Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sick, Sore and Tired

I'm still feeling under the weather.  Yuck!

My whirlwind trip to New York for the Israeli Dance Festival there went well - but very tiring.  The teens I co-direct did great!  And I also danced this year - for the first time in about 4 years.  Here's the video for Hora DC  (I don't come in until the third song, and since it is videotaped from the back of the theater, you probably won't recognize me anyway!).  Unfortunately, the show went long and we didn't leave NY City until after 7:30pm....so I didn't get home until after 12:30am.

Even though I took Monday off from work, I had lots to do on the "honey-do" list, plus I got called from work a few times anyway.  I guess it was good I was feeling a bit icky since I may not have had time to get a run in anyway.  At least this way I had a decent excuse!

I still feel sore in my quads.  You would think that being a runner that I would not have too many issues with soreness after a 5 minute dance performance (OK, we rehearsed it a bunch of times on Sunday morning before going on stage...).  I'm thinking that being sick and run down has slowed my recovery.

In the meantime - no running and I'm trying to get more rest.  I hate being sick!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sick Again :-(

Well...my hectic schedule got the best of me and I'm sick.  I tried going to bed early last night and hacked the night away (poor Sherry...why does she put up with me???)

My throat is scratchy and I have a bunch of gook in my nasal passages.  ICK!

I'll likely call off the long run tomorrow.  If I'm feeling better, perhaps I'll go out for an easy 4 or 5, but definitely not a 9 miler.

Especially since I'm taking 12 teens to New York tomorrow afternoon and then performing on Sunday at the Israeli Dance Festival in New York.

I gotta rest up!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Check Up at the Doctor

Today was my "annual" physical (annual is in quotes, because I don't get one every year - it's more like every 2-3 years).  This included my blood work and cholesterol check (which is annual due to how high my cholesterol was 5 years ago and my family history of high cholesterol and heart disease).

I won't get my blood work results until Monday afternoon, but here's a few of the other numbers:

The good - Blood pressure - 108 over 70.  Resting Pulse - 48 (huh?  I'm usually around 60...she must have missed a beat or two)

The not so good - Weight - 170 lbs (damn doctor's scale!)

My doc took a look at me and said, "You don't look 170 pounds!"  Of course not, I'm the skinny guy, right???  But the doctor wants me to lose some weight - first goal should be 160 lbs, and then I should be able to get down to 150.  (I can't remember the last time I weighed 150 - maybe Middle School?)

The other thing is that I need to come in for an EKG.  We could not do it today because of the shag carpet I'm flaunting on my chest.  So I need to shave my own chest and make another appointment to do the EKG.  I'm not sure which I prefer, getting the EKG with my hairy chest and having the nurse pull off half the hair of my chest when taking the electrode sensors off (not pretty...been there, done that!) or having to shave my own chest and go to the doctor's office again.  I guess this time I don't have a choice...

So...today's doctor's appointment was no surprises.  Low pulse, low blood pressure, weight is a bit too high.  Cholesterol results will be in on Monday...stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Few Good Runs

This week, the schedule calls for 4, 7, 4 and 14 miles. But I did my 14 miler last weekend to swap with the 9 miler on last week's schedule.

I also had some "obstacles" on my schedule - I had a late rehearsal with the Israeli Dance group on Tuesday night (we were dancing past midnight, ouch!) for our upcoming performance on Sunday in New York (I'll try to post videos of the performances early next week...). I have my doctors appointment Thursday morning - since I'm doing bloodwork (yes, that cholesterol test I'm still cramming for) I need to fast and can't run that morning. Oh, and I'm leaving for New York on Saturday afternoon for the Israeli Dance festival - which is the main reason I switched the long run schedules in the first place.

I started off the week right with a 4 mile easy run on Monday morning. I hit the treadmill at the gym. I was amazed at how effortless the run seemed - 4 miles in 42:58, 10:45/mile and an average HR of 144. After Saturday's 14 mile run, this one seemed like a walk in the park.

Tuesday morning was my speedwork run. The schedule said 7 miles, but I had a long day ahead of me with the late Israeli Dance rehearsal that night, so I decided to cut the run short. I did a pyramid intervals run on the treadmill at the gym - 1 mile warm-up and then intervals of 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1.0 and 1.0 miles with 0.25 mile recoveries. The warm-up and recoveries were at 5.4 mph and the intervals at 7.4 mph (just under an 8:00/mile). The last interval I bumped up the pace to 8.0 mph towards the end. 5.5 miles in 50:20; average pace of 9:10/mile with an average HR of 151.

Today I'm just plain tired. It's almost a blessing that my doctor's appointment is tomorrow morning! I'll likely do an easy run on Friday morning of 3 or 4 miles and then the 9 mile long run on Saturday morning.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Skinny Guy??? - Is That Really Me???

Over the past week or so, I have been referred to as "the skinny guy" or someone has made a comment that I should be eating more (or something to that affect) by a few different people.

That's really nice and all, but REALLY???  Who are YOU looking at????

Although my weight has started to come down a bit - the scale said 166 lbs on Monday morning...this is about where I was before Rosh HaShana last year, but I'm still carrying around the Anniversary, Birthday and Summer Vacation pounds - I still don't see myself as "skinny".  I've got a good amount of meat around my mid-section, and of course that's what I see when I look in the mirror.  Plus, my BMI is 24 - "normal weight" is between 18 and 25.  So, although I am still normal weight, I would put skinny in the BMI < 20

On the other hand, I'm wondering how much my perception of myself is the basis for me not thinking I'm "the skinny guy".  I was a chubby kid growing up and carried around a bit of a spare tire through my teen years and twenties.  Heck, my nickname in my fraternity was FAB.  Unfortunately this was not because I liked the Fab Four so much (or the Fab Five who played Bball at my school a few years later), but it stood for FAT AND BALD.  It's quite ironic that I likely weigh less and have more hair than many of the folks who gave me this nickname...

Anyhow, I'm not sure when I'll be convinced that I'm "the skinny guy".  I'm not there yet.  However, I'll try to take comfort in knowing that others are starting to think I'm that guy...

I'll have a running related post later today or tomorrow.  I've had some good runs so far this week!  :-)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Long Run To The Old 'Hood

On the schedule today was a 14 miler.  I decided to run to the neighborhood that I grew up in - about 7 miles away - and back.  It's a hilly loop at times - the map shows about a 300 ft differential between the lowest point and highest point - but the hills are good for you, right?

I started out in the darkness of 6am...man, I hate having Daylight Savings Time early!  It was also chillier than I had thought.  It ends up that it was 25 degrees when I left the house - I thought it was f-ing Spring already!!!  What's up with that?  Luckily I did wear gloves, but they were not my warmest pair, so for the first 20 minutes of my run I thought my fingers were going to freeze off.

Talking about freezing - since I didn't think it would be that cold this morning, I didn't add Gatorade or Nuun to my water bottles.  Of course those froze at the top, so I could barely suck any water out of them by the time I needed a drink.  I ended up slowing down to a walk a few times to unscrew the top of the bottles and taking drinks of slushy water...it's great to have icy-slush in the summer, but not so refreshing when it's 27 degrees outside.

Since I was going back to the old neighborhood, I decided to pick some music that I grew up with.  I originally was going to throw a bunch of '80s music onto my iPod Shuffle, but I decided to put a bunch of Billy Joel albums instead.  It definitely brought back a lot of fond memories of listening to these songs - or playing them on the piano, oh so many years ago...and it helped keep the pace nice and easy.

My splits show that I kept the pace nice and easy - a 10:57/mile pace overall with an average HR of 155.  It ends up that my HR starts to elevate pretty significantly after 10 miles.  I'm not sure if I just need some more long runs under my belt or if I'm pushing the pace too much in the middle to end of my long runs.  I'll see how it goes in two weeks when I have a 15 mile long run.

Towards the end of the run, my legs were starting to get really sore.  I had contemplated stopping at 14 miles exactly, but somehow pushed myself to keep on going.  I ended up stopping at 14.25 miles - just up the street from my house.  I'm not sure why I couldn't push myself to "bring it home" and finish it up - but come on...I had just finished running 14.25 miles - can I really be that hard on myself?

Final stats:  14.25 miles, 2:35:53 - 10:57/mile, avg HR 155, max HR 172.

I just checked my running log to see when the last time I ran this long and found this little tidbit:  the last time I ran longer than 13.1 miles was on May 4, 2008 - the day of the Frederick Marathon when I ran 26.2 miles.  Leg soreness is definitely excused! 

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's Tourney Time!!!

I had a 5 mile run on the calendar for today and my options were: 1) go in the morning like you normally do -or- 2) go at lunch time to the gym and watch some NCAA Tourney action.

I'm sure you can guess which option won :-)

Anyhow, with the new treadmill room at our gym, there are no TVs on the wall anymore - just on the treadmill screens.  It's nice because I can watch the game even if the person next to me insists on watching HGTV or the Food Network.  However, I find it very uncomfortable to be staring down at a screen while running.  Luckily, I don't do it all the time...

Results of my run:  5 miles, 53:50 - 10:46/mile pace; 146 avg HR.  Nice.  Steady.  Easy.

And I've earned my beer tonight while I watch Michigan play in the tourney.  GO BLUE!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Switching the Step Back Week

This week was supposed to be a "step back" week.  My weekend long run on the schedule is a 9 miler, while next week is 14 miler.

However, when I bump the running schedule against everything else that's going on in my life, next week would be a much better "step back" week.  So, I'm going to swap the two long runs.

In order to do that, I really should run a minimum of 14 miles during the week (your long run should not account for more than 50% of your weekly mileage, right?).  So tomorrow's easy 3 is now an easy 5.  No problema.

Yesterday morning I was true to my word and did some speedwork - an interval session on the treadmill.  My body took to it nicely - recovery HRs got back into the 140s before the end of the quarter mile recovery was finished, and my interval HR did not get into the 170s until the last two (and longer) intervals.

I started with a 1 mile warm-up and then intervals of .25, .5, .75, 1.0, 1.0 and .25 miles all separated by a .25 mile recovery.  Intervals were all done at 7.4 mph (and 8:09/mile pace) and recoveries at 5.4 mph (11:09/mile pace).  I slightly bumped up the pace for the last two intervals (OK the last .25 was at 8.0 mph or a 7:30/mile pace).  The final stats were: 6.0 miles in 55:32 - a 9:16/mile average pace;  153 avg HR with a 176 max HR.

The big decision about tomorrow - run in the morning, or sneak out at lunch and run at the gym while watching some NCAA action????  There's a big gap on my work calendar between 1pm and 3pm...hmm.....

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Weekend Long Run and Re-evaluating My Training

Yesterday morning I went on my morning 12 miler. I had the alarm set for 5:45am so I could hit the road around 6am and return by 8:30am. That would give me enough time to shower, eat and get to synagogue by 10am..."day of rest", right?

Anyhow, for some reason I woke up at 3:30am...and then I was anxious that I would sleep through my alarm and not get my run in - so I kinda-sorta went in and out of a light sleep for the next two hours. :-(

The run itself was nice and uneventful. I took a new route - the 12 milers that I did last year leading up to the marathon were more rural and this was more suburban. Looking over my splits, it ends up that I got a bit faster after mile 3 and stayed there for the next 9 miles (my heart rate stayed up there as well...oh well, so much for a long, "easy" run).

Final stats: 12.17 miles, 2:11:10, 10:47/mile pace with a 157 avg HR.

Looking over my training for the past few weeks, I see that I really need to add some more speedwork. I have done some pace runs, but no interval training. I think it's time. The half marathon is in five weeks, so I better start working on this NOW!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Another Busy Week

It's been another busy week at work, along with everything else outside of work, so blogging - and reading blogs - got put aside again.

I looked in my Google Reader subscriptions, and I have over 60 blog posts to read. And it's not like I follow 200+ blogs like Marcy does...

Fortunately, running did not get put aside! I have 12 miles in this week (6 on Monday, 3 on Tuesday and a sneaky 3 lunch-time run yesterday). I'm planning on a 12 mile long run tomorrow, which should give me 24 miles for the week. That's the most I've done so far this year. Yes, I need to ramp up the mileage in the next few weeks as I prepare for the half marathon on April 19.

The other thing I need to prepare for - my yearly check up at the doctor. I've set it on the calendar - March 26 - so I have two weeks to shed a few pounds and eat less fatty foods so my cholesterol readings don't shoot through the roof. Am I the only one who crams for their cholesterol test???

Monday, March 9, 2009

Rearranging the Schedule

So - this week was supposed to go 3 miler on Monday, 6 mile Pace Run on Tuesday and 3 miler on Thursday...with a big 12 mile long run on the weekend.

However, tonight starts the Jewish festival of Purim - so I was out late celebrating. And I knew I'd be out late. So I did my 6 miler this morning.

But I was still really tired from the weekend when I woke up this morning. So, the 6 mile pace run became a 6 mile easy run. Stats - 6.22 miles, 1:06:08 (10:38/mile), average HR 153, max HR 172.

I'm not sure if I'll get the 3 miler in tomorrow morning. I'll see how I feel when I get up (I had some scotch tonight at Purim services) and how early it is...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thank Goodness It's The Weekend!

It's been a crazy week with working late, leading Israeli Dancing - and I did get all of my weekday runs is as well.  3, 6, and 3 milers - all at the gym in Reston before work.  Ugh!

So it was especially nice to run outside this morning!  The weather took a turn for the better - it was 49 degrees this morning for my run...no more tights, running jacket and beanie!  (OK...I know that this weather won't last)

I ran 11.67 miles this morning.  I did the same Fallsgrove loop that I have been doing and instead of turning into my neighborhood at Kentlands Blvd, I went around to Main Street.  My pace was still on the slow side for my heart rate - I averaged an 11:09/mile pace with an average HR of 157 - however, it's been two weeks from my blood donation and it has normally taken me three weeks to get back to "normal".  Hopefully, by next week's run either my pace will be faster or heart rate lower at this pace.

One other thing I did this week was sign up for the Run For The Shelter Half Marathon on April 19.  It's official - I now have a race to train for!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Crazy Day!!!

Today was quite a crazy one. Started by leaving the house at 5:20am to get to Reston early so I could beat the traffic and do my 6 mile pace run at the gym there before heading to the customer site in Sterling.

The run went well. I lucked out and found one of the LifeFitness 95T treadmills with the heart rate function working (I had run on two other of these machines that this gym that did not recognize my HR monitor, so I has just assumed that none of them worked...). I started out the run in a warm-up with an 11:25 mile, and then ran the next 4.5 miles at a 9:50 pace. The last half mile I bumped it up for a strong finish. Stats: 6 miles, 58:52, 158 average HR.

Work has been really nuts for me - and this will continue probably for another week or so. After my project hits the current milestone things will get back to "normal" again...I hope!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Back To The Working Week

Back to the working week after a busy weekend. I'm not sure which has been busier lately - my weeks or weekends...

Saturday morning was a short "long" run. I'm on a step-back week on my training plan, so it was only a 6 miler...I'm going to start doing that distance mid-week now, so I hate calling that a long run. However, it was nice to be able to sleep in a bit and not run as long on a chilly morning. I'm starting to get my pace back after last week's blood donation...I'm probably about 90% there now.

The best thing about the weekend run? When I got back I just plugged my Garmin into the computer and the data was uploaded into RunningAHEAD! Yeah Garmin! Yeah RunningAHEAD!!!

I think my push-up stamina has also been impacted by the blood donation. I went to do my Week 6 exhaustion test both Saturday and this morning, and I was only able to do 41 push ups. OK...if you had told me 4 months ago that there would be a time where I would say, "I could only do 41 push-ups this morning...what happened?" I'd thought you were crazy. So...I'll continue to do the exhaustion tests a few times this week until I get back up to the high 40s/low 50s.

This morning we had a pretty big snow for these parts. I knew this was coming - and I knew I was supposed to be in Northern Virginia today - so I started early. By 5:30am I was shoveling (a few hours later Sherry has told me she can't even tell that I shoveled!), and it took me about an hour and 20 minutes to get to the Fitness First in Reston, VA. I did my easy 3 miler on the 'mill - 32:07, 146 avg HR. Now it's off to work.

The rest of the week looks like this - 6 mile pace run tomorrow, 3 mile easy run Thursday and 11 mile long run on Saturday morning. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back running outside by the weekend. I don't own a pair of YakTrax and I don't plan on getting them for the 2-3 times a year that it snows in the DC area each winter.