Category Archives: Run

Loving the second week of streak

Yesterday and today were pretty amazing runs. Beautiful running weather – 40’s and mostly windless. Last night was kind of an interesting situation, though. Busy day at work, so I was initially going to do the run after I walked the dog with Mrs. Jank. But, I got home with some time to spare before we sat down for supper. #2 son was cooking, and it was going a little slow, so I popped out the door for one lap of the neighborhood (~1.5 miles); ate a light-ish supper, and then walked the dog and ran another lap for another 2.7 miles on the day. Legs felt good.

Today was AWESOME. The Nike+ app suggested I do 5x400m repeats, so, sure! That meets the intent (2 miles on my feet each workout, at least 1 “running” – actually exceeds the intent in my set of rules for this year, which was going to give me the “cheat” of only having to sweat for 1 minute out of the two miles). Rather than do them on the track, took advantage of the GPS and did them on the trail alongside Narragansett Bay by the office.

And, I’m pretty pleased with the result. Nike+ says I did about 7:10 average for the 5×400 intervals; even though I walked the breaks from interval 2 on, Strava says I did 2.5 miles at under 11:00/mile overall. Not gonna qualify for Boston any time soon, but I’m really starting to feel stronger.

Today was also the second day in the pool this week. I had a pretty rough swim on Saturday; decent swim Monday afternoon, but today was another “meh” day. Regardless, I gutted out 1 KM. Form didn’t feel bad; I think it was mostly light breakfast + intervals + no lunch yet.

Tomorrow and Friday are big meeting days at work. I’m going to try running before work. I don’t usually have good luck with that, but if I don’t, I’m probably not going to get it done. So – wish me luck!

Week of Streak

So, I’m a week into my second run at the Runner’s World Run Streak, and I’m completely loving it.

Tonight – late leaving the office (Story of my life), but had a transcendent run. Yesterday was an almost cheating long run – it was

    long – 6.7 miles, pretty reasonable
    slow – Walked the first and last miles; Galloway’d the rest
    distance – Having run marathons, it’s tough to remember how amazing it is the first time one runs for a mile; or three; or five, or for an hour…

Tonight, I thought I would bang out the 2.4 miles I needed to keep pace with 500 miles for the year. But, when I got to the turnaround, I realized that the legs felt good, and extended for another .3 miles for the evening.

Chunked out 1200m in the pool after the run. More LSD; felt great to be swimming until the close with fewer and fewer folks in the pool.

Turkey Trot 2017

Banged out another Turkey Trot at the Mystic YMCA. We’re at a weird place in our lives – boys are 17 and 14, oldest leaves for college next year. No company at Thanksgiving this year, interesting spot.

Melissa’s not running this year. Which is an amazing thing – she’s qualified for Boston last Sunday at Philly. She is radiant – it’s a weight off her shoulders that she’s been carrying through several unsuccessful attempts and struggles with injury.

Perfect day – 30, sunny, no wind. The race is PACKED – it’s gone from a small group waiting for a guy with a megaphone to say “go” to a “Girls on the Run” arch at the start/finish. Nice t-shirts today; a comfy cotton-poly blend that will actually get worn.

I don’t see the boys after the start – J is running with some of his high school XC buddies, and N – well, like usual, he’s off in his own world. I started too far back in the scrum – took almost a mile to get some running space; but that’s OK.

About the first mile, I watch the leaders run back the other way – M, who’s at a service academy; D, who’s going to captain the high school XC team next year, with C, who’s going to be crushing school records when he gets to HS next fall hot on his heels. It’s kind of fun, since I can remember all of these guys as tiny kids pumped to make it to the mile turn around; then as elementary school kids finishing the 5K for the first time. Now they’re burning it up before turkey.

I don’t dip this year, since I’m still phleghmy from having the flu last weekend; but J does, so I loan him the

Autumn is a time for new starts

It’s been a … well, pretty good year. I’m still not quite back from 2016’s episode with Lyme disease, but I’m pretty good for consistency since about September. The summer was a little more sporadic than I hoped; partially driven by work and non-work activities; partially driven by a little bit of slack.

My current battle is to catch up with my (very modest) Strava goals for 2017 – 1,200 miles cycling; 500 miles running; and 50Kyds swimming. The Cycling is pretty much in the bag – 150 miles to go; if I were really ambitious, I’d knock that off between Turkey Day and the Sunday after Thanksgiving – it looks like the weather should be pretty nice in New England; not many horses are going to be pulling the sleigh through the white and drifting snow.

Swimming: I’m not quite sure if I’ll nail this one. I set it pretty low – 1K/week, but took a hiatus from actually swimming from about April through September. I need to do about 2.5K/week, which, for me is really only two half hour sessions; but that’s consistency I haven’t been able to muster so far. I think I can nail it, but this will be the first one that I’ll let slide of the three.

The challenge that I’m pining my hopes on is hitting the running goal. I set it at 500 miles for the year – a relatively easy 10 miles / week, but let things slide while finishing grad school, traveling a bunch for work, and trying to keep up with life. August, September, and October were all good months, with mileage at or over 50 miles for the month; November, I’m behind – sitting about 28 miles with 10 days left in the month. Strava tells me I’ve got 100 miles left for the year, which, on one hand is pretty easy – only 2.5 miles/day; on the other hand, it’s doubling my mileage for November and hitting a PB for mileage in December.

Which brings me back to one of the things that really got me going last year: The Runner’s World Run Streak. I can’t tell you HOW MUCH it meant to me to have this going with my brother last year – really pulled me through a rough time physically and psychologically. So, I’m back in this year, but I’m setting a personal baseline at 2 miles/day, and I’m starting today. Not quite the 2.5/day that I need to make my annual goals, but more than the bare minimum.

The second modification I’m making is that I’m going for #100DaysOfNewYear, starting 23 November and going through Saturday, 3 March 2018. For this year, my rules are as follows:

  1. Until 31 December, the streak is completely a run streak.
  2. After 1 January, the streak can take four forms: Run, Bike, Swim, or Nike Training Club workout.
  3. Run is defined as: At least a mile (2 miles from 23 Nov through 31 December) during which a sweat is broken and a heart rate of at least 120 is obtained for a minute.
  4. Bike is defined as at least 10 miles or one hour. Either on the road, or trail, or Zwift, or a crappy stationary bike in a smelly hotel gym.
  5. Swim is defined as 1,000 yards, any stroke.
  6. NTC is defined as at least 15 minutes of some workout. Admittedly, this is a cop-out, as there are some gentle stretching routines, but, I’ve become convinced that there’s something to a strong core.

Anyone else in?

I am not a bad-a$$

Like to the point, where I, a grown man, do not feel comfortable writing even PG swear words on my personal blog.

I also, despite having kept a running blog for well over a decade now, am a really, really crappy runner. I weigh too much, blow off training too much, and am kind of more interested in thinking about running and biking and swimming than in actually doing any of those things. There’s cool gear, and I can have cheese and beer while I look at gear mags and read other people’s blogs if I don’t waste all that time actually running, biking, or swimming.

Despite that, I do occasionally make it out the door, or down into the basement (definately NOT a “pain cave”) and work up a sweat. Today was no exception.

There are some days, though, that do make me feel like a bad-A$$, even if i can’t bring myself to write¬†it out. Today was one of those days.

I can run in the hot. I can run in the snow. I can really run in the mid-60’s and dry. I can run really slowly when it’s hot and humid, if I’m in the shade. But, hands-down, my running nemesis is cold and wet.

Fortunately, I live in coastal New England, so it’s rarely cold and wet … wait…

Today – 40 and drizzling at lunch. But, I made it out the door, did my 3 miles and survived. I’d thought it was slightly warmer, so I skipped the hat and gloves. Took 2 miles to feel my fingers again. Awesome.

The run’s done, now. Which is AWESOME, and which lets me feel a little like a bad-A$$ for an hour or so. Until I try to push myself out the door again tommorrow.

Learning to Love Moving (again)

First Saturday of fall, and New England has her moxie back – cold and damp, despite having been hot and humid 10 days ago. Nike+ run club had “speed” work on the calendar in the form of 5 x 400m repeats. So, wanting to get really back in the spin of things, I decided that N and I should ride to the track, run, and then get coffee. So, not really a pure run, not a pure ride, but something in the middle.

So, with fall being upon us, many local riders have hung up the wheels and won’t be seen again until Memorial Day. Making sure to emphasize the change of seasons, Mother Nature made sure it was grey and cold; I don’t think that we passed another rider all day.

OnOurWay

The sky threatened more rain, but that was mostly just bluster.

Grey

I’ve been riding a lot this summer with #2 son. He’d asked for a real bike for his birthday, and we hooked him up. That, plus me being down a notch this year with Lyme has given us a great chance to ride. At the end of track season last year, he got diagnosed with exercise induced asthma, got an inhaler (we’ve filed the TUE), and has been kicking butt and taking names. To the point where his word cloud project at school was focused on cycling.

WordCloud

So, I kind of strong-armed him into doing a bike-run-bike with me Saturday morning, despite the fact that most of his friends were sitting in their basements playing Density, or some such other game. Bike of choice was the Nashbar Cross bike, since it’s got a rack on the back where I could strap my runners. The ride up to the high school is one of my favorites; hill up to Flanders right out of the gate from the house; long, downhill-ish straight, and one little kicker before rolling into the school. Not a lot of traffic, and a good warmup.

At the track, we stopped, changed into the sneakers, and watched the JV crew gear up for a game. For the 400 repeats, I got a little confused by the Nike+ app until I figured it out. There’s no warmup period; rather, the app starts with the first 400. Press go, and it starts timing the interval. Press stop after the first interval, and the recovery timer starts, then press go for the next interval. Didn’t figure that out for a while, possibly due to my heart trying to escape my throat.

Yay.Track

So, I’m not much of a speed guy. I’m not much of an endurance guy either any more, but I’ve never really claimed to be a speed guy. I’ve dutifully avoided the track for most of my life, with the exception of twice a year during my Navy days running the Physical Readiness Test – 12 laps a year, like it or not. Today, I got to relive why.

The first 400 kind of didn’t count, since it wasn’t until about 150 in that I realized the Nike+ app had started the rep as soon as I started the workout. N started at the same time as me, and had opened up about 50 meters by the time I realized I was supposed to be going hard, but I caught him by the end of the first 400.

After the first 400, I’d kind of jogged it while fiddling with my phone, and was surprised when the distance started counting up again, indicating that I’d started it. So, I ran that one slightly faster, mostly out of surprise.

After that one, my lungs were trying to climb up out of my throat, probably because that’s the easier way to get oxygen into them, so I decided to extend my recovery period to a whole easy lap in between 400 efforts. N caught up to me again, looked like he was having fun, and said “How many more?” “Only three”, I said, and we crossed the start, and he was off.

For the first half a lap, I thought I could catch him on the back stretch, but the lungs were gasping, I started to taste half-chewed dates (pre-outing breakfast) in my throat, and I decided just to hold on until I was done. Which I did, and after that lap, decided that, not only would i extend the rest interval to a whole lap, but that it was OK if I walked that lap.

The last two 400’s were tough, and I was thrilled to be walking at the end of them. So, N talked XC strategy with a couple of the high school runners who were doing an 800s workout, and I pretended to take my time getting my bike shoes back on. Then, back to the bike!

Our high school backs up to an awesome bit of state park land with some of the finest two track in the Northeast. Plus, the high school is on the top of a hill overlooking the sound, so, with the cross bikes, we were looking at about 2 miles of downhill, which we bombed.

EnterTheDeepDarkWoods

The kid cleaned it, no problem. I had to stop to pick up my running shoes; they were insufficiently strapped to the bike rack, and managed to either bounce off or get stripped off by some of the verdant but dying vegetation covering the trails. Another 4 miles of spinning, and we were downtown, and at the toughest part of the outing: which place to get coffee.

Bartleby’s, our usual, must be on the Fred schedule. It’s the start/finish of several local rides, and there are bikes stacked up outside most weekend (and weekday) mornings. But, in a clear sign that cycling season should be over, the chairs were not outside, and no bikes were leaning against the building. Kind of shocking. So, we stopped at the Green Marble – tougher to people watch, but still had tables and chairs out, and, if I’ve got to be pressed, probably has the best latte in town.

PostRideLatte

Almost faking it

Procrastination is on the verge of getting me right now. I waited until Wednesday to do the first of 4 workouts for the week that Nike+ Coach has scheduled for me, which means I’m running every day through Saturday. I’m still on the recovery program, so I’ve got that going for me.

The downside is that I have no choice BUT to run today, tomorrow, and Saturday (or Sunday – guess there’s a little choice)

The upside is that the mileage is light, so I ought to pull it off.

Today was Tempo. Not really sure what pace I can sustain any more – I’m at the top end of weight, haven’t had a great year keeping up with the run, and … yeah. Plus, I’ve never really been one for structured workouts, though I’m trying this time (Saturday is 400’s!)

10 minutes of trying not to puke while the sun set into Fisher’s Island Sound isn’t a bad way to end a day.

5 for 5

SaltyWar shared today that he’d finally been back on a streak running for the first time in a couple of years. Turns out, I am, too. 5 whole runs in the last 8 days, 10 minute pace, a total of like 9 miles, and I’m more estatic about running than I have been in years.

Earlier this summer, before the Lyme kicked in, I’d been starting to get back into a great running groove for the first time since the 2015 Mystic half and Burlington Marathon Relay. Work had settled out, and I was starting to feel good about the whole thing. But when the joints started flaring up, I kind of dropped into a little bit of a funk.

This month has been the end of the beginning, again – most of the joint damage appears to be healed, and I’ve been feeling energy again, too. I’m using the Nike+ beginner program on my phone, and really enjoy it. They’ve finally added a coach fixture to the app, which talks you through runs, including an interval meant to set speed expectations. The interface is great, too, because you can reschedule workouts.

Tonight, I had to pick up #1 son from a pre-XC meet pasta party, so I dropped into Haley Farm for today’s 15 minutes. Dusk, just after sunset. Nasty, late summer day – heat hanging on, humidity coming up from the tropics, grey sky, drizzle. And perfect.

There was one other car in the parking lot when I showed up; didn’t see a soul on the trails. I ran the main trail down to the bike path/Amtrak overpass, then followed the access road to the trail through the fields along the river. The sections through the trees were dark, but I know the road well, and don’t go terribly fast right now. They’ll be light at twilight soon enough, though the heat and the rain we’ve been getting are going to keep the leaves on for a few more weeks.

Nike+ told me that I was done with about a tenth of a mile to go back to the car; so I walked it back in. Low tide; lots of rot left over from the summer. No cars in the parking lot when I got back.

Love the run.

Galloway – Meeting a legend; or “How I learned to stop dreading and learn to love the miles”

So, nigh unto 18 years ago, Melissa brought home a book. Specifically, this book – “Galloway’s Book on Running“. 

“I want to run the Disney marathon in January 2000,” she said.

“Uh, OK,” I said.

I’d been a runner by then (1999) for about 5 years – I did Navy Officer Candidate School in Pensacola Florida, and the Marine Corps Drill instructors we had really (REALLY!) liked to run. Partially, I think, because the United States Marine Corps is the toughest large group of people you’ll find on the planet, and mostly, I think, because they liked seeing cocky college kids puke at 5:15 in the morning.

So, way back when i graduated college, I, in the space of about 3 weeks, went from someone who’d run a mile or so each month since it was good to run, to someone who’d go run 3 or 4 miles a couple of times a week because running was good. There were a couple of hiccoughs, but I could at least go out and put in some miles a couple of days a week. But, I wasn’t really a runner. 

Galloway’s book, though, was an eye-opener. In easy language, he put out a plan by which folks like me – joggers, folks who hadn’t run as kids, folks who wanted to get active again – could. And he didn’t talk down to us, he didn’t focus on the harm we would be doing sitting on the couch, he didn’t say “Push through the pain”. Instead, Jeff put down a positive, low pain, high gain approach to becoming a runner.

Missy and I followed the plan religiously, sort of, until about September, when we found out she was expecting our first child, and then I was on my own (Again, we’d gone from couch potatoes to runners, so the thought of running through pregnancy was somewhat foreign to her). I lasted until November – had a glorious 16 miler one late fall weekend, and then, faced with 18 miles of sleet, it seemed that the wiser thing to do was not fly with a 7 month pregnant wife, and we withdrew.

Fast forward 18 years, and Missy and I are still running. 


A couple of weeks ago, one of my social networks said that Jeff Galloway was going to be at Kelley’s Pace right here in Mystic. So, I convinced Melissa (Hey, y’wanna go? …Sure…), and we put it on our schedule.

It wasn’t without concern that I went – I’ve met authors before and been terribly disappointed – people are often on to different projects and are different people from what your impression is from reading their books.

Jeff wasn’t that – he was a man who seemed genuine, happy with his mission, and just as excited about the next people he was going to get running as the first folks he started with back in 1972. 

We got our book signed, talked about our guys running cross country, stood around chatting with a couple of other Mystic runners we knew, and then Galloway talked. A couple of takeaways:

  • Running is a social activity –  Jeff’s running career started as an overweight 8th grader new at a school that required all kids to do some sort of sport. He picked XC, since he’d only have to get to the woods, and then could hide till practice was over. But the second day of practice, a couple of kids he thought he’d like from practice told him to tag along. Each day, he went farther and farther, because he wanted to gossip with the other guys.
  • Human Brain vs. Monkey Brain – I’m going to have to spend some time on his website to get this exactly right, but it boils down to mindfulness – when something is difficult, the way to get it done is to spend some time thinking about it. That’s why he thinks the run/walk/run thing works, that’s why he’s big on pacing. Kind of blew me away in a GTD/43 Folders kind of way (I know that 43folders hasn’t been updated in a while, but it’s still a great resource, and Back2Work is a breath of fresh air each week).
  • The Magic Mile – Wanna know how to pace? Go run your fastest mile. All out, leave everything on the track. Then add at least 30% to that. That’s your long run pace. Add time for heat, add time if you’re feeling out of it, whatever. Mostly, don’t worry about it.
  • Run/Walk/Run – While I think Jeff’s secret sauce is his personableness, and his ability to make running seem like something that IS doable by anyone, THIS is what sets the Galloway method apart from everyone else. After listening to him last night, I may start incorporating this into my own running again. The essence is to fool around with CONSISTIENTLY, not just when you’re tired, but from the beginning, taking walking breaks in your runs. It allows for some recovery during the run, and lets you go longer. 

Honestly, I could probably keep pushing this post out to about 10,000 words – really, without “Galloway’s Book on Running“, I wouldn’t be a runner, I wouldn’t have been writing this blog for a decade, and I’d be missing out on wonderful Saturdays and Sundays with the wife and kids and a whole host of wonderful people I’ve met on the roads and trails. 

A thousand steps

So, this is what the next step of recovery looks like:

N and I at Bluff Point

The weekend was AWESOME. Two good bike rides, a kayak trip, sunshine without turning bright red as an antibiotic side effect – quality.

Saturday morning, #2 son and I went and crushed 18 miles of cross – down through Bluff Point, and even a little bit of singletrack along the railroad through Haley Farm. We did have to stop for coffee and conversation at Green Marble.

Monday morning, Melissa and I got out for our first ride together since June – boy, have i missed this. Not an epic ride, but a bit of our life together that’s been missing.

And today – 90 degrees (but dry!) and 1.5 miles running, and another 1.2 alternating run/walk so as to not blow out the knee. On Jamestown, and a dip in the Atlantic to cool down. Possibly too long floating on my back, feeling the sun beat down.

Life is OK, and I think I’ll be better soon.