Bend the Round

…where the madness is recorded.

April ’08 Running Report May 1, 2008

Filed under: running,state of BTR — bendtheround @ 1:23 pm
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In a word… Fail.

I ran a grand total of 12.75 miles in April. My total for 2008 is currently 161.85 as of this moment. If I’m going to make my goal of 500 miles in 2008, I have to kick it back into gear.

So what happened?

Two things happened… I got sick for one thing. That head cold floored me for what felt like half the month. My current personal running rules include a clause about breathing – if I can’t breathe, I’m not gonna run. For another thing, some pretty heavy personal stuff came up this month which caused a lot of stress and some insomnia. The personal stuff will be ongoing for a while, but that’s the subject of another post. What’s relevant here is that I SHOULD have dragged my exhausted carcass out of bed to run even if I didn’t get the sleep I needed. The exercise can only help.

So what’s the plan?

It’s past time to get back to it. The morning is already blown (for the gym anyway), and lunchtime is booked up with some goings-on across the street, so I’ll go run after work. A nice run through the neighborhood or, if it’s raining, a treadmill trot will be very good for me.

One bad running month isn’t going to end the 500 mile goal, but those remaining miles aren’t going to run themselves. The only thing for it is to lace up, head out, and get it done.

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March Running Report April 2, 2008

Filed under: running,state of BTR — bendtheround @ 3:31 pm
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March was a big month for me. The half marathon training was in the middle of the month and I was putting in some pretty serious miles (for me) up to the half marathon.

I did take two weeks off after the half marathon to recover, but even so, I chalked up a grand total of 55.7 miles in March. Not to freakin’ shabby, says I.

My current total mileage for 2008 is 149.1 miles.

All in all, the first three months of the year have gone well. I’m very happy with the mileage I’ve put in so far and while I didn’t make my sub 2 hour 20 min half marathon goal in March’s race, I’ve got nine more months keep trying.

I made the decision in late March to hold off training for another half marathon until after my upcoming move in June. In the meantime, my intention is to do more frequent shorter runs to work on speed and generally burn off stress. I also want to incorporate yoga into my fitness routine.

This past week was supposed to be the start of this new focus, but so far it’s been a stunning failure due to a tenacious bout of insomnia. My usual sleep patterns are all out of whack and it’s prevented me from getting up in the morning to get rolling. Tomorrow, however, is another day… I’ll keep trying!

 

Recuperation Period March 25, 2008

Filed under: running,state of BTR,yoga — bendtheround @ 6:15 pm
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After a long race, you’re supposed to go through a period of rest. The guideline I was able to find recommended that you rest about one day per mile you raced on the big day. That means that I’m supposed to take it easy at least until March 29th. It’s giving me a chance to rest up and heal. My right knee is healing nicely. It was sore after the reace but it doesn’t bother me much now. My left hip flexor is still bugging me, though. I can’t feel justified in complaining about it, because I haven’t put in the minor effort of stretching properly or regularly.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to plan my next steps. I’m moving in June, which is a huge stressor for me (there’s something about boxing up my stuff and moving that makes me very anxious). Preparing for the move is going to take up a good bit of my time soon – culling my belongings, cleaning, planning, job hunting, etc – so I’m hesitant to commit myself to another time-consuming round of training. Still, it’s going to be important that I keep up with my running. The exercise really helps me manage stress for one thing – for another, if I slow up too much I’ll never make either of my running goals for 2008.

There is another half marathon being held on April 20th that would be very accessible. It’s being held about 30-40 minutes from my current home. So… I could go do that race and take another crack at that 2:20 half marathon time. The pros – I’d have another shot at making my half marathon time goal; I’d have to keep up with my long distance training; the race is easy to get to. The cons – the long-distance training IS time-consuming, and I’d rather not put too big a strain on my time before a big move; the time-drain could also wind up causing more stress than the runs mitigate; I’d have to do another two week recuperation period during which I will likely be sore and cranky (cranky because I’m not getting my usual dose of endorphins from running).

Or I could sign up for a local 5K or 8K instead (for motivation and for the t-shirt!)… or volunteer to help out for the half marathon so that I can be motivated to run like the people I’m watching (yes, that sounds kinda lame, but I *do* finding it inspiring to watch people run these races)… or both.

I’ve also paid some lip service to the idea of starting back up with yoga again. I was pretty into it for a while – I even started up with some coursework to certify as an instructor. I had a falling out with the gym that was encouraging me to get certified and then an old injury to my wrist worsened to the point that I couldn’t do most of my favorite poses, so my practice dried up. Both are poor excuses, especially considering how incredible I’d feel after a good session of yoga practice.

It’ll take some concerted effort to get back into practice. My current residence doesn’t have a good place to practice inside. I can practice on the porch if I make the effort to clear away the porch furniture and if I can stop worrying that people can see me…and if it isn’t freakin’ freezing outside. Until it warms up, I’ll have to count on finding space at the rec center to practice.

I guess, ideally, in the next couple months I should probably try focus on getting back into yoga. I’ll still run, but I’ll do more frequent runs under five miles instead of a bunch of shorter runs and an obscenely long run every week. The yoga I like to practice *does* have some strength training elements in it, but I never got the same sort of results (ie, got noticeably stronger) so I should keep doing the strength training Matt suggested for me, too.

So, I start working out again officially next week. I’ll tinker with possible schedules this week and try some out starting next week.

At this point, I doubt I’ll do another half marathon before the move. BUT – I’m not giving up on my running goals! I’ll keep updating my mileage on the New Year’s Resolution page on this website, and as soon as I pick out the next half marathon, I’ll start updating on how training for that is going. Until I start half marathon training again, I think that I’ll shift my reporting on distance running training to reporting on how I’m doing starting back up my yoga practice. Hopefully, that’ll be at least a little interesting…

 

Almost Appropriate February 28, 2008

Filed under: running,state of BTR — bendtheround @ 4:37 pm
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I’m back from the Body Fat Analysis and Blood Pressure Screening.

My BP is good – 109/70 – and my pulse was 58 bpm. My heart rate’s never been so low, that is awesome! 🙂 It’s almost like I’m a runner or something!  😉

The Body Fat Analysis is something the company offers pretty regularly – at least once a year, I think. They have a nurse hook you up to a little machine and it tells you how much of your weight is fat. Apparently, they had offered it in October, but I missed it. The last time I’d been measured, my body fat percentage was 30.9%. The scale goes like this:

Women            Men

Essential Fat                                        10-12%            2-4%

Appropriate for Athletes                    14-20%           6-13%

Appropriate for Fitness                      21-24%           14-17%

Acceptable                                            25-31%           18-25%

Disproportionate Fat/Lean Ratio     over 32%         over 25%

First of all, I was a little horrified that I was approaching the point at which a full third of my weight was fat. Ugh. And Yikes. Sure, women are supposed to have a higher body fat percentage than men, and I’m definitely build with a little extra padding but really… a THIRD?

So, I was very pleased with this year’s results – my body fat percentage is 24.9%! I am ALMOST Appropriate (for fitness)! Woo hoo! I was going to be a little bit depressed if my percentage hadn’t gone down. I’ve been running kinda a lot, but my weight has not gone down. I was hoping that I’d just done some strategic redistribution. If I keep it up, maybe next time I’ll be totally appropriate! 🙂

 

The Verdict & The Plan

Filed under: running,state of BTR — bendtheround @ 3:09 pm
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The Verdict: I woke up this morning with sore shoulders and a sore neck – kinda like I had slept on it funny. That’s not so bad.

The Plan: I didn’t sleep well last night, so when Matt dutifully got up and went to the gym, I stayed in bed like a lump. Good for you, Matt – you’re awesome! 🙂  I’m supposed to do a 3 mile run and strength training today. Gravity class is at 7:00 or 7:30 pm. So I can either try to jam in a 3 miler at lunch or get that run in before class.

(I will most likely run after work. Today is company Wellness Day, so I’m having my blood pressure checked and body fat percentage measured [voluntarily, and confidentially]. Between those appointments and a jam-packed afternoon of meetings, I’m not confident that I’ll have time to run.)

I’m hoping to use today’s 3 miler to listen to music on the treadmill and figure out what pace each one sets for me. I’ve mentioned before that when I listen to music, I always wind up trying to run to the beat of the music. That means that each song has me running at a slightly different mph.

I haven’t decided what to listen to yet, but I’ll post the list of what songs I checked out and what mph they set for me here later on. That’s key…the pace they set for ME. Someone taller or shorter will have a different stride. I’m 5′ 2″ – so if you’re 6′ 2,” your legs are longer than mine, so one step for you is going to be a lot longer than one step for mine. That means that a song that’s a 5.0 mph for me, might be 5.5 mph for you.

So, that’s the plan!

 

This Wednesday’s Excuse Is…

Filed under: running,state of BTR — bendtheround @ 1:30 am
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…fender bender!

At first, I thought I’d go to the gym in the basement at the office. I was just supposed to do a 45 minute tempo run and those aren’t too bad (tempo runs, according to http://www.halhigdon.com, start off nice and easy then slowly build up in speed to the halfway point, then slow back down). The thing is, the office gym is very tiny – more than two people in there starts to feel pretty crowded. Plus, if someone has put a CD in the stereo, I have to crank up the volume on the ol’ iPod so loud that I can’t help but think that it’s dangerous to my hearing. Anyhow, there were already two people in the gym, and they had the stereo blasting “Whip It Good.”  Nothing against “Whip It Good” but A) it makes me think of Mr. Smithers from the Simpsons and B) it’s just not my kind of workout or running music. So, I opted to load up the car and head for the rec center gym where I can run without anybody invading my personal space and listen to my own tunes.

There’s an unpleasant intersection just a short way from work. The highway I need to make a right turn on is very busy, especially around rush hour. There is a right turn lane with yield sign there, which is where I ran into trouble. When I checked to make sure it was safe to go, I saw that there were cars coming that I hadn’t immediately noticed when starting to turn. I slowed down to a stop at the yield sign. The guy behind me did not.

We got off onto the shoulder pretty quickly. Judging by the (I thought) not inconsiderable jolt I had gotten when he hit me, I figured my back bumper at least would be totaled. As it turns out, a Toyota Matrix can take a hit like a champ. At least, that’s the way it appears so far. The sun was going down when the accident happened, so the light wasn’t great, but as far as either of us could tell, there are just a few scratches. I’ll check again in the morning when the light is good. We exchanged information (turns out we work for the same company – he was leaving work, too) and we both left.

I drove straight home, told Matt all about it, and started laying out this post about Wednesday’s excuse for not training. I knew I was probably still in at least a little bit of shock still when I got home, and I know that shock can mask injury sometimes, so I figured it probably wasn’t a great idea to engage in 45 minutes of high impact aerobic exercise right away. My head snapped back when the car got hit, which was why I figured the damage to the car would have been more serious. Now, seriously, the back of my neck is getting a bit sore and stiff. Not a lot, just enough to make me worry that I might actually have a touch of whiplash, if that’s even actually possible. (Can you have a “touch” of whiplash? Or is like being pregnant…you ARE or you ARE NOT?) The smart bet is that I’m fine. In the morning, I’ll probably be able to chalk up the stiffness to mild hypochondria. Guess I’ll have to let you know then, huh? 🙂

 

You Never Know February 21, 2008

Filed under: state of BTR — bendtheround @ 10:45 pm
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One of the phrases I use often is “Well, you never know….” Because, well, you don’t. One thing leads to another and things happen. It’s neat, really.

It can be a lot of fun to start something new and wonder what, if anything will happen because of it. For example, this blog… I put up this blog mostly for my own amusement. I comment on my training for the half marathon, books I’m reading, video games I’m playing, and whatever shiny object has caught my attention for the moment. You know, typical blog fodder.

Well, somehow, my review of Gertude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations caught the attention of the editor for Internet of Book Reviews. Long story short, we exchanged a couple emails and now he’s sending me a book to read and review for his website. It’s not a paid gig, but I get to pick the book to review, and I get to keep the book! Free book! Woo hoo!

The book he’d like me to review is already in the mail and should be here next week. So… cool! Yours truly is moving from amateur book critic to semi-professional book critic! Even if this is the only book review I write, as long as it gets published, I think I can probably legitimately claim to be a part-time freelance book critic, or a semi-professional book critic, or something like that.

Who knew? I didn’t – ’cause you never know!