Wednesday, October 28, 2009

3 New Mystery Shots

Three new mystery shots!

I'm always on the look out for 'mystery shots', as you never know when you will get one. But today there were several. I have another in addition to these for the future.

Any guesses on any of the three? (These have not been altered in anyway. They are just smaller portions of a larger photograph that I have taken today.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Running against the clock

[The photos are of my post run recovery drink: flax seed, millet, almonds, carob powder, soy milk, spinach, apple, sweet potato, yellow squash, crasins, protein powder and ice. It was quite green as I was 'heavy' on the spinach. My son had a glass too.]

Tonight I got to go for a run again - first one since Sat morning .. about 80 hours. So it was nice to get out, but it was a 'run in the dark' which is something that isn't my favorite. I have a reflective vest that I wore which helps with being seen. It's a passive visibility: meaning that lights have to reach the vest to be reflected back. I prefer the blinky lights and had one on the back of my shorts (but ended up not turning it on). The other thing that I don't like about running in the dark is when car lights shine in my eyes, it gets very difficult to see the cracks and other features of the road ahead of me - so it's a bit like running blind.

As I like to do - I decide the plan for the run before I left the house. Tonight I chose to set a pace alert; to keep the pace under 8:00/mi. One of the nice features of my Garmin is that it you can set up a fast and slow pace alert. So it was very simple to have it make an audible tune when I was going slower than the entered pace. It would make the tune every 25 seconds or so that the pace was slower.

It ended up being a good run for me. Something that I think I should be able to manage for the 4.8 mi route and eventually longer. My HR didn't get very high, but runs like these are challenging for me; so it was a good workout. Numbers: 7:47/mi, 36:29, 4.69 mi (normally 4.8), AHR 149, MHR 168.

A quick walk through my log shows that on Oct 12th I did the same run and the same time/pace. So it's been 2 weeks since I've tried running under 8:00/mi on this route. I've been 'enjoying' running lately, but feel the need to add in a little 'work' too now. Sept 27th was the last time I did a 3 mi hard run - a month now. Those are hard ones for me and I would like add another to the weekly routine, but I'm still struggling to get in 4 weekly runs. I think I am going to plan on leaving the pace alert on for the next runs this week: all but the Sat long run. (That will push me out of my comfort zone.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Paddling the motor boat!

I had promised that we'd go to the lake today - last Sunday when it got to late to go. So there was no getting out of it today.

It was nice to be able to keep that promise, even knowing that the boat didn't seem to be running just right after starting it in the backyard first. But after a little time and attitude adjustment on my part - we all seemed to think it was a good time.

We're going to try one more time to find an honest shop to take a look at the motor. It felt like it needed to be cleaned out; it wouldn't rev fully and take full throttle ... not to good for towing a extra large 3 person tube. We manager to get out just past the mouth of the harbor before we knew the boat wasn't going to run anymore. The kids were already on the tube, so we just put out our anchor and floated there. It was kind of nice. We had paddles stowed in the front - as I know that any time the boat is in the water I have to be prepared to paddle. (Such is the life of owning a 30+ yr old boat and motor!)

The kids all swam; even with wet suits it was cold; 64.1 F was the water temp.When we headed in, everyone got a chance to 'contribute' to powering us in via a turn with a paddle. And we even got a tow from a sail boat! :-)

My Dad owns an old Triumph motor cycle and he has told me on more than one occasion that he wouldn't ride it further than he wanted to push it home. So to it is with our boat: don't go out further than you want to paddle back!

29.6 mile week

Saturday morning I was able to get out for a run. My goals weren't very clear before I left, so those runs tend to be a mixed bag. The main goal was greater than 90 minutes and 12+ miles.

It was a full morning and a late night before so I was a little under prepared in the areas of rest and pre-nutrition. I ran an old route that, with the furthest part one that I've not run for quite some time (although I have ridden it this year) - that's out to Belt Line. It was a beautiful morning and it was very nice to be out. I ran 12.64 miles, 9:04/mi, 1:54, AHR 141, MHR 164. I haven't checked my Garmin yet, but I'm sure I ran a negative split: which simply means the second half was run at a faster pace than the first half.

I'm still building my strength and base miles, so almost 30 miles is about as many as I want for the next few weeks. I'll work on maintaining 25-30 miles / week and then work on incorporating more speed work; then add more distance. At this point I think I could finish a half marathon, but I'd like to not just finish but finish with in a certain time. I'm not sure what that should be exactly, but less than 9:00/mi I'm pretty certain of.

After the run it was busy, busy: soccer game, meeting at Barnes and Noble for our free hot chocolate and cookie, heading home to clean up for a Wedding and reception, then the tail end of the Izibongo CD release party... what a full day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Running naked...?

[No action photos for this one ..., but instead today's sunrise and my granddaughter at the table eating Cheerios and playing with a puzzle at the table - how cool is that!]

For me, to run with out my electronics (HRM & GPS) and to not capture data - is to run 'naked'. Of course I would not run in public with out clothes...

This run took place Thursday evening (during my ‘dinner break’). It was a bit windy and cool, but it was great to get out after being in meetings for the last two days. The sunset was spectacular as the low clouds went through many colors of the rainbow. Even with out my Garmin, I found myself attempting to press the lap button at my normal places. That show’s how good it is for me to run ‘naked’ and unhindered. This is something I’m trying to do on one of my weekly runs. (I have different purposes for training runs through out the week (long run, intervals, recovery, faster paced, … and now 'naked').

On these runs where I’m less hindered or distracted with my normal ‘training’, I have enjoyed and been challenged by some of thoughts that occur. During this ‘free thought time’ in Thursday’s run, on of the thoughts that came to mind was: What if I die tomorrow? (I didn’t think to long about it, probably in part because it’s something that has popped up before for me. It was just around 5 years ago that I heard a heart Dr tell me that I may not live to see 40; that will get you thinking…)

So, I reflected on how I’m still very much alive, and am Glad for that! I thought about my family and work; how I am able to have my family as a priority over my career. Something that is difficult at times, but it really is what I want: I don't want regrets in this area. I also thought about being with God for eternity. That was a thought I could only ponder briefly as it quickly overwhelms my mind: what will it be like to be before God ... ?!

If you haven’t had that thought before - It's a good check. I don’t think of it as a morbid thing, but rather an opportunity to evaluate where I’m really at, and then to consider if that’s where I really want to be. If so, great; if not, make changes.

A life of training for me is one that is aiming to improve: not just in performance, but in character, quality, depth and value. Maybe you should try running 'naked' (but clothed) and see what you think about. :-)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A pad on the paw of my dog's foot

The last mystery photo is shown here in the red rectangle: it's a portion of the pad on the paw of my dog's foot. Kind of amazing to see what they look like up close!

I'm always on the lookout for a new mystery photo: so much around us, when magnified a bit, becomes quite fascinating to look at. :)

Interestring and another Mystery

The week days are indeed full with the work conference and it's been raining, so running has not happened since Tuesday. But that's OK as I'm nursing the balance of some (likely) overuse discomfort and wanting to be running more.

I've attached two photos: the first is a temporary 'low budget' projection stand. The second photo is another mystery: any guesses? (I think it, like many shots, are interesting.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One hard mile

Tuesday: normally a rest or cross-training day, but with the rest of the week unknown and likely challenged for time; I took the time for a run. It was the route that has the 1 mile loops in it so I can make it 6 or more miles. On this trip it was 6.9 miles with 1 loop. The loop was done with the intent to be a 'hard' portion of the run. That loop was 6:46 with an AHR of 164 and MHR of 173. That was great for me. It was a challenge and I even noticed a little bit of a 'whees' at the very end of my exhale at the end. (That's not necessarily a good thing, but it was a reminder to me that I have reduced lung capacity and to be running at all is something to be glad about.)

The sky was like a shot out of Toy Story: light blue with lots of puffy white clouds. It was windy but beautiful: it was a visor and tank-top day. The rest of the run was: 6.9 miles, MHR 173, AHR 150, 58:38, 8:29/mi Avg pace.

Wed morning (now) it's raining. There are meetings all day and evening.. looks like it will be a recovery day.

[I'm using a different computer, so I am not able to upload any photos right now. Maybe later..]

Monday, October 19, 2009


Knowing it was going to be a full day - I ran in the morning after the kids went to school. There is usually a lot of traffic on my normal route, so I modified it some and ended up with little traffic and just over 5 miles.

My pace continues to be moderate to slow - but I'm OK with that for now and the next couple weeks - as I phase back into running. I see these weeks as base miles and I'll work on speed in the future after I'm able to run ~25 miles / week for 4 weeks (roughly). Today's run was 5.2 miles; 44:58; 8:37/mi; AHR 138. So the numbers support that I wasn't pushing too hard aerobically. This running is harder on my legs than cycling, so that's what I'm feeling most right now and that's what I'm working on.

I weighed myself this morning and I'm 8.2 lbs above the weight that I'd like to be - so I am planning on slowly loosing that extra weight by the 1st of the year. It's a pretty modest goal, but appropriate as I'm not training as intensely as I was earlier this year and I'm finding that my appetite is still supporting 1000+ calories a day of exercise .. all I'm lacking is the exercise! Time to cut back and allow myself to be hungry again and retrain the body on what the needed quantity is for my current level of activity.

Mystery Shots exposed

Here are the full photos that the last set of mystery shots were taken from.

From a small flower picked by my youngest son.

Dew on a spider web in the grass.

More dew on a spiderweb and grass.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

~26 mile week

[Photo: little flowers given to me by my youngest son.]

Friday: I ran at lunch time, but left my HR monitor and timing stuff behind. It was close to my normal route, but I didn't want to be monitoring my HR or pace: I just wanted to run for the Joy of running!

Even as I was leaving I thought about peeking inside to see what time it was so I would have an idea of how long I was gone ... Man, some habits are deep and die hard! It was a beautiful day and very nice to run for fun. I tried to not let my mind thing about exercise, but tried to use it for other thoughts. I also like to pray for my friends that exercise and do that often when exercising. And there are other things that I like to think about and pray about too .. but some thoughts are mine. :)

Saturday was Soccer in the morning and other things in the afternoon. About 4 PM I was able to head out to the dam and run. The 10 mile route has a lot of traffic due to some road construction, so I opted for running on the dam where there are no vehicles to be concerned about. It's 4 miles across so the just under 11 miles was not quite 1 1/2 laps. My goal was 90 minutes and 10+ miles. My avg Pace ended up 8:51/mi, AHR 140, distance 10.81 mi, 1:35:42. I saw a couple other runners and a few cyclists.

My total distance is ~26 miles running this week; once on the trainer; a couple walks and no times with the weights yet. It's been quite some time since I've run over 25 miles in a week; so I'm pleased with that as I start back up running. I'm moving slow - but still moving: For that I'm very thankful.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A couple Cool Mystery shots..

These are some 'snippets' of photos that I took today. They have not been touched up or altered in any way. They are zoomed in parts of a larger photos.

Can you tell what they are? Any of them? Any idea of the scale?

(My compliments again to my Canon PowerShot A710 for such clear Macro shots that allow me to zoom in to such detail with clarity.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ride, Run, Walk, Whack (almost)

I can usually tell the the days are full when several pass by and I have no photos from them. That means I'm not taking the time to "stop and smell the roses". It's not my desired way to live - but it seems to be very common during this busy season of life.

Tuesday - I spent just over 30 minutes on the bike / trainer in the evening: averaging just over 18 mph.

Wednesday - I had a run during lunch, with a walking leg towards the end. No deep thoughts to pass on this time. The walk was in part due to the humidity .. I just wanted to walk for a bit, so since I'm not driven by the miles anymore, walking is allowed. The run included a mile where I could only squeeze out 7:12.

Thursday - ~40 minutes of walking with my wife during lunch. It was cool and nice. One of the little dogs that always comes up and barks actually bit my wife during that walk. It didn't break the skin, but it was a good reminder to not take for granted animals. We did a loop so she had a stick before we came back by and I was on the 'dog' side. It would have been my pleasure to 'whack' the dog had he come for a second bite, but he didn't show his face (good thing for him). Protecting myself from an animal is something that I've already thought through in my mind - but thankfully have not yet had to do. On the bike it's mostly try to avoid, but on foot it can get a little more 'hands on'.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What .. no mirror?

Several times now while running I've glanced up and to the left - where my mirror has been for the last 10 + months: attached to my helmet. But I've yet to wear my helmet on a run - even though I did wear a 'blinky' light on the back of my shorts last evening.

Having the mirror is nice and missed a little, but turning around isn't that difficult; I just need to re-train myself to do it. But for the transition period - it's fun to remember after glancing up and to the left .. "O yeah, I'm not on my bike and I don't have a mirror."

Run off a fever.

Yesterday late afternoon at work, I was wondering if I had a low grade fever, or possibly a sun burn? I think I need to go for a run to 'burn' this off.

[More on this in a minute.. photos: the morning mess, good 'big dog', post run Garmin.]

The day started with the picture to the right: Nice! We have two dogs: one will speak to me (as he did this morning) when he needs to go outside. He doesn't always like to 'go' on our schedule - especially when it's raining, so he will let us know when his schedule says he needs to 'go'. The other one is still a young dog and has only been in our family for ~6 mos. He has obedience issues, has destroyed many things by chewing and of course has left many surprises for us. If the mess in the kitchen wasn't enough, my daughter brought in part of a chicken from her room - special delivery from our young dog. So, we continue to train with the hopes that he ('rat dog') will some day be as well behaved as out 'big dog'.

I have been working on our boat as it's been sitting for a couple years. Something about having it stop working when you are out on the water ... just makes you want to not use it. This is our second boat and we've had similar experiences with our first boat too. (I'm starting to think it's par for the course when you try to maintain 20+ year old boats. Maybe someday I'll have that center console Boston Whaler... new of course. And big enough to take it to the gulf for some Snapper! That'll be the day... :-) My youngest has been doing some serious nagging and has been my helper in the process. So it's been good to work on it together.

Monday morning I was able to go to the lake with a friend and we tried it out. All in all it went well. The fish finder transducer wires had been chewed through (3 of the 5 wires), but I was able to see it and do what I think was a good repair job. The wires are twisted and wrapped in foil for shielding from each other and the environment. I used some aluminum foil and black electrical tape and made the repairs as well as possible. Thankfully once on the boat the fish finder came to life and seemed to work great. We saw lots of fish on it - but never saw any on the boat; or even a bite for that matter. But 'catching' fish wasn't the goal: the boat ran and we were able to have time together. Once the boat is working I need to improve my 'catching' ability so my kids and wife can have fun fishing.

Bad business experience - I can confidently recommend NOT doing business in the future with Lake Ridge boat repair. They didn't honor their word. I spoke with Richard who quoted me $70 to see what was wrong (I was having starter problems and I wanted them to look at it). If I wanted to do the work that initial cost would go towards the total repair cost. Instead what happened a little over a week later was I got a call saying it was $240 for what they had done and they wanted to do $600 more for a tune up. They said it wouldn't run in their tank - but it ran at the lake yesterday great; just like it had in my backyard before I took it to them to look at the starter. They said they replaced some corroded wires and tried to test it in their tank. It's pretty poor business - I've bought parts from them in the past as they are near by, but I can't support them anymore if that's how they do their business - taking advantage of people or not being truthful or not honoring their word. It's always a bummer to be taken advantage. My son actually cried as I was expressing my frustration about it; so I had to express the big picture as well (that it's only money, and that character is more important, being truthful, what they should have done to have integrity and ultimately that God knows what we need and he is still our provider). It was a good chance to pass on some of my core values to my youngest: well worth the cost of $240!! Maybe that's the part where God can take bad things and get good from them...

[ back to my running Monday evening.]

I ended up working a bit later than normal and my family had gone out to eat (they were already pushing it for seating capacity in our van), so I said I'd stay. So when I came home the house was empty and I hadn't had any exercise yet. I still couldn't tell if I had a fever (I'm usually the fever checker), but it's hard for me to tell on myself. My thought was that a good run may just help my body burn up whatever was going on inside. It makes sense to me: heating up the body, making it work hard, making it undesirable for any germs or infection. Even if it didn't help with that, I figured it'd help in other ways.

I ran my most regular route (~4.8 miles). The goal was to aim for 8 min miles with out letting it consume all my mental capacity - reflecting back to the run from last week. The numbers: 36:29 for 4.78 miles, 7:46 min/mile avg, 710 calories, AHR 153, MHR 175. It was grey and cool and getting dark so I took my blinky light with me and used it towards the end. It was a good choice to run. I had made my protein drink (soy milk, flax seed, millet, spinach, carrot, pear, carob powder, protein powder and ice) when my family returned. I then fixed a sweet potato (sliced and lightly cooked on a skillet with a touch of olive oil). And later had a cup of key lime sherbet.

Life continues to be full and exercise and nutrition are a part of it. Since I'm not in any serious training at this time (just trying to transition to running in hopes of a future event) I will continue to write of training but will also include dips into other areas of life.

Life is worth living well!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sat: 10+ mi run

I was able to get out for a run Saturday morning: two of the three soccer games were canceled due to the fields being saturated from the rain we've had.

Over all the totals for the week were down; only 3 runs in, no time on the bike, and still no time with the weights... I guess I'll call it a recovery week, or an off season week: 21.4 miles for the week. I missed my 3 mile time trial run this week.

Saturdays run was the first run of 10+ miles in a very long time. I don't have my log in front of me but I'm going to guess well over a year. This was my first run on the week that I didn't feel like I had to walk. When I finished and was walking up my street it hit me that I had been running for just over 90 minutes - and it went by Fast: like just a few minutes ago I just started. It was a enjoyable. The pace was easy aerobically as my AHR was only 136, but it was more of a challenge physically as my legs were tight and tired some during the run. My Garmin says I burned off 1500 calories.

The arch on my left foot is still a little tender. I may need to replace my inserts or maybe my shoes. It's been so long since I've run as a focus that I don't remember the history on these shoes. Even as I write this I can feel my arch aching.

Exercise goals for this week include 4 runs and to start back with the weights. It'd be nice to get in some time with a swim coach ... and maybe I could figure out what I'm not doing correctly. That would be Great as I would like to actually do a Triathlon this next year and am getting more and more pressure to join my friends that are already doing these events. I'd like to, but am just a poor swimmer at best.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Why run?

It was windy and warm at lunch and had rained in the AM so things were still a bit wet when I left for my lunch run.  

[But first my middle daughter participated in her first High School cross country meet this morning. It was close by and her group ran first. They were running through fields and they all came in with mud on their shoes and legs - it was a tough course in the wetness of the morning hours. She ran the whole way and had a strong kick at the finish before creating a mini-vortex sucking in all the near by oxygen after finishing .. I'm glad I was able to watch and cheer for her. My son also had his second swim meet - doing the fly, back, breast, freestyle and IM; sounds neat.]  

Back to my lunch run/experience: rather than have to intense of a goal for this run (for fear of setting myself up for failure) I decided it would be reasonable to aim for having a fun run and set a modest pace of less than 9 minute / miles. This was all going fine and I found at this level I had more free brain cells to ponder other things than just keeping my body on task. 

At about mile 3.5 - my spirit was pricked with the thought of walking again. O man, what a struggle... , I didn't want to walk, I wanted to run. But, I want my running to be more than just running for my own enjoyment, pleasure, pride, accomplishment .. etc. And more than that, I want my life to be more too.  

I recognized the questions and where this was going: "What if God asked me to walk?" Such a simple request; would I acknowledge it; would I honor it; what if it was just my own thoughts; ..??? But then, what if it was indeed God? To that, what could I do, but to start walking and give my full (active) brain cell count to the oncoming questions..  

"Why is it a big deal to stop and walk - why do I resist it so much?" It has something to do with the 'conquer' aspect of my training; to walk is a lesser conquer. It also has something to do with my pride: how do I log it and track it just makes things more complicated. But then life is complicated and the walks are at a time when my mind is sharp and able to hear, ponder and make decisions that otherwise may not be dealt with.  

"So how long do I walk this time; all the way home?" That was the wrong question. That was my question. It wasn't time for my questions, but rather to walk and listen and answer.  

A passage came to mind: whatever you do, do it with all your heart, unto the Lord, not for men. Hmmm...? Who was I running for: myself, others ... ?  

Another passage came to mind: it's not what goes into a mans mouth that makes him unclean, but what comes out; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Another hmm..? I sure think a lot about what goes into my mouth; but I need to think more about what is coming out of my mouth. Which leads to thinking more about my heart. As one who has had some physical issues with my heart - my heart is a familiar topic in both physical and spiritual contexts. I've learned to be able to feel my heart beating, to even hear it. I need that kind of sensitivity to the spiritual side of my heart.  

It had been less than a 1/2 mile back up the road that I said I was willing for God to destroy me, or atleast anything that wasn't of him in my life.. wow, that didn't take long, just a few minutes. Now he's told me to stop running and I find myself walking again. I don't want to be destroyed, but I really do believe that I don't want to have all this World has to offer and not have God. I trust that others have moments, that it's clear are significant; where choices are made and directions started: the first spark of a Great fire. I think this was one for me.  

What I heard was: run for me, bike for me, ... whatever you do, do it for me. If you're going to complain, whine, be discouraged, get puffed up, proud, or anything else - than stop; don't do it. If you can run for me - than run! Run hard and find joy in me. It was an interesting dialog and I'm certain that more details are to be worked out - likely on future runs with periods of high neural walks. But the conclusion that I reached today was that I could run - but I have to run for the right reasons and with the right attitudes.  

So after about a half mile of listening, talking and walking I started running the last 3/4 mile home. I felt motivated to run. I thought of how God's Spirit moved his people from one place to another; I thought about how to use the growing discomfort in my body to give joy to my creator. I found my mind full and busy in not so much pushing myself as it was pushing myself so I could rejoice that I was able to run hard. It's still an image/expression that is difficult to communicate. Maybe in a lesser way like John tried to express what he saw in heaven and in the presence of God 

When I stopped at the end of my street for the recovery walk to my door - I was tired; but focused. I had run hard that last bit and it was GREAT! I'd run harder than I have for some time! More Hmmm ... moments as I walked home and pondered further... And so the tools of nutrition and exercise continue to be used in my life by a loving God: used to shape, mold and direct my life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Self interrogation

Today was an 'off' day. With over 75 hrs of rest, I had high hopes; but instead I struggled to push myself as hard as I'd wanted to. Today I ran ~3 miles and then ran a mile loop wanting to run it as fast as I could; but I couldn't muster better than 7:22. In the past I'd be under 7 for that mile... it was kind of disappointing that I couldn't push myself harder. After another half mile or so I stopped running and started walking so I could try to deal with the many thoughts.

What I found myself doing was asking myself question after question. Much like an interview which turned into an interrogation. Below is a sample of some of the content of my walk back to my house on this aborted run after ~4.5 miles.

Why do you train? I'm not sure I know how to answer that question .. I think it involves who I am at a very deep level. (It's worth thinking about though and will have to simmer on it.)

Many people exercise, but you train: why? I see training as exercise with the additional purpose of seeing continued improvement. More than just health improvement, but performance in what I'm training for. To be able to have the 3 F's (Fun, Fast, Far) present in more events.

What drives you? That's a tough answer as it is I'm sure very complicated and probably would expose some character and personality flaws.

I've now injected you with a truth serum. Again: why do you train? Ahhh .. I like alone time, I like being out doors, I enjoy Gods creation, I like the way I feel afterwards; the sense of accomplishment, I like to be active with my kids, I like that it burns calories (that I need to dispose of the Blue Bell Mint-Chip ice cream that haunts me), I like to be fit, I like to be able to be competitive in sports and activities, it helps me feel good about myself (which exposes another area that is worth further private simmering)..

What happened today: why were you walking? I was at a point where I was mentally frustrated as I was thinking about all kinds of different things that are active in my life right now. In the past I've used walking as almost a therapy - a time when I'm enjoying being outside and getting some light exercise, but have my mind free to ponder and think. When I'm training, my mind is more engaged in keeping my body in line. So, today, I thought it was best for me to ratchet down the exercise intensity and free my mind to ponder the deeper issues that seem to be ever present these days.

How long did you walk? - It was from that point until my front door: just over 36 minutes and just under 2 miles. I wrestled through the pride that wanted to push me to start running on a couple occasions. It was a good walk, and I may need to add some walks to my life to help process the things that I don't have the capacity to think about when I'm training. Even though I'm having a hard time pushing myself at the level that I'd like, it's still difficult for me to drop back to a walk. So - just doing it has value.

What did you learn about yourself as it relates to exercise and nutrition? - I have little true discipline. I can follow a set of rules pretty well, but when I try to live in 'freedom' I tend to struggle very much. For example: if I say "No Ice cream." - then I can stick to that. But when I say I'm going to allow it - then I have little self control. I want to get to a place where I can live in freedom, but I don't know how to get there. Or maybe I do, but that gets much deeper than exercise and nutrition...

Why have you started running again? - Because biking was taking more time than I had available. There are no 3-4 hour blocks of time available on Saturdays for long rides. And the 90 minute rides during week days is getting scarcer too. Running can be done in less time. And in the past I've enjoyed it - more than biking a year and a half ago. As an unaccomplished runner there are many milestones out there for me: my first marathon, a BQE (Boston Qualifying Event), an ultra, a sub 7 minute 5 k, ...????

What are your running goals? - I'd like to run a marathon; something I've not done yet. I'd also like to do an iron man someday. That will take a lot of swimming work, but it looks like such an adventure - something I'd really like to prepare for and attempt someday. Maybe when the kids are out of the house I'll have more time to devote to training. That'd put me in my early 50's.

The questions continued. The value of todays training was mostly in the time of walking. I Enjoy walking. It's good for me!
Maybe it's time for YOU to have some self interrogation?!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My first swim meet

Saturday was my oldest son's first swim meet - he started swimming this fall. He already knew how to swim for survival and function, but is now learning to swim for performance .. a different swimming indeed: something I've yet to become competent in.

One of the things I saw yesterday during the meet left a memory that is worth sharing. This was a high school event and after getting used to the 'loudness' of being in the enclosed space with sooo many youth, adults and a few very loud whistles I noticed that it was a friendly environment. The swimmers were cheering and rooting as were parents and observers: it was a very positive environment.

One of the youth had a physical problem - I don't know what it was. He was swimming the 50 meter freestyle - which was out and back in this 25 m pool. He was about 2/3 rds finished (with his out leg) when the others were done. By the time he started his return leg all the eyes were on him. His school team mates were at the pools edge yelling and cheering and clapping sounds of encouragement, as were the other teams. About half way back I started videoing as it was intense how loud it was in there. As I was videoing I almost wanted to jump in and rescue him as his 'swimming' looked almost like he was drowning. When he finally made it to the finish - the whole place went crazy! It was a pretty emotional event. [You can see a short video of him as he finishes and hear the roar.]

Another impression that I had was it reminded me of my experiences 'watching' my friends compete in triathlons. It's always amazing to see the different people that participate in them: some look as you would expect, but most don't; and some you can't believe they're out there doing it while you just watch! So it was here. There were some swimmers there that were clearly skilled in their starts, turns, stroke and strategy. But there were others who came with big hearts and gave their best. I only remember seeing one person get out of the pool before they finished. The saying about judging a book by it's cover sure does hit home with life events that require heart. I watched a lot of 'heart' yesterday - it was great. 

I've been to my kids softball games, soccer games, basketball games, track meets, cross country, and now my first swim meet. It was nice to not hear a single complaint by a parent about a bad call; no dirty playing; no noticeable abuse: verbal or physical. It was very nice. 

My son didn't place - but he did his best and had a great experience. He did the 50 m freestyle, 100 meter freestyle and 200 m freestyle relay. He was first in his individual heats and the relay team came in second. Everyone was pretty pleased. I was proud of him not only for his performance, but that he too swam with heart, even if he does have the disadvantage of looking like a swimmer.

[Photo: my son's events, heat and lane: clearly written in his own pen! A frame from the video of the swimmer that everyone was cheering for.]

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Four days of mixed exercise

Here it is Saturday night and I've not made an entry for 4 days again ... man they go fast. 

Wed and Fri were on the trainer and Th and Sat were running. (I'm not tracking much on the trainer, so that data is a little thin - the running is the focus now and as such is getting the majority of my attention now.)

Wed: 45 minutes at 18 mph avg.
Th: 4.8 miles @ 8:06/mi, 152 AHR, 174 MHR
Fri: 1:15 at 18 mph avg.
Sat: 8.7 miles @ 8:49/mi, 140 AHR, 156 MHR
Week: 24.1 miles @ 8:43/mi, 3599 calories.

This week the goal was to get my training more consistent by alternating time on the trainer with time running. The mileage this week with 4 runs is not high by running standards, but it's on the rise for me - and for that I'm glad. The Th run was my normal route and my goal was 8 min pace. I didn't quite make that but it was close enough. And the goal for Sat was 8+ miles at 9 min pace, so that was accomplished. My legs are a bit achy and we'll see about tomorrows 5K ...

My goal for this coming week is to ease off the trainer and start back up on the weights. In the past I didn't have joint problems when I was lifting while running. And it's been around 7 months since I've lifted regularly - so it's certainly time to start again. I'd like to run around 25 miles and start the weights; and then wean myself from the bike.

Nutrition wise I've been struggling with eating to much; and I'm also snacking on tortilla chips far to often. 

[Photos: just more of the weather that we're enjoying here; amazing storms blowing through, sunsets, butterflies bigger than humming birds and colors so bright and crisp - a picture hardly does them justice.]
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