRM watch is what is malfunctioning...I was thinking it was the chest strap/transmitter, however, I used another chest strap this morning and it worked fine with the treadmill - but the watch was having the same issues...time to contact Polar's tech support!
  2. I have lost some conditioning over the past 2-4 weeks of not running much, eating too much and being 4 mile easy run on the treadmill was at an 11:19/mile pace...there were a few times where I had to adjust the speed down to keep my HR under 150. I'm hoping that two weeks of consistent running will get me back on track.
  3. I still loathe running on a treadmill. I will try to remember this the next time I start to whimp out on a dark, cold, blustery morning...just suck it up, layer up and get out into the elements for an awesome run!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Morning Run and Push-Ups

I got a late start this morning, however, since I'm slowly easing back into running this week I wasn't going to be running too long.  Since the sun was starting to rise at 7am when I left the house, I decided on the 3 mile lake loop - I won't run that in the dark for fear of "wildlife and weirdoes".

One very frustrating issue on today's run.  My HRM is not working!  It was doing some crazy things on Saturday morning's run - mainly going to the "In Zone Training stats" that normally only show up when you place the watch right in front of the transmitter/chest strap.  This morning, the watch wasn't showing any HR at the beginning...then it was showing numbers in the 30s, 40s and 50s...then it started showing nothing again.

So, I made this an easy run by feel - although I know that there were times that my HR was higher than is should be during an easy run.  Especially since I ended up running at a 10:31/mile pace - while Saturday's easy run was at a 11:49/mile pace.  The cool temperatures helped, I'm sure (it was a crisp 43 degrees when I headed out this morning) - but I doubt they helped that much.

Later during my workday I did my push ups.  Week 2 of the Hundred Push Ups challenge.  Sets of 9, 11, 8, 8 and max (I did 13) with 60 seconds rest in between.  It ends up that the time between the last set of 8 and the max set was probably 5 minutes as I got a call for work in between.  49 push ups in total....Woo Hoo!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Plan for Turkey Chase

My next race on the calendar is the 10K Turkey Chase in Bethesda, MD on Thanksgiving morning.  I could probably go out and run a 10K no problem right now - even with just getting over bronchitis - however, I want to run this race under 1 hour so I'm going to have to put in some focused training.

I've decided to take a few weeks from the marathon training plan that I used.  I'm going to start with Week 4 - runs of 3, 4 and 3 miles and a 9 miler on the weekend.  Starting next week I may use the mid-week longer run as a speedwork run - I'm going to give myself a break this week as I haven't really run much in two weeks.  I may also do some hill sprints after one of the weekly runs as well.

It will be good to have a training plan to follow once again.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My First Run In Over A Week!


I felt good enough to go for a run this morning.  I'm no longer coughing, although I still have a little congestion.  Still, I felt well enough to go for a 3 mile run in the neighborhood.

I lucked out on the weather.  At 7am it was in the mid-50s and the rain had stopped.  It had rained during the night and it will pick up again later this was definitely a sign from above, "Mike - it's time to run..."

I decided to do a few push ups before I headed out - to see how many consecutive push ups I could do after week 1 of the Hundred Push Up Challenge.  Last week - before I started the program - I was able to do 11...this morning I did 18.  Pretty good improvement after one week!  I'm not sure how I'm going to do over 30 consecutive push ups - let alone 100...  But then again, before this year I didn't think I'd be able to run 26.2 miles either.

I finally got out the door at 7:15.  It was great to be running again!  During my warm up walk, I saw my HR was in the low 90s - it is normally in the high 70s, low 80s during my walk, so I knew this would be a slower run.  My goal was to stay around 150 bpm - an easy, controlled pace.  There were times - up some hills or when my mind started to wander and I wasn't paying attention to my pace and HR - when my HR was in the high 150s or low 160s, but as soon as I realized it I got it back down.  I ended up running my 3 mile lake loop at an 11:49/mile pace with an average HR of 149.  It will definitely take a week or so to get me back to my normal pace at that HR, but for today I was just glad to be pounding the pavement once again!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

No Running - More Push Ups

The bronchitis is clearing up - thank goodness!

I'd love to go for a short run tomorrow, but I don't want to go to the gym and spread whatever germs I may still have.  The weather forecast for tomorrow morning is yucky - showers and thunderstorms, 50 degrees and 10 mph winds - I don't like running in that stuff even when I'm at 100%.  I'll see what happens.

I finished up Week 1 on the Hundred Push Ups Challenge.  The plan is sets of 8, 10, 7, 7 and max (I did 13) - with two minutes in between each set.  That's 45 push ups today!  I don't think I have ever done that many push ups in a day.  The fact that I was able to do 13 consecutive push ups after already doing 32 of them was awesome for me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

10K On The Calendar!

I signed up for the annual Bethesda Turkey Chase 10K this evening.  It is run on Thanksgiving morning.  I have run this race over the past 2 years and I love starting out Thanksgiving with the 10K allows me to eat Thanksgiving dinner without any guilt!

There are some pretty big hills during the first 2 miles of this course, so my times have been no where near my 10K PR of 56:14.  I don't think I have broken 1 hour yet.  So that will be my goal - a sub-60 min 10K on Thanksgiving morning.

Once I get the bronchitis out of my system, I'll start the hill work!

Push Ups - Day 2

Since I'm not running for another few days, I have decided to continue what I have started on the Hundred Push Up Challenge.

I'm on Day 2, Week 1. The plan calls for five sets of push ups with 90 seconds rest in between them. 6, 8, 6, 6 and max (at least 7) push ups is the plan. I was able to do this - with my max in the fifth set at 10. That's 36 push ups total!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


After my cough became much worse last night - hacking the evening away - my wife told me it was time to go to the doctor and get it checked out.

I'm glad I listened to her. It ends up I have bronchitis. Good thing I've been smart and I haven't been running over the past few days.

I'll be on antibiotics for a week. I'm hoping that I'll be OK to run by the weekend.

Meanwhile, I've still been itchin' to run. Over the past two weeks I have run a total of 10 miles. Over the 40 weeks previous to that (i.e. since the beginning of the year) I have averaged 20 miles a week. That's a huge drop-off. Here are a few observations that I have had:
  • Whenever I see another person running outside, I wish I could be them
  • The milk crate in my closet that I use for my running clothes that need to be washed is empty
  • Some of my pants are starting to get a bit snug in the waist (OK...having this rut during the Jewish Holidays - when I'm eating a ton - doesn't help)
  • I have no idea what is on my iPod shuffle right now
  • I'm less focused at work
Oh...I can't wait to get a run in this weekend!!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Push Up Challenge

I have been reading on quite of number of my fellow runner's blogs about the Hundred Push Up Challenge.  I've thought about trying it out, but never committed myself to it. was day one for me.  If I can't get out and run - due to my cough - I may as well get this started!

I had done a few "Initial Tests" over the past few months.  On any given day I was able to muster out between 10 to 15 consecutive push ups (will I really be able to work up to 100 in as little as six weeks???).  Since I'm still a bit low-energy, I decided to go conservative on Week 1, and choose the middle column (for those who did 6-10 in their initial tests instead of those who did 11-20 in their initial tests).  Today's workout was five sets of push ups with 60 seconds of rest in between each set.  Sets of 6, 6, 4, 4 and then as many as I could do (ended up being 9).  So I did 29 push ups total.

I'm hoping to do push ups on my off days from running going forward - running 4 days a week and push ups 3 days a week (once I'm back to a clean bill of health!).  It's a mighty ambitious schedule since I haven't run much in the past two weeks, but I think I can stick to it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Still Coughing

I have not been able to shake this cold.  Unfortunately, it has settled in my chest for a bit, so I did not run today.  I'm hoping that it will break up a bit tonight and perhaps I'll be able to run tomorrow at lunchtime (it's going to be around 30 degrees tonight - I'm not running on a freezing dark morning with a cough - I don't want this thing to turn into pneumonia!)

Friday, October 17, 2008

No Energy In The Morning

Over the past few weeks, I have not been able to drag my behind out of bed to run.  Part of this was due to the fact that I'm fighting a cold, part of the problem is that I stay up too late to watch sporting events (BTW...I turned off the baseball game last night in the middle of the 7th inning - BIG MISTAKE!) and I believe part of the problem is that it stays dark until 7am now.

So...I did not get out for a run this morning.  I was hoping to sneak out for a lunchtime run today - but I had conference calls peppered through my schedule until 3:30pm.  However, I did slip out around 4pm for what I was hoping would be a 4 mile neighborhood run.

The weather is great for running.  Overcast, cool and slightly breezy.  It's hard to believe that I'm wasting this wonderful running weather!

As I headed out of my neighborhood - about 3/4 of a mile into my run - my lungs were feeling a bit tight.  At that point I decided to turn right and do one of my 3 mile loops instead of turning left to do a 4/5/6 or 7 mile loop.  I don't want to get a relapse of this cold just as I feel I'm getting over it.

I ended up running the 3.38 miles in 34:04 - a 10:05 pace.  My HR was high - 157 avg - but my mileage is down over the past two weeks and I guess I'm still fighting this bug.  I can't wait to fully recover and really run again!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

W&OD Trail In The Dark

First of all, my chest congestion is better - not 100%, but thanks to Mucinex and VapoRub I was able to sleep last night.

Except for the fact that I woke up at 4:45am. At that point, Sherry was no longer in bed - it ends up that the boys (who are both battling coughs of their own) had both woken up, so Sherry was busy getting them back down. I'm not sure how I didn't hear them...I guess I was in a nice deep sleep at least for some part of the night.

My original plan was to wake up at 5:45am, get in my running clothes and drive to Reston, VA to run there and shower at the gym. I have meetings all day with my Director who is in town, so I had to be in Virginia in the morning. My thought was to leave early and beat the traffic.

Lying in bed at 4:45am, I knew I would not get back to sleep. So I made the decision to just get out of bed and move the schedule up an hour. This way I'd get a good hour and a half of work in (I love free WiFi at Panera!) before picking up my boss.

I left the house at 5:15am and got to Reston by 5:45am. No traffic whatsoever! Hooray! Except it was still dark when I arrived.

I had a decision to make - run outside on the W&OD Trail in the dark or run inside on the treadmill. Given that I still had some congestion, I decided it would be to everyone's benefit if I stayed outside (this was validated a few times during my run...don't worry - I won't share the gory details).

I normally enter the W&OD trail at mile marker 17.5 by cutting through a field and down a hill on a pseudo-path through high grass. Since it was dark, I knew that was not the best way to go. So I used the sidewalk and went to the next biggest intersection and entered the W&OD trail via a street entrance. I started running at mile marker 18.0 and decided to go up 1.5 miles and return 1.5 miles.

It was nice to get running again - even it was just for 3 miles. I couldn't see my HRM watch in the dark, so I ended up with my heart rate a bit higher than it should on an easy run (155 avg), however, I'm still a bit under the weather and my body isn't 100%.

Three early miles in the dark - and now I'm ready to tackle the day!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No Running Again

I woke up and congestion was in my chest. Bad news for running.

Crossing my fingers that tomorrow will be a running day. Given the Jewish holidays are here (and that means lots of eating), I need the calorie burn BADLY!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Still Feeling Icky

No running again this morning. I'm waking up with a raw throat, nasal congestion and low energy.

I really want to run, but can't seem to get my behind out of bed to do it. I hope this cold will pass soon...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Low Energy

I've been fighting a cold the past few days.  Some congestion and coughing and lower energy.  Probably another reason I could not get myself out of bed for a run yesterday morning - as well as this morning.

I'm just going to try to get more sleep tonight and try to get the run in again tomorrow.

However, tomorrow morning I will be building our family's sukkah for the festival of Sukkot.  So, I can't run too much tomorrow as I'll be getting plenty of physical exercise.

Friday, October 10, 2008

No Run Today :-(

I was hoping to get a run in this morning, but my younger son had other plans.

He came into our room around 5am and came into bed with us.  He started to get playful so I brought him back to his room and I tried to get him to get back to sleep.  I knew that he was up for the day (or at least until 10:30am when he went down for a nap!).

I let Sherry continue to sleep and I stayed on kid duty.  No morning run...

I'll try to get one in tomorrow.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Surviving The Fast

Today was Yom Kippor. No running for me today. Actually, no eating or drinking today - that was the reason for no running.

Yesterday was a really busy day at work - I didn't walk in the door from work until 6:10pm...and synagogue services were scheduled to start at 6:30pm - UGH!! I quickly shoveled food down, got in my suit and out the door for synagogue - all in less than 30 minutes. I made it just in time for the first Kol Nidre prayer.

I was in synagogue most of today. There was a break from 2pm to 5pm - we had a babysitter take our boys to a playground for two hours while Sherry and I took a short nap. That is definitely the way to go!

We hosted a "break the fast" meal after synagogue tonight - around 7:30pm. Sherry and I figured out we had close to 40 people in our house this evening to fill up on bagels, kugels, blintzes, quiches, salads and desserts.

After all of that food, I definitely need to try to get a run in tomorrow morning :-)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Under The Weather...No Running :-(

I had started to feel a bit under the weather on Sunday night. I ran on Monday morning anyway, but by Monday evening I was really feeling bleh. I decided it would be best to get as much sleep as possible on Tuesday morning, and the trend continued this morning. I'm feeling better, but not 100%.

Tomorrow is Yom Kippor - so I'll be fasting from about 6pm tonight until 7:30pm tomorrow. So, no run for me tomorrow!

Hopefully I'll get out there on Friday morning and then do a long weekend run.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Morning Run and New Milestone

I woke up early and got a run in. My normal 4 miler - in the dark today starting at 6am. I guess I better get used to running in the dark.

Today's run puts me at 802 miles run for the year! Still on pace for 1,000... (as a benchmark, last year I ran about 625 miles and the year before that about 550 miles).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sunday Morning Long Run

I made it out this morning around 6:30am. It was still dark - when will Daylight Savings end??

As I started my run, I saw the East sky in a beautiful array of pinks, reds and orange hues. One of the many advantages to getting out of the house early for a run - watching the sunrise.

I ran my 7.3 mile loop around the perimeter of my neighborhood and adjacent neighborhoods. 10:35/mile pace - 151 avg HR.

It's a bit ironic that 7 miles is now a "long run" where a few months ago I was running longer during my weekday runs. I'm sure that as I start to train for other long distance races that I'll easily get back to longer runs. I may even try to do some longer weekend runs soon just to keep the mileage base up.

The upcoming week poses another scheduling dilemma for my runs. Thursday is Yom Kippor - and an all day fast. So, definitely no running on Thursday. I'll hopefully be able to get at least three runs in...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

One Mile With My Boy

Today was a scheduled rest day.  However, my 6 year old was acting quite wild in the house this morning - especially with his soon-to-be 3 year old brother.  He constantly asks to run with me and my wife - but he wants nothing to do with me when I'm soaked with sweat coming back from a run.

This morning was my big chance!

I asked him if he wanted to go out for a run and he LOVED the idea!  We both quickly changed, laced up our running shoes (OK, his sneakers and my running shoes) and we were out the door.

He recently joined the Running Club at his school, so he is learning how to pace himself.  A few months ago he would have darted off and then walked and then darted off again.  Today, we settled into a slow pace and headed off towards the lake.

My goal was to make it to the lake (about 1/2 mile) and back.  As we approached our synagogue building - about 1/4 of a mile into the run - he wanted to stop and walk.  We were going uphill and he said he started to hurt.  I knew that he wasn't really in pain - it was just starting to get uncomfortable.  I pushed him a bit - told him not to walk but we can run a bit slower until we get over the hill...then it will be easier.

We finally got to the top of the hill and started to recover on the downhill.  He started to get in a rhythm again!  Off to the lake we go!!!

We got to where we could see the lake.  I knew that this was about where the 1/2 mile point was.  I was ready to turn back, but he wanted to keep on going.  ALRIGHTY!!!!

We continued along the path next to the lake for another tenth of a mile.  It started to go uphill again slightly, so my son finally said he was ready to turn around and go back.

He was also ready to walk.  He wanted to count to 100 before we ran again.  I said 30.  He said, "How about 90?".  I answered, "How about 25?"  His response - "OK...let's do 30."

As we were walking, a man from the neighborhood who was out for a walk stopped us.  He said that we reminded him of the runs he used to take with his son, and that he was impressed with how far my son was able to run at such a young age.  He also said that his son is now running Track and Field at Princeton!  (I'm not convinced that my son will ever be a standout runner and good enough to run at a Division 1 University...but I can dream, right???)

On the way back home, we did stop for 3 walking breaks.  Counting to 30 at the first two before starting to run and 20 for the final one.  Of course, once we hit our block of houses came the final sprint home - just like you would expect from a six year old!

I measured our run on the Gmap-Pedometer this evening and it ends up we went out 0.6 miles - so 1.2 miles round trip.  It was most likely the slowest run of the year for me...and perhaps one of the most enjoyable!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sneaking In A Run :-)

It was 4:35pm.  Work was slowing down.  No emails had come in for about 30 minutes and I had just touched base with the engineer who was going to resolve the last issue that I needed completed before the end of the week.

And it was a sunny, 70 degree afternoon with a slight breeze.

Definitely time for a RUN!!!!

I shut down, jumped into some running gear and hit my 3.25 mile lake loop.  The trees are starting to show some red, yellow and orange - seeing their reflection on the lake while the late afternoon sun beat down against a gentle breeze was just an awesome end to the week.

I found myself pushing faster and running stronger a lot of the way.  I ended up running a 9:54/mile pace at 153 average HR.  That was a much better use of time than waiting for another email or phone call at the office :-)

I got home before 5:30pm, showered and was downstairs for Shabbat dinner in a flash.  Have a nice weekend everyone!!!

...Or Not Back In The Saddle

I'm not sure what has come over me. The past three mornings I have woken up with no motivation or energy to go out and run. I know that I'll feel great once I'm out there, but I can't get myself out of bed.

This morning was the strangest. I had my running gear laid out and ready. I slept through the night. I woke up at 6:15am and I still couldn't get myself out of bed.

I'm hoping that this is just my body trying to catch up on sleep. I didn't get enough sleep last weekend and the beginning of the week was hectic. I'll try to break this pattern and get out for a nice morning run tomorrow morning - the weather report looks precipitation free for the next week so I really need to take advantage of the great running weather!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Back In The Saddle!

Due to my trip to Ann Arbor and preparing for Rosh HaShana on my return, it had been four full days since I last ran.  To add insult to injury, these four days included meals that either had foods that I should be avoiding, a lot more alcohol than I am used to consuming nowadays, or oversized portions that probably eclipse the number of calories I should be eating in a full day....and some of the meals were a combination of all three.

So, I was very happy to get back on the road and run this morning.  The kids were both up by 5:30am which was about the time I was planning to get out of the house and run.  "You're going to leave me with this?" was what my wife said as I was getting my running gear on.

There was a heavy rain last night which cleared the air up.  When I got out the door it was a crisp, cool and dark morning - 54 degrees and no humidity.  I wish this weather could stick around all the time!

I did my normal 4.4 mile neighborhood loop, taking it easy as I hadn't run in over half a week.  Stats - 10:48/mile pace; 148 avg HR.

Luckily, I do not have any more big meals on the calendar until next week's pre- and post- Yom Kippor feasts.  I'll need to work off the damage of the last four days before then...