Sunday, December 27, 2015

Running Streak - Day 56

Summer weather is officially over.  I woke this morning to ice pellets after freezing rain overnight.  By the time I started, the temperature had just dropped below zero.  I knew full well that morning was going to be my only opportunity to get a run in; hence, I had to go for it.  From 16C two days ago to this today...

Ice covered road
No good footing anywhere

Since it was near 0C with very light wind, I didn't need to bundle up, but I did have to protect myself against the ice pellets from above and the slush and water from below.  On top, I wore a jacket, nylon pants, Gore Tex cap and gloves.  I only needed a long sleeve tech shirt and shorts as a base layer. Since the tread on the Adizero Mana's is pretty much completely bald, I chose the K-Swiss Blade Lights for traction, but they have drainage holes through the mid-sole.  The holes, coupled with cotton socks (bad choice), meant my feet were wet after 5 minutes.

The run went as well as can be expected.  The footing was terrible.  I had a choice between crusty slush, slushy water or partially frozen mud.  I just slowed down and kept the pace steady.  After 20 minutes the ice pellets stopped and turned to lights snow.  At least my face wasn't stinging anymore.  On the better cared-for roads over the second half of the route, the roads were more wet than slushy or icy and I could pick up the pace a little bit.  I finished and recovered well and hit a well-deserved warm shower.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Running Streak - Days 53, 54 and 55

Day 55

After a day of Boxing Day shopping, I managed to grab the last bit of daylight today for a run.  I wore reflectors, even though I was running on a cinder path where motorized vehicles are prohibited, and brought the headlamp.  I'm glad I did because I was starting to notice that the lamp was making a difference, even at twilight.  The reflectors are useful when the paths cross well-traveled roads with high speed limits.

I proved today that one can run after a heavy meal.  I went to a Chinese buffet for lunch and I probably won't eat until tomorrow morning.  My body will need some time to fight off what I just did to it.  The run definitely helped.

The temperature dropped from near tropical highs over the past three days to 3C with a light, albeit cold, breeze from the east.  I wore long sleeve tech shirt, vest and nylon pants, just enough to block the wind.  No need for an insulating layer... yet.  I think Winter is coming tomorrow, but the funny thing is that the days just started getting longer.

Day 54

Merry Christmas.  I had a great Christmas morning and then on to the turkey dinner.  The turkey was cooked the night before, so the fuss was minimal.  I went for a great 30 minute run on the paths before heading to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens (which was awesome).  While running I decided to switch from the marathon on April 30 to the half marathon.  This streak is going so well without investing gobs of time that I think it's best to start back with something a little more realistic and I really love the half marathon distance.

It was still uncharacteristically nice weather: 8C with a decent wind from the east.  I was in a short sleeve tech shirt, vest and shorts.  I pulled out the K'Swiss Blade Lights and decided that I am going to switch to them once the Adizero Mana's have had it.  The K-Swiss only have just over 200km on them.  The just might take me through to the end of half marathon training at the end of April.

Day 53

Today was out of this world.  It hit 16C and was sunny...  on Christmas Eve.  All kinds of weather records were smashed today.  There was a period where the winds gusted up to 60km/h and a large number of households on east, south and western edges of the city lost power, including mine.  The power was off here from 11:00AM until 8:00PM.

I didn't let the weather go to waste and got in a 30 minute run in the early afternoon.  I also got in a bunch of yard cleanup once I returned.  It was short sleeves and shorts, naturally, and sunglasses because the wind was blowing all kinds of stuff around.  The trees along the path couldn't provide enough of a wind break.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Running Streak - Day 52

It was super busy at work this week, hence the string of late night runs.  I worked a 3-day week that felt like 5.  I am really looking forward to some holidays.  Tomorrow is supposed to have a high of 16C under mostly sunny skies.  I thought the weather in November and early December was crazy, but 16C and sunny on Christmas Eve is beyond description.

Tonight I felt like a bit of a distraction on the treadmill.  I loaded up an episode of the X-Files (season 2, episode 10 - Red Museum - for those of you keeping score at home) on Netflix and set the machine for 9:30min/mile and an incline of 2%.  The lowest setting is 1.5%, but it can be a bit noisy.  Setting it at 2% eliminates about 80% of the belt and deck noise.

Since I started close to 10:30PM, I was only looking to check the box and put in just less than 25 minutes.  I felt great and I will have no problem going off the sleep.  That being said, my average HR was in the neighbourhood of 120bpm (solid HR reading tonight, BTW).  I definitely need to start pushing myself a bit harder.  I looked at the graphs on Strava and can't figure out how my pace drops over the course of the session despite me never changing the speed of the treadmill.  Hmmm.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Running Streak - Day 51

It was really tough getting in a run today, but I kind of knew that from the get go this morning.  The timing would be too tight at lunch and there were no other windows of opportunity that opened.  Again, I hit the treadmill after 11:00PM for a 20 minute pre-set hill workout.  I wasn't going to let the streak end prematurely, especially with the scheduled end just around the corner.  All-in-all, it was a good run.  I focused on form and cadence - as best I could on a motorized hamster wheel.  No complaints.

BTW, (hopefully this is not TMI) the chafing I experienced yesterday was most likely the worst I have ever experienced.  I've never seen blood droplets on the floor when it has happened before.  It didn't feel a whole lot better today.  Body Glide to the rescue.  I can't say enough good things about this stuff.  It worked and my shirt(s) say 'Thank You.'

Monday, December 21, 2015

Running Streak - Days 49 and 50

Day 50

I had a 40 minute tempo run in the Garmin schedule, but I forgot my HR strap.  Given the conditions and the fact that the delay expired for the next mission in Zombies, Run!, I decided to do the 37 minute mission and take the run easy.  It was the right decision.  I can do the tempo run tomorrow.

Today was nasty with freezing rain.  The footing was bad - thin film of slush where there wasn't a deep frigid puddle or a thin film of ice - and my clothes were soaked through within 5 minutes of the start.  My shirt chafed me so bad that I had blood dripping from the abrasions.  (Note to self: Remember the BodyGlide tomorrow.)  I dropped the pace and focused on posture and a proper foot strike.  Despite the condition of my rapidly deteriorating shoes, I didn't slip once.  Mentally, running in horrible conditions is a great morale booster.  You feel so hardcore when you finish.

Day 49

The streak continues, but I need to become more diligent about the daily reporting.

I managed to squeak in a 6.5km run with the last remaining minutes of daylight.  It seemed colder than it has been over the last few weeks, but all I needed to do was shield myself from the wind.  I wore the MEC Dart pants and Peak Performance jacket over a long sleeve tech shirt.  I could have even taken off the hat and gloves about 2/3 of the way through, but I left them on.  Getting outside sure beats the treadmill.

I did the loop through Sarsfield, and sought to keep an even pace throughout.  Mission accomplished and I didn't use any gadgetery.  The TomTom threw a couple of HR spikes again despite using electrode gel and changing clothing.  I noticed that it is fine when running on the treadmill or in warm weather.  Maybe the cold temperatures or reduced humidity has something to do with it.  Not being able to get to the bottom of this is really frustrating me.  Reading the forums tells me that I'm not alone in this, but to me, it is still a small consolation.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Running Streak - Days 47 and 48

Day 48

This morning I woke to sunshine and a dusting of snow on the ground, but slept in later than expected and couldn't get a run in.  Although I really wanted to get out, it just wasn't working for me.  I had a long run of 80 minutes in the schedule.  Hopefully I can get it in tomorrow.

I needed to get the last of my Christmas shopping done and over the course of the day Misfit recorded over 10,000 steps of just walking, most of it in stores and malls.  At 11:30PM, I finally had time to run and selected a 30 minute pre-set workout on the treadmill:  8% grade and a maximum pace of 7:24 min/mile.  In stark contrast to last night, the run felt terrific. I was able to read my Kobo, except for the three sections at top speed in the middle of the session.  Wiping out would have wrecked a great day.

Day 47

All day I felt very tired and not so great.  There was a holiday lunch at work and the food was great, but I think it was loaded with sodium.  Despite drinking over a liter of water when I got home, I was feeling bloated and stagnant by the end of the day.  As I was running, I noticed that my feet were swelling.

The run itself was meh.   I did the easier 20 minute pre-set just to get the workout in and not be totally revved up while trying to get to sleep.  It worked and I fell asleep rather quickly after reading for 15 minutes.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Running Streak - Day 46

I knew from the get-go that I would be on the treadmill in the evening, but I didn't think it would be after 10:00PM.  I had a lunch planned with some former colleagues at a Chinese buffet that we always have eaten at.  The company today was terrific, but the food was lousy and I felt horrible all afternoon.  I still haven't eaten.  I'm not sure if it was the quantity, the volume or both.  I have been eating better since the streak began and as of this morning, I was down to 175 lbs.  I don't think my body can't handle eating crappy food like that anymore.

The run tonight was good. I selected another 20min pre-set workout where the elevation rose to 10% and the top speed was 6:30 min/mi (yes, no metric on the treadmill.)  It was more challenging than the other one I have been using.  Normally, I can still read my Kobo while running, but I couldn't do so once the pace went above 7:30 min/mi.  Trying to continue to read would have resulted in a wipe-out of spectacular proportions and everyone was already in bed.  It would be awful for everyone.

The good news is that I got accurate HR readings - no spikes.  I need to get to the bottom of this.  I'm sure it's not the running clothes or a defective chest strap.  There would be more sources of interference inside the house than outside.  I'm wondering if it is the degree of contact between my skin and the strap when the temperature drops.  I have been going light with layers to get myself to acclimatize to the cold temperatures, when they eventually come.  Maybe I should try over-dressing to see if being warmer helps maintain better contact.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Running Streak - Day 45

It was another terrific run today, and looking back, I don't see too many days where I had a bad one.  I recall really struggling physically and mentally at the beginning of the streak.  I was disappointed at how much I had let myself go and how I was having to re-start after a prolonged yet again.  I don't think like that anymore.  I realize that it has been only six weeks, but now running does not feel like a chore.  I actually feel like I am training again, not just trying to find my feet.  The really curious thing (for me) is that I'm not focused on a particular event.  I am simply running to, yes, keep the streak going, but mainly because it is making me feel good.

Wednesday is intervals day and this week the plan called for adding another rep to the workout I have going through for the past few weeks.  Today was a 10 minute warm up and cool down with 6 x 2:00 on/1:00 off in between.  Again my pace for all of the work segments was very consistent.  The one thing I noticed is that I start each interval hard and then steadily slow down.  (See the graph below.)  My HR is steady, but my pace drops off .  I need to work on ramping up and then maintaining the pace more evenly.   

December 15, 2105 Interval Session

It was definitely colder today (1C with a "feels like" of -2C), but the wind was much calmer.  I covered up with my Dart pants, Sugoi vest and gloves, but no hat.  I really need to find my toque; it would have come in handy.  I have two of them, but they must be mixed in with other clothing at home somewhere.  If there was any precipitation today, it definitely would have been snowing and I need to start being prepared for the eventuality of snowfall.  Ottawa is being spoiled.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Running Streak - Day 44

When I checked the temperature in the morning, it was 9C with moderate winds and a "feels like" of 6C, which would have been great.  As it turns out, my 1:00PM, when I started my run, it was 5C with strong winds (gusts of up to 35km/h) and a "feels like" of 0C.  Sadly, I didn't check before I left and dressed for the morning conditions.  It wasn't horrible, but man, in shorts, long sleeve shirt and vest, it felt cold. 

Since there was nothing on the plan for me today and the 6 day delay had passed for the next Zombies, Run! mission had passed, I decided to let the mission parameters dictate the duration of the run: 41 minutes, no problem.  I ran an out-and-back on the Ottawa River again, getting to just past Parkdale before turning around.  The curious thing is that I ran almost the same distance as yesterday - I even turned around at the same set of benches - and yesterday it felt much more difficult.  When I checked the data at the end of the run, I ran only 5 seconds slower per kilometer than my average pace yesterday.  5:42min/km shouldn't feel much different than 5:36, but it did.  I can't explain it. 

Another weird thing is that I had no HR data from the run.  I guess the transmitter on the strap never connected to the receiver in the watch.  It would have been great to have HR data to compare the effort between the two runs.  After the run was over today, I stopped the workout and put it into Treadmill mode as I walked around the building*.  The connectivity was fine.  Again, I can't explain the problem.

* I discovered that if I have it in Treadmill mode and don't start a workout, I can see my HR in BPM, which is really useful in recovery as I walk around to cool down.  My HR isn't visible in Run mode before starting a workout.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Running Streak - Day 43

Today I used my Tomtom Runner for a tempo run targeting a particular HR zone for the first time.  I have figured out how to set up interval sessions, but I realized today that I hadn't yet used the device for HR training.  The first step was to make sure that the zones were set up correctly.  I logged in to Garmin Connect and wrote down my HR zone info that was configured in my settings.  I have used these zones for many workouts and trust them to be correct (enough).  I then transferred the information to my profile on the Tomtom website.  Setting up the zones on the Tomtom site is very easy - enter the max HR and then just slide the limits into place.  High marks for usability.  After re-syncing the device, I selected Zone-HR from the training menu and then selected "Endure".  (The plan today was for 40 minutes in Zone 3, which in Tomtom-speak is named Endure.)

The run itself was OK.  It was cloudy, dark, cold and windy (3C with a wind chill of -1C) and I was feeling a bit sluggish.  The zone training on the Tomtom was interesting.  The device is very good at telling you when to speed up and when you are on target.  It completely forgets to tell you to slow down.  I found that I was blowing out the top of the zone and only realizing it later when I saw what my actual HR was.  Once I slowed down a bit, I was told that I was on target again.  For effective zone training, staying in the zone is critical and Tomtom needs to fix that.  I did my best to stay in the zone and my average pace indeed decreased in the second half of the run, but after turning around at exactly 20 minutes, I still nearly finished where I started - two city blocks behind.  In my books, that's not too shabby.

Running Streak - Days 41 and 42

I'm going to combine the blog entry for days 41 and 42 because the runs were identical in every respect: 20 minutes on the treadmill using the same pre-set hill workout starting at 11:30PM.  The weather outside was beautiful.  It was mostly cloudy and 14C on Saturday; 5C on Sunday.  I took advantage of the good weather to get some work done in the yard and on the outside of the house that didn't get done in the Summer.  That work, coupled with other prior commitments, meant that I would be on the treadmill late at night again, which is no big deal, except that I'm starting to feel tired.

I discovered that my Forerunner 310XT is simply not suited to running indoors.  It is taking a long time to "boot" up and there is no Indoor Mode that other models have.  Saturday's run was captured as having happened on April 1, 2007.  In its defense, a hard reset is probably long overdue.  Periodic hard/soft resets are, in my opinion, a critical part of maintaining these devices (from all manufacturers).  I can't explain it; I have just come to accept it.  An interesting finding... There was no HR spike when using the Garmin.  I forgot the chest strap for the other run where I used the Tomtom.

I calculated how many days that this streak is supposed to run.  I cannot believe, given my nature, that I had not done this earlier.  November 2 to January 1 is 61 days, inclusive, which means that, as of today, I am now 2/3 of the way.  My Sunday School class thinks I should extend the streak to 100 days, with a new end date of February 9.  I'm not making the call right now, but with 41 runs behind me and no ill effects, 100 days is looking awfully tempting.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Running Streak - Day 40

Round numbers have a such a nice ring to them, and 40 sounds like a bona fide milestone.  To me, my biggest milestone so far was 4.  Once I strung 4 consecutive days of running together, I felt like I was actually going somewhere, especially having been on the couch of doom for so long.  Two weeks (14 days) really surprised me, too.  Now that I'm at 40 days, I'm looking ahead more than behind.  After tomorrow I will be 2/3 complete.

Today was the best day weather-wise of the whole week.  It was sunny, 14C and absolutely un-December-like.  Every runner I saw on the Ottawa River pathway was grinning from ear-to-ear.  We are all out there running looking like cats who swallowed the canary.  I know that anyone reading this blog is wondering why I am going on so much about the weather.  To give you an idea, it was a balmy -3C with a bit of snow on this date last year, and in 2013 it was a frigid -22C.   A "normal" temperature for mid-December in Ottawa is -10C and today I was out in a short sleeve tech shirt and shorts.  This is an absolute blessing, and I am so grateful to be able to take full advantage of it.

I started out a little hard today, perhaps frolicking in the warm temperature.  I got to the 1km point and said to myself, "What are you doing?"  I should cut the pace and enjoy my time in the sun a little more, rather than blast through the run to get it done.  I also was feeling the effects of the intervals on Wednesday and the up-tempo run yesterday.  I slowed down noticeably and as it turns out, I had the opposite experience of Tuesday evening.  I thought I had slowed my pace quite a bit, but it was faster than planned.  I can't explain it. 

The Tomtom produced spikes in the HR readings at the beginning of the run again.  I was thinking about it and am starting to wonder if it is "premium" chest straps that don't get along with me.  My rigid Garmin strap does not do that, but I have had the same thing with all three (Polar, Tomtom and Garmin) straps.  I'm going to explore this a little more.  It's too bad that I can't wear two straps at one to compare the readings.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Running Streak - Day 39

Another absolutely stunning day, weather-wise.  A lunch with some former colleagues was cancelled, but fortunately I had my running stuff with me at work and was able to get out shortly before 1:00PM, when it was 10C.  Being so warm, I was out in my long sleeve Army Run tech shirt and shorts, which was ideal.  I was contemplating going with short sleeves, but as it turned out, there was a pretty stiff westerly wind and I was glad to have something covering my arms.

Apart from knowing that I wanted to run The Bridges, I had no objectives for time or intensity.  My plan was to enjoy the weather and the undulating route.  I've been saying that pretty soon I will be confined to the flat pathway beside the Rideau Canal at lunch, but the forecast is now saying that it will not be that soon; there is only one day in the long range forecast where it below 0C.  I wonder is we are looking at a green Christmas.

I have been trying to sort out my Tomtom HRM and I'm not winning.  I shorted out the battery in the transmitter pod and the watch picked it up right away.  I'm still showing spikes in the readings at the beginning of my run (see graph below of today's run).  If you look back on all of my other runs with the Tomtom, you will see the same behaviour.  My Garmin Forerunners do not tend do this, at least not as consistently.

Graph depicting spike in heart rate readings in first 10 minutes of activity
Heart Rate Spike
I have now followed all of my own advice, but nothing has solved it yet.  Since the readings are normal after the spike, there is an indication that normal operation is possible.  I have apparently eliminated the strap as a cause because the readings are the same with the Tomtom strap and the Polar strap (perhaps I should try the Garmin strap?); therefore, in my small mind, it must be the transmitter pod.  It's really frustrating because I rather like the unit.  I will start interrogating Mr. Google to see what he can offer.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Running Streak - Days 37 and 38

Day 38

Todays scheduled run consisted of intervals where it was 2:00 on/1:00 off with a 10:00 warm-up and cool-down - the same workout as last week.  This workout is very do-able over a lunch hour, and it felt awesome today.  I don't have much snap in my legs yet, but I can increase my pace on demand and hold it for 2:00.  I haven't looked ahead in the Garmin training plan to see if the work portion of the intervals will increase.  I suspect that it does.  Even if it doesn't, I know that I will benefit.  Like the folks at Endurance Nation preach, first you get fast, then you go long.

It was another day with amazing weather: 6C, slight wind and sunny.  Again , I was in shorts, long sleeve tech shirt and vest, but I probably could have dropped the vest after 10 minutes or so.  The only thing I should have brought was sunglasses.  I can't believe that this is December, and the forecast for the rest of the week has highs in double digits.

Still having problem with spikes in HR readings at the beginning of my run.  I experimented with something new.  I connected the transmitter pod to my Polar premium strap, but nothing changed.  It worked perfectly with my Garmin transmitter when I was getting silly readings with the Garmin premium strap and it was chafing me nearly in half when I ran with it.  Having seemingly eliminated the strap as the cause of the spikes, I am thinking of shorting out the pod by inverting the battery for 30 seconds and then re-pairing it with the watch.

Day 37

My day was full of meetings and I couldn't get out for a run a lunch.  When the lunch our is book-ended like it was today, I don't like the stress that rushing through the run causes.  I normally can confine my running sessions to an hour or less, but I something holds me up - I run into someone I know or I have to wait for a shower to become available - I'm late for the second meeting, guaranteed, and no one (especially me) likes that.

I had some forced waiting time in the evening and decided to get the run in then.  I dressed for the run in the building where I work so that I could run from then spot where I would need to wait later, and I just ran a loop with a nice hill a few times.  I didn't want to stray too far in case I needed to cut the run short.  I re-listened to Mission 2 of Zombies, Run!  When I did it the first time, I shortened the duration to only 18-20 minutes; today I did the entire mission at the recommended length of 31 minutes and picked up more supplies.  I will do this again with another couple of missions until the delay for downloading a new episode has expired.

The run itself was interesting.  According to my phone, it was cloudy, negligible wind and 2C.  The phone was correct on everything, except for the temperature, which felt definitely colder.  Luckily, I brought a thermal base layer shirt to add to the long sleeve tech shirt and vest I was wearing.  I had my MEC Dart nylon pants to cover my legs.  I thought I was clipping along at a good pace, but when I checked my watch or received alerts from Zombies, Run!, it turns out that I was running slower.  I gradually picked up the pace and negative split every kilometer.  My dumb move of the day was wearing my Tomtom HR transmitter on the Polar strap with my Garmin Forerunner 310XT on my wrist.  I wanted to see if I could find the source of the spikes in the HR readings, but the mismatch in devices meant no HR readings at all.  I will try the experiment tomorrow.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Running Streak - Day 36

Work was busy today and I had spontaneous 90 minute meeting that went straight through lunch.  I had put my stuff in one of the day lockers early in the morning.  As noon was approaching, I had a check in my spirit that I should abandon an e-mail I was writing and drop into my colleagues office instead to see him in person.  It was definitely the right call.  As such, I knew that without a run at lunch, I would be on the treadmill tonight.  The positive side is that it was not as late as runs have been in the past couple of weeks, and I will get a decent night's sleep.

Because it was a little earlier, I selected a 30 minute pre-set workout that was a little faster and a little hillier than the other one I had been using.  I completed Mission 6 of Zombies, Run! and figured out a little trick for doing these missions on the treadmill: select the duration for the workout in my head or on the treadmill and then adjust the length of the mission to one minute less than the workout.  This gives me enough time to start the treadmill, start the watch and then start the mission and have it all come out of the oven at the same time.

In the topic of the watch, my Tomtom HR chest strap is giving me fits.  I did everything I recommended in my other post, with one exception: I did not moisten (i.e. lick) the contacts or use electrode gel.  I had hand-washed it thoroughly early this morning and let it hang to dry, and it is still is producing high readings at the beginning of the run.  I will wash it again right after I publish this and try it with electrode gel tomorrow.

Running Streak - Day 35

I did things the way I wanted (yesterday*) and was out the door around 7:00AM.  I fully intended  to just run out-and-back for 25 minutes to check the box for the day.  As I was getting to my turnaround point, I was feeling great and did a time check to see if I could run a few extra minutes and still make it to church on time.  Once I figured out that I could, I decided to run the entire loop (nearly 6.5km, or 4 miles).  I really like this loop and haven't run it in a long time.

The weather has been nearly the same weather three days in a row (this morning was cloudy with a slight westerly wind and 4C).  Again I went for the same long sleeve tech shirt, nylon vest and shorts, what was ideal.  I started out a little slower that yesterday and felt progressively better as the run went on.  I actually ended up negative splitting every kilometer.  Now that I have added an interval session each week, I need to add a long run.  I will look ahead to the marathon training plan I selected for the Spring to see where I need at the start and then work back from there.  I'm willing to bet that I could already handle 60 minutes of long, slow distance.

* I wrote down some point form notes after the run and immediately forgot to come back to turn them into complete sentences.  Running is definitely feeling more like part of the daily routine than an event.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Running Streak - Day 34

I did things the way I wanted to and got out for the run before 8:00AM.  I hit the path close to the house and did a simple out-and-back for 25 minutes.  The weather was much like yesterday - 5C and cloudy - except that the wind was much milder.  I also wore the same get up as yesterday and didn't end up with chattering teeth until I was warmed up.

I noticed that I am running much more smoothly than I was when I started and I am able to set a decent pace and hold it for much longer.  If I look at similar runs from a month ago, I am now averaging a pace that is 30 seconds faster per kilometer.  The distance I am covering in similarly timed runs is also measurable longer.  The key thing is that, even though I am covering more ground at a faster pace, my average hear rate is the same or less.  Good indicators, all of them.

I brought my iPod to listen to some music for a change.  Normally, I listen to podcasts, which are great to help pass the time on long runs, but I was on a traffic-free path and the run was just steady state kilometers - no concentration required.  After listening to The Black Crowe's "She Talks to Angels", I queued up The Tragically Hip's Up To Here.  What a great album.  I normally don't listen to a full album from beginning to end, but when the next song started I couldn't bring myself to switch away. I got through tracks 1 to 6 by the time the run was over:

  1. Blow at High Dough
  2. I'll Believe In You (Or I'll Be Leaving You tonight)
  3. New Orleans Is Sinking
  4. 38 Years Old
  5. She Didn't Know
  6. Boots Or Hearts
After running, I did 60 minutes of Moksha yoga.  After having not been in a class for a couple of weeks, it was exactly what I needed.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Running Streak - Day 33

I did my first interval session of the streak today, and the experimental angle on today's run is that I programmed the Garmin training plan workout (10min warm-up; 5x2:00 Work, 1:00 Rest; cool down),  into my Tomtom Runner.  The process of setting up the workout was very intuitive.  It would have been nice to have the ability to assign target HR zones to the "Work" portions (Tomtom vocabulary), but then again, it felt really good to run hard by feel and how have the watch chirping at me.  I'm not sure if I can set up a bunch of interval workouts or if I will need to set  up one at workouts a time on or before the day I'm scheduled for it.

Dressing for running these days has been difficult.  I checked the forecast when I woke up and it said high of 5C by noon with a "feels like" of 0C.  I end up packing a bag full of clothes in the morning because I can't know exactly what I need until I head to the change room.  Today I wore a long sleeve tech shirt, nylon vest and shorts.  My legs were fine, but my torso was really cold for the first 10 to 12 minutes (teeth chattering cold).  Once I warmed up and turned around so that the wind was at my back, I was fine.  That's the difficult thing: I was underdressed when heading into the wind and just right for the second half.

It felt really good to get outside again.  This treadmill stuff has to be saved for only the worst days.  I was really surprised that I could get the pace below 5:00/km and run all five intervals at a very consistent pace.  When I was doing speed work in the Spring, my pace would decline with each interval.  I think the consistency in my running over the past month is starting to show.  I feel that I'm forming a good base.  I just need to dial in the sleep and nutrition.

Running "Streak" - Day 32

It was not a great day, running-wise.  I'm claiming that the streak is still alive, but just barely and mostly on principle.  I didn't get in 20 minutes, which disqualifies me according to the rules I set.  Since I am the judge in this, however, and since this experience has brought about change, I am declaring that the spirit of the streak is alive because the streak is clearly accomplishing what I intended: to create intentional consistency in my training.

The day completely ran away with me and I found myself finally returning home after having  left the house well before 8:00AM, and finally being settled around 10:30PM.  The late arrival, coupled with too many late nights trying to keep the streak going, took its toll and I fell asleep on the couch while getting ready to run.  I somehow woke up just before midnight and hopped on the treadmill, barefoot and wearing an undershirt and track pants.  Not a pretty picture.

This was a cathartic moment.  I'm done with the 11:00PM runs.  You can see by my training log that I did more late treadmill runs in the last week than I did in the first three weeks.  The increased activity, loss of sleep and busyness of life has got me running on fumes.  I also noticed that the loss of sleep is actually causing me to gain weight.  I realize that I have been reacting to my schedule, and I now need to be proactive; therefore, I need to start forcing myself to get to bed early and to rise early so that I can run in the morning.  I will run at lunch tomorrow and then start morning runs on Saturday.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Running Streak - Day 31

I've been trying to figure out the best definition of one month.  It could be 28 days because it is four 7-day weeks.  Even though November is 30 days long, it cannot be not 30 days because I started on November 2, i.e. no running on November 1.  Today is December 2, Day 31, and I have settled on it as the best marker for one month.  I am more than a little surprised that I made it this far, and I am going to enjoy looking back on January 1 to see that I ran every day of a 31-day month.

Again I had to get the run in on the treadmill, but this time it was before 11:00PM.  I had all of my stuff packed and stowed in a locker, ready for a run at lunch (intervals, no less), but I needed to finish something that came up at work without warning.  It was the right thing to do.  I planned on running longer this evening, but thought better of it because I need to start getting more sleep.  I did a weight check this morning and I was up a little bit from last time.  I am pretty certain that it is from not getting enough sleep.

The 20 minute pre-set workout was good enough.  I focused on cadence and posture.  I tend to slouch when I run and I need to keep my head up.  For this reason, I went with listening to a podcast rather than reading.  It worked well.  Ironically, I listened to part of The Problem with Treadmilling from Phedippidations.  I agree with what Steve presented; there is a certain emptiness when running and there is nothing moving around you - air, light, scenery.  That being said, it sounds like his treadmill is loaded with much more gadgetery than mine, which means there are more distractions.  The one I run on is older and much less sophisticated: 4 LCD numeric displays, 6 pre-set workouts, no interfaces to any other equipment.  Also, being a bit of a data hound, I don't tend to pay attention to the display because I do not trust the accuracy of any of the numbers.  I wear a GPS watch set to indoor/treadmill mode and a footpod.  It's moderately better, but still far from perfect.  As long as the motor is good and it can change the elevation, I see no need for something zippier.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Running Streak - Days 29 and 30

Day 30

The forecast today was for periods of freezing rain and I didn't want to be running in that mess.  That motivated me to get out as soon as I possibly could, which was around 11:40AM.  The temperature was -1C (-7C with the wind), and I wore thermal base layer long sleeve shirt, Peak Performance jacket, lycra exercise shorts under MEC Dart nylon pants, Salomon Gore Tex ball cap and Mizuno Breath Thermal gloves.  Again, I was right on with my clothing selection.  It has been a good Fall for that; normally, I mess it up a few times before figuring out my thermostat for the Winter.  Because of the cloudy skies, I wanted to use the Tomtom because it locks on the satellites much quicker than the Garmin, but the Garmin was all I had.  In its defence, it locked on uncharacteristically fast today.

My run around the Bridges was terrific.  I ran just over 5km at 5:36 min/km pace, and I had no problem holding the pace.  I also felt great on the hill that runs along the locks beside the Chateau Laurier.  I'm definitely getting stronger, but oddly, I have been feeling heavier for the past couple of days. I'm not in the mood to get on the scale.  I will drink more water to see if I am slightly dehydrated and get some more sleep.  That ought to do it.

Day 29

This has got to stop.  It was the third day in a row that I squeaked in a 20 minute run on the treadmill after 11:00PM.  This time it was totally a thing of my own design.  I procrastinated by working through lunch and didn't feel like going for a run in the middle of the afternoon.  Even though I had worked up until that point, I didn't want to have to explain myself to others who didn't know what was going on.  Then I stalled throughout the evening at home - even falling asleep on the couch at one point - before I said, "That's it. Get your butt down to the basement and get the run in."

I did the same pre-set workout that I did last night and the night before: 20 minutes, up to an 8% grade, pace between 12 min/mi and 9 min/mi.  Again aided by a novel on my Kobo, the time raced by and I had the run in by 11:45PM.  I felt stronger and smoother than the previous two nights, but I'm also feeling the effects of lack of sleep.  It's really hard to fall asleep afterwards, and I ended up (again) watching TV until after 1:00PM.  Tomorrow, I'm running on lunch.