Monday, January 11, 2010

Two Cold Outdoor Runs And Too Many Indoors

In the 11 days so far in 2010, I have run 7 times - all but 2 have been inside on the treadmill. Have I become a gym rat??? (or perhaps a hamster in a wheel???)

My two outdoor runs came on Tuesday during lunchtime and on Saturday afternoon. Both days the temperatures climbed above freezing to 35 degrees - and on both days the wind chills were about 24 degrees. Hard to believe that this was during the warmest part of the day!

I think the hardest part of these runs was getting out the door. The first mile is always difficult - running faster than I should just to warm up - but once I get going I don't feel so cold.

Tuesday's lunchtime run quickly became a tempo run. Mile 1 was in 9:05 and since I was relatively warm at that point I had no interest in slowing down. There were a few points during the run where gusts of wind made me feel like I was running in place, but overall I was able to cut through the wind and finish my 4.5 miles in a 9:16/mile pace.

My plan for Saturday's run was to be 7 to 8 miles so I could hit 20 miles for the week. I was reading torah at synagogue that morning (and had to be there on time...) so I decided to run afterward. Good thing as it was much colder and windier in the morning when I was walking the quarter mile to synagogue.

Again, my first mile was faster to warm up - a 9:32 pace - but then brought it closer to a 10:00/mile pace. After about 4 miles of pretty clear sidewalks and roads, I started to hit stretches of snowy, icy sidewalks and heavier gusts of wind. On top of all of that, my nasal passages were starting to rebel a bit.

On my community-perimeter route of a little over 7 miles, there are a few "drop out" points to cut the run short to 5.5 miles or 6.25 miles. I nearly took the 5.5 mile drop out, but I pushed forward. As I approached the 6.25 drop out point, I decided that this was the way to go. I finished the 6.25 miles at a 9:50/mile pace. My weekly run total was 18.7 miles...not yet 20 miles, but close.

I actually had another chance to push my weekly total over 20 miles as I ended up at the gym on Sunday morning with the rest of the family (the kids actually love going to the babysitting room as they get to play Mario Kart!). However, I used this as a cross-training day instead of running. I did a bunch of stretching and core exercises and used two pieces of equipment that were new to me - the TechnoGym Wave and the Nautilus Stairmaster machine.

WOW! These machines KILLED me! I was only on the Wave for 8 minutes and my quads and glutes were burning. I could not get myself to move very smoothly on that thing and I was tired of the herky-jerky movement, so I decided to get off and move on. I went over to the Stairmaster. This machine looks like an escalator - an endless escalator. I stayed on that machine for 22 minutes and I was dripping with sweat....I actually felt like I was melting! It's pretty ironic that I can run for over an hour and never get that sweaty, yet 20 minutes on the Stairmaster and I was done for. I guess if I do these machines more often, my body will get used to this type of movement and it will get easier.

One other item from the gym. After running on the treadmill, I normally go to one of the sets of pull up bars and hang from them for a few seconds. I get a nice stretch and release in my shoulders and neck (I think "release" is chiropractor speak for snap, crackle and pop!). Well, the other day after my stretch I decided to try to do a pull up (I have NEVER been able to do these). On my first try last week I got about 3/4 of the way up - not bad! Today I made it all the way up and did my first unassisted pull up! I'm hoping there will be many more to come...having a goal like this makes going to the gym a little more palatable.

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