Wednesday, March 31, 2010

L9 Day 3 - Declaring War on Hills

~ Dave Declares War on Hills ~

Today, I finally got up the nerve to try the hilly 5K course that is run in my neighborhood.  I started the course somewhere in the middle, but faithfully followed it all the way around.  I learned that getting up a hill is one thing, but once that's accomplished my body is like "whew, let's take a breather!"  I listened to my body with abject tenderness and infinite love, and then politely told it to shut up and keep jogging.

I'm really proud about a number of things that happened in this run:

1.) Run time: 43:10  **new PR **
2.) Run distance: 3.41 miles  ** new PR **
3.) Realistic 5K course  ** first time ever **
4.) Heart Rate:  Always in Zone 4  (proof I can recover and jog at the same time!!!)

Today I used body glide for the first time, and it worked.  In fact, I discovered another place I could use it in the future.  But, no need to bore anyone with those details.  Below is all the charts and graphs from the run.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

L9 Day 2 - Meatloaf Motivation

Today I suffered a bit in terms of motivation.  It's strange, but I used to walk a lot and now it's far more desirable to go for a jog.  But, I'm trying to space out the jogging a little bit more to make sure the ankles and knees will be there for future ambitions.  When I talked to Tami, I asked ...

"Hmmm ... what can I eat 'round here?"
"Works for me"

It was okay, but nothing special.  Then I checked the label.  Wait, how many calories?  OMG.  Apparently, it wasn't a single serving. Suddenly, I had motivation to get my walk on.  I fiddled with speed and incline throughout and got my heart rate up to around 140.  So, I wasn't working hard, but I had a nice sheen of sweat going by the time it was done.  I caught the last 45 minutes of Armegeddon - where, after science geeks and physically competent people save the world, ordinary folk burst out of churches and celebrate.  I ended up doing 2.77 miles, and averaged a 5 or 6 incline.

For today's exercise I walker'd up in just my VFFs.  I've worn them around the house on occasion, but this was the first exercise since Week 3.  I've got a friend who is going to measure his sleeping heart rate with a Garmin tonight ... can't wait to see the results!  My results were posted here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

L9 Day 1 - First Garmin Run

Well, shucks.  I was going to rest today, but the weather was just too good: 50°, no wind, and cloudy.  Also, my legs felt good and I was itching to use my Garmin Forerunner.  So, off I went to the track because I wanted to gain some confidence in the Garmin before hitting the trails or the neighborhood.  Sure enough, it knew I was on the track:

I guess with my fancy equipment I have no excuse, but I started out too fast.  I clocked the first lap in 2:30.88.  (That's about 30 seconds faster than I should have!)  As usual, I ran down like a cheap watch, but I did set a couple of records:  1 mile in 10:57.5; and 2 miles in 23:00.8.  Here is some data:

My legs felt good the whole time, but my breathing never got very settled - even as I slowed down.  And I was woefully short on energy.  I haven't eaten much in the past couple of days.  (Wife and kids out of town, me no cook good.)  Anyhow, here is a picture of the heart rate.  I maxed it at 169.  Conditioned athletes can do 9:40 miles at a HR in the mid-140s.  It would appear that I still have a long ways to go!

Because my exercise routine has become freestyle, I don't know how many workouts until the next level, so the workout posts will indicate my current level, and workout number.  This was my first one as a Level 9 Athletic Character.

Rest Week, Plans, and a Cool Experiment

I have taken some rest after the C25K program and if work and weather permit, my plan is to get a shortish run in on Wednesday.  In order to become a higher level athlete, I'm clearly going to need considerably more weight loss.  To do this, I'm going to cut down on calories while continuing, even increasing, the amount of exercise I do.  To increase the amount of exercise, I will begin to lengthen my long jog and I will mix in some off-day cardio walks.  To cut down on calories, I will institute a NMS diet, where NMS means "No More Seconds".

Earning a level will require two weeks of exercising 4 or 5 times per week (includes jogging and walking); meeting the long jog criterion; and achieving the weight goal.  In addition to this, I will do the exercises the ortho-sports guy recommended last Thursday.  More on that later.

~ Now for the cool experiment ~

I finally got my Garmin Forerunner out of the box on Saturday, and naturally the first thing I wanted to do was a sleep experiment.  Back on Week 6 Day 2, I had claimed that my pulse was 48-52 when I awoke calmly (without external disturbance).  I got my tube of electrode gel (which came with the treadmill), and headed to bed at almost 1 AM.  (I haven't informed my Garmin of the correct time yet.)  I got the Garmin belt nice and tight, and it synced to the watch.  I manually took my pulse and got a 54, and this was in exact agreement with the Garmin.  It's not normally that low, but it was late and the house had been very quiet and unmelodramatic.  I set the watch in a fixed location within two feet of my body, and after thinking of a couple of alien invasion movies, I went to sleep.  (You can click this picture to make it bigger.)

You can easily see me toss and turn a bit for the first 20 minutes.  Then, with the exception of a few REM sleep segments, I'm below 50 bpm and I'm konked out.  There are also a significant number of measurements below 45 bpm.  What you are viewing here is the smoothed data.  In the unsmoothed data, there is a single measurement of 39 bpm.  But, since that was a one-time measurement, and the next lowest measured value was 42, I will believe that my lowest sleeping heart rate is 42 bpm.  Look what happened to me when the alarm goes off - it jumped all the way to seventy!

Why did I set an alarm on Sunday morning??  Science!!  Take that, low heart rate skeptics!!

To learn a bit more about the stages of sleep, you can check out this website.  If any of you guys have a similar device, you might want to try an experiment like this.  Heart behavior is so interesting - I've gotten it up to 185 on the treadmill, and now I've got it thudding along below 45 bpm.  That's a pretty good dynamic range.  And look at that REM segment at 3:20 into the measurement.  I will attribute that to Katherine Heigl!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Level Nine

~ Athletic Character Statistics ~
Age: 44
Weight: 198.5
BMI: 28.5
Cholesterol: 121 (Total)
Capability: 35-minute jogs
Speed: 5.0 mph
Gear: Freakin' Solid!

Well, I managed to gain a pound this week, which I'll attribute to random swelling.  I've done several runs averaging 5+ mph, so I think that is a fair statement of speed.  I've also done several jogs over 35 minutes, so I claim that as a capability. (And yes - I've done 5+ and 35+ in the same run:)

Level Nine is a very special level, because it represents graduation from the Couch to 5K program.  In terms of time, I have exceeded the requirements.  In terms of distance, I have reached 5K, but in 36:22.  I will definitely have some post-graduate work in my future, but have not dreamt up the definitions for specific levels.  (Level 10 being a 30-minute 5K might be stretching it.)  I will define some mileage goals, and I suspect a doctor is going to recommend core strengthening exercises.  Whatever the specifics, I will strive to earn new levels for my atheletic character.

But for now, I'm in celebration mode!  The photo below is from the graduation ceremony, when the wife's television show was briefly paused.  Tears in my eyes, I accepted the diploma and this week's gift - a Garmin Forerunner 305 with Heart Rate Monitor.

Here is the diploma in greater detail:

Many thanks to all who have supported my effort - the forum folks, my family, clients, and co-workers.  I would especially like to thank Mr. Sprick, the running equivalent of a Ph.D.  He endured my incessant speculation on stride mechanics, handled countless questions on aches and pains, and provided brilliant advice in the narrow spaces available when I was winded from all the talking.

Despite my improvements, Elaine has (at every turn) matter-of-factly stated that she could do far better than me.  She has been long on talk, but short on action.  But I understand she beats most of the boys in her class.

Meanwhile, Maxwell has become an avid runner.  I give him challenges and time him with a stopwatch.  In tonight's challenge, he ran to a series of landmarks culminating at the center of the cul-de-sac.  At this point, he threw his arms wide, looked up to the sky, and yelled "I love the moon!"  Being five is great, huh?  And 44.85 seconds seems pretty speedy.

My wife Tami, has also endured this admirably.  I ended up running in the dark on W9D2 - she had the kids in the minivan going to the track to make sure I hadn't keeled over or become victimized.  She has been kicking it up a notch on the treadmill.  So, the whole family has really gotten it in gear!

Week 9 Day 3

For today's run, I went back to the beautiful trail that runs along Lake Mercer.  It's pretty small to be calling it a lake, but pretty nice to say I outdistanced a lake.  Here's the out-n-back path I did (if you click the picture, you'll be able to make out the path):

In W9D2 I accomplished my goal of running a 5K without stopping.  So, in this run, I just wanted to relax and take it easy.  After a few minutes, the legs were feeling good and I ended up chugging along for 36:45.  I only went 2.72 miles in that time, so that's 4.44 mph.  I went with my heavy shoes today, because they have a lot of support and cushioning in them.  And all the joints seemed to be thankful for that.  I've come from WAY deep in the couch to undertake this program, so I know my legs need more conditioning, and gentle conditioning to get in truly proper shape.

As with last week, I had obtained the bling before the run, but this time my wife picked it up.  She also picked up a little treat for me, since I had done my last Couch to 5K run:

I totally zoned the nip protection today, but was miraculously spared injury.  It's kind of nice, on occasion, to get a run in without the melodrama!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Week 9 Day 2

Goosebumps!  The forecast called for rain ALL day.  At around noon, I decided that I'd just walk on the treadmill tonight and do the remaining C25K runs later in the week.  After thinking this for hours, the rain rained itself out!  I got home about 45 minutes until sundown.  By the time I got runner'd up (for some reason this always involves a two-flusher), and made it to the track, it was 20 minutes until sundown.

The first mile and a half was pretty standard, I did it in under 18 minutes. (It was too dark to make out the seconds on my watch.)  My lower legs were feeling fatigued, mainly the ankles and calves.  I plodded along, determined to grit out my thirty minutes and call it a night.  My breathing was fine tonight, very relaxed and even - 3 steps in, 3 steps out.  I kept asking myself why my breathing was becoming so easy and my legs weren't also having it easy.  I think they got stuck in a rut.

I'm not sure if I sped up first, or if I got happy first.  But, somewhere in the half lap before 2.5 miles, I literally got goosebumps.  My legs became distant thuds in the background, of no concern whatsoever.  I stopped looking at the track, and instead watched the darkened scenery swivel around as I went through the turns.  I was going faster and feeling better because of it.

I was overcome with the certainty that 3.1 miles was gonna be easy.

When I hit three miles and began the turn, I started really pouring it on.  Before I was even done with the turn I was hauling ... running ... sprinting.  My arms were pumping like a madman-operated marionette.

Sometimes I don't speed up at the end, and when I do it's getting back to a respectable jogging pace. But this time, I was running as fast as I could bloody go!  This run didn't start out that great, but it was a favorite well before it was completed.  This is the second time I've had this feeling, the first was Week 7 Day 2.

This was the first time I'd ever gone 3.1 miles without walking - ever, as in my entire life!  I found the light button on my watch and my time was 36:22.  This averages out to 5.1 mph, which for me is good!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Week 9 Day 1

Meep Meep!  Today's run was my first one on the street.  I had intended to run at 7:30, but it was 37° so I waited until 9:30 when it was 45° because I was determined to wear my new short-sleeved 'pumpkin pie' shirt.  Here I am posing below, before I headed out:

The course I ran was pretty flat.  There was only one section that went down enough to inspire you to lengthen your stride, and no uphills that were steep enough to toe run.  Nobody laughed and honked, so my gear must be foolin' folks!  Here's a map of what I ran:

My breathing was very good today.  Sometimes I'd breathe deeply (in three steps, out three steps) and sometimes I'd breathe quicker (in two steps, out two steps).  But I never had any issue.  My legs felt a bit heavy, and I'm pretty sure my turnover rate isn't nearly high enough.  The goal is 90 per minute per foot, whereas I'm probably not even doing 80.  I only checked my watch when I was within sight of the end, and I had about 30 seconds left until the 30 minute run time, so I started bookin'.  And I completed the course in 30 minutes flat, so that's a 5.1 mph average.  (Don't weep - for me this is good!)  I think the slight down hill on the way back helped me from winding down too severly.

So, I whined a bit on the forums last night about my left knee.  On occasion it can hurt on a stair, and sometimes I feel the knee cap having a little hiccup as it tries to ride up over the end of the femur (or whatever it's doing).  So, just to be safe, I'm going to have an orthopedic sports doc look at it on Thursday.  I'll keep you guys up to date on it, but I don't think it's anything to be overly concerned about just yet.  But, I'll make an allowance for my cat Percy Pants ... that one's a worrier:

Oh, I nearly forgot!  I tried the John Faith approach to nip-protection, and it worked great.  Here is what you do.  You take a band-aid, and you cut it in half - right across the pad.  Then you put the sticky part on the nip and the half-pads hang down like pull tabs.  Surprisingly, this does not show: look at the first pic in this post.  They came off without any drama afterwards.  Well, I might have pulled a scab off the left one, but it's pretty healed up already, so no re-injury ensued.  I did buy the Body Glide, and I'll give that a try in the coming days ahead.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Level Eight

~ Athletic Character Statistics ~

Age: 44
Weight: 197.5
BMI: 28.3
Cholesterol: 121 (Total)
Capability: 30-minute jogs
Speed: 4.8 mph
Gear: Freakin' Solid!
Well sports fans, as with last week, I got and enjoyed some of my bling on Day 3 before I had technically earned it.  As I've said before, athletes frequently push the rules a bit.  And with the new bling, my gear rating is now "Freakin' Solid!".  I did 30+ minute jogs each time in Week 8, and I've picked up the speed a few microns.  I can do 5.1 mph over a mile distance without too much trouble, but I tend to wind down like a cheap watch thereafter.  Of course, eight weeks ago my watch didn't tick at all, so no complaints here!
I got real running shoes!  These are Mizuno Wave Rider 13 (Size 11), and I feel much better in these. (See yesterday's post for store details!) They are very light; when the wind blows I can feel it through the toes; I can even wiggle my toes in them!  In other words, my feet feel like feet when I'm walking or running in them.  (My Nikes were too narrow.)  The sole bends without effort, so it's not all stiff - it moves like my foot wants to.  It is also much flatter.  My old shoes were very triangular; like I had slipped in an extra inch of rubber under the heel to be taller than the prom date.  These new shoes were a joy to run in yesterday.
Naturally, they had some new shirts in by the front door.  I only had two short-sleeved shirts, so this was justified, right?  And the color ... yummy ... like pumkin pie.  It's by SportHill, and they chose to call this color "red clay".  Like the other new shirts, it wicks, provides UV protection, and is ultra lightweight.  This is good because I sweat, burn easily, and I'm heavy enough as is.
Next week's weather seems to look good.  My plan is to stay outdoors, and I may even jog on the street for the first time in my life.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Week 8 Day 3

Okay, there was a little melodrama today so brace yourselves.  First, I runner'd up in my office and headed over to Metro Run & Walk (link).  That's where I've been getting my bling lately, and I must be scoring a lot of bling because they all seem to know me, and even know how to spell my last name.  Today, John Faith helped me.  He is just as friendly as his picture would indicate.  He has done a ton of triathalons, marathons, and all the rest - very accomplished.  At the same time, he's friendly with the noobs like me.  I swear, if any of you guys are in the DC area, this store is worth the drive.

So, I got my new bling (which I will describe tomorrow) and headed out to a brand new trail which goes on the southwest side of Lake Mercer - unexplored territory!!  I'm not gonna lie to you guys, I was pretty concerned with injury after that treadmill encounter Monday.  I hoped my legs would be up for this.

Now for the fun part: just feast on these pics below from my 1.5 mile walk after my run:

~ Lake Mercer ~

~ You start on the dam ~

~ Dismount Bike Sign = Real Hill (Trust Me!) ~

~ Nifty Bridge ~

~ Topographic Map ~

Thanks to the county's topographic map, I know the path on the dam is at 253.1 feet and that the elevation of the lake is 216.8 feet.  I went up and down thirty-five foot hills several times in my out-n-back, mostly gradual.  That may not seem like hill work to anyone else, but compared with the middle school track and my treadmill, it was hilly!  Here's a map of what I ran, except on the way back I kept going until just after the end of the dam.

In all, I ran 2.65 miles in 33:06.  That works out to about 4.8 mph or a pace of 12:29.  This is just my best guess, but even if I only did 2.5 miles I would still be happy.  My legs felt fine, my breathing was good, and I enjoyed the heck out of myself.  At one point I passed the proverbial teens in love complete with the hand holding.  When I passed them, I about passed out.  They were perfumed to the gills!  But to be fair, if they're blogging tonight (highly doubtful), they might mention the fragrance I treated them to!

Now for the melodrama.  Remember when I told you I went to Metro Run & Walk for the bling?  Guess what I forgot to get?  You guessed it - I forgot the Body Glide Anti-Chafe and my pecs paid the price.  This time the left one did bleed and the right one hurt.  I am sure a doctor would come to the same conclusion I have: not overly much brain in my head!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Week 8 Day 2

Cowabunga!  I was going to work-out before dinner.  I got home around 7 pm to the smell of bacon and eggs.  Natually, I sat at the table and just pigged out.  I let my food settle.  Then my stomach decided to be unsettled.  Starting at around 9:30, I must have gone up and down 12 flights of stairs finding my gear to get all runner'd up.  The freakin' iPod was insufficiently charged, so I put Cheryl Crow back into the DVD.  I used a floor fan for the first time. Finally, at like 10 pm, I got going.  And I had a couple of goals today, based off pent-up frustration I suppose:

Goal One: Face the treadmill and show it who's boss.

Goal Two: Achieve more than W8D1

I programmed the treadmill to do essentially what I had done on the track, with less slacking at the end, and for longer:

Interpretation: Row one is the warm-up, I don't count it for distance.  Row two reads: Jog 5.3 mph for 2 minutes and 50 seconds (which is a pace of 11 minutes 19 seconds) and you'll go a quarter mile.  I basically was trying to do quarter miles, decreasing speed by 0.1 mph each time until after 1.5 miles.  Then, I was going to hang around at 4.8 mph for another 12:32.  Then, I'd go at 4.7 mph until I hit 3.1 miles.

Here is what I actually did:

I made it through those faster quarter miles.  I made it through 15:40 of 4.8 mph.  After about five minutes of that constant speed, my hips ached, but finally it went away.  After 30 seconds at 4.7 mph, my heart rate reached 170.  (It had always been 164-168 since towards the end of the 5.3 mph jog.)  So, I cranked it down to 4.0 mph - my maximum walking speed.  After two minutes of that, with a HR of 150, I dialed in 4.6 mph.  With a minute remaining I hit 5.0, and after 30 seconds I had gas in the tank, so I pushed it to 6.0 mph.  Then, the treadmill obeyed its program and put me at 3.3 mph.  At that speed, I hit 3.1 miles at 38:17.

Due to issues revealed in the last post, I ran without a shirt.  And geez, that sweat was flying ... it hit the wind from the fan ... I was a regular fountain of mediocrity down there in the basement!!

Sheryl Crow and the DVD?  Splattered.
Treadmill control panel?  Wrecked.
Arm rails? Sweat paisleys everywhere.
The belt? The bottoms of my shoes squeaked.

Injury report.  Upon getting off that machine, my first thought was "Crap, I'm not running Wednesday."  My left knee had hurt for five or so minutes in the middle of my treadmill war.  My first knee complaint of the program.  On the first stair coming out of the basement, I thought something was going to go horrifically wrong.  I had my lips in a little "o" shape like a choir boy, only I was prepared to say something rather un-churchlike.  Magically, the knee actually straightened and the rest of the stairs were okay.  My right lower leg also hurt for a while, and at least I was able to pin down where.  I put weight on my right foot, and as soon as my center of mass swings over the ankle, there is tenderness on the left, back side of the lower calf maybe 3 or 4 inches above the ankle.  I think it must be a tendon or ligament thing.  When I take the weight back off the foot, the slight discomfort fades away within a second or two.  After writing this post, and sitting for a bit, I'm thinking I can go for an easy run Wednesday.  Then again, I've had my cool down beverage - a glass of French Bordeaux.  Geez it's late!  Remind me to become an early morning runner!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


After yesterday's blog post, I hit the shower and got a surprise.  I was inspired to write a poem.

perky by mistake
rain, chill, wind: what did y'all do?
rubbed raw the left one

A friend had predicted this would happen, since up until recently I had only worn my "finest, heavy cotton" running shirts.  But, having obtained the advanced technical running shirts, I thought I'd minimized the risk.  I was wrong.  Having only gone 2.45 miles, I got off easy - it wasn't too bad.  It looked like a teething toddler mistook me for a meal.  There are an array of products on the market for this sort of thing:

~ Choice A ~

~ Choice B ~

~ Choice C ~

~ Choice D ~

Choice A is very practical and affordable.  But, I think they would show through my slinky running shirts pretty severely. And they would hurt to take off. Choice C is advocated by many distance runners, but I think they would add machine gun muzzles to my turrets, not attractive.  Choice D is clearly the nuclear option and will not be entertained.  Therefore, I select choice B.  For anyone who doesn't know, brustwartzen is German for nipples, but it literally means breast warts.  I just love that German romanticism. :)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Week 8 Day 1

I woke up at 5 am this morning. Tami said I had fallen out of bed, but I don't believe her.  Next thing I know it's 7 am, and there is no going back to sleep.  So, I get up and head down the stairs.  My right lower leg feels funky, somewhere above the ankle, but only when there is weight on it.  I can stretch it twelve ways from Sunday and it doesn't hurt.  I can poke and prod, and can't find anything sore.  It's hard to pin down where it is.  My plan is to work through it.

I checked the weather on the computer, and it looks like there is a break in the rain.  It was only sprinkling and it was 53°.  I suited up, grabbed a windbreaker, and drove to a nearby middle school to use the track.  Below is a snapshot from Google Earth:

This is an asphalt track, and it is in very good condition.  Even though there was a light rain or heavy mist, there were a few folks out there.  They were wearing jackets, but I left mine in the car.  I knew that after a couple of laps I would be warmed up.  There were a few dozen mean ducks (called geese) along the inside of the track, but the honking didn't bother me.  I clocked the first lap in 2:48, and I felt good.  The wind was 15-20 mph, and my hat nearly came off a couple of times.  My glasses were pretty fogged up by the third lap, but I could still see the watch for split times.  Here are all the details:

The pace column is just the split time times four.  In the last row, I didn't quite make it all the way around, but I did pick up the pace.  My default geek character really loves all the data to be had in a track workout!  In all, I did 2.45 miles in 30 minutes which is 4.9 mph and a pace of 12:14.  And of course, I hadn't done a mile in less than twelve minutes since the Air Force.  (Actually, prior to the C25K program I hadn't run a mile since the Air Force back in 1988!)

I was going to just hit the treadmill this morning, but I'm glad I didn't.  First, I'm still a bit chicken.  And, on occassion, it's nice to think I'm not a complete wimp when it comes to weather.  I came home to a nice breakfast, and I've got the whole day ahead of me.  This includes a haircut and a massage - yep, I got the membership!  I'll let you know how the leg is doing, and I'll talk to my fitness advisor about it on Monday.

Positive Effects

On Friday, we all went out to the Steakhouse for dinner.  I ordered a Diet Pepsi, and then said "Wait, I mean water!"  Whew, I had nearly tripled my caffeine.  It's been a week or two since I dramatically reduced my caffeine intake.  Now the only caffeinated drink I have is one or two 12 mg doses in a Lipton flavored tea mix.

After dinner, we went to a Tae Kwon Do school for Max's graduation.  This school does a weekly workout with kindergarteners through second graders.  He broke his board on the first try, and given the flexion applied by the holder, it's a wonder it didn't snap before Max touched it.  At any rate, it was very nice for Max.  You know, he runs laps around the house now, lap after lap.  I think my C25K hobby is having a good effect on everyone in the family.  Makes me feel like a good daddy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Level Seven

~ Athletic Character Statistics ~

Age: 44
Weight: 197.5
BMI: 28.3
Cholesterol: 121 (Total)
Capability: 25-minute jogs
Speed: 4.5 mph
Gear: Intermediate

In the past week there was some rough sledding, but some real shining moments as well.  W6D3 was pretty awful - I got through the workout, but ended up feeling mentally defeated.  If I had flirted anymore with the idea of stopping, we would have gotten married.  W7D1 was also tough, as I did stop for two breathers.  I decided not to beat myself up on that one.  I didn't intend to start out too fast, and I proved I could do twenty-five minute runs.  And on Monday's run, I had an amazingly fun time.  I wish I could hop to that place at will.

Since my athletic character has achieved Level Seven status, I'm entitled to some bling. And this time, the choice was clear - I needed more clothes. The products are a black Nike Featherlight hat; a red Asics shirt; a light green Nike shirt; and another pair of compression shorts from Nike (just like the ones I got last week). All of these feature advanced wicking technology. The shirts are amazingly light and slinky, and the hat will hopefully save my baldish head from the sun.

About My Stats: With all this influx of gear, I can't really even say it's novice anymore - so I will call it intermediate.  There are probably more advanced shoes available, and if I try real hard, I might be able to top a ten dollar watch.  As a result of seeing the doctor, I got some numbers back in a phone message.  My total cholesterol was surprisingly low at 121 mg/dL.  He said my HDL/LDL ratio was in the ideal category, but I'll have to pick up the labwork sheet to get the actual numbers involved.  Naturally, the thing I'm most interrested in figuring out is whose numbers these really are! I dropped another pound, and managed to remain 44.

It's supposed to rain like  * f o r e v e r *, at least through Monday.  That means I will need to confront the treadmill again.  Don't get me wrong, I am a treadmill advocate, and it provides a reasonable approximation to running outdoors if you set it at an incline - I just need to get a good workout under my belt to put W6D3 behind me.  As always, thanks to everyone for following my adventures!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Week 7 Day 3

The weather was a windless, cloudy 68° and having gone into work early, I left early to close out my exercise week with another outdoor run.  My confidence was still through the roof.  In fact, I bought my Level 7 bling on the way home.  I suited up and made my way to the trail's beginning, kicking little sticks out of the way as I went.  Don't want to get a little roller under the foot and do a banana-peel trick!

I made it to the basketball court (.47 miles) at 5:45, which is 30 seconds faster than Monday (and implies a 12:47 pace or 4.7 mph.).  After the court, I passed a couple of basketball dweebs.  We exchanged hellos and I heard a bit of laughter afterwards.  A couple of minutes later I found out why.  They had placed a big, broken branch on the bridge.  I jumped it in three places to get through, and I didn't lose a beat.  On my second pass, two nice ladies walking a dog held the branch out of the way as I passed and lifted it off the bridge afterwards.  The dweebs were shooting baskets on the court.  As I approached, a rather bad shot attempt thudded off the rim and went bouncing down the catastrophically steep hill off to the side.  They were beating each other up verbally, to determine if the ball's owner or the guilty party would have to attempt the retrieval. As I ran the perimeter of the court I was thinking "How's that karma tastin'?"

Anyways, I did two out-n-backs and a little extra by 25 minutes.  At that point, I kind of felt like stopping, but then I thought "What the heck, I'll do a little more".  I kept going to just past the bridge where I had finished on Monday.  So I ran 2.14 miles again, and this time in 27:35.  I really poured it on the last 30-40 seconds.  Like last time, I could have kept going but I didn't really have that runner's high.  (I'm thinking that's what I encountered for the first time in my life on Monday.)  The only physical twinge I had was my right index toe, something felt painful near the beginning of the run in the bottom, middle part of it.  Not sure if it was the knuckle just off the main part of the foot or in the meat between knuckles, but within a couple of minutes it was beaten into submission and it feels just fine now.

In summary, 2.14 miles in 27:35 which is a 12:53 pace or 4.65 mph with no stopping.  I think these past two workouts compensate for my W7D1 outing where I had started out too fast - I will be moving on!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Seeing the Doctor

I went to see the doctor today, and I asked him some questions.  He was glad I was doing an exercise program, and didn't see any health reason that would preclude me from this vigorous sort of exercise.  He didn't seem shocked that I had discovered a 185 heart rate on my first treadmill workout.  He said the 150s and 160s is a good range, and that the number will come down with continued exercise.  I asked if a 120 rate would get me anything.  He said it would only get me walking, and in training for a 5K the higher rates are to be expected, especially for someone out of shape and overweight.  He seemed most pleased that I had woken up one morning and gotten a pulse between 48 and 52.  Some have disputed these numbers, suggesting I was only half awake and missing beats due to inattentiveness.  All I can say is that I really was wide awake, and I took it four times.  It's called a dirunal dip, and in waking up early my body didn't yet accept that it was day time.  About eight years ago I wore a holter monitor overnight, and my heart rate bottomed out at 40 bpm. Sitting around during the day I can be anywhere from the low 60s to the mid 70s.

I should get the lab work back tomorrow or the day after that, so if I find anything interesting I will update this post.  And, I should be able to populate the cholesterol numbers after completing Week 7.  Oh, my blood pressure was 122 over 74 and they were all right with it.  I think these numbers will get even better as I lose weight.  The doctor's scale was a little pessimistic relative to the home scale, but either way, I've lost around ten pounds so I've got a good attitude in that regard.

He was nice, and answered my questions, but I'm thinking had I asked him if I should run barefoot on broken glass, he would have just nodded and said "Sure, sure."

My legs feel good, locked and loaded for tomorrow.  I'm really hoping for good weather tomorrow -it's supposed to get up to 68°, but there is a chance for rain.  I'm not jogging that trail in the rain - too easy to screw up and take a dive.